QUESTIONS ABOUT OUR SEXUAL IDENTITY AND BEHAVIOR, AND GOD'S WORD
Lambert: We Christians are brothers and sisters, members of the same family. We ought not to be stirring up sexual desires in anyone until marriage! Sexual desire is intended to build in stages of love-making and then be consummated in intercourse. It is wrong to start this process inappropriately. In the Song of Solomon the advice given is "I adjure you by the gazelles and the hinds of the field that you stir not up nor awaken [sexual] love until it please" [that is, until the right and proper time in marriage].
Ted: Anything that effects the other persons ability to walk according to the Spirit is not good and stumbles the other person.
"For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind
set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on
the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself
to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so;..."
Lambert: Virginity is a matter of purity of heart, thoughts, emotions and not merely something physical. Oral sex, even masturbation, constitutes loss of virginity in the eyes of God as do impure thoughts which are acted on. Spiritual adultery is man's big sin--serving other gods instead of Jesus Christ. We become what we worship.
at purity with loop-holes in mind is counter productive. In the
real world it would depend on what your future partner thought
about what a "virgin" was. Some guys think that any
kind of heavy petting is too far and they wan to marry someone
with no experience at all. Others might draw the line at any
kind of penetration anywhere. Others might think that as long
as there was no actual intercourse one is still a virgin. Equality
between the sexes doesn't even enter into the picture. There
is a double standard and unless you plan to marry someone in
their 40s you will run into it. It's called immaturity.
Lambert: Yes, in theory but it is rare as far as I know.
Ted: Herpes can be passed
Lambert: Gay people are sinners like anyone else, so, yes, they suffer to some degree from brokenness and dysfunctionality in relationships. Everyone does!
Ted: One can engage in homosexual
sex but there is no such thing as a third gender called "homosexual."
It is a preference.
Lambert: Jesus welcomes all sinners to come to Him. He is "a friend of sinners." The issue after one becomes a Christian is conduct which is acceptable in the sight of God. Jesus also accepts fornicators, liars, adulterers, serial killers and hypocrites into His family if they turn to Him wholeheartedly.
Jesus said, "A man once gave a great banquet, and invited many; and at the time for the banquet he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, 'Come; for all is now ready.' But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, 'I have bought a field, ant I must go out and see it; I pray you, have me excused.' And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them; I pray you, have me excused.' And another said, 'I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.' So the servant came and reported this to his master.
"Then the householder in anger said to his servant, 'Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and maimed and blind and lame.' And the servant said, 'Sir, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.' And the master said to the servant, 'Go out to the highways and hedges, and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled. For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet.'" (Luke 14:16 24)
Ted: Of course. They should be welcomed as, Bill, Fred, Mary, Jane and so on.
God has the right to terminate a life. Perhaps the real issue
is why the unwanted child was conceived in the first place. Responsible,
married adults should not conceive a child they are unwilling
to raise and take responsibility for. Abortion is surely murder
as far as God is concerned. The only real "rights"
we have come from God and they presuppose our life-styles are
pleasing to the Lord in the first place.
Ted: It is a curse in the
Bible. Look up "womb" and you will find all kinds of
references that show it to be a act that cuts off the future
of a family or tribe. Jeremiah lamented his birth because of
the bad news he had to preach, "...Because he did not kill
me before birth, So that my mother would have been my grave,
And her womb ever pregnant." (Jer 20:17). Hosea speaking
for God said, "...I will slay the precious ones of their
womb." (Hosea 9:16).
Lambert: Jesus said, "What comes out of a man is what defiles a man. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, fornication, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a man." (Mark 7:20-23)
What do we put into our minds and hearts through TV, movies, reading material. Computer people have a saying, "garbage in equals garbage out."
Here is some great advice from the Apostle Paul: "If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you once walked, when you lived in them. But now put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and foul talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old nature with its practices and have put on the new nature, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. Here there cannot be Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free man, but Christ is all, and in all. Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness, and patience, forbearing one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teach and admonish one another in all wisdom, and sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." (Colossians 3:1-17)
Ted: Here is a scripture
that shows us how important what we have on our mind is, "For
the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit
is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile
toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God,
for it is not even able to do so;" (Rom 8:6-7).
Lambert: The whole issue is related to walking with God. Give Jesus Christ your whole life, feed on the word of God, talk to God regularly, hang out with other committed Christians and stay accountable.
Ted: A good scripture for
this one is: (Rom 8:14) "For all who are being led by the
Spirit of God, these are sons of God."
Lambert: We really have very little in common with non-Christians. We are working for different masters and we have different values. How can parents raise children if their values are diametrically different?
Ted: The unequal yoke doesn't
sound the same to us in this century but think of the picture.
A farmer who could not buy a matched pair of oxen had to get
them one at a time. Imagine trying to plow that rocky soil in
Israel with a crude plow pulled by one big ox and one younger
small ox. They would try to pull you around in a circle instead
of a straight line. On a hot day that would be a real pain.
Lambert: The very good news is that God forgives all manner of sins. Jesus forgave prostitutes, and lepers and even tax collectors! Towards the end of his life the great Apostle Paul claimed he was "chief among sinners."
Ted: God sees you as His
own beloved child without sin. It is a great study to find out
how He does it without putting on some kind or spiritual rose
Lambert: There is no reason for Christians dating and going-steady in the manner of the world around us. It is great to have lots of close friends and this is often done best in small groups and church related functions. Time alone on the couch in front of the TV is not recommended. The Bible says nothing specific about dating.
Ted: There is no such thing
in the Bible. Fathers arranged marriages for their children.
This is not as bad as it sounds. Good fathers talked to their
children about who they would like to marry.
Lambert: He loves you of course, and wants you to be healed and made whole. He has to re-virginize most of us anyway! Since Jesus has already died for the sins of us all--past, present and future sins, the Apostle Paul says,
"For the love of Christ controls us, because we are convinced that one has died for all; therefore all have died. And he died for all, that those who live might live no longer for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once regarded Christ from a human point of view, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. So we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We beseech you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." (2 Corinthians 5:14-21)
you are in Christ He sees you as sinless.
