Home > Online Magazine > Online Magazine: Edition 43 - October/November 2011 > Christians and Sex (by John Morris)
Christians and Sex
by John Morris
Christians and Sex --- A "Christian" High Fidelity Sexpot - possibility, or oxymoron?
"We're a broadminded lot, most of us" and "A nation of high-fidelity sexpots" reported the Sydney Morning Herald (April 9, 2003) on the publication of the results of a study into Australians' sexual behaviour. Talk-back radio that day gave plenty of time to a subject that obviously tickled the ears of the listeners.
19,307 Australians were interviewed by telephone in 2001 and 2002 to produce "The Australian Study of Health and Relationships". The study was coordinated by academics in health, sex and HIV research from the University of NSW, the University of Sydney and La Trobe University. A second study was undertaken in 2005 and 2006 with 8205 participants producing similar results.
Both reports produced some disturbing information (2003 statistics quoted):
1. Pre-marital sex - 83.7% of women and 86.2% of men agreed ("overwhelming majorities" noted the Herald) that sex before marriage was acceptable.
2. Non-heterosexual sex - Only 25.1% of women and 21.4% of men agreed that sex between 2 adult women is always wrong. 26.6% of women and 36.9% of men agreed that sex between 2 adult men is always wrong.
3. Prostitution - One in six Australian men (15%) have paid for sex at some time, similar to the international average. Almost 2% of men did so in the last year.
A more recent survey (June 2009) by Galaxy for lobby group Australian Marriage Equality indicated 60% approval for same sex marriages. (1)
And in more recent news (22.12.2010), President Barack Obama has signed a landmark law ordering America's armed services to let openly homosexuals serve for the first time… The signing ceremony was a breakthrough moment for the nation's gay community, the military and for Mr Obama… "No longer will tens of thousands of Americans in uniform be asked to live a lie, or look over their shoulder in order to serve the country that they love," Mr Obama said. (2)
Attitudes are changing.
- Is what you do with your sexuality such a big deal?
- Can married heterosexual Christians have high fidelity sex, or is it only sinners who get a buzz out of sex?
1. THE DESIGNER GOD.
God directed that the male and female that He had created were to "Be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth" Gen 1:28 KJV and in the process "a man shall leave his father and mother, and shall cleave (and be united NIV) unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh". Gen 2:24 KJV
The successful relationship requires the three components recorded - Leave, Cleave and One Flesh - to be given equal prominence and to function together within a husband and wife structure.
Within this context God provided a unique mechanism (sexual intercourse) that had a dual role:
a) to provide for new life, and
b) to provide a physical, relational and enjoyable bonding mechanism.
"This physical aspect is as essential for marriage as the legal (leaving) and personal (cleaving) aspect. The physical union between husband and wife is as much God's will for marriage as is the leaving of the parents and the cleaving to each other." (3) "Men and Women become one flesh, one personality, for flesh here means more than the physical side of life, it is the medium through which the whole personality communicates." (4)
Jesus used the same words as when Adam and Eve were introduced and given their operating instructions, "and the two will become one flesh". His words are recorded twice, in Matthew 19:5, and Mark 10:7. Pastor Paul uses the words in Ephesians 5:31 where he uses the sexual aspect of marriage as an illustration of our relationship to Jesus Christ "It is the only statement about marriage which is repeated four times in the Bible. The Bible does not speak very often about marriage. Therefore it is all the more striking that this statement appears four times in very decisive places…. These statements were written to show us God's plan for marriage." (5) "The unity of husband and wife is expressed in unmistakable words, existing as they do in a unity of bodies, a community of interests, and a reciprocity of affections". (6)
2. DESIGNED FOR ENJOYMENT
The newlyweds of Israel were to be free of civic duties for the first 12 months of marriage. "If a man has recently married, he must not be sent to war or have any other duty laid upon him. For one year he is to be free to stay at home and bring happiness to the wife he has married." Deut 24:5 NIV. The home would be established, and in all probability the creation of an heir to maintain the title to the family land would occur. Neither gets a mention however, in the charge to the new husband.
Prov 5:18-19 broadens the picture, "May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. A loving doe, a graceful deer - may her breasts satisfy you always, may you be ever captivated (infatuated RSV - or ravished in its positive use in the KJV) by her love." NIV Captivated infers an overwhelming attraction with charm and affection, a fascination with someone or something where there is a lack of coercion, where one becomes a willing prisoner. The reference to the breasts and ongoing satisfaction clearly identifies a physical relationship that is enjoyable to both parties and which can wrap one within the other. "…two people who completely love each other find nothing in sexual contact that does not make them more and more completely one, binding both their bodies and souls in one inseparable knot" (7)
"The Bible endorses a concept of sexual pleasure and assumes a healthy passion.". (8) The picture is presented of love in action, active, sensual and mutual, in words that are sometimes direct and sometimes suggestive. The expression of love is two-way. The words of the lover from the Song of Songs, "Your neck is like the tower of David, built with elegance….. Your two breasts are like two fawns, like twin fawns of a gazelle that browse among the lilies…. You are a garden locked up, my sister, my bride.. your plants are an orchard of pomegranates, with choice fruit.." evokes a response and a pointed invitation, "Let my lover come into his garden and taste its choice fruits." Song of Songs 4:4,5,12,& 16 NIV Another declaration from the beloved confirms that the love statements are not one sided "His cheeks are like beds of spice yielding perfume… His arms are like rods of gold set with Chrysolite, his body is like polished ivory decorated with sapphires…His mouth is sweetness itself" Song of Songs 5:13,14 & 16 NIV This is not describing an arm's length experience. "One does not get the impression that the interaction of this bride and groom was lacklustre, monotonous or stodgy. Solomon communicates vitality, activity and awareness. These lovers were involved with each other." (9) Sexual pleasures within the marriage bond are encouraged and expected.
