Woman who claims to be a Christian denounces premarital chastity

UPDATE: This post has been linked by Captain Capitalism, a libertarian non-Christian who respects Christians who act consistently with their beliefs.

Here’s the plan for this post. We’re going to take a look at a post by a woman who claims to be a Christian. In that post, she offers some reasons why premarital chastity is wrong. Then we’ll take a look at what the Bible says. Then we’ll take a look at what the research says. Then I explain what this trend among Christian women means for marriage-minded men.

First here is the post by “Joy”. Her reasons for disagreeing with premarital chastity are as follows:

  1. Chastity makes women who have had premarital sex feel ashamed
  2. It does no harm for a woman to have premarital sex before marriage
  3. God made people with a sexual drive, so God thinks that premarital sex is OK
  4. Most people are already having sex, so God thinks that premarital sex is OK
  5. Practicing sex with men you don’t intend to marry makes you better at marital sex

In another post, she is more clear about her views: (these are her actual words)

  • Choosing to not to abstain from sexual intercourse before marriage is not shameful.
  • Your decision to abstain or not to abstain does not necessarily have any connection to the health of your future marriage.
  • Your decision to abstain or not to abstain does not necessarily have any connection to the health of your future sex life.

Now first off, she has no Biblical evidence for any of these assertions in the original post I linked to. She also has no evidence from outside the Bible for any of her assertions. Assertion #3 in the list of 5 above seems to me to justify adultery as easily as it justifies premarital sex. Now, you might expect a person who claims to be a Christian to look first to the Bible to see what is right and wrong, then to look to evidence to strengthen the argument when discussing it with others inside and outside the church. For Joy, feelings and peer-pressure are enough to make anything morally OK. Now let’s take a quick look at what the Bible says about chastity and premarital sex:

1 Cor. 7:8-9

8 To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to stay single as I am.

9 But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.

The idea of “burning” here has to do with sexual desire. Here Paul tells all unmarried people that if they cannot control their sexual desires, they need to get married. Why? Because Paul assumes that one cannot fulfill this sexual desire outside of the marital bed. While Paul would love for them to remain single (1 Cor. 7:7), he believes that sex outside of marriage is a destructive sin and cannot be used as a gratifying release of our sexual passions.

Now what evidence outside the Bible is there to support that? Here’s some:

Now back to Joy, What I have found when dealing with women like Joy in the church is that the Bible has no authority over them. Not even the words of Jesus have authority to lead them. And obviously they are not impressed with evidence from science, history, etc. Their sole reason for acting the way they do is their own feelings, which largely stem from hedonism and vanity – the desire to feel good and to please and impress their peers. Whatever they do that seems right to them cannot be questioned or judged. If things don’t “work out”, then they are a helpless victim. God’s will for them is that they do whatever they feel like in order to be happy.

It’s very very important for men who are seeking marriage to understand that the typical woman they meet in the church does not understand that Christianity imposes any obligations on them. They don’t look at the Bible for moral guidance, but for comfort. And they don’t study outside the Bible to become persuaded (and persuasive) about what the Bible teaches. Their view of Christianity is that they are good where they are, and that there is nothing that they should be studying or planning for in order to achieve goals, like evangelism or marriage. Everything has to be easy and feel good.

Fortunately, there is a way to detect the women who are serious about Christianity, and it can be done by simply asking them questions to see if they have moved beyond the feelings/selfishness model of Christianity to the truth/responsibility model of Christianity. All you have to do is ask them questions to see how much effort they’ve put into confirming what the Bible teaches by reading outside the Bible. Christians read the Bible to know what’s true, and they read outside the Bible to convince themselves to act on what they know is true, and to show to others what’s true in a persuasive way. But reading outside the Bible is at war with the feelings/victim/don’t-judge-me view of Christianity pushed by people like Joy. That is because the more you read, the less room there is for doing what you feel like. When you study, what you learn constrains your actions.

When you ask a women questions about Christianity before marriage, you can see whether 1) she has studied these issues already or 2) she wants to study these issues, or 3) whether she has no interest in studying anything, no matter how useful to God it might be. You do not want to be married to someone who thinks that breaking God’s law is OK if she feels like it, and who has done no reading or studying of relevant moral issues in order to build up her own ability to have self-control for the good of others around her.

I think men should avoid women who respond to the claims of Scripture and the evidence from research by sticking their fingers in their ears and saying “don’t judge me! don’t shame me!”. You can’t make a marriage with someone who is dismissive of moral obligations, and who acknowledges no higher authority than her own feelings and the approval of her secular, progressive peers. The Bible forbids “unequal yoking”, which is the marriage of a Christian to a non-Christian.

And I’ll go one step further and say that this attitude of “rules make people feel bad, so we shouldn’t have any” is destroying our society. We really need to be a bit more brave about holding immoral, destructive people like Joy and her progressive friends accountable. Note: Just to be clear, I don’t mind if a person is a non-Christian and has had premarital sex, then becomes a christian and is from that point on abstinent before marriage – that is fine. It needs some attention and care to make sure that it doesn’t cause problems, but it’s totally acceptable to marry someone like that in my view. What is wrong is to claim that Christianity and premarital sex are compatible. That’s the mistake I am arguing against.

UPDATE: In the comments below I like to other posts on “A Deeper Story” showing that these women are also pro-gay-marriage. So they are really not Christians in any knowledge-oriented sense, but just applying the label to themselves inconsistently, perhaps like secular Jews call themselves culturally Jewish while not believing in God.

65 thoughts on “Woman who claims to be a Christian denounces premarital chastity”

  1. It IS destroying our society. What is truly scary is that Joy might very well be reading her Bible and just cherry-picking the verses that make her feel better about her already established “feel-good” position.

    After the results of the last election in America, I have been going around and telling people that about 90% of the churches in America need to shut themselves down because they are irrelevant. (Picking the 90% is not that hard either.) I DO get some looks – but not a lot of argument, from authentic Christians anyway. :-)

    I think that it is possible that the early phases of the War on Christians in America may very well have the unintended positive consequences of separating the wheat from the chaff.

    Speaking of which: http://akathleptos.blogspot.com/2013/08/separating-chaff-from-wheat.html

    Like

  2. I was banned from commenting on a website I used to really enjoy because they basically said “when you become a Christian, you become a virgin all over again” and I stood the ground of: No, no you actually don’t. (I gave the argument that if it were true, you’d lose STD’s as part of the experience, which obviously does not happen; this was never responded to)

    Feminists swarmed to defend the post, feminized Christian men came to attack a woman who felt cheated because she -was- a virgin and was insulted by the article, and ultimately most of us who disagreed with it had our Salvation questioned and the comments were locked down. The behavior of the staff on the site convinced me that my time is much better spent elsewhere.

    There is a thread in modern conservative evangelical Christianity that is not conservative, evangelical, or Christian at all, and it is absolutely ugly, and I’m encountering it more and more. It is the hatred of morality as if moral living were somehow contrary to the notion Salvation through faith. It is faith without works, which is dead; and often not true faith in the first place I’d argue.

    Like

      1. That was the worst part about the whole debate; instead of talking about becoming new creations (which I completely agree with), it was an argument over whether or not God restored people’s virginity when they asked for it!

        It was totally demeaning to real virgins and to people who truly repent.

