Book Plunge: The Porn Myth

What do I think of Matt Fradd’s book published by Ignatius? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Pornography is all around us in our world today. Hypothetically, I could make a few clicks right here on my computer and get to porn. In the past, young men would have to hide out in a shed somewhere finding their Dad’s magazines hidden in order to get a peek. No more. Rule 34 is all over the internet.

Many people today have come to accept it as normal. For talking about men who struggle, well boys will be boys. What are you going to do? The reality is that there is no reason this should be normal. Pornography should never be anything tolerated. We should all recognize it for the evil that it is on society.

Matt Fradd does write from a Catholic perspective, but you won’t find Catholicism emphasized in this book. You won’t find Christianity period emphasized. Fradd does not quote a bunch of Bible verses to make his point. He appeals to scientific and sociological data on pornography.

Also, he wants to state that being anti-porn is not anti-sex. If anything, being pro-porn is being anti-sex. Pornography will keep you from having a healthy and normal sexual relationship. As a man who avoided porn, I don’t really have comparisons for my wife’s body. Sex was something I really got to learn through experience and did not have to erase lies from porn about what sex is like, although to be fair, the media sure gives us a lot of lies in movies and television on what it’s like.

He also has lies about the industry. These include lies about porn being a safe industry. Reading stories like these will just chill you when you hear about the horrors that some women go through on the set. There also isn’t really any such thing as nice and friendly porn. All of it is putting women on display as objects.

And no, this is not empowering to women. This allows women to be seen as just objects. I often wonder the same thing when I hear about women having topless marches down the street. Yes. They’re getting the attention of men. Unfortunately, it’s not in the way that they want.

Next is a section on porn and sexuality. These include myths such as women don’t struggle with porn, it’s not addictive, and that anime porn is fine since it doesn’t involve real people. When I drive through our city of Atlanta, I hear several commercials about curing erectile dysfunction. I have a suspicion that many cases of this are due to the use of pornography. There are many men who sadly cannot get aroused by their wives because they have been too busy with fantasy women.

After that, we have a section on porn and other relationships. These include that marriage will cure us of porn obsessions and one I particularly hate, men wouldn’t struggle with porn if their wives were more attractive. There is nothing wrong with a woman wanting to look her best for her man, and she should, but it is not the woman’s fault if the man does something wrong. The woman could provide encouragement for the man unintentionally, but he is responsible for his own choices.

Finally, we get to personal struggles. These are the ideas that we can’t protect kids from porn in our world, a wife will never regain trust after seeing her husband using porn, and someone will always struggle with porn. To be fair, I think the last one properly understood is accurate. When I first took my wife to a Weight Watchers meeting, I was amazed hearing about how all the people who work with the program have gone through it. I said to one of them, “You all struggled with weight loss?” and I got told immediately, “STRUGGLE with weight loss.” That hit home.

If in the sense that one realizes they will always have temptation and have to fight it, it is true. In the sense that they will always be a victim, that is not true. When we meet people struggling with porn and they want to overcome it, we should have sympathy for them and come alongside them and help them.

I have always thought the porn industry is a wicked industry. Fradd’s book really helps to show how problematic it is. Men and women who are struggling with porn need to read this and realize this is an industry they don’t want to support, and as one myth shows, you are supporting it even if you don’t pay money for it.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: I Wish He Had Come With Instructions- The Woman’s Guide To A Man’s Brain

What do I think of Mike Bechtle’s published by Revell books? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

So why would I, a married guy, read a book written for women on how to understand men? Because a married man likes myself is always trying to understand myself as well. We guys are often seen as simple creatures, and to some extent we are, but there are also facets about ourselves that we don’t understand.

Bechtle’s book helps to bring these out. One rule he starts off with seems obvious, but it’s one we often forget. Don’t make assumptions about what the other person is thinking. They’re usually wrong and will only lead to trouble. Don’t bother. Try to find out in their own words what they’re thinking.

He also points out that women usually see men as having faulty thinking. It’s amazing that in our culture, men are told that they need to be more like women in the name of “equality”, but strangely enough, women don’t get the opposite message.

Bechtle says that we need to also not focus on our differences, but first on what we have in common. Those are far greater. Some of those differences, after all, will never change because one person is male and the other is female. At this point, it’s good to point out that the material in this book is not just good for husbands and wives, but other relationships, like mothers and sons.