3. THE DESIGNER'S GUIDELINES.
God designed sex to be limited to husband and wife, between you and your spouse. A man is to "leave his father and mother and be united to his wife" Gen 2:24 NIV Paul reminded his Corinthian church members that there was a two-way marital duty requirement between the marriage partners - by the husband to the wife, and by the wife to the husband, and that this was not to be withheld other than by mutual consent for a short time for special spiritual exercises. "Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you." 1 Cor 7:5 NIV
In Ephesians, Pastor Paul when using the marriage relationship to help us understand, in a small way, the relationship between God and Mankind again highlights the mutual obligation and the heterosexual marriage. Wives and husbands both get directions. "Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord" "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her." "Each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband." Eph 5:22,25,35. NIV
Multiple marriages recorded in scripture including ...
- Abraham - Sarah and Hagar;
- Jacob - Leah, Rachel and handmaids
- Elkanah - Hannah and Penninah,
- David - Michal, Ahinoam, Abigail, Eglah, Maacah, Haggath, Abital, Bathsheba, and concubines
- Solomon - wives and concubines to excess;
... were, without fail, a shadow of what might have been. Female rivalry, sibling bickering, favouritism, the male inability to accept the status quo, spoiled God's ideal
WHAT ABOUT TODAY?
Sexuality today is maligned, misused, and mangled. We find men wanting to marry men, and women wanting to marry women. Serial marriages are tolerated, even encouraged. Divorce is easy and low cost. Relationships are unreal. Senses are conditioned to accept abnormal sexual behaviour as the norm. They are not the norm, far from it. Even in mainline Christian churches, departures from the biblical principles are evident. Remember the arguments around the appointment of a gay (but at the time said to be abstaining) bishop in the Anglican Church in the United Kingdom. "The dizzying pace of remarriage, divorce and remarriage, the increase of one parent families due to premarital sexual behaviour and other liberalising tendencies in the sexual lifestyle of heterosexuals place the church in a poor position to preach " (10) to those with more deviant sexual directions.
God has not changed. Mankind has. Satan has encouraged sinful practices with a view to trapping as many people as he can in his godless lifestyles. What was wrong in the days of the children of Israel is as equally wrong today. Following Balaam's attempt to gain wealth by cursing the children of Israel, the Israelite men were led astray and began to "indulge in sexual immorality with the Moabite women" Num 25:1 NIV. God gave clear evidence of his displeasure with the actions when 24,000 of the population lost their lives in a plague that was stopped only when Phineas speared an Israelite man and a Midianite woman engaged in an illicit sexual act.
The Jerusalem conference meeting of AD 53 took action to write to Gentile believers advising them "to abstain from ..sexual immorality" Acts 15:20 NIV. Paul made just as clear a statement to the church members in Corinth, "The body is not meant for sexual immorality" 1 Cor 6:13 NIV. He argued that as members of the body of Christ, to sin sexually is to sin against their own bodies. They (and we by inference) were "bought at a price. Therefore glorify God with your body". 1 Cor 6:20 NIV. His letter to the church in Rome made it clear that homosexuality, and lesbianism were the results of the sinful desires of the heart, and degraded the bodies of men and women. They "received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion". Rom 1:27 NIV. 1 Cor 7:2, Galatians 5:19, Ephesians 5:3, Colossians 3:5, and 1 Thess 4:3 highlight sexual immorality as something to be avoided. "He who sins sexually sins against his own body." 1 Cor 6:18.
God is not trying to be hard. He is outlining a lifestyle that is rewarding, and satisfying and enjoyable. Sexuality is not optional. Use it in any other than God's way, and you will short-change yourselves. Like anything else, if you do not follow the instructions, the probability of failure is high. Use sexuality in God's way and you can do better than the "being broadminded", you can have more than just high-fidelity sex. A total high fidelity lifestyle is not only possible but probable.
1. 60 Per Cent of Australians Support Gay Marriage By: Ari Sharp
Accessed 11 Dec 2010
2. Obama pens armed services gay law.
Accessed 25 December 2010
3. I Married You. (IMY) Walter Trobisch, Intervarsity Press Leicester England, 1971 p24
4. Genesis 1-11 Commentary, R Davidson, Cambridge University Press,1973 p25 - 26
5. I Married You, p18
6. SDA Bible Commentary Vol 1 Review & Herald Publishing Association 1953 p227.
7. God Invented Sex, Charles Wittschiebe, Southern Publishing Association Nashville Tennessee, 1974 p58
8. The Gift Of Sex, Clifford and Joyce Penner, Word Publishing, Milton Keynes England, 1981 p45
9. That Friday in Eden Alberta Mazat Pacific Press Publishing Association Idahao USA 1981 p75
10. Homosexuality in History and the Scriptures, Ronald M Springett Biblical Research Institute Washington USA 1988 p162
Scripture quoted as:
"NIV" is taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers"
"RSV" is taken from the Revised Standard Version Copyright 1946 and 1952 Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA.
"KJV" is taken from the Kings James Version of the Bible.
This article is Copyright © 2011 by John L Morris. Used by permission.
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