Book Plunge: Beauty, Order, and Mystery

What do I think of Gerald Hiestand and Todd Wilson’s book published by IVP? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

This book is about a Christian view of human sexuality based on a pastor’s conference on the topic. At the outset, I think it’s awesome that pastors are meeting among themselves and having serious talks on these matters. Now if only we could convince those pastors in the pulpit to start also talking about this material to their parishioners.

The book is a series of essays each dealing with a specific topic. Not just marital sexuality is discussed, but also homosexuality and transgenderism. How is the church to deal with these kinds of issues today? Each of the writings goes in-depth in making the case that it does.

Wesley Hill’s is one that I want to touch on. Wesley Hill is a celibate homosexual Christian who is an assistant professor at the Trinity School for Ministry in Ambridge, Pennsylvania. Hill wants to remind us that not everyone who identifies as a homosexual or someone on that spectrum has some innate hatred for Christianity. Many of them would like to be Christians. Of course, there are some that are anti-Christians, but we should not paint with a broad brush without knowing the person first.

Hill’s essay answers the question of who do homosexuals love. He argues against the idea that marriage should be redefined and then the answer is a really simple one. A homosexual should love their neighbor as themselves. Sex is not the only way to love someone as we all know.

Joel Willitts essay was especially moving as he deals with the dark side of sexuality. For him, it is more of a curse than it is a blessing and this is said even as he is a married man. Willits writes about being abused when he was growing up and how that has damaged his sexuality from that time forward. We should all realize that when we’re in the church, there are a number of people who have been hurt sexually.

Willitts takes a look at addiction and pain then and I shared many of his thoughts with my own wife. He suggests looking at addiction not so much as a curse, but more of an indicator that something is wrong. There is a problem that needs to be worked out. It doesn’t mean that you give in to the addiction. It means you see what it is pointing to and work on the root of the problem.

Daniel Brendsel also has a chapter on selfies and how the world lives in a day and age where we too often market ourselves and think that knowing someone on Facebook tells you all that you need to know. At times, the selfies have got so extreme that there have been a number of fatalities. The other dark side is that a lot of teenagers are doing what’s called sexting, where they’re sending sexually explicit photos of themselves. Of course, it’s more women who are doing this, but I think this is not because women are more perverted, but because women are by far, even to other women I don’t doubt, much more appealing to the eye.

This touches on pornography which is talked about a number of times. Pornography has damaged our culture so much that women can often think they have to do something like sexting to compete. Many men are no longer turned on by real women because they have been looking too much at fake women in pornography.

The book ends with Matt O’Reilly’s essay on what makes sex beautiful. I have to say that while I do agree with the great theology in the essay and he brought out aspects I had not yet considered, I found this one a bit disappointing. Yes. Sex is very theological, but why does the average man on the street think that sex is just so awesome and the woman’s body especially is so beautiful? It is not because he is thinking about theology, but because something in the sex itself beyond what it points to. I think this is something the church needs to seriously think about. What do people want when they want sex? They don’t want it just for the sex, but for some other reason, be it pleasure, intimacy, etc.

Regularly also it was said in the book that the church needs more than just a negative message on sex. We need a positive message. We give so many messages of do nots that we don’t give any messages of when to do and why to do. Our view of sexuality is extremely negative and we don’t embrace the joy and beauty of sex like we should.

Anyone who is interested in areas relating to Christianity and sexuality would be blessed by reading this book. Churches who have pastors who are addressing these topics are indeed blessed. In an age of extreme confusion about sexuality, hopefully we’ll heed the call to have more serious discussion and in our own marriages, more serious enjoyment of sexuality.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

 

The Service Of Sex

Could sexuality be more about serving your fellow man than serving yourself? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I’ve been reading lately a book called Beauty, Order, And Mystery. It’s all about a Christian view of human sexuality. This is something that is greatly needed in our world as many of us don’t bother to understand the topic of sexuality. Instead, we just have a lists of do’s and don’ts and these are floating in the air based on nothing. It’s not sufficient in our day and age to say “Scripture says”, not because Scripture is invalid, but because many of us don’t know how to handle the Scriptures and many on both sides consider it a powerful argument to say that Scripture says to not eat shellfish for instance.

Even if we apply the right hermeneutic, it can still be good to try to figure out why God commands what He commands. Maybe we can never know, but it doesn’t mean we can’t try. This is especially so when we live in a culture, like many others around the world and in history, where sex is just so central to who we are. Sex is the god of our modern world and the greatest good to many that we meet today.

Despite this, few of us really think about sex today. Sometimes people get the idea that our culture thinks too much about sex, but the reality is we think too little. We dream about it, fantasize about it, make media about it, just plain do it, but we don’t think about it. We don’t think about what this action is and how it came to be and how it relates to what it means to be human.

It’s not a shock then when people think sexuality is so fluid and really has nothing to do with the body. A boy today can go to his university and say that he is identifying as a girl and the staff must treat him as a female including all the pronouns. Right here on my desk, I have a guide to pronouns from a local university. It says that people may change pronouns without changing their name, their appearance, or their sexual identity. You are explicitly told to not assume the same pronouns from yesterday apply to today.

This is a recipe for chaos and shows how far we’ve gone down. Who determines who we are? We do. We are the ones in charge or our own identity. Even if we’re given a male or a female body, it’s up to us to decide if we really want to be male or female.

One part I read yesterday talked about a scenario we’ve seen happen often in our world and something that irritates me whenever I see it. A husband or wife will leave their spouse or children and form a relationship with a same-sex lover because they have to be true to themselves. The media will then cheer them on and say that they have found their true identity.

One of the first things I want to know is how is it known that this is the true identity? In an age where everything is said to be scientific, we have to ask what is the scientific test for this? I am not saying science is the answer to everything, but it looks like a lot of people who say it is are very selective on what the everything is.