If you want to see the other person changed, don’t try to change them directly. Don’t try to fix them. No one likes that. Instead, show them they’re loved and accepted as they are and give them a safe place. Many a man will change on his own.

It’s also important to note that Bechtle writes what he does assuming good and healthy males. This does not apply to a situation where abuse is taking place. If this is you in a relationship, this book is not for you and you need to get some help immediately.

Another recurring theme is that when men are little boys, they want an audience to see what they’ve done. I remember I wanted to show my parents my beating video games and when I got together with the other boys, I was always happy to show them how it was that you were supposed to beat the boss. Well, what happened to that boy when he grew up? He got taller. He’s still the same boy and especially in a marriage, he’s more often than a woman realizes trying to say to his wife, “Look at me! Look at me!”

In the marriage relationship, which will be my primary focus, this is another reason a man will often want to do anything to make his wife happy. He is still trying to impress her and if he feels rejected, it strikes him greatly. This is another point. All men are really insecure. We put on a brave face, but there’s a hidden insecurity.

Every man is in competition it seems with every other man. To go back to video games, this is one area where my friends and I constantly challenged one another growing up. I remember I got Chronotrigger after my best friend at the time had had it for a week. We were still in a competition to see who could finish it first. Naturally, the only reason I bring up that competition is to point out that I did finish it first. I think four hours before he did actually.

This is why praise from a woman means so much to a man. It tells him that the relationship is still good. If men experience or don’t experience something in a relationship that leads them to think something is wrong, they’re not as able to function. Their mind is going back to what they think a problem is and trying to fix it. We aim to impress.

There are also several quotes he has from men that they wish women knew. The ideas are ones I’ve felt in my own marriage. We think you’re pretty as you are and mean it so please stop arguing with us when we say it. We understand you put on make-up, but we think you look great naturally. Confidence is extremely beautiful to us and we want you to have confidence around us.

He also pointed out that men connect with activity, which did help me understand some things. Why is it that I want to watch that TV show only when my wife is around? Because it’s not just about the show, but it’s also about connecting with her. This is something we do together.

Also, men want to feel desired. We don’t just want to be a duty necessity that you have to please. If you flirt with us, it can change our outlook for the day. For me, something I like is holding my wife close and just having her rest her head on my chest. It means a lot. It tells me she feels safe with me, something I thought a woman would never ever think.

Men also tend to be more singularly focused. Now this might not apply to me as I do tend to multitask in everything that I do, but it does explain why we can zone out. Have a man watching a game and his wife talking to him and he won’t hear everything going on. She doesn’t understand it. For him, he’s just caught in another world. He’s not trying to be rude.

Men also have a desire to be a hero. Listen to a news story about a guy who suddenly becomes a hero one day, like Sully. What is every man thinking? “I want to be that guy.” Look at the video games he plays and the movies he watches. Those usually involve a hero the guy wants to be like. (It’s also amazing how many times the hero does something to impress the woman. That’s how men see romance.)

So ladies, your man might not ever be a Sully and receive worldwide acclaim for something, but you know what will suffice for him? If he gets to be your hero. If you treat him as the man who has rescued you and swept you off your feet, you will leave him walking tall.

Let’s go a step further. Your guy could be the hero to everyone else out there, but if he doesn’t think he’s your hero, he doesn’t care. None of it matters. Your man wants to be your hero more than anyone else’s. He would rather be a failure to everyone else and a hero to you than vice-versa.

This also means ladies that be very careful about criticizing your man. If he goes and cleans the dishes for you and does it wrong, if you start immediately telling him what he did wrong, he will get the opposite message. He has been criticized and his ability, which means his masculinity, has been called into question. It’s safer to not risk that again.

Start off with praise first. Praise is huge to a man. Give him praise when he does good and he will listen. Praise him when he does the dishes and then show him how he can make it even better and he will wash the dishes every time for that praise.

This is definitely true ladies. As I heard a man say years ago, many a man will do something absolutely stupid and reckless just to hear some other guy say, “You the man!” It means that much to us.