        Like

    1. Your second-to-last sentence is quite profound, Josh. I have never thought of it that way, actually – thanks!

      Like

    2. It is the hatred of morality as if moral living were somehow contrary to the notion Salvation through faith.

      Well, you know, let us sin that grace may abound. Why, almost those exact words are even in the Bible! :-)

      Like

  3. Not to dismiss peer-review, but what is your response to its critics? e.g. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peer_review#Criticism_of_peer_review (The Rennie quote seems more incendiary than logical, but Horton seems to present an unavoidable weakness, viz. peer-review’s capacity only as “a crude means of discovering the acceptability—not the validity”.) One defense that occurs to me is that it at least promises SOME level and effort at authoritative vetting over non-peer reviewed sources (e.g. Joy’s article), which are practically innumerable now in the Internet age.

    As for Joy’s piece, she doesn’t seem to be disagreeing with premarital chastity, but rather lamenting that many of its supporters are doing a dangerously clumsy and errant job of promoting it. Reading her second hyper-linked blog post is startling evidence of that.

    As such, I think the five reasons that you assert as hers are not, at least insomuch as how she represented her position in the article. She confesses, in the comments, to still be investigating the issue of the objective wrongness (my phrasing) of pre-marital sex, spec. about the scope of the word translated “fornication”. Additionally, I don’t see where it can be reasonably inferred from her article that she believes that God thinks pre-marital sex is okay. The position she does take is that “If you are not a virgin… God is a God of second chances…. No mistake is too great for God to redeem, and no choice is unforgivable.” This implies the opposite, i.e. that she thinks it is probably wrong, that it is something that needs forgiving.

    Your civil and cordial correction or dissent, should I be erring, is very welcome.

    None of this is to say that I think her blog post has much (or any) objective merit about the issue it tackles. I don’t deny her sincerity and desire to help hurting people, but her claims and conclusions do practically nothing to adequately define, and consequently attack or defend, the objective truths of, our obligations to, and the dangers of abandoning sexual purity.

    I should, lastly, acknowledge that I’m aware many will insist on the helpfulness or value of Joy’s blog post by invoking the testimony of the commenters, i.e. subjective, personal experience. Often, this misapprehension of “evidence” pleads that, “Hey, I turned out okay. This is working for me, so it’s valid.” As I say, I don’t discount Joy’s zeal to comfort and help, but any comfort apart from objective truth is illusory. I think she writes with the aim to find truth, in her way, but she doesn’t get there.

    Like

    1. Well, I am taking the peer-review as evidence to weigh, not saying it is infallible. Certainly it is better than nothing, which is what Joy, Sarah and their religious-left buddies have. Nothing.

      Like

    2. Well, after following up on reaction posts from others and Joy herself, she finally does make plain that she defends sex before marriage as objectively moral. (“Choosing not to abstain from sexual intercourse before marriage is not shameful.” Taken from her post referenced in the post by the “anonymous” (Dalrock) commenter below.)

      She didn’t, I’ll maintain, make that clear in her “purity culture” post. But the fact that she does hold this belief isn’t surprising, considering the content and tone of her purity culture piece.

      Like

  4. I’m not entirely sure she’s denouncing chastity so much as wanting there to be dialogue about how to build intimacy and grace for those who have failed at it. Unfortunately it seems that some commenters have pushed her to adjusting her post to make it seem like that is what she is saying so as not to offend them.
    http://deeperstory.com/news-flash-you-probably-wont-marry-a-virgin/#comment-26982

    I found this comment particularly hilarious.
    http://deeperstory.com/news-flash-you-probably-wont-marry-a-virgin/#comment-26968
    “You can’t be “normal” about it at the same time as you’re insisting that 96% of us are sinners…”
    Christianity asserts that 100% of us are sinners, dude! It’s supposed to be countercultural in many ways, not just sex! Does living in an overly consumerist society make being materialistic okay? Expecting everyone to adopt Jesus’ call to store our treasures in Heaven is, afterall, unrealistic. Let’s get with the program and be happy with our things!

    I think construing an argument from this post is not in line with the point of it. Joy does not seem to be arguing for anything other than a call for more realistic dialogue about sex. Hopefully she is not trying to say that chastity is bad because 96% of people don’t follow it (like her commenters seem to be saying). Is it really that shocking that people want to have sex before marriage and often choose to? Why should what people want for themselves determine our moral stance on issues? Why should we change our view about what’s right and wrong simply because we know people who have done something we consider wrong? What does that have to do with the truth of morality?

    “Sex is risky (and sometimes messy). Baring it all for a lover is about as real as you get – you can”t hide or camouflage Making love into fireworks requires patience and talking and listening. A couple must talk to each other, ask each other “Do you like this? Does this feel good? Where do you like to be touched? How do you like to be touched?” They must be willing to try something that goes poorly. They must be able to hear their partner say “That hurts” or “That didn’t do it for me” and not take it personally. Dare to try something new. Read a book on how to be a great lover. Download an app of different positions. Listen to a Christian sex podcast. By all means, learn!”

    This is a great reason FOR chastity. Focus all that work on one person. Why build that level of intimacy for someone if you are going to eventually move on to someone else?

    One thing in favor of this post though. We tend to emphasize sexual sin over other kinds of sin to the point where I understand how some may consider Christianity a sexually repressive religion. I’m not saying we should change our concept of what is sexual sin as much as we should focus on other cultural sins as well.

    Like

    1. Definitely she is prodding for an improved dialogue about sex, but she is, demonstrably, making certain arguments insomuch as she enumerates what she considers flaws in “the purity culture” and goes on to defend her statements.

      There are a number of logical problems with her approach that undercut (what I will grant is) her sincere goal. For starters it’s a bit clumsy to refer to such a generic thing as a “purity culture” and mean only those people who misrepresent purity. Also her assessment and description of that group’s flaws (indeed it has some) varies from the vague, to the irrelevant, to other fallacies.

      My point is not to nitpick her about flaws of reasoning, but that those flaws, in fact, hinder her goal of an improved, intelligent discussion on the subject of sex AND of purity misunderstood and improperly defended.

      As Wintery said in his comment there, it amounts to a bevy of opinion with no support from authoritative sources, particularly Scripture. Even if you just want to open a dialogue — fair enough — you still have the obligation to do so in a way that calls for reason, logic, and objectivity. I felt her post didn’t achieve that.

      Like

    2. The people she links to are emergent church feminists on the left.

      They are pro-gay marriage and claim that it is compatible with Christianity:
      http://deeperstory.com/a-deeper-story-responds-to-doma-and-prop-8/

      Joy Bennett – The Supreme Court’s ruling today to overturn DOMA is the right decision, and one that I welcome. It refers the definition of marriage and recognition of same-sex marriage back to states. It surprises me to hear conservatives, who ardently support states’ rights, bemoaning this ruling as “sin winning.” It is my personal position that any couple wishing to vow fidelity and faithfulness to one another ought to be encouraged in that endeavor. And any couple willing to make that kind of commitment and form a family ought to receive the civil and legal rights that naturally follow the formation of a family. I see the legal recognition of a marriage as a completely separate issue from the theological discussion of homosexuality. The Supreme Court did not change anything about so-called traditional marriage. The Supreme Court did not require churches or religious bodies to recognize same-sex marriage. It made a civil ruling. The theological question of whether homosexuality is a sin is completely separate from its legality, and it would behoove today’s American Christians to remember that fact.

      The Sarah Bessey she links to is also in favor of same-sex marriage:
      http://deeperstory.com/same-sex-marriage/

      They are pro-premarital sex and claim that it is compatible with Christianity (in the post I linked to).

