If I Had Two Months To Preach

What would I speak on? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Someone messaged me asking what I would preach on at a church if I had two months to preach on an apologetics topic not necessarily political, but it wouldn’t be race either. What would I preach on? I immediately answered sex and marriage. I was asked if there was anything else since this was two months. I stated that I think this is two years worth and I stand by it. Why?

Let’s start out with getting people into the church. Imagine if on the sign outside the church you had the announcement “Come join us these next two months as our pastor preaches on sex and marriage.” Would you get more people in to see what was said? Yes. That could even include people outside the church.

After all, ask which people if they had to choose one, which they would rather see a TV movie about? Would it be the Sermon on the Mount or would it be David and Bathsheba? I know a lot of Christians would choose the former, but most on the other side would choose the latter, and let’s face it, a lot of Christians could very well choose the latter.

Not only that, but one of the greatest problems we have today is men don’t want to go to church. Church has become way too feminine. I would like every pastor to read Why Men Hate Going To Church. Many of our songs about Jesus could be what a girl sings about her boyfriend and guys don’t care about that, but if you talk about what men are interested in, they will come. Not only that, but statistically, if the father/husband comes, he brings the rest of the family with him.

Next, this is a topic our whole culture is confused on. We want to treat sex like something that you just do for fun, but when one person sleeps with someone different, the idea is that cheating has taken place. Kissing someone other than your lover can be cheating, but this brings it to a whole new level.

We know there’s something different. If the couple kisses or goes on a date, that’s said to be nice, but the goal really comes when they sleep together. Then you know that they are a couple. I am not saying that I agree with that, but I am saying that’s the perception.

Another reason to talk about this is this is a great cause of people leaving the faith. If there is any moral reason people abandon Christianity, it’s because it interferes with their sex lives. People don’t really like the stance Christianity takes on sex, and many times, that includes those of us who are Christians.

This is especially so with young people who we’ve sold a false bill of goods to. Many of us have told them that if they have sex before they marry, they will feel guilty. They might. Some do. Some don’t. Those that don’t wonder what else the church has lied to them about.

Another problem with this is purity culture where we have told women especially that if they give themselves away before marriage, they are damaged goods. I certainly think women should save themselves, but they are not damaged goods. We also have this strange idea of purity until marriage. No. You should stay pure after marriage. Sex isn’t something dirty that taints you.

For many men, pornography is a huge issue. Sadly, many more women are starting to get into this as well. The understanding I have is that one in three men in the church struggle with pornography and it’s probably more than that. This is also destroying many marriages. Why is it so many men are struggling with pornography and we never talk about it from the pulpit?

Our young people especially need a worldview of sex. Why not sleep together if you’re in love? They need a whole worldview of sex, and so do so many of the adults as well. I got after the guys about pornography, but the women need a message to. Too many women are engaging in sexting, that is, sending intimate pictures of themselves on their phones. They can think it will go away, but it won’t. I say this especially to the women because let’s face it, a woman’s body at the intimate level is much more appealing to people than a man’s is.

If a young man and a young woman are on a date, they need more than a few verses in Paul to stop them from going too far. They need a whole worldview. This could not only teach them good thinking about sex, but good thinking about everything else. Good thinking carries over after all. If you learn to think well in one area, you can do so in others more likely.

Also, our marriages need enrichment. I realize that Shaunti Feldhahn has dealt with a lot of myths about Christian marriage, but too many are in trouble and need help. We need whole sermons on the topic. Having a seminar every now and then is good, but we need more.

This also does have political ramifications. Teach on sex and you touch most everything else. You wind up addressing abortion, homosexuality, and transgenderism. You will get people learning what it means to be a man and what it means to be a woman.

We also have many failures recently in this area. How many pastors who are prominent have fallen because of sexual temptation? Do I need to mention Ravi Zacharias again? He used to be one of my heroes and today, the first aspect of him I think of is the scandal.

Scripture speaks about this constantly for a reason. We should listen. Our young people and the rest of the church get to hear the world’s message on this topic six days a week. We have one day a week and we don’t use it.

So again, without hesitation, this is what I would speak on. It covers a multitude of topics and it is not based on race. Actually, all races could benefit from this. Last I checked, we all reproduce the same way.

And maybe you’re not a guest pastor, but you’re the actual pastor. Could it be time to update that sign outside the church?

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

On Josh Duggar

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

Josh Duggar is connected with a celebrity Christian family. Unfortunately, that puts him in a spotlight to be what a Christian is meant to be and sadly, he is definitely not. We could grant some understanding with having a problem with pornography. I am not justifying that, but many men struggle with porn today and if they are repentant and seeking to change, we should be working with them and showing them grace. Sadly, Josh Duggar was doing more. He was also accused of molesting his sisters and now, child porn has been found on his computer.

