Book Plunge: The Scarlet Virgins

What do I think of Rebecca Lemke’s book published by Anatole Publishing? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Let’s set aside some things we can agree on as Christians right at the start.

Purity is a good thing. We should all strive to be pure. Sex is a sacred thing. It should be saved for marriage. It is a beautiful gift of God. We should all wants to be pure and to save sex for marriage as God designed it.

Okay. That’s good. So what’s the problem?

Because Jesus would have agreed with the Pharisees that keeping the Law is a good thing, but He would not agree with how they saw the Law. He would not have agreed to added on rules. The Law was not meant to be a burden to the people.

Sometimes purity can become that.

Note that this is not saying purity is a burden in the sense of “I have to wait until marriage to have sex?!” This is instead saying that we are going to put a bunch of other rules around ourselves to make sure we are staying pure. To an extent, this is fine. It would be foolish to throw caution to the wind and say “I’m going to do whatever I want around the opposite sex because I am committed to purity.” We should be aware of temptation and our weakness to it. As a married man, I recently told a female neighbor that I could not take her to the gym because I would not drive alone with a woman who was not my wife or a close family member.

Lemke grew up in the Purity Culture. I can’t say that I did. Part of that could be that I grew up a man and was not aware of the way that women had to live their lives. Too many women are told that men are visual and they must not be stumbling blocks to men. This much is of course true. There is nothing wrong with dressing modestly. The problem is when it becomes such a rule as if “This skirt must go this high.” Sometimes a bra strap might be seen coming out on a girl’s top or she could show some cleavage. We could think of the way the Muslim culture treats women. We really don’t want to be seen that way.

There’s also the idea of how you need to avoid physical affection of any kind and heck, even having a crush can be a problem because you’re giving your heart to someone else. As a man nearly married for seven years, I had a number of crushes before I met my Allie and now my heart is for her and her alone. She’s not getting less of me because there was supposedly something left behind with another just because of a crush.

If you remember the book I Kissed Dating Good-Bye, this book is largely a response to that. I never did read it, but I saw a number of people who either loved it or hated it. Interestingly, recently the author has realized he spoke without knowledge and is even breaking from ministry to go to seminary, something he didn’t think too highly of.

In all of this, the number one goal is that we must avoid sex before marriage. Now, of course, we should, but we don’t want to be extreme. It’s not the case that just because a girl and a boy are talking in the parking lot together, that they’re going to immediately jump into his car and drive to his place for an afternoon of hot passionate sex. On a TV show, you can see a man and a woman meeting together and it’s automatically “Yep. We know what’s going to happen.” The man and the woman are both automatically fully in the mood every time. Often the message is that men are just great big walking hormones and the woman must learn how to protect herself around them and how to not arouse the beast because he can’t control himself.

I spoke about physical affection earlier. This is something that’s often seen as the first kiss at the altar movement. One can see why it is a touching thought, but I do not think it works well. This is a whole time of dating and engagement where you’re told physical affection is a big no-no, and then all of a sudden you’re supposed to pass from a kiss to full sex.

There are a number of women who have a hard time with this switch. (Many times, the guys don’t. We learn very quickly that this is something we can enjoy.) A woman has had her sexuality treated as something dirty and then when she is with her husband for the first time on her wedding night, it magically becomes pure and pristine and all her thinking switches instantly.

Sorry. Doesn’t happen, and there are many marriages that have struggled because of this and some have even apostasized.

Part of it is also we give a very negative message about sex with lip service paid to the joy of sex. I remember being in Bible College and hearing a sermon at my church during a Silver Ring Thing ceremony. The associate pastor got up to tell the teenagers about the importance of waiting until marriage. He said that if you have sex before marriage, it will be for selfish reasons. Okay. I can agree with that. He then went on to why they shouldn’t.

“Think of the shame and guilt you’ll feel. Think about what you’ll have to tell your spouse on your wedding night. You could get an STD. You could get pregnant.”

And I was thinking “Pastor. Maybe it’s just me, but those sound like selfish reasons too.”