Yet the other point is that these people are not being true in one sense. They are not being true to promises that they made. They made promises to their spouses and in turn, they have promises to their children. Does your promise to your spouse come first, or does your own desire come first? What message does it send to your children if you put your own self first? What about being true to your family and community?

What about those of us in the church? We definitely need a positive image of sexuality and as I was reading about individualism and sexuality yesterday, I started pondering the idea of sex as service. We can look at that and start thinking about a prostitute performing a service and if we do, we have shown how far off we are.

Sex is often seen in our culture as the goal. Anyone should know easily that this is false. No one wants sex because of sex. They want it because of something else or many other somethings else. It could be pleasure of intimacy or security or children or anything else in this world. Just because the couple has sex together doesn’t mean everything is going to be a bed of roses or they’re meant to be together. I have known couples that have had a passionate sex life together, but split up because that was all they had together. Each person ultimately saw the other as a means to get what they wanted.

Now to be sure, I’m not saying none of us have needs nor am I saying it’s wrong to want to have needs met. It’s not selfish to go to the kitchen and fix a meal because your body needs food. It can be selfish based on how much you have and if you neglect others when you are capable of giving to them as well.

I am saying we should change our perspective. We who hold to a Christian view of sexuality need to think about the role it plays. Just this morning I was reading 1 Cor. 6 which deals greatly with sexual ethics and the importance of honoring God with your body. What you do with your body sexually matters.

If you’re single, your role sexually to honor God is celibacy. This doesn’t have to be lifelong, but the only way it ends is if you marry someone. You’re not to use someone of the opposite sex without giving them the promise of yourself in marriage. If this is something hard, then the Christian requirement is you find someone to marry, and believe it or not, it’s entirely acceptable to have “wanting to have sex” as a reason for marriage. Paul said it in 1 Cor. 7. If you’re someone who is going to burn, then you need to marry.

For those of us who are married, sex is also about how we treat our spouses. Sex is part of the covenant promise you made to the person you married. It needs to be treated as a priority. Otherwise, you’re pretty much just glorified roommates together. Consider this. If you are not honoring your spouse with your body, you are not honoring God with your body.

Let’s look from a man’s perspective. Most men want to be seen as men. Men are often very insecure under whatever presentation they give of themselves. This is one reason men want to compete so much with one another. Each of them is trying to prove that they are the man. One of the best gifts a wife can give her husband is to show him he is the man by sex. It shows him that he is desirable and wanted.

Women often balk at this thinking it so odd. “But we just did it earlier this week? Why does he want it again?” Ladies. Here’s a way to picture this. What if your husband said “I told her I love her earlier this week. Why does she need to hear it again?” “I told her she’s beautiful. Why does she need to hear it again?” “I took her out on a date already. Why does she need to go out again?” “I bought her a gift already. Why does she want something else?”

If this is the way either spouse is thinking about the other, then at that moment they are treating them as an annoyance and their marital obligations as a drudgery. Of course, there will be times when it’s not the right time. If a wife is sick, a husband should not be pushing his desires at that time. Now ladies, if your husband is wanting to be with you, please don’t ever just outright say no. If you have to say no, give a time when you will be ready and able and hold to that time.

Also, remember that what your husband wants most is not for you to look like a supermodel. He won’t complain about that, or he shouldn’t, but he wants most to be wanted by you. He wants your passion. He doesn’t want to be a duty. He wants to be pursued. He wants to know that He is a source of joy for you.

Another point is that many many times, the man has the higher drive. There are marriages where the wife has the higher drive, but it’s usually the man. Ladies. You can really help your man deal with temptation and the struggles of the flesh greatly by being there for him here.

I have written about the way it is for a man previously. I wish to stress one thing here. Ladies. Picture wanting to lose those extra ten pounds and yet having to go through the ice cream or chocolate section of the grocery store. That is what your man is experiencing everyday. He sees beautiful women around him in the real world and in the media and then when he comes home to the one woman he can see while he’s been tempted left and right all day long, she hides away from him. It’s quite distressing for a man. Being available for him will keep him happy and better able to handle temptation, and again, this is one reason Paul encourages regular sex with spouses. They don’t need to be tempted.

Women meanwhile do want to know that they’re beautiful. It’s amazing that one of the great praises a woman can receive is to be told she’s beautiful. When the book of Job ends, it ends by saying Job’s daughters were the most beautiful. So many women in the Bible are praised because of their beauty. Physical beauty is not a bad thing and no wives, your husband is not a pervert because he wants to have sex with you and he wants to see you naked.

Women also have a need for security. What does a man do here then? He treats his wife like a treasure regularly and provides for her the best he can and not just because he wants something from her. He does it because he loves her. He does it in season and out of season. He provides for her a place of security.

Husbands. You’re asking your wives in sex to be completely vulnerable to you. This is something huge for them, especially if they’ve been abused in the past. By showing you their bodies, they are in essence giving you all that they can give you. It is a risk.

Give them security. Let them know they’re safe and treasured. Always treat them like the apple of your eye. (By the way parents, never make your children the focus of your marriage. They’re not. One of the best gifts you can give your children is a loving commitment to your spouse.) Let them know you’re there with them no matter what and when times come when sex is off the table, such as sickness, love them the exact same way.

Too many women can think they are loved only for sex, and too often they can be right. Do the things she thinks are romantic. Date her. Spend time with her. Never stop pursuing her. Too often in a marriage, a man puts on all the charm and romance until he marries his wife, and then he sits down on the couch and watches TV and expects her to serve him hand and foot. To be fair, a number of men say their wives had great physical interest in them until they married them. Then they stopped. They can also be right.

If my thinking is right there, then the goal is to see sex not as a duty but as a way to honor the other person and help meet their needs. For singles, that means not using other people for sex without a commitment. It has been said that before you get married, the devil will do all you can to get you to have sex, and after you’re married, he’ll do all he can to keep you from having it. Now I think sayings like this ascribe way too much power to the devil, but the sentiment I can agree with.

