Women, Know Your Worth

What value can be placed on a human? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Last night, Allie and I went to the home of another couple from our church for a small group. We got there early so Allie could fix a pizza. I was in the living room with the father and two of his daughters when somehow, the topic came to one of them talking to her boyfriend and how she hopes to get married. She then said it probably wouldn’t happen anytime soon. I asked why.

I got two reasons. The first is that they’re both too young with him being 20 and she 18. It’s not too young, but if that was the only concern, I could understand. The second was that he said he wanted to travel first. That one told me, as I said to her, that this is a guy who is more interested and going and having his fun first and then coming back to you. You are not a top priority then and don’t expect that to change.

This led into a talk on marriage and the importance of honoring ourselves. Many Christians can have an attitude that what we do with our bodies doesn’t matter. This is not a Christian position. Your body is important. It is the place where the Holy Spirit dwells and you have to decide what kind of temple you’re going to give Him. Granted, I’m still not the best at this, but it is something my wife and I are both working on with both of us.

When Paul says this in 1 Cor. 6, he’s mainly talking about sex. Some people were saying it’s no big deal to sleep with a prostitute. This was because for many people in the ancient world, sleeping with a prostitute didn’t really constitute adultery. It was just a way of relieving excess passions. Paul will not agree with this. Sleeping with someone is making yourself united to that someone regardless. That’s why he goes on in 1 Cor. 7 to say that men and women who burn with desire should get married so they do have a place for those passions and when married, they should not withhold from one another except for by mutual consent and even then, only for a short time so they will not be tempted. Blatantly, Paul says one of the reasons to get married is so that you can have sex and that is part of the deal.

So I told this girl about the dangers of our society. If you live together before marriage, you are more likely to have a divorce. When you do that, you’re essentially testing one another and that in an area of immense intimacy. It can’t be a place of freedom and trust then because you know somewhere you’re always being judged. Of course, some people can bring this attitude to marriage and if so, that needs to be eliminated.

I also said that two groups of people were talked to about the idea of living together. One group said that this is a stepping stone and they were working on getting married. The second group said that things are going fine and they see no change in the future. She didn’t get what I was asking when I asked who made up what group. Allie then said, “Which group was the men and which one was the women?” It wasn’t hard to figure out that the women are group one and the men are group two.

You ladies might not have figured it out, but men tend to be very very interested in sex. There’s a saying that women will give sex to get love and men will give love to get sex. Of course, a marriage relationship is a great place for the exchange of sex and love together and in that relationship, it forms an increasing spiral. The more you have sex, the more the love builds. The more the love builds, the more you have sex. On and on it goes. Sex is not the foundation for the marriage, but it sure plays an important part.

Unfortunately, too many women think that if they just give the guy the sex, that will be an incentive to him to marry them. The sad reality is more often than not, it’s an incentive not to. After all, he’s already got what he wants. Why should he give more? This is especially so since he doesn’t want to wind up paying child support and alimony someday. He can get all the thrills he wants without a commitment.

So I told her that she is the one who sets the value in the market. Men are more often than not the pursuers and women the ones being pursued. She determines how much her body is worth before she gives it to a man. Is she worth dinner and a movie? A week of dating? A month? Three months? A year? Engagement? Or is she worth a lifelong commitment and she’s not budging until he says “I do.”?

Now ladies, if your man truly desires you and thinks you worthwhile, he will do whatever it takes. If he doesn’t, he won’t. Too many men will be tempted to view you like their XBox. You’re great to have around when they want to have some fun, but it doesn’t mean they’re interested in a long-term commitment where they genuinely care about you.

And if he cares about you, well yes, he will care about the sex and he will want the sex and he will still do most anything for that, but he will care about you as a person too. He will put your needs and feelings and thoughts above his own. He will be willing to sacrifice. In essence, he will love you as Christ loved the church.

And ladies, you are worth it. You are sacred. You are Princesses. You do not deserve to be treated in a common manner. Every single lady out there is a treasure and if she wants to marry, she does not need to settle. She needs to find a guy who will treat her honorably and be making sure she will treat him honorably as well. I say this mainly to the women because this is largely a woman’s issue. There is plenty more to be said to the men and that’s another blog post.

So if you want to hear something for the men, just wait. There’s plenty my own sex needs to do as well. For now, please don’t let yourself be used at all ladies. You’re worth more than that.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: Engendered

What do I think of Sam Andreades’s book published by Weaver Book Company? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

As a married man, reading about differences in gender is very interesting to me. How is it that husbands and wives are to relate together? What is it that makes us so different? What makes a man a man and what makes a woman a woman? As a Christian, I am thoroughly interested in a Biblical perspective, especially in an age where we often get the soundbite that gender is a social construct.

