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The Southern California Biblical Counseling and Discipleship 2012 Conference just ended (http://bcdasocal.org/training/fall-2012-conference). I understand that the audio and video will be made available in the near future. Below are my notes for the section concerning biblical sexuality:

Biblical Sexuality

Sexuality is a matter which concerns what we are in and of ourselves as human beings, and what we are in relationship with one-another. Although it is not the entirety of our relationship with others, our relationship with others is never less than a matter implicating our sex (male or female).

Such a state may sound perverse, but only because the matter of our sexuality has been so greatly distorted by sin. The fact that sexuality is an aspect of who we are and how relate does not imply that there is any perversity or “sex” in our relationships.

Consider this:  Imagine a school teacher or a police officer interacting with child. The school teacher is a man or a woman; the child is a girl or a boy. The interaction is affected by the sex of the teacher and of the child, but there is no “sex” in the relationship. The way in which a good teacher would interact with a child would take into account whether a boy or a girl is involved: Anyone who would think otherwise, has never been around boys and girls.

When you begin to consider the matter in concrete instances, it makes a difference whether a man or a woman is involved.  Yet, our culture in its current suicidal mania has taken on the bizarre position that  male or female is merely an arbitrary designation. To give you an idea of the insanity of our world, consider this sign seen at the general convention of the Episcopalian Church for 2012:

http://www.standfirminfaith.com/images/episcopal-church-neutral-ge.jpg

To understand the oddity of the sign, imagine displaying this sign in the lobby of a motel in 1912: No one would even know what you meant. The best one could guess is that it was a bizarre grammar joke: You see, “gender” is a designation in grammar which does not necessarily correspond to the real world:  Neither a pen nor a pencil are male or female, but both are assigned a gender in Spanish.  Human beings are one of two sexes, male and female.

The division of human beings into two sexes is a good aspect of the Creation.  However, following the Fall, human sexuality has been perverted and distorted by sin such that confusion exists as to what is it to be male, to be female and as to how males and females rightly relate to one-another.

This lecture will merely provide an over as to the type of issue which may arise in counseling concerning sexuality.  By organizing the topics, below, the hope is that you will be able to identify what issues involving sexuality are present in a particular counseling session.  Not every counselee will present with the same sexual problems. However, any human being who has been affected by sin will see that sin affect their sexuality.

I.          Sex and Identity: Sexuality has two basic elements when it comes to human identity: What are as humans irrespective of sex? What things are peculiar to the sexes: male as opposed to female, female as opposed to male?

A.        Adam as Male and Female:  Genesis 5:1-2 & Galatians 3:28

1. Genesis 5:1-2, blessing and loss

1 This is the book of the generations of Adam. When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God. 2 Male and female he created them, and he blessed them and named them Man when they were created.

a.         Notes:

i.          Adam = adam “created man”.

ii.         References to 1:27: So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

iii.        There is no greater or lesser between the sexes. Both are human, both are the image of God.

iv.        The blessing is to both, cf. Gen.1:28: And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

v.         Observations re blessings: 1) To both male and female. 2) Their sexual union in marriage presupposed: be fruitful. 3) the dominion is to both.

       b.         Notes re loss:

i.          Genesis 3: The command was to Adam prior to Eve’s creation (Gen. 2:16-17 ), the temptation to Eve. Eve was deceived: 1 Timothy 2:13-14.

iii.        The pre fall state was one of no shame: Gen. 2:25, which was lost immediately at the moment of sin, Gen. 3:7.

iv.        The pre-fall love and unity, Gen. 2:23-24, is lost at sin, Gen. 3:12. Indeed, the sexual union is cursed: Gen. 3:16, both as to the marriage and as to the children. The further judgment announced to Adam is predicated upon his sin with respect to his wife. Gen. 3:17.

v.         Note also that judgments in 16 & 17 related to their interaction and roles as sexual beings.