      The two articles she linked to bashing the “purity culture” (chastity) contain no Bible verses, and no studies. No truth at all, really. Note that bashing chastity is compatible with their feminist egalitarian convictions.

      One of the authors she linked to (Sarah Bessey) has a book that is endorsed by Rachel Held Evans and Brian MacLaren. That’s where these guys are coming from ideologically. They are bashing Biblical morality and judging anyone who dares to say that anything is morally wrong. They feel that that people should never be made to feel bad by what the Bible says. (And what studies confirm).

      So these people are not Christian in any meaningful way, but more like Trojan horses, manufacturing “diversity” of opinions where there is none, IF you take the Bible seriously as a rule on moral issues.

      Like

      1. In addition, I believe that her statement “The Supreme Court did not require churches or religious bodies to recognize same-sex marriage” will be refuted empirically – and rapidly. It is certainly being challenged in the UK. If it is refuted empirically, will she have the courage to stand up and say that not only was she wrong on that count, but she was wrong on her original position in support of same-sex marriage? I doubt it. I have not met any so-called “christians” on the Left who have the courage to admit the carnage that their anti-Scriptural policies have created.

        Like

        1. Oh yeah, these emergent progressive types are snakes. Their job is to trick Christians into supporting an anti-Biblical agenda by substituting “nice” as the new goal of Christianity.

          Like

  5. I’m not a huge fan of this woman’s article, since I’m a good bit more conservative than she is, but I think you’ve misunderstood her quite dramatically. She’s pointing to 1) sex is not inherently bad, 2) the reality of likely having to deal with sexual brokenness in the form of premarital sex and that God does redeem those situations, 3) the danger of overly high expectations of some kind of euphoric sexual experience for those who wait.

    Like

    1. Uh, yes, Anon, you nailed it on the head – thanks for the link! We needed that posting back in the 60’s and 70’s for sure – or we needed it handed out in the public schools with Bibles, no less.

      Like

  6. I used to be pro-chastity outside of marriage

    Then I got married.

    Now I’m pro-pro chastity outside of marriage. I really see the great wisdom in it and realize that what I share with my wife is something that we share with no one else and we have no comparison to whatsoever and that we belong exclusively to one another.

    I really get sick of these people that treat a sacred covenant meant to mirror the relationship of God and His people and Christ and His people as no big deal. It is sacred and you’d better honor it as sacred.

    Wintery. If you’d like, I can link you sometime to a sermon I did on 1 Cor. 13 at my old church. I consider it my best one.

    Like

    1. I’m gonna get word geeky on you here. Technically, chastity is not the same as celibacy or abstinence. The term chastity means correct sexual behavior. So a husband and wife having sex only with each other are actually chaste right along with the unmarried man and women who are virgins.

      If you get really technical, chastity just means correct sexual behavior for the culture that you are in. So in our culture today you could make the argument that serial monogamists are “chaste” since that’s what our *culture* deems appropriate. But that is probably too geeky a use of the word, since most people in the US still understand the word to mean basically what it has meant for 2000 years or so of Christianity.

      So when you say pro-chastity outside of marriage, it implies that you’re saying that only unmarried people should be chaste, but when you get married your free to stop being chaste…. i.e. start having *incorrect* sexual behavior, like adultery. Now obviously that’s not what you’re saying. Hence the word geek out.

      Like

      1. Francine. I used the terminology I did because I wanted to avoid celibacy. I don’t think everyone is called to be celibate, but everyone is called to proper sexual behavior whether that be in marriage or not.

        Like

  7. Nice blog post, Wintery-dude. Great insight and wisdom.

    Short of sounding like a crochety old man, sometimes I have this STRONG feeling that people who are bloggers, especially Christians like Joy and Rachel Held Evans (although this is not only limited to women and I’m not a misogynist — I know some men that this would apply to including a guy I know half-decently) should be MUCH more careful. Jesus says that it is far better for them to tie a large stone / mill stone around their necks and toss themselves into the sea than cause any believer to stumble.

    Joy is just shy of heretical.

    Incidentally, I liked some of the Bush era abstinence initiatives. Even if they don’t prevent conception, they delayed initiation of first sexual encounters and made people more aware of the deeper meaning behind sex (and that sex is not just something we do because we’re bored). Of course the Chairman O cancelled them “because [he said] they don’t work” and executive ordered abortion initiatives.

    Back to Joy. I read over all 5 pages of her posts. She starts out, oldest posts, fairly reasonable — a little fluffy, but okay. The most recent page, well, it strikes me she’s a RHE wanna be, she’s a liberal Christian, and there are passages where — if she doesn’t agree with it — she wants to toss it out.

    Your studies are great. People like James Dobson and others have been saying it for a long time.

    “Focus on building a solid relationship with someone, connect emotionally and spiritually. The more you can do and mean without the physical, the less likely you’ll get in trouble — plus you’ll focus effort on the relationship instead of the physical.”

    “People who delay initiating sexual experiences are more likely to earn more, less likely to have VDs, likely to have less sexual partners, less likely to have kids out of wedlock, less likely to be depressed, etc. etc.” (Even okcupid, not a Christian dating website, observed that virgins smiled a lot more than non-virgins)

    Joy also reminds me of a situation I knew about. I had a young associate pastor come outright and say “God made all things good, therefore sex is good, if you mean that you really love your girlfriend/boyfriend.” The elder board and numerous congregants took him to task. The senior pastor was assigned to help him study through the issue and he had to preach a public sermon at a later date to demonstrate repentance and a changed view — he did.

    But this is the type of bad thinking — poor untrained thinking — that leads to problems. The associate pastor just assumed:
    1. God made everything good.
    2. God made sex.
    3. Therefore all sex is good, ***all the time***.

    I am finding this attitude with Joy. And yes, as you pointed out, “For Joy, feelings and peer-pressure are enough to make anything morally OK…. What I have found when dealing with women like Joy in the church is that the Bible has no authority over them. Not even the words of Jesus have authority to lead them. And obviously they are not impressed with evidence from science, history, etc. Their sole reason for acting the way they do is their own feelings, which largely stem from hedonism and vanity – the desire to feel good and to please and impress their peers. Whatever they do that seems right to them cannot be questioned or judged. If things don’t “work out”, then they are a helpless victim. God’s will for them is that they do whatever they feel like in order to be happy.”

    In regards to the associate pastor (or Joy), that’s the type of logic that would also say:
    1. God made all things good.
    2. God made sleep.
    3. Therefore if I am feeling tired, I should tell my boss that God made sleep good, even now that I’m at work, don’t bother me while I get some shut-eye.

    There is a certain rightness about time and place. It’s not magical that in my own bed and say, towards 11pm or so, sleep is good. And of sex, it’s not that having a sex drive is evil — the desire for one’s own spouse is good. It’s a beautiful thing when husband and wife enjoy each other sexually. But only within the context of a committed marital relationship between this man and this woman.

    Unfortunately in Joy’s case, there is one other who should be concerned with her character and her posts (not just Jesus). It’s the head of her marriage. Her husband. My wife and I regularly talk about things that we post especially as a Christian, and while it is her responsibility ultimately, we do talk about it — and how it reflects the truth and love of God, whether it distorts anything about God’s holiness, etc. I think her husband would be wise to be involved with her posts… and not just that she justifies her sins to the world.