Lambert: Yes, there is good news! Sin leaves scars and it takes time to recover from sin, but Jesus gives us a fresh new start every time we place us lives under His authority and direction. "Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we have not a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need." (Hebrews 4:14-16)
Ted: "Therefore from
now on we recognize no man according to the flesh; even though
we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know
Him thus no longer. Therefore if any man/woman is in Christ,
he/she is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold,
new things have come." (2 Cor 5:16-17)
Lambert: Unfortunately, the memory of those past experiences may color your relationship with your spouse in a negative way, hindering intimacy in your marriage. The past should be cleaned up before the Lord before the wedding day. God can and does edit the memory tapes of the past and His blood cleanses from all sin. He does remove guilt and shame and put our consciences back in working order!
Ted: See above. We should
recognize each other as new creatures but it is hard to find
Christians who are mature enough to do it.
Lambert: It is OK to make friends with non-Christians, otherwise we are not of much use to God in this world. Jesus loves these dear people around us and wants them in His family. But "dating" as the world understands it is loaded with expectations. Wrong motives can easily set in. Bring your non-Christian friends to church groups where they meet other Christians and are exposed to the truth about all of life. Christians often date non-Christians expecting they will lead the non-believer to the Lord but this seldom happens!
course not. What's the point? If you are you serious you can
offer someone who is a Christian the possibility of marriage.
If you date non-Christians you are only be using them to meet
some current need of your own.
Stay way clear of any situation which is sexually stimulating
and less than pure! Sexual expression belongs in marriage and
any and all sexual activity outside of marriage meets God's strong
disapproval. This notion is radically across the grain as far
as the world is concerned. But there is no hope for the world
either. We are close to the end of the age and Christians are
a tiny minority in a pagan world which will soon be destroyed.
Lambert: Treat them as persons, show them love and respect. There is probably no need to make an issue of their sexual struggles. Your friend is a complex human being, for whom Christ died. People come to Christ because they see that Jesus loves them, understands them and accepts them as they are. The labels gay, straight and bi are terribly restrictive labels to put on anyone these days. We are each unique persons, loved and valued by God.
Ted: Like anyone else who
needs Christ. Don't forget, "...fornicators, nor idolaters,
nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves,
nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers,
shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some
of you;..." (1 Cor 6:9-11).
Lambert: In Jewish society, and in many other cultures today, men and women live with their parents until marriage and dating is not common at all. In India, for instance, parents arrange marriages for their children. Christian parents in India are very careful and prayerful about how this happens, so good marriages result most of the time.
I would say probably not until it appears the relationship is
headed in the direction of marriage. There is nothing wrong with
affection. Christians should treat the opposite sex as they would
a brother or sister.
Ted: If you can do it without arousing some one's passion. They would think you were a cold fish though.
Lambert: Yes, because it is not the purpose for which God made sex. This is a complex issue. I wrote a long article on this on my web site, http://ldolphin.org/ because it deserves careful discussion. Masturbation is not only common it is a big problem for many Christians these days--as is pornography.
Ted: As Lambert Dolphin once
said, "If you could do it without fantasizing it might be
just a bodily function." to which someone replied, "What
would be the fun of that?"
Lambert: Any sinner can become a Christian. However the lifestyle one lives after becoming a Christian must reflect the fact that the sinner is made into a new person in Christ. Here is a list of the absolutes the Bible gives about sinful life-styles:
"Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither the immoral (fornicators), nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor (active or passive) homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God." (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).
Ephesians chapter 5 says much the same thing and Hebrews 13:4 sums it all up in one verse: "Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled; for God will judge the immoral and adulterous." The word "immoral" includes all forms of sexual conduct outside of marriage.
These New Testament standards affirm what is taught in Leviticus 18-20 and in the Law of Moses.
Ted: God will refuse to call
a Christian a "homosexual".
Lambert: The gravest danger to anyone, anywhere, is living a life style which displeases God. This is His universe. It was created not for us but for Jesus. We are God's house guests. Are we worthy to live in his household as His sons and daughters?
Ted: Dissipation. Think of
how much more intense the wedding night would be if it was the
first time you had ever been alone with the person, the first
time you touched anything other than hands, the first time you
ever kissed the other person passionately, the first time you
saw their body and the fist time either of you had ever had sex.
It would probably blow your circuits.
Lambert: God heals many former homosexuals completely so they marry and raise children. He is able to give others contentment leading a celibate single life. Christians can and do suffer from poor marriages, cancer, poverty, bad health, being locked in jail and so on. God does not promise health, wealth and prosperity in this present life. Our rewards are in the life to come. All of us have desires and lusts in our hearts we must submit to God. There is nothing in our old lives that will survive the cross. "Jesus told his disciples, 'If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man, if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life? Or what shall a man give in return for his life? For the Son of man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay every man for what he has done.'" (Matthew 16:24-27)
Ted: You can't, God can!
it thwarts God's purposes for intimacy and solidarity in marriage.
Sexual immorality prevents us from becoming whole persons. God
against things which hurt us and prevent our being fulfilled
and whole men and women. This is clear in passages such as 1
Thessalonians 4:1-8 "...we beg and encourage you in the
Lord Jesus, that as you learned from us how you ought to live
and to please God, just as you are doing, you do so more and
more. For you know what instructions we gave you through the
Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, your sanctification
(wholeness): that you abstain from sexual immorality, that each
one of you know how to exercise self-control in holiness and
honor, not in the passion of lust like heathen who do not know
God; that no man transgress, and wrong his brother [fellow Christians]
in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things,
as we solemnly forewarned you. For God has not called us for
uncleanness, but in holiness. Therefore whoever disregards this,
disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you."
I mentioned 1 Corinthians 6 and Hebrews 13 above. Here is what
Ephesians 5 says in part: "But fornication [Greek: porneia,
i.e., any kind of sexual sin] and all impurity or covetousness
must not even be named among you, as is fitting among saints.
Let there be no filthiness, nor silly talk, nor levity, which
are not fitting; but instead let there be thanksgiving. Be sure
of this, that no fornicator or impure man, or one who is covetous
(that is, an idolater), has any inheritance in the kingdom of
Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for
it is because of these things that the wrath of God comes upon
the sons of disobedience." This is not hard to grasp. God
is very clear about this! He makes the rules, we don't.
