Fornication is NOT Pre-marital Sex

From The Book  “Divine Sex”

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 CHAPTER SEVEN

 FORNICATION

The issue here is what we refer to as “pre-marital” sex, which is

commonly categorized as “fornication,” or “promiscuity.” This

category also includes “extra-marital” sex although the common

term for that is “adultery.” We have shown that “extra-marital” sex

is NOT automatically forbidden in Scripture. There are many

examples in Scripture of such activity but without any word of

correction from God, and in some cases what is said indicates

 

God’s approval! In this chapter we will look then at both nonmarital

sex as well as extra-marital sex. We will use the term “nonmarital”

sex to indicate all sexual activity by unmarried people.

Extra-marital sex refers to sexual activity by married people, but

 

with someone other than their mates.

The only Biblical law that deals specifically with this issue,

giving an actual example, is Ex. 22:16-17. Here, a man has sex with

a single girl. Scripture does not designate this as sin in any sense. It

 

is NOT defined as “fornication,” or “promiscuity.” In this case, God’s

law establishes responsibility of the man toward the girl with

whom he has sex. God’s first choice is that the man marry her. But

if her father refuses the marriage, a money dowry must be paid.

 

Copulating with a woman mandates financial responsibility for her.

 

Marriage is preferred but otherwise money paid to her because of

the sex and the taking of her virginity, is allowed. This is God’s law!

Having sex with a single girl is not “fornication” or sin here. If her

 “price” is paid, marriage is not mandated, and no punishment is

inflicted. This financial responsibility is part of the honoring of

relationships and the persons of others, which governs sexual practice.

A man cannot just chase every skirt he sees and treat the women

like trash. If he is going to sex a woman he must compensate her

according to her price. Marriage is God’s preference but God

Himself allows for other means of discharging this responsibility.

If the girl is at home, the father sets the price. If she is not at home the

assumption seems to be valid that the girl herself sets the price. The

only other Biblical restriction on such a practice seems to be that of

the general requirement God makes regarding everything:

 

“moderation in all things.” Excessive sexual indulgence is implied in

the words “lasciviousness” and “concupicence.” Being financially

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responsible for one’s sexual practices would in itself inhibit what

we call “promiscuity.” Since we do not have the same social,

cultural setting now as prevailed in this Biblical example it is more

difficult to determine the exact requirements for appropriate

“responsibility” of a man toward a girl with whom he copulates.

 

We do not pretend to be able to settle this issue here.

 

What is apparent though is that if the sex act is performed by those who are

not married the Bible does not define it as sin. If the Bible does not

do so we cannot.

 

Aside from actual Biblical law, there are several examples in

Scripture of non-marital sex.

 

 For instance, in 1 Sam.21:4, 5, we read

that David and his men have been on a military campaign for some

time when they come to the temple. David requests bread for

himself and his soldiers and the priests allow David’s soldiers to

eat “consecrated bread” only if the young men have kept

 themselves from “women.”

 

Spiros Zodhiates says of this word,

“This word is used almost 800 times in the OT and its basic

meaning is a female as opposed to a male.” (Hebrew, Greek Key

Study Bible) Since they had been gone from home and had not seen

their wives for a long time, it is apparent from this context that the

 

“women” here were not their “wives.” If they had sex with

 “women” the only penalty is that their uncleanness prohibited them

from eating the “consecrated” bread. Thus the question of the

priests is whether any of them had sex with some of the women

they encountered while on this campaign, thus not their wives.

 

This is made more certain by the fact that the penalty of sexual

“uncleanness” applies only to the one day on which the sex act

occurs (Lev. 15:16, 18). After the sun sets they are clean. So this

incident seems to demand that these men might have had sex while

they were following David, on the very day that they asked for

bread, and if so they could not eat the sanctified bread because they

 

were unclean. If any of them had sex on that day, it could not have

been with their wives. This sex then must have been non-marital,

and even extra-marital.

 

The question then for this study, is: if they had sex with

“women” while out in the military field, even if they were all single

men, why is there no censure or warning from the priests that this

is sin requiring sin sacrifice? This would surely be non-marital sex.

 

And why not take measures to rid their camp of this sin lest it bring

their defeat as did Achan’s sin at Ai? (He took gold & silver from

 

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the spoils in direct disobedience to God’s command.) That there

was no sin involved in their sexual activity is apparent. The

requirement for “cleansing” was purely ceremonial, relating to the

law requiring cleansing if a man had ejaculated semen, (Lev. 15:16,

18). But sin required different sacrifices. Everything about this

circumstance then indicates that the priests were concerned that the

men might have made themselves ceremonially impure by having

 

sex that day. That these men may have been sexually active even

though they could not possibly have been with their wives, makes

it obvious that the priests had no qualms about non-marital sex

and certainly did not define it as sinful.

Let us now look at the definitions of the words fornication and

concupicence.

 

 

Fornication:

 

Heb. zana.

“to commit adultery; fig. to commit idolatry, unfaithful,

whore(dom) (Israel being God’s spouse).” (Strong’s #2181, 2, 3, 4)

“harlotry, idolatry, fornication, whoredom,” (Strong’s # 8457).

Gk. porneia, fornication; porne, (fem.) a fornicator, pornos, (masc.) a

fornicator.

“to be utterly unchaste, give self over to fornication.” (Strong’s

#1608).

“adultery and incest; fig. idolatry; fornication.”

“lit. to indulge unlawful lust (of either sex), or fig. practice

idolatry; commit fornication

“a strumpet; fig. an idolater.” “debauchee (libertine), fornicator,

whoremonger.” (Strong’s #4202, 03, 04, 05).

Comments from OTHER AUTHORS:

“Fornication: Sexual intercourse performed outside the bonds

of marriage, considered an immoral work of the flesh. The OT

depicts this as “harlotry” or “playing the harlot.” As such the

concept is used figuratively with regard to Israel’s abandonment of

its covenant ideals.”

 

Eerdman’s Bible Dictionary, pg. 391

 

“Illicit sexual relations.” “These three words denote sexual

behavior that is not in accord with OT regulations and the teaching

of the apostles and other leaders in the primitive church. The word

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porneuo is derived from GK. pornemi. Porneia means fornication, and

other illicit sexual activities in general, including those of a

homosexual nature.

“Although any kind of illegitimate sexual intercourse is an

adequate definition of the terms, the various contexts in which

these terms occur show their application to specific situations.

According to 1 Cor. 5:1, porneia refers to the incestuous relationship

between a man and his father’s wife. (cf. Lev. 18:8) Paul addressed

a more widespread problem among the Corinthians: sexual

intercourse with prostitutes (6:12-20). Paul emphasized the

seriousness of porneia. The person who commits porneia with a

prostitute “sins against his own body” vs. 18, i.e. defiles his body,

which is the temple of the Holy Spirit.

“Immorality (pornos) meaning non-marital sexual intercourse, is

distinguished from adultery (moichos) or extra-marital sexual

intercourse, in Heb. 13:4.”

ISBE, vol. 2, pg. 345, 808, 809 –

 

“Fornication seems to have been used of the sin of idolatry in

the church in NT, as adultery is of the same sin with the

Jews…fornication, to play the harlot.”

E. W. Bullinger, A Critical Concordance to the English and Greek New

Testament p. 303-304.