    Like

  8. As to the point she makes. Should churches teach that sex isn’t necessarily great, just because you waited? How do we address a relationship between Christians, where one individual did have pre-marital sex, even if they still claimed to be a Christian when it happened, but since repented of that sin? What do you think about addressing these topics in the Church, and what is your opinion?

    Like

    1. They should teach what the studies show about relationship quality and stability.

      If you repent of something and say it is not compatible with Christianity, that’s not something to disagree with.

      Like

    2. Churches do teach that sex is something you have to work at, even within a marital relationship. See the Penners’ book “The Gift of Sex” as prime example.

      However, there is a strong negative correlation between number of sexual partners and marital satisfaction, marital sex life, stability, etc. I believe even Andy Stanley mentioned it in his series “The New Rules for Love, Sex, and Dating” that people will bring their past into their marriages and that sex is very profound.

      Andy also dealt with repentant person situation. Go give him a listen, it’ll be worth your time, and then write your thoughts.

      http://northpoint.org/messages/the-new-rules-for-love-sex-and-dating

      Like

  9. Her thinking is quite breathtaking, from the claim that no one gets hurt in premarital sex (ever heard of STDs, unwanted pregnancy, or just plain heartbreak?) to various absurd claims about the purity movement that have no basis in fact.

    Maybe churches need to stop teaching so much about purity and walk kids through the basic rules of logic instead. It would have helped Ms. Joy.

    Like

    1. “Maybe churches need to … walk kids through the basic rules of logic instead.” Since schools don’t. I don’t remember being *taught* logic in school. (I was a public school kid.) I guess that was reserved for people on the debate team. Seems like something one could start covering before even getting to high school.

      Like

  10. Wintery Knight, I was thinking through what you’ve said here, and I’m concerned that what you’re saying here doesn’t line up with the teachings in Scripture. You said, “All you have to do is ask them questions to see how much effort they’ve put into confirming what the Bible teaches by reading outside the Bible. Christians read the Bible to know what’s true, and they read outside the Bible to convince themselves to act on what they know is true, and to show to others what’s true in a persuasive way.” In particular, I’m looking at the part where you said, “confirming what the Bible teaches by reading outside the Bible. “ Here is a verse. Proverbs 16:6 “Through love and faithfulness sin is atoned for; through the fear of the LORD a man avoids evil.” It does not say “through confirming what the Bible teaches by reading outside the Bible” a person avoids evil. It is through the fear of the Lord. But it does seem to me that studying the world around us like you suggest can be a tool to learning fear of the Lord. Here is another verse, Proverbs 8:13 “To fear the LORD is to hate evil;” If a woman fears the Lord, she is not only avoiding trouble or punishment that results in rebelling against His ways, but she is aligning her will with His, and hating evil like He does. From what I have seen of modern women, they don’t even read the Bible. Let alone apologetics, or work at disciplining themselves to learn to love and obey the Lord. They read a few selected verses not properly understood in their context, and they go to church once a week feeling like they are doing okay and are acceptable to the Lord. It’s true that they don’t submit to the authority of the teachings of Jesus. Yet if a person does repent, the best thing to equip them to do so are the Scriptures, so that they can have a tool to understand His will with. Also, they can’t do it without God drawing them to himself, so that is part of it as well. There has to be a proper balance. I’m not saying that you haven’t used the Bible at all in your when you mention how to teach people and help them understand things, it just looks like you don’t emphasize it enough, like the Lord does.

    Like

    1. From what I can see of you through your writing on this blog, it looks like your goal in your actions and teachings is to line up with God’s will so you can be a good servant to Him. Why then does it seem like you emphasize reading apologetics books and other studies over reading the Bible? What kind of foundation for teaching is that? It seems like some of your reasoning is that people don’t accept the authority of the Bible alone, therefore you have to show them how things work through laws of logic, or through proving with studies that doing things considered to be rebellious against God have harmful consequences. It seems to me that these are acceptable ways to teach an atheist, yet for a person to be saved they have to repent, turn to Jesus and believe in Him. Isn’t your goal to spread the gospel? In order for a person to repent, they have to understand the Lord’s will so they can conform to it. How can they adequately conform to it if they are not reading the Bible with enough intensity as the difficult to understand material deserves? The Lord is profound and deep in understanding, so naturally His word is as well. Yet it seems like you are emphasizing apologetics and studies more than the Bible. It is true that a lot of what “modern Christianity” needs to repent of is their inability to defend their own faith. Yet that is not all. What is also needed is to stop drinking just milk (a Bible verse here and there, or memorizing hundreds yet not thinking of what their meaning could be), and to start eating solid foods from the Bible that are harder to digest and understand. This requires really chewing on the Scriptures to be able to understand their meaning. If I’m repetitive I don’t mean to be.

      Like

      1. Let’s do both, Rachel. Let’s give them the Gospel along with Biblical and extra-Biblical reasons in support of the Gospel. All truth is God’s Truth, even extra-Biblical truth. If it takes that kind of truth to bring the atheist closer to the Gospel and to bring the more immature believer closer to the assurance and confidence that God’s Word really IS consistent with the extra-Biblical truths she encounters on Mondays thru Saturdays, (versus just a fairy tale that she believes on Sundays, which seems to be where a lot of the Church is, IMO) then isn’t the exploration of extra-biblical truths of significant, even critical, value – provided we don’t place them above Scripture, of course?

        All of the Bible is true – every bit of it. And it is all we need to personally live our own lives. But, not all truths are found in the Bible. The Bible is not a textbook. And when witnessing to unbelievers or shoring up believers, it seems to me that extra-Biblical truths are of tremendous value, but not more value than God’s Word of course.

        Let’s do both. Christianity is hard work. Let’s kill the majority of extra-curricular activities, keep the kids home from the incessant sports run-around for Heaven’s sake, and teach them some God-honoring logic and science and philosophy – even after Mom has worn herself out homeschooling them all day.

        And if you are not homeschooling, why? In fact, Dad needs to take over these responsibilities and give Mom a well-deserved break – there is nothing harder than day-to-day homeschooling. Not engineering, not teaching in public schools (well, maybe), not even nursing (and I say that carefully as an engineer-husband of a nurse :-)). Let’s honor God by using the incredible minds He gifted to us and expects us to use in loving Him fully and for His Glory. [Luke 10:27]

        In fact, Wintery, add that to your list of questions for a potential wife: “what do you think of homeschooling?” If she does anything but jump up and down with enthusiasm, then scratch her off the list – immediately. Doesn’t mean she HAS to homeschool, just that she is wise enough to know it is what is best for their children. Extenuating and rare circumstances (NOT SUV’s or dance classes) might prevent homeschooling.

        Again, I speak for myself, not for Wintery. I do not wish to spread guilt by association. :-)

        Like

        1. Worldgonecrazy, I agree that both should be done (studying science/apologetics and the Bible). To make a note, I have stricter guidelines I look for than the average church-goer. What I’m saying is that the approach taken in this blog doesn’t seem to communicate the importance of reading and studying the Bible in depth strongly enough. Wintery Knight, please, if you already understood all my meaning about this, then be patient with me for explaining it again I’m trying to make sure I’m understood. I’m not saying that we should go quote scriptures at atheists. That would be like throwing pearls among swine. What I’m saying is, when you’re communicating truth to those who are going to repent of their sin they need a proper balance of these things (Biblical truth, apologetics, service/humility, God’s help) to be able to learn and mature with the appropriate fullness. Like in the parable of the sower, the plant needs to take root and grow or it will wither up. That is discipleship, though. When dealing with an atheist or unbeliever, you have to meet them on their own ground (like Paul mentions in 1 Corinthians 9:20) but they won’t be able to learn about things like a disciple of Christ would unless they convert and submit to Christ’s authority. I agree that when they don’t submit to Christ’s authority, other means of persuasion might be more effective on them. Yet at the same time, if they just don’t want to believe, they won’t even if someone rises from the dead. Luke 16:31. Or no matter how convincing you are. It is still our responsibility to be able to communicate truth in a convincing way though, and to pray for them.