Andreades’s book is an excellent one. It was one I looked forward to reading every night. It’s hard for some to imagine that someone could take gender and make it interesting, but Andreades makes it fascinating. Andreades pulls you in and if you’re like me, inspires you to be a better man. (The counterpart being a better woman of course.)

Andreades also deals with current issues. He has done interviews with men who used to be in homosexual relationships and are now happily married to women. The interview involves a questionnaire that he calls the “Does She Matter?” quiz. His interviews show that change is indeed possible.

He also deals with false ideas of masculinity and femininity. Some men, for instance, thrive on love more than respect. Does that mean they’re less of men? One favorite part of mine is where he says that he in his life although being a man has never drunk a can of beer. Do you want to step outside and make something of it? As a man who never drinks alcohol, I can assure him I don’t, and I’m also the man who gets absolutely bored at football games.

The book is biblical entirely. One interesting aspect is he’ll tell a biblical story, but you won’t know it is one. These will often open chapters. Then I tried to always find out if I could identify the story. Fortunately, I could. It does make the stories show up in a whole new light. One particular aspect I liked is his look at women in the book of Judges. What is that? I guess you’ll have to get the book to find out.

Andreades also deals with thorny issues like submission in marriage and what role leadership plays. These are handled delicately and I think both sexes can find affirmation in what was said. Both are repeatedly called to live sacrificial lives.

What also makes something masculine? (Or feminine) In a favorite illustration, Andreades asks men to imagine going to the big Super Bowl, promised to be the best one of all. You sit down at the fifty-yard line right up front. Then you look to your left and see a woman. There’s one to your right as well. You look around and the stadium is largely full of women aside from some isolated men wondering what’s going on like yourself. Do you suddenly feel masculine? Could it be the masculinity is not in football, but the men you are with?

Interestingly, Andreades doesn’t really get into sex until the final section and not much is said about it, and I would very much like to hear his perspective on the role of sexuality in marriage. There’s also then something for the single people. If male and female relationships are what define us, can single people be male or female? Of course they can, but again, that’s for you to find out.

If I could recommend one book right now on this topic it would be this one. Andreades is an excellent writer and treats the text seriously. I look forward to any future writings he has.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: Love By The Book

What do I think of Walter Kaiser’s book published by Weaver Book Company? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

There are some subjects that are often deemed too risque to talk about at church. One of those is sex. This is quite unusual since we have a whole book of the Bible dedicated to marriage and sex, which is, of course, the Song of Songs. Even in the past, it was considered something that you should be fully mature before you read the book. Some rabbis suggested waiting until you were thirty years old.

Kaiser thinks we need to look at this book again. We live in an age where the culture wants to redefine marriage and where sexual virtues are going out the window fast. The church needs to be living out what was meant by marriage. His contribution to this is to look at this beautiful love story in the Bible.

For many of us who read the Song of Songs, it can seem a bit disjointed. Who is saying what? What is going on? One of the first mistakes Kaiser wants us to move past is reading it as an allegory. Could we say in some ways it’s a story of the love of God and Israel or Christ and the church? Perhaps, but let’s not get so caught up in the allegory that we miss the non-allegorical reading, it’s a celebration of true marital love.

Kaiser also says the more historical interpretation has been to see it as a story. The story involves this beautiful little shepherd girl who Solomon sees one day as he’s touring his country and decides to take into his harem. He woos her with all the best that he has and the other ladies of the harem, the daughters of Jerusalem are all there. Everyone is stunned. This girl is not giving in to the king. Why? Because she is in love with her shepherd-boyfriend back home.

The story then becomes one of faithful devotion. The girl will turn down the allure of the king in order to be with the one that her heart truly desires. Nothing can destroy the passionate love that she feels for this man. In the end, Solomon decides to let her go. She is in essence “The one that got away.” He ends up writing this song, the greatest of songs, about this love of his who he failed to seize because she had sold her heart to a shepherd boy already.

Kaiser’s book is short. It could be read in an evening if one wanted to. It also is good for small groups as it has several discussion questions. The book is friendly enough that it could be read easily without causing much embarrassment. Each chapter has discussion questions that a group could discuss together. I think it would be optimal for a small group that consists of married couples to read this together and discuss the commitment that they have to their own marriage.

I have long been an advocate of the idea that if we are going to restore marriage truly to the church, we have to live it. A proper understanding of sex and marriage is something we really need for that. Kaiser’s book is something that is needed for such a time as this.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Loving Things, Using People

Are we a society of users? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

On Facebook yesterday, I saw an old story about a woman in a competition I believe in Poland who apparently had sex with 919 men in a day, and another sad part is she beat her competition by a small number. Ultimately, I see a woman who has cheapened herself and allowed herself to be used just to get a record like this. The story ended with saying that she had sex with her “lucky” boyfriend that evening. Yes. A lucky guy no doubt. He was lucky enough to be #920 in line. Can she truly say she’s saved something special for him?