Some women will also wonder why their husband was Prince Charming when dating but turned into a slob when they married or just didn’t seem to take it as seriously. Let me also bring out something Becthle doesn’t mention. Many men I know say “My wife couldn’t keep her hands off of me when we were dating and now that we’re married she’s suddenly switched.” Yeah. It frustrates us also. Men do this because we are better at conquering than maintaining. We got your heart. We won the prize. We tend to think it’s time to go on to the next endeavor in the relationship. (I will say I do not think I am like this. I am still always trying to sweep my Princess off her feet.)

Also, for the most part, men don’t understand emotions. They tend to have fear or anger as their main emotions. Be aware of this in disagreement.

Also, men do connect with doing as I said, but men all still like to play. They want to play with the women in their lives. This doesn’t mean just sex, although it sure does include that, but it means any activity together. Maybe it might not seem like fun to you, but it does to him. We want the relationship to be fun.

Men also do indeed need sex in a marriage, but something they want more is passion. They want to know you’re excited. You see sex with them as a privilege and not just a duty. Think about it women. How many of you want your guy to treat you to a dinner date and then just say, “Well let’s just make this quick” or “I guess if we have to go out we have to.” You want him to really enjoy his time with you and consider it a chance to connect. That’s how your man views sex and when you are passionate and eager for him, it tells him that he is desirable. When you are not and he is just duty sex, it tells him he’s not. Actions speak louder.

Becthle’s book is full of great insights. Not just women need to read this. Men do too. Perhaps even, dare I say it, husbands and wives go through this together. I can imagine a wife many times saying “Is that true?” and hearing “Yep” and being amazed. Men are simple creatures, but maybe we’re not as simple as you think.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: Atheist Manifesto Part 2

What more do I have to think of Onfray’s book? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Reading Onfray is a task for anyone who tries. It’s hard to read without thinking that you’re really the temper tantrum of a child who doesn’t really know what he’s talking about. He will be talking about one thing and then suddenly seemingly jump to something else.

In part 2 of his book he talks about monotheisms. One of the first sections is about down with intelligence! Monotheism hates intelligence!

Remember? The monotheisms that are people of the book? The Christians who are responsible for copying and transmitting the ancient pagan works that we have, the founding of the university, and the rise of science? Yes. Those people. They were obviously haters of intelligence!

For Onfray, if you are a man of reason you will be on guard against magical thinking. I was unaware that just saying something is magical thinking is a refutation of it. Who knew? Some people might have questioned the idea I have of presuppositional atheism that if you’re an atheist, your thinking is automatically rational and if you’re a theist, it’s stupid. Onfray comes incredibly close by saying such statements about magical thinking and reason to saying exactly what I have been saying.

Of course, this comes to us well in the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Onfray doesn’t bother to say it’s good and evil. It’s not the tree of the knowledge of science or history or literature. It’s good and evil. In Hebrew thinking, this is a merism. It contrasts two opposite things to say everything between them. What is really at stake here is not knowledge so much as wisdom. It is mankind wanting himself to be the fount of wisdom instead of God.

We also have this part about the three monotheisms. It is the picture I shared last time. We are haters of reason, intelligence, books, and freedom. I say this, by the way, as I sit in my library in my apartment surrounded by my books and if you go outside of this room, you will find books scattered throughout our apartment.

We also hate women, sexuality, pleasure, the feminine, and desires and drives.

I am a married man.

I enjoy being a married man.

I enjoy the benefits of being a married man. I have yet to meet a married man who hates sex and the feminine and the body and such. Of course, such a person could be out there, but I doubt it. I find this especially bizarre to say about Islam since Muhammad had about a dozen wives and his followers could have up to four. Yes. They obviously hated sex and women.

Onfray also tells us that there were numerous apocryphal writings, more than those that are in the New Testament. Indeed. So what happened to them? Eusebius through Constantine is what happened! At this point, it is clear why Onfray doesn’t have notes in his book. Good luck finding this one.

He also tells us that Paul demanded the burning of forbidden books in Acts 19:19, but no such demand exists. From the account, the people themselves decided to do it. Besides, one would think Onfray would support this since these were books about magical spells, likely to ward off demons. Is Onfray upset that these books were lost to us?

Naturally, there is the idea of the hatred of science. The Catholic church impeded scientific research. Again, good luck with this one. There were plenty of scientists doing science in the time and the ones that were persecuted (All two of them!) were not in the Middle Ages.