Lambert: Any sinner who receives Jesus Christ as Lord is eligible for heaven. The proof someone has really come to know the Lord Jesus will be a changed life and a changed lifestyle. However Jesus warned, "Not every one who says to me, `Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, `Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?' And then will I declare to them, `I never knew you; depart from me, you evildoers.'" (Matthew 7:21-23)
The final issue is one of lifestyle. People who live lifestyles that are wrong from God's point of view are excluded from the kingdom of God--and premarital sex in any form puts a person in that category. We all slip up, we all stumble, we all are tempted and fail. But do we repent and rebound? Are we walking with God? Are we accountable? Do we deal radically with sin no matter what form it takes in our lives? C. S. Lewis said,
"I know about the despair of overcoming chronic temptation. It is not serious, provided self-offended petulance, annoyance at breaking records, impatience, etc. don't get the upper hand. No amount of falls will really undo us if we keep on picking ourselves up each time. We shall be very muddy and tattered children by the time we reach home. But the bathrooms are all ready, the towels put out, and clean clothes in the airing cupboard. The only fatal thing is to lose one's temper and give it up. It is when we notice the dirt that God is most present in us; it is the very sign of his presence."
QUESTIONS ABOUT DRUGS
are some pretty great celebrations recorded in the Old Testament.
David danced before the Ark of the Covenant. The celebration
of the dedication of Solomon's temple was fantastic. It all depends
on what you mean by "partying." Jesus said, "I
came that you might have life and have it more abundantly."
We don't need to live as if we are pickled in embalming fluid.
all depends. Can you get a second or third opinion from others?
is possible to get hooked on all sorts of over the counter drugs
and even spices in the kitchen cabinet.
Lambert: There is no prohibition in the Bible against drinking, only against getting drunk. The Greek word usually translated "sorcery" in the New Testament is "pharmakeia" and this includes mind altering drugs.
Ted: The experience that
LSD produces is what makes it a dangerous drug. This is not a
comforting thought. It means that the LSD will wear off but the
experience, like any other event, will not. Eventually, sometimes
the first time, one will experience a brutal revelation of the
poverty of one's soul or psyche. Some people become so lost to
themselves that only Jesus can rescue them. That happened to
the best way to help such people is to help them find the genuine,
authentic spiritual reality Jesus offers. The counterfeit can
be subtle, so try the real thing to be sure. "Have you not
known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the
Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary,
his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint,
and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths
shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted;
but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength, they
shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not
be weary, they shall walk and not faint." (Isaiah 40:28-31)
Lambert: Excessive consummation of alcohol can be pushed on us by non-Christian friends or even people we work with, so we need self-control and accountability to others. Some people are genetically predisposed to becoming alcoholics and they must stop drinking once and for all because they have an addiction they can not control.
Ted: A lot of alcoholics
have very different reactions to alcohol. Most of us get a message
from our bodies that says, UUUUUG enough, ERRANCY. Some alcoholics
get just the opposite message. They pass out on their feet and
their body sends a paradoxical message and says, MORE, give me
MORE. Most of us control drinking by this internal message while
alcoholics rely on counting drinks; a form of outward control.
5:18 says, "...do not get drunk with wine, for that is out-of-control-conduct;
but be filled with the Spirit..." Getting drunk is "bad"
because God does not want us to lose self-control. Even a small
amount of alcohol shuts down the higher rational centers of the
brain. How does getting drunk honor God? How can God use us in
the lives of other people if ours mind are not clear and our
perceptions are dulled?
Ted: No one can "handle their liqueur"
Lambert: "Love covers a multitude of sins." No one can "stop sinning" without God's help so what is important is helping people see and accept the love of Jesus our Lord. "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:28-30)
"Finally, though I have had to speak at some length about sex, I want to make it as clear as I possibly can that the centre of Christian morality is not here. If anyone thinks that Christians regard unchastity as the supreme vice, he is quite wrong. The sins of the flesh are bad, but they are the least bad of all sins. All the worst pleasures are purely spiritual: the pleasure of putting other people in the wrong, of bossing and patronizing and spoiling sport, and back-biting; the pleasures of power, of hatred. For there are two things inside me, competing with the human self which I must try to become. They are the Animal self, and the Diabolical self. The Diabolical self is the worse of the two. That is why a cold, self-righteous prig who goes regularly to church may be far nearer to hell than a prostitute. But, of course, it is better to be neither." (C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity)
Ted: One at a time, there is no pat answer that covers everybody. Addiction is not yet scientifically understood.
Lambert: We can forgive people in our hearts, and have peace with God, but I think we should not automatically extend forgiveness to the person who has wronged us unless they apologize or express contrition and regret. If someone comes to you and asks your forgiveness then by all means forgive them. If you receive information that the other person has shown regret and remorse you might drop them a short note. The opportunity to communicate may or may not develop and you certainly want to avoid becoming bitter of harboring a desire for revenge in your heart. "Cheap forgiveness" where we left the other person off the hook too easily is not usually redemptive. We should not make light of an offense which was very wrong in the eyes of God and which brought you deep injury.
Penny: Ask for wisdom from the Holy Spirit on this one. There is a chance that the offender is feeling a great deal of guilt inside. If so, then knowledge of your attitude of forgiveness might be just the invitation he or she needs to learn more about Christ. On the other hand, be aware that it is far more common that forgiveness means nothing to the offender who is not sorry. Forgiveness is often like a present that you want to give someone. They don't have to accept or want it. Without their repentance there is simply no way for them to want or receive forgiveness. In this case, the important thing is that your heart has it ready for them; meaning, of course, that where you are concerned it is an accomplished fact.
I would add one more thing here. Forgiveness does NOT mean that all is well. You can forgive a thief for breaking into your house, but that does not mean you are obligated to give him the key! Forgiveness means that you do not seek punishment for the person on your own behalf. It means that you see the person as truly being created in the image of God, no matter how warped that image might be, and you recognize the worth of the person over the enormity of the sin. This does not erase the character of the unrepentant sinner or the consequences of the sin. Those are both in God's territory, not ours. Part of forgiveness, however, lies in acknowledging that and letting go.
Lambert: We can always express face-to-face concern for a friend whose life-style is obviously off track. Sin blinds and deceives us. The conscience can become "seared," and the heart hardened. Matthew 18:15-18 tells us how to approach a professing Christian brother or sister who is doing something wrong repeatedly. Ray Stedman has a good sermon on this, http://pbc.org/dp/stedman/misc/churdisc.html. The issue is one of life and death because fornicators have "no inheritance in the kingdom of God." Don't ignore the situation!
Penny: Ask her if "having fun" is the most important thing for her life. Ask her if she ever thinks about her future and the way she would like to be for her future husband. It's a pretty rotten thing to do to the love of her life if he is given cause to wonder, when they are having marital sex, just how he ranks compared to others she has known. Anyone can cook his meals, share his bed, do his laundry, clean his house. Only one person can be his faithful wife. And that is something that can be done before marriage as well. Their saved bodies are the ONLY thing each of them can uniquely give to one another. A used gift is a little different...