 

“Concupicence” (epithumia): “The thought of this word is more

commonly expressed by the words “lust” and “sensuality.” In

keeping with its etymological derivation, it can quite properly refer

to the simple and natural act of desiring a thing for the satisfaction

to be derived therefrom. In this sense of the term…concupiscence is

perfectly normal, natural and good. It becomes evil only in excess

because any excess violates the principle of moderation dictated by

reason…The satisfaction of physical desire in man is not evil in

itself since it is inherent in the constitution of man as created by

God.... -Although sin is primarily spiritual, it manifests itself also in

the corruption of all phases of man’s physical nature. So thirst

becomes an excuse for drunkenness; hunger for gluttony; sex for

lust. But sin is essentially spiritual and physical sins are derivative

and secondary in nature.

 

The exact relation between spiritual and physical sin is obscure

and not easy to analyze… Sometimes sensuality actually deifies or

idolizes something or someone… Concupiscence has a great variety

 

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of forms and consists of “any inordinate devotion to a mutable

good,” of which sexual license is only the most striking example.”

20th Century Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, vol. 1, pg. 285-256.

“(The words refer to) harlot for hire, whoremonger, male

prostitute, licentiousness, fornication to live licentiously (indulging

freedom to excess).” It is used of cultic prostitution, both as a single

act and a general state. Prostitutes are unknown in the Homeric

age, but men often have concubines, e.g. female slaves. The

professional “friend” becomes a common figure in Greek society

and since intercourse is regarded as just as natural as eating and

drinking, extramarital affairs are permitted for husbands. Yet

excess is censured, and Plato defends intercourse with harlots only

as long as it is secret and causes no offense. Among harlots those in

brothels form the lowest class, those with some artistic skill a

higher group, and independent harlots who can command high

prices, another higher class.

 

“In OT the porneuo group has such sense as “to be unfaithful.” It

may be used of the prostitute, of the betrothed, or married woman

who proves unfaithful; figuratively it is used for apostasy as

unfaithfulness to God, and to “turn aside from God and go after

other gods.” Social problems promote prostitution (Am. 7:17).

Custom protects virgins but men are allowed some freedom as long

as they avoid the wives of others. The Law provides severe

penalties for betrothed women who are unfaithful.”

Kittel, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, one vol. edition,

pg. 918-920

 

Observations:

 

From the above definitions, it is obvious that “fornication,” and

“concupicence” do not inherently define specific acts as sinful.

They are both generic words whose specific meaning must be

derived from their contextual settings. In other words,

“fornication” does not mean “sex between unmarried people,” even

though this is the definition we learned “from them of old time”

and preached for years. Fornication means simply “illegitimate

sexual activity.” What is illegitimate must be defined by God else it

cannot be said to be illegitimate. Illegitimate sexual activities as

defined by Scripture would be: Adultery, Incest, Bestiality, Rape, forced

prostitution upon one’s daughter, sex as pagan worship and pederasty.

We treat pederasty (exploitative sex by an older man with a young

 

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boy) as a separate issue because there is so much to deal with on

the general issue of homosexuality. Our book, God Is Not A

Homophobe, deals thoroughly with this issue.

The above definitions show that porneia, and zana have the

essential meaning of “illicit sexual activity.” Neither word defines

exactly what that activity is. They are generic words,

comprehending under their umbrella all the specific activities

which God’s law classifies as illicit.

Since God does not – anywhere – define pre-marital sex as “illicit” then

we cannot place it under the category of fornication.

This phrase from ISBE, is incorrect: “Immorality (pornos)

meaning non-marital sexual intercourse, is distinguished from

adultery (moichos) or extra-marital sexual intercourse, in Heb. 13:4.”

There is no such distinction indicated by the words themselves. The

Hebrew writer seems to take precaution to be sure that his readers

understand that adultery specifically, plus all forms of sexual sin,

will come under God’s judgment.

 

God does not define as illegitimate the practices of pre-marital

sex, masturbation, oral sex and perhaps others, therefore these

practices cannot be put under the heading of fornication.

 

And only if any of these practices become “excessive” can they be called

“concupicence.”

 

The conclusion that may be drawn from these facts seems to be

that God is not particularly disturbed by the mere physical act of

sex between two people, whether married or unmarried. What He

is concerned about is the relationship between them, the

responsibility of the man toward the woman and the need to keep

sexual appetite within appropriate boundaries so that sex does not

become obsessive. This last issue is the same as with eating too much

 

food (gluttony) and drinking too much wine (drunkenness). It is

not at all clear from Scripture that God condemns men and women

who have sex outside of marriage. What is clear is that in the only

instances where He actually references this issue He does not

require sin sacrifice for either man or woman but legislates only for

the protection of the woman. While this conclusion sounds radical,

the test is easy to take: simply read the whole Bible, note every

instance of law against sexual practice, fairly define the words

used, and see if there is any other conclusion warranted.

 

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The issue of whether sex outside marriage is advisable is a

different question. We seek only to find whether God defines it as

sin. Our studied opinion is that He does not so define it.

Sex And Single People

Special attention should be given to the sexual needs of single

people. Standard church dogma remains “thou shalt not.” Yet not

even in OT theology is such stringency mandated for the single

person. As shown above the Bible does not directly address this

issue, and the word “fornication” does not address this issue. In

other words, the Bible does not contain a law, an example, or a word

that designates sexual activity by single people. Therefore it is

impossible to honestly state that “The Bible condemns sex by single

people.” We realize that this statement is made virtually every

week by some public proclaimers, somewhere in the world, who

put it forth as “God’s word.”

But being repeated numberless times

by church authorities does not make it true.

The fact is that God did not say it!

 

We challenge the truly diligent reader to try to find any

statement in Scripture where God condemns sex by single people

whether by example, by law or by legitimate lexigraphy. It is not

there. We know how radical that statement seems. Given the

universal and emphatic declarations to the contrary, one might

think us to be on unsupportable ground. But we say again, the test

is easy for anyone to take.

***********************************************************************************************

Don’t go to your preacher and ask him if this statement is true. Preachers are honest but blind about some things just like the rest of us.

 In sexual matters especially, religious leaders have much to gain by NOT questioning the status quo and many will NOT even seriously consider any alternate viewpoint on any sexual matter.

They have been trained by their mentors, pressured by their peers, and threatened by their financial insecurity to give nothing but the “majority report” on sexual issues.

 

So if you want to be confident that you are getting close to

objective Bible truth, look for yourself.

 

 You will be amazed, even flabbergasted at what you find

when you look for yourself, with eyes that want to see what is in the Bible.

You may even be angry at what has been kept from you by those who were responsible to tell you “just the truth ma’am,” but who, for many reasons, could not even find the truth for themselves.

Read the appendix to this book,

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and learn to use Bible research tools, and correct bible study

methods, for yourself. The hard work will richly reward you.

People are not devoid of desire or need for sexual activity

merely because they are single. The sexual urge arises very early in

a child’s life. No person lives without any sexual feelings or desires

until they are married. What? Do we think that magically, once a

minister pronounces them “man and wife” and gives the man

permission to “kiss the bride,” their gonads spring into action, their

sexual passion ignites, and suddenly for the very first time, the

married couple desires to “make love.” We know, we know: the

very idea is silly. But doesn’t it mean something about God’s

purpose for sex, that His creative hand released sexual urges even

in children, but never told them that they must “wait until

marriage or go to hell?” We tell them that but God did not.