Onfray also tells us the religions of the book detest women. You know, like how in Genesis man and woman are both equally 100% in the image of God. That kind of thing. Jesus having disciples who were women and openly communicating with them and Paul sending a woman to deliver, which would also entail and answering questions about, his most important letter, the letter to the Romans. For Onfray, we who are monotheists only see women as good for sex and only then when we want to reproduce. As he says “For a monotheist, there can be no more hideous oxymoron than a barren, sterile, woman.”

I wonder what monotheists he is talking to. I have not met any who think this way.

Now while Jews have some statements about women being impure during menstruation and after birth and the Koran has some negative statements, Christianity has not escaped! After all, in 585 there was discussion over a book called Paradoxical Dissertation in Which We Attempt To Prove That Women Are Not Human Creatures. Let’s suppose for the sake of argument that I granted that this is all historical and this is a book that a Christian wrote.

This is still ridiculous. One Christian wrote a book one year and it was discussed. Therefore, this represents the opinion of all Christians throughout all time.

Fortunately, at least in dealing with monotheisms, we have a section dealing with arguments for theism and…..oh of course we don’t! Onfray never bothers to deal with what his opponents actually say. That would interrupt the rant.

And next time we look at his work, we will look at obviously the most problematic religion, Christianity. (Funny how that so often works out that way isn’t it?)

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: Atheist Manifesto Part 1

What do I think of Michel Onfray’s book published by Arcade Publishing? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Ever since the new atheists, atheism has been going downhill. It looks like each time someone has to write to try to come up with something even more ridiculous than the last guy. On the internet, one deals with the internet atheist, a special breed of atheist that seems to believe anything provided it argues against Christianity. For those who call themselves, free-thinkers, they all seem to think alike. Well free-thinker, you get what you pay for.

Popular also among internet atheists is the meme. Now I enjoy a meme as a humorous illustration of an argument, but sometimes they are meant to convey something so profound, and it kind of is. It’s profoundly dumb. Such is the case when I saw shared a meme quoting a book that has to be one of the most ridiculous quotes I have ever read.

Yes. I find this hilarious as a man who makes it a point to use reason everyday and tries to be as sound in my thinking as possible and a lover of the mind sitting among books aplenty. I am a great lover of freedom and as for a hatred of sexuality, women, and pleasure, well, I am a happily married man so go ahead and draw out your own conclusions.

I could go through the meme more and more but you get the idea. Onfray is someone who has not really interacted with great Christian thinkers. I got his book and sadly, the quote is indeed very real. As I started going through it, I figured I’d check the bibliography to see what works he cited.

Problem there.

He has none.

Oh he will mention books throughout his own book, but he won’t give page numbers or anything like that. He will make claims just floating in the air. The vast majority of them are completely bogus. The book really reads as if it’s a childish rant.

So let’s look some at part 1. We’re going to start near the end because if everything was documented, the response would be as long as the book itself. I’d like to highlight a few areas.

Let’s go to page 50.

Onfray says we would not consider locking someone up who has a brain tumor, which is no more of a choice than a pedophilic fixation. One can dispute that pedophilia is a fixation that one has no choice over, but let’s suppose for the sake of argument that it is. If I know someone who has a brain tumor and that brain tumor causes them to act violently toward people around them, then yes, I think they need to be locked up in some way.

In the same sense, someone who is a pedophile and is going to actively be a threat to small children needs to be dealt with in a way that he won’t harm people around them. It is amazing that Onfray treats this as if it is something just as innocuous as a brain tumor. Perhaps he should speak to many of the people who have been damaged by pedophiles. (And we can expect he will make no remark about Catholics either!)

On 52-53, Onfray speaks about the ignorance of many Christians. While this is true, it says nothing about the truth of Christianity. He says believers will listen to Saint Paul but have never heard of Gregory of Nazianze. Well, strike one here. He says they set up the infant creche, but they know nothing of the founding quarrels of Arianism or the council on iconophila. Strike Two. He talks about communion, but papal infallability is unheard of. Strike three. I do know about these, so what then?

Onfray goes on to get worse. He says that believers attend Christmas mass but don’t know that the church picked this date to coincide with the winter solstice and Sol Invictus. No source is given for this claim. The winter solstice would have never fallen on December 25th anyway. He also says death by stoning was the standard punishment for what Jesus was charged with. Stoning, however, was not really to be done by the Jewish populace at the time and crucifixion was done to shame the person more. Jesus was meant to be a public example.