          You will be strong with saying that people should be willing to study apologeteics to be able to defend what they believe in and to strengthen their own faith, and I also see you emphasize that a person’s happiness should not be put above truth (and these are very important foundational things! They should not be neglected.) Yet I see a lacking when addressing reading the Bible in your general approach to spreading God’s truth. It concerns me. I see a lot of good things in how you you communicate how God should be served, that’s why I hope you’ll listen to me and make it even better. Not that what I say is important, but what the Bible itself says is what is important. I’m trying to offer a second perspective on how you could improve.

          Like

    2. That’s a great post, Rachel! To put it simply: Bible first, apologetics second, right? But, let’s do both too. It seems to me you are concerned about us placing human reason above Scripture, right? As Christians, we know that the Bible is inerrant and fully true. But, some truths are not found in the Bible. 1+1=2 is not directly found in the Bible, I think – at least not in formula notation. Yet 1+1=2 is true, and all truth is God’s Truth.

      When engaging with unbelievers, sometimes we have to step outside of the Bible in order to convince them of the truth of the Bible. In those circumstances, we have to be careful not to “lean on our own understanding” and place our human reasoning above the Bible – is that where you are going? [Proverbs 3:5-6]

      But, even when talking within the believers’ group, it seems valid to show fellow believers that the clear truths that we see outside of the Bible (which are always God’s Truths) – scientifically, etc, – are 100% consistent with the truths of the Bible. (Assuming the science is good, of course.) And we should be able to use these clear truths in preparing a defense or reason for our faith.

      Without speaking for Wintery, I think that some of the things he has posted correctly indicate that some believers, particularly new believers, young folks, and non-analytical types, tend to be very tenuous in their faith, because, although they have memorized lots of Scripture (which is ALWAYS a good thing BTW), they have not developed the backbone to fend off secular attacks from the world that we are all forced to live in, and they seem to be falling away in some circumstances, whatever that might mean in a soteriological sense.

      I once saw a fantastic Bible memorizer who won all kinds of awards become a stripper. I think we might have a problem with “life application” skills there! This “falling away” seems to occur frequently in the university environment, and let me just say it – that is because most universities are run by godless liberals! (There – I feel much better now. :-))

      For that reason alone, it is highly important to examine extra-Biblical truths and form apologetics that confirm their consistency with the Bible. I think that “confirm the consistency” was what Wintery meant versus “confirm the Bible.”

      But, your warning to not place these apologetic efforts ABOVE God’s Word (if I am getting you right) is extremely important. I find that my love for the Bible is tremendously strengthened by doing apologetics, independent of witnessing to unbelievers, but I surely do not want to place that exploration and my own imperfect reasoning above Scriptural Truths, or any truths for that matter. And, whenever I talk to young people, I try to tell them that if their science or philosophy or math or worldview is clearly inconsistent with the Bible, then it is their science or philosophy or math or worldview that is wanting. Always.

      Like

  11. Firstly, #1 in the OP seems pretty misleading. It was not her contention, as far as I could tell, that “chastity” makes people feel ashamed, but that “purity culture” does. Now, that is probably too vague, but it’s nevertheless a fact that many Christians like to try shaming others into chastity, or shame those who aren’t chaste.

    As for the bullet points, you counter her claim that pre-marital sex is not shameful with 1 Cor. 7:8-9. This is without a doubt the best passage against pre-marital sex in the Bible… and it still doesn’t work. Here’s why:

    – Paul was not giving decreeing God’s Word, he was providing practical advice. He says this explicitly in v6.
    – You are making assumptions about Paul’s assumptions!

    We don’t know exactly what was in Paul’s mind when he wrote the passage, so it’s misguided to baldly assert what his assumptions were. And even if it was his assumption that marriage was necessary for sex, so what? Are we obligated to have the same assumptions – especially when he says that what he says isn’t from God? He also assumed women were supposed to cover their heads and men were supposed to have short hair.

    There are also examples of pre-marital sex in the Bible, presented in non-shameful fashion. Consider Ruth: who “laid at the feet” of Boaz. Pretty much everyone acknowledges this is a euphemism. But no one condemns Ruth for what she did, in fact she’s presented as a hero. And then there’s the Song of Songs (or Solomon, if you prefer). How does he know what her naked body looks like? There are some other strong references here, but I’ll leave it there for now.

    Like

    1. Totally wrong. In 1 Cor Paul is not saying that his words are not scripture. He is saying that Jesus did not teach on what he is teaching about. The hat issue has nothing to do with what we are talking about. The Bible commentaries I have seen dismiss the idea that Ruth slept with Boaz as absurd which it is in that culture. The Song of Solomon is an extremely difficult book to interpret but it is not condoning premarital sex.

      In the OT if a woman was a fornicator she would be put to death or married to the guy she was with depending on the circumstances. Men could be subject to similar punishments. The NT is clear that fornicators will not enter God’s kingdom. It says about the same to those who teach that sexual immorality is acceptable in the church.

      Like

      1. Doug, it makes no sense to say that Paul is saying “that Jesus did not teach” on what Paul was referring to. That would mean the reader would be assuming that. But Paul gives no indication earlier that he is referring to Jesus’ teaching, nor was that common for him to do. Instead, it makes much more sense to think that the reader would have assumed Paul’s directives carried some divine authority (which 2 Peter affirms), and that Paul is trying to be clear that isn’t the case in this instance.

        The hat issue is only relevant if it is claimed that we must make all the same assumptions that Paul did, because he is considered that authoritative. And if it is NOT the claim that we need to make the same assumptions that Paul did, then obviously Paul’s assumptions are irrelevant, and the case made in the OP is undermined significantly.

        So pre-marital sex is “absurd” in Ruth’s culture? Please. If prostitution is the oldest profession, than pre-marital sex is the oldest sexual phenomenon. Israelites were no exception. It is true that pre-marital sex was more of a grave offense for women, rather than men, but was only the case when the father was being wronged (because virgins were more valuable financially), which would not apply in the case of Ruth, and only goes to demonstrate that pre-marital sex was not considered wrong in the same sense that we think of it today. Regardless, it is silly to think that they didn’t sleep together.

        An older, available man wakes to discover his “feet” (known to be a Hebrew euphemism for genitals) has been “uncovered” (known to be a Hebrew euphemism for sexual activity), and a younger, also available, woman laying next to him. He asks who she is, and she replies by identifying herself as available for marriage or concubinage. Then she tells him to share the covers, which we know is a euphemism for consumation (Ezekiel 16:8). Even if we weren’t aware of the euphemisms, it’s pretty obvious something weird is going on. (Let’s be honest, many/most Christians today would find Ruth’s behavior very risque, and even offensive).

