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It is a people who go astray in their hearts, and they do not know my ways.
(Psalm 85:10).

By Roger Salter
July 18, 2017


Human sexuality is a powerful force and under normal circumstances second only to the will for survival. It is an urge entrusted to us by God to establish the strongest and most intimate bond between a man and a woman in lifelong fidelity and mutual support. The physical and spiritual union in marriage seals and signifies the union of God with his people, and the capacity for procreation perpetuates mankind in the privilege and vocation of bearing his image as a race and adding to the population of his kingdom - the final outcome of his purpose for the loyal dwellers on planet earth.

The marriage of male and female is a creation mandate imbued with profound redemptive meaning. In everything God is demonstrating his perfection and supremacy and alongside his kingdom goal at the consummation of time there is divine permission for the rise and rebellion of a rival kingdom, the annihilation of which will prove to a watching creation that our Maker is indeed superior and sovereign over all things in his holiness and righteous ways. Every creature and event enclosed in the span of history will serve to exalt his glory and majesty.

The creation mandate (sexual energy exercised with responsibility) continues in validity for man, even as fallen and astray from God. Instinctually man is a sexually active being, but the initially righteous impulse is now corrupted by deviant desire and it is harnessed by Satan, the archenemy of the Lord, to strengthen and reinforce his striving against his unassailable Superior whom he envies and detests. Sexuality is a key arena of conflict between the kingdoms of Darkness and Light. If the evil one can blur, damage, destroy the image of God displayed in male and female together as a complementary pair he will have delivered, he has reckoned, a decisive blow against the One who exercises authority and mastery over him and whose mark is to be discerned everywhere. Satan's great program is to erase the glory of God and negate his honor.

Our sexuality, designed to represent and cement love, harmony, collaboration in relationship - features of the great Three-in-One, has now become a war zone of oppression, exploitation, illicit desire, and perversion. Something most beautiful has become something quite bestial and beyond human control. It is an area where human nature is conspicuously unruly. Debased sexuality exhibits the evil purpose of both man and his present wicked overlord - the devil. Within this sphere Satan wreaks his devastating mischief through us and upon us. Sexual activity beyond righteous and moral bounds works incalculable injury and misery.

We have opted through revolt against our Maker and Governor to change his tender gift into a terrible weapon, which in a situation of vicious mayhem, torments us all in every facet of life and endeavor. We possess within us a force that shatters restraint if not influenced and curtailed by the Spirit of God. Just as we abuse the powers and energy sources of nature so we cannot contain a God-given power within our own nature. The "life force" is abused. It is apt to quote a line in a current movie preview, 'There is something stronger than will - desire' - a basic conviction of Augustinian theology.


Sexualized society is not a recent phenomenon (remember Pompeii). What generation since expulsion from Eden has not manifested its sensuality, seductions, scandals, and sins? The Judeo/Christian morality has been influential from time to time on a surface level and induced caution and shame in attitude and action, but wherever there has been a veneer of decency there has also been a strong undercurrent of libertinism that human curiosity is keen to explore, expose, and experience. No generation is more innocent than any other - but perhaps more discreet and secretive (shame in the shadows). Every known culture has left evidence of the overpowering compulsion of our sexuality to break through accepted moral codes, banish them, or beget a new and permissive set of sexual mores, accepted by some in their totality and tolerated ruefully by others who, filled with distaste, find themselves members of a ridiculed minority [the Republic of Rome was reputedly more moral than the Imperial version].

The biblical narratives candidly relate accounts of sexual irregularity, even in the behavior of those regarded as within the band of true saints, although only through restorative grace. Ancient myths likewise portray the indecency of gods and men. Homeric heroes such as Achilles and Ajax groomed youthful male partners as objects of their lustful prey. If anything abounds in human history it is the fact of disordered human desire and predatory passion. Even the royal sponsor of the Authorized version of the Bible gave rise to well-founded rumor.

It is not the existence of sexual sin that surprises in our time, but its explicitness in a society that for a century or so had been rather coy in the public mention of it. Any allusion to the topic of sex was conveyed through a whisper and a wink. A somewhat "tabloid" approach and a surreptitious pornographic industry supplied titillation in a back -room manner to secure the avoidance of embarrassment or censure.

