Dr. R.A. Mohler, Jr.’s “We Cannot Be Silent”
I appreciate thoughtful discourse. Furthermore, I appreciate thoughtful discourse with a sense of passion about it. Unfortunately, if one looks at the media, especially when it comes to the idea of the place of LGBT in America, the discourse seems to be predominantly passionate but thoughtless. It is a matter of one side yelling, “We’re right!” while the other side is trying to yell even louder, “No, we’re right! You’re not!” Especially in the conversation on LGBT issues, supporters to the left seem to default to “Christians are trying to regulate morality. They are ignorant and hold to an archaic set of principles from an old storybook.” Right-wingers declare, “Gays are confused! We should not bend to a group of sinners and abominates whose heads are not on straight.”
Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr. is President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. I am not a Baptist, nor am I a seminarian. Nor do I agree with all the contents of his most recent book, We Cannot Be Silent, but I appreciate that at this current juncture in the national conversation on LGBT issues, a book has been published which thoughtfully and passionately lays out the case from the Evangelical perspective, rooting itself equal parts in academic and judicial research, Biblical scholarship, and social commentary to provide a discourse that takes a stance to the negative in the debate on LGBT issues while avoiding the feeling of an empty yelling match. We Cannot Be Silent presents the Evangelical Church’s case in a way that LGBT supporters, while they may not agree with him, will at least walk away without a bad taste in their mouth as Mohler’s thoughtful treatment shows that he is concerned more with sharing his personal convictions rather than trying to simply prove himself right.
Throughout this book, Mohler sticks to his guns in the tradition of well planned persuasive writing. Each individual chapter reads as its own long essay, but the each chapter complements the one before it and leads to the one after, meaning that they are to be read together. Mohler’s format for each chapter begins with a broad overview to the chapter’s key issue, thesis, followed by historical background, supporting evidence via research, tracing of how culture has been impacted by the issue so far and how he foresees culture continuing to progress if it does not change its course.
What I appreciate most about this book are two chapters. Chapter 9, “The Compassion of Truth: The Church and the Challenge of the Sexual Revolution,” lays out ways in which the Church has failed the LGBT community in ways such as failing to provide considerate guidance at the sake of surface-level Bible verse regurgitation to not actually taking a proactive stance to being willing to have hard conversations and instead deciding to remain in-grown and isolationist. While many of Mohler’s arguments and insights seem sound, some of his solutions seem a little too simplistic as fixes to what he depicts as issues.
I also enjoyed Chapter 10, “Hard Questions.” “Hard Questions” addresses 30 typical questions that arise on the subject, including the issue of “picking and choosing” Old Testament laws, and the difference between sex vs. gender. This chapter is the most thoughtful response from the Evangelical community on the issue, and I wish that mainstream Christianity would take a note from Mohler’s approach in that he sticks to his convictions in a way that shows he has actually considered the issues and knows why he believes what he does about the issues.
Individuals on both sides of the debate on LGBT issues would do well to read We Cannot Be Silent. Mohler avoids name calling and derogatory remarks about the side he is debating with. He lays his cards out on the table from the beginning, and his writing shows that he has done his research and that his beliefs go beyond just words on a page. I did not agree with everything in the book, but I resonated with the idea of a man sticking to his convictions and being able to present them in a way that one does not walk away at the end feeling dirty or yelled at.
I received my copy of this book through the BookLook Bloggers program for free in exchange for publishing a review on it. I was not obligated to post a positive review; the views and opinions expressed are mine.