Married people meanwhile honor God with their bodies when they honor their own spouse as well with their bodies. Fidelity to the covenant doesn’t just mean don’t cheat on one another and don’t watch porn and such. It also means honoring the promises you made and that includes sex. Barring severe medical problems, for the Christian, there should be no such thing as a sexless marriage.

It’s not about you. It’s about how you can please your spouse. For a wife, this could just mean have a lot more sex. It’s still pursuing him like you were dating. For a husband, this means being romantic even apart from sex. Date her, buy her gifts, whatever her love language is. Sweep her off her feet. Never stop being a romantic.

And by the way, suppose that you are one who thinks your spouse is not doing this in your marriage. You know what? That doesn’t change your obligation. You are to do the right thing even if you think the wrong thing is being done to you. Too many marriages have each person insisting the other should make the first move. You do the right thing. There is never any justification for doing that which is wrong, including to your spouse.

Serve your spouse as best you can and serve your community as best you can. Honor God with your bodies.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

 

On Sexual Harassment

What are we to make of this modern outbreak? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Odds are that before the day is through, a new sexual harassment charge will be brought forward against Roy Moore, Al Franken, or someone else in a position of power. This leaves Christians wondering what is going on exactly. How is it that we respond to this? Why is this such an issue today?

The first thing to say about this is innocent until proven guilty. That’s the American system. If someone does apologize or agree to the charges, then yes, take that as an admission of guilt. I don’t care for the comedy of Louis CK, but when the charges were brought against him, I withheld judgment until he came forward and said that they were true.

Yet there is no doubt some of this happening today and the question is why. Why in our day and age do so many men seem to be accused of this? Please note that a woman can just as much sexually harass a man, but usually, men seem to be the main offenders. It could be because either a man doesn’t want to admit it, or because a man would not consider it harassment if a woman started really coming on to him and doing sexual things to him.

Some of this I think is due to modern feminism. It was this idea that men and women are absolutely equal. Reality check. They’re not. Men and women are vastly different. This does not mean that one is superior to the other. It does not mean that one is more human than the other. It just means that they are different from one another.

Feminism sought to make them all equal and one of the great ways to do this was abortion. After all, once a woman gets pregnant, it could really dampen her career and her sex life. Can’t have that! The oddity is that women who were promoting this were also allowing themselves to be used by men. After all, men have this desire for sex without consequences and if you can remove the consequences even if the woman gets pregnant, then hey, no worries! Sadly, many will happily kill their own children if it means they can get more sex.

I wish I was exaggerating on this point, but I am not. Consider how a few years ago when Texas was passing a bill to limit abortion. Here you have man-child Ben Sherman writing about why this bill should be opposed.

Your sex life is at stake. Can you think of anything that kills the vibe faster than a woman fearing a back-alley abortion? Making abortion essentially inaccessible in Texas will add an anxiety to sex that will drastically undercut its joys. And don’t be surprised if casual sex outside of relationships becomes far more difficult to come by.

Note that part. Casual sex outside of relationships. After all, who cares about a relationship with the woman? That takes so much work and such. You might actually have to get to know her, spend time with her, invest in her, and learn to treat her with love and honor. Nah. It’s far easier to just “hit it and quit it.”

You see, if sex is the end and the women don’t matter for a relationship, then the women will be used. Sadly, it’s not because these people have a high view of sex. They actually have a low view of sex. They take one aspect of sex, the physical joy, and remove all the other aspects of it.

One of the great joys of sex in marriage is the bonding it gives with one’s spouse. That happens in relationship. Before I got married, a former pastoral counselor gave me a notecard with some pieces of advice for marriage. One statement on there I remember was “Sex is the thermometer that measures the temperature of the relationship.” That can apply to many men today. If you want to ask a man how his marriage is doing, he could very well base it off of what goes on in the bedroom.

Sex is indeed a physical act, but it is not just physical. It is spiritual. It is emotional. It is relational. If you take the physical, then you’re really just cheapening sex. Now, something that’s incredibly good and cheapened can still be incredibly good. A Corvette can be a great car even if it has a dent in it. It just won’t have the same value.

To get back then to what was being said, a man won’t value a woman as a woman, but see her as just a body. Often times, this will mean that he thinks the same thing that works on him should work on her. The woman should be that if you do X, then Y happens. Do this and you get sex back. Ask any married man and they will tell you the truth about this.

I often think part of the problem in marriages is that men expect women to think like men and vice-versa. It doesn’t work that way. The way men and women think about things is extremely different. The sad thing is many of those things we think should be appreciated. A man thinks his romantic physical gestures should be appreciated. A wife thinks her helpful tips on how to do the dishes should be appreciated.

To get back to harassment, what happens then is that men can make advances they think should be appreciated, but get turned into harassment. They can also treat women as if they were just bodies and nothing more than objects of pleasure for them. It’s quite interesting to think that Mike Pence got a lot of pushback for his rule about relationships with women other than his wife, but a lot of people today would be in a lot less trouble if they followed that rule.

What does it take to change this? It takes a higher view of sex and a higher view of people. Sex has to be more than just a physical activity, though certainly not less. It has to be a spiritual and emotional and relational connection to be saved for the sacred bonds of marriage. Men and women have to be seen as persons in their own right and their very beings are not just means to an end.

As for the current charges, we can discuss, but let us always remember innocent until proven guilty. See what evidence all sides have. I have not looked at any of the cases sufficiently in order to make a judgment, but it is easy to ruin someone over just a claim today and that is something we need to move past. This is not to excuse sexual harassment at all either. It’s a wrong that should not be done, but it does not mean that we decide on a case before the evidence comes forward.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Me Too And The Failed Revolution

Has the sexual revolution ultimately failed women? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Have you seen the “Me Too” movement going around Facebook and other places? It’s because of people like Harvey Weinstein and letting women be able to share that they have suffered sexual abuse of some kind from people in their lives. It is quite surprising to me to see how many people are included in this and even in Hollywood we’re seeing women come out and admit that there is a problem and turning down time with a guy like Weinstein cost them in their acting careers as he would give a role to someone else then.