        But there’s more. At the end of Ruth, the story of Tamar and Judah is referenced. Why should that be the case, I wonder? (See Genesis 38, if you’re not familiar with the story). Interestingly, Tamar was never condemned for her actions either. And it isn’t surprising that the Hebrews would offer accolades for such surreptitiousness in dealings, after all Jacob is the founder of Israel, and he only got his birthright by deceit. Again, something there is no condemnation for in scripture. Even today, there is no shame for many Middle Eastern cultures for dishonest business dealings.

        As for the Song of Solomon, it is only an “extremely difficult book to interpret” when someone is motivated to find a meaning other than what is plain. It is not difficult to figure out what is meant when a woman says that she likes to sit in a man’s shade and taste his fruit (2:3). Even evangelical Christians acknowledge the plain meaning here (http://bit.ly/1a0cUVs). This was not a couple that was married yet, but they are discussing a range of sexual exploits.

        Bottom line: the passage that most would consider the most “clear” isn’t actually that clear (unless one makes unwarranted assumptions), and is hampered by the fact that Paul explicitly states the advice comes from him, not God. And even if Paul was operating under the assumption it was wrong, there’s no obligation for us to do the same. And, in fact, scripture provides several examples where that assumption is not made, without any shame at all.

        Like

        1. In the context it is clear that Paul is addressing a situation Jesus did not (which is exactly what he is doing) that is the straightforward way to read it. This is the way evangelical scholars like James White and Mike Licona interpret it. There is no reason to think he is just giving his opinion in those verses that would truly strange. The hat issue is obviously related the culture at that time. There is no reason to think that there is some command about hats for all people at all times since there is nothing like that in the OT.

          Pre-marital sex was not absurd in that culture. What is absurd is thinking it would be something that was praised. You are reading all sorts of things into the story of Ruth. There is no reason to think anything sexual took place. How could Boaz offer her to another family member for marriage after he just had sex with her that night and possibly got her pregnant? You seriously think he did that? Tamar was not condemned because Judah was so humiliated by his own actions. She would have been if that was not the case. That is clear in the original story.

          In Song of Solomon it is sometimes impossible to tell who is saying what. There are also flashbacks and dreams. There are 3 ways to interpret it and that has nothing to do with allegory but instead trying to figure out what is going on in the story and who is saying what. There is no reason to think that there is pre-marital sex in the story.

          It we look elsewhere in scripture it is clear that those who practice fornication go to hell. Persons who teach fornication is ok should expect the same fate.

          Like

          1. Doug, I disagree that the context makes it clear that Paul is addressing a situation that Jesus did not. To me, that is only clear in verses 12-16. Before that, in verses 10-11, Paul is obviously referencing something that Jesus specifically addressed. Before v10-11, though, there is no connection made between what Paul is saying and what Jesus said. Thus, when Paul says he is making concessions, not commands, there is no reason to think that he is contrasting what he says with what Jesus says. He is simply saying what he says is not binding. And if it isn’t binding, I think it’s pretty obvious it’s not a divine command.

            So Paul makes (at least) 3 distinctions here: concession, not command; command from the Lord; command from him. There is a reason why he makes these distinctions, and if Paul considered the statements of equal worth, or expected the readers to do so, why bother with the distinctions? I certainly don’t see why it would be strange that Paul would be offering an opinion or a concession – is this not what all pastors do when offering guidance in morally nebulous situations?

            Regardless, let’s set aside the reason Paul made the distinction and let’s counter-intuitively assume he meant commands and concessions to mean the same thing and carry the same weight. What was he concerned about? What would end up happening if unmarried folks “burn with passion”? That they’d have sex with each other? Or just become too preoccupied with sex to focus on God? Or have sex with other people? Visit a prostitute? Have unclean thoughts? Or create a pregnancy? WE DON’T KNOW. So simply assuming that Paul was concerned with pre-marital sex as opposed to unwed mothers or harlotry is assuming too much.

            Your comments on head coverings is very interesting. So, if there were explicit commandments against pre-marital sex in both the OT and the NT, *then* there would be reason to believe that pre-marital sex was prohibited for all people at all times? But we don’t have that, because some explicit command against pre-marital sex is not present in the OT. At most what we have is explicit commands against non-virgin women pretending to be virgins in the OT, and a “concession” that its better for those “burning with passion” to get married than to remain unmarried. You can argue that it would have been *expected* given other indicators, but that is the case for head-coverings too (see Numbers 5:8, for instance).

            Saying that it is absurd for Hebrew culture to praise pre-marital sex is slightly misleading. Certainly not all forms of pre-marital sex would have been praised. But there are clearly stories where it occurs and the people in the story are not *shamed*. Nor is it necessarily the pre-marital sex that is praised, as much as the ends that were accomplished. It is the fact that the act is not portrayed as shameful that is significant. Tamar was not shamed in part because Judah felt more ashamed, sure. And, yes, she would have been killed (also killing the baby, BTW) – but that was because they thought she was guilty of *prostitution*.

            But that’s clearly not the whole story. Tamar’s actions became known (as were Judah’s). She wasn’t punished for a reason. Perhaps it’s because it then became known she wasn’t a prostitute? And, again, Ruth’s story is connected to Tamar’s. If Tamar were to have been considered shameful, then why would they have wanted to connect Ruth & Boaz with Tamar & Judah? Doesn’t seem like that would have been a welcome blessing. As for why Boaz offered her to another family member, very simply: because he had to. It was the law. Acquiring her was obviously a public proceeding, it could not have occurred otherwise.

            The only things I’m reading INTO the story are those things that we already know: euphemisms. Is it possible that the language there actually are NOT euphemisms, and that Ruth really did *just* uncover and lay at his feet? Sure, but then what was the kindness she showed Boaz? That she preferred him as a kinsman-redeemer over everyone else? No, that’s obviously not it, because it seems clear she wasn’t aware that there was a closer relative. In fact, Boaz makes it clear that the “kindness” she showed him was in relation to some sort of kindness she could have done in pursuing younger *men*, not the closer relative. Also, if the only purpose Ruth had was to contact Boaz about being a kinsman-redeemer, surely there was a less roundabout way? And if that’s the only purpose Ruth had and Boaz recognized it, why would he then ask Ruth to sleep with him the whole night, but leave before anyone knew? Like it or not, the story makes more sense if sexual activity occurs.

            Regarding Song of Solomon, it does not really matter if “it is sometimes impossible to tell who is saying what”. Nor do I think it matters if there are also flashbacks and dreams. The story is about an unmarried couple and there is sexual activity obviously occurring. If it’s a flashback, that doesn’t change what happened. If it’s a dream, it is still presented as if it’s perfectly acceptable behavior. How many Christians today would approve of sexually explicit dreams being put to a poem or screenplay? Without more information regarding your non-allegorical interpretations that somehow avoid the obvious meaning the insinuations have, I cannot help but reiterate it is pretty obvious what is going on, and attempts to avoid it are the result of motivated reasoning.

            Finally, with respect to “fornication”, this is an English word. The Greek word commonly interpreted as fornication is “Porneia”. This is simply a catch-all term for sexual immorality, and the root word actually refers to prostitution. So, again, the issue here is if pre-marital sex is sexual immoral . Assuming that a term synonymous with “sexual immorality” includes pre-marital sex is begging the question. First, one must either demonstrate that the term is used to refer to pre-marital sex specifically or show how pre-marital sex is claimed to be immoral. So, yes, I agree that scripture is clear that those who engage in “porneia” are in trouble. The question is what kind of behavior is encompassed by the term.

