Dr. Richard Land

Ashley Madison, Supernatural Sex and America’s Sexual Split Personality

September 4, 2015

Southern Evangelical Seminary President and Christian Post Executive Editor Dr. Richard Land Writes That Americans are Ambivalent: Casual About Sex But Not About Betraying Trust 

CHARLOTTE, N.C.—The scandal surrounding the hack of the Ashley Madison website, which is dedicated to connecting those who desire extramarital affairs, has captured the attention of the nation. Dr. Richard Land, president of Southern Evangelical Seminary (SES, www.ses.edurecently wrote about the matter in The Christian Post, where he serves as an executive editor, stating that Americans are torn in their feelings about sex—and, ultimately, only the Bible leads to reconciliation, forgiveness and restoration.

“When people wonder why Christians seem to harp on the dangers of sexual immorality, the answer is because it is so destructive with concentric circles of devastation and heartbreak,” Land said. “Sex is a lot like enriched uranium. It is wonderful, marvelous and productive when contained inside the nuclear reactor it is designed to power, but outside that proper environment, it is poisonous and deadly.”

Added Land in his column, “Why has the hacking of personal information from this website been so toxic and devastating? The Ashley Madison hack reveals just how schizophrenic American society is about sex. The sexual revolution has engulfed traditional morality in a tidal wave of moral relativism and hedonism. A majority of Americans now think that sexual chastity until marriage is outdated, if not harmful to ‘natural impulses.’ In fact, a majority of Americans have embraced a form of polymorphous perversity that is uncomfortable with any categories like normal and abnormal, much less moral or immoral.”

Conversely, he added, more than 90 percent of Americans still believe it is wrong and morally unacceptable to cheat on, or be unfaithful to, one’s spouse, or alternatively, one’s partner in a committed relationship.

“So, it seems that Americans are casual about casual sex, but not about betraying trust in a committed relationship.” Land continued. “That sounds like a split personality to me. In a truly pagan culture, being outed on Ashley Madison would be irrelevant.”

Why, then, has there been such alarm from those who were exposed? First, Land says, they were attracted to the website, in part, because of the same false promise of anonymity that Internet porn sites advertise. Second, the shame of having spouses know they have been betrayed must be devastating, and the pain of scandalizing children who have looked up to you and whose confidence in you has been shattered must seem unbearable.

“How should Christians respond?” Land asks. “As Christians we need to understand that the sexual revolution has changed how many of our fellow citizens view sex. They have a profoundly different understanding than Christians should have. A majority of Americans now see sex as a consumer choice, an act of the will, an expression of self, a casual activity based on personal preference, designed merely for recreation and pleasure. Such people see sex as ‘natural’ and merely as a biological fact of life, a casual activity signifying nothing more than pleasure and sexual gratification.

“On the other hand,” he continued, “Christianity understands sex as ‘supernatural,’ a gift from God and thus a sacred and transcendent activity. God revealed in Genesis that it wasn’t good for man to be alone so He created a helpmate or ‘completer,’ and the two became one flesh and ‘cleaved’ together in such a way that they could never be completely separated again (Gen. 2:18-25).”

But although Christians should understand that sex is holy and sacred, it is clear from recent headlines that the faithful can be enticed by, and some give in to, temptations such as AshleyMadison.com.

“So far, several prominent Christians have been exposed, revealing them to be hypocrites who preach one thing in public and practice the opposite in private, making a mockery of both their marriage vows and their faith,” Land said. “Many stand as vivid examples of the destructive nature of sexuality practiced in rebellion against God’s plan and design and how ever present the sin nature is, waiting to pounce in a weak moment.”

God wrote the rulebook on His creation and human beings, he continued, adding, “In the end we do not break God’s laws, they break us.” The landscape of American society is littered with the casualties of the so-called liberation of the sexual revolution which promised “free love,” and which proved to be neither “free,” nor “love.”

“To those Christians and others who have been exposed by the Ashley Madison scandal, we should first understand that ‘there, but for the grace of God, go we.’ If King David could fall into sexual sin, so could any one of us. One of the things that emerges vividly from David’s confession of his sin to God in Psalm 51 is his humility. He clearly understands in his repentance that only with God’s help can he defeat the temptations of the fallen nature.