Now when I first heard about child pornography, I thought it was likely teenage girls or something of that sort. No. We mean actual children. Children who are toddlers and some younger. Children who are nowhere near puberty. What do you say about a man who is sexually aroused by that?

Not only that, he had Covenant Eyes on his computer and yet found a way to bypass it. He was also involved on using the dark web to get his fix. This is a man who knew what he wanted and was willing to do anything underhanded to get it. Please think about that. This man sought out means to get his fix of children.

His wife I understand is still standing by him. I understand that divorce is often viewed as a great evil in the church, but there are some evils that are worse. This man is unsafe to be around, especially with children in the house that are the age of the children that he was viewing on the internet. She definitely needs to be open to this possibility. Fortunately, she is at least scared to be alone with him.

Rachael Denhollander issued a powerful Twitter series of posts on the topic. You can read them here. Let’s also spend some time then talking about what a girl is worth, which is the title of her book, and the way wives are sometimes portrayed in Christian marriage.

Women are sometimes blamed for the fall of men. Even if we go to the very first case, Adam and Eve, Eve did indeed give Adam the fruit, but it was Adam who willfully partook of it. Eve didn’t hold him down and shove it down his throat.

Suppose I am somewhere where a woman does everything she can to seduce me. Suppose it’s really a place that would normally be considered safe and I have been following good protocol to stay safe. This woman could do everything she can to seduce me, even stripping naked in front of me. She is responsible for that behavior definitely, but who is responsible for how I respond?

Me and only me.

Some women get the idea that if they dress a certain way, they are responsible for the fall of men around them. Now to be fair, a woman should be aware of how she dressed in the world. There are women who do dress in a way to advertise themselves in a way that is not appropriate, especially for a Christian woman. Many women don’t. A woman might pick an outfit out at the store just because it feels good on her and she’s not aware of how it looks in the eyes of a man.

However, a man cannot control what the women in his life do. He can only control what he does. Men need to learn that self-control regardless. Yes. Your wife might not be in the best state of mind and you might have to go without sex for a time. While a woman should not without cause deprive her husband as there is a mutual duty in marriage, if there is something going on with a physical condition or something of that sort, a man needs to be understanding.

For a woman who is not married, you never need to give yourself to a man before you marry him. If he won’t love you unless you give yourself to him, then he doesn’t really love you. He loves something you can do for him. What is a girl worth? A lifetime commitment.

Also ladies, if your husband is using porn, take action. If he is willing to work on it, be gracious and offer to work with him, but let it be understood you will not share him with pornography. Get him into a program like Celebrate Recovery and make sure he has friends who will hold him accountable. Be a partner in the journey.

Also, it’s worth pointing out that women can be involved in pornography as well. The same would apply in reverse. More and more women are struggling with pornography today.

For all of us, it’s always advisable to do our best to avoid being in sexually compromising situations. Being someone with a public image, I try to be especially careful. Unless the woman is related to me somehow, I won’t be alone with another women be it a restaurant table or in a car or on an elevator. Is that because of the woman? No. It’s because of me. I know beautiful women are extremely tempting for me and my thinking is if you think you are above a sin, you are far more likely to fall to it.

This is also appropriate on social media as well. I have women who are friends, but I try to be careful what I will talk about. Those of us who are Christians should be striving to live lives that are above suspicion. It would be a blessing to me if my intellectual opponents could look at me and say, “I don’t believe what he believes at all, but I do think he does try to live out what he believes and has that character.”

Also to those skeptics, none of this disproves Christianity at all. Josh Duggar’s sin does not show that God does not exist or that Jesus didn’t rise from the dead. It shows that Christians, or claimed Christians, can be evil and hypocrites. None of us needed to be told that. We all know it. You want to condemn this as wicked behavior? You get no complaint from me.

For the rest of us, this is the danger of our Christian culture. We saw this with Ravi Zacharias. All of us who are in the public eye should be able to say to any challenge of our moral character to go ahead and investigate it. There’s a saying attributed to Benjamin Franklin that goes “Our critics are our friends. They show us our faults.”

I also recently had a friend in ministry message me asking if I had two months to teach on a specific topic for apologetics purpose, what would I choose. Without hesitation, I said sex and marriage. I was told he wanted two months worth and I said that would be two years worth. Most Christians do not have a biblical worldview of either and our young people especially get the message of the world for at least six days and the one day we have to teach them normally, we don’t.

Meanwhile, pray for this family. They definitely need it.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Book Plunge: Vertical Marriage

What do I think of Dave and Ann Wilson’s book published by Zondervan. Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Dave Wilson didn’t know what to think. He had gone all out to try to impress his wife on their tenth anniversary only to hear her say “I don’t think I love you anymore.” At that point, marriage could have easily ended and as their book shows, their marriage had had rocky times up to that point, but they did turn it around.

