A few days ago, I shared that mongrel soundbite from Biden’s townhall meeting last week in which he assured the American masses that in his administration, he will do everything he can to help 8 year olds be sexually lost and confused. And with that soundbite, I added this bit of cheery commentary, “I’ve said it before, but we need to keep saying it: If 8 year olds can “consent” to hormone therapy and sex change operations, then there is absolutely no reason why they can’t “consent” to sexual relationships. The trans-child movement *is* the pedophile movement.”
What I wrote is true, but I want to build a context that is also true and really important for Christians to keep in mind in all of this. And the main point is simply that “consent” is an idol that betrays, maims, and ultimately destroys its worshipers (like all idols do). Pointing out the slippery slope of “consent” is not me celebrating any so-called glories of that Wench-Goddess La Consent. Pointing out the rotting-corpse end of that road is simply pointing out its folly. There is a way that seems right to a man, but the end of that road is a fatal collision with a telephone pole named reality (Prov. 14:12). The end of that road is a sad old man on television who doesn’t know what office he’s running for muttering absurdities and filth.
The Religious Roots Consentolatry
But since at least the Second Great Awakening, Charles Finney, and a whole bunch of theological malarky, American Christians have been putting up with a greenhouse that grows this gunk. The Church has no further than a mirror to look for the cause of this sad situation. How could “consent” have become the goddess of our age? How could the false gospel of our culture have become “you can be anything you want to be?” If you can wish upon a star and give your parents the finger and it will all work out in the end – the moral of most modern children’s stories – then a little boy can too be a girl if he wants and who says he cannot be the “special friend” of some older man?
Despite many well-meaning saints down through the decades, many of whom are no doubt now in glory, man-centered religion has been put up with, cooperated with, defended, and venerated. And what I mean by man-centered religion is Christianity and all its cheap knock-offs that preach and teach a neutered God who desperately wants to save sinners but can’t because He is powerless before the Almighty Throne of Consent, as though Jesus is knock-knock-knocking at the door of sinners’ hearts begging to come in. And when God is imagined that way, the Church necessarily begins to become like that graven image. So the gospel must only be an “invitation” with lots of doilies and lame jokes and tearful pleas. The Church becomes a whore willing to flirt and compromise if only she can get a few more people in the door. The lights must be turned down low, the songs must be sentimental and emotionally manipulative, and the messages must be dumbed down stump speeches and night club comedy. And yes, I’m talking about Arminianism, free-will-ism, and every three-eyed bastard of the same stock that has been allowed into the church, youth groups, worship songs, seminaries, and so on. And don’t get me wrong: piles of so-called Calvinists and Reformed types are busy imitating that Red Light District Christianity.
My point here is not to get you to picket your saintly grandmother’s house because she never could quite understand all that predestination stuff. My point is not to countenance a bunch of cage-stage belligerence. My point is to simply connect the dots, so that where there are conversations to be had, decisions to be made, they may happen graciously, firmly, joyfully, and fully cognizant of the stakes. Since God is exhaustively sovereign, what men mean for evil is constantly being turned to good. God even draws straight lines with our bad theology. He is patient and kind, and so must we be. But that is no excuse for laziness or apathy, especially since over the long haul, we still generally reap what we sow. And right now we’re reaping a crop of bull thistles five miles wide.
As Free as a Bird
Let me be clear: I believe in Free Will. I believe that man is a free agent to make choices according to his nature. A man may not choose to fly. A man may not choose to be a woman. A man may not choose to be God. A bird is free to fly, but not free to breathe underwater or play the violin. A man may choose to have a hamburger, a taco, or a salad as he likes, when he likes. But a sinful man cannot choose to become righteous. And this is fundamentally because He does not want to become righteous. It is not in his nature. “There is none righteous, no, not one: there is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God” (Rom. 3: 10-11). There you have it.
What does natural man do? He does not seek God. He does not understand the things of God. And he likes it that way. He is an enemy of God. The only thing that will change his certain collision course with God’s wrath is a sovereign intervention. This sovereign intervention is nothing short of a spiritual resurrection. To be dead in your sins is to be completely powerless to save yourself, to even want to save yourself. You cannot be kind of dead or sort of dead or mostly dead. God did not show Ezekiel a hospital room full of people nearing death if they didn’t get the medicine. God showed Ezekiel a graveyard, and not a graveyard of recently deceased bodies. It was a graveyard full of dry bones, picked clean by the buzzards. This is the state of fallen man. You are a Halloween decoration, a biology major’s homework assignment, a dog’s treasure trove.
Only the Spirit of God can make those bones live. Only God can make the dead live. Your consent is worthless. Your consent doesn’t exist. All your consent accomplishes is more dead rot. Your consent is the problem. Your desires are filthy. Your “free will” is as free as a corpse. If you are alive in Christ, God made you alive. Jesus broke down the door of your heart. He gave you His Spirit and a new heart with new desires. You once were dead, but now you live. You once were blind but now you see. And that happened because God didn’t listen to what you wanted. God in His kindness only saves the unwilling. Salvation is not consensual. Salvation is not collaborative. Salvation is sovereign grace.
Culture as Religion Externalized
So this is the deal: an Arminian culture, a society that worships the so-called free will of man is growing a particularly gnarly form of mold that eventually blooms into tranny and pedo-perversions. Henry Van Till once famously said that culture is religion externalized. You cannot worship the will, the heart, the desires of man and then draw arbitrary lines at 18 or 21. Says who? Why do you get to impose your will on me, on her, on him, or she-him, or he-her?
Do Calvinists sin? Of course. Can Calvinists be belligerent? Yes. But they shouldn’t be. They have no business being coercive or demanding because the thing that won them was God’s grace. The only thing that God uses to bring dead sinners to life is kindness, mercy, and love. But it is no impotent love; it is an efficacious love. It is a Love that laid our sin on His only Son, our death on His cross, our guilt in His suffering. And God drained our sin, death, and guilt from our dead corpses and left us with nothing but life.
The last thing that needs to be said regarding consent is that God is the Lord of salvation, but He is also the Lord of history, the Lord of politics, and the Lord of life. In other words, He is Lord of all, and He rules in lovingkindness. His love is fierce and pours out wrath on evil, but there is no other option. All other options are dead ends. Either we will submit to His kind Word, His gracious standards for protecting women and children from predators or else we will leave our women and children prey to the whims and caprice of mobs and men. If we worship God and obey His commands as they relate to sexuality, marriage, family government, adultery, civil government, and so on, we will have challenging situations, and some elements of God’s law may make you scratch your head. But the fundamental question is whether you will trust God or not. Is Jesus Lord or not? If we will worship Christ as Lord, a very different culture will emerge.
Consent is no fence, no sturdy wall, no fortress of anything. God’s Word, His Law, His Love is our Rock, our Fortress, our Strong Tower. His Will protects. His Will defends. Not my will, not your will, not the will of the people, not the will of the state, but God’s will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven. The will of man is false and fickle. Consent is a sad old man. But God’s will is a good will; the consent of God is sturdy and full of mercy.