One of the things the sexual revolution was supposed to do was to make women equal. Now in a sense of course, women can never be equal to men and men can never be equal to women, but that is not because one is superior and one is inferior, but because both are different. Ask anyone who has been married for any length of time and they know that men and women are different.

For instance, in general, when a woman has a problem, she wants to talk about how she feels about it at first, while the guy wants to go and solve the problem immediately. A guy will often want sex just because and he needs to feel sex because that’s how he feels connected to his wife. The woman will want sex when she feels connected. A woman is much more relationship-oriented and a guy is often much work task-oriented. These are generalities of course as there are exceptions in every case, but one would have to be a fool to think that men and women are not different.

Yet where gender is irrelevant to some things, there is nothing wrong with striving for equality between men and women. In fact, with the movement of women’s suffrage prior, I think we were already moving there. One of the problems though was sex. Women wanted to have careers, but that problem of being a mother would creep up.

The problem was not the pill then, but it was more the desire behind it. Sometimes women came to see being a mother as a less than noble calling. Of course, some couples can’t have children for whatever reason and that’s fine, but then we went a step farther. While Christians can debate the pill back and forth, there is one issue that they should not have to debate within themselves, but they sadly do often, and that’s abortion.

Abortion has become such a law of the land that when we see a mass shooting take place in Las Vegas, we ask how such an evil could happen blind to the idea of how many babies we are killing every day in Planned Parenthood. If we have such a callous attitude towards life in its most innocent place, why should we expect it to be different elsewhere? With abortion, we are actually even worse than the people of the past who offered up their children in sacrifice. At least we could say they did it because they wanted a good harvest for their people. We sacrifice our children at the altar of convenience.

It’s quite odd because this doesn’t empower women. It destroys women. Abortion is one of the most anti-women acts out there. Around 50% of its victims are women. It also results in a woman killing her own children legally, the very opposite of what a mother is to do. She can say she’s not ready to be a mother, but as soon as she is pregnant, she is a mother. The choice is if she wants to kill her own children or not.

Not only that, in all of this, men stayed men. From the dawn of humanity, men have been attracted to women. Women have been seen as the great mystery to men and the wonder that they cannot explain. If it wasn’t for sex, men would not get married because when they marry, they have an extra expense and they have to sacrifice their time and money for someone else. There has to be a good incentive for the man, at least at first, to compel him to enter this relationship. Sex is a good incentive.

This is also why I personally follow the Pence Rule. (Yes. I know it does not originate with him) Why should I risk myself with another woman? Is it because I don’t trust others? Not really. I don’t trust myself. The moment I say I am above temptation and cannot fall to it, I already have.

Last month, we had another man staying at our place here who was a refugee from Hurricane Irma. He’s a Christian who wanted to learn some apologetics, but I also wanted to teach him how a man is to love a woman and a husband is to treat a wife, and indeed he did learn a lot of good from that. One rule we consistently followed is that if I went anywhere, he came with me. It was a way of respect and avoiding temptation.

You see, even a man who is happily married can still look at other women and be tempted and wonder. It’s not because we don’t love our wives. It’s just that’s the way that a man is wired. I’m not saying that it is at all right, but that is the way it is. A man was made to look at the human female form and to admire it and to desire it.

Normally, a man who has wanted that has had to be serious about it because the action could always result in pregnancy. Now, that is much less of a factor and the men are still men and women too often have sadly let themselves be used in this way to get ahead in their minds. Some women have an idea that if they give the men in their lives sex, they will either love them or get what they want.

For love, often if a couple engages in sex too early, such as without being married, their emotional build-up in the commitment will halt and possibly not even grow at all beyond that. They don’t get to really see each other as they are because they see each other for sex first. Note also a man will lose respect for a woman. After all, if she gave herself to me this early, how many other men has she done this with? Many men say they want virgins, but they will happily sleep with a woman. It quite likely means they don’t see her as marriage material, but just there for a good time.

This is one reason I encourage women to let the man know how much you are worth. Don’t pay in advance as it were. If a man really wants you, he will be willing to make a lifetime commitment to you in marriage and have that commitment done before the deed is done. If he is not, then you have to ask if he really wants you or not. Why should you settle for less than a lifetime commitment?

Abortion made this too easy and as I said, the men have stayed the same. Very rarely do you have an explicit statement of this, but there is such a one. It is one written by a Ben Sherman years ago about the #HB2 bill in Texas. The bill would make it much more difficult to get an abortion. As Sherman says:

Your sex life is at stake. Can you think of anything that kills the vibe faster than a woman fearing a back-alley abortion? Making abortion essentially inaccessible in Texas will add an anxiety to sex that will drastically undercut its joys. And don’t be surprised if casual sex outside of relationships becomes far more difficult to come by.

Those of us who are pro-life owe a thanks to Sherman for saying this. If having sex with a woman could actually mean that a man has to take responsibility for the action, he is much more prone to not do so. This is one reason I am so confused by so many “feminists” who want abortion and don’t seem to realize that that better enables men to just use them.

This is what happened with Weinstein. He came to see women as objects of pleasure and nothing more instead of valuable persons in themselves. Let’s be clear also that this is not to say that men and women should not both enjoy the gift of sexual intimacy together. It is a wonderful gift and meant to be embraced in a marriage commitment. There’s a claim also that before marriage, the devil will do anything to get a couple to have sex. Afterward, he will do anything to keep them from having sex.

In marriage, sex is not the reason for the marriage, but it is hard to have a good marriage without it. Sexuality becomes more than just pleasure, but it solidifies the covenant between the man and the woman. Every time it is the man and woman coming together and each of them giving their complete trust and love to the other in a sacrifice. It is an exclusive relationship shared with only those two people and way they know each other that no one else does.