If she says she's a Christian, ask her what that means to her. Many people regard Christianity as something they are born into, or simply believing that God and Jesus are real. You might mention the Ten Commandments, or Jesus Two Commandments. Is she honoring and loving God with her life? If not, what does she think God thinks about that?
Lambert: The New Testament urges us to "speak the truth in love." Can you sit down with your friend and read a passage from the Bible such as Ephesians 5? If your friend is not a Christian then the issue is showing them love and encouragement to the end that they receive Jesus into their hearts. Non-Christians do not have the power to live lives pleasing to God, so dealing with symptoms doesn't fix the root problem.
Penny: As cruddy as this may sound, you can't. Just about everyone knows all the arguments now: health, babies, emotional stability. The best bet you have here is two pronged: firstly, live your life in such a way that it inspires others to ask questions. This, of course, means that you will know your Bible well enough to be able to give answers. It also means you will have a close enough personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ to be aware of Him guiding you through conversations. But if your life is constant enough with the Lord, and you are showing that joy and peace only He can give (despite external circumstances - and don't fake it!), then people WILL ask questions.
Secondly, feel free, if the Lord gives you the OK, to approach that person and say you know what they are doing is wrong and that you are praying for them. Keep your message short, simple, and loving. No lectures, please. Then go to your own home, or dorm room, and get serious about that praying.
Lambert: These days I would build a friendship first, introduce your non-Christian friends to your fellow Christians and show them by example that your life style is exciting and rewarding. Take an interest in your friends' families and interests. Most non-Christians are happy to have someone praying for them. Bring up spiritual issues casually and wait until they show openness. Non-Christians are deeply moved when they find someone who loves them as they are, accepts them and wants to be a friend.
Penny: A little bit as I mentioned above - the gift to the future partner of fidelity even before marriage. This then becomes a living promise of lifelong fidelity and the marriage is made stronger for it. This, along with the mention that NO sex is "safe." Condoms allow viruses through rather easily - and this very much includes HIV. People give themselves to one another, becoming so vulnerable to the hurt that almost always follows. Then hearts begin to become hard, and a good marriage - and even a good life - can become virtually impossible thereby.
Lambert: As mentioned in the original questions above, dating is not mentioned in the Bible and there are no examples in Bible stories of dating as we know it today. What are the reasons people date? One reason for dating is for two needy people to develop a co-dependent relationship of "need-based" love. A second motivation is sexual seduction. Guys have sex in mind most of the time; girls want security. More serious dating is a form of courtship--getting acquainted because marriage appears to be a definite possibility. Dating in our culture always seems to carry hidden expectations and hidden agendas. Stop and think: what is the real reason you want to date? What are you looking for and why is your relationship with Jesus Christ not bringing your fulfillment and friendships and adventure?
Penny: I assume you mean single dating. God does not directly say anything in the Bible, but you will find Paul's overarching directive in Ephesians 5:3, "But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality..." Because single dating leads to many times alone by its very nature, there are two major problems. First, the temptations toward intimacy mount. Second, because most people give in to those intimacies, it can easily be presumed that you two are, too. So many other cultures have recognized this and have made courtship a strictly controlled thing. Here in the United States it is not. So the warning really should be given to be very, very careful about these dates. Group dates are vastly preferable until you are actually looking for a marriage partner.
Lambert: Lysergic acid diethyl amide 25 is one of a class of hallucinogenic, mind-altering drugs. My own LSD experience (many years ago) is described in detail in an article on my web pages, http://www.ldolphin.org/LSD.html.
Penny: LSD: Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (Acid). LSD is a psychedelic drug. Some people can take it a number of times and after the hallucinations seem to have no apparent bad side effects. Then there are those like an old girlfriend of mine from high school who took it once in college and has been in and out of mental hospitals since (I am 51 now, so that's quite some time...). In his book "Death of a Guru," Rabi Maharaj, an ex-Hindu, makes the observation that drugs, in the same way that yoga does, open a doorway to demonism through the abandonment of the conscious mind to whatever force(s) want to mess with it during drug trips or Eastern meditation and trances.
Lambert: The last book of the Old Testament, Malachi, is where God tells us that He "hates" divorce--because of the harm done to the children and the family. Divorce rips and tears apart relationships that are very deep and were intended to be permanent. Divorce is a serious sin, but all sin can be forgiven. Heaven welcomes all kind of forgiven sinners. The self-righteous don't get in at all! Jesus said, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." In a spiritual sense we are all married to God. Where would we be if God got tired of our many failures and divorced us?
Penny: Divorce is not the unforgivable sin. Eight years ago my husband of twenty years left me for another woman. I have since been raising our children by myself. I love the Lord with all my heart and know I am born again and His child. I will go to heaven.
That being said, please know that divorce is the single most destructive action parents can take where their children are concerned, and, perhaps where each other is concerned as well. Girls without a daddy will so often fall into the arms of any male who seems to care. Boys without a dad get into far more trouble. A family without a mom can be just as devastated. I can speak from experience, as well, concerning the pain of being the only one to make the decisions everyday, having no one to balance my weaknesses where the children are concerned, sometimes being so tired I cry myself to sleep - so many, many difficult mountains to climb as a single parent. Divorce when there are no children can be almost as painful and devastating to the two people involved as well as their families. It is not the option one wants to choose.
But it does not slam the gate of heaven in your face.
Lambert: When a guy and a girl discover they are becoming too intimate it's time to talk about it, and then to back off. One reason we become uncomfortable when the situation goes further than it should is that the Holy Spirit is speaking to us, and our conscience is reminding us of proper boundaries.
Penny: Personally, I don't see the sin in kissing (and I have six children ages 14-25 now). However it can lead to lust and sexual sin acted out. Caution is the word here. Avoid arousal. Should arousal occur, it is certainly not improper to ask for forgiveness and then mean it by not letting the kissing be prolonged the next time.