If sex is a gift from God it is as much a gift to single people as to

married people. It is neither compassionate nor Biblical to tell them

that they must “be celibate or be damned.” Sex is “good” for the

single as for anyone else. What is needed is a loving approach to

single people that does not confine them to a sexual prison of our

own human design; that opens the door to sexual activity while

teaching them their personal obligation to “love” those with whom

they are sexually involved. This means that single people must

understand the obligations of love that arise in consideration of

such issues as possible pregnancy and venereal disease, honesty

regarding intentions, responsibility for the welfare of their sexual

partners and so forth. If Biblical agape guides the single person, sex

is no more withheld from him/her than for married people.

Church tradition holds that marriage is the only venue for

sexual expression. Church dogma on this matter can be stated

thusly: “Yes, sex is a gift from God and is a legitimate pleasure for

men and women, but heterosexual marriage is the only provision

God gives for its expression.” This concept is stated with such force

and confidence that one expects to be able to read such a statement

in Scripture. But there is no such statement. People have

interpreted certain Biblical statements to “mean” this, and then

they bind this personal interpretation upon all others as Divine law.

Let us be clear: The “sexual activity only within the confines of

heterosexual, monogamous marriage” dogma, rests on no more

substantial foundation than subjective human interpretation! This

dogma is human conclusion, not Divine statement. All the arguments

 

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from Scripture presented by Catholic and Protestant theologians

fail to provide a satisfactory and clearly demonstrable explanation

of why sexuality must be expressed only within monogamous

marriage. This concept is read into Scripture. It is not derived from

Scripture. Some more “liberal” ones will go so far as to admit the

permissibility of “pre-ceremonial” sex between engaged couples,

while yet inconsistently holding firmly to the “marriage only”

ethic. No satisfactory reasons are given for this position. Indeed,

such a position denies the reality expressed by dozens of Biblical

passages that demonstrate various circumstances in which sex

either was, or could have been enjoyed outside marriage and with

apparent Divine approval.

 

The Song of Solomon details in sexually graphic fashion the

passion of a woman and man who delight in their sexuality. Their

sex is neither “marital” nor “pre-ceremonial.” Their purpose in sex

is not to have children. Their delight in one another is simple

passion – pure, holy, delightful passion. Though not using the

vulgarisms so commonly used today, this poem paints delightful

word pictures of the male and female bodies including the sex

organs. There is in this poem no fear of passion, no shame at sexual

delight. This poem is God’s tribute to the delightfulness and

importance of sexual desire as part of His “good” creation. That it’s

two primary actors are not married is telling in profoundly

significant ways. That’s right: read that little poem and see if you

think that this sexually involved couple is married.

 

Today young people are refusing the church’s and society’s

taboos on pre-marital and extra-marital sex. And well they should.

We are not saying that people have license to run amok and

exercise no restraint. But single people have no responsibility to

honor taboos that have no genuine foundation in God’s word. The

issue of “promiscuity” is important. However, no Divine guidance

exists for defining exactly at what point sexual activity become

“promiscuous.” In fact the Bible has no word that is equivalent to

our English word “promiscuous.” We will go further to state that

the Bible does not even address the issue of what we call

“promiscuity.” This word is truly a religious “buzz word.”

Religious teachers use it constantly to threaten anyone who might

be tempted to experience sex in any way outside monogamous

marriage. The closest the Bible comes to what this word suggests to

our minds is its use of the word epithumia, which is translated

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variously as “lust” or “concupicence.” But as “concupicence” the

words merely indicates “going too far” sexually. Yet the Bible does

not show how far is “too far.” The Bible also condemns

“drunkenness” but gives no guideline for determining exactly at

what point one becomes “drunk.” God requires responsible

individuals to exercise self-restraint in using alcohol. God also

condemns “gluttony” yet He gave no Biblical guideline for

deciding when occasional over-eating has become gluttony. We

may enjoy good food and lots of it, but we are required to exercise

personal discipline and self-restraint. God condemns “greed” but

does not tell us at what point legitimate pursuit of money becomes

sinful “greed.” The same principle is true of sex. To define as

“promiscuous” any sex outside marriage is absurd. Unfortunately

there is no word that describes a middle ground between

“concupicence” and “chaste.”

Surely it is time for us to attempt to exercise loving,

compassionate concern for the needs of single people. Can it be

right to require single people to totally subjugate a passion they feel

every bit as strongly as do married people? Can we find courage to

tell them that the ethics of Jesus requires only that they exercise

responsible self-restraint in sex as in all other things? And can we

tell them that the ethics of Jesus requires them to engage others

sexually in full consideration for the other person’s needs, desires

and well-being? Can we in fact trust Jesus when He tells us all that

His “law of love” replaces, and will serve us better than all the

commandments ever written?

The distinctive element of Christian morality is the primacy of

Christ’s love command. First, we must be completely devoted to

God. Then we are required to love people and be devoted to their

welfare (Matt. 22:37-40). This love – agape – is not a human emotion

or sentiment. It is not based on whether we like or dislike a person

or whether we agree or disagree with their life-style. It is a

standard to which all our attitudes and conduct must conform. This

love is not conditioned on expectations of reciprocity or evaluations

of a person’s worthiness. We are told to love our enemies: a

standard of conduct that transcends customary rules of morality,

(Lk. 6:27-33). It is not an easy moral command to obey. It requires

that we rise above and reach beyond personal, selfish desires so

that we properly and actively value other people even if they are

enemies. Jesus requires us to embrace a morality that requires a

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constructive, compassionate, unconditional and concrete commitment

to other people and their needs.

This agape is especially needed as the spiritual venue in which

discussion is conducted about the viability of various sexual

expressions such as singles-and-sex, homosexuality, prostitution,

polygamy, masturbation, oral sex and perhaps others. It is good

and right that forceful, passionate argumentation is brought to bear

on all such issues. But resolution will never come from

argumentation apart from mutual respect for people of good will,

and toleration of reasoned and reasonable moral differences. Love

plus a thorough going, personal “reality check” will enable us to

accept the reality that we are all subject to self-righteousness and

unjust intolerance. Knowledge of right and wrong, like knowledge

of God, is imperfect and is in the process of being refined in all of

us. Despite the high confidence we place in religious beliefs and the

moral judgments derived from them, our beliefs and judgments

should always be held with a loose grip because none of us are

infallible and none of us are 100% objective. People of faith should

remain open to new insights into the nature and will of God and to

new understandings of right and wrong. If God’s revelation was

subject to perfect comprehension and if humanity had perceived all

of God there is to understand, then the ministry of the Holy Spirit

would be unnecessary and none of us would need to read the Bible

anymore. Theological and Biblical studies are continually clarifying

the meanings and applications of authoritative sources with respect

to God, humanity and the relation of each to the other. Faith is

neither knowledge nor certainty. What understanding any of us

have on any issue is incomplete and we must take the rest by faith.

Our present concepts do not constitute all truth. For Christians

human agape supercedes all other rules of conduct.

In generations not far removed from our own we subjected

black people to the most horrible injustices imaginable. Our open,

even proud contempt for them as a class was exemplified by the

special words we used to identify and to insult them: “nigger”

“spook” “coon” etc. For years the church contributed to racial

bigotry and hatred through the teaching of many religious

“scholars” who believed and taught, from the Bible, that black

people were subhuman, made to be slaves, the descendants of

either Cain or Canaan whose blackness was inherited through the

curse God put upon those men for their sins. As the world

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excluded them from social and economic equality and opportunity,

so did the church exclude them from full Christian fellowship and

spiritual opportunity. They were required to sit in the back of the

bus and in the back of the church. Slowly we grew to understand

the hideous nature of what we were doing and black people began

to be invited into white churches by a few daring leaders. Many

churches experienced bitter division as some accepted their black

“brethren” and others continued to reject them on “Biblical”

grounds. Ever-so-slowly change has come though we are still far

away from dealing with black people righteously. The point here is

that what we passionately held as deeply rooted, genuine religious

conviction brought horrible injustice upon a whole race of people.