c.         A Godward Problem. This is underscored by God’s statement to Adam, who told you you were naked? Gen. 3:11Of all things, this was the issue — it is why they hid.

       d.         Conclusion:

i.          Sexuality is an absolutely fundamental aspect of our identity as created human beings before God. Thus, it is not a private matter, or a matter of preference.

ii.         Distortion of sexuality derives immediately from sin.

iii. The distortion entails more than just “sex” as a physical interaction.

iv. Being a problem with sin, it can only be remedied by God in Jesus Christ.  Thus, while various things may affect the manner in which sexual sin presents, the channeling effects (biology, environment) do not cause the disorder — they merely affect the manner in which the disorder exists.

v.         Since the problem is sin, the solution is Jesus — not a change in behavior. 

vi.        I would like to illustrate the pastoral concerns with a quotation from an article Carl Truman. He is writing about an autobiography of a woman who had lived as lesbian prior to her conversion to Christ:

First, she makes it clear that sexual dysfunction in society is symptomatic of much deeper ills.  This seemed to me entirely consistent with Romans 1, where many of the things Christians most decry in society are themselves constitutive of God’s judgment on sin, not so much provocations to judgment.  [What he means is that the sexual sins present in a society are the actual judgments.]

 

Second, her observation that sexual sin is not solved by a change of context seems to me to be a most relevant and apposite point. I remember reading a few years ago a minister’s account of counseling a man with a pornography problem. The advice amounted to ‘Get married and have sex with your wife.’  The advice may have been ironic; but if not, it is surely dangerous. The use of pornography is not simply a result of overactive glands than need some relief; it is a form of sin which is complex in origin and manifestation. Simply finding an outlet for legitimate physical relief of sexual urges does not begin to address the deeper problems. To quote Butterfield (p. 83): “What good Christians don’t realize is that sexual sin is not recreational sin gone overboard.  Sexual sin is predatory. It won’t be ‘healed’ by redeeming the context or the genders. Sexual sin must simply be killed. What is left of your sexuality after this annihilation is up to God. But healing, to the sexual sinner, is death: nothing more and nothing less.” That has profound pastoral implications, one of which is not seeing marriage as the cure for sexual incontinence.

This means that a marriage conflict is not so much a defect of method and communication, it is a problem of sin. This means that a young man who struggles with same sex attraction is not to be “cured” by lusting after women, but rather by mortifying sin.

This also provides a means of hope in providing counsel in these circumstances: When presented with some particular sexual sin, you may think What do I do about this!?

If you think the problem is primarily a matter of the development of a sexual disorder, you are likely to be overwhelmed due to your lack of “training”. But when you realize this is merely sin, you realize that you more than sufficient resources to respond and help. Indeed, since sexual disorder is the product of sin, only a Christian armed with the Bible can help.

 

2.         Galatians 3:28: There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

We will not belabor this, beyond seeing that the destructive human traits of sexism and racism are eradicated in Jesus Christ

            B.        The Distinctions Between the Sexes

One great problem with sexuality entails ignorance. What is it to be a man or a woman?  Even at best, a culture cannot be an infallible guide to these issues, because every culture is tainted with sin. Yet, the understanding of such roles was not particularly questioned.

Richard Baxter wrote an extensive book called, A Christian Directory, which provided detailed instruction on one’s life as a Christian. There is no section on “biblical masculinity”. Yet, in our day, there are entire books devoted to the subject.

Our present culture makes this matter even difficult because even the categories male & female are questioned. Human sexuality is commonly divided into three categories[1]:

1) biological: one’s sex as male or female.

2) gender: brain – sex: does the person think of themselves as male or female

3) orientation: to what other human beings (or even something non-human) am I attracted?

The Bible provides a very different framework (1) body and brain correspond; (2) sexual expression may only be between a single man and a single woman in the context of a marriage.[2]

                        1.         What is Biblical Masculinity?

Since there are very good and detailed books on the subject, such as Stuart Scott’s Biblical Masculinity, I am only going to point at the matter briefly. The most basic aspects of sexual roles can be read from the commands and warnings given to men in Proverbs & the marriage texts, particularly in Ephesians and 1 Peter.