Isn’t that term interesting? We speak of someone “Getting lucky.” Now I understand what it means. Most any married man especially will tell you that an evening that includes sex is a good evening and naturally, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with wanting that, looking forward to it, and enjoying it. What is often wrong is that this is seen as the goal of relationships. Why does a guy date a girl? Ultimately often just to get into her pants we think. Now don’t understand. Any guy dating a girl should want to have sex with her. He really should. That desire must be controlled until marriage, but the desire is not the problem. Treating it as the greatest good is.

In a married relationship, one of the biggest goals of sexuality in it is to unify closer together. The main theory is that women need to feel intimate to have sex and men need to have sex to feel intimate. A woman should indeed give sex for the sake of intimacy, but a man should always be doing his part. Men. Please never stop dating your wife and being romantic. We often, both men and women, put forward our best foot while dating and strive to be our best, but then when we marry it’s easy to say “Well I’ve got them now” and coast. Don’t coast. Be keeping up the speed you’re going on and gaining more and more.

If there’s something I suspect leads to this usage of men and women, though especially women in our culture, it is that we don’t have a rite of passage in our society. In many parts of the world, there is a rite of passage where a young man or woman undergoes a ritual or completes a task or something of that sort where they are then seen as a fully functioning man or woman by society. We go so far against that that we have a stage called adolescence and call people teenagers. They are not seen as adults, but they are not seen as children, but they strive to be adults. (Why do even small children play games where they are adults?)

For many men, the rite of passage for them as being seen as a man is having sex. It is “conquering” as it were, a woman. After all, you don’t want to be a prude and be a virgin do you? What does that mean to say you cannot be successful in a relationship with a woman? Are you scared or what?

For many women, it can be similar, but the desire for them is to be loved and know that they are beautiful. Girls. Let me put this to you clearly. When a guy wants sex, he will do or say most anything to get it. (Yeah. In case you haven’t noticed, women have this strange power over men. Wives. You need to realize you have this power too to motivate your man to goodness.) They will tell you they love you and that you’re beautiful and everything. Unfortunately, they will often kick you to the curb afterward. They got what they want. Move on to the next one.

For women, I encourage you to realize something. You are the one in charge. You let every man know how much you’re worth. So how much are you worth? Dinner and a movie? Three dates? A month? Six months? Engagement? Women. You can’t put a higher price on yourself than marriage. You let every man know you’re worth a lifelong commitment and if he’s not willing to pay the price, he doesn’t get what he wants.

What I wish women realized is that you are beautiful and you don’t need to treat that beauty cheaply. If a man really wants you, he will do what it takes and if that means marriage, he’ll do it. If he’s not willing, he’s not worthy. Please don’t also accept this garbage about living together. You can’t have a good relationship if you’re treating each other like a test. It won’t work.

The end result overall in our society is that we have treated sex as a god and used one another as a way of getting this god. Now there is something that we actually have right here. Sex is a transcendent experience. I have a book here written by a pastor and his wife and in it, the authors say something along the lines of that if an atheist ever asks you to prove that there is a God, just say one word. Sex. Give him a day to think about it. If he’s not convinced, he’s told you a lot more about his sex life than he realizes.

There is a transcendent experience there. It is something that gets you out of yourself and entering into something totally unique. It was made to be that way. Sex was God’s idea first. He created it, the engine behind it, and the strong desire for it. One of the big mistakes we have made is to treat it as something dirty. It’s not.

One of my favorite blogs to read is “To Love, Honor, and Vacuum.” Sheila Wray Gregoire runs it and she said recently she is going to stop telling women they need to stay pure until marriage. I was a bit astounded and read to see what she was saying, then I agreed with her! What kind of message is it to say “Stay pure until you’re married and then when you have sex, you’re no longer pure.” You still are pure! Sex doesn’t make you dirty!

So what’s the danger? We confuse the gift with the giver. There is a saying that a finger is good for pointing at the moon, but woe to the man who mistakes a finger for the moon. Picture having a dog and pointing at his food dish for him to eat. Instead, the dog sniffs your finger. He misses the point. So do we. We see sex as an end in itself when really, it’s a great good to lead to even greater goods.

So what happens when we treat it as the end in itself? We use one another. Lewis once wrote about a man who was trapped with a great lustful desire. People would say he needs a woman. Lewis said that is the last thing he needs. If he came across a real woman, he wouldn’t know what to do with her. What he wants most is not a woman but sex and the female body happens to be the apparatus he wants to use to get that sex. The person doesn’t matter. It is the body that makes the difference.

For the Christian, it’s both. If we say that the body doesn’t matter and taking care of it doesn’t matter, then we are essentially gnostics. The body does matter, but it is not just a body. It is a person with a body. The body is how we perform the acts of love for one another. Do you kiss the person you love? Do you do works of art or fix them dinner or take care of the house or earn a living or anything else? All of these are done with the body.