There was never anything about why this is wrong. It was all about how you’d feel. No worldview of sex. No talk about the role of sex. There was I think one sentence dedicated to the joy of sex. That was it. As I was sitting back there listening, I was getting bored, and as I’ve said before, if you can talk about sex and a college guy is in the audience and getting bored, you’re doing it wrong.

Lemke’s book is one big on grace and forgiveness, and yet there’s no real hostility towards the Purity Culture movement. She understands these people mean well, and she applauds that. One can think of zeal but not in accordance with knowledge.

Lemke also deals with the idea of damaged goods and such. This is common in our culture where if a woman has sex before marriage, it is as if her value is automatically lowered. This can be especially hard if it is the result of abuse the woman had no control over. A woman who has sinned by having sex before marriage even if her fault is not irredeemable. She can work and still have a good and godly marriage.

If there were some things I’d like to change, she does talk about having a husband and why the wedding night was so hard. I found myself wondering how it is growing up in the culture she eventually came to have a husband. That would have been good to have explained.

She did write about the joy of sex in the end, but I would have liked to have seen more. We should have it in our culture that instead of secular TV shows having some supposed idea of sex that lures people in, they need to be looking at Christian marriages and know there is great sex going on behind the scenes and wanting to have that one day. One of the greatest honors I have had in my life was a friend getting married and getting in touch with me and saying that he wanted what I had and seeking my advice. Doing marriage well takes work and it’s good when others recognize it is being done.

Lemke’s book is an easy and quick read. It is one that I can recommend. We need purity, but we don’t need to be so extreme we make our own existence a burden.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

 

Book Plunge: Cherish

What do I think about Gary Thomas’s book published by Zondervan? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Think back to your wedding. Okay? You got it in mind. Remember that promise you made? You promised to love your spouse always. Right? Yes. Of course, you did. You also promised to cherish them. What? You don’t remember that? Well, you did. So you say you’re covered anyway? Love and cherish are just synonyms?

Hardly.

You can love many many people and yet not cherish them. Your spouse is one person you are to cherish. Cherish entails treating them like they are a treasure, a one of a kind, a rare jewel, there is no one else like them. It includes love, but it is not just love. Cherish doesn’t mean you think the other person is perfect, but that you focus on the things that are good and be patient and forgiving with the sins that they struggle with knowing that you struggle with them as well.

Okay, guys. I hear you out there. I know what you men are saying. “I’m sure my wife understands that well, but I’m a man. If I go to all my buddies and say that my wife doesn’t cherish me, they’ll just laugh at me.” So what about we use another word? Would you like your wife to honor you? That sounds more like it, doesn’t it?

“My wife is to honor me? Hey. Does that mean I get more sex? Well, if that’s what speaks honor to you, then yes.”

“Hey! Sounds good, doesn’t it!”

“Yeah! It sure does! Nothing makes me feel honored like how my wife treats me under the sheets!”

“And you sir, are absolutely right. If that speaks honor to you, your wife should aim for that, but may I ask you, what are you doing back?”

“What?”

“You heard me. Look. I know about those pictures you’re looking at on your computer. I know that you’re checking out those other women on TV shows and at the mall. Do you think your wife notices? Do you think you can fully cherish her even if she doesn’t notice? Can you fully treat her like the one for you she is if your mind is filled with a multitude of other women?”

Perhaps marriages would be different then if both spouses did that. Think back to Adam and Eve. On a very traditional interpretation, there is just Adam and Eve. Adam sees Eve and knows that she is his and his alone and he gets to cherish her. She is so unique. Eve gets to see Adam and know that he is the man for her. He is the one to turn to. He is her rock.

Perhaps also you should watch your words to one another. Are your words speaking love and affirmation? It can be easy to let loose that zinger at the time. C.S. Lewis even once said that we could get a lot of credit to ourselves for not saying that zinger to our spouse that was on the tip of the tongue. It might have knocked out our spouse for the count and won us the argument, but it would have cost us a relationship.

And isn’t that another thing about cherishing? Cherishing has to be a lifestyle. Intimacy has to be built up by both people. Both people have to learn to make sacrifices. Once you marry, it is no longer just you. It is both of you together. If one person is failing, both are failing. If one person is succeeding, both are succeeding. In fact, there is only one area you and your spouse should truly compete in. That’s cherishing. Do each of you strive to be more cherishing to the other?