The secret was to go vertical. It was to make the relationship with Christ the priority. It sounds easy and really, it’s a message we shouldn’t need to hear, but we too often do. Today, Dave and Ann are happily married and getting better everyday.

It hasn’t been without several bumps in the road. Dave and Ann are fully honesty and share their great mistakes together that they made. Dave talks about being alone in a hotel room and just watching 30 seconds of a porn movie and how that led to an addiction that even to this day he has to keep under control.

Ann talks about how she could be tempted to hold a grudge against Dave, such as the time he forgot to fix a light on her car until the last minute. Instead, it’s always best to go vertical. It’s my personal philosophy that no one will ever wrong you greater than you have wronged Jesus Christ, and yet He forgives you.

One of the first sections of the book is on communication, which is always a problem. There are different communication styles and people tend to communicate with what they grew up with. Some people grew up in houses where there weren’t any problems. Does that sound unrealistic? That’s right, because the reality is they had problems, but it was better to just not talk about them. You avoided the issue. Then some people grew up in houses where you dealt with the issue right away.

Now imagine what happens when spouses with those communication styles get together.

And one of the great techniques here is listening. It’s too easy to not hear what the other person is saying and instead interpreting it through what you think. Those of us in apologetics know that it’s easy for us to be misunderstood by skeptics online and we can also do the same thing. The way a man understands the world is vastly different from the way a woman does.

There is naturally a section entirely on intimacy. No. This is not about a new position to try in the bedroom or a new technique. This is about connection. There are some absolutely hysterical parts of the book in this section. Some stories are quite amazing, such as when there was a mission trip that took place in Sweden with several young men and in to a place they were working at walked in three topless women. Dave did lower his head then to which his wife said, “If you look up, you are dead.”

This is another issue where men and women think differently. Men tend to focus on the physical aspect and women want the more relational aspect. It’s not to say men don’t appreciate the relational connection or women don’t appreciate the bodies of their men, but it does mean that generally, this is where the primary focus lies.

The book is easy to read and very funny. The Wilsons do freely share the skeletons in their closets. There are times in the book when it is Dave speaking and times when it is Ann.

The only aspect of the book I couldn’t really embrace so often is my questioning of the idea that God is telling people to do XYZ on a regular basis. I always wonder how they know that. There is even one time where Dave writes a note to his wife and is convinced the words are from God when he gives it, but we know they’re not and Dave would say the same thing about the content of the note now. This is not to say advice said to be from God is not good advice. I just question if it came directly from God.

Don’t let that hold you back. This is an enjoyable book and should change your perspective. If you want to improve your marriage, go get this one.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Pastor. Your Eyes And Heart Need Work.

What are wives required to do for husbands? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I heard yesterday about a video going viral. In it, a pastor was giving a sermon and sometime in the middle, he went on a tirade that is extremely derogatory towards women. If you want the highlights, here’s what someone posted about it.

As a husband to my wife and father to my daughter the things he brought out such as:

“Don’t give him a reason to look elsewhere”

“men are going to look so be sure to keep your self attractive enough he only wants to look at you”

“My friend set a divorce weight for his wife”

“It’s really important for a man to have a beautiful woman on his arm”

“Women stink”

“Weight control”

“Food never taste as good as skinny feels”

“Dress appropriately, dress your age, dress your body type…just look good”.

Now someone could look at this and say, “Well isn’t it true that a wife should care about her appearance?” Yes. It is. Unfortunately, the way this guy spoke will not encourage any wife and places the blame on her and some statements are just hideous.

Let’s start with don’t give him a reason to look elsewhere. If this was a playful challenge given as an encouragement, that could have been one thing. “Women! You’re already beautiful! Your husband is tempted to look at other women because he is a man, but be a feast for his eyes and he will always return to you.”

Instead, what the preacher said was, “If you lower your beauty, your husband will look elsewhere.” When you’re a Christian man and dating, you already know that a woman is beautiful. When you marry, you learn that she really is much more beautiful than you realize.

If you are a man and you look at a woman and don’t see something beautiful, it is not the woman that needs to change but you. This is especially so for your wife. Every woman is beautiful in some way. If you are not seeing beauty, then work on changing yourself.

I honestly cannot easily picture Christ referring to any woman physically as ugly. He might think that their behavior is awful, but He never rejected a woman who came to Him for help. Jesus was incredibly kind towards women.

That being said, it is true men are going to look. I remember a young Catholic priest telling me about how he can look too and he always says, “She is a beautiful gift, but she is not for you.” A man might notice a woman and have a momentary thought, but a good man just moves on then.

I don’t think a man is responsible for his momentary temptation that flies through his mind. Now if he stares or leers or something else, that is different, but it is a struggle for the majority of men out there. A wife should not take it personally. At the end of the day, he chose her.