If you think the body doesn’t matter, then picture this. You are a wife sitting at home and your husband comes in. Normally he comes to where you’re sitting, leans over and kisses you. Today, he leans over and smacks you across the face. Does that matter? You bet it does. The body is the means you use to express the desire of your soul. That is what takes places in marriage. The marriage act itself is the greatest expression of your soul through your body to show how much you love and want and trust and desire the other person.

What’s it going to take to change this? For one thing Christians, please stop thinking that a purity pledge, a single talk from Mom and Dad, and a few verses in Paul is enough to stop raging hormones. It isn’t. Just think back to when you were dating. Instead, your child needs a whole worldview of sex. They need to know what place it plays and why it’s reserved for marriage.

Second, let your boys and girls have ways to know they are men and women apart from sex. Fathers are the most essential at this. Fathers need to treat boys like men and make them into men. Ultimately, only another man can do that. If you’re a single mother, I urge you to find someone who can be a father figure for your sons. It could be a coach, an uncle, or a grandfather.

For those of you with daughters, please always let your daughter know she’s beautiful and loved. Make it so that if she marries a man, he’s going to be a man who treats her in a way easily comparable to how her Daddy treats her. When Valentine’s Day rolls around, order something for your daughter as well. Let her know what a special person she is in your life. Be willing to spend father-daughter time together. Even now that Allie and I are married, her Dad will still come to see her and take her out for some father-daughter time together. I have no problem with that. When we lived in Knoxville, her father-in-law once took her to a church event that was a father-daughter dance. I stayed at home. I had no problem with it.

And when it comes to the marrieds, like my own wife and I, can we still get “lucky.”? Yes. We can. In fact, we are. We are “lucky” because we have one person that gives us that ultimate trust and desire. Sex is the full expression of that love and desire with no fear of holding back. What makes us “lucky” is we have someone who shares that experience with us and only us. I share something unique with Allie and she shares it with me that is not shared with anyone else on the planet. How can I not be lucky? I’m the only person in this world treasured by Allie and who gets to fully treasure her.

Ladies especially, please realize your worth. Many men will want to use you and even good men will be tempted to give in. Be strong. You are worth it. Wait until marriage. You have the rest of your lives then to enjoy that gift together and it is a gift. Be picky. Be finicky. Be exclusive. You don’t need to settle for anything less than a lifetime commitment.

Follow these steps, and it is far less likely that you will use one another. You are not objects. The greatest good is not the sex. The greatest good is the love and joy that is shared mutually. Sex is the way that you get this in a married relationship, but it is not the end in itself.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Valentine’s Day Thoughts for 2017

What are we to do with Valentine’s Day? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Today is Valentine’s Day, which many also do call Singles’ Awareness Day. I do understand it. I used to dread the day, but now I’m married so that changes. As I thought about the day today, I thought about how much has changed since the coming of Christ with regard to romantic love.

One of the mistakes we often make when we read the Bible is we assume the people of the time were for the most part, just like us. They weren’t. Through studies today, we’re learning that the majority world is really radically different and we’re the odd ones out. They function more in terms of honor and shame and we in terms of guilt and innocence.

One way of change also is romantic love. Now let’s be clear. When we look at the ancients, there were indeed times that you would see a man with deep love and affection for his spouse. This was more often the exception. Many a man was seen as more of a man by how many women (Or young boys even) he could bed. The women meanwhile were to be chaste. As we see our culture abandoning Christianity, it’s not a shock that we move back to that idea even more.

Marriages were more often arranged. There wasn’t any going out and dating and finding the right man for you. You were also expected to be married at a much earlier age. Many of our fourteen-year-old girls today could be in a panic trying to decide what to wear to school the next day. Their ancestors would be busy being mothers to children. I really think one of the great disasters of our age is we’ve lost a rite of passage idea into manhood and womanhood and too many of our young people think the way you show yourself a man or a woman is by having sex instead of having the mindset of a man or a woman.

When we go to the letter to the Ephesians, we can get into a lot of arguments about a woman submitting to her husband. What we often forget is the shock that would come to the men when they heard the command to love their wives and give themselves for them. They would have thought that Paul was on the crack of his day.

Through Christ, we learned immensely about sacrificial love and men learned to be chaste and be only with their wives sexually. This became a reigning paradigm for some time, but sadly we’ve seen ourselves moving away from it. Just yesterday in fact, I read a statistic about how 30% of women doing online dating sleep with the guy on the first date. You have to wonder at that point if anything is sacred.

Valentine’s Day is a day for us as Christians to show the world a different and a better way. I always encourage Christians who are married to live out their marriage. If we look at the world as dishonoring marriage, my fear is that the world does it because the church did it first. If we want the battle for true marriage, we need to not only defend marriage as it is, but we need to live it as it is.