A.        What are the basic male temptations according to Proverbs?

1) Laziness: The Proverbs contain numerous admonitions concerning sloth:

There is a character called the “sluggard” who receives a great deal of press in Proverbs. His whole is characterized by sloth (26:15; 10:4-5; 14:4; 20:4; 21:5; 28:19; cf, 12:14; 13:23; 22:9). It overshadows everything in his life (19:15). He can be easily found, for his vineyard is filled with thorns:

I passed by the field of the sluggard.3 And by the vineyard of the man lacking sense, And behold, it was completely overgrown with thistles; Its surface was covered with nettles, And its stone wall was broken down. When I saw, I reflected upon it; I looked, and received instruction. “A little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to rest,” Then your poverty will come as a robber. And your want like an armed man. (Proverbs 24:30-34, NASB95)

Obviously, a man who cannot take the time to care for his property, or his business will not have anything to eat. He will personally suffer for in laziness: “A lazy man does not roast his prey” (12:27). He is too lazy to even eat! (19:242). Yet the problem will be greater than just the problem immediately before him, say a field or a hedge. Proverbs 15:19 makes plain that the scope if greater, as seen from the contrasting clause:            

            The way4 of the lazy is as a hedge of thorns5

                        But the path of the upright is a highway.

 

As with sexuality, the real problem with the sluggard is the laziness proceeds from sin. This can be seen because the sluggard’s life is contrasted with the upright:

The contrast is between the lazy and the upright; between a hedge of thorns and a highway. The merely literal interpretation is quite problematic and obviously suggests a broader principle. Waltke explains, “The sluggard wants to achieve his goals and surmount his obstacles, but his spiritual disposition prevents him from doing anything; in his eyes everything is too difficult, painful and/or dangerous to expend effort . . . .But the path . . . of upright people . . . who have the spiritual disposition to conform their lives to the sage’s teaching, is a highway . . . . built up, prepared and cleared of obstacles to facilitate travel”.6

The response: The great pains which Solomon takes to speak of and warn against sloth tells us that (1) that sloth is a great temptation for men. It also tells us that the upright – that is a man who masculinity is in place – will be diligent.

2) Sexual immorality the second overarching issue for men addressed in Proverbs is sexual immorality: Sexual immorality.

There are multiple references to the sexually immoral/enticing woman3. It is considered a fundamental aspect of wisdom to be “deliver[ed] from the strange woman” ( 2:16; see also, 6:24; 6:32; 7:10; 23:27; 27:13; 30:20). The basic paradigm here is of the man being enticed and the woman enticing4. While both are equal partners in wickedness, the paradigm proves true in general practice. Men can be so easily led by their sexual desire, that a woman can quickly gain control over men by simply making herself available.

Albert Mohler speaking on this matter of sexual immorality and the sexes, “Men are tempted to give themselves to pornography–women are tempted to commit pornography.” http://andynaselli.com/are-guys-and-girls-wired-differently-sexually

Response: Reading the matter backwards we can see that biblical masculinity means that a man is not sexually immoral, rather, a masculinity must entail control of one’s sexuality and protecting that sexuality within the context of a committed marriage.

                        B.        Marriage texts and masculinity: What does it mean to “Lead”?

1.         Men are called to love their wives to the point of giving of their own lives if necessary. Ephesians 5:25. However, men have a tendency to expect their wives to sacrifice for them:

Richard D. Phillips:

To be a man is stand up and be counted when there is danger or other evil. God does not desire for men to stand by idly and allow harm, or permit wickedness to exert itself. Rather, we are called to keep others safe within all the covenant relationships we enter. In our families, our presence is to make our wives and children feel secure and at ease. At church, are stand for truth and godliness against the encroachment of error. In society, we are to take our places as men who stand up against evil and who defend the nation from threat of danger.