We had to repent of wrongly held and hurtful values.

Women have suffered for ages from the patriarchal stranglehold

men have on society and the church. They have been relegated to

the backwaters of every aspect of society and religious life. Women

still do not receive equal pay for equal work. Women were not

allowed political office. Women in many instances were not even

allowed to obtain a college education. Women were used as

possessions and child-factories. It was a matter of pride for a man

to “keep the little woman barefoot and pregnant.” Their status was

little better than slaves, subject to the whims and demands of their

husbands and virtually all other males. We also had special words

by which we demonstrated our contempt for women. We would

verbally abuse a woman by calling her a “bitch” “slut” or a “cunt.”

If we wanted to insult a man we called him a “sissy” or “pussy.”

We accused him of wearing “panties.” The church contributed to

this sinful gender bias through Bible exposition and teaching (all

done by men) that held women to be “in subjection to the man.”

They meant by this that women, as a class, were inferior to men and

not deserving of the same consideration, opportunities, etc. as were

men. Once again, so pitifully slowly, the church is learning better

and what was passionately held dogma in all churches has

gradually, and in many cases grudgingly, given way to the

realization that women are viable participants not only in society,

the workplace and government, but also in the church. We had to

repent of wrongly held and hurtful values.

One of the greatest wars now raging in the church and society

surrounds homosexuality. Again we have our special words of

contempt and insult: “queer” “faggot” “cock-sucker” “dyke”

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“butch” etc. Homosexuals have suffered at the hand of society and

the church in horrible ways. Our own generation has witnessed

many examples of gay-bashing and even murder of homosexuals.

They are discriminated against in the workplace, in government

and in many other segments of society. But it is the church that

most vociferously and violently damns them. As always there is

impassioned appeal to Scripture for the justification of unloving,

unjust, inconsiderate, even inhumane treatment of these human

beings. We say their sin justifies our hateful treatment of them.

“They are reaping what they have sown” or something like that.

Yet again the church, through continued study and learning is,

with agonizing slowness, seeing that it has been as wrong about

homosexuality as it was about women’s rights and black people’s

rights. Teachers, preachers and theologians are doing better

research and seeing more light and some of them are exercising

great courage to go public with what they are finding.

Consequently churches are slowly beginning to show agape to

homosexually oriented people. So much work and progress still

needs to occur but at least the beginnings are here. The church will

surely one day own up to its error and sin in this matter as it has

had to do on other issues. We will have to repent of wrongly held

and hurtful values. Love – agape – demands that we do so.

A study of all God’s laws regarding sex reveals His basic

concern. God was not afraid of sex or fearful that His people might

actually enjoy sex. The erotic joy and power inherent in sexuality is

by God’s wonderful design. God expects us to enjoy sex. We honor

God when we thrill at sexual pleasure. Evaluating God’s written

will regarding all things sexual leads us to the conclusion that

sexual morality or immorality is never a matter of what specific acts

are acceptable or unacceptable. Rather sexual morality or

immorality is an expression either of loving or of hurtful human

relationships. Relationships are moral when they are mutual,

supportive of the full personal growth of each person, committed to

the needs of each other and faithful to each other. Relationships are

immoral when they are abusive, violent and exploitative; when

they prevent people from developing and lead to lying, deceit and

betrayal.

This norm of sexual morality based on loving relationships

eliminates the neat boundaries between moral and immoral sex

that are so important to church leaders and civil authorities who

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feel compelled to keep everyone in proper moral alignment

through legislation of morality. Procreation in heterosexual,

monogamous marriage ceases to be the standard by which all

sexuality is measured. What is moral or immoral sexually becomes

more a question of a scale of values than of clear boundaries. A

relationship based on love rather than commands and laws

promotes development in the lovers. We are able to grow toward

healthy, loving, supportive, mutual relationships, and away from

abusive and dishonest ones. The morality of homosexual

relationships is to be based on the same standard and judged

equally with heterosexual relationships. And the question of the

morality of polygamy and prostitution are likewise to be judged by

the standard of love, not rules. Additionally the practices of

masturbation, oral sex, use of sex toys, erotic materials, consensual

extra-marital sex and sex by single people are judged by the same

standard. What works no harm to others is not forbidden. Those

who prefer to enjoy those practices may do so.

It is immensely important to all of us that we remember and

practice what the Apostle Paul implies in 1 Cor. 13:12, 13. Love, the

greatest of all spiritual qualities, will endure forever. Love is

greater than judgment, than personal opinions, than condemnation,

than all other considerations. Far better it is to love a person who is

palpably wrong than to condemn or accuse. We do not have all the

answers and we never will unless somehow we become infallible.

And we have made too many mistakes in the past by interpreting

Biblical statements exclusively in the light of our own modern

cultural and ecclesiastical context. We have hurt too many people

by establishing unbreakable rules on the flimsy foundation of our

fallible and often gullible understanding. In doing so we have

subjected millions of innocent people to horrible suffering, whose

only offense is in being born either female or with black skin. We

must cease committing the same sins against those whose sexual

practices do not meet our personal standards especially in light of

the absence of unambiguous biblical evidence. God requires of us

the same grace toward others that He has exhibited toward us. Of

all laws, rules, and ethical standards that have ever been given

there is only one that is eternal. Standing above even faith and

hope, the greatest of all is love. In the midst of trying to discern

what God does and does not allow ethically we cannot be excused

if we violate the greatest and most unambiguous command of all.

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We must love one another. We must love the polygamist, the

homosexual, the prostitute and the single who celebrates his/her

sexuality. At the very least this means that we must not exclude

sexually active singles from participation in the church, must not

relegate them to “second-class” status and must make overt

attempts to relate to them in loving, encouraging ways. As God has

so freely given grace to we who are so utterly undeserving so must

we be willing to give grace to those whom we consider to be utterly

undeserving. To do otherwise closes off any legitimate expectation

we may have of obtaining future grace.

Transparently and Biblically stated, our proposition is this:

Within the parameters of true love for God and fellow men we are

free to enjoy our sexuality as fully as we desire, in the manner we

desire and with whom we desire. Loving God means that we

sanctify sex by thanking Him for it and honoring His requirement

that we treat others as we desire to be treated. Loving others means

that we treat them with respect and dignity, that we demonstrate

concern for their welfare, that we do nothing that compromises

their safety and well-being or takes advantage of their

vulnerability.

The law of love thus opens sexual expression to single people,

couples who desire to include others into their partnership whether

permanently or short term and prostitutes by choice. It allows

masturbation, oral sex and the use of erotic writings, photos and

films as means of sexual stimulation. It allows voluntary use of “sex

toys” such as vibrators for sexually stimulating oneself or one’s

lover. It allows playing sexually with others who volunteer to play.

It allows people to enjoy this gift of sex without shame and fear.

Doubtless that was God’s original intention.

