The God, Life, Choice, Sex Paradigm Tested in Several Debates
John C. Rankin
[adapted from First the Gospel, Then Politics …, 1999, Vol. 2, not published]
In The Six Pillars of Biblical Power and in Genesis and the Power of True Assumptions (see johnrankinbooks.com), I define the four defining subjects of Genesis 1-2, the order of creation – God, life, choice and sex. Namely, the text begins with God as Creator, who gives us the gift of life, out of which the power of choice follows, and the most important choice in life is whom we marry. The reversal of that order is sex, choice, life, /God, where male sexual promiscuity is the idol which drives wrong choices that injure or destroy human life in many directions, and all in an affront against the Creator.
I first grasped this paradigm in the context of addressing the debate over human abortion. Namely, the self proclaimed language is “pro-choice” versus “pro-life.” And as it turns out, those who believe in the God of the Bible are pro-life, and those who make an idol of sexuality are pro-abortion. A false conflict due to the abortion ethos. And as I was then involved in full-time pro-life ministry, I tested it often, and found it comprehensive in diagnosing the roots of the abortion decision – sexual promiscuity as an idol.
There are several anecdotes from that time period which illustrate this reality.
In 1989, in a debate I had with a Universalist minister at Taylor University in Upland, Indiana, a student asked him, “Do you think sex outside of marriage is a good thing?” The minister, who had supported legalized abortion for some thirty years (concerned with “back alley abortions”), was caught off guard. He took a deep breath, was about to answer, took another deep breath, did not answer again, shifted weight between his feet, and finally answered something like, “Well, generally speaking, no!”
From that point, his attitude perceptibly changed. By the time it came for his concluding remarks, he essentially conceded the debate by refusing to give a final rebuttal, indicating respect for the argument I had made and the attitude in which it was couched. He then concluded, saying to me “Thank you and God bless you!” Once he was challenged to speak out against sexual promiscuity, he rejected the reversal motif of sex, choice, life, /God, at least implicitly.
In another instance, I had just completed a radio debate on WEEI in Boston (then a news station) with abortion center owner Bill Baird. As we stepped into the elevator together, I took the opportunity to ask him a further question, relative to sex and marriage. He gave response, standing alongside his female associate, a woman who claimed to be publisher of the world’s largest “feminist pornography magazine.” He stated: “I have the right to have sex anytime, anyplace and with anybody I choose.” The idolatry of sex as clear as it can be, congruent with the pansexuality of Sodom and Gomorrah.
I debated Bill Baird on a prior and subsequent occasion, and as well, I once ran into him at a pro-abortion rally at the State Capitol in Boston. His fellow abortion-rights supporters shunned him at that event – there was a bad blood history of competing egos. So I became the only one there, after the media left, who was willing to talk with him. And we did so as we both left, I back to my office a block away, and Bill to his car. As we parted, I spoke some sort of blessing to him, that the goodness of the Lord would touch him. He did not resist it. Those who reverse the God, life, choice, sex paradigm, like Bill Baird, underneath it all, are lost people in need of the Savior’s love.
In a final anecdote here, years later, after my first Mars Hill Forum with secular humanist Paul Kurtz, I wrote him a letter. In it I made observation that his reason for rejecting the God of the Bible was because he reverses the God, life, choice, sex paradigm. And he is a passionate advocate of “sexual liberty” and abortion-rights as well. His response? “I appreciate the many fine points you raise in your letter.” No challenge to my diagnosis.