2.         Men are to be those who seek the spiritual maturity of others – particularly their wives. Ephesians 5:26-27; 1 Peter 3:7 (fellow heirs); Deuteronomy 6:20,et seq. However, men often leave spiritual matters to women. Kinder, Küche, Kirche, the three K’s. J. Edward knew that a revival had broken out in his church when the men became involved.

3.         Men to work to understand their wives: 1 Peter 3:7. It is a remarkable feature of marriage counseling that men do not understand their own wives. It is routine that a wife will call for counseling the husband will have no idea why.

“We have been taught that women are the main nurturers, while me are to be ‘strong and silent’. But the Bible calls me to be cultivators, and that includes a significant emphasis on tending the hearts of those given into our charge” (Phillips, chapter 2).

4.         Men are to protect and provide for their wives.

5.         Notes from Richard Baxter:

a.         Take charge in the home.

b.         Do so with gentleness and love.

c.         Support your wife before all other people.

d.         Preserve the honor of your wife.

e.         Work hard to be able to instruct his wife concerning the Lord.

f.          Be a teacher in the family.

g.         Lead the family in prayer.

h.         Ordinarily he is to be the chief provider for the family.

i.          Be the strongest in patience.

j.          Do all the duties with care and consideration of the weakness of his family.

6.         Counseling:

a.         For men the primary difficulty will be the matter of laziness and lust. The role of the husband runs counter to laziness: to be a fit leader and teacher will require enormous expenditure of effort on the man’s part. He will need to expend great effort to do his work. Thus, when you see a man who poorly leads his wife, check to see if the fault lies with laziness. Note also that laziness may be selective: he may be a good employee and a lazy father.

b.         With both men and women a great difficulty will be the fact that their spouse will (often) be difficult, unpleasant and uncooperative. However, that is no excuse for obedience:

i.          First, the obedience is due to God – even though the spouse directly receives the blessing.

ii.         The roles and responsibilities have been assigned to affect and increase the godliness of the other.

c.         The counseling will require both instruction but also require modeling, living together. The man must see how a man actually lives. In particular, the overseers of the congregation must model such behavior.

            2.         What is Biblical Femininity?

a.         Proverbs

 If laziness and sexual immorality are the besetting sins of men (a proposition which observation seems to bear out), unhappiness is a besetting sin of women. Solomon draws some true and painful pictures of the life with this vexatious woman: “It is better to live in a corner of a roof” (21:97; 25:248). And, “It is better to live in a desert land” (27:13) than to live with this woman. She is “A constantly dripping” roof (27:15). Related is the woman who “lacks discretion” (11:22), who “tears it [her own house] down with her own hands” (14:1). Folly is described as “boisterous”. She is contrasted with the wise woman of Proverbs 31 and the “gracious woman” (11:16)9. The solution for both sets of women is “a woman who fears the Lord” (31:30).

Another unhappy situation is the unloved wife. Agur tells us that the world cannot bear “an unloved woman when she gets a husband” (30:23). Waltke explains this woman as follows:

The topsy-turvy social order now moves from the body politic to the home . . . . First, the home is threatened when from without it comes under the control of a hated woman . . . . The chiastic parallel, “a churlish outcast,” points to an odious, quarrelsome, unlovable woman whom society rejects, the opposition of the prudent wife . . . . When she gets married . . . connotes that the hateful woman, who cannot rule her own tongue, now rules the home . . . , or at least the portion under the wife’s normal supervision . . . . Having rightly been shunned by society, she now gets even with it from the security of her elevated place within society.10

Peter’s instruction is that a woman find her hope, treasure and joy in Jesus Christ alone (1 Pet. 1:3-9). Such a woman can then present a “gentle and quiet spirit” (1 Pet. 4:4), even when married to an unbeliever!

