Here's part two of our conversation with abolitionist/evangelist York Moore. Be sure to catch Part 1 for needed context. -Paul
Paul: What consistent obstacles to faith do you encounter in your work with non-Christians?
York: The obstacle to the gospel at a cultural level is the increasing incompatibility of an emerging American mythology that increasingly centers the story of the human self around a radicalized, sexualized interpretation of humanity. Pornography, homosexuality, and debauchery in general are creating a new understanding of the human self and human relationships.
Myth-making is something Scripture warns us, when Paul tells Timothy, "For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths" (2 Tim. 4:3-4). In the process of forging a new understanding of the world and the human self, the age-old and predictable pattern of myth-making is in play today. The contrast between "sound doctrine" and "myths" by Paul is intentional as both these words in the Greek point to more than mere propositional truths but rather holistic narratives that provide a comprehensive view of the world and self. Just as Paul points out to Timothy that the myth-making of their day revolved around sexual "desires," so today the product emerging from the American myth-making enterprise is a sexualized understanding of the human self.
As we work with non-Christians who take for granted a sexualized understanding of the human self, we will run into compatibility problems perceived as justice issues. We see this in many places already. To question homosexuality, for instance, or to offer a vision of what it means to be free from sexual consumption, has moved from merely being "homophobic," to a matter of social justice. What is more important, however, in our fight against the American postmodern myth-making process is the rejection of the conclusion that the human self is fundamentally a sexual self.
Seen in this light, our engagement with the philosophy of postmodern myth-making is, in my mind, the deeper obstacle to the gospel which is often masked by surface challenges of language, culture, and evangelistic form.
In your work with students, do you find that they have a desire to see their friends come to faith? How do they express that?
Many Christian students have a deep desire to see their friends come to faith, but their passion and conviction in this area is directly connected to the vibrancy of the spiritual community in which they belong. Where there is a general lack of vibrant community, Christian students often lack the motive or conviction that non-Christians around them need or would benefit from a relationship with Jesus. On the other hand, where there is robust spiritual community demonstrative of the "deep conviction, power, and presence of the Holy Spirit" Paul refers to in 1 Thessalonians, there is almost always a passion to see non-Christians come to faith.