 

Multiple Sex Partners

 

Now we consider the general examples of multiple sexual

relationships where polygamy or concubinage seems not to be

involved. There are not many of these examples but enough, we

think, to illustrate God’s attitude toward non-marital sexual

activity. The church has universally branded all such activities as

“fornication” if done by unmarried parties and “adultery” if either

of the parties is married. Of course God’s acceptance of polygamy

and concubinage proves that not all multiple sex relations are

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“sinful.”

David never committed fornication or adultery in his sex

relations with his many wives and concubines.

 We mentioned that Solomon had enough wives and concubines to have sex with three different women, every night for a year! Yet NONE of that would constitute adultery or fornication.

 

So what is the real Bible stance

on the practice of a man or a woman having sexual relationships

with more than one person at a time? Let’s look at the few Biblical

texts that deal with this matter.

 

King Abimelech takes Abraham’s wife, Sarah, to enjoy sex with

her, (Gen. 20:1-18). In a dream God warns him “she is married,” (vs.

3). Abimelech’s defense is that, “he said she is my sister,” (vs. 4,5).

God grants Abimelech’s “integrityin taking Sarah, thinking she is

single, (vs. 6, 7). Yet Abimelech is married, (vs. 17, 18)! Abimelech has

“integrity” before God because he knows “sin” is involved in

taking the sexual property of another man, (vs. 9) & he is careful to

avoid “sin” in sexual matters.

 

God answers Abraham’s prayers for Abimelech by healing his

wife & maids so they can have children. Abimelech was enjoying sex

with many women, “all the wombs of his household,” (vs. 17, 18).

Since God knows his “integrity” why did He not inform Abimelech

that it is wrong to have multiple sex partners? Why not even a

syllable indicating sex with both his wife and his maids is wrong? It

is notable in this story that the only censure coming from God is

that Abimelech attempted to have sex with another man’s wife. The

only fly in this ointment is that Sarah is married. The necessary

conclusion is that if Sarah had not been married Abimelech could

have added her to the women who already served his sexual

desires and this would have been acceptable. God’s answer to

Abimelech’s prayer, opening his wife’s and maid’s wombs, proves

God’s approval of his bearing children through several different women.

Now since Abimelech needs prayer why does God not require that

he “repent” of his much womanizing as a pre-requisite for

answering prayer? Obviously God does not see that Abimelech

needs to “repent” of anything except attempting to take another

man’s wife.

It is quite obvious from this incident that Abimelech was a man

of great sexual desire. Having many women already available to

him he yet takes in Sarah as another prospective sexual partner. In

this he maintains his “integrity” before God. It is important that we

 

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get the real importance of this: God said “Abimelech, I know that you

are a man of great integrity, and that you do not knowingly sin. You do

not knowingly take what is not yours. You have a wife and many maids

with whom you have sex. It is not a lack of integrity for you to desire one

more woman. But Sarah is married. She belongs to another man. You

must not attempt to steal her from him.” It is apparent that if Sarah had

been single, having sex with her would not have brought any

disfavor from God. This is another instance in proof that God is not

fundamentally concerned about how many women have sex with

how many men. He is concerned about our being faithful and

responsible to established relationships.

 

There is nothing inherent in the sexual act that requires that one man

enjoy sex with only one woman for life. The Bible is too full of

examples to the contrary with God’s approval.

 

What is clear is that God’s law does not

concern itself primarily with who has sex with whom, nor with

how many sexual partners one has. God’s law mandates honoring

relationships and being responsible toward those with whom we

enjoy sex. No man or woman is allowed to break up an existing

marriage by sex or any other device.

 

One can live in full sexual “integrity” before God and have sex

with someone other than one’s mate (Abimelech, David, Abraham,

Solomon, Gideon, etc.) as long as one honors one’s own established

relationships and the relationships of those with whom one has

“extra-marital” sex. We have shown in the chapter on adultery that

having sex with another person’s mate is no longer automatically

forbidden. Since the reasons for that prohibition no longer exist

then it is possible for married people to have sex with other

married people without sin as long as all the parties involved are

agreeable to the practice. If for example a wife refuses to accept the

practice then the husband cannot disregard his relationship with

his wife and have sex with others anyway. This is adultery. In this

matter as in all sexual matters, the issue of marital status is no

longer primary. The primary issue is love, concern, due regard for

established relationship and what is good for the other person

involved.

 

Isaac lies about Rebekkah

 

 saying that she is his sister.

Abimelech rebukes him because one of the men might have “lain

with your wife…” and brought guilt upon them, (Gen. 26:10). The

sin is not in laying with a woman, but with a wife! These two

incidences demonstrate the folly of trying to make concubinage and

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such acts a detestable thing for pagans and a merely tolerated thing

for the sake of Israel. Abimelech is a pagan who has “integrity”

before God and engages in these actions without any correction

from God. If it is the pagan aspect that so aggravates God, this

would be a perfect place to reveal it to us. But again we are left

with no correction. It is unthinkable that God would inspire these

two stories without taking opportunity while telling the story, to

illuminate His people for all time about His hatred for multiple

sexual relationships. He corrects Abimelech’s potential “adultery.”

He commends Abimelech’s “integrity” in thinking he was merely

taking another single woman. Both this commendation of

“integrity” and His silence about the “sinfulness” of multiple

sexual relationship, speak more than enough for us to draw some

well founded conclusions. For example:

• God apparently approves of Abimelech, though married,

taking another woman for a sexual partner. Can we believe God

detests Abimelech’s sexual practices yet blesses those practices by

opening the wombs of his many women and giving him many

children?

• God quite obviously does not view the sex act as we view it.

There seems not to be a great difference in God’s mind between

the sex act itself as experienced by either animal or human.

What we have grown to view as dirty & perverted, God

evidently sees as a normal biological function with no inherent

moral implications.

• This kind of “debauchery” that makes us pull our spiritual

hair, God simply looks at, disregards, and lets Abimelech go on

his way.

• Human relationship is the key to understanding this entire

sexual area. God’s regulations on sexual practice have to do

with honoring appropriate relationships. For Abimelech as for

all men, this means no one is allowed to take another man’s

wife. Abimelech would have taken Sarah into his harem and

Abraham would have lost his wife. This is what constitutes

“adultery.” Adultery is not merely having sex with a married

woman. Adultery is taking a wife away from her husband;

breaking the marriage bond. This is the reason adultery cannot

be committed with a single woman.

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Judah asks Onan to make Tamar pregnant because her husband died without an heir.

 

Onan has sex with Tamar but withdraws his

penis to ejaculate on the ground. God kills him for this breach of

law and for his contempt for his brother’s lineage. God approved of

his sex with Tamar and actually made provision for exactly this

situation in His law. But God killed Onan because he refused to

bring forth an heir for his brother. Thus a married man enjoys sex

with his sister-in-law because God requires it. If he completes the act

all is well, but he is killed for not depositing his seed in her. This

has nothing to do with masturbation. The sin is refusing to give

offspring to his brother, (Gen. 38:7- 9). Are you sure that you got

the real point of this example? God demands that Onan (a married

man) have sex with Tamar (his sister in law). God kills Onan not

for having “extra-marital” sex but for not finishing the act by

ejaculating within her! Regardless of what we have heard all our

lives, having “extra-marital” sex is NOT automatically damnable.

 

Gilead enjoyed sex with a “harlot”

who bore Jephthah, yet Gilead is married and has several sons by his wife,

(Jdg. 11:1, 2). There is NO censure from God for Gilead’s act of taking a sexual

partner other than his wife. What a perfect place to condemn the

practice of prostitution as well as that of “adultery or “fornication.”