The comment about a man setting a divorce weight for his wife is one of the worst. I don’t know of anything in Scripture that says, “If you start thinking your wife is putting on too much weight, you may leave her and trade her in for a less heavy model.” This pastor doesn’t need to be condemning the women. He needs to be condemning his friend instead.

Now it is true that a man likes to have a beautiful woman on his arm and whenever I have had to take Allie somewhere, I have been delighted to show her off to everyone. If anything, I always delighted in telling everyone the story about her winning a beauty pageant. When I went to my 20th year high school reunion, I remember being eager to show her off to everyone I went to school with. Yes. I did get married and I married a beautiful woman.

Women stink? I have no doubt that a woman could have a problem if she has just worked out or anything like that, but so do men. That’s part of the human condition. It doesn’t matter either. A woman is still beautiful.

The statement about nothing tastes as good as being thin feels is one often used in diet motivation. If a woman wants to lose weight for proper health reasons (Not Anorexia or Bulimia) and is motivated by this, good for her. By the way, that should be the best motivation for weight control and that is health.

Now there is certainly truth in the last part about dress appropriately, but many Christian wives don’t have this problem. They’re not going to show up to church in a bikini or something like that. This could be something said more for the teenage girls in the audience who are still wanting to get a man in their lives.

But in the end, the big problem is that there’s nothing wrong with a woman wanting to make herself beautiful for the man in her life. When Ruth approached Boaz to see if he would marry her, she was told to bathe and put on her best clothes. Yes. Men do respond to physical appearance.

The man also needs to work on being the best that he can. It’s meant to be a mutual self-giving. Also, normally if a woman wants to do this, her husband will likely have no problem with it. I remember when Allie got a new dress at Wal-Mart one time and when she came out, my jaw just dropped. I was stunned by how beautiful she looks. I even told her that for my birthday I could ask my parents and in-laws to give her dresses as well. That would be just as much a gift to me.

As far as I know, this pastor’s wife didn’t poison him in his sleep or anything like that during the night. Either way, this is a man who definitely needs to get into marriage counseling and get his attitude towards women taken care of. Also, until that changes, please don’t be in the pulpit. We don’t need this kind of attitude there.

And women, you’re already beautiful. If a man doesn’t find you beautiful just the way you are, then he’s not going to find you beautiful anyway. His idea of your beauty is conditional. Move on.

However, while you should want to take care of yourself, if you have a good man, he will find you beautiful no matter what changes you go through. It is because while he sees your body, he doesn’t see just your body. He sees you and when he sees you he sees beauty. It’s not conditional.

If you’re a man who makes your commitment to your wife conditional on what is fleeting and passing anyway, then you don’t really have a commitment to your wife. You have a commitment to a female body. Work on your eyes, and your heart.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)
Support my Patreon here.

Book Plunge: Sex Matters

What do I think of Mona Charen’s book published by The Crown Forum? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Feminism has failed women.

This is not to say that everything it has done has been a catastrophe. What it means is that the movement has done more harm than good. While it hailed itself as pro-woman, it has actually been anti-woman. The damage has been because it had an idea of what they would like women to be, but ignored what women really are, and the same for men as well.

The movement assumed that for many women, the dream is to be a career woman. It assumed that women should experience sex the same way that men do. It assumed that women must be able to have abortions in order to be on equal footing with men.

Unfortunately, this is not the case for the majority of women. Women tend to really want to feel security. Marriage is one of the great ways that women can have that security. Not only that, that also has a positive effect on the man as the marriage covenant usually domesticates a man.

It started with some good goals for women, but then it went on to other ones. Many of the earliest feminists would be appalled at what feminism is today. The first one to really change the way the movement was seen was Betty Friedan with the Feminine Mystique. Much of what she said was rooted in Communism as well.

From there, more and more feminists wanted to push the envelope further. Marriage was seen as a bondage for women. Women should pursue sex outside of marriage. Motherhood should not be a major goal for women. Abortion should be a right for women.

Unfortunately, all of this denies what women are. Women have a natural longing for the most part to be mothers. Many women would be willing to sacrifice a career to raise their children directly. Sex outside of marriage does not do women good but rather allows them to be used.

This is built on the idea that femininity is something artificial that can be bent to be whatever we want, but if women have a nature and we are fighting against that, then we are doing harm to women. The same is also done to men. We live in an age where we hear about toxic masculinity and complaining about the patriarchy, automatically assuming that masculinity is a bad thing and a man is a villain if he leads.

This has also led to women severing their bonds. In abortion, a woman severs the natural bond she has to be a mother to her children. Abortion is actually the most anti-feminine behavior I can think of. First off, many of the babies aborted are themselves women. Second, a woman is doing the exact opposite of the motherly instinct and learning to kill her own children for the sake of something else. It could be money or career or just wanting to have free sex. Either way, a woman does herself great harm as she has to find a way to justify abortion.