He then says you can talk to a Christian about the neglect of the work of taking care of the poor. The Christian will ask about liberation theology. Not this one. This one will accept that the church is not perfect and will point to ways we need to improve but will still show that Christians are giving more to the poor and doing more charity work. I have no wish to endorse liberation theology.

He goes on to say that Paul decries the pleasures of the flesh and despises women. Onfray thinks you will hear that mystical ecstasy is a higher pleasure. No. Hear you will be told what passages you have in mind and then let’s discuss them.

He then says that if you mention the massacre of indians you will be told about Bartolome de Las Casas. Again, not here. I will ask for your historical sources and if the Christians are in the wrong, that’s something horrible and we need to own up to it, but it doesn’t change that Jesus rose from the dead. It’s a shame that Onfray did not go out and dialogue with real Christians or look at real Christian writings on the topic.

On page 60, we get much of what is predicted. He has earlier said in the book that there is no evidence Jesus existed and now we can know when he was forged with certainty. You have to wonder what’s with all these people thinking like this? Creationists are often mocked for going against the overwhelming consensus in science, and perhaps rightly so, but atheists definitely go against it.

By the way, he also talks some about the tree of knowledge in the book. The idea is apparently that Christians hate knowledge and the great sin was getting knowledge. No. The sin was the knowledge of good and evil in which what is really meant was trying to usurp divine wisdom. It was trying to rule on one’s own what they had really been given to rule. It was a defiance.

When we return, we will look at what he has to say about monotheisms.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Thoughts On The SBC And Abuse

What do I think of the recent issues going on? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

As someone who reads marriage blogs, I have seen several people writing about the events going on in the SBC. These issues have particularly centered around the treatment of women. The removal of Paige Patterson from his position is based on this kind of happening.

Controversies surrounding him have included people like Sheri Klouda and Darrell Gilyard. There was also a statement released concerning other allegations from the chairman of the Board of Trustees. One great concern I had in reading that was that Patterson said he wanted to meet with a student alone who said she had been raped. He wanted no officials there and he wanted to “break her down.” I’m not sure how to take that statement, but anyway I can think of is not good.

Also, some of this centers around women in abusive relationships. Sometimes, women were apparently told to just submit to their husbands. This would often put those women in great risk.

Patterson isn’t an isolated figure in this. Steve Camp who was a popular Christian singer back in the 80’s and today is a pastor got into a debate recently with Sheila Wray Gregoire of To Love, Honor, and Vacuum. In the link, you can see Camp made a number of awful statements because Gregoire is a woman and began blocking other women on Twitter defending her. I believe it’s events like this that got J Parker of Hot, Holy, and Humorous to write her own take on this.

So let’s say a few words about all this going on.

I am not a member of the SBC, but let’s be sure that I do not think this represents the majority of SBC pastors and leaders. I think most of them want to be good and God-honoring men and if they are married, they want to love and honor their wives the best they can. Sadly, a few bad apples in any group can spoil the bunch.

As regarding marriage, I am complementarian in my approach. Yet as I say that, I have something important to say along those lines. If a man does think Biblically that he is the king of his castle, well guess what. Your wife gets treated like a queen. There is never any justification whatsoever for abusing your wife verbally, physically, emotionally, sexually, or any other way I might have left off.

I also hate divorce. When Allie and I go to another town around here for something else in the line of medical care, there is a billboard on the way back that says “Undo, I do.” I always reach over and softly pat Allie on the leg or something and just tell her, “Not us.” Because of a divorce culture where divorce is prevalent, though there are myths about how prevalent it is among Christians, there are many good marriages where one person fears a divorce from the other because it has become so easy to get one.

Yet my hatred of divorce can be much like our hatred of war. No one really should really like the thought of war, but sometimes it is necessary because of the evil of other people. Many people who have a concealed carry today carry it to protect their family and I am sure it is their great hope that they never have to use it.

Divorce is sadly a necessity if a spouse is abusive and they will not change. (While this is about women in abusive relationships, let’s not forget that women can be abusers of men too.) I would urge any couple that when abuse takes place, separate for a time being and try to work things out with a licensed professional counselor. If that cannot happen, there is no requirement that you stay with someone who is abusive, doubly so if children are involved.