Treating women as consumer goods destroys their sacred value. This is another reason that pornography is such a problem. Let’s be clear that men want to see a woman naked and there is indeed nothing wrong with that desire. God made women to be beautiful and He succeeded greatly and there is just something absolutely amazing and gripping about the human female form.

Unfortunately, porn makes it easy for a man to get the benefits supposedly of being with a woman without the real sacrifice of being with one. You know, things like pursuing a relationship, spending time and money, proposing, and making a lifetime commitment. The more a man does this, the easier it is for him to see women as objects. In fact, it damages their marriages later on. Many men have seen so many women in porn magazines that a real woman in front of them doesn’t arouse them for sex and they have to take viagra in their 20’s just to be able to have sex.

(By the way, this is not to deny that women can’t watch porn and women can’t just as much treat men as objects. That too is a problem that needs to be dealt with, but right now I’m really wanting to focus on the problem of the victimhood of women.)

When we make a mockery of sexual purity and virtue and treat sex like a consumer good, why are we surprised to have someone like Weinstein in our midst? I hear the news and I’m not shocked in the least by it. Despite the sexual revolution, women are far more prone to be treated as objects than they were in the past.

When we encourage virtue instead, we might be surprised what happens. Believe it or not men, it’s possible to still have a good sex life and be virtuous. Sure, you have sex with only one woman until death do you part, but that is not seen as a downside. It becomes an ever increasing joy as you come to learn how to love and delight in the woman more and more and you come to love each other more and things get better and better. It is one area where the Law of Diminishing Returns doesn’t apply. A game or an act can get old after awhile, but truly a person never does.

For women who are abused, we need to be there for them and loving them and comforting them and if abuse is affecting your marriage and other relationships today, please go and talk to a qualified counselor. It is possible to overcome the past and you don’t need to be a continued victim of the people who hurt you in the past. If you are abused, it can be scary to come forward, but please do come forward. Silence will never end abuse. You deserve better than that. You are not just an object. You are loved.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Christian Hysteria And The Real Battle

Are we zealous in the wrong areas? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Yesterday, I wrote about what was going on on a well-known apologist’s page and how it was the same thing from a year ago with a meme that was entirely false. This was about Halloween. Sadly, too many Christians posting ignored multiple people asking hard questions about the authenticity of the claim and went on with either bad-mouthing the person in the meme as if he really said the claim or jumped straight into panic mode. More often, it was panic mode.

Of course, no one is going to deny that parents want to protect their children and should do so, but could the real threats be being ignored for the fake ones? In fact, for those wanting to avoid the snare of the devil, I would think that someone like the devil could certainly create a false threat in order to hide a real one, a sort of diversionary tactic. Halloween is just such an example.

Sadly, I saw people posting speaking about how this is how the antichrist is going to take over by making this stuff fun and innocent. I’m surprised I didn’t see anything this time about the Illuminati and the New World Order. Of course, we also saw more and more people saying that this is pagan and that Christmas and Easter are also pagan.

I honestly wonder what such people are going to do when they tell their children this and then they or their children see something like the claims of Zeitgeist where Christianity is said to be copied from pagan gods. If we apply the same methodology, why not?

I do want it to be known that I surely realize the occult is out there. I also realize many Christians buy into a sort of occult thinking without realizing it. My wife and I like to sometimes watch these videos where people talk about the rapture coming and such. We don’t believe in it, but it can be amusing. It’s amazing how many of these begin with “I had a dream and” or “I had an experience and”. Too many Christians read signs into everything that happens to them as if the universe is all about them, kind of mirroring the way pagans read the entrails of animals and the flights of birds and other such things.

So while acknowledging that the occult is out there and yes, children need to be ready to deal with it, I can assure you that I see no reason to think that having your child put on a costume and go door to door asking for candy means they’re being caught up in the occult. Dare I say it, but perhaps not opening your children up to imagination and wonder is getting them closer to atheism. Chesterton was the great advocate of the importance of fairyland after all.

Furthermore, I am wondering how many of you who are like this are preparing for other challenges? For instance, are you equipping your child to know how they can show that God exists, the Bible is reliable, and that Jesus rose from the dead, beyond their personal testimony? If so, is your child ready to engage with the atheism they will find on a college campus?

What about materialistic greed? Is your child thinking that they need to have every new IPhone and computer and toy out there? Is your child wanting everything they can get and not appreciating the good gifts that they have? I’m not saying never get your child gifts like this, but make sure their love for you and their happiness is not conditional on such things.

Or dare I say it, what about sexual temptation? This is something they will live with all their lives. Do your kids have more than a few verses from Paul? Do they have a whole foundation of sexual ethics that tells them what sex is and why it matters and why it should be saved for marriage? Your kid could run into someone who will want to lead them into the occult to be sure, but they are far more likely to run into someone who will want to lead them into a sexual relationship outside of marriage and without a proper foundation, they will want to be led!

If you think that sounds a bit over the top, then just do this. Go to your average man who is married or not and is a devout Christian and ask him if he wrestles with sexual temptation. It’s a real battle. Even those of us, like myself, who love our wives deeply have to face a daily battle with the flesh. Are your kids ready?

Hysteria will not convince your kids. If anything, it will lead to your worldview being mocked and ostracized. If your child is talking about candy, there’s no need to bring up the plot of the antichrist. It saddens me that we who are supposed to live the most without fear are often the most fearful of all. You would think that Jesus had not won the battle against the forces of evil. You would think that Jesus is not Lord of all, conquering daily.

By the way, if you want my opinion on Halloween, go and have fun. It’s a day for kids to relax and enjoy themselves and pretend. If you don’t have kids, don’t close your door on Halloween. Here you say you are a Christian and you shut the door on children coming to your house. Is that the Christianity you want to present? Be there, put a smile on the faces of the kids, and give out the best candy that you have.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Hugh Hefner’s Disgusting Legacy

What did Hugh Hefner leave behind? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Last week, Hugh Hefner passed on. From reading and watching much of the media, you would have thought someone like the Pope died and we were nominating them for sainthood. By contrast, just a couple of days ago, Monty Hall from Let’s Make A Deal died and I have yet to hear the celebration of his life. Somehow, Hugh Hefner gets celebrated. Why?