A woman also has to shut herself down during sex which can lead to the hook-up culture. Women are too easily used and many women have taught themselves to not feel anything during sex lest they form a connection that get severed. Many women will also say yes to sex when they don’t really want to because of fear of losing the guy or of being seen as a prude by society.

We’re also told men need to stop pressuring women to have sex. This is true, but at the same time, in reality, men also have far more testosterone in their bodies and think about sex a whole lot more than women. We are also far more aggressive. Andrew Sullivan is even cited with an example of how he was getting testosterone for something and at the start, he almost got into a fight with his neighbor because of it.

Do men need to control their strong desire for sex? Yes. Will you change male nature though? No. The more you do that, you will find yourself fighting against reality.

Let’s consider some ways we are doing that. Charen cites someone who complains about a tool that is used by women to help them see if a date rape drug has been put in a drink. A woman complains saying she doesn’t want to live in a world where she has to fear that her date has done something like that.

That’s a fine goal, but the reality is we do live in that world. We do live in a world where some men are scum and you might not know if that guy you just met in a bar is one of them or not. I remember hearing actress Bates say about the Weinstein situation that in her day, when a man invited you up to his hotel room, you knew what it was about.

Men, however, also can be natural protectors. If a man has a wife, for the most part, he will want to protect her and provide for her. I remember even when I worked at a movie theater as a young adult. We worked at a mall and often got out of work after midnight. I would always walk my female co-workers to their cars and told them the same thing. “If someone comes after us, you run. Don’t look back. Don’t worry about me. Just run.” After all, I’m a Christian. I knew where I was going. My goal was to keep the women safe.

This has also changed college culture. Date rape is on the rise and more and more control is being exerted. Many a woman can seduce a man or at least have sex where the man thinks it’s consensual and then months later he’s slapped with rape and abuse charges. The problem is usually when a couple is having sex there aren’t a lot of witnesses around.

And what about after that? The family is in crisis. It was long beforehand, but it has only gotten worse because of feminism and “sexual liberation.” We have let government take the role of parents and it just doesn’t work. The main loss is the loss of fathers. Children are best raised by their biological mothers and fathers in a committed relationship.

The breakdown of the family is a disaster for men and women both, but especially for the children afterward. We are fighting against reality by doing this. We need to go back and examine feminism and see what is really good for women, and not for men, and not just what we would like to see.

This is an excellent book that we definitely need to read and the data is far more than I can show in just a blog review. I would that more people would read a book like this. Our society is on a downhill track and we really need to change it.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)
Support my Patreon here.

The Need of the Other

What can we not do for ourselves? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

My apologies for a week without blogs. I have had a whole lot going on in my personal life. I am sure it will come out eventually, but for now, I am fighting a private battle with the help of some friends and others and I appreciate your prayers and support in it. I also have some book reviews to do, but I wanted to write on something I was thinking about recently.

It started with my cat actually. I have noticed whenever I am around him, my cat is constantly wanting my attention. I can hardly play a video game or a TV show without him being right up there with me wanting to get attention.

Now in some ways, we could say a cat could survive on their own. Many do in the wild. They can hunt their own food and they can go to the bathroom where they want. Many of them are solitary animals who hunt on their own from what I see.

So yes, I do feed my cat and change his litter box and he can’t do this on his own while domesticated, but even if in the wild, there is something he can’t do on his own. He can’t pet himself. If my cat wants to be petted, he depends on me, a human being.

As we grow up, one of the first blessings we can get in our lives when we step outside of our homes is friends. These are people who have no blood relation to us and come to like us and enjoy our company and are willing to sacrifice their time and sometimes money because they think we are worth the investment. I have plenty of friends who have been there whenever I have needed to make a phone call and it means a lot when someone calls just to check and see how I am doing.

Aristotle even said friends were something not necessary to live, but they were good to have and your life is lacking without them. Friendship has been a great mystery to us, but we are all thankful for it. Even in Plato’s Lysis, it is not known at the end what a friend is, but it is hopeful that we all leave as friends.

This is not to deny family, and it’s interesting that it takes multiple people really to have a family. The family begins with a man and a woman together. Communist societies had a war against the family constantly because the family doesn’t require the government or its justification to exist. Family is the first community we live in and it is a community often vastly different than we are. Our birth parents in reality are people we might not even choose as friends if we didn’t know them, but we have a great bond to them as family.

And now let’s combine those two. Friends and family are best combined in marriage. Again, I cannot give myself that kind of love. If we refer to sexual love, yes, regardless of your moral stance on the issue, masturbation exists, and yet most of us would prefer to be with a member of the opposite sex instead of alone by ourselves.