Even still, divorce should be seen as a necessary tragedy. It is sad that someone who made a promise before God and man to love and cherish someone for the rest of their life ended up breaking that promise. It is a reminder that we live in a fallen world. We need to have zero tolerance for abuse.

So what about Biblical submission? What about wives submit to your husbands. I believe in it, but men, if you have to start quoting Ephesians 5 to your wives in hopes that she will get in line, you’re already not being a leader in your family. More importantly, when we are talking about someone’s spiritual condition, the only person we can do anything about directly is ourselves.

And men, we have a lot that is said to us in Ephesians 5. When I was engaged to my now wife, I remember once when I was visiting her and her family and one day it hit me that I was to be married really and then I remembered what the passage said. Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church.

As Christ loved the church.

Really.

Look at those five words.

Pause in your reading men if you’re married and think about those five words.

If we’re being honest, we all fall short of that one. Yet that is our calling. We are to be such great husbands to our wives that if they didn’t know better, they could swear they were married to Jesus. The number one person in your wife’s life who should remind her of Jesus is you. If you are not that person, you are doing it wrong.

Paul has many other commandments to us. To the wives, he only tells them to submit to their husbands and respect them. We get far more attention given to us.

Submission is something that should never be used as a whip. Sex is always a big area in a marriage and guys, if you are using submission as a way to get sex, stop it. I suspect many of you are not doing that, but there could be that lone wolf out there. If it’s not happening as often in your marriage as you’d like, then maybe you need to ask yourself how you could be more romantic so that your wife will feel safe and want to make love to you.

Let me offer some bizarre suggestions. Maybe you could take your wife out on dates more. Maybe you could actually talk to her some. Maybe you could do some work around the house or help with the kids more. Maybe you could touch her lovingly and do so other than when you want sex. And maybe all of this could be part of loving her as Christ loved the church.

Now to the women, many of them don’t understand this need in a man, but imagine you wanting to hear your man say he loves you and he says, “Okay. I love you. Are you happy now?” Well, no. Of course not. It was done, but begrudgingly. The same would be if he took you out on a date and acted like it was just a chore for him. Unfortunately, many women don’t realize that this is often how they come across to their husbands in the area of sex. It’s a necessary evil that they put up with. Your man wants not just to have intimacy with you, but for you to want him and want that intimacy with him.

Ideally in a marriage, this will begin a circle of love. A couple that is more loving will have more sex together. In turn, they will be more loving to one another. That will result in their having more sex together. As a result, you get the picture.

And men, our role is to love our wives and always seek to improve. For me, I started a men’s group on Facebook for Christian men who are married, engaged, dating, or hoping to date and marry called “As Christ Loved The Church”. Honestly, part of this was for myself. I wanted to be a better husband and I was sure other men wanted to join me on that journey. Nowadays, I am seen by many as a sort of expert in the field, but I realize I have a long way to go.

If any denomination has any issues with how men are treating women, they do need to clean house. By the way, a lot of this starts before marriage. The church needs to be teaching on sex far more often. Robert Gagnon, author of The Bible and Homosexual Practice has said we need at least one sermon a month. Think about it. Our kids in popular culture and all around them are seeing the world’s view of sex everywhere. How often are they going to get the Biblical view? What are they growing up believing about marriage as a result?

This also means that pornography must be talked about. This isn’t just a men’s issue anymore but if you’re engaging in pornography, stop it. You are doing damage to yourself and any future marriage relationship you will have. This can be undone, but it would be best to avoid it to begin with.

We should pray for the SBC in this time and hope the new president will build up the denomination to honor women to be sure, but even more that it will honor the name of Christ. Abuse in any relationship should never be allowed and definitely if you’re dating someone who is abusive, get out now. Husbands and wives need both to seek to honor one another in marriage and definitely get rid of pornography.

This scandal has given the world one viewpoint of how the church treats these issues. Let’s make sure we give them a better one.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

 

 

Book Plunge: Why Men Hate Going To Church

What do I think of David Murrow’s book published by Thomas Nelson? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I’m someone active in ministry and I strive to live a holy life before Jesus, but honestly, church can seem like just doing my duty often. I sit there and I hear the same thing I’ve heard over and over and think about what’s on TV when I get home or a game I’d like to play. I could often easily go with skipping all the music and going straight to the sermon, but then when we get to the sermon, it can be just as boring for me.

