The Dating/Courting Christian: How Far Can We Go?

Sex is for Christians! A Joy-Filled Look at the Blessings of Biblical Sexuality - Chapter 9

PLEASE NOTE: This e-teaching is not appropriate for children, preadolescents, and many adolescents.

"The Dating/Courting Christian. How Far Can We Go?"

Among all the strange, sexual stories in the Old Testament, one stands out as being perhaps the most patriarchal. It involves a young, single woman, an orphan named Esther. She lived with her uncle (or cousin), Mordecai, among an exiled community of Jews in Susa, the capital of the ancient Persian Empire.[1]

Persia’s king, Ahasuerus, hosted a half-year party for his court and dignitaries that showcased “the riches of his royal glory and the splendor of his great majesty” (Est. 1:4). During the final seven days of the exhibition, all the citizens of Susa were invited to a lavish banquet at which “the heart of the king [became] merry with wine” (Est. 1:10). Like any drunk husband might do who possessed a trophy wife, Ahasuerus decided to exhibit his woman, so he ordered the royal eunuchs to summon beautiful Queen Vashti. She, however, was not a woman who appreciated being put on display before a hall of half-drunk men so they could gawk at her face and body as all their wives stoically pretended not to mind. So she refused to comply.

Her dissent enraged King Ahasuerus, so he consulted his royal advisors, all men, to ask what should be done to Queen Vashti. Worried that her insubordination might embolden all of Persia’s wives to disrespect their husbands, they quickly reached a consensus:

Queen Vashti has wronged not only the king but also all the princes, and all the peoples who are in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus. For the queen’s conduct will become known to all the women causing them to look with contempt on their husbands by saying, “King Ahasuerus commanded Queen Vashti to be brought in to his presence, but she did not come.” And this day the ladies of Persia and Media who have heard of the queen’s conduct will speak in the same way to all the king’s princes, and there will be plenty of contempt and anger. If it pleases the king, let a royal edict be issued by him and let it be written in the laws of Persia and Media so that it cannot be repealed, that Vashti should come no more into the presence of King Ahasuerus, and let the king give her royal position to another who is more worthy than she. And when the king’s edict which he shall make is heard throughout all his kingdom, great as it is, then all women will give honor to their husbands, great and small (Est.1:16-20).

As you probably noticed, women’s liberation had a rough start.

More about Masturbation

Sex is for Christians! A Joy-Filled Look at the Blessings of Biblical Sexuality - Chapter 8

PLEASE NOTE: This e-teaching is not appropriate for children, preadolescents, and many adolescents.

"More About Masturbation" graphic by David Servant

In spite of the Bible’s complete silence on the subject of masturbation, some Bible believers have been very vocal, and very negative, about it. For example, Victorian-era physician John Harvey Kellogg, the inventor of Corn Flakes and a devoted Seventh Day Adventist, wrote a 600-page book in 1877 titled, Plain Facts about Sexual Life.[1] In it he devoted three entire chapters to the causes, consequences and cures of masturbation, which he termed self-abuse, self-pollution and a secret vice. Kellogg claimed that masturbation was “the most dangerous of all sexual abuses because [it is] the most extensively practiced… nearly universal,” and warned:

It may be begun in earliest infancy, and may continue through life. Even though no warning may have been given, the transgressor seems to know, instinctively, that he is committing a great wrong, for he carefully hides his practice from observation. In solitude he pollutes himself, and with his own hand blights all his prospects for both this world and the next…

In Kellogg’s view, even an innocent baby—who like most babies discovers that touching his or her genitals feels pleasurable—could commit the damning sin of masturbation. One alleged proof in Kellogg’s mind of masturbation’s great wrongness is that the masturbator “carefully hides his practice from observation.” I wonder if Dr. Kellogg ever noticed that married couples do the same regarding sex? Or that most everyone seeks privacy when they relieve themselves? Is that because married couples think that marital sex is wrong, or that everyone believes urination is immoral? Is it not true that even the most immodest people still maintain some sense of modesty regarding their genitals?[2]

This is the Chapter About Masturbation

Sex is for Christians! A Joy-Filled Look at the Blessings of Biblical Sexuality - Chapter 7

PLEASE NOTE: This e-teaching is not appropriate for children, preadolescents, and many adolescents.

"This is the Chapter About Masturbation" by David Servant

Because I happen to know that there is a lot of interest in the topic of masturbation, I also realize that the danger exists that many readers started this book by scanning the table of contents in hopes of locating a chapter on the subject. You can see by my chapter title that I’ve made it very easy for those readers to find what interests them.

If you are one of those readers, however, I’m going to request that you employ some restraint and not read it without first reading all the prior chapters. The reason is because those chapters frame this one within some essential context. We’ve considered some “strange sexual Scriptural stories” and some relevant revelation from the Mosaic Law. I’ve warned strongly against the dangers of porn. Those earlier chapters lay a foundation that will help make this one even more beneficial than it would otherwise be. If you haven’t already read them, please do.

OK, from this point onward, I’m going to trust that every reader has heeded my advice. So now let’s talk about masturbation.