Lambert: Homosexual conduct, homosexual acts, are wrong. Heterosexual intercourse before marriage is equally wrong, adultery is wrong. Murder is wrong, but we all are guilty of hating other at one time or another. A homosexual is a person who, by his or her own choice, is regularly engaging in homosexual activity. A fornicator is a man or woman who is regularly sleeping with someone they are not married to. Because of sin we are each capable of all kinds of sin! "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately corrupt; who can understand it" (Jeremiah 17:9). I have a long article on my web site regarding this topic, http://ldolphin.org/Homo.shtml)
Penny: If you read Romans 1, you will see that homosexuality is a result of rebellion against God. It is not unavoidable. Something should be noticed, however, which might have some biological implications. In verses 24 and 26 of that chapter, you will see that God "gave them over" to sexual sin - primarily homosexuality here. You cannot give someone over to something which does not already exist, so I think there may be a Biblical indication that some are genetically predisposed to be weaker in this area than others. However, look around you. You can see in your friends that there are various predispositions toward various weaknesses and it is individual to the person. In the same way, we have different inborn talents: art, logic, or social skills, for instance. But in each case it is our choice to work with the skills God has given us, developing them, and also to exercise great self-discipline in our areas of weakness. I have a daughter who is 20 now, and has spent much time in those 20 years learning how to control her temper. I have a son who is so quiet that he tends to shut others out. Both of these areas of their personalities need to be controlled. In the same way, IF homosexuality or homosexual tendencies have any genetic factor, the point is NOT to give in to them, but to control them, the same way temper is to be controlled.
The choices young men and women make are like choosing a fork in a pathway and following it. One rarely goes back. And so, rebellion against the truth that a person DOES know incurs God's wrath eventually and that person is then no longer held back from the expression of the evil in his or her heart. It is only through Christ Jesus that we have the strength to turn away from our own weaknesses. We cannot do it ourselves. Some awfully good helps for the Christian here are Psalm 139 (many of the Psalms, as a matter of fact!), Romans 8:28-30, Isaiah 40 - so many sections of the Bible, really! The New Testament epistles were written in part to give the believers strength to keep on keeping on. This does not have to do with simply homosexuality, but with all the sins it enters a man's heart to do.
One interesting thought: it is only with homosexuality that you hear a person identifying himself with his sin. How many times do you see a person identifying himself as a thief or a liar? What we do hear, however, is "I'm gay......" ......Interesting......
Lambert: I believe it is. (See my long article on this complex subject, http://ldolphin.org/Mast.shtml). Sexual expression was intended for a man and a woman to enjoy within the committed covenant and boundaries of marriage. Solitary sex is an incomplete experience, it is selfish and is dishonoring to one's body which is the temple of God. One can not live without food and water. But abstaining from sexual expression has no ill effects at all.
Penny: Masturbation is a really touchy subject (f you will pardon the pun....). Many condemn it altogether, identifying it with all forms of adultery as sex outside of marriage. Personally, I disagree with this. Men and women are sexual creatures by design. Young men will have wet dreams and young women will feel stimulated by some things. Some will even climax in their sleep. This is certainly self-stimulation, although it is not conscious. But it does indicate the sexuality the vast majority of men and women have to deal with.
So, again, my personal opinion is that this, like so much else, is a matter of the heart. If the sexual tension has built and needs release, then that's the way it is. It simply doesn't always help to keep your mind on other things. So my advice to my own children has been to take care of matters quickly, cleanly, and very privately. If one has to concentrate on sexy images, then one is not at the point of needing release, but simply of wanting it. Pray first for the strength to walk away from it in those circumstances.
Why? Because your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, for one. Secondly, because most will get married later, and if they have learned to satisfy themselves better than their mate can satisfy them, then the marriage is in trouble from the beginning. Also, the thoughts which encourage this activity can get to be a habit, which is also very, very damaging to a marriage. No marriage partner is perfect - only dreams are that way. Forsaking all others when one is married also means any images you have conjured up along the way. So don't conjure.
The Christian needs to have a renewing of mind in the Holy Spirit, and seek Christ's presence each day of his or her life. Thus, at such times when sexual tensions to build, it will be rare; and then it can be dealt with quickly, cleanly, and privately.
Lambert: Can you be accountable to someone about this area of weakness? Also, avoid situations where failure along the same lines could occur. We are always weak and vulnerable in areas of our lives where we have failed previously.
Penny: Avoid the situation.
Lambert: God created all sorts of things that are safe if left alone but dangerous if misused. In a fallen, broken world, thorns and thistles, flies and mosquitoes, rats and lice multiply, as well as harmful viruses and opportunistic diseases.
Penny: In the beginning, God looked at the world He had just created and pronounced it "very good." But since the Fall, things have been going downhill, with us, animals and plants. Things that were not poisonous before degenerated to produce poisonous forms. Our bodies also degenerated, becoming more susceptible to certain chemicals. Thus, while Jesus changed the water to wine, the Bible is quite adamant about the evils of drunkenness. In our fallen conditions, God has graciously provided the means to discover many medicines to help us. The wrong use of these medicines is toxic. There are also plant and chemical substances which can injure the nervous system, circulatory system, digestive system, or any of the other systems we have, sometimes permanently. Keep in mind also that God has always allowed us to choose what we will do with what He has given us - this includes our bodies
Lambert: The use drugs to heighten religious experience is a practice which originated in pagan religions and is totally foreign to the Bible. Mind-altering drugs actually open the human spirit to evil, seducing, deceiving spirits.
Penny: Absolutely. When asked what the greatest commandment was, Jesus responded, in Matthew 22:37, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind." The "mind" refers to man's rational thinking processes. If the mind is given over to delusional processes (and this includes yoga and other forms of transcendental meditation as well as chemical hallucinogens), one is incapable of loving God with the mind. Please note some of what Paul refers to as well, in the following:
1 Corinthians 14:13-15 - "For this reason anyone who speaks in a tongue should pray that he may interpret what he says. For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful. So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my mind; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my mind."
1 Thessalonians 5:4-8 - "But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. So then, let us not be like the others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet."
And Peter also, in 1 Peter 5:8, says, "Be self-controlled and alert."
And from me, I would mention one other thing. We live in days of increasing deception, as indicated by Jesus in Matthew 24. We cannot afford to open our minds to any of this deception by means of drunkenness, drugs, or transcendental experiences. We must be focused on Christ at every moment if we are to walk on this water through this storm we call "today."
Lambert: Pray! Hand them over to God. Augustine said, "You can't keep the birds from flying over your head, but you can keep them from nesting in your hair." Jesus said, "Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of the heart are the issues of life." What we read, the images we watch, the words we hear go into memory storage in the brain for later recall. Storing the Word of God in one's heart is the best strategy known to man. Psalm 119:11 says, "I have laid up thy word in my heart, that I might not sin against thee."