I don’t know what your plan is for your sweetheart on Valentine’s Day, but if you are a husband, love her as Christ loved the church. If you are a wife, love him as the church loves Christ. Seek to give of yourselves. There is no place in marriage for looking out for yourself. In fact, we are told to look out for the interests of others above ourselves. If you can’t do that in marriage, where can you do it?

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Your First Ministry

Where does your Christian service begin? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

In this post, I’m mainly writing to my fellow apologists, but I think what I say applies to every field of ministry. Also, I will be using male pronouns throughout and such, but if you’re a woman, just find the counterpart. It will apply to you just as much.

In apologetics, it’s understandable that you have to be specially equipped. You have to spend that time in study and there are those debates that you have to attend to. That happens. I have the same situation. I read my books as much as I can. I want to be able to answer as much as I can.

We also know that what we do, well, we do for God. There should be no question about that. We are not in the ministry for ourselves. We are in it for the cause of a  greater good. God is not a means to the success of our kingdoms. We are a means to the success of His.

Despite all of this, many of could still be failures in ministry. I have something specific in mind for a failure in ministry. This is someone who no matter how good they do in the apologetics field, even if they’re someone like the next William Lane Craig, they have failed their first ministry.

That ministry is their family.

Now I know some of you might say “Well Jesus said if we do not hate our families, we cannot be His disciples.” We all know that means that the Kingdom has to come before our families, yes. If we rank our priorities, the Kingdom is our first priority. Still, that doesn’t mean we abandon our family responsibilities for the Kingdom. This is said in passages such as Jesus talking to the Pharisees about eating with unwashed hands or in Paul’s talking in 1 Tim. 3 about the requirements of a deacon and one being that they lead their own families.

You see, if you’re in apologetics, there are plenty of other people that can take the work for you if you need a break. I don’t debate on Sundays for instance. It’s just a day to recharge. On those days, I don’t worry. There are plenty of other people who can do apologetics meanwhile. I don’t have to jump into every debate I see. There are other people who can handle debates.

Despite all that I do, there is only one person who can be a husband to Allie, and that is me. So it is for all of you out there. Only one person can be a husband to your wife and only one person can be a father to your children. You don’t want to risk that role going to another man because you shirked your responsibilities.

I encourage men for instance when they get married, go on your honeymoon and take no book with you except your Bible for daily reading with your spouse, not for academic reading for yourself. Do not do Facebook or email while there. The world can wait. This time should be devoted to your spouse and the rest of the world can wait.

Now, of course, there will be valid exceptions. If you’re on your honeymoon and you meet someone who just wants to know how to be a Christian or you encounter someone who is suicidal, by all means, do your Christian duty, but don’t be seeking it out. These kinds of exceptions apply across the board, but don’t be looking for them.

Please never ever forget this. Your marriage should be your first priority and dare I say it, it is more important even than your children. One of the best gifts you can give your children is a good marriage. In fact, don’t hesitate to gross the kiddies out. Let them see you two kissing together.

Some of you who follow me on Facebook know that every day, except Sunday, I’m posting something about how much Allie means to me. Why do I do this? Because it’s my belief that a husband and wife should have Facebook pages that others can be clear about their love for their spouse. If you come to my page, I want you to know how much Jesus means to me and I want you to know how much Allie means to me.

So my friends, please do the work and study hard and learn all you can, but remember, if you have a family, do not neglect them. You have a work with them that no one else can do. Your family is your first ministry.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Do We Think About Sex Too Much?

Do we need to change our minds? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I remember years ago seeing someone on Facebook put up a status saying that the problem with our society is we think too much about sex. One can see his point. You turn on the TV and before too long, you see sex. You listen to our political debates, you hear sex. More and more people are living together before marriage. Sex is seen as a rite of passage for many men to show that they are indeed men. Sex is practically our national obsession. So surely the answer to the question is obvious.

The answer to the question is, no. We don’t think too much about sex. I contend just the opposite. We think too little about sex.

“What? Are you crazy?! Look at what you just said! Look at what’s on our TV sets! Look at what you see in the movies! Look at how sexually active our young people are! Look at how much people are having sex! Surely we’re thinking too much about this!”

No. Not at all. We dream about it. We fantasize about it. We hope about it. We desire it. We just outright do it plenty. All of this is true, but we don’t spend a lot of time really thinking about it. We don’t really examine what the national obsession is and why we care about it so much.

To be sure, let me state I am never at all condemning strong sexual desire. I am a happily married man. You think I’m going to condemn sexual desire? No way. One of the great gifts of marriage is that you get to experience the fulfillment of this sexual desire. In fact, if you have strong, strong sexual desire, you should go and get married.