How can anyone believe that God hates the practice of prostitution,

yet while relating a story that focuses on that very act He never

says a word that tells us He hates the act? He never hesitates to tell

us that he hates “adultery.” So, what do you make of His silence on

these other matters?

Samson’s wife is given to his friend, (Jdg. 14:20). Her father

offers his younger daughter to Samson, (15:1, 2). There is not even a

hint that this sexual “switcheroo” displeased God.

After enjoying sex with a harlot in Gaza, Samson “loved…

Delilah,” i.e. enjoyed sex with her. Now Samson is working on his

third woman and yet there is no correction by God, who again fills

him with power, (Jdg. 16:4-14). It is important to remember that

underlying this whole story is the fact that Samson is a Nazarite;

i.e. one who is especially holy before God. How can God bless

Samson as “holy” and allow him to manifest His power while

Samson is so “promiscuous?” Obviously the problem God has with

sex is not what we assume. When we say “promiscuous” God says

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“ho-hum.” Samson might have enjoyed sex with a hundred women

without ever breaching God’s holiness. David did so and Solomon

likewise. God’s anointing and power remained upon Samson as

long as he was faithful to his Nazarite vows even though he

enjoyed sex with several women. It is not the sex that God legislates

against; it is the abuse of relationships He outlaws.

The final Biblical word on Samson honors him as a man of faith

and righteousness, (Heb. 11: 32,33). He is an example for Christians!

It is folly for any of us to attempt to reproach Samson’s sexual

appetites and practices seeing that God does not, the author of

Hebrews does not and he is listed as a hero of faith with not a

syllable of Divine rebuke for his sexual activities. These are the sort of

hard facts that prove God’s attitude toward sex is nothing at all

what we have been taught. We have actually accused God falsely of

basically hating sex, or basically fearing his people will have too

much fun with it, or considering it basically unclean, or…. The facts

are clear. God does not dislike human sex and He does not mind at

all that we enjoy sex with many people in many different ways. He

merely requires that we honor all those people by doing nothing

that harms them or that threatens existing relationships.

A man dies and his 6 brothers, each in turn, have sex with the

widow trying to give the dead brother a child, (Mk. 12:19ff; Lk.

20:27ff). Jesus corrects the Jewish leader’s error relative to their

misunderstanding of the existence of marriage at the resurrection,

but Jesus does not utter a syllable about the example, based on OT

theology and practice, being wrong. The example was based upon

established OT law and Jesus accepted it as Divinely approved.

Can you imagine Jesus believing that it was wrong for six brothers

to have sex with the same woman and not say a word about this

“sin?” What does His silence prove? It proves that He saw nothing

that needed to be corrected.

So what is God’s attitude toward what we call sexual

“promiscuity?” Scripture will not allow us to conclude that sex with

many different partners is sinful. Too many heroes of faith, the

most highly favored leaders of Israel, the greatest religious men of

all time, had sex with many women and never lost their divine call

or their anointing. Sex is not unholy. Sex with more than one partner

is not unholy. Sex with anyone that results in a broken marriage is

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adultery and is condemned. Forcing sex upon someone (rape) is

condemned. Incest is condemned. But sex with multiple partners is

not condemned. How we feel about this is utterly irrelevant. What is

relevant to this issue and absolutely crucial, is what the Bible actually

says and what it does not say. No human is obliged to forego a

liberty and a blessing of sexual experience simply because the

church or social standards says it is wrong. Nothing is wrong that

God’s law does not make wrong. This universe has only one

Lawgiver. His name of Jehovah. And Jehovah’s law does not forbid

people from enjoying sex with more than one partner. What

Jehovah’s law requires is that we restrict our sexual activities in

such a way that people’s individual rights to maintain control over

their own body are respected and that established relationships are

not damaged. How many times a person has sex and with how

many partners is not something God has legislated.

Can One Person “Love” More than One Other Person?

In counseling sessions, we have frequently heard statements

something like these: “Why can’t I satisfy him/her?” “Why does

he/she want to have sex with another woman/man?” “Why

doesn’t he/she love me any more?” These questions arise from

situations where one’s mate has either actually experienced sexual

relations with another person, or has expressed the desire to do so.

The “faithful” mate is crushed by the knowledge that they are not

able to “satisfy” their partner. Our “Christianized(?)” culture has

taught for generations that one woman can satisfy all the desires of

one man and vice versa, and that any desire for more than that is

degeneracy, promiscuity and lust. But this is an insane position in

light of the multitude of examples in Scripture of holy people not

just desiring more than one mate, but experiencing multiple

relationships.

In view of the many examples we have seen in Scripture of men

having sex with many women, why is there jealousy, on either the

man’s or the woman’s part in the event that there is a desire in

either one to have sex with another person? What do we think was

the norm during OT times when a husband made love to one wife

one night, then another wife the next, then his slave the next, then a

concubine the next, then…? We never see the “jealousy factor” arise

in Scripture except in such cases as Sarah’s jealousy over Hagar’s

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child bearing and Rachel’s jealousy over Leah’s child bearing. Do we

actually think David’s harem was filled with women seething in

jealousy over his sexual relations with any woman other than

herself? Do we imagine that any of David’s wives and concubines

grieved when they heard that he had consorted with Bathsheba,

crying, “why can’t I satisfy David’s sexual desires?” or, “Doesn’t he

love me any more?”

Perhaps it will help us think this through if we do not equate

copulation with “love.” They are not the same. Animals copulate

but do not love each other. When sex and love combine, both are

enhanced. But love is a factor of the soul and sex is a factor of the

body. It is wonderful when they both meet, but it is not necessary

that they do so. In countless human situations, love is real where no

sexual activity occurs, and just as legitimately, sex occurs without

the ingredient of “love” at least in the romantic sense. One can

“have sex” without “making love.” What we call “making love” is

actually better described as “enjoying sex.” One does not equal the

other. For committed partners, “making love” is a fitting

description of the sex act because it has the quality of love

combined with the physical act. But when sex is enjoyed between

two people who are not married and who do not “love” each other

it is not “making love,” it is simply “enjoying sex.” Therefore the

heading of this article is actually a misnomer. It is not that one

person is “loving” more than one person. It is rather that one

person is “enjoying sex” with more than one person. If this idea is

distasteful to the reader please realize that this is exactly what

occurred in the examples given above of Abimelech, Gilead, and

Samson.

On the other hand, it is truly acceptable for one person to truly

and deeply “love” more than one person at a time. Again the Bible

is full of examples of this very thing. A wife should not feel

threatened by her husband’s desire to experience sex with another

woman. In all the thousands of examples of this very practice in OT

we never find a hint that the first wife was threatened or jealous of

the fact that her husband had sex with others except in the event

the other woman had children and the first wife had none. For the

same reasons no husband should feel threatened or jealous if his

wife desires to experience sex with another man. Given our modern

brainwashing with the opposite viewpoint it may be impossible for

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most men and women to reach this point. But we are simply

attempting to understand what is or is not required by the Bible.

Is Sexual Enjoyment Adverse To Holiness?

 

Can a person enjoy sex with more than one person, and still be

holy? The answer is twofold:

 

1] If sex is inherently unholy, then strictly monogamous sex is

unholy which means married people must seek God’s forgiveness

and cleansing every time they have sex in order to be qualified to

worship Him. No one believes this is true. Sexual activity is not

inherently unholy.