Penny: The more you know Christ, the more you will love Him if you are His. So the first step is to totally commit your life into His keeping and be born again in the Spirit. Please read Romans 8 regarding the inability of the sinful man to please God. After you have been put to death in Christ and raised new in Him with your new life, crowd in close to Him. We truly are like sheep and sheep are the stupidest of all herd animals. We desperately need our Shepherd. Read His word, the Bible, and pray constantly. Short prayers like "Jesus, help," are not ignored at all. Perhaps the most important point here is not to seek "experiential Christianity," which depends on emotional highs with the Lord, or what are known as "mountaintop experiences." They will come, but they are gifts from Him. Stay self-controlled, stay alert, stay focused. He is your Lord; He is your Shepherd. Let Him constantly come into your mind to renew and refresh it. Be willing to acknowledge sins of thought, knowing He is faithful to forgive and He will renew a right spirit within you.
The question is, do you want that? Or do you prefer those negative thoughts for one reason or another? They can be very comfortable simply because they are so familiar. Do you want to be close to Christ (which is unfamiliar territory, heaven or not), or do you prefer your own natural way? His way is NOT easy; but He will always be there with you to give you the strength and guidance for it.
Lambert: When we are doing things that are wrong in the eyes of God nothing is safe! " Proverbs 15:3 says, "The eyes of the LORD are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good." In Romans, Paul says this, "Do you suppose, O man, that when you judge those who do such things and yet do them yourself, you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you presume upon the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience? Do you not know that God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? But by your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God's righteous judgment will be revealed. For he will render to every man according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are factious and do not obey the truth, but obey wickedness, there will be wrath and fury. There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, but glory and honor and peace for every one who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. For God shows no partiality. All who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified." (2:3-12)
We live in a moral universe and no one gets away with anything in the long run!
Penny: It's not safe at all. Some forms are "safer" than others, but for a teenage girl, whose body is still getting settled into womanhood, there are too many dangers. Once in awhile a girl has trouble settling into a normal monthly cycle, and for this reason - to help regulate her and give her body a hand settling in - estrogen therapy, or birth control pills, are used, and rightly so. Estrogen replacement therapy is also used in menopausal and post-menopausal women to help prevent both severe menopausal symptoms and bone mass loss. With the exception of these two reasons, however, birth control pills should be avoided. God's plan remains the best...
Lambert: If a girl becomes pregnant and can not raise the child, the child should be placed for adoption into a loving family rather than being murdered.
Penny: The first thing to do is go to a trusted Christian counselor. I would hope this would be one of the parents of the girl, but I know it might not be. A Christian OB-GYN is also needed, if one can be found. Is it really dangerous for the girl to have the baby, or simply inconvenient? What is being contemplated, remember, is the murder of a tiny baby. A baby God has allowed to be alive. A tremendous amount of prayer is needed here.
A number of years ago, I was involved in post-abortion counseling. It is very common for a woman 3 to 5 years after an abortion to suddenly realize what she has done and fall apart inside with guilt. It is very common for a young wife who is pregnant within marriage for the first time to remember her other child - the one she did not allow to live. The baby may be in heaven, but all too often the mother finds something of hell on earth as the result of an abortion. Never forget that the "result of conception" is a baby, not a "thing." And this baby, also, is made in the image of God.
For all these reasons I strongly counsel against an abortion for any reason other than to safe the life of the mother (and even then, some mothers prefer the baby live if there is a choice!). God is in charge of life and we can trust Him. Please note also that Crisis Pregnancy Centers exist for girls and women such as your friend and will give support and help as long as necessary.
About taking the pill - please see the preceding question and answer. The pill is NOT a good birth control measure. Abstinence is.
Lambert: Ephesians 5 says we should not even bring up for casual conversation sexual immorality. This does not mean we can not talk about sexuality but sexual behavior is not for jokes or locker room discussions. "Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. But fornication and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is fitting among saints. Let there be no filthiness, nor silly talk, nor levity, which are not fitting; but instead let there be thanksgiving. Be sure of this, that no fornicator or impure man, or one who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for it is because of these things that the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not associate with them, for once you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is a shame even to speak of the things that they do in secret; but when anything is exposed by the light it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it is said, "Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give you light." Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart, always and for everything giving thanks in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father." (5:1-20)
Penny: Between a husband and wife, in private, it is fine. However, talking and joking about sexual things can often lead to thoughts that push for action in that direction. So even parents need to be careful with their teenage children, and friends need to be careful with each other. The following verses are "skip quoted" from Ephesians 4 and 5 (I urge you to read both chapters to get the context) - "So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them DUE TO THE HARDENING OF THEIR HEARTS. Having lost all sensitivity, they gave given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.....Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen .... Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children, and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving."
Lambert: In the Bible we have several kinds of kisses, good and not so good. The lovers in Song of Solomon who are becoming man and wife kiss and show open affection. The "kiss of Judas" is the kiss of the betrayer. The "kiss of Baal" is an erotic, sexually sensual immoral kiss." To "greet all the brethren with a holy kiss" is a simply family display of natural affection.
Penny: It doesn't.
Penny: God created sex. For the human being, it is not just a matter of procreation or even of the joy of loving. There is something much more momentous involved. Through out the Old Testament, God has revealed Himself and His character and relationship to men through a series of pictures. The Ark of Noah is a picture of Christ (it was also very real) - get in or get dead. Egypt is a picture of living in sin. The Promised Land, a picture of life under God's special protection and concern as His child. We constantly see God disciplining Israel as the writer of Hebrews has also said we must be disciplined (see Hebrews 12).
In the New Testament, when Jesus is speaking to Nicodemus in John 3, Jesus makes the blunt statement (v.3 and 5), "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again...I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to Spirit."
When a man has intercourse with a woman, he enters her, and the result is often a new life. When Jesus is invited into a person, He enters, and the result is a new life. Sex is the only picture God has given us of that. That is why idolatry and adultery are used as almost interchangeable terms in the writing of the Old Testament prophets. That is why Paul declares the marriage bed sacred. That is also why Satan has done everything possible to erase that picture - pornography, sexually explicit pictures in shows, nudity in advertising, "in" fashions, "safe" sex - the list goes on for a very long time. Consider the kinds of dancing that are purely suggestive as contrasted to such things as folk dancing or even the old be-bop rock'n'roll type of dancing. Sexual suggestion and confrontation are everywhere. And the purpose is to erase from people's minds any thought of God's righteousness in declaring sex outside of marriage to be taboo.