Hugh Hefner was the one who started Playboy magazine. What did he do when he did this? Did he make it that men suddenly became lustful creatures? No. Men have always struggled with lust. Did he invent pornography? Of course not. There has always been pornography of some kind around. Did he make it so that the naked human female form became attractive? Not at all. It always has been all the way back to the Garden of Eden.

No. Hugh Hefner made pornography mainstream. He made it much more easily accessible. Many people (Not me actually) knew whose Dad had that stack of Playboys and where it was. I meet many young men who struggle greatly with pornography. The effects that it has one them is devastating.

The thing is, pornography is a lie. Sure, the women are definitely real women, but they’re not really interested in the men reading the magazines. When you see that image, that woman cares nothing about you. She is not trying to impress you. She will never sleep with you. All she is to you at that point is a body meant for your arousal.

Men no doubt tie their masculinity into their sexuality. Feeling aroused and sexual leaves us feeling like men. It is a very strong and powerful feeling and a woman in pornography can easily give that delusion. The man sees the image and he gets aroused and he feels like a man and that’s a great experience for him to have.

The problem is that when something like this is treated as if it’s a consumer good alone, then you always need more. You will never truly be satisfied. It requires more and more to get you aroused and at a certain point, normal women just don’t do it anymore. There are men in their 20’s today who need to take Viagra because they can’t get aroused by a real woman.

Not only that, the whole thing is a lie in its presentation. Watching pornography will not teach you the way sex really is. If I was talking to a couple getting ready to get married and the topic of sex was being discussed, which it should be, I would tell them that they need to forget what they’ve seen on TV or in the movies. That is not what sex is really like. If you go into the marriage with that assumption, it’s going to hurt.

Pornography does not teach a man how to approach a real woman. C.S. Lewis years ago talked about a man wrestling greatly with sexual desire and lust and how it was said he needs a woman. Lewis said a woman is the last thing he needs. If he met a real woman, he wouldn’t know what to do with her. He just wants pleasure and the female body is the apparatus by which he wants to get that pleasure.

You see, if you want sex really, you do have to approach a woman and you have to treat her like a woman. One doesn’t go to the woman just because they want sex, but ladies, if a guy starts getting serious with you in a relationship, rest assured sex is on his mind. It’s not because he’s a pervert or he’s using you. It’s that because for a man, sex is a powerful expression of love. He can’t imagine the thought of loving you and not wanting to have sex with you.

If you have porn though, you don’t have to make that effort to win a real woman. Instead, you can just retreat back to your fake woman regularly and you will never know the reality because you’ve been so busy chasing the illusion. If you do get to the reality, you would have damaged it greatly already. It can still be redeemed, but why would you want to risk it?

When you marry your wife, there is nothing like it. Porn will not teach you how to properly love a woman. It is no replacement for undressing your wife for the first time and having her do the same to you. It is no replacement for all the physical sensations of being able to touch each other wherever you want. It is no replacement for getting to make love together for the first time. You don’t have to have porn to do any of these things and porn will only make it worse.

By the way, it’s worth pointing out that pornography nowadays is not just a man’s problem. There are many women who struggle with porn. I encourage you to consider it from the opposite perspective. I can’t write on a firsthand approach for women obviously.

Porn will not enhance your marriage either. Men have a constant flood of images going through their heads. Why use porn and fill it with images of women other than your wife? In turn wives, keep this in mind. Let your man see you and see you often. The more he sees you, the easier it will be to deal with temptation for him. He can be thinking everytime he notices another woman, which he will, “Sorry, but I’ve got better at home.”

Once you marry men also, definitely stop porn. You know what message it gives your wife if she realizes you are watching porn? It tells her that she is inadequate. She has to compete with a woman on a screen who has had plenty of make-up and photoshop and everything else done. Why should she trust you when she realizes that you could be thinking about that other woman from earlier?

I think ultimately, Hefner’s greatest damage was that he lowered sex for everyone. He did this by making it less than sacred. There are plenty of men who would never want to look at porn because they’re good and honorable men. They suffer too. Why? Because the women in their lives have seen too many of the other type of man. How do they know that this man is different?

Dare I say it, but I don’t think we can say Hugh Hefner ever truly enjoyed sex because it’s doubtful he ever truly enjoyed a woman. Oh he got a lot of joy from their bodies no doubt, but what about the woman herself? Sheila Wray Gregoire over at To Love, Honor, and Vacuum has a saying that many people have had sex, but how many have made love? It’s a good question to ask.

Ravi Zacharias years ago said there was a Spanish proverb that said that he who loves many women has loved none. He who loves one has loved them all. The real measure of a man is not how much sex you have. The real measure is how do you treat the women in your life? If you’re married, how do you treat your wife especially?

Unfortunately, with Hefner, his legacy went far beyond the magazine. Now we have the internet making things even more accessible for men. There is even rule 34, which states that if it exists, there is porn of it on the internet. I have heard of pornography of even the most innocent things, such as Charles Schultz’s Peanuts existing on the internet. Yes. It’s out there.

In an age like this, is it any wonder that we don’t have a clue about what sex is? Men don’t really know much about how to romance women because all they often know about is getting sex. The goal is often to get her to go to bed. It’s not to be a real man for her and to get to spend the rest of your life loving and cherishing her.

Don’t think I am downing the desire for sex. I certainly am not. Don’t think I am denying at all the beauty of the human female form. I certainly am not. What I am saying is that we need an age of real men who don’t want to just pretend they are men by porn, but want to show they are men by loving real women. If you plan to marry, love a real woman by treating her life a jewel all her life. If you don’t plan to marry, honor the women around you by treating you like women and avoiding sex. If you really want sex, then marry someone you want to share it with for a lifetime. Don’t just use a woman for sex.

