Any astute cultural observer of our ‘progressive’ culture will soon be able to see that the Bible’s description of us as ‘a crooked and depraved generation’ (Deuteronomy 32:5 cited by Paul in Philippians 2:15) is totally accurate.
I offer you the following evidence from the past couple of days.
Channel 4 have a ‘reality’ TV programme called Sex Box, in which people go into a box in front of a live TV audience to have sex and then come out and discuss it. No – I haven’t seen it. I have seen the clips and the whole concept is beyond disgusting. It shows the trivialization and dumbed down, ignorant and sinful nature of much of our contemporary culture. It is a A New Low in British TV Culture – but don’t worry I am sure we can, and will go lower still.
Of course there are people who love it. One leader of the Secular Scotland gloated,
“This is truly remarkable. That we are witnessing such honest talk about sex before contestants go into a box to have sex and come out to talk about what they did is a major step forward. Only a decade ago in Scotland we would have to face in the press comments from the Mrs. Ann Allen or Bill Wallace of the Kirk’s Board of Social Responsibility or the ‘Sexfinder General’ the late Monsignor Tom Connolly. Today it is Rev ‘DAR’ Robertson, but that is more for a joke than ‘balance’, I’m sure.”
I don’t regard it as a joke. I regard it as perverted, degrading and sick. It is so immensely sad that human beings can regard such darkness as ‘enlightened’ and ‘progress’. As Theo Hobson pointed out in the Spectator, it is little wonder that many Muslims have such contempt for ‘British Values’, if this is what we have been reduced to.
And then a member of the government, Culture Secretary John Whittingdale, admitted that he had had a ‘relationship’ with someone who he met through an Internet hook up site, who turned out to be a prostitute/dominatrix. There was a great deal of suspicion (well documented and evidenced in Private Eye) that the press, who knew about this, did not publicise it because they regarded the culture secretary as ‘an asset’ and therefore not to be attacked. Given that the same press who refused to publish this story because it was of ‘no public interest’ are at the same time complaining about being barred from reporting on a ‘celebrity’ involved in a sex scandal. What for me is even more fascinating is that several opinion pieces were published saying what a good thing it is that we have ‘matured’ so much as a society that we no longer care about sexual morality. Tens of thousands demand that David Cameron should be removed because his father had had a (legal) offshore account. Would anyone demand that a government minister be removed because he had a ‘relationship’ with a prostitute?
Sex Workers or Prostitutes?
Which brings me on to the use of the term ‘prostitute’ which is apparently now not the PC term to use and seems to be banned by the BBC. A prostitute is someone who engages in sexual activity in exchange for payment. But now prostitutes are to be called ‘sex workers’. Really? This is work? This is regarded as legitimate paid employment? Will schools and University careers officers be providing a career path into ‘sex work’? That is surely the logic of the position.
France meanwhile has joined Sweden and Northern Ireland in making it illegal to pay for sex (although ironically not illegal to sell sex). And ‘sex workers’ and other ‘liberals’ have complained that it will make prostitution ‘unsafe’. What a confused mess! Prostitution IS unsafe. It is all about the exploitation of human beings, especially women and the poor, in order to satisfy the lusts of the depraved and the powerful.
The Devastating Fruits of Perversity
The result of all this is being seen, even as I write. BBC news is reporting that an increasing number of children are coming under pressure because of ‘inappropriate sexual behaviour’ by their fellow school pupils. This includes ‘sexting’, ‘internet pornography’ and ‘sexual molestation and physical abuse’.
It is predictable and pathetic that the only response being offered by our cultural elites is, “We need more education.” In one sense we do. But it seems to me that it is the adults who need educated, rather than the children.
For the child’s sake can we not let children be children, and stop passing off our responsibilities on to them?!
We need to be educated enough to learn that if you feed children’s minds with programmes like Sex Box, or tell them that you can have a career in ‘sex work’, then you are going to create an environment in which abuse and misuse of one of God’s greatest gifts is normalized. The fact is that this is the ongoing fruit of the adaptation of the middle class bourgeois culture of Bertrand Russell and the Bloomsbury Set, who dreamed of the poor being available and ready for their sexual exploitation by the rich.
Perhaps the Internet and the collapse of any form of coherent intelligent and moral morality amongst the ‘gatekeepers’ of our culture means that we are more aware of these things. But even if that is true we are still not seeing a fraction of what goes on behind closed curtains and in darkened minds.
I was thinking, praying and getting depressed about this when I read this from John Flavel –
“Doth not the eye of God see all the evil and wickedness in all the secret corners of the world! How admirable then is the patience of God towards the world! Who can imagine how much wickedness is secretly practiced in a town or city every day? “.
If you want to grasp and understand something of the judgement of God, just think of the small amount that you know that makes you feel sick, discouraged and depressed at the depravity of humanity and then realize that He sees it all. Is it not a wonder that He does not wipe out all evil?
And yet He is patient, not willing that any should perish. What does He do? What can be done? Humans beings are desperately wicked and our hearts are deceitful above all things. We cannot save ourselves. Indeed the greatest punishment is that God would just leave us to get on with things ourselves. But that is precisely what he has not done. Just look at the two contexts of the ‘crooked and depraved generation’ quote. In Deuteronomy 32 we are told
Listen, O heavens, and I will speak;
hear, O earth, the words of my mouth.
2 Let my teaching fall like rain
and my words descend like dew,
like showers on new grass,
like abundant rain on tender plants.
3 I will proclaim the name of the Lord.
Oh, praise the greatness of our God!
4 He is the Rock, his works are perfect,
and all his ways are just.
A faithful God who does no wrong,
upright and just is he
Humanity’s evil is more than matched by God’s goodness. He does no wrong and his word is so refreshing. That is what we need in the UK today. It is what we all need – and by ‘we’ I include myself, other Christians and everyone else. If you are not yet a believer then please consider this – what is your answer for the darkness? Do you have a better answer than the light of Christ?
The other passage in which ‘the crooked and depraved generation’ is mentioned is in Philippians 2. It is in the context of a church squabble in which Paul gets carried away in appealing for unity and urges the believers to be like Christ, not considering our own needs but the needs of others:
5 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
7 but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death—even death on a cross!
9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
That is the answer to the darkness. The Light of Jesus Christ.
That’s why Paul goes on to say that we shine like stars in the midst of this crooked and depraved generation. We are not to become depressed, or discouraged, or deluded into thinking that we are any better than others.
I gave a talk at Kirkliston Evangelical church (one of those churches that does shine like a star!), describing the situation we are in. One recently arrived American found the whole thing quite depressing and suggested that in the US they are very good at cultural analysis but nobody ever gives answers – so what was my answer. I disagreed that the church in the US was good at cultural analysis; in fact with some honourable exceptions (Tim Keller, Al Mohler and others) it’s usually as useless as we are in that regard – often because we are looking for the answer and the quick fix. For me I only have one answer. It’s Christ and his Word and his Spirit and his Father. I have nothing else to offer. I have no other answer. The rot is in too deep – only the Triune God can help us now!
And he does.
I think one of the problems of seeing even a little bit of the darkness and depravity that the Lord sees is that it can drive us to despair and/or self- righteousness. The darkness within is greater than the darkness we see outwith. I am the chief of sinners. Which is why the prayer I read this morning from The Valley of Vision is so apposite. I leave you with it.
Take away my roving eye, curious ear, greedy appetite, lustful heart;
show me that none of these things can heal a wounded conscience,
or support a tottering frame,
or uphold a departing spirit.
Then take me to the cross,
and leave me there.