 

b.         Richard Baxter gives some directions to wives: In summary they:

i.          Love and respect your husband. Don’t be vain or prideful.

ii.         Seek to be cheerful – be careful not to allow your emotions or your tongue get the best of you.

iii.        Be diligent to care for your family.

II.        Sexuality in Relationship

            A.        Marriage: It is an image of the Gospel. You all probably know that, but I need to flesh that out:

We can know things by direct experience, and we can know things by analogy. For example, let us say that someone spoke to you of Zuma beach in California. Let us also say that you have never been to California, but you have been Florida. One could say that Zuma beach is like Daytona beach. You could take your experience of Daytona beach and begin to imagine Zuma beach, by using the analogy of thing to understand the other.

Such analogies are necessary for human beings to understand God. God uses many anthropomorphisms to explain himself. An anthropomorphism is a figure of speech in which God speaks as if he were a human being: For instance, God speaks of his hand and arm (Jer. 32:21). Now, God being spirit (John 4:24) and thus has no “arm”.   The figure of speech, God’s arm, is given to help us understand what God has done. We look at our own arm, and we understand how our arm functions and we get a glimpse of God.

We are not eternal uncreated spirits, we are human beings. Thus, without God providing analogies in our life (like arms and eyes), we would be unable to understand a great deal of what God has said.  It would be like trying to imagine the beach and having never seen even a pond of water.

Marriage and sexual passion are one great element of God’s analogies in this world. God did not need to create sexual passion and desire to ensure the propagation of human life. Nature demonstrates that sexual reproduction need not entail passion or emotional desire. Why then would God create such a thing?

At one level, sexual passion has been the fount of extraordinary woe for human life. Sexual disruption runs through the biblical narrative as a deep and wide pit into which men as godly as David fall (2 Sam. 11). Paul lists out the destruction which sin brings to the human being, and sexual disintegration plays a starring role (Rom. 1:26-27).  Why would God let such a passion free among human beings especially since we don’t “need” it.

John Piper in his first sermon on “Sex and the Supremacy of Christ” writes

Therefore, I say again: God created us in his image, male and female, with personhood and sexual passions so that when he comes to us in this world there would be these powerful words and images to describe the promises and the pleasures of our covenant relationship with him through Christ.

God made us powerfully sexual so that he would be more deeply knowable. We were given the power to know each other sexually so that we might have some hint of what it will be like to know Christ supremely.

Human sexuality creates an analogy to understand God. Just as knowing Daytona beach gives you a glimpse of Zuma, so human love creates an analogy for the divine love of God. 

Think of the many times wherein God refers to himself as the devoted husband and passionate husband of his people:

14 “Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her. 15 And there I will give her her vineyards and make the Valley of Achor a door of hope. And there she shall answer as in the days of her youth, as at the time when she came out of the land of Egypt. Hosea 2:14–15 (ESV)

Now we must be  careful of drawing too tight a connection between the picture and the original, for later in the same book, God refers to Israel as “my son” (Hos. 11:1). We must not understand anything graphic about the relationship between God and his people.

Yet, what we can see is that the passionate desire which God holds for his people finds its image in the passionate desire which a husband must hold for his wife:

25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. Ephesians 5:25–33 (ESV)

Indeed, when reading through this passage, it can become difficult to know where Paul has in mind a husband and wife or Christ and the church.

It is interesting then to understand that one’s sexuality becomes a means of knowing God. Because in the act of learning to cherish one’s wife, the husband learns in part what it means when God expresses his love for his people. Consider our beach example:  Let us say that rather than merely visit Daytona Beach, you also travel about and go to San Diego Beach and Santa Monica Beach in California. As you learn more about other beaches, you will begin to have a better idea of what Zuma Beach.

In the same way, the husband who better loves his wife begins to better understand what it means for God to love his people.  By understanding the picture of human marriage, the human being begins to learn the depth of God’s love. You see, God created human sexuality as a basis, as an analogy to communicate to us the depth and character of love.