Gary Thomas’s book on this is a huge wake-up call. I went through and highlighted many such places. Sometimes I wish I had read the chapter that I read earlier. There is so much good in here and if we want to see marriage lived out properly in a culture trying to redefine it, then we need to be learning to people who cherish.

Treat your spouse as a treasure. Learn to give more than to get. See the other person as the unique individual they are. Remember those vows you made on your wedding day. Be a person of your word. You said you were going to cherish. Do it. Cherish.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

 

 

Book Plunge: Everyone Loves Sex, So Why Wait?

What do I think of Bryan Sands’s book published by Leafwood Publishers? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

For many young men, Bryan Sands would be a hero. He as a young teenager goes to see six young girls with his notepad to get a phone number. He gets the number of all six girls. Later he’s with one of his friends who knows one of these girls. This girl and another come over to be with the two friends. As you can, imagine, yes, Bryan and the girl have sex that night.

Yet for Bryan, something is empty about it. His friends do declare him a hero, but the girl wants a relationship and Bryan doesn’t really want that then. This made an impact on Bryan and led to him deciding on sexual faithfulness until he got married, which he did eventually with his wife Caz. (Might I add I found out that it was just a month before my Allie and I wed.)

So Bryan is now in ministry and serving to help other young people, especially with issues involving sex. At the same time, Bryan wants to be clear. Sex is a good. It’s a great good. Most of us know this. Before I got married, I saw sex as this great mystery. It was something that I knew I wanted immensely, and yet I could not put a finger on why, but I knew it was great. In many ways, I compare it to the Christian desire for heaven.

So if sex is so great and wonderful, why on Earth should we wait for it? We might wait to see that big movie until we have enough money or the time. Still, for most things, we don’t really wait. If you have something and you can do it now, why wouldn’t you?

Throughout the book Bryan argues that sex is not just a physical activity. It is a powerful emotional and psychological and spiritual experience. On the physical side, it does release chemicals that do lead to a bonding. I think many of my fellow men who are married understand this. Having sex with one’s wife somehow serves as a way of cementing the relationship. Take it out of that relationship and it leads to consequences.

Bryan also wants people to know that they have an immense worth. No one deserves to be treated as a sexual object and if anyone wants to enjoy sex in marriage, they are to enjoy that gift. Sex isn’t something dirty and it’s a horrid twist on a sacred action that it is used for evil in the form of pornography and sex trafficking. It is amazing how many people have had their lives devastated because they treated the sacred, sex, like it was something common.

Bryan ties this all in with biblical relevance throughout. He looks at our society that is so selfie-saturated and wants to put forward our best image. This is a way that sex becomes twisted as well as most of us want sex for ourselves instead of for the other. Again, ask the people who are married. Often the greatest joy they have is in knowing that they bring their spouse joy in sex. For a man especially, if he can be the hero in the bedroom, he’s the hero everywhere else. If he can’t be it there, then he’s not the hero anywhere else.

He also deals with the idea that sex and love are the same. In marriage, sex is an essential part and a great expression of love, but it itself is not the love. My way of thinking is that ideally, what should happen is that a couple in marriage grows in love together. That love will lead to more sex. More sex will lead to a greater love. The greater love leads to more sex. You get the picture.

Bryan’s book is a great read. It’s short enough that you can read it in a day or two if you want to. It is also a book that will be incredibly accessible to young people, who especially need the message of this book. I do wish a little bit more would have been said about the purpose of sex in marriage and how it serves husband and wife. We had testimonies of people who hurt their lives by the misuse of sex. It would be good to see another work with married couples who waited speaking about the way sex is a blessing to them and why they’re thankful they waited.

This is a great book and a hard one to put down. It is my hopes that a lot of youth pastors will pick this up and share it with their youth. Sex is one of those areas we have a lot of heat but very little light and Bryan’s book is a breath of fresh air.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

 

Katie Gregoire on the Purity Culture

What is the purpose of purity? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Katie Gregoire is the daughter of Sheila Wray Gregoire, who runs the blog To Love, Honor, and Vacuum. Yesterday, my mother-in-law shared a video Katie made. Not too long after that, my wife shared the same video. I figured when I got up today that I should check out this video. (I rarely watch videos shared on Facebook. I just don’t have the time.) The video is quite good and can be found here.

