Freedom from Freedom: Sexual Freedom

Ah, you knew it was coming, didn’t you?

Because how could we continue to talk about the “freedom” or “restrictions” of the Christian life without talking about sex? The main concept of this blog series is that we often find freedom when we go the exact opposite direction from it, and we often lose our freedom when we exercise too much freedom. Does this concept hold true on the topic of sex? Let’s discuss that, shall we?

Sex has become one of the main battlegrounds of the Christian worldview. But not because it is such a spiritually important topic (more to come on that!), but because our culture has…well…such a very different idea about sex and sexual ethics. Also, I am of the opinion that it is one of the first topics where a church-raised Christian has to decide whether they are going to side with the Bible or the culture around them, and if they choose to side with the Bible, then they either end up in a lot of debates where they defend WHY they believe that, or else they just become very, very quiet.

So before we talk about sex, we MUST establish the proper importance of the topic.

Concerning spiritual matters, sex is NO MORE IMPORTANT THAN ANY OTHER TOPIC. Sex cannot get you to hell faster than lying, or judgmental attitudes. Christians…don’t ever let anyone, anyone fool you into thinking that losing your virginity means you are worth less. Virgins are not worth more than non-virgins in God’s eyes. Anybody who says otherwise has a very distorted view of how God sees us…or they believe in some god other than the God of the Bible.

The Christian who continues to have premarital sex (which is outside of God’s design for it) is in the same boat as the Christian who abstains, but continues to speak ill of others. Or the Christian who abstains, but has developed the habit of being lazy instead of being a hard worker.

Concerning one’s spiritual status before God, sex is actually not very important of a topic.

However, concerning wise living and having a happy life here on this earth, the topic of sex is INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT.

When we become adults, we find that more and more often, we are faced with decisions that affect the direction of our whole lives, and even the lives of others. I have, in the past twelve years…

  • Chosen to go to different conferences, camps, and mission trips (when I was 16, 17, 18, 19). Without these, I would not have been motivated to read my Bible, and I would not be knowledgeable enough to teach on Biblical topics…something that I enjoy doing. That decision sent my life a certain direction.
  • I chose to go to community college for two years. Okay, 2 ½. That sent my life a certain direction.
  • I chose to continue the instruction of taekwondo, rather than pursuing other careers.
  • I chose to go to Corban, and stay in Salem. (My wife chose to go to an out-of-her-state college, which brought her down here to Corban.) That affected where our lives would go.
  • We chose to get married.
  • We chose to start a family.

So as I entered adulthood and began adulthood, I found that a lot of my decisions strongly affected my future. However, let’s be honest: Decisions I made when I was 10 years old haven’t played as big of a role as the decisions I made when I was 17. Sure, they’ve played some role. But mainly, it was my parents that were directing my life when I was 10.

So when we hit 13 years old, suddenly our bodies get these strange urges that we didn’t really have when we were 10. And over those next several years, we have to decide (daily): What is my decision on this topic going to be?

That decision has the potential to derail my entire life, if I choose wrong. Career goals can be thrown off by an unplanned child. A relationship that could’ve been great can be destroyed by a breach of trust. Or maybe sex happened too early, and so a relationship that should’ve ended then continues in order to “make it not a mistake.” That happens. A lot, unfortunately.

What’s that saying that a bunch of kids are saying right now? “YOLO”? You only live once? If we only have one life here on Earth…which we do, then we should be all the more careful about the topic of sex.

SEX: THE FIRST BATTLEGROUND

Some (Christians and non-Christians both!) will choose to keep their virginity. Some will choose not just to keep their virginity, but to keep from even playing around. Some will choose not to even kiss. Everybody chooses their lines, and some “adjust” those lines as they continue throughout those years.

However, whatever their choice, people tend to get pretty defensive about their choice…defensive enough to attack the other side. The Christian virgins prepare to explain what God says about sex. Those that didn’t decide to keep their virginity prepare their arguments for why they didn’t (“Try before you buy!” “Well, you have to do it before your wedding night! What if they aren’t good in bed?” Hey…if someone ended a relationship because and solely because the other person was bad in bed…then maybe that’s not the person they should be marrying anyway, wouldn’t you agree?).

This is why sex becomes the first battleground that Christians find themselves on. It’s not because it is a more important topic for spiritual health…but rather because it is often the first important topic that they have to defend. And some Christians, when faced with sexual temptation, will walk away from Jesus Christ because they can’t handle the feeling of conviction. (Jesus Christ does not leave you because you slept with someone. Ever. Period. Rather, many leave Jesus Christ because they don’t like “believing” that it’s wrong but doing it, so they give up the believing part so that they can do it without guilt.)