Hefner is gone, but sadly his legacy follows behind him. It is my hope that we can get men to rise up and throw off this legacy that does us no good. It might give us what we think is short-term gain, but the long-term results are disastrous. If you really want sex, don’t chase after the illusion of porn. Go for the reality of loving a real and actual woman and treasure her for all your life because she is a treasure.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: The Secret Battle of Ideas About God

What do I think of Jeff Myers’s book published by David C. Cook? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Jeff Myers’s latest book certainly starts off getting your attention. How can it not with talking about people who were directly tied in to 9/11? This then gets directly linked to virus outbreaks that have taken place which is finally compared with the idea of mind viruses. Myers doesn’t mean some disease you need to go see your doctor about, but rather ideas that spread and people don’t have much defense for, including and especially, younger Christians.

Myers work is to deal with a problem which is that many of our younger Christians believe things that are entirely at odds with orthodox Christianity and they don’t even realize it. They’ve been made victims in a war that they don’t even realize that they’re fighting in, something immediately reminiscent of The Green Book is Lewis’s The Abolition of Man. These people have not been given a Christian worldview. As I’ve said many times before, it might be shocking to realize that to develop a good Christian lifestyle, you might need to have more than concerts and pizza parties at church.

Myers says that there are essentially five other kinds of worldviews, though no doubt there is some overlapping. These are secularism, Marxism, postmodernism, New Spirituality, and Islam. As I write this, I know Christian friends who have fallen especially for New Spirituality and Islam. Myers contrasts these worldviews with Christianity in the book.

One good aspect about the book is Myers is very open about himself and his own struggles and mistakes. When he writes about a failed marriage, he doesn’t hide it. When he talks about anger with God, that’s out there in the open. When he talks about mistakes in the past in the area of sex, that’s right there. When he says that counseling drains him, he means it. That kind of openness I admire.

Those questions are relevant because what Myers is really dealing with in the book is existential questions. Am I loved? Why am I hurting? Does life have any meaning? Can’t we all just get along? Is there hope for the world? Does God matter? Many of us in apologetics would like to leap straight to the questions of if God exists or if Jesus rose from the dead, but many people are not starting with those questions. They’re starting with these. We need to get to those questions, but how does Christianity answer these questions in contrast to other worldviews?

Myers’s book is clear and easy to read. You don’t have to be a professional philosopher to understand his arguments. There’s about 200 pages of content, but it’s still a relatively short read and it’s one that you could present to someone who is exploring Christianity and wondering about these kinds of questions.

If there was something I would like to see more of, it is that while the book is clear that Christianity does answer these questions, that doesn’t show Christianity is true. It’s fine to have a book dedicated to existential questions, but I would have liked to have seen a section at the end that would include apologetics books for further reading on the other questions that can show that Christianity is true. Perhaps it could point to other authors like J. Warner Wallace and Lee Strobel.

Still, this is a good book to read to help with the questions. It’s easy to read that when I finished, I put it in a stack of books for my wife so that she could go through it as she’s been learning a lot about these questions as well. If she does go through it, I am sure she will be blessed by it.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

 

Why I Read Marriage Books

With so much in apologetics to study, why study marriage? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I love having a Kindle. It’s a wonderful gift. It’s especially helpful when Allie wants to go to bed at an early time and wants me nearby, but I still want to read. I just get in and use a light dimmer and read my Kindle. Since mine is a Fire, it also works as a portable office.

I also am quite frugal so I subscribe to email lists about discount and free books related to Christian interests of mine. One of those is books on marriage. Sometimes, I will get one and read through it. I take my time normally and read only a chapter a day. Other books I go through quickly, but on these I try to go much more steadily.

But why? There is so much to keep up with in the world of apologetics. There are so many debates to prepare for. How is it that I am bettering the world by reading a book on marriage?

It’s because despite what people will tell you, marriage is work. Anything worthwhile is. I work at my marriage because it’s one of the greatest gifts I have. I want to know how to be the best at this relationship. The better my relationship with my wife is, the better everything else is in this world.

I think also this is important for our marriage debates today. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not at all saying that we shouldn’t work on showing that marriage is a man and a woman for life, but I think the reason the world denounces marriage is in many ways, we did it first. Sure, the divorce rate is not as high among committed Christians as the world would have you believe, but it is still there.

What we need to do is treat marriage like a treasure. Some of the best evangelism that you can do starts in your own home. If you cannot show love to your immediate family, it’s going to be hard to show the rest of the world that you have love for them. Love begins at home.

I also tell people in ministry that if you are a great debater, a great apologist, you can answer every question, and you write excellent bestsellers, but you fail to be a spouse to your spouse and a parent to your children, then I count you as a failure in ministry. Your family should have no justifiable doubt on where they stand with you.

We all know one of the benefits of marriage is sex, and this is another way that the church can do better. If you watch media, you will think the world has the better deal. Couples fall in love and have sex constantly and there’s never anything afterwards that goes wrong directly related to sex. Those of us who are married know better.

Sex itself takes work, but it’s worth it. In fact, we as Christians should be living out the best sex lives. It should be that if people want the idea of what a truly awesome sex life looks like, they should look to their Christian friends. It’s our God who made this gift. Why should we not be the ones celebrating it?

My working on marriage is because of how much my own wife means to me. My wife is a sacred gift and she entrusts me also with a very sacred gift, herself. If I have such a great gift as that, why should I not want to work on it and improve it? My marriage should never suffer because I have an apologetics ministry.

And your relationships shouldn’t suffer for ministry either.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Why I Follow The Pence Rule

Is there a reason to avoid contact with non-family women? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

A few months ago, Mike Pence apparently caused a scandal when it was revealed he won’t go out to eat alone with a woman that he is not married to. This was obviously a shock to much of the world that a conservative man might actually live by such principles and that a Christian man might want to honor his marriage. At this point, it doesn’t really matter to me how you vote. I think Pence has an excellent rule.