Katie talked about how we have all these embarrassing purity talks when you grow up in the church. The advice to follow for the most part in these talks is good. Guys are told they should respect the women in their lives and the boundaries they set up. By the way guys, that includes once you’re married. You don’t force sex even on your wife and I still respect Allie greatly do this day such as holding open doors for her, including our car door, and not sitting somewhere until she’s sat down first. It’s also well known that if anyone insults her on Facebook, stay back. I will show up and it will not be pretty.

Women meanwhile are focused on just saving themselves for marriage. They are often compared to chocolate bars with them giving a piece of themselves to a guy that they are intimate with until there’s nothing left. I agree with Katie that women are not objects like chocolate bars. It’s too easy for a girl who makes a mistake to think that she’s damaged goods.

I would like to point out though that if a woman does engage in sex before marriage, she can make it harder to bond. That’s because one of the things that sex does is it causes the chemical oxytocin to be released, which is a bonding chemical. It bonds the two lovers together. It is the same chemical released when a mother breastfeeds her child. If you learn to break these bonds, it makes it all the easier so that it’s harder and harder to bond.

Yet Katie’s main point is clear still and definitely true. The whole idea behind a woman being pure is to be just for her husband. Of course, no one is saying that a woman should not strive to be pure for her future husband, but he’s not the only one. Let’s suppose there’s a girl who doesn’t plan on ever getting married. She wants to be on her own. There’s nothing wrong with that. Not every girl will get married. She thus has no future husband. Should she be allowed to have a one-night stand or such every now and then since there’s no future husband to give herself to?

Of course not. If she’s a Christian, she has someone else she’s being pure for. She’s being pure for Jesus. She’s being pure to show that she values sex even if she’s never having it and that she honors the limitations Jesus places on sex and on how He views it. Sex is a good, but it is a good to be used in the proper time and place.

We have a culture where it’s extremely easy to view women as sexual objects. No doubt, the reason for this is that by and far, the women are far more appealing to the eyes than we men are, and that includes I’d say to the women themselves who are quick to notice the beauty of one another and compete with one another. Sex sells and one way to get a response out of people is to put a beautiful woman up there.

This causes tremendous pain if someone does sin along the way. My own wife when putting this up said that while she saved sex for marriage, she didn’t live entirely pure. I knew this when I went into the relationship. I can assure anyone that in our marriage I have a “full chocolate bar.” I make it a point to not invite anyone else into the bedroom.

“Good for you,” some of you are saying. “We don’t have threesomes either.” I’m not talking about people coming in physically. I’m talking about that when it’s time for the bedroom, my focus is only on Allie. There is no thinking of other women there and she should not be thinking about what other men have said and done in the past. As I tell her “Only you.” Her past mistakes don’t matter. In our marriage, all that matters is that I have her here right now.

Another problem with this is that it assumes the main role of purity is in sexuality. That’s great and all, but you can be impure in many other ways. We can be quite sure the Pharisees followed the rules on sexuality, but they were described as white-washed tombs and filthy on the inside. Following the outer rules is good and important, but the inner heart is even more important. What about our words? Our thoughts? Our habits?

Honoring Christ is a lot more than just honoring Him with sex. It’s honoring Him with everything that you have. There is not a single aspect of your life that Christ does not claim Lordship over. As a Christian, you are to give Him all of it. Only He can make you who you are to be.

It’s also important because our identity is not in what we do. If there’s something Christians need to do, it’s to establish their identity in Christ. We live in a culture where many of us don’t know who we are and why we’re here and that’s largely because we have no firm foundation. Our Christianity has been reduced to moralism instead of a whole worldview. We know how Christians are to act, but not how to think or how to just even be. Remember that we are human beings and not human doings.