SO RETURNING TO THE CONCEPT OF FREEDOM FROM FREEDOM…

And then, there are many non-Christians who stay away from Christianity simply because of Christianity’s teachings on sex. They value their “sexual freedom”, and view what Christianity teaches as sexual restriction.

However, is that really accurate? No. No, it’s not.

I have walked both paths. I wish I couldn’t say that. But yeah, I have. However, I am happy to say that sexual sins are in my past and not in my present.

Does that mean that I entered from “sexual freedom” into sexual restriction? Total bull. I am more free now than ever. Monogamy within marriage truly is the most free that you can possibly be on this topic.

Forget Hollywood. Forget the words. The hype. The sassy Facebook conversations. Here’s my question…are those advocating “sexual freedom” really free?

Let’s analyze this one.

Monogamous marriage: Only with one person, until one of you die.

“Sexual freedom”: Whoever you want, as long as they agree to it

Okay, sure. I get that. And many people, if not most, are tempted in some way, shape or form in this area. Different would be exciting, wouldn’t it? A change of scenery?

However, “excitement” fades. If you did it with a different person…well…what’s next? Another different person?

Monogamous marriage: You have a sex partner. Consistently. Until one of you dies.

“Sexual freedom”: When you get horny, go clubbing or facebooking. Then, keep hoping that your hunt will be successful.

This is a Biblical fact: Wives are mandated by Scripture to meet their husbands sexual needs. Husbands are mandated by Scripture to meet their wives sexual needs. God didn’t want you to suffer through horniness your whole lives. Read 1st Corinthians chapter 7. It’s all right there.

Monogamous marriage: Security and “insurance.” (Supposed to be, anyway)

“Sexual freedom”: Partner could exit at any time. And then, if sexual desires are to be met, new partner must be established…partner that doesn’t have the same trust yet.

Now, I know that this isn’t how it actually is…but I want to point out how it’s supposed to be. Today, we are seeing a lot of divorces…covenants that SHOULD be secure and should protect that vulnerability, but don’t. We are also seeing a lot of non-married couples who, for all practical purposes, are married. They have kids and joint bank accounts and everything.

As a Bible-believing Christian, of course I believe that they should get married. However, as I understand the act of sex…for all practical purposes they are unified, so if I were in a conversation with these couples, then I would simply say…stay together. Commit. Stay.

See…my problem with people that advocate sexual freedom is this…when all is said and done, are you really more “free” than those married couples? And for those teenagers who said “don’t tell me what to do…I’ll do what I want!” When we look at those same teenagers ten years later, do they really look free?

I have nothing against single moms…I think that they are hardworking warrior-women who make huge sacrifices for their kids’ sake. However, some of them were “sexual freedom” advocates way back when…but don’t feel free anymore. And I don’t hear of that many single mom’s enjoying a vibrant, exciting sex life.

Freedom from being scared of “what would people think if I were pregnant?” Trying to get my wife pregnant was a lot of fun. A lot of fun.

It would seem to me that sexual freedom does not result in sexual freedom. It results in bondage. It often results in regret. And therefore, I believe what God teaches about sex. And I believe that what God teaches about sex is the easiest and most free way to handle this topic.

Freedom, the freedom to have sex whenever you want, the freedom to not have to go looking for a partner, the freedom to be part of a two-person-team in the difficult task of raising children (Sarah has offered to let me sleep in tomorrow when Abrielle wakes up if I will let her sleep in on Monday) and not a highly-taxed one-person team, is found in God’s plan for sex and marriage.

Freedom is found when we run in the exact opposite direction of freedom.

Next up: Financial freedom.

The Art of Apologetics: Homosexuality (Part 3) – Theological, NOT sociological reasons

On our little trip through this topic, we took a big detour. That detour had five stops…

  1. If God, the perfect being, is real, then He is smarter and more “moral” than we are, and therefore, what we think of His rules is irrelevant. Will a two-year-old tell his parents how to parent?
  2. We tend to view everything from the perspective of a man-centered concept of morality (mankind decides whether they approve or disapprove of certain morals and values, and mankind approves or disapproves based on how much mankind benefits). However, God views everything from God-centered morality (God decides whether He approves or disapproves of certain morals or values, and He approves based on how much He benefits.) However remember: When God benefits, everybody benefits…unless somebody has decided to be His enemy.
  3. The overall, end-all-be-all purpose of all created things is to glorify their Creator. They glorify their Creator when they do what their Creator intended them to do.
  4. Whatever somebody believes the purpose of sex to be, that belief will lead them to their views on sexual morality and immorality.
  5. The God-given purpose of sex is unity between a man and a woman.

