Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. I was planning on continuing our series on presuppositionalism, but a friend in the PCUSA has informed me about the denomination changing rules on sexual behavior. The story can be found here.
This has nothing to do with presuppositionalism also. It is no secret that presuppositionalists are Calvinists, but not all Calvinists are presuppositionalists. A number of strong critics of the method there come from the Calvinist camp. What I say is something I want Arminians and Calvinists both to agree on. I do not say this to the PCUSA for their stance on Calvinism, but for their stance on morality, a stance that all Christians should reject.
The question under concern is if sexual fidelity really matters. We should thus start by asking why it is that sexual fidelity does matter. What is sex? is it just a bodily function like any other function? Do a man and a woman get together for a first date and eat a meal, which is a bodily function, and then go back to “her place” and have sex together which is a “bodily function.”?
The two functions are quite different. For one thing, eating is a necessity to life. No one can survive and not eat. People can survive however and not engage in sex. Of course, the species as a whole would die out if we never had sex, but having sex is not essential to any particular human surviving.
Sex is what brings about babies because the family unit is the unit to raise children in for the interaction of male and female. A child learns what a man is like and what a woman is like. Naturally, there are some people who cannot do this due to one spouse divorcing them or the death of another spouse. This does not mean the children are scarred for life, but they will be benefited by finding someone of the opposite sex to be a mentor figure to them.
The act of sex is something that brings about great trust. When a husband and wife have sex, they have to have total openness with one another as nothing is held back. As a married man, it is a great joy for me to know that my wife delights in my body and that I can delight in hers as well. I love the fact that I have someone I can be totally open with. I also love the fact that I have someone I can adore.
That great trust however is based on the covenant promise we made to one another. We promised one another to be faithful and indeed we have been. Neither one of us had any sexual partners prior to marriage and the only person we have each known sexually is the other. I know her in a way no one else does and she knows me in a way no one else does.
We often think about couples who do not have that commitment. In that case, sexual intercourse can be a test to see if someone is “worthy of marriage.” There is no total trust. What we have is that we can go to sleep next to each other every night and know we’re going to be there for each other. For me, it is a great wonder still to sleep next to a woman every night and know that we’re in a covenant together.
Sex with the opposite sex also means trust in what the other person is experiencing. I cannot know what my wife is feeling physically due to my not being a woman. She cannot know what I am feeling physically due to my being a man. We just have to have the trust with one another about what we do like and trust that the other person is getting that joy.
Why is sex so different? Because it’s not just a function like any other function. It is a function based on the whole body. Every bit of my body is male and I function as a male just as my wife’s body is all female and she functions as a female. It is bodily, but it is not merely bodily.
In our day and age, many of us can be insecure with our bodies. News flash for you men out there. Looking in the mirror and flexing will not determine your masculinity. You can be built like a tank and not be what God really means by a man by virtue of lack of masculine character. I, for one, definitely do not have a strong build as I am underweight, but my wife would affirm my masculinity not because of my body, which she does love, but because of my attitude and the way I love her and treat her.
For you women, while I affirm I love my wife’s body, she is not her body and her femininity is not to be found in her body. I have nothing against my wife using make-up for instance, although I do have specific tastes there. I like her to go light and not have a color different from her natural color. However, I want it to be clear that her femininity does not lie in the make-up.
Masculinity and femininity are character traits of the soul as well. Are we men acting like men? Are women acting like women? More important than your body is your attitude. Of course, we must be careful and this brings us to another point. The danger with what is being said is that in Christianity, the body does matter and so does what you do with it.
One could say only character matters, but character is often expressed bodily. I realize for instance that I have not treated my body right for several years based on an attitude problem. That is my own fault. That does not have to define me however and I am working on changing that.
God came to redeem a world of matter however and matter is good. The Son took on a body and rose in a body because the body is good. We are not angels. We are meant to be unities of body and soul. Male attitudes need to be functioning with male bodies and the same with females.
It would have been good of the PCUSA to have provided actual Scripture to justify sexual immorality. Sexual morality has always been something important to Christians. It is not just a physical action, while it is that. It is a powerful joining together of two bodies meant to mirror Christ and the church and I would add the greatest physical pleasure we can have on Earth meant to remind us of the great love in the Holy Trinity.
When sexual behavior is seen as something that does not matter, we are getting to the point of the incarnation not mattering and the body not mattering. God came to redeem a fallen world and that is a material world. If he says sexuality matters, then we need to know it matters.
But what about grace? Oh I’m all for grace! However, for there to be grace there must be repentance from sin. For there to be repentance, there must be confession. For there to be confession, there has to be awareness. One must have a moral standard of sexuality to be aware of sexual sin. Destroy the concept of sexual sin and there is no grace there. It would be like saying I need God’s grace FOR loving my wife as I ought. I can say I need His grace to do that as a fallen human being, but I certainly do not need forgiveness for that which is no sin.
In closing, I call on the PCUSA to change this policy. Continue with the historic Christian church in affirming not just orthodoxy in belief, but orthopraxy in lifestyle.