I congratulate Katie and everyone else saving themselves for marriage. It is something indeed wonderful you are saving yourself for. Even better is to treat yourself properly in honor of Christ. It is His good you are to supremely seek and not your own. The purity movement in the church could only be bolstered by learning the better basis of purity.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Why I’m Thankful I Waited For Marriage

Are there any regrets on waiting? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I contacted an author yesterday on getting a copy of a book on why he thinks one should wait until marriage to have sex. That leads me to think about why I waited. I know some people do have a different experience, but I hope what I share can help some people out.

To begin with, yes. I did wait. I was about two months away from 30 when I got married. My wife meanwhile was a month away from 20 so she didn’t have as long to wait as I did. Did I face temptation in all that time? Sure did. I made it a point to try to shield my eyes, even from porn.

I still remember one night when I lived in Tennessee and I had gone to Charlotte for the conference. Driving back I saw one of those “clubs.” For a brief moment I realized I was on my own and if I did something, no one would ever know. I never took it seriously. I just kept going. It wasn’t worth it.

When Allie and I were dating, there were many times I was seriously tempted, and that is no wrong. If you’re not tempted, there’s a problem. Again, it wasn’t worth it. I was a seminary student who wanted to remain in good standing, I was an older man that my in-laws were trusting their daughter with, and I did not want to do anything to dishonor my God.

The first time I really got to see my wife’s body then was on our wedding night. I do not regret that we waited. Does that mean that everything is always great? No. Sex can be something very awkward and that’s fine. Once you marry, you have the rest of your lives to spend with each other and things can get better and better.

For Allie now, there is no comparison. I can’t say that she’s better or worse than anyone I’ve been with. I can just know that I thoroughly enjoy being with her and that’s enough for me. Thanks to avoiding pornography, I’m not comparing her body to other bodies that I have seen. Of course, that doesn’t mean that temptation is gone entirely. I am a man and by nature visual and I have to make a constant covenant with my eyes to honor Allie.

A lot of women don’t understand this. They wonder why it is that if we love our wives, that we’re looking elsewhere. It’s not really because we want to. It’s because we’re fallen creatures and we’re tempted to wonder what others would be like. I often tell women that if you want to know what it’s like for a man, just picture being on that diet and really wanting to lose weight, but having to walk through the ice cream aisle or the chocolate aisle of the grocery store. Now imagine having that kind of desire and being in a world of women.

This is even more so for us men because while most women strive to look their best in public, many times the culture appeals to our instincts. You will find women on TV who are there for their beauty. Advertising outside of TV has this. I remember going to a display at a mall once when Allie was elsewhere that was about a spa program. I thought maybe I could find a deal for Allie. I find instead a picture with a lady barely covered and leaving little to the imagination. At another point, I was walking by myself in that same mall and saw an attractive lady heading my way. I do what most guys would do. I look the other way.

Which happens to be right at a Victoria’s Secret.

Great.

The truth is that if you have a good man, he does want to honor you. He does want to see you and you alone and he is striving to do that. He is wanting to show you regularly that you are the delight of his eyes. He’s not a pervert because he’s visual or because he has a strong desire to be with you. That’s how he often knows and expresses love. A woman can either take that and work with it or she can argue against it. The latter won’t have much success.

Another reason I waited was to give an honor to Allie to tell her how much she’s worth to me.  Women pretty much set the market on sexual relationships. They are the ones who show how much it takes for them to give themselves entirely. Are they worth a date? Three dates? A month? Six months? A year? Engagement? Or a lifetime covenant?

I made it clear. Allie is worth a lifelong covenant.

“Yeah, but don’t you want to check first and see if you’re compatible? I mean, you wouldn’t buy a car without taking it for a test drive.”

Except Allie is not a car. No woman is. No man is. Having sex with someone does affect them. Chemicals are released that bond whether one wants that to happen or not. When those bonds are broken, it makes it harder and harder on both parties in the long run. If there are difficulties in sex, which can happen, usually a visit to one’s doctor or gynecologist can help with that.

I often think one of the reasons we have kids actually having sex way too early and not waiting until marriage is because we have no rite of passage into manhood and womanhood. A lot of young people then see sex as that rite of passage. Sexuality can be a good way for some people to have their manhood or womanhood affirmed, but it doesn’t bestow it.