Single and Sexual

Sex is for Christians! A Joy-Filled Look at the Blessings of Biblical Sexuality - Chapter 6

PLEASE NOTE: This e-teaching is not appropriate for children, preadolescents, and many adolescents.

A guide for singles struggling with their sexuality

As I was writing earlier chapters, my heart was going out to single adults who are striving to be sexually pure, as I knew I might be stirring desires they’re struggling to suppress. It’s not always easy to follow Jesus in a sex-saturated society, and it is especially challenging for single Christians. The temptation to compromise sexually on some level is significant.

Consider the email below that I received from a Kenyan teenager while I was writing this chapter. You may be surprised to read how young she was when she was introduced to porn and became sexually active, but her story represents the tragic experience and regular struggles of innumerable Christian singles:

The Mosaic Moral Upgrade

Sex is for Christians! A Joy-Filled Look at the Blessings of Biblical Sexuality - Chapter 4

PLEASE NOTE: This e-teaching is not appropriate for children, preadolescents, and many adolescents.

The Mosaic Moral Upgrade by David Servant

As we were considering, in the previous two chapters, the moral deficiencies of ancient sexual standards, you may have wondered how ancient consciences could have remained undisturbed by what we confidently classify as immorality. Even when one’s culture approves of inappropriate behavior, does not one’s God-given conscience condemn compromising conduct?

The answer is “yes,” but culture often wins over conscience. If “everyone is doing it” or “everyone thinks it is OK,” the inward voice of conviction is more easily ignored. Although unregenerate people certainly “show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them” (Rom. 2:15), they often “suppress the truth in unrighteousness” (Rom 1:18). People today do it every bit as much as ancient people. Nothing has changed.

Seven Strange Scriptural Sexual Stories, Part 2

Sex is for Christians! A Joy-Filled Look at the Blessings of Biblical Sexuality - Chapter 3

PLEASE NOTE: This e-teaching is not appropriate for children, preadolescents, and many adolescents.

Leah, Rachel, Bilhah and Zilphah, Jacob’s four wives

I hope that, after reading the first two chapters, you are growing a little more comfortable mixing sex and spirituality. Scripture is full of sexual references, and it is interesting that many of us—who believe the Bible is God’s inspired Word—find certain parts embarrassing. When you think about it, it is a little bit of a chuckle that we believe certain things God said in His Word are inappropriate to mention in church, or just about anywhere for that matter. Modern Christian culture tends to be a tad Victorian. In many Christian circles, even the word sex is taboo, so it is softened with the euphemism intimacy.

It is also a little funny that some parts of the Bible that are read publicly in church services have become so familiar to us that we’ve become oblivious to the sexual connotations. May I point out a few of them before we consider four more strange, sexual, scriptural stories?

Seven Strange Scriptural Sexual Stories, Part 1

Sex is for Christians! A Joy-Filled Look at the Blessings of Biblical Sexuality - Chapter 2

PLEASE NOTE: This e-teaching is not appropriate for children, preadolescents, and many adolescents.

Abram and Sarai in Egypt

When you think about some of the scandalous stories that are found in the book of Genesis, it is a little bit amusing that Christians carry Bibles with them into churches every Sunday morning without shame. If we weren’t so familiar with those stories, hearing them for the first time would be shocking.

We’ve not only got nudists prancing naked around a garden. We’ve also got men lying about their marital status so that their wives consequently become members of other men’s harems. We’ve got women encouraging their husbands to have sex with younger women. We’ve got a whole town of homosexuals hoping to sodomize some male visitors. We’ve got a lustful married woman ripping the clothes off a good-looking young foreigner. We’ve got one man marrying his half-sister and another man marrying his second cousin. We’ve got men taking multiple wives, and in one case, wives who were sisters. And did I mention that we’ve got one man having sex with his daughter-in-law, another man having sex with his two daughters, and another man who has sex with one of his father’s wives? That’s all contained in the first chapters of the book your pastor reads out loud, without apology, every Sunday. The Bible is not a book for prudes.

Has the Great Delusion Begun?

When God Makes People Stupid

"has the great delusion begun"

One of the New Testament’s most poignant passages has to be 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12:

They did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness.

There is no escaping the clear meaning of Paul’s words. There is a time coming when God—not Satan—will cause people to be deceived. It will be a means of His righteous judgment upon them.

It is important to note that God will not arbitrarily—in a Calvinistic sense—send a deluding influence upon people. Rather, He will send a deluding influence upon free moral agents who “did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved” and “who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness.”

The Silliness of “Christian Fluffy Love”

By David Servant

Most Christians know that God expects us to love our neighbors as ourselves. That expectation is contained in what Jesus said in the second most important commandment. We should all be striving to obey it.

silly clown

That being said, there is a spectrum of opinion among Christians regarding what loving one’s neighbor as oneself actually looks like in practice. How, specifically, should we be obeying the second greatest commandment in everyday life?

Thankfully, God has not left us in the dark on this. He’s given us an entire Bible, full of helpful insight regarding the specifics of loving our neighbors as ourselves. Beyond that, God Himself became a man who lived without sin His entire earthly life. He always perfectly obeyed the second greatest commandment. We can look at His life for insights regarding what it means to love one’s neighbor as oneself.