Now you can tell your friend this, but don't expect to bowl her over with the idea presented. However it might act like a seed that might be watered by someone else later and grow. At least you can tell her the truth and, in the process, you will also be reinforcing your own relationship with Christ and knowledge of why abstinence is so crucial for a Christian. We have a picture to maintain - a story about God to tell the world not only with our words but, much more importantly, with our lives and decisions.
Lambert: It is great to know people who go to churches different from our own. It broadens our perspectives about what God is doing in the world. What kind of relationship is it would be the real issue?
Penny: No, not at all. But always bow to your parents' wishes in this regard. Even if your parents are not Christians, God will still use them to guide you. All Christian cults and some non-Christian cults as well consider themselves Christian. Getting involved with a serious Mormon, Jehovah's Witness, or any one of a number of other "denominations" can be very damaging. Know what the doctrinal statements of the other person's church are, to make sure you are both worshiping the same God. And pray. James tells us in his epistle that God will always give wisdom to those who ask. Again, however, the acid test will be whether or not you want to follow the Lord and obey your parents or whether you prefer to find excuses to simply do what you want to do.
Lambert: I can speak from experience because I am a prodigal son who came back to the Lord after seven years of pig-pen living in sin and degradation.--AFTER I had been a Christian for some years. Repentance means turning back to God from sin. Break off old sinful friendships and activities. Get back in the Bible, start hanging out with good Christians, go see an older or more mature Christian and have others help you and pray with you. Welcome home! God loves you! Jesus said, "Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance." (Luke 15:7)
Penny: Acknowledgment of sin, true repentance, and the work of the Holy Spirit. Go to God with a humble and contrite heart. He loves you and will restore you. Then crowd in close to Him. You will need healing and it comes from Him. Read your Bible, pray, and love Him. He has been waiting for you to want to come home.
Lambert: It will be difficult in most cases. You may not wish to associate very much with that person, but neither should you be rude or cut them off. God loves them in spite of the wrong there are doing and perhaps your graciousness and kindness as a Christian will make a difference later on?
Penny: Contrary to worldly psychological wisdom, no. It is not. Even in the world, the courts usually recognize the right of a teenager to choose the extent of communication with the deserting parent. Pray. Talk it through with a trusted mature Christian. Whatever choices the Lord leads you to make here, express them with a calm and loving attitude (possible only through Him, I know!), and know that God may be using you to stand in the gap at that point, expressing HIS attitude toward what has happened.
Your pain is intense. I know that. So does God. Your anger may also be intense. This is NOT a sin. God Himself hates divorce and feels great anger. We are told, however, not to sin in our anger. So pray constantly here, no matter if it is quietly or with hysterical sobs of grief and anger. God knows. He really does. And you can trust Him. Anyone who is in the situation of having a parent desert a marriage and family is going through some of the most agonizing pain in the world. And it will keep surfacing at odd moments for a very long time. Be very, very careful to follow the Lord in the outward decisions and words that come from you. But, please, feel free to be hysterical with Him when you need to. He understands. I promise you, He will not be "turned off" by your pain and anger and horrid thoughts. Be willing, as soon as possible though, to give all this to Him. It's too big for you to handle.
Penny: I think perhaps you are not aware of what it really is. From as Rastafarian comes the following quote: "The political and religious principles of black Jamaicans who worship Haile Selassie (1891-1975), former emperor of Ethiopia. Marijuana is a sacrament; reggae star Bob Marley was a high priest. Rastafarians are committed to the overthrow of the British government in the West Indies. It's become a multiracial movement, largely on the basis of cool music." There is also an interesting comment here from someone who seems to be a member. It is not Christian.
Lambert: Our world has always been a dangerous and violent place. We will never be safe here. As the end of the age approaches things will get much worse. Our own safe refuge is to be in Jesus Christ the Lord. He is our Ark.
Penny: No. It is something that is a fulfillment of prophecy regarding the last days, though. We know that evil is increasing, coming to full fruit. Both the tares and the wheat are ripening now and I am convinced the harvest is near. Paul warns about the last days in his second letter to Timothy, chapter 3. Peter warns about them in his second letter. Jesus warns about them in Matthew 24. Isaiah warns about them. The warnings are all through the Bible about the proliferation of evil as time draws to a close. The Littleton massacre is one expression of this evil. Look around and you will see thousands of others.
Lambert: It is very profitable for a Christian who knows the Bible well to study other religions. It will help you learn to sort truth from error and it will make it possible for God to use you to bring people in other religions to know the truth that is in Jesus Christ as so be saved. Most religions in the world have some truth and the cultures of the world are all very interesting in their own right.
Penny: Not at all. But first, know your Bible well. It is not always easy to tell a counterfeit unless you are quite familiar with the real thing. Understanding that, turn to Acts 8:26-39. What did Philip do BEFORE he talked to the Ethiopian? "The Spirit told Philip, 'Go to that chariot and stay near it.'" Philip had to know what the other fellow was thinking before he could approach him. Again, when Paul talks to the Athenians, he talks to them understanding what they believe. Missionaries to foreign places must be able to understand what the people already know so they can find where God has left the "hook" in that culture upon which the gospel message may be hung. Our knowledge of (but not involvement in) the world around us is vital. I encourage the learning of what others believe, not only to help you see the glory of Christ in what He has done for us, but so that you might approach some of these people through your life with understanding and love as you tell them and show them about our Lord Jesus Christ.
It might be noted here that there really are only two religions in the world: Christianity and "other." All other religions try to achieve exaltation, salvation, godhood, improvement, self-realization, or what have you, through acts the person himself must do. Christianity is radically different. It tells us that God Himself did all the work, and that we cannot. That is why so many say that Christianity is not a religion, but a relationship.
May 11, 1999.
Ken writes: I read two of the articles on your website
about sexuality and I have a question.
Will resurrected saints still have sexual interaction, even though we will be as the angels, "...neither marrying, nor given in marriage..."? I would assume based upon Arthur Custance's writings that we will be eternally spiritual/physical beings that cannot die, and that our bodies will be resurrected similar to how Jesus was when resurrected. I have seen no other scriptures that indicate what our social/sexual interaction will or will not be like in the kingdom. The woman surviving 7 husbands with those asking which one will have her in the kingdom. Christ replies that there will be no marrying or giving in marriage, but we will be as angels. How are the angels in this respect? Does that imply there is no need for marriage because there is no sexual interaction or that there will be no marriage because there is no need for a marriage covenant and sexual relations is not constricted by the marriage covenant?