The question we need to ask is what is this great wonder that we are so amazed about? I find it amazing that we have spent so many years developing great tools for our entertainment. We have more channels on TV, more games we can play, more gadgets we can be amused with, etc. What is it that we still find ourselves so obsessed with? Sex. That is just what our great forerunners thousands of years ago were obsessed with. All the pleasures of the world and we still can’t top the one from the beginning. Why is that?

Before I was married, there was something I thought odd about sex. Many of my fellow friends and I who were all waiting for marriage had this great and intense desire for something we were sure was very good, and we had no idea why we just seemed to instinctively know that. How can you have an intense longing for something that you’ve never had before? This is part of the mystery.

And what is it that we really want? A lot of women have a really simplistic view of men for instance. This is the view that all a man cares about is physical release and not emotional connection at all. The Unveiled Wife site had a recent article about an interview with her husband and it says “His answers will surprise you.” You can read it here.

They might surprise you if you’re a woman. Most husbands I know were reading it and going through and saying “Yeah. That’s exactly what I would have said.” As I read the article, I knew that that was exactly what I would have said as well. It wasn’t breaking news. That a lot of women consider this a shock is something that I do find concerning.

Could it be we really want what could be called a transcendent experience? Could it be we truly want to be accepted by another totally? Could it be that sex is really built in so that each of us gets something we deeply desire? A man desires to be strong and respected and wanted. A woman desires to be loved and seen as beautiful. Sex gives us both.

We have spent so much time doing sex and treating it like just a hobby, instead of really thinking about it. This is especially so for us Christians. After all, sex is not our idea. It’s God’s. He made it. He set everything in motion. He built in the desire. He even gave us a book in Scripture all about the celebration of sex.

Earlier in the post, I indicated that we see sex everywhere and talk about it everywhere. Unfortunately, that isn’t true. There is one place we don’t do that. That is the church. In the church, sex is very often that forbidden topic. Sure, many of our men and some of our women are spending the week struggling with pornography. Sure. Many of our young people are thinking that any sexual expression is okay as long as it’s in love and you don’t hurt anyone and are living together and sexually active themselves. Sure, our church members are thinking about this topic and seeing it all around them and the public school system and the rest of the world has a message about sex, but that doesn’t mean we need to talk about it.

There’s a word for that. That word is “stupid.”

If anything, the church should be talking about sex more than anyone else. We worship the God who created it. It is His gift to us. We are to handle it properly. We ought to be taught about the sacredness of sex. It’s not something dirty, like many people believe. It’s also not something just for men that women are to suffer through. Sex is holy and we as God’s people ought to treat it as holy.

Unfortunately, many of us don’t really think about sex at all, which is sadly the way we go through our Christianity. We go and sing songs and listen to sermons and read our Bibles, but we don’t really think about what is going on. We go through the experience and we want the experience, but we don’t think about it.

Perhaps today we should begin thinking better about both. If we’re married, how can we better treat sex with our spouses? If we’re single, we still have to honor sex properly, such as by realizing that unless we marry, we have to abstain from all sexual activity. We also have to promote sexual holiness with our fellow man, as in helping to build up marriages and come along side couples when thy have problems.

You know, be the church. We are to be the church in every area of our lives.

Even sex.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

It Is Okay To Enjoy Your Life

Can enjoyment help spread the Kingdom? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

When I did my senior sermon in Bible College, I chose to talk about the theme of wonder. Why is it that we don’t seem to have wonder in anything? Christian philosopher once said the great tragedy for the ancients was that they worshiped the sun, moon, and stars. Our great tragedy is we’re not even tempted to.

Don’t get me wrong here. I’m not opposed to the scientific enterprise, but we’ve reached a point where if we think we can explain anything scientifically, it loses its fascination with us many times. Dan Barker relates an experience in Godless where he is riding with a relative who is trying to convince him of God and points to the beauty of the mountains. Barker responds by giving a scientific explanation of how mountains are formed. The relative takes this as a defeater. Why should it be? Cannot the mountains be the beautiful work of God that hold us in wonder and still be the result of a scientific process?

When I preached the above sermon, someone beforehand hearing about what I was speaking on had told me about a then recent cover of Moody magazine with the question “Is it right to enjoy my life?” Yes. Someone had to honestly ask that and someone had to honestly write an article saying it is no sin to enjoy your life.

Of course, this doesn’t equal traditional hedonism. Don’t go and do something just because it’s fun. At the same time, don’t think something is sinful just because it’s fun. Dare I say it, but one of the great slams you could give to the evil one would be to rightfully enjoy your life?

Why? Because we believe every good and perfect gift comes from God. That means that we ought to enjoy these things. 1 Tim. 6:17 even says this explicitly. God supplies us with all things richly for our enjoyment. This applies to the natural world that we see, but it also implies to the things that we create. We can enjoy a good movie, book, TV show, artwork, hobby, etc.