 

2] Since sexual activity is not inherently unholy then there is

nothing inherently unholy in the fact that one person has sex with

more than one other person. Sex between multiple partners is not

unholy unless God legislates against it. And this He does not do. Not

only is there no Biblical law against “Polyamory” (loving many),

but the Bible is filled with examples of exemplary “saints” (i.e.

“holy ones”) of God, having sex with many different partners, with

God’s approval.

 

God’s holiest servants loved sex and had sexual relations with

more than one partner. The most outstanding men of the Old

Testament enjoyed sex with multiple wives, concubines, slaves and

prostitutes yet God accepted their faith and holiness without

question. We have given the examples of Abraham, Jacob, Gideon,

David, etc.

It is doubtless impossible for most religious people to imagine

that a godly, holy, faith filled, Spirit filled saint could have sex with

a concubine, then get up next morning to worship God and pray,

without being a hypocrite. But David proves it is possible. David is

the author of our Worship/praise/prayer manual – the Psalms.

Every generation recognizes the Psalms as the epitome of a holy

man’s communion with God. David, a “man after God’s own

heart,” wrote and worshipped God with these Psalms. But David

enjoyed the pleasures of sex with many more women than Michal,

his first wife. Could David have sex with a concubine or with one

of his servants and get up early the next morning to “awaken the

dawn” with prayer and worship? Certainly! Did God accept it?

Definitely! Was David holy in spite of his great sexual desire and

activity? Obviously! Nothing about sexual activity makes one

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unholy except breaching God’s – not man’s – specific prohibitions. Sex

with more than one partner is not one of those prohibitions.

Will sex with more than one person cause one to fail to fulfill

his/her Divine destiny? Gideon was called and chosen by God to

lead Israel in the defeat of their enemies. Yet Gideon had many

wives. Having sex with others than his first wife had no bearing at

all either on God calling him, or on his faithful, successful fulfillment

of his destiny. He enjoyed sex with many women yet served God

faithfully and was forever enshrined among the great heroes of

faith in Heb. 11:32. Was Gideon a holy man? Absolutely! Did his

sexual enjoyment of several women hinder his relationship with

God or destroy his destiny? Absolutely not!

Abraham is our greatest hero of faith – the example God holds

before us to imitate. But Abraham had sex with his wife’s servant at

his wife’s suggestion. Did God frown upon Sarah for suggesting

such a “vulgar” thing? Did God chastise Abraham for accepting his

wife’s invitation to have sex with Hagar? Not in the least. Abraham

and Sarah both made the mistake of thinking they could help God

fulfill His promise to give them a son, but nowhere does God even

hint that they sinned or were even “indiscreet” in this “affair”

between Abraham and Hagar. Abraham had several unnamed

concubines and had sons by them, (Gen. 25:6). In his sexual

involvement with several women other than Sarah, did Abraham

incur God’s disfavor? Did he fail to meet his Divine destiny? Was

He ever rebuked, or did God’s “anointing” ever leave him?

Absolutely not! Abraham continued throughout his life to be a holy

worshipper and productive servant of God. His sexual behavior

was never a factor in God’s approval of his person or his service.

Can a man be holy, pursue his divine call and keep God’s good

favor, even though he consorts with a prostitute? Samson did. God

never spoke a word of rebuke, warning or correction to Samson

about his pursuit of sexual activity with women other than his wife.

His only problem with God was his betrayal of the secret of his

anointing into enemy hands. This cost him his liberty for awhile yet

at the very end of his life he prayed again for strength, God

answered and his last heroic act destroyed so many Philistine

leaders that it marked the end of their power over Israel. This was

his prophesied destiny. He fulfilled it completely.

Judah visited what he thought was a prostitute, by

propositioning Tamar, his daughter in law. She became pregnant

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with his child. God never reproached him for it nor ever even

hinted any displeasure with him for this act. Did Judah fail to meet

his Divine destiny because of this sexual encounter? Absolutely

not! Until his death he remained a select servant of God whose

worship and prayers were accepted by a Holy God. Israel’s

Messiah sprang forth from Judah’s lineage.

Jacob had two wives, and enjoyed sex with them both and also

with their personal maids. The “Father of Israel” whose name still

identifies the Jews, was never corrected, rebuked, etc. for having

sex with at least four different women. Did God accept him as a

holy man? Obviously! Was his service to God rewarded by God?

Certainly! Did his sexual relations with several women make him

unholy or render his worship and prayers unacceptable?

Absolutely not!

Note that in these examples as in the many more we have

already given, there is no indication that the original wives fretted

over questions about their husband’s love, fidelity and

commitment to the marriage. These women obviously understood

the nature of sexual desire and they accepted their husband’s desire

for other sexual partners. Let us say it again: If a man desires to

enjoy sex with another partner it does not mean that he no longer

loves his wife. It does not mean that she does not satisfy him. It

does not mean he is tired of her. It does not mean she must “share”

him with another woman. The same holds true if a woman desires

to have sex with other men than her husband. If married people

could see the whole sexual arena from a strictly Biblical vantagepoint

and divest themselves of the religious and cultural baggage

they carry, they would be free of jealousy, fear, suspicion, etc. They

would be free to think about and actually enjoy a wider range of

sexual pleasure with others than their mates. Doing so does not

threaten the marriage bond. It does not threaten love. A marriage

must be built upon love. If it is then the pleasures of diverse sex

will not harm it.

The true Biblical basis of marriage is lifetime commitment to each

other, not sexual exclusivity. Sexual intercourse with another person

implies nothing about that commitment. Adultery in the mind and

in actuality, is either the desire or the actual effort to end a marriage

without Biblical reason. God demands that a man and woman not

attempt to sever their marriage ties unless their mate has been

unfaithful to their original vows. Biblical vows evidently included

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only that they would remain married for life. If evidence arose that

one mate was attempting to rob the other of his/her property by

severing the marriage bond, it became grounds for divorce by the

innocent party. Jesus makes this the sole basis for approved divorce

and remarriage (Matt. 5:32ff; 19:9ff; Mk. 10:1ff; Lk. 16:18ff). Jesus

was not talking about one mate enjoying sex with someone other

than his/her mate. He was talking about desiring, planning, or

attempting to undo the life long commitment they made to each

other. This is necessarily true because the only appropriate and

Biblically provable definition of “adultery” is “severing the

marriage bond.” Doing so, even in thought, “adulterates” the

marriage covenant, lessens, it, destroys it. “Extra-marital” sex does

not unless vows of sexual exclusivity have been exchanged. In that

case, if the pair desires to do so, they may negate such vows and

make new vows based on more genuinely Biblical truth.

God never voiced displeasure with multiple wives or

concubines. God did demand that when a man married a woman

he remain married to her and never allow her to be thought of as

less than other women in his life. He is commanded to rejoice in the

wife of his youth, (Prov. 5:18), that is, treat her with the honor,

dignity and favor she deserves as his first and most to be cherished

wife. It does not exclude other wives or concubines. It demands

that a man give priority to his relationship with his original wife.

This requires that he not demean her, neglect her, deprive her of

sexual pleasure, etc. It also means that he is not to seek to get rid of

her in order to marry other wives. To do so is adultery.