If David Murrow is right, and I think he is, I’m not alone. Men don’t really care for church. Christianity is the only major world religion that has a shortage of men in it. Why is it that we don’t care for church? Is it we don’t really believe in God or we don’t really care about Jesus?

Murrow contends that one of the most important things in the mind of a man is to be a man. A man does not generally want to do anything feminine. If there was something like that, he would only care if he knew he was connected with other men with a similar interest. Being one of the guys is of great importance to a man.

This is also something that is not just shut off. Men are constantly trying to prove themselves and show what they are made of. Challenges are taken very seriously in the world of a man. The problem is that church often doesn’t fit into that. Church has become very feminized.

Please understand. Murrow is in no way saying the Gospel is feminine. He is also not saying we make any change whatsoever in the content of the Gospel. How we present the Gospel and what we emphasize of the Gospel is often what really needs to be changed.

Consider what I said earlier. Men hear the same things repeatedly in a church service. What are they usually about? Relationships. It’s not that men are opposed to relationships. We have plenty of them. It’s that men don’t really define themselves by their relationships. You won’t have two guys out hiding in some trees in the woods hunting deer and one of them says, “Hey man. I think we need to sit down sometime and talk about our relationship.” (And especially not since the other man likely has a loaded gun.)

Many churches become all about the family of God, which is true, but not about the Kingdom of God, which is more outwardly focused. Men who tend to be aggressive want to go out and do things. We don’t just want to be internally focused.

The music is often also not really pleasing to a man. Much of the music relies on an emotional high of sorts and are really songs sung to Jesus that could be sung to your boyfriend as well. Many CCM stations play songs to reach women.

We also have a problem when we present gentle Jesus meek and mild. Jesus was certainly the Lamb of God, but He was also the Lion of Judah. Look at the pictures of Jesus on many covers of Bibles and in Christian bookstores. This Jesus often looks like a wimp to men. Men don’t want to follow a wimp.

This doesn’t mean either that we chase out the women. Not at all. Women need to be in church and when men start going, women start going more as well. Statistically, if you want to reach the average family for Jesus, focus on the father. There is even research that one of the leading factors in keeping a teenager of either sex from apostasizing is if their Dad takes his Christianity seriously.

If you’re looking at this and thinking it’s about the patriarchy or something like that, then you are missing the point. If anything, you’re giving men the picture that to be true Christians, they should cease being men. It’s not going to work to reach them.

Instead, make church a place that lets men be men. The book even ends with Murrow asking a group of pastors how many of their churches had more men than women. Only one pastor raised their hand. Not only that, that pastor had nail polish on her hand.

This was a woman who had read Murrow’s book and took it seriously. She took out feminine decor in the church and removed a lot of songs and got others like “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God” and “Onward Christian Soldiers” and allowed days for guys to even wear sports jerseys to church. She started preaching sermons about guy topics including a series on “God loves sex.” Result? Her church grew among men and women both.

Murrow’s book is the kind of book I wish I could put in the hands of every pastor in the country. It’s a book I thoroughly enjoyed and when I had to interrupt my reading of it, I was always looking forward to getting back into it. It is one of the most important books I think I have read and I highly recommend it.

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

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: Paul Behaving Badly

What do I think of Randy Richards’s and Brandon O’Brien’s book published by IVP? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Paul can be a very polarizing figure today. Some Christians have the idea that Jesus is really awesome (And they’re right), but we don’t know about that Paul guy. He wasn’t even one of the original twelve. He didn’t meet Jesus in person. Why should we listen to him? Some skeptics will claim that it was Paul who really invented Christianity and took the good message of Jesus and turned Him into a deity and lost sight of His message.

For those of us who do like Paul, we do have to admit there can be difficulties. As the authors ask “Was Paul a jerk?” Sometimes, it looks like he was. They bring this up in a number of areas. First, the general question of if he was a jerk. Then they ask if he was a killjoy, a racist, a supporter of slavery, a chauvinist, a homophobe, a hypocrite, and finally a twister of Scripture.