            Like

          2. My gosh, isn’t it amazing how people interpret the Bible when they divorce it entirely from the Jewish culture in which it was written and instead treat it as a work of gay activists or sex educators writing in the modern age. Look if you aren’t prepared to live up to the ethical demands of the Bible, why even read it? Why inject your immoral views into the text, and then try to make us think that this is what the original Jewish and Christian authors of these texts had in mind? If you want to understand how the Bible views premarital sex, ask a Torah-believing Jew or someone in the early Christian church. Hint: it’s forbidden. If you don’t like that, then don’t be a Christian. Similarly, if you like the gay lifestyle, then don’t be a Christian. If you like being a pedophile, then don’t be a Christian. If you like polyamory or polygamy, then don’t be a Christian. If you like adultery and abortion, then don’t be a Christian. If you want to live with your girlfriend, then don’t be a Christian. If you want to marry your sister, then don’t be a Christian.

            If you are already committed to an immoral lifestyle, then there’s no need to read the Bible and then try to twist it to justify your immorality. Just don’t be Christian. No need to go through the effort of twisting the words of the Bible into something the Bible doesn’t mean. Just don’t be one, if you refuse to take seriously the obligation to bring your life in line with what the Bible teaches.

            Like

          3. Yes. I personally don’t mind if people sin and then ask for forgiveness. The real problem arises when someone tries to make the Bible justify the sin, so that they are not really sinning. That’s when you can say that a person is not really a Christian. If you’re a Christian, then you sin and you think you’re wrong to do it. If you’re not a Christian, you try to make the Bible say that what you are doing (abortion, homosexuality, etc) is not really wrong.

            Like

          4. It seems I am wasting my time with you JB. You don’t really care about the truth. Hopefully if someone else is watching they will at least not see your false teaching not go unchallenged. Your conscience will tell you the truth on this issue if you will listen to it. Please do for the sake of your own soul and those you are sinning against by what you are teaching. Some final thoughts:

            (1) There is no reason to think some parts of Paul’s letter are not authoritative. He is making clear which commands are his and not previously given by Jesus. There is plenty of condemnation of sex outside of marriage in many parts of the OT. Earlier in the chapter Paul says a man should have a wife because of sexual immorality.
            (2) The story of Ruth and Boaz does not say there was sexual activity. He would not have offered her to a relative if he had just had sex with her. There is no reason to think a euphemisms is being used in the story (that euphemism is used nowhere else). The story is clear about their sexual relations later (it explicitly says he had sex with his wife after they were married even though that would seem obvious) why would it be unclear earlier? The story of Tamar is clearly seen in a negative light. That is why Judah never sleeps with her again.
            (3) If you read all of the Song of Solomon you will see that it is pro sex but within marriage. The brothers keep the girl from men and something along the line of “don’t awaken love before its time” is spoken. Why should we think it is encouraging something that could get the girl in the story put to death?
            (4) The word “Porneia” may have a root from prostitution but that does not mean it is what the word means. It is translated sexual immorality or fornication or something similar because it means sex outside marriage. The translators (and all the church for about the last 2000 years) are not idiots.

            Like

      2. Oh, and as for “fornicators”, assuming that this term refers to, or includes, pre-marital sex is to assume the very thing in question. There is no indication that pre-marital sex would have been considered “fornication”.

        Like

  12. It’s also repugnant how “claims to be” is a modifier in the OP title, as if a stance on pre-marital sex is somehow a demarcating belief. As afar as I know, stances on sexuality have never been grounds for charges of heresy or apostacy.

    Like

    1. Fair enough, JB, point taken. I agree with you wholeheartedly that pre-marital sex, in and of itself, is not an indicator of apostasy, and I will guess that WK does also. However, pre-marital sex, support of gay marriage, radical liberal theology, modern-day feminism, baby torture, murder, and sacrifice at the altar of a false idol (the president), and the emergent “church” are, combined, excellent indicators of apostasy. [And there are people who “claim to be Christians” in support of all of these, you know. I personally know some, and, frankly, there are a few denominations that specialize in such detestable matters.]

      I do not know if Joy is in agreement with all of these issues, of course, and I do not know if she is saved or not, of course. But, since these issues tend to be highly (but not perfectly) correlated, the combination would surely be a strong indicator of apostasy.

      When WK posted “claims to be,” that is a technically valid position for us to take – in general. He should take that with me as well, and we should take that with him. But, I really believe that he was applying that moniker in consideration of the high correlation of the six or so (and there are others, of course) anti-Biblical ideologies expressed in the previous paragraph, and his research on her associations with the emergent church, not on “just” the premarital sex issue.

      I don’t think that WK ever said that a Christian who had pre-marital sex (either before or after becoming a Christian) is in danger of losing salvation or is in no position to receive God’s Grace and forgiveness. It seems to me that this is just one more thing that possibly authentic Christians are “giving away.” And, if we keep giving away, then, really, do we have to keep Jesus in the fold? If a person says they are a Christian, but their acts are in direct contradiction to the Bible (repeatedly, overwhelmingly, and on many multiple fronts, not just one or two, once or twice), then maybe it is ok to question which “Jesus” they are following? [Matthew 7:15-23]

      {Please recall that there were Christian organizations in favor of slavery, and there is at least one Christian organization in favor of abortion on demand. Both use / used the Bible as their basis for their position. We can’t both be right on these issues. In fact, many homosexuals justify their behavior on the fact that Jesus Himself never said anything against homosexuality. Now, here is an excellent case for the power of apologetics. We all know what the easy, logical reply is to such a statement, and it isn’t in the Bible!}

      None of this means, of course, that we should say to God, “please send her to Hell,” since that is the default destination for us all, but by God’s Amazing Grace, and is in direct contradiction to Scripture. But, it does mean that we may not want to hang out with such a person, and we may wish to stand up to what they are saying if we feel strongly that it is anti-Biblical.

      I view WK’s blog as an accumulation of apologetics, not as a single story. And, I think to him, this is just “one more thing,” albeit a very important issue. But, this is me speaking and not him, and I could very well be in error.

      Like

  13. WorldGoneCrazy, we agree on a few points, but disagree on a few others. I agree that there are Christians who claim to support all the things you list, but I take issue with the “claim to be” label when it is selectively applied simply to those who one disagrees with. They are controversial now, but abortion, gay marriage, etc. are not demarcating beliefs. Never have been; nor is there any reason to consider them so. This is especially the case with the “emergent church”, which is a nebulous enough term that people like to vaguely refer to such people being heretical without actually demonstrating it.

    Even if all those things correlating were a strong red flag, the fact that we do not know (as you admit) what Joy thinks about most of these these things means there is no reason to treat her as anything other than what she claims to be – a Christian. And while I agree that “claims to be” is a valid position to take, it would then need to be taken for everybody. William Lane Craig also “claims to be” a Christian, J.P. Moreland also “claims to be” a Christians, etc. But I don’t see WK, or anyone else, use that modifier with those he agrees with. That label is only thrown out when we suspect someone is NOT a Christian.