Also, we have reduced sex too often to just a physical activity. I find it incredible that we Christians are accused of having a low view of sex and yet we’re the ones that treat it the most as something sacred. Granted there are some exceptions to this sadly. It’s not a cliche to say the joke that many people are told growing up that sex is dirty and they should save it for someone they love. We have people growing up thinking this is a necessary evil and yet it suddenly becomes good on the wedding night.

It’s something sacred instead and beautiful. Even more, it’s God’s idea. He’s the one that designed it and the desire for it is something that He gave us. It’s a good thing that He made, but like any good thing, it has to be used in the right way. I often compare sex to nuclear energy. It’s good and helpful, but if you take it and use it the wrong way and in the wrong context, you get Chernobyl.

I also need to say something more about pornography. The opposite sex is a beautiful thing, especially the woman, to which I think even the women will agree. Don’t treat their bodies as cheap. Porn ultimately does that. For a man, he gets the feeling of being a man without having to take the effort to win a real woman. That woman on the screen doesn’t care about you. She is openly displaying her body for anyone to see. She is not in love with you. She does not trust you. She does not know you. She does not care about you. Why not wait and honor a woman who really does do all of those things?

I regularly say that for me, my wife’s body is the most beautiful sight I have ever seen, and I mean it. I’m really thankful I waited instead of having a slew of women in my head that I could be comparing her body to. We men have enough of that naturally with women we see fully clothed out in public. How much worse would it be to have nude women we’re comparing our wives to?

For these reasons, I cannot state enough that I am thankful I waited. I have no regrets. God’s gift to us is great indeed, and as long as we’re together we can enjoy that gift. Allie has no competition in this world. She is mine and I am hers.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Men. Avoid Porn.

How does a man best honor the women in his life? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

In my last post, I wrote something to the women. Now I’d like to say something to the men. First off, let’s start by clearing up the fear of many out there who think Christians are a bunch of prudes and don’t find any joy in sex whatsoever and it’s kind of a necessary evil. Not at all. Sex is a fabulous and awesome and wonderful gift from God, but it’s meant to be saved for marriage.

Now some of you might think “Well I will save actual sex for marriage, but I sure want to see the women beforehand.” That would be a mistake. A woman is a beautiful and glorious being. You really will be better off if your first time to see a woman is in fact on the wedding night or sometime shortly after (Since some couples don’t have sex on the first night due to exhaustion).

By the way, let me be clear on this. I know that there are many women who struggle with porn. I cannot really relate to your experience not being a woman. I don’t want to downplay what you’re going through so please don’t think I don’t care about your struggle. I just want to say something to the men today but hopefully, you can get something out of it.

Men. Porn is really a cheap way to go and it’s dehumanizing to every woman you meet out there. The desire for sex and to see the female body is not wrong. It’s something that’s built into us men. What you do with it can be wrong, but the desire itself is not the problem. It is a lack of control over the desire.

When you watch a woman in a porn video, you are watching someone created in the image of God. You are also watching someone’s daughter. This person doesn’t know you. They don’t care about you. You don’t matter. They’re not doing anything special for you.

The reality is you’re cheating every woman out there. You’re learning right there to treat women as objects and objects whose purpose in life is to meet your sexual desires. Again, there is a way this could be understood. One of the purposes of marriage in 1 Cor. 7 is to fulfill one another’s desire for sex. If you burn, it is better to marry. In marriage, this means essentially, make sure to have sex with your spouse regularly. That’s part of the covenant.

However, if you view porn, you learn to treat women as if they are simply bodies and nothing more. This isn’t to downplay their bodies, which were made to be beautiful, but remember that is the body of a person. That is a person to be loved and treasured for who they are. Sex is a way married couples express that love, but that love needs to be present. Actually, in a good marriage, it’s a wonderful spiral. Having sex builds up the love. Increase in love leads to having sex. Having sex then leads to more love. You get the picture.

Porn will also damage your idea of what healthy sex is like. This might sound like a shock, but sex is never really like what you see on the movies or on TV. Again, not downplaying it, but everything in media always works perfectly in sex. It’s not like that for most married couples. Things are wonderful, but they can be awkward and things can go wrong sometimes or anything else. If you have false expectations, it will damage the reality.