 

So finally, after this detour, we are now back on our main road. And our main road is intending to do this. Let me copy and paste my goals from the first homosexuality post:

 

Goals for this series:

  1. Explain to Christians why God says this, and where in the Bible God says it.
  2. Demonstrate a respectful attitude towards the opposing viewpoint, without compromising my position or watering it down.
  3. Demonstrate how to find the merits of the opposing viewpoint. Demonstrate an attempt to understand where they are coming from. Demonstrate how to totally disagree with a viewpoint without diminishing it. Demonstrate how to take that viewpoint seriously.
    • I have a request to opponents of my view…this is where I need your feedback. If you feel I am succeeding in my goal, let me know. If you feel I am disrespectful, let me know. I NEED your feedback here!
  4. Along with number three, my goal is to show an example of finding the presupposed values that result in the differing viewpoints.

Why does God say that homosexuality is wrong?

Let me repeat my earlier statement…

IF God exists, and IF the Bible is 100% the Word of God, and IF we are interpreting it correctly, THEN homosexuality is morally wrong.

I don’t think you can really get around that statement. But if you will accept that statement, and if you believe the first three parts of that sentence (God exists, Bible is His word, we are interpreting it correctly), then the next question is, why? God prohibits homosexuality in both the Old Testament and the New Testament. Why?

 

Inadequate reasons – the “sociological” ones

I have heard Christians defend this belief in so many different ways, and it’s usually using sociological reasons. For example, “homosexuality is wrong because it’s bad for the children involved. Since children need both a male parent and a female parent, same-sex marriages are bad for children. That’s why it’s wrong.”

The problem with this reasoning is twofold:

  1. Consistency: If “bad for children” is a reason that it’s wrong, anything that is bad for children should be equally wrong.
  2. The rule of “if” (to be covered in a later blog): If “bad for children” is the reason that homosexuality is wrong, the question should be asked: If it weren’t bad for children, would it be alright? If not…there must be another reason.

 

Insert all sorts of other reasons here. “The homosexual life is naturally promiscuous.” Same goes for heterosexuals. “Homosexual relationships often don’t last.” Same goes for heterosexuals.

 

And by the way, I believe that sometimes somebody (both Christians and non-Christians) will totally ignore the world around them in order to be right…but it makes them look foolish or naïve. If somebody came up to me and said “homosexuals make lousy parents,” I would immediately discount their credibility. I have gotten to know and work with same-sex couples who make great parents (three different same-sex couples come to the top of my head). Their kids love them and respond well to them.

Because when somebody says this to me, the world around me tells me otherwise. Therefore, if I am told that this is the reason that homosexuality is wrong, not only am I unconvinced, but the person talking to me looks like a fool. They look prejudiced.

 

So why do I believe that homosexuality is wrong? For one reason, and one reason only.

You remember how we talked about how one’s beliefs are resultant of other beliefs? Here’s how this one works.

IF God created sex, and IF God’s intended purpose for sex was unity between a man and a woman, and IF sex accomplishing that purpose glorifies God, then homosexuality is wrong because it is a rejection of the way God created sex, therefore it does not glorify Him as it should. There is no other reason that it is wrong. None. It is wrong for theological (God-related) reasons, not sociological reasons.

 

We’re going to get a little graphic for a moment…but it’s for a good reason, I promise.

See, as we talked about, something glorifies the Creator when it does what it was supposed to do. So let’s talk about vaginas.

The vagina is an accommodating organ. It starts out with a hymen, which is broken usually upon first intercourse. Starting out small, it actually conforms itself to whatever penis size the husband has. In fact, if someone saves their virginity until marriage, then a man’s penis size (whether big or small) has no impact on the woman’s sexual pleasure. If a man has a small penis, the vagina will conform itself.

However, if a woman is promiscuous, she will feel a difference between bigger penises and smaller penises. This is not how it was intended to be.

Let us also note that when a woman is sexually aroused (as I covered in the sex blogs, “sexually attracted” doesn’t mean the same thing as “sexually aroused”. See here for more detail), the vagina actually self-lubricates to prepare for intercourse.

As for penises, they are made out of a spongy material (hence the term “boner” is actually kinda misleading) that becomes solid when blood runs through it. The penis has perhaps the most complex network of mini veins and arteries in the human body for that very reason. So, I know this isn’t rocket science, but I’m doing to surprise you with new information. Did you know that when a man gets sexually aroused, his penis becomes hard and long? Amazing, right? I’m sure you’ve never heard that before.

The point of all this graphic-ness is that the male reproductive system and the female reproductive system go together perfectly, like a lock and key. The vagina readies itself for the penis. The penis readies itself for the vagina. And this is glorifying to God because it is so readily obvious that He made them for each other. Something so amazing is obviously His handiwork, and He is proud of what He has crafted, and He should well be.