Since human sexuality exists to create an analogy for the understanding of (and thus relationship with) God, human beings are not free to use sexuality in any manner which we choose. Our sexuality is charge which we must keep to best understand our Savior. Piper explains:

Therefore, all misuses of our sexuality (adultery, fornication, illicit fantasies, masturbation, pornography, homosexual behavior, rape, sexual child abuse, bestiality, exhibitionism, and so on) distort the true knowledge of God. God means for human sexual life to be a pointer and foretaste of our relationship with him.

Christians will often times say that marriage is a parable of the Gospel for the world, but they can easily forget that marriage is a picture given for our own knowledge.  Thus, as a husband loves his wife, cares for his wife, protects his wife, the husband teaches his wife in part what it means for God to love her. By drawing the analogy, the wife may better understand the original.

Piper notes that this knowledge also helps to protect our sexuality: As we understand the depths of the love of God, it protects our hearts and thus our bodies from sexual sin. The better which we understand the love of God, the less we will be willing to sin against him.

Piper makes a similar point in his sermon, albeit form a different angle:

Each of these texts teaches that knowing God revealed in Jesus Christ guards our sexuality from misuse, and that not knowing God leaves us prey to our passions. Romans 1:28:

Since they did not see fit to have God in [their] knowledge God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. (literal translation)

Suppressing the knowledge of God will make you a casualty of corruption. It is part of God’s judgment. If you trade the treasure of God’s glory for anything, you will pay the price for that idolatry in the disordering of your sexual life. That is what Romans 1:23-24 teaches:

They exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. 24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves,

This is the old way. When we come to Christ, we take it off like an old garment. Ignorance of God’s wrath and glory does not fit us any more. The new way is sexual holiness, and Paul contrasts it with not knowing God. 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5:

This is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God.

Not knowing God puts you at the mercy of your passions—and they have no mercy without God. Here’s the way Peter says it in 1 Peter 1:14-15:

As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance,but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct.

The desires that governed you in those days got their power from deceit, not knowledge. Ephesians 4:22:

Put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires.

The desires of the body lie to us. They make deceitful promises—promises which are half true as in the garden of Eden. And we are powerless to expose and overcome unless we know God—really know God, his ways and works and words embraced with growing intimacy and ecstasy.

            B.        Single

                        1.         It is not less to be single: While marriage is not less godly than being single, singleness is not less godly than marriage. Paul, in the seventh chapter of 1 Corinthians even commends marriage as freeing one up to serve the Lord without distraction.

                        2.         Singleness as a display of the Gospel: Think of this, Jesus was unmarried. In Isaiah 54, the prophet extols the one who is single as the mother or father of many:

 

            C.        Same Sex Relationships: this is a matter which deserves its own session[3]. Some brief notes:

i.          Any sexual conduct outside of marriage to one member of the other sex is forbidden without question.

ii.         As we noted above, same sex attraction is merely a species of sin.

iii.        The fact that someone is tempted in a particular direction, does not mean that they are not saved (any more than the existence of any other temptation per se means on is not saved)[4].

iv.        There is some misuse of the word “choice” when it comes to same sex attraction. It is probably not wise to say that someone chooses what they find sexually attractive. While many things go into it, the actual moment of temptation is not experienced as a matter of “choice”. However, it is certainly a choice as to responding to temptation.

v.         Forbidding sexual relations to those who seek same sex partners is no more difficult than forbidding heterosexual relations outside of marriage. No one will die because they did not have sex.

vi.        A person who experiences same sex temptation effectively must live as a “eunuch” for the kingdom of God. Matt. 19:12.  Such a person may actually be in a position to be even more productive in the public work of God than a married man or woman.

vii.       When counseling with those who are sexually attracted to the same sex, an especially valuable element is the creation of appropriate friendships. Be a friend.

 

            D.        Relationships with the Opposite Sex

 

III.       Sin: The question of sexuality and sin can be seen plainly when we consider that sin would be the deviation from biblical – not cultural – norms.