Also, it will take more and more to turn you on eventually. Pornography has you treat the unrealistic as it if was the norm. It’s not. There are sadly some men who have damaged their minds so much that they have to be looking at a porn magazine just to make love to their wives. Their wife is no longer enough to turn them on, and this is not a position you ever want to be in.

One of the problems is that for a man, if we are aroused, we feel like men indeed. If you want that, the best way to get the feeling of being the real man is to go out there and get a real woman. With pornography, you get the sensation of manhood, without any risk. You don’t have to put your manhood on the line by actually talking to a real woman. Sadly, this will also mean you won’t be able to as much fully enjoy the gift of real sex when the time comes.

When you get to that point in your life, you really only want to have your wife’s body in your head. Guys. We all have enough temptations. We know it. You see that girl in the grocery store or at the bank or that you work with at the office and your mind can quickly go to wondering what she looks like underneath those clothes. It’s a battle we all have to fight. Ladies. Even seeing pictures on Facebook can be hard for a man and not to mention women in the media. Even if you’re married, you still have to fight temptation. Marriage does not shut off temptation. (By the way wives, this is one more reason it’s also good to be sexual with your man a lot so that he can avoid temptation easier because he’s thinking so much about all the joy you bring him.)

If you want to beat this kind of thing, I recommend getting good accountability partners. Find a support group if you have to. A website like XXXChurch also has great tools you can use on your browser to block websites and that will send notifications to people on your list to let them know that you have been to those websites.

This applies even if you don’t ever plan to marry, but remember if you’re a Christian man, then you are also saying if you don’t plan to marry that you will be celibate your whole life. If you’re willing to live with that, more power to you. If you do plan to marry, why on Earth would you want to spoil your sex life by spending your time gawking at women that you will never get to be with at all?

(I would be amiss to point out that many women in the porn industry are also there against their will. Watching porn then can give more power to the whole human trafficking problem. Do you want to give an incentive for that as well?)

Sex is a pure and wonderful gift from God. Treat it the way it deserves to be treated as something sacred. When you get married, enjoy the gift as much as you can. It’s God’s gift to you. Until then, honor and respect the gift. Even if you plan on remaining single, you still honor sex by recognizing its proper place in marriage and not treating the women around you as objects.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

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

Whatever Happened To The Resurrection?

Have we forgotten the central Christian doctrine? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Last week, I was at a funeral for a small child and whenever I go to funerals, I often think about how much sadly Christianity is missing out on its central doctrine. You don’t hear talk about the resurrection at funerals. You hear plenty of talk about Heaven, but the resurrection is absent. When I got up to speak, I made resurrection absolutely central to what I said.

I gave two contrasts. I said that if Christianity is not true, then we can believe that the death of this child is just something we don’t like in a chaotic and accidental world, that she is dead and that is it. Game over. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200. We can create a bunch of little joys for ourselves despite this, but they won’t matter because the universe will die itself anyway and all will be for naught.

However, if the resurrection is true, then this is not the end of the story. This girl will rise again. It means that death is in the process of being conquered once and for all and we can all participate in the Kingdom.

Unfortunately, I see the ignoring of the resurrection often at funerals. When my own grandmother died, I was one of three assigned to speak at her funeral. Her pastor went before me and said, “Right now, she is experiencing the power of the resurrection!” I wanted to say “I’m sorry Pastor, but I’m looking and I’m pretty sure I see a dead body right there.” No. She will experience the resurrection, but not right now. The resurrection is not just a spiritual reality, but a physical one.

Go forward a couple of years and I have an aunt who dies. I’m at her funeral and after the pastor speaks about how he came back from his vacation to do this funeral (Who cares Pastor?), he then goes on and on and never once mentions resurrection. After awhile, he then says we have that blessed hope that Paul spoke of in 1 Thess. 4.

I know this passage! I’m getting excited! Say it! Say it! Say it!

“That we will see our loved ones again in Heaven.”

I slumped in my seat defeated yet again. That’s not what 1 Thess. 4 is about. 1 Thess. 4 is about the resurrection. That was the great hope. Why don’t pastors get this?