And I only freaking scratched the surface. I didn’t even talk about what was going on inside the human body…I only talked about the outside genital activity. We didn’t even talk about tubes, or hormones, or gametes, or anything like that. We didn’t even talk about how the uterus is a muscle that pushes the baby out, and then shrinks back to its regular size. Crazy.

 

I do not mean to be crude, but the vagina was not made for the vagina. And the penis was not made for anywhere else. The penis and the vagina were made by God with a purpose in mind, and when this purpose is accomplished, God is glorified.

 

So I repeat…Homosexuality is wrong for one reason, and one reason only. It is a rejection of the way God made sex for the way so that someone could remake sex how they like it. In fact, in the “homosexuality passage” in Romans, notice what comes right before Paul talks about homosexuality…

 

Rom 1:20-27 (NIV)

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities — his eternal power and divine nature — have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.

24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator — who is forever praised. Amen.

26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.

 

The problem is not homosexuality. The problem is a failure to glorify the One who deserves to be glorified.

 

And in my belief set, this totally fits the rules that I stated above…

  1. Consistency – I believe that homosexuality is wrong because it fails to glorify God. Therefore, I hold it as equally wrong with anything that fails to glorify God (which includes things that I do or don’t do).
  2. The “if” rule – If homosexuality did glorify God, then I would have see nothing wrong with it.

 

Homosexuality is not wrong because of sociological reasons…it is wrong because of theological reasons. God gave me my genitals…therefore He has the right to decide what their purpose is. The purpose of my genitals is to glorify God, so let me use my genitals the way He wants me to use them.

 

 

 

 

That is officially the best ending sentence of a blog post that I have ever written. In my life.

The Art of Apologetics: The purpose of sex (part 2 – for what purpose did God design sex?)

 

The answer is found in this Scripture:

Genesis 2:19-25 (NIV, emphasis mine)

Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. 20 So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds of the air and all the beasts of the field.

But for Adam no suitable helper was found. 21 So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and closed up the place with flesh. 22 Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.

23 The man said,

“This is now bone of my bones

and flesh of my flesh;

she shall be called ‘woman,’

for she was taken out of man.”

24 For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become ONE FLESH.

25 The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame

The God-given purpose of sex can be summarized in one word: UNITY. Two become one.

If you believe that the purpose of sex is reproduction, or intimacy, or pleasure, or love, it’s not that I disagree with you. I just believe that your answer is incomplete. If you said reproduction AND intimacy AND all those things, I agree. But all of these things are pieces of the puzzle. They come together to make one thing.

Unity. Two becoming one.

This unity, this “two becoming one” happens in several ways.

 

Emotionally/Intimately (this involves vulnerability, too)

I am going to talk about Sarah for a second. I am not going to give you any details, except to tell you this. I know Sarah in a way that no one else will ever know her. She and her mom are really close. However, Sarah’s mom doesn’t know her the way I know her. Her friends don’t know her the way I know her. Our children will never know her the way I know her. And I have no intention of explaining it to anyone, because I can’t.

Everyone, everywhere: Your very existence is proof that your parents had sex. And not just tame sex. The same sex you have with your husband/wife (or want to have someday), that’s the same sex your parents had. And do you like thinking about that? Heck no! You don’t want to. And…really, you have difficulty imagining that. Your mother would never do that. And if she did…well, she probably didn’t even get that into it. Right? Wrong.

Quick note to husbands…this vulnerable side needs to be protected. Do not tell your friends how good your wife is in bed. It’s not for them to know. She is (usually, and more often than you think) very self-conscious about this, and doesn’t want anybody but you to know.

Physically

Do two people literally become one, physically? In one sense, no. You are not physically stuck together after sex. However, reproduction is how two people physically become one. As many of you know, Sarah and I just had our first child, a daughter. My hereditary analysis concludes this: Abrielle has my dad’s eyes and, at the current time, my hair color. I also think…I’m not sure, but I think, that she has my same facial bone structure (cheeks and all). However, Abrielle received the gift of the “Doughty nose.” My wife (as well as her sisters) has a really cute nose that she bestowed upon our daughter. (Now, I could be wrong about the heredity. It could change or look a little different as she grows older.) In other words, Abrielle is a living, breathing, walking (wait, no, not walking yet, more like crying and pooping) testament to the union of Sarah and myself. Sarah and I became one…Abrielle. See? Look!

Thus, reproduction is another way that two become one flesh. Reproduction is part of the unity.

In fact, this should serve as a warning. I have heard and seen this story before…girl sleeps with boyfriend. Boyfriend turns out to be a jerk…relationship ends horribly, but not before girl gets pregnant. Baby looks exactly like dad. Mom loves baby…but baby’s resemblance stings.

Spiritually

As Jesus said, “What God has joined together, let man not separate.” Two become one spiritually as well.

So…what does all this have to do with Christians believing that homosexuality is wrong? Well get there next post.