There are many things we are told not to talk about anymore.Surely Christianity is to be inclusive? We are accused of being narrow-minded when we place limits on the number of ways that people can find God or the kinds of behaviour and practices that are acceptable in the church.

To be called 'narrow-minded' is considered an insult, despite the fact that Jesus said that a broad approach to life is much more dangerous than a narrow one. So today, narrow-mindedness concerning sexuality is taking a real beating right now, not just in Hollywood propaganda but also in the life of the church.

Fornication has been described as the Millennial Generation's acceptable sin. Even using the most stringent definitions of "evangelical", reports suggest that 44% of evangelical millenials had sex outside of marriage; the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy put the figure as high as 80% of evangelicals between the ages of 18 and 29.

But perhaps even more alarmingly, it is becoming harder and rarer to address the issue. Preachers are under pressure to keep sexual morality out of the pulpit. Increasing numbers of young people are telling the church that Christ did not send out his disciples to be the sex police, insisting that the early church focused instead on counter-cultural community-making. As a recent article reports, Tim Keller says "We are not doing well on the sex side." Talking about his own church in New York, he commented, "We're just like the rest of the city. If I preach like that [on sexual ethics], everybody gets real quiet."

But is it really "narrow-minded" to preach a high standard of sexual morality? In his book Holiness, J.C.Ryle  has an interesting twist on this way of thinking.

I have often been told that "broad" views are wanted in the present day, I wish to be as broad as the Bible, neither less nor more. I say that he is the narrow-minded theologian who pares down such parts of the Bible as the natural heart dislikes, and rejects any portion of the counsel of God. [Sermon X: A Woman to be Remembered]

Are we willing to commit to being broad-minded in the most important sense of the phrase? Broad enough to include in our thinking all that the Bible says on any subject. Broad enough to accept its teaching on sexual morality. Broad enough to accept its teaching on the wrath of God and the reality of hell. Broad enough to embrace all is says about gender roles. Broad enough to accept all that it says that cuts across the grain of my own desires. Broad enough to accept all that stands outside the cultural taboos promoted by our secular culture.

May God deliver us from the narrow-mindedness that cuts out significant chunks of the Word of God because we don't like them!

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