I wish it was just funerals, but it isn’t. Scroll through Facebook. If you see something about asking if people are saved, it becomes “They won’t go to Heaven when they die!” Go to your average church service. What happens in the sinner’s prayer? “Forgive me of my sins so I can go to Heaven when I die.”

Whatever happened to the resurrection?

Some of you might think it hasn’t gone away. After all, I am in the business of defending the resurrection. My father-in-law is one of the best at it. His mentor is the best at it. Christian apologetics today emphasizes the resurrection. It’s not forgotten.

Yet even then, I wonder if we have let it sink in. You see, we often say that if Jesus rose from the dead, Christianity is true, which I agree with, but then we don’t ask “And what does that mean?” Was the resurrection just one really awesome trick God pulled off to show what He can do?

No. Jesus’s life was based around a series of claims, mainly to be the Messiah of the people of Israel. This is why understanding the Old Testament is so important. We can often give a Gospel presentation where we start with Adam and Eve, good, and then skip straight from the fall to Jesus, as if the flood, the calling of Abraham, Moses, and the formation of the Kingdom of Israel is this superfluous part in the middle that we can just dispense with.

So what does it mean when the Messiah has come? It means the Kingdom of God has come. God is going to rule His Kingdom. What does that mean? Do we think God is building up a Kingdom here made of those who bow the knee to Him only to just do away with everything in the end and zipline us to Heaven?

No. This place is not a mistake. I do hold that one day the Earth will be reborn as it were undergoing its own resurrection, but I don’t think we will ever truly abandon it. Look at Revelation 21. Do you see the New Jerusalem going up to Heaven? No. You see it coming to Earth. It’s the marriage of Heaven and Earth.

What are some implications? For one thing, your body matters. One of the great heresies that first came to Christianity was Gnosticism which held that matter was some wicked evil thing. Christianity disagreed with this profusely because Jesus, who was and is fully God, lived in a human body, and I would contend still does.

Sometimes skeptics will look at our rules about sex and say “God sure seems to have a strange interest in what I do with my body.” Yes, and so do you. It’s no big deal supposedly where one puts their genitalia, until someone gets raped. Then it is a big deal. We all know it. A complete stranger grabs a random girl and kisses her? Okay. Sexual harrassment. The girl could be shaken for a bit, but she will be fine ultimately. If he rapes her, it’s something entirely different.

Christianity had to deal with this too. Some people said that sex should be avoided because it imprisons innocent souls in evil matter. Others said, sex makes no big deal because the body isn’t a big deal period. Christianity said both were wrong. There was nothing evil in being in matter, and that what you do with the body does matter. Sex was not an evil, but it was a good to be controlled and used in the right time and place, namely between a man and a woman in the covenant of marriage.

This also has something to say to ecology. This world is meant to be our home and a place for future generations. We should take care of it. This is the world God created. It’s not readily disposable. It’s to be stewarded. Now that doesn’t mean I embrace the environmentalist movement. Not at all. If one wants to help the environment, I recommend working with the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation.

This also means that indeed Israel matters. When Paul writes in 1 Cor. 10, he tells the people that our ancestors went through the Red Sea. For the new Christians, Israel’s history was also their history. What happened to the Jews then mattered and we Christians should know about it. If all you understand is the New Testament, you essentially have the end of the story without seeing how it begins.

Of course, we can’t deny that this means that death is not the end, but it’s not that we float off to a disembodied existence and stay that way forevermore. Let’s also not say anything like that we become angels or something of that sort. We don’t. Angels are not your fallen relatives that have gone on. Humans and angels are different creatures.

What happens is we get raised to a newness of life. We overcome all forms of death, spiritual and physical. God does not grant the devil a victory. He does not give up on this creation. He made it to dwell with us in it forever and that is what He is going to do. If someone doesn’t want to participate in that, that is their choice.

Please people. I urge you to not lose sight of the resurrection. It is our central doctrine and it means a lot more than that Christianity is true. It means a lot more than even this short blog post can say. A whole book could be written on this kind of topic. The resurrection is not just joy for the future. It’s joy for right now.

In Christ,
Nick Peters