“As Christians we should all pray for all those outed by the Ashley Madison hack,” Land continued. “After all, the Bible lays out the prescription and roadmap for reconciliation, forgiveness and restoration. The Bible tells us that if we confess our sins He is faithful to forgive us and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (I John 1:9), and that when we accept Christ as our Savior he blots out our transgressions and wipes the slate clean (Col. 2:14). The glorious truth of the Gospel is that there IS such a place as ‘the land of beginning again’ and again, and again, and again. It is found at the foot of the Cross and is guaranteed by the empty tomb of our resurrected Savior.”

Land talked about the Ashley Madison scandal during several installments of his nationally syndicated daily radio commentary, “Bringing Every Thought Captive.” The radio feature airs on more than 300 stations, including the American Family Radio Network, Bott Radio Network and HeavenRadio.org.

SES is preparing for its 22nd annual National Conference on Christian Apologetics, hosted by Calvary Church in Charlotte, N.C. on Oct. 16-17. The theme of the 2015 conference is “Ideas Have Consequences: The Bigger the Idea, the Bigger the Consequence.” In addition to Land, confirmed speakers include Josh McDowell, Michael Brown, Ryan Anderson, Frank Turek, Jay Richards, Hugh Ross, Norman Geisler, Paige Patterson, Derwin Gray, Gary Habermas and Richard Howe, along with many others. To register, visit conference.ses.edu/registration.

For the October conference, several speakers and sponsors have donated apologetics resources for giveaways, including a limited supply of the “B&H Apologetics Study Bible.” While supplies last, those who register can enter the promotional code “THANKSB&H” to reserve a copy of the Bible.

Southern Evangelical Seminary is a leader in apologetics education—teaching students to defend their faith and talk intelligently, passionately and rationally about what they believe and why they believe it. Many courses focus on societal issues from a Christian worldview, delve into scientific apologetics or contemplate creation research.

Land’s “Bringing Every Thought Captive” commentary is also podcast daily on the free SES mobile app and airs locally in the Charlotte, N.C., area every weekday. The “Bringing Every Thought Captive” television program, hosted by Land, debuted in January on the NRB Network, and airs on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. and midnight EST. “Bringing Every Thought Captive” also reaches nearly 2 million households in the Chicago area on the Total Living Network. For more information about stations, times, downloads and more, click here.

Land has taught as a visiting or adjunct professor for several seminaries and has authored or edited more than 15 books. He earned his Doctor of Philosophy degree from Oxford University in England and his bachelor’s degree (magna cum laude) from Princeton University. Land also earned a Master of Theology (Honors Program) degree from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, where he received the Broadman Seminarian Award as the Outstanding Graduating Student. Dr. Land was the 2013 Watchman Award recipient from the Family Research Council for his leadership on moral and cultural issues. He also received the Phillip E. Johnson Award for Liberty and Truth from Biola University in 2010. Land served previously (1988-2013) as president of The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, the Southern Baptist Convention’s official entity assigned to address social, moral and ethical concerns, with particular attention to their impact on American families. In 2014, he was appointed as a Senior Research Fellow of the ERLC’s Research Institute, and in 2015, he was named in the top 15 of Newsmax’s “Top 100 Christian Leaders in America.”

Southern Evangelical Seminary invites visitors to its web site to join the more than 20,000 people who have already downloaded the SES Apologetics App for Windows mobile devices and Android and Apple phones and tablets. Those with the app can get the very best news and information in Christian apologetics, including articles, audio, video, blogs and more from today’s most able defenders of the Christian faith—William Lane Craig, Lee Strobel, Josh McDowell, William Dembski, Frank Turek, Hugh Ross, Gary Habermas and other well-known speakers, authors and teachers.

Southern Evangelical Seminary has been ranked as one of the top graduate programs for General Christian Apologetics by TheBestSchools.org’s “Top 10 Graduate Programs in Christian Apologetics.”

For more information on SES, visit its web site at www.ses.edu or its Facebook page, follow the SESTwitter feed, @sesapologetics, or call (800) 77-TRUTH. For more information about SES’ “Ethics in Emerging Technology” program, visit www.ethics.ses.edu.

###

For information on SES or to set up an interview, contact Deborah Hamilton at 215-815-7716 or610-584-1096, ext. 102, or Beth Harrison, 610-584-1096, ext. 104,Media@HamiltonStrategies.com.

Southern Evangelical Seminary is a leader in apologetics education—teaching students to defend their faith and talk intelligently, passionately and rationally about what they believe and why they believe it. The accredited Christian college and seminary offers a wide variety of bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees. Programs can be completed through residence in the Charlotte area or online. The award-winning education at SES is distinctively Christian and focused on evangelism and world-engaging defense of the Christian faith—Christian Apologetics.