June 28, 2019
Two women who didn’t know one another began to converse as a way of passing the time. The conversation began to narrow down to the one woman’s son and the other woman’s daughter. Both children faced the same problem. Each had a sex partner although they were not married. Pregnancy had come to both couples, and difficult questions came to the two couples with the pregnancy. Did the couple have what it takes for a long-term commitment? Did they have what it takes to raise a child?
Neither couple was certain that they had what it takes for a long- term commitment and child rearing. The woman with the son wondered whether she would have a grandchild that she rarely if ever would see. The woman with the daughter confided that her daughter and the father of her child were seeing a counselor, but they admitted that it was difficult.
Society has advocated moral relativism — no moral absolutes, and certainly no moral rules about sexuality. It has promoted certain lies. Sex has no consequences. You should start to have sex when you are emotionally ready for it, but only you know when that is. And our sexuality is not something we can control.
God’s plan is different. It recognizes that sex does have consequences. The proper place for sex is in marriage (Hebrews 13:4), so Christians are taught that they can control lust and sexual behavior (Matthew 5:27-30, 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8).
Waiting for sex means that you can develop job skills to support yourself and a family. Developing job skills might include college, apprenticeships, and trade schools. You find someone to marry. With marriage we ask the hard questions first of whether this is someone I could have a long-term relationship with or can I imagine raising a child with this person. These are deeper questions that whether I find them sexually attractive or fun on a date.
Marriage has the birth of children within view. The announcement of a pregnancy is usually a source of joy and not a crisis as to whether this relationship will continue.
God’s way has an order to it: job skills, marriage, sexuality, and if blessed with them, children. You are less likely to end up in poverty if you do it in this order. Your life is likely to have greater stability. But most important of all, it honors God when you do it in the right order.
December 15, 2017
If you are not familiar with The Babylon Bee, it is a parody news site. Parody exaggerates for comic effect, but comedy to work and to especially make biting social commentary must contain an element of truth wrapped in its exaggeration. The current celebrity sex scandals have been a ripe field for the Babylon Bee.
One of the first such headlines to catch my attention read: “Another Actress Accuses Kirk Cameron of Treating Her with Respect.” The “article” goes on to quote this fictional actress as saying, “I never felt threatened, and I always felt safe and respected.” Another line states that women were treated “like fellow humans with inherent value, and not as sexual objects to be exploited.” Those are great lines.
Christian ethics do teach us to treat people with respect and not exploit them using them as objects. The Bible views sexuality as created by God and beautiful, but it is to be reserved for the relationship of marriage, marriage of a man and woman. We are taught not to lust (Matthew 5:27-28). So, when Christian ethics are lived it will lead to chaste behavior.
I will admit that there have been sexual scandals among Christians including ministers and church leaders. But whenever such things happen, they are the result of sin and weakness. They are examples of not living the faith, and they are aberrations — not what happens most of the time. Christian ethics lead to chaste and respectful behavior.
Another parody headline reads: “Sexual Revolution Working Out Great, Reports Nation Full of Perverts.” This is the headline for an article dealing with all the sex scandals. It raises the question of whether we should be surprised by sex scandals after a sexual revolution that encouraged sexual license. The secular moral relativist has a problem. The sexual predator is working with an ethic of might makes right: power and prestige allow a person to take advantage of a young woman or man and get away with it. We are understandably going through a period where there is a backlash to that, which I applaud as a Christian. But we can ask the moral relativist: why is might makes right wrong? If there is no ultimate standard, objections become more like I prefer chocolate over vanilla.
The sex scandals are troubling in many ways. The “casting couch” has been a cliché all of my life. People knew such things went on but didn’t expose them. Exposure is good, but we as a nation are in need of repentance that really turns to God. Further, the very people in entertainment and government engaged in this type of activity have often pushed the sexual revolution as a social agenda. The wreckage of the sexual revolution is all around us if we have eyes to see. Finally, there is another inconsistency. As men in entertainment are being outed, the entertainment being produced is still often sexually explicit. There is much that we as Christians should not watch. Does not this material make us into a nation of voyeurs? Are not voyeurs just another kind of sexual predator? Why condemn one kind of predator and not challenge the other? The final question is: where does this all end? The Bible’s answer has always been repentance or judgment.
September 21, 2017
A recent survey involving 2000 respondents in the U.S. and Europe studied their experiences and feelings about the number of sexual partners. A part of me hates polls. Their validity depends a great deal on getting the proper sample and not having people refuse to take the poll. Further, I’m concerned that polls are used to shape opinion as much as discover it. But with those caveats in mind, what did the researchers find.
- At what number of sexual partners do you think a person becomes too promiscuous? Females: 15.2, Males: 14
- What do you think is the ideal number of sexual partners for a person to have in their lifetime? Females 7.5, Males 7.6
- At what number of sexual partners do you think a person is too sexually conservative? Females 1.9, Males 2.3
- With how many partners have you engaged in sexual intercourse over your lifetime? Females: 7, Males 6.4
Of course, you may be wondering whether respondents are telling the truth. That question was also a part of the poll. Males said they had not lied about the number of partners 58.6% of the time, and females 67.4%. If we assume that the respondents are reasonably telling the truth, we see that people are basically saying their own behavior is close to ideal.
G.K. Beale makes a great observation about our society, “Worldliness is whatever any culture does to make sin seem normal and righteousness to be strange.”* The above survey is telling us that it is normal to have multiple sexual partners and strange to limit sex to the marriage relationship between one man and one woman. But for the Christian it should never be about what the world views as normal but what God views as moral.
Paul wrote to a basically Gentile audience in 1 Thessalonians. These new Christians came out of a culture not unlike our own. What does Paul tell them?
For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you. 1 Thessalonians 4:3–8, ESV
God defines what is sexual immorality. He defines it in scripture as sex outside the marriage relationship of one man and one woman. Paul encourages them to abstain from the world’s passions and live lives of holiness. He warns them that God is an avenger against immoral behavior. He reminds them that to ignore this teaching is not to ignore human teachers but God himself. So, what will it be: survey says or God says?
*G. K. Beale. We Become What We Worship, p. 300.