For me, my Christian walk is first and foremost, but next after that is my relationship to my wife. My wife is the most precious gift that anyone could ever give me. I made sure to be cautious while we were dating to avoid sexual contact. After all, once you’re married, there’s plenty of time for that.

Once you do get married, you have made a promise of sexual exclusivity to that other person for life. When I did that, I said that I would not be intimate with any other woman and I think that includes sharing anything intimate whatsoever, which also means guys that pornography is not allowed.

My wife is all I need for me, but that does not mean that a man does not face temptations. One time I remember being tempted long before Allie came along was heading home alone from my solo trip to the National Apologetics Conference. I passed by one of those “clubs” and for a brief thought I was tempted with the idea that no one would ever know. I didn’t slow down or anything. I kept right on driving.

Now that I am married, I have even more reason. You see, my ministry would definitely be hurt by what I do, but I also know that many other people could do the ministry that I do. My wife is the one who would be hurt the most if I did something, and many other people could do the ministry that I do, but no one else is going to do the job of being a husband to Allie Peters.

I also do this because women are sacred. That’s another reason you won’t see me at strip clubs or engaging in pornography. Women are sacred and are not to be treated like objects. Sadly, this can even happen in marriage as many men have an idea that their wives are objects meant to satisfy their sexual desire. For many of us men, what is more important is not how much our wives satisfy us because, hey, they’re giving us sex and that’s satisfaction enough, but how much we satisfy them.

Too many men today view women as objects to be conquered. That’s why you can say a saying such as hit it and quit it. The goal is to just get the woman in bed. It’s not to build a lifelong relationship with her. It’s not to be a man worthy of that woman for life. It’s just to bed her.

For many men, a woman is an object to verify their masculinity. When you see a woman stripping or naked, it’s natural to be aroused and that leads to the natural feeling that one is a man. No. A physiological sensation does not make you a man. One true measure of a man is how, if he is married, he treats the woman he loves. Watching a girl perform an action at a club or on a video who does not know you at all doesn’t prove you are a man. It proves you can download a video or pay money to get into a club. A real man is one who honors the women that he meets by saying that the woman he wants is worth a lifelong commitment.

So how does this play out? It means that I avoid interacting with women that I am not married to in a private setting if my wife is not around and that woman is not family. I would be fine with my mother, my sister, or my mother-in-law, for instance. For everyone else, I put my guard up.

Now could I be paranoid? Perhaps, but if any woman will be offended by my actions, that woman will not be my wife! You see, most people who fall into sexual sin don’t intend to. They don’t set out to have an affair. It just happens. How? It normally starts with an emotional commitment and then that turns into something physical.

My rule is I don’t even want to give it a possibility. I want to honor my wife in such a way that if anyone did make a charge, the world would look and laugh. “Are you serious? No one questions how much he loves his wife!”

It’s up to you if you want to follow the Pence rule. For me, I do. My Allie is my Princess and she is not worth any risk like that. I promised exclusivity to her and that is a promise I keep for life.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Deeper Waters Podcast 9/2/2017: Rebecca Lemke

What’s coming up? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Many of us tend to think in extremes. We’re either too conservative or too liberal. This happens in Christian circles as well. We either go all in with something that is wrong and join the culture, like many progressives, or like some conservatives, we go all out and practically avoid anything just because we don’t want to be thought of doing anything wrong and can easily create a guilt culture.

So when it comes to sexuality, we tend to think the same way. Many of our progressives have taken wrong stances. Pre-marital sex is okay! You can live together before you get married! Some even have no problem accepting the historical position of the church on homosexuality. Many of us realize that this is a problem.

Yet can we go too far the other way? Perhaps we can. Perhaps in an eagerness to rightly avoid falling into sin, the purity movement has gone too far. Of course, this is not to undermine sin. Sin is sin still. It is to say that maybe not everything we think of as sinful is. Maybe it could also be that if we do sin along the way, we are not ruined for life.

My guest this Saturday went through the purity movement and was greatly hurt by it. Today, there is no animosity towards Christianity or the movement itself as she continues to be a Christian woman encouraging other Christian women how to honor God and stay holy without being in the purity movement. Her name is Rebecca Lemke, author of The Scarlet Virgins.

So who is she?

Rebecca Lemke is the author of The Scarlet Virgins. She has appeared on The Federalist, Huffington Post, Iron Ladies, and To Love Honor and Vacuum, in addition to speaking on live radio about the topics in her book.

Many of you might remember the book I Kissed Dating Good-Bye, which was in many ways another book of the Bible for a lot of people. The author has since even admitted he could have been wrong on a lot of it. It’s easy to understand that sex before marriage is a big mistake, but even a kiss before marriage was viewed as a big mistake.

For many women, the ideas of maintaining purity meant you had to dress every way to avoid being desirable to the great big walking hormones out there known as men. It also meant that if you gave in and had sex before marriage, you were damaged goods. In the end, on your wedding night you would have nothing to give your husband. Women were not taught how to properly think about sex. It’s not much of a shock then that the wedding night can be awfully hard for some women as they have to somehow immediately flip a switch from off to on.

Guys don’t have as hard a time with that switch, but if there is something I think guys struggle with, it’s the question of lust. If a guy thinks a girl is attractive, is he guilty of lust? Is it wrong to ever think about sex? We have rightfully avoided much of the sins of progressivism, but we have often gone to the other extreme and turned into a guilt culture that I think Scripture never intended.

Join me this Saturday as we talk about the purity culture. How can young people stay “pure” without being part of the purity movement? How can we properly teach our youth about sex and sexuality? We don’t want to say anything goes, but at the same time, what boundaries should we be setting?

Be watching for the next episode and please do go on ITunes and leave a positive review of the Deeper Waters Podcast.

In Christ,
Nick Peters