            A.        Compassion without compromise: People in sexual sin are hurt, ashamed, unhappy. It is not compassionate to permit the person to persist in sin just so you don’t “hurt their feelings”.

            B.        Failing to be a man or a woman: Hard cases make bad law. This is a fallen world, and sometimes the physiological sexual expression is defective – something such as poorly formed sex organs. Physical deformity may mean that some people are not able to have  functional sexual relations.

It is interesting to note that there is evidence of increased rates of malformation likely as a result of certain types of pollution: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/28/opinion/28kristof.html

There is also a problem of infertility of men which is taking hold in Europe: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/out-for-the-count-why-levels-of-sperm-in-men-are-falling-1954149.html

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2011/01/04/low-sperm-count-why-male-fertility-is-falling.html

 

            C.        Transforming one’s birth sex. Mutilation of one’s sexual organs was prohibited under the law and nothing in the coming of Christ changes that. Deut. 23:1. We should probably distinguish circumstances where a surgery resolves the sex of a person born with underformed organs.

            D.        Sinful sexual relationships

            1.         Any sexual relationship outside of marriage is prohibited.

            2.         When counseling someone involved in sexual sin, be aware that often times, sexual sins are a response to something other than sex. Human beings may use sexual behavior to dull their conscience, obtain approval of sorts from others, act as a drug to lessen pain, as a means of revenge against God or others[5]. Sexuality is such a powerful aspect of the human being that sexual sin can attach to almost any other sin.

            3.         A model from Proverbs 5:

            A.        Unmask the sin for what it is – it looks good, but it is not. What is that one is trying to get from the sexual sin: approval, comfort, love, et cetera[6].

            B.        Make a detailed list of how sexual sin has and will cause injury[7].

            C.        Look to the better things which God has given to you[8].

            D.        Live one’s life as present before God[9].


[1] See, The Gospel & Sexual Orientation, 24, published by the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America. If you are interested in studying the matter of sexual orientation through a Scriptural lens, the book is a very good place to start.

[2] John Piper, in his chapter “A Vision of Biblical Complementarity” in Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood gives the following definitions of biblical masculinity and femininity:

At the heart of mature masculinity is a sense of benevolent responsibility to lead, provide and protect women in ways appropriate to a man’s differing relationships.

At the heart of mature femininity is a freeing disposition to affirm, receive and nurture strength and leadership from worthy men in ways appropriate to a woman’s differing relationships.

 

4“Where another person would proceed with easy alacrity, he seems held back by invisible obstacles; his garments are always getting caught in briars; there is not impetus enough to carry him over the slightest difficulty; and after frequent and somnolent pauses, the end of the day finds him more weary than the busiest, though he has nothing to show but futile efforts and abortive results” ( R.F. Horton, The Expositor’s Bible: The Book of Proverbs (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1895), 264).

5“Everything requiring effort becomes painful and uneasy to him who indulges in slothful habits” (A. Elzas, The Proverbs of Solomon (London: Charles Goodall, J.W. Bean & Son, 1871), 34).

6Bruce Waltke, The Book of Proverbs Chapters 1-15 (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2004), 629.

3Waltke provides a far more comprehensive analysis of various types of references to the immoral woman (unchaste wife, unchaste woman, outsider, unfaithful apostate wife) (Bruce Waltke, Proverbs 1-15 (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2004), 119-25). In conclusion he writes, “The unchaste wife also serves a paradigmatic purpose. By definition, the proverbs and the sayings of this book are exemplars by which to judge one’s life in many situations, and as such the unfaithful wife’s sexual infidelity against her godly husband functions as a paradigm for spiritual infidelity against the Lord” (Waltke, 125).

4Of particular interest is the cuckolded husband of the immoral woman: “my husband is not at home” (Prov. 7:19; see also, 6:29). One wonders what this husband has been doing with his wife. While the main point of the reference is to the lack of danger to the potential adulterer, there is a backhanded slap at her husband in this verse. In the case of long physical absences, the question of adultery should at least be considered before it is ruled out.