The permissiveness in a bold way emerged partly - there were many contributory factors - through the promotion of a certain genre of "adventurous" and elite literature, now deemed classical, that majored in experimental sexual awareness (Lawrence, Nabokov, Joyce, Forster, etc.). The culture of mid-sixties rock music (a radical departure from more innocent 50s origins) and drug taking gave popular impetus to the disregard of creaking social norms, their diminution in credibility being due to the loss of power and influence of the religion and morality that had traditionally supported them, and whose foundations had now crumbled and been chipped away by the outright repudiation of revealed Christian truth and the values it had engendered. Nihilism, through skeptical and atheistic philosophy and ideology, allied to liberal theology, was creating a quasi-intellectual context (appeal to arrogance) for uncertainty and protest against establishment views and virtue. Liberalism so-called was seeping into the popular mind. Institutions and traditions were subject to constant and undermining scrutiny, and an anarchic state of mind was beginning to take a grip. Slowly, subtly, it was dawning upon the Western consciousness that there was scope, in a moral sense and in a moral maze, to do as one pleased. Each one began to do what was right in their own eyes. Private life was the individual's walled-off preserve and no external authority or opinion had any right of entry or assessment unless there happened to be agreement and collusion in any course of activity.

In this bogus intellectual freedom and spiritual vacuum, the power of sex discovered liberty to range freely in all directions now summed up in the formula LGBTQ - rampant in increasing proportion in our time and succeeding to gain majority support through minds alienated from God and adrift from traditional religious moorings. Plausible and pleading propaganda, distortion of scientific fact (causes and consequences of sinful sexual behavior), and exaggerated accusation of discrimination and prejudice have woven their spell. If we all maintained our private sexual relations in absolute privacy, as should be the case, there would be no room for ill-repute or overt and specific criticism. "Coming out" Is simply for the purpose of causing shock. But, just as certainly that there should be no advertising of the "gay condition" there would definitely be (for hidden immorality) warranted divine disapproval if the obvious laws of God (signaled in nature and supernatural revelation) were being flouted in personal conduct. We cannot alter the nature of love as God intends it, and the word, "love" itself is being ill-used and tweaked in favor of sinful gratification.

The current laxity and permissiveness in sexual immorality is due to ignorance or misrepresentation of the divine mind. Our "forty years" (Venite), as it were, of waywardness is due to the fact that collectively we do not know, in our benighted hearts, God's ways (whether prescribed or performed). We are very far gone from original and obligatory righteousness before him (Article 9 Of Original or Birth-sin). A terrible disruption of our flawless human constitution, as at its creation, has tragically occurred. Our highest faculties and physical desires and deeds have been corrupted and are now subject to the suggestions and urges of Satan and the sinful gratification of self that he incites through temptation and his pressure to comply. Sadly, sin appeals to us.

The disorder of our nature and the disastrous effects of our habits ensure that our corrupt sexual proclivities will lead to the demolition of our audaciously lawless lives lived in defiance of the norms instituted by God for the safety, wellbeing, enjoyment, and high attainments of happy companionship with him. The goal of fellowship with God is our maturation in the likeness of Christ the exemplar and restorer of true humanity. As Christians, through much stumbling, we press on to maturity in him arriving at perfection only in our full reunion with the Lord in his heaven. Here on earth we witness the brokenness of mankind, our weaknesses and handicaps, our susceptibleness to circumstances and appetites that incline us to wrongdoing and that blight our humanity with gross distortion of character and which mire us in criminal conduct. We are all thus affected and infected and the evidence appears in varying degrees.

Our sinfulness is due to the solidarity of our race in defection from God. Our diseases of soul and body emanate from our breach with the Deity. We fail in the pursuit of maturity in righteousness and we refuse growth in the grace of Christ. All basis for proper moral and spiritual development is torn to shreds and we experience the ills of a groaning and agonized creation sagging under the burden of culture and custom alienated from God. Our fundamental break with him is the cause of all our self-wrought suffering and earned desert of his acts of retribution. Our sexual deviancy is wrapped up in this huge comprehensive parcel of human miscreancy and misery with which we are fulfilling our utter undoing.