When we enjoy them, we are delighting in the gifts of God. There is so much around us every day and we are showing the proper gratitude for them. Boredom is not the idea of God. Boredom is more the idea of the evil one. It is the idea of saying that there is nothing here worth being excited about.

It’s odd because we think the devil is behind pleasure. He’s not. Pleasure is a tool for the enemy only if it will keep us from the greatest pleasure, knowing God. This is because we usually see God as a killjoy who is opposed to our fun. If there’s any area of life where this is shown clearest, it’s in sexuality.

Something about sex is that while it has many purposes, one such purpose is pleasure. Sex was meant to be enjoyable for a man and a woman. A woman even has a clitoris just for the purpose that she can enjoy sex. I remember hearing years ago the saying that the devil will do anything he can to make a couple have sex before they’re married, and after they’re married he’ll do anything he can to keep them from having sex. Loving sex in a committed marital union that binds the man and the woman together is something that builds up trust and intimacy and something the evil one would not want. One of the best gifts you could give the Kingdom of God if you’re married is a happy and thriving marriage.

Sadly, Christians have earned the reputation of being opposed to anything enjoyable. How many of us have heard this kind of testimony? “Well, I used to go out and party, get drunk, hang out with beautiful women and have a lot of sex, but now I am a Christian and I don’t do any of that stuff.” A lot of non-Christians in the audience would be saying “Sounds like you lost out.” They’re not right, but can we understand how when we phrase it that way, that they could have a point?

To this day, I can remember being in a Sunday School class with a friend of mine and hearing the teacher say with a finger pointing and in the most monotone way that I can imitate to this day “The Christian life should be the most exciting life of all.” He was right in what he said, but horribly wrong in how he said it. There was nothing exciting about it. The dry tone made us think that he couldn’t have been listening to himself.

I’m not at all advocating a materialistic hedonism or anything like that, but I am saying we Christians need to do some serious thinking about the role of pleasure in our lives. It is no sin to enjoy the world God created. It is no sin to delight in the things He has made. We could say if anything is sin, it is the opposite. It is sin to not appreciate and delight in what He has made.

So for me, I want to make it that part of my witness to the world is that I enjoy being a Christian and I delight in it. I love what I do, including being in the field of Christian apologetics, and I love that I’m married to the woman that I love. These give me enough reason to wake up and be thankful every day. My life has meaning because I am part of the grand story that God is creating and my life is not a punishment. It is a gift.

I think I’ll treat it like one.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: Openness Unhindered. Further Thoughts Of An Unlikely Convert On Sexual Identity And Union With Christ

What do I think of Rosaria Butterfield’s book published by Crown & Covenant Publications? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

We all know the story. A person lives their life struggling with sin and then, they come to Christ. They pour out their heart in repentance to Him and God forgives them and frees them from the shame of the past. No more are they hindered by the chains that kept them bound. They walk in newness of life free from the past temptations entirely.

Or…..maybe not.

In fact, a lot of people would wish that was the case. Sometimes some will be thinking that God betrayed them or lied to them. If we have become new creatures in Christ, why is it that the past is still an issue? Why do we not experience deliverance from all the struggles of the past? How can I be a new creature in Christ and still struggle mightily with a sin?

Rosaria Butterfield knows about this quite well. She had been a professor living in a lesbian relationship when a pastor gently responded to an article she wrote about the Promise Keepers. This pastor was a pushback to her, but also was not in her face. She, in fact, notes that the first time she visited him and his wife, they did not give her the Gospel or invite her to church. In fact, she appreciated that greatly.

She began studying the Bible on her own and in fact studying it as a postmodern. Romans 1 was quite a difficult passage for her, but one she could not escape. What if instead of gay pride, she was just really having pride? What if what she took pride in was in fact really a form of rebellion? The questions came at her fast and furious.

One day, she just reached her breaking point. She wound up admitting that God was God and becoming a Christian. From then on, she knew things had to change. Much of her book is about dealing with this. Indeed she did change. She is now the wife of a reformed pastor in North Carolina, but she has a heart for those who are struggling with many issues.

One of Butterfield’s key themes is identity. Our identity when we come to Christ and even before is not to be based on our sexual orientation, as the term is used. Our identity is greater than the people we are attracted to or share a bed with. One of her main points she wants to have raised is we should not use terms like “gay Christian” even when we speak of Christians who agree that homosexual activity is wrong and want to live a celibate life. Why take an adjective that describes a condition that the Bible refers to as sin and making it part of your identity just like Christian is in your identity? Taking it as an identity is in some way clinging to it and holding on to it, as if it’s something central to who you are.