Each chapter starts with the charges against Paul and they do bring forward an excellent case. You can look at the claims and if you are not familiar with the debates it is easy to ask “How is Paul going to get out of this one?” The authors also grant that Paul is not one behaving according to 21st century Western standards, but he was still just as much behaving badly to his own culture as he was just as radical to them. Paul is kind of in an in-between spot sometimes. Many times he’ll push the envelope further and leave it to us to keep pushing it. The question is are we going to do that.

Many of these questions need to be addressed for the sake of many people you will encounter who raise these objections. (Why didn’t Paul just demand the immediate release of slaves?) I enjoyed particularly the chapter on Paul being a killjoy. O’Brien gives his story in this one on how anything wasn’t to be done because we are to abstain from the appearance of evil so let’s make sure we all go see only G-rated movies and are teetotallers. (While I personally abstain from alcoholic beverages, I don’t condemn those who drink and control their alcohol.)

Some insights I thought were interesting and added perspective. Why did Paul seem to take contradictory stances on meat offered to idols? Why did he have Timothy circumcised when Timothy was from the area of Galatia and Paul had made it clear that if you let yourself be circumcised, then you are denying the Gospel. (If you want the answers to those questions, you know what you need to do.)

I would have liked to have seen a little bit more on the honor and shame aspect of the culture of the time. There is some touching on this, such as talk also about the client/patron system, but a quick refresher would have been good for those who don’t know it. Of course, I definitely recommend that anyone pick up their excellent book Misreading Scripture With Western Eyes.

This book is a great blessing that we need today. Paul, like I said, is one of the most controversial figures even among Christians. To deal with his critics and to help those who would like to support him, you need to read this book.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Deeper Waters Podcast 9/10/2016: William Webb

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

For those curious about the past two weeks, we recorded Holly Ordway fine except for the last twenty-five minutes or so. We’re going to redo those and then have the whole be released together. After that, I will put up my discussion at the Apologetics Academy. Now let’s go to this week.

We all want to do what the Bible says to do. Right? Yep. Those commands last. Why, we never go to church outings where pepperoni pizza or shrimp is served. Oh wait. We do. That’s odd. When we go to church, we have someone there to wash our feet as our Lord said should be done and…..no wait. We normally don’t. Well we at least greet one another with a holy kiss. (Okay. To be fair, I do that one with my wife and then ask immediately if I greeted her already or not.)

How is it we want to do what the Bible says when so often we don’t seem to do what it says? My guest this week has written on that and he’s used three case examples to make his point. Those examples are what the Bible says about slaves, women, and homosexuals. Hence, the book title is Slaves, Women, and Homosexuals. Who is he? His name is Dr. William Webb.

william-webb

He got his B.A. from Providence College in 1980, a Th.M. from Dallas Theological Seminary in 85, and a Ph.D. from there in 90. His further bio says that:

Dr. Bill Webb is married (Marilyn) with three grown children (Jonathan, Christine, and Joel) and a dog (Muffin). Education: Ph.D. Dallas Theological Seminary. Teaching: Professor of New Testament for 20 years (Heritage); Adjunct professor primarily at Tyndale Seminary and occasionally at ACTS and Acadia. Bill has worked as a pastor, chaplain, and professor over a span of twenty some years. In addition to conference speaking ministry, he has published several articles and books, includingReturning Home (Sheffield Press, 1993), Slaves, Women, and Homosexuals (InterVarsity, 2001),Discovering Biblical Equality (two chapters; InterVarsity, 2005), Four Views on Moving from the Bible to Theology (one view and responses; Zondervan, 2009), Corporal Punishment in the Bible: A Redemptive Hermeneutic for Troubling Texts (InterVarsity, 2011), Bloody, Brutal and Barbaric: War Texts that Trouble the Soul (forthcoming), and Getting Revelation Wrong: Rethinking End of the World Scenarios (forthcoming).

We’re going to be talking about the above problems and asking if we’re being obedient to the text or not and how could we tell. What does the case study of slaves, women, and homosexuals mean for us. After all, it’s quite easily agreed that slavery is wrong today, and even those of us who are very complementarian like myself don’t agree with much of the older views on women. Some people are more in agreement with homosexual practice, but for the most part I think the Christian church disagrees with it, and I am certainly in that number. How do we approach these and other issues?

Be sure to join us this Saturday and be sure to leave a review on ITunes for the show. I love to see them!

In Christ,
Nick Peters