The recklessness of our sexual irresponsibility, and the societal lack of standards, together with laws and license that foster our disobedience to God's ways, is increased by the examples of notorious individuals who capture the respect and admiration of our gullible generation. Cultural icons from past and present, and popular celebrities point the way to sexual laxity and aberrance. We cannot be amazed that many will defend and commend their disclosed lifestyles and attendant contempt for the will of God. We tend to make allowances for people that impress us and accordingly we suit our moral preferences to theirs in the satisfaction of some kind of association or identification, real or notional, with them.

Daring trends that buck the norms of society and proffer scope for extravagant self-expression, exhibitionism, and the gaining of attention are infectious. Subtle suggestion, persuasion, and beguiling or bullying recruitment can inspire and increase the participation in abnormal, and unnatural ways. It is easy in many cases of deviancy to detect a background of difficult, disappointing and dysfunctional parental and family relationships, a lack of affirmation, or instances of abuse. The added factor of strident feminism discourages some males from heterosexual relationships - the fear of not managing or displaying masculinity sufficiently well.

The eminent British psychiatrist Anthony Storr attributes homosexuality to immaturity and that appears to be a broadly accurate diagnosis that is manifest in a variety of deeply grounded perplexities.

"But we must disagree with his idea (Proust's view) that the homosexual man is feminine. Rather he is a child whose development is incomplete - a boy who has not yet matured into a man. The homosexual search is often determined by an absence of satisfactory identification in life with the parent of the same sex; and in homosexual men it is common to find that the patient's father has been absent or in some way impossible to identify with. A father who is hard, unapproachable, and overbearing may inspire such fear that the developing boy turns away from him. A weak, soft, and ineffective father does not provide a sufficiently forceful personality to evoke masculine qualities in his son. In either case there is a failure of identification, and the son turns away from his father to seek in others those masculine attributes which he needs for his own development" (The Integrity of the Personality, Anthony Storr, Penguin Books, 1971, page 113).

Possibly, also, a young male child may be fascinated by his genitalia and register pleasure in touching such private parts of his anatomy - a natural discovery (Webster's Dictionary). Eventually aware that it is not proper decorum to come into contact with the genitals of another, and sensing the possible thrill of committing that which is forbidden, naive same sex experimentation casually occurs, and during the developmental period of fluctuating sexual identity and attraction (hormonal imbalance/swings) that same person may be inclined or persuaded to adopt an ongoing homosexual orientation (refer Peter Coleman, Christian Attitudes to Homosexuality, SPCK, 1980).

Trends, examples, and imitation play their part in the process of personality formation, and it cannot be forgotten that the evil one can slyly suggest and influence choices unguarded and undetermined by the wisdom of God's word. Minds evacuated of the knowledge of God can so easily drift in any proposed direction dictated by the evil suggestion of man or the great enemy of souls.

The notion of same sex preference may be inserted into the mind at such an early stage by various forms of insinuation and cultivation that it is soon considered to be inborn, inevitable, and incurable. Grace and wholeness cannot be denied to any who fight against their prevalent inclination and desire to abandon it.

Sexual purity is an intense struggle. Whether in mind or practice no one has succeeded at entire and perfect chastity, so strong is the natural drive to erotic fulfillment. Abstinence or marital obedience to the proper expression of the sexual self can only be intended and attained through the assistance of God. The gravity and guilt of any sexual offense may be met by the forgiveness of God upon sincere contrition. A merciful disposition towards others cannot condone the fault which is in all of us in some way or other on this count. The recalcitrant offender must be warned and their company avoided until repentance and amendment of life are granted by God.

The imminence of judgement is always present and we always are standing on the brink. Its actual occurrence is ultimately certain but we cannot be certain of the moment of its occurrence. With the absence of direct revelation on this matter we can only be speculative as to the nearness of the day of wrath, but also ensure that we are at the ready in Christ. We can discern divine displeasure in general terms in general events, or even sense divine desertion of particular communities as they lapse into moral decline, unsound laws, and social disarray. It is clear that the perils of ungodliness are mounting. And should our convictions run in that direction we must not be disturbed by ridicule or deterred by persecution. We may be living in a time of dreadful divine withdrawal.

The Rev. Roger Salter is an ordained Church of England minister where he had parishes in the dioceses of Bristol and Portsmouth before coming to Birmingham, Alabama to serve as Rector of St. Matthew's Anglican Church.

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