So sexual love requires someone else and marriage is not only a community, but is a making of a new community that is a reproducing community. If you have friends, you grow the circle from without by bringing in new people that are already there. With marriage, you bring in new people through the act of sexual intercourse. That comes from within.

If we look in Scripture, we find numerous passages in the New Testament in the epistles especially that are commands to do something to one another. The church is meant to be a community. There is no Lone Ranger Christianity in reality. With the Coronavirus, many of us have lost that community. It’s hard to have community when you are alone in your homes watching on a screen. While I have a different interpretation of the Lord’s Supper than my Catholic and Orthodox friends, we all agree it is an important aspect of community.

All of this community shows us how much we need one another. We are not meant to be alone. Even if a person wants to be single, they still need companions and friends. Even Jesus had them on His journeys as did Paul. All of this comes from God above.

And by the way, He is a Trinity. Just think about it.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Book Plunge: Addicted To Lust

What do I think of Sam Perry’s book published by Oxford University Press? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I heard about this book on a marriage blog I read and decided to check it out. Something interesting about the work is that I suspect Perry is a Christian, but it is not explicitly stated that I recall in the book. Also, the book is not coming out all guns blazing against pornography. The writer is striving to be as accurate with the data as he can be.

He starts off talking with the nature of addiction. I find it beyond dispute that some men are addicted to pornography. Many, sadly, have marriages that are suffering for this. I know of the stories of guys who have to watch a video or read a magazine in order to be able to perform with their wives. I have no doubt that the reason I hear so many commercials for treatment of ED around here is because of pornography.

Like I said, Perry tries to be fair. He states that some people do see benefits to their lives from pornography. Perry’s writing is not meant to persuade to a view one way or the other. It is to present the data.

He focuses on conservative Protestants because we do take Scripture seriously, or we’re supposed to, and that includes its sexual ethic, and because we make up a majority and tend to be people of the book the most. Sometimes, those outside like Catholics on the one hand and atheists and agnostics on the other are covered. However, those on the outside will still find this book helpful.

He also states that we in the church do tend to point out the problems of sexual sin. Of course, we should make a big deal about this, but we don’t often seem to emphasize so much pride or greed or dare I say it, gluttony. Perhaps if we focused on the latter, especially pride, we would have a lot less of the sexual sins.

There is a section on masturbation as well. If one goes with a strictly Scriptural interpretation on this, there is nothing one way or the other. Scripture does not say “Hands off” (Pun intended) nor does it say “Go for it!” There is also debate as to whether the rules are different for married men or single men. Not only that, there can be an interesting idea where men can be told to not do so, but a woman is so she can know what she likes and how her husband can better please her.

In the end, Perry gives no answer, as that is not his intent. He is merely presenting the different views. This is something that men definitely need to think about and really consider.

He then asks what happens when porn is left unchecked. What happens if we keep using it regularly? This is especially a battle today because in the past, you had to go to the video store or the magazine rack, highly public places, and get what you wanted. Everyone would also know why you were there.

Today, all you have to do is go look on your phone. You can find whatever you want right now. A teenage boy with a smartphone can easily be up at night in his bedroom watching pornography and his parents are none the wiser.

Unfortunately, it’s harder and harder to judge the results of porn on society because there are fewer and fewer men who have no involvement with it. It’s my thinking that our society will go further and further downhill the more we allow this. The sexual revolution has been one of the most destructive forces in society.

One other aspect he covers is that this is usually thought to be a man’s battle. Not so. More and more women are getting involved. The problem is at many recovery groups, sex is all men talk about. For women, sex is hardly talked about in these groups. Women who engage with porn are seen as out of the norm. A woman can find it hard to talk to someone and she can’t normally go to her pastor because he’s normally a man as well. Definitely, more needs to be done for women who struggle.

What about marriage? Some people count heavy porn use as infidelity, and I really don’t blame them. Many a woman hears about her husband using porn and is shattered thinking “Am I not enough for you?” Many women have an idea in their heads that they must compete with what they see on a screen which is always fantasy and no, reality in these cases is always easily trumped by fantasy since we can make it to be whatever we want.

This happens on a lesser level also. Many girls who are dating and having sex with their boyfriends think that they have to compete with porn. Some start watching porn so they can get an idea of what their boyfriends will like. I don’t know how long our society can function like this.

The last major chapter is on treatment. In this chapter, Perry looks to see if Biblical Counseling is, well, Biblical. He looks at what good programs like Covenant Eyes do. Hopefully, those wanting to get past this will find resources.