She does realize that some Christians disagree with this and in fact, she has an example of that in the book. She talks about her friend Rebecca who still struggles with same-sex attraction. Butterfield makes an important point that for some people, sanctification does not necessarily mean being delivered from the sinful temptations. Heterosexuality is not the goal of sanctification, but holiness is and you can just as much be a sinner as a heterosexual as you can a homosexual. For some people, the sign of their sanctification could be living with these sinful desires and NOT giving in.

To the rest of us, she says part of the danger we have could be what she calls the gag reflex to homosexuality. We can describe homosexual acts as if to get the response of “ewww. Yucky.” What we end up doing can be saying “I’m so thankful I don’t do that!” or for those Christians who are struggling with same-sex attraction, putting thoughts in their heads. We can end up having a sort of superiority complex to the homosexuals who do this “shameful behavior.” Now I do believe the Bible describes it as shameful, but that is not because of something being gross. Our problems with a behavior should be with the moral status of the behavior and not the personal taste status of the behavior.

For an analogy, imagine a pastor at a church describing the evil of an affair. Rather than state that a sexual affair is an evil thing, he goes into great detail of a man meeting a woman at a hotel room and describing what goes on behind closed doors. Is he really helping anyone? No. We all know what goes on behind closed doors. If anything, most men in the audience are now suddenly having to deal with a temptation as they are having a fantasy play out in their minds.

Butterfield also stresses that for a Christian, life should be a life of repentance. We should be watching ourselves to see where we are falling short. Butterfield does write with the heart of a counselor. At times, sometimes the reformed aspect can shine through a bit brighter so if, like me, you don’t hold to a Calvinistic position, that can be difficult, but either way, those of us who don’t still do agree with repentance and we do still see God as sovereign even if we don’t understand how that works out.

She also stresses the importance of community. Community should be a way we come together and pray for one another and if anyone does struggle with unwanted attractions, they can find comfort in having people who will hear them. They might not be able to do anything beyond that, besides pray of course, but they can be listeners.

Butterfield’s book is a good one. If there was one area I would change, it’s that there is talk about dealing with unwanted sexual attractions and such, but at the same time, I always want to see that there is a positive message about sexuality. A true sexuality is something God gives us to enjoy and celebrate. It would have been good to have heard Butterfield’s thoughts on that.

Still, this is a book that will leave you thinking and hopefully get you more in tune with thinking about holiness. Repentance is a word much more on my mind since reading this. I also wouldn’t mind seeing more community as described by Butterfield and will definitely be watching to check for the gag reflex approach to homosexuality.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: The Unveiled Wife

What do I think of Jennifer Smith’s book published by Tyndale? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

This book is the story of one woman who got married expecting to find a paradise of roses, but ending up having more thorns. Why? Picture a Christian couple who have saved themselves for marriage who then marry. Later on, the guys all want to ask the groom, “So did you enjoy your first time?”

Jennifer Smith’s husband would not be able to answer that.

In fact, he would not be able to answer that for four years. His wife had intense pain every time they attempted so that they couldn’t seal the deal as it were. This led to increased friction between the two and them. Smith shares the story from her perspective.

Wow. What can I say about this book? I have to say this is one of the most eye-opening books I have ever read. While we didn’t have the same problems, such as four years of a sexless marriage, I found some struggles that my own wife went through and thought “Wow. Other people went through this?” In fact, they went through it even more.

What makes the book so good is that Smith shares her own personal experience. She is truly unveiled as she lets the reader into the then dark places of her soul. She lets you know what she was thinking and feeling. The picture is not a pretty one. At the same time, the beauty is that it’s a real one.

In fact, one night after reading this on my Kindle, I went to the Facebook app and sent my own wife a message about how I wanted to be a better husband. I think I do good already, but there’s ALWAYS room for improvement. I wanted to let her know I’m here for any struggles that she has. The story in the book moves me that much.

Smith is a talented writer who gets you drawn into the story. Even though I knew going in what was the problem with the couple, it was nothing like getting to hear the story itself. When you get to the point where the trouble is resolved in the account, it is like reading a miracle account and you truly celebrate with them at that point.

Wives. This book will also show what a difference sex does play in a marriage. When a couple goes four years without, it places a huge strain on the relationship. A man feels inadequate because a deep need can’t be satisfied. A woman feels inadequate because the need of her husband isn’t being met.

The book is also written for discussion quite easily, though largely aimed at women. Each chapter is short and ends with questions that can easily foster discussion. That makes this an excellent book for women to read together.

I can easily say this is one of the most powerful accounts I have ever read. The story has left me with a greater desire to be a better husband to my wife. I have also learned to work on my own insecurities and get past some grievances with some people who have hurt my wife.

While much of this is geared towards women, I do think it would be great for husbands and wives to read together and discuss. A man reading this can get to hear what it’s like in the mind of a woman. He will walk away realizing the impact that his actions have on her.

Please do go and get this book.

In Christ,
Nick Peters