    I would agree that if someone’s actions are in direct contradiction to Jesus’ teachings, then it is fair to question whether or not they are actually following Jesus (which is what “Christian” means). But it’s obvious to me that someone who claims pre-marital sex is not shameful and that gay marriage isn’t either is not contradicting anything Jesus taught. The stance on pre-marital sex doesn’t even contradict anything in the Bible, and the concept of gay marriage, as we understand it, isn’t even addressed in the Bible. The morality of gay sex might be addressed in the OT, but if so it is right next to prohibitions against mixed fabrics. The only way to justify rabid adherence to one, but not the other, is to build arbitrary categories of Law that never existed. In any case, it is more likely that such prohibitions are referring to pederasty, which everyone agrees is wrong. And, yes, gay sex is condemned by Paul in the NT, but on the same grounds that he affirms short hair for men and head coverings for women – neither of which most Christians feel very strongly about, much less want to make into a “red flag” indicator of heresy/apostasy.

    Like

    1. JB, I agree with most of what you posted here, but I do wish to, respectfully, point out that when you say that gay marriage does not contradict “anything that Jesus taught,” I must point out, kindly I hope, the flaw in such reasoning: absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. In other words, Jesus never talked about the Jewish Holocaust either. What do you say to a Christian who says he supports what Hitler did to the Jews? Is it ok to rebuke in that circumstance or no? After all, support of the Jewish Holocaust is not what the Gospel is about, technically speaking, right? He could be saved and support the Jewish Holocaust, right?

      I noticed that you left out abortion in your last paragraph. Of course, technically speaking, a person could still believe abortion was good and be a believer, right? (In fact, Abby Johnson said that was the case for her, even while she was running a Planned Murder-in the-Hood clinic. She was sincere in that statement, and I do take her at her word.)

      Now, the current American president is in favor of abortion on demand and voted against the Born Alive Act 3 times. (I know, I know, he CLAIMS it was for other reasons. Sorry – I couldn’t resist. :-)) Now, that places him solidly in company (based on acts and words) with Kermit Gosnell regarding the sanctity of life of babies in the womb and those who have survived abortion attempts and lived to make it out of the womb, except Gosnell actually performed the dirty deed. (Not that Jesus cares one whit about that distinction!)

      He has also conducted a deluge of attacks on Christian rights in America. This president calls himself a Christian, and has spoken about his personal relationship with Jesus. I ask this respectfully and without sarcasm: Would it be appropriate, under such circumstances, for Wintery to use “claims to be a Christian” to describe the current American president? Also, was it a sin, certainly not unforgiveable by any means, for American Christians to vote for him – those that did and only voted once that is?

      Like

      1. WorldGoneCrazy, I think it is pretty obvious that supporting the Holocaust directly contradicts a number of Jesus’ teachings, whether it’s loving your enemy, turning the cheek, or loving your enemies (if that’s how you view Jews). I do think that someone can be a Christian and be pro-choice, depending on the rationale behind it. The issue is clearly complex, as the church is just as divided on it as society in general is.

        As for your other questions: yes, “claim to be” is appropriate, with the same caveat(s) I mentioned before. If you’re going to use it for him (or anyone), it needs to be for reasons other than disagreement; it needs to be demonstrated that there is some fundamental contradiction with Jesus’ Way. And, no, not a sin to vote for him. One can vote for a president with which one has a fundamental moral disagreement. A vote for a candidate is often more of an expression of greater discontentment with the other candidate.

        Like

        1. Well, there you have it. It doesn’t matter that the early church took in abandoned infants and prohibited abortion, because JB knows what the Bible really meant – not the early church.

          Look:
          http://birdsoftheair.blogspot.com/2010/11/early-christianity-on-abortion.html

          Quote:

          Recently I came across a reading of the Didache. “The what?” you may ask. The Didache is a book written somewhere in the first or second century. For a long time it was up for consideration as Scripture. It was believed to be the Teaching of the Twelve Apostles. Eventually it was agreed that the book was an excellent book, but not inspired Scripture. So I was pleased to be able to download this admirable book containing good teachings from the early Church fathers.

          The book seemed to be largely a lot of quotes from Scripture. You’ll learn the basic rules of Christianity — “First, you shall love God who made you; second, love your neighbor as yourself.” You’ll learn that “grave sins” are forbidden, like adultery, murder, fornication, and so on. (They specifically include pederasty in the list.) There are instructions regarding teachers, prophets, Christian assembly, and so on. Lots of the normal, good stuff. But, since this was written sometime prior to 200 AD, I was somewhat surprised at this instruction: “You shall not murder a child by abortion” (Didache, Ch 2).

          More are linked here:
          http://www.priestsforlife.org/magisterium/earlychurchfathers/fatherscover.html

          Notice how these early Christian sources conflict with JB’s assertion that there can be pro-abortion Christians. Not just one time, but many, many times. That’s because JB is wrong in his interpretation of the Bible.

          Basically, what JB has been doing in his comments is interpreting the Bible against the grid of modern non-Christian ideologies and completely disregarding the interpretations of the text by the people who were closer to the original events. Bible-believing Christians get the meanings of the words from the people who were closest to them, whereas JB is trying to project modern immorality back into the ancient text for his own purposes.

          I think JB needs to give it a rest and maybe go back and study how people closer to the events interpreted the moral obligations of the Christian life. Hint: A person can’t live like an atheist and then call himself a Christian. We know what Christians looked like in ancient times, and what they taught. And JB’s teachings are coming from a different place.

          Like

        2. JB, I am not at all satisfied with your answers as to why a person supporting the Holocaust cannot be a Christian. It is good that you focus on Jesus, but do you do so at the exclusion of the rest of the Bible, which is also known as God’s Word? I think that there may be quite a few Biblical reasons to go against the Jewish Holocaust, but “love your enemy” is not the first one that comes to mind for me. :-) If it is so obvious to you, yet abortion. pre-marital sex, and gay marriage are not so obvious to you, I must respectfully ask you if you are cherry-picking the Bible in order to support your a priori views?

          Again, you did not answer my question about what happens when Jesus does not address a particular issue. Does that mean “anything goes?” I pray not! God’s Word is slightly bigger than the words recorded for Jesus in the Bible, important though they are.

          BTW, there is NOTHING complex about abortion, unless one is looking to justify it a priori. (Randy Alcorn gives the full Biblical view on abortion.) When I hear the words “complex” or “let’s have a conversation,” I generally know that I am about to enter the midst of an exercise in mental gymnastics that makes Mary Lou Retton look like a novice. When the church and society were divided on owning human beings (slavery), was that issue “complex?” If there is no one left on the earth who thinks that the Jewish Holocaust was wrong, does that mean it wasn’t? What about when everyone (believers and unbelievers alike) thought the earth was flat? Was it flat?

          On the issues of gay marriage and pre-marital sex, WK has done a very nice job of connecting the dots (over a body of postings) as to why these things lead to the destruction of the concept of marriage, the family as a unit, and why such destruction is bad for societies as a whole, especially for religious freedom. (Of course, all he really had to do was link to the articles of gay activists admitting that the purpose of gay marriage was to destroy the institution of marriage – that is pretty direct proof – IMO. Hey, at least they are honest!) He has done this primarily through secular sources, but it really is difficult for me to find where in the Bible, God is so anti-family and pro-gay. Aren’t we, as Christians, considered to be His children? What about all the references to “brother?”

          Finally, I am stunned by your response as to the non-sinful nature of a Christian voting for someone who has demonstrated in every way imaginable that his beliefs, practices, policies, and words are anti-Christian, including the soft persecution of Christians. I ask you to prayerfully consider if this is what Jesus meant in Matthew 24:4-14.

          Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s