Now if you’re skeptical and want to know about how Perry did his research, good news. That is covered in the appendices. Since this book is published by Oxford, we can be sure it’s not lightly researched. It certainly isn’t. Perry’s book gives a lot of food for thought. It is very readable and even-handed and should foster better discussions.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Book Plunge: Chasing Love

What do I think of Sean McDowell’s book published by B&H Books? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

“All you need is love.
All you need is love.
All you need is love, love.
Love is all you need.”

So said those great philosophers decades ago, the Beatles. So says modern culture today. Many girls grow up with a dream of that Prince Charming who will come up and sweep them off their feet and take them away to a life of bliss. Many guys tend to think more physically and think about getting married and having constant sex with their wives. Both sexes have legitimate desires.

Yet love is one of the most confused topics in our culture today and this is what Sean McDowell is writing about. His writing is aimed mainly at teenagers. Thus, it’s really easy for anyone to understand. The chapters are short and you could read on just one chapter of your choice at a time if you wanted to. Each chapter also ends with a question that McDowell answers.

It’s clear in this that he’s spoken to a lot of teenagers and knows what is on their minds. That’s great and needed. He is also not legalistic. Nothing in this book remotely gets close to the idea that sex is some dirty and taboo subject. (And yes, there does seem to be a connection in the book and in our culture between sex and love)

McDowell works to set up the idea that sex is God’s idea and gives us a theological basis for how to think about sex. This is absolutely essential I think as too many people, including Christians, do not have a worldview place for sex. Sometimes it can seem like a happy accident, but I honestly cannot fathom how someone can have sex and think of it as just an accident of the universe.

McDowell encourages students to look at the sexual ethic of Jesus found in Scripture and practice purity. However, if someone does mess up, he’s there with grace as well and to show that God has grace for you. He also says if you are abused, it is not your fault, which is 100% true. There are also chapters on hot button issues like homosexuality and transgenderism.

So anything I would change? Yes. I think more needs to be said on some topics.

For one thing, Sean McDowell’s Dad, Josh McDowell, has said that pornography is the greatest threat the Christian faith has ever faced. Even if that’s not true, and I think it certainly could be, it is a great threat that we face. Unfortunately, I don’t think there’s enough time spent on that topic. I would have at least a few chapters devoted to it.

By the way, pornography is not just a guy’s problem. It has largely appealed to men, but it is becoming more and more appealing to women and many women have no place they think they can go to talk about it. Too often when guys get together to discuss their struggles, sex is all they talk about. For the women, it’s the opposite as sex can be rarely talked about.

With that comes another issue that needs to be discussed and that is sexting. Even if a woman isn’t engaged in pornography, she is affected by it. Too often, boyfriends are just assumed to be watching porn and women think they have to compete with that. If so, then a woman is more prone to send pictures of herself completely topless to guys. Women can feel more pressured to go further thinking it is necessary to keep a guy.

This should also touch on social media. Nowadays, when kids get home, they have sexual pressure on the internet as well. Think about the story of Amanda Todd. It’s so prevalent out there that I just typed in three words to remember her last name. Amanda, flashing, suicide. Ten hits on the first page all about her and the last one was something about the most beautiful suicide girls of all time. Yeah. Lovely stuff.

So anyway, this girl is apparently on a video chat one day and a guy convinces her to lift up her shirt so her breasts can be seen. She does and the image is stored forever and the guy ends up stalking her. He threatens to share the picture everywhere and even uses it as his Facebook page image and he regularly created new accounts to stalk Todd. Before she was even 18, Todd had hung herself.

The pressure is real.

I think in light of events like this, definitely more needs to be said about social media and sex. If someone like Ravi Zacharias isn’t even safe from doing sexting, we definitely need to say more about it. Too many kids are playing with sex not knowing the powerhouse that it really is. Movies and sitcoms and other shows often show a lot of the pleasures without any of the side-effects which can be physical, psychological, emotional, and I would add in spiritual.

So thus, McDowell’s book is great as is, but I want to see more added on to it. Perhaps if he releases a future edition, he can include more on these topics. Our young people are entering territory that is completely new and they need guidance.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

PornHub Under Scrutiny

What is going on with the industry? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Of all places, even the New York Times has apparently had an article against PornHub. The charge is that the site is infested with rape videos. There looks to be no denial by PornHub that this has happened. Of course, this would be a very tough denial to pull off. Just last year, a missing teenager was found when sexually explicit videos of her showed up on the site.

What do these changes mean? Not much I suspect sadly. A number of things could happen here. Maybe they won’t be held up. Maybe instead people will find work arounds to get such material up there as you can’t go to each person in each video and just ask and even if you could, many could know they have to lie. If it leads to the site shutting down due to competition, then it could very well be because the competition is even worse and doesn’t have any censoring of any kind.

The only cause for rejoicing here is that even in the secular world now, a closer look in the proper way is being given to the porn industry. Unfortunately, even then one wonders how effective it will be. With so many men in the world participating in the industry even if only consumers, getting information against it is going to be difficult.