7 Longman’s gender neutral reading of Proverbs is shown in his comment on this verse, “Women who read it today must simply substitute ‘man/husband’ into the proverb; it can be applied with equal force in that direction” (Longman, 392).

8 Speaking of this verse and the husband’s response in verse 16, Wardlaw writes, “So, the efforts of gentleness and calmness to mollify and to conceal may have the very opposite effect, – provoking all the more to openness, from resentful disdain, and the very love of contradiction – exposing herself, for the purpose of fretting, and mortifying him” (Ralph Wardlaw, D.D., Lectures on the Book of Proverbs: Volume III (Edinburgh: A Fullarton & Co., 1869), 235).And, “[A]s the wind pent up howls more frightfully; so the attempt to still her noise only makes her clamorous” (Bridges, 515). There is an interesting dichotomy at play here: The wife is so interested in destroying her husband’s name, that pacification only provokes her further.

9 “A noble wife enhances the public stature of her husband. When in public, she honors her husband through her modesty and godly behavior. Like a crown upon the head of a king, she becomes for her husband his public glory” (Anthony Selvaggio, A Proverbs Driven Life: Timeless Wisdom for Your Words, Work, Wealth, and Relationships (Wapwallopen: Shepherd Press, 2008), 140).

10 Bruce Waltke, The Book of Proverbs Chapters 15-31 (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2005), 494.

[5] John Street’s unpublished doctoral thesis, “Purifying the Heart of Sexual Idolatry” develops this matter at length.  John Piper’s Sex and the Supremacy of Christ contains outstanding material. Here are some lectures on sexuality and the Scripture given at Capitol Hill Baptist: http://www.capitolhillbaptist.org/?s=harvest

[6] Journaling is a useful way to begin to develop the information necessary to answer this question. You will discover that temptations do not occur all at the same time or in the same place. Typically, temptation will follow a pattern. By noting the pattern you can (1) avoid the instances of temptation [although avoiding the temptation alone is insufficient to mortify sin, it is an appropriate means of avoiding sin – sin gains power from temptation and repetition; Cf., Proverbs 78-9]; and (2) see what problem the sexual immorality seeks “to solve”. For instance, I once knew a man who would respond to the perceived insults of his wife with overt acts of sexual immorality. Another man used pornography when he felt most acutely alone.

[7] Systematically work through all aspects of one’s life and detailed how one would be damaged by the sin. Proverbs 5:6-14 and 7:22-23, give a picture of the painful outcome for sexual immorality. Tim Chester’s book Closing the Window gives an excellent analysis of how pornography destroys a man. Struther’s Wired for Intimacy discusses this problem at a physiological level.

[8] Proverbs 5:15-20 give a picture of this in terms of marital intimacy. However, the various promises of wisdom which are set forth throughout all of Proverbs provide the many details and instances of a life of wisdom (and also the damage of foolishness).

[9] Specially, Proverbs 5:20-22, but all of Proverbs discusses the nature of one’s before God. While the matter of holiness runs throughout the Bible, it must be noted very strongly that holiness is ultimately a desire for God, a love for God which overweighs all competing claims;

 

We must so pursue after peace in such a way—as that we do not neglect holiness for peace sake. Better is holiness without peace, than peace without holiness. Holiness differs nothing from happiness but in name. Holiness is happiness in the bud, and happiness is holiness at the full. Happiness is nothing but the quintessence of holiness. A man were better be holy in hell, than unholy in heaven. Holiness would make hell to be no hell, as the fire was no fire to those holy worthies, Dan. 27. Look! as unholiness would make heaven to be no heaven, yes, turn a heaven into a very hell, so holiness would turn a hell into a very heaven. What holiness this is in the text, I shall discover to you in the opening of that point I intend to engage in.

 

Thomas Brooks, The Crown and Glory of Christianity.