If sex is not evil, and we are much the same as what we are now, but then perfected, then will we not continue to have sexual interaction? Will fornication then be perceived much like incest. Prior to the flood incest appears to have not been taboo or sinful, but only became so, once genetic complications resulted. Something once not a sin, now becoming a sin. Will it work the other way around? Sin now (fornication), would not be sin then?
It would appear that Adam and Eve were sexual partners, or intended for such, before the fall of man.
Any light you can shed on this topic?
Lambert's Initial Answer: I think there will be something better than sex (as we know it now) in heaven. There will be no need for reproduction so I would expect genital organs to be absent.
However as C.S. Lewis demonstrates in "The Great Divorce" and in "Perelandra" masculinity will be fully developed in heaven and so will femininity. These are distinctive, separate, complimentary expressions of our humanity as male and female. We will not be asexual or unisexual in heaven. The image of God in mankind is male/female, masculine/feminine.
"At thy right hand will be pleasures forevermore," says the Psalmist.
All the pleasureful things in this life must be greatly restricted--wine, sex, love of money. We are easily swept away with emotions and as fallen creatures it is very easy for us to go stray or to get off balance. Evil is lurking everywhere. We can not communicate well with one another. Our motives are mixed. We do not know our own deceitful hearts.
In heaven all constraints and restraints can be lifted. Therefore any two believers can enjoy infinitely rich and deep intimate fellowship with one another there--comparable to the best we now know in a good marriage.
God is making us whole persons--this life is a training ground. Without training we would not be able to adjust to the splendor and intensity of experience in heaven.
I have not seen much written on this topic but I think we should think of heaven as gain and not loss. If a man and wife are close in this present life, they will be closer still in heaven.
Ken's first response: I understand what you mean, but I am uncertain if I can picture Jesus Christ being desexed upon His resurrection. Nor could I picture it for the remainder of humanity. If, as Arthur Custance puts it, the body is the means through which the spirit "is known" and "knows", and that being the reason why Jesus came here in the first place, to reveal the Father to us, and that part of the joy of living is that ability to influence the physical world around us, I cannot conceive of God taking that part away from us, when it is not sinful or evil. He might as well take away our tongues for they are more a tool of our evil hearts than perhaps our sex organs. Intimate emotion-the most sensitive knowing of one another is not just an emotion, it is the expression of emotion. You might as well say that we will not shake hands in the kingdom, since that is an expression of a certain level of intimacy or knowing. I am concerned that this view of our resurrected state makes us little more than logic robots that have no or only limited expression. I am not trying to justify what should or shouldn't be, but only trying to understand that we are literally made in God's likeness.
Lambert: Second Response: I think the best way to glimpse what sexuality in heaven would be like is to consider the picture of Adam and Eve.
There was originally the man Adam, created in the image and likeness of God. He was created male/female, that is Adam/Eve. Later his wife Eve was taken out of his side and presented to him. Adam and Eve taken together comprise the image of God in man.
What was originally an undivided unit (one man) became the first man and first woman.
Jesus our Lord is the second or "last" Adam (I Cor. 15). Is there a second or last Eve? Well, yes there is. The church is the Bride taken from the wounded side of Jesus--a blood-bought bride for the Lord Jesus.
Because of His love for His only Son, the Father has sent the Spirit out into the world to select and prepare a bride for the Lord Jesus. The bride will be presented to the Bridegroom at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.
However the second Eve is not one woman, but a good many millions of redeemed men, women and children! So how do we imagine a marriage like that? Clearly it can not be a sexual union. It is a spiritual union.
C.S. Lewis said words to this effect, "God is so masculine that we are all feminine in our relationship with Him." Men and women are alike in spirit though different in body and soul. Thus, inwardly we are all dependent on the indwelling Lord. "He who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit together with Him" (1 Cor.). Inwardly the church (feminine) is the Bride of Christ. Outwardly the church is the (masculine) Body of Christ--a fierce army in the world. "Who is this who looks forth as the dawn, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, terrible as an army with banners?"
The book of the Bible that develops this union between Christ and His bride is the Song of Solomon. I have always liked Watchman Nee's commentary on Canticles. But I have my own (unfinished) notes on the Song on web site because this book has so radically changed my own understanding of masculinity and femininity as part of the very nature of God and of our humanity.
My main point is that I don't think reproduction or genital sexual expression will be part of our experience in heaven. Though it is difficult to imagine now, I think God has something "better" for us there! In the relationship of man and woman in marriage there is a longing for wholeness. In Christ we are made fully whole whether we are married or not. "You are complete in Christ who is the Head of all rule and authority." (Colossians)
I am sharing this with my friends who answer email with me because some of them may wish to comment on what I think is a most difficult topic about which little is said in Scripture.
Comment from Elaine Stedman: Certainly Jesus' words
would seem to validate the notion that human sexual
relationships change "at the resurrection":
"Jesus replied, 'You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God. At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven." There is no indication in Scripture so far as I can see that angels are sexual beings, i.e., male/female. It would seem to me that male/female is simply a shadow of the wider masculine/feminine principle, the latter transcending the merely physical. And if the male/female is simply the shadow-image of the masculine-feminine, how much better when "the real has come"! We do know for sure that we are not now all that we shall be. "Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is." Jesus, appearing as male, certainly did not need human sexual relations to fulfill his humanness, which is encouraging to us in this life, and even more to our post-resurrection life with Him.
Ted Wise: This is a very interesting thing that Elaine has pointed out. The passage and subject of sexual relations in heaven has more than a couple of points to ponder.
"For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven." (Mat 22:30).
Notice that Jesus said, "...in the resurrection..." not later in heaven.
Jesus goes on to say that at the time of the resurrection we will be like, "...the angels in heaven..." In other words, either marriage ends at the moment of our resurrection and thus we become as the angels are, unmarried. Or our individual contracts end at death so marriage to a single mate is over and we are all married to Jesus. Or a change in our bodies occurs at the resurrection that raises us from copulation to some kind of much higher union and what we have now is a mere fore shadowing of some kind of supersex. Or reproduction is no longer necessary so sex becomes obsolete, Or is it just that the heavenly angels do not marry as opposed to the fallen ones who did?
The key is "...like the angels in heaven." How will we, at the moment of resurrection, be like the heavenly angels in as much as marriage is concerned. Will we be a new gender? Or???
What are you thinking folks? This is a good one.
added May 12, 1999.
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