The danger of people going to other sites also is very real, especially since these sites could allow for rape videos. In the porn industry, what is needed from consumers often is novelty. Something new is needed that hasn’t been seen before and like any drug, when the prior dosage isn’t enough, a new high must be hit.

The real danger is to the women involved. Our culture has reached a point where women really are giving sex more and more to get love. This is one reason I don’t have an account on SnapChat. I know the stories of women sending topless pictures of themselves and I want no part of that. It’s not because of any lack of desire for female beauty on my part, but because I think such is reserved for the marriage covenant.

Also, many women do find themselves in the human trafficking industry. I recommend books like Rebecca Bender’s In Pursuit of Love or Annie Lobert’s Fallen. Their stories of how they fell in in ways that seemed innocent enough at the start and how they managed to escape are gripping.

Josh McDowell has said the porn industry is the greatest foe the church has ever faced. He could very well be right. This is because it is a great depression on our values and our view of men and women and sex and thus, the building block of society, the family. Our young people are the hardest hit with many women who might not even watch porn thinking they have to do more and more to please their men and it usually being assumed that the young man is watching pornography.

I can’t tell the future of what will happen, naturally, but I do encourage Christians to start acting now. Parents are the first stage with learning how to talk to their children about sex and that will be different for boys and girls. The next stage is going to be the churches where pastors actually need to do sermons on porn and make places accessible for men and women affected by the industry in any way to seek recovery. Beyond that it will be contacting your state representatives and asking them to do something about the porn industry.

We can all change matters if we do something.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

What Does God Want?

What does God want of us? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I’m not a prayer warrior. Some of you might think with my being in Christian ministry, I spend a lot of time in prayer and it comes naturally for me. No. It doesn’t. I do have an attitude of it throughout the day asking God about events in my life, but to go somewhere and focus for a long time in prayer is difficult.

After one such time recently, I found myself thinking that so many times, I come to God and I have the list of all the things that I want. What does God want from me when I pray? I don’t know if I had ever thought about that before, but I decided to ponder it.

I have really only come to one conclusion. God wants us to love Him. It might sound simplistic, but there’s a profundity to it I think. It’s easy to come to God when you think about what you want instead of just coming to Him for who He is.

Sometimes skeptics often ask “If God wants me, why doesn’t He just appear to me immediately? Why doesn’t He make Himself known?” He could do that if He wanted to, but maybe that doesn’t give the true results desired. That treats God like He’s just a trivia question instead of the person saying “No. If God exists, I really want to know it. I really want to know Him.”

There are some skeptics who have said that even if they were shown that God existed, they wouldn’t worship Him. With such people, there’s definitely no reason for God to reveal Himself. God does promise though that if someone is genuinely seeking, they will genuinely find.

Sometimes with this kind of thing I think about the Little Mermaid. Remember in that movie Ariel has to without her voice get the man to kiss her? Now in reality, the best way she could do that is to have removed that wrapping she had around herself immediately when she saw him and odds are she would have got a kiss immediately, but it would not have been a kiss of love. It would have been one of lust. Instead, she had to work and spend the time with him to really try to get that kiss.

In the same way, if God shows up in all His glory, you’re really not going to have much of a say in the matter. The ones who will get to see the glory of God are the ones who have put forward the work to relate to Him first and find Him first. Those who are coming to Him only wanting just the benefits, which does include Heaven, are the ones who don’t really want Him. This is one reason I find that when we talk about life in Heaven, God is usually treated like an afterthought.

“Oh yeah! You get to live in a mansion! The streets are gold! You live forever! There’s no pain or sickness or death! All your dead loved ones are there waiting for you! Oh, one more thing. There’s this guy called God there if you care about that.”

We wouldn’t come out and say that, and I’m not saying I believe in a literalistic description of Heaven, but that is the way it usually is treated. Most of us don’t think about God when we think about Heaven. We think about what benefits us. The purpose of getting someone to be a Christian is usually, “Well you want to go to Heaven, don’t you?”

It’s really using God.

So now, when I have come in prayer, I have tried to make statements of love and sometimes, I may not feel them or think I mean them, but I try to say them anyway. What if God wants to be loved for Himself, which is really what we all want?

The Jews have a song sang at Passover called Dayenu where it lists step by step the blessings God brought to His people at the Exodus and for each step it is said “And if you had just done XYZ, dayenu, it would have been enough.” Then they go one step further everytime adding in dayenu.

What God has already done for us, well dayenu. He has done more than enough for us. Everything else is a gift. If we do not come to Him as He is appreciating what we have already, we are guilty of ingratitude to God and using Him. We all have many gifts in life and none of us are debts owed to us. It is all a gift.

Maybe it’s time to express some love back.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)