The specifically female side of this matter is covered in more

detail in our chapter on Adultery. But a few words here are

appropriate. OT restrictions regarding women having sex with

more than one man were never well specified, nor given much

attention. OT perspective deals almost exclusively with males. But

there is enough said about women and sex to enable us to at least

begin thinking about their specific case. The existence of

prostitution is referred to numerous times. But surprisingly there is

no Divine censure of prostitution except in cases of its connection

with idol worship or its connection with adultery. Women like

Rahab for example, were never censured nor commanded to

“repent.” This opens the door, even in the OT, to the possibility of

women enjoying sexual activity with several men. A more detailed

look at prostitution in presented in our chapter on that topic. But

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the issue of married women and sex as relates to adultery is

significant. As detailed in the chapters on Polygamy, and Adultery,

the reasons married women could not have sex with other men in

the OT relates directly to the prime consideration given to physical

offspring by which tribal lineage was maintained. Purity of family

tree was a matter of supreme importance in Israelite culture

therefore a wife could have sex only with her husband, thereby

ensuring that any child she bore was truly part of the tribal lineage.

Since tribal lineage and inheritance flowed from the male a married

man would not be considered an adulterer if he has sex with

concubines, slaves and prostitutes. The reason for restrictive sex

was removed from the male, because he would not dilute the

family tree by possibly impregnating women other than his wife.

Since this was not a danger for the male there was no “breaking

covenant” for him if he had sex outside the marriage bond. But

either implicitly or explicitly, the Israelite marriage bond required a

woman to be sexually active with her husband alone because the

wife would bring impure “seed” into the lineage if she bore a child

that did not belong to her husband.

As demonstrated in the chapter on Adultery, Jesus and NT

authors bring women out of this unequal state and give them equal

status with man, across the board, including liberty in sex and

marriage. Woman could now exercise the same privileges as the

man. Since polygamy was never outlawed by God and existed in

the NT church without a word of discouragement or correction, the

equal status of the woman makes it possible for her now to have

more than one husband/sexual partner. As was true in the OT for

the male, a woman with equal status can now have sex with more

than one man because doing so does not carry the same

genealogical importance as in OT Israel. In other words, every

reason for a woman having sex with only her husband has been

removed. Add to this her now equal status with him and we have the

door open for her to enjoy as much freedom in sexual activity as

was once preserved for males only. “Adultery” is not a sex act; it is

intention to sever, or actually severing, the marriage relationship. A

woman enjoying sex with men other than her husband no more

constitutes “adultery” now, than does a man in either OT or NT,

enjoying sex with women other than his wife. We could rid

ourselves of the burden we carry on this issue if we could see two

things:

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[1. Sex is designed by God for enjoyment as much as for

procreation. In God’s eyes sex is a great blessing to His kids. He

does not hover over us daring us to “have fun” with sex. He

does not watch all our sexual thoughts and punish us when we

have a sex thought about someone other than our spouse. Nor

does He watch us like a hawk to see if we dare try to enjoy sex

with anyone other than our mate. As any Creator would do,

God watches humans enjoy this activity and rejoices that “it

works” just the way He intended. As long as we do not abuse

other people, and fully consider their rights and feelings, God

has no laws against sexual variety. As we may enjoy a great

variety of food we may enjoy variety in sex. As we may

appreciate many works of art, fine works of architecture,

beautiful automobiles, etc. so may we appreciate in a sexual

way, beautiful women and men. There is no justifiable reason

for jealousy, feeling threatened, possessiveness, etc. Mature men

and women can, if they will work at it, come to a place of

mature understanding on this subject and begin to truly

appreciate and enjoy what an incredible blessing sex is to

mankind without the guilt and shame that shackles and even

ruins so many lives today.

[2. God’s laws against married people having sex with others

than their spouses (given only to the woman) were God’s way of

ensuring that Israelite lineage would be preserved and a pure line of

descent would be in place for the coming of Messiah. Men having sex

with other women would in no way threaten this lineage

therefore no restriction applied to the man. When we remove

this factor we no longer have a valid reason for the restrictions

placed on wives.

Nothing about Jesus’ death on the cross has changed these two

things. The coming of Messiah, His redemptive work and the birth

of the church, has in no sense and to no degree suddenly made sex

“dirty.” Just as holy people of God enjoyed sex in the OT so may

they do so now, but with the difference that women are now free to

enjoy sexual variety along with men. God’s creation of sex has not

been made unholy by the death of Jesus. In our chapter on God’s

Unchanging Nature we demonstrate that what God approves or

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disapproves flows from His nature. He does not change His mind

about what is and is not sin. The ministry of Jesus in no way

changed God’s attitude about sex, making a formerly acceptable

thing now forbidden. The only true effects on sexual practice, in the

ministry and teaching of Jesus, are that He provides true

forgiveness for those who repent of forbidden sex. And He liberates

women from their previous sexual confinement. Just as Jesus

eliminated no longer applicable Jewish ceremonial rituals He also

eliminated no longer applicable sex laws for married women.

Enjoyment of sexual relations with more than one person has

never been an essential issue with God. His only concern was

protection of the people involved. If we will exercise true concern

and respect for anyone with whom we contemplate enjoying sex

and if we refuse to participate in forbidden activities, we are

otherwise free to enjoy this wonderful pleasure.

 

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CHAPTER EIGHT

 

FORNICATION part 2

 

Scripture References:

We present here, some Scripture references that do not

automatically fit a specific category. Though many would fit in the

general category of fornication, there are some interesting

observations to make apart from that categorization.

Included among the examples of great faith people in Hebrews 11,

are these.

Abraham – polygamist and concubinist - no divine censure

anywhere.

Isaac – polygamist and concubinist - no divine censure

anywhere.

Jacob – polygamist and concubinist - no divine censure

anywhere.

Gideon – polygamist and concubinist - no divine censure

anywhere.

Samson – polygamist and concubinist - no divine censure

anywhere.

David – polygamist and concubinist - no divine censure

anywhere.

Now, connect the foregoing list of mighty men of faith, with this

statement from the next chapter; “Do not be fornicators,” (Heb.

12:16).

In the previous chapter of Hebrews the writer names several

polygamists and concubinists as history’s great examples of

faithfulness to God. Now he condemns “fornication.” What then

can be more obvious than that, in this inspired NT author’s mind,

polygamy and concubinism are in no sense “fornication.”

“Fornication” is a generic word that describes the practice of any sex

act God has forbidden. God never forbade polygamy or

concubinism, in OT or NT, therefore for a man to have many wives

and concubines does not make him guilty – then or now – of

fornication.

Let us add to this, the following verse: “Let marriage be held in

honor among all, and let and the marriage bed undefiled; for fornicators

and adulterers God will judge,” (Heb. 13:4). Again, the connection of

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this verse with the general context of Heb. 11 and 12:16 proves also

that polygamy and concubinism are in no sense “fornication” or

“adultery.” The reason for this is because “adultery” is “separation

of married mates,” “breaking of marriage bonds.” In polygamy and

concubinism there is no breaking of marriage bonds even though

many women may be committed to one man. The use of both

“adultery” and “fornication” helps us get the point that “adultery” is

not a sex act per se. “Fornication” is a generic word that includes all

forbidden sex acts. “Adultery” simply refers to whatever breaks the

marriage bond. Either fornication or adultery “dishonors” marriage

and “defiles” the marriage bed: adultery dishonors marriage by

breaking its bonds; fornication defiles the bed by bringing into the

bed forbidden acts such as incest, rape, bestiality. The writer of

Hebrews understands the nature of both adultery and fornication.

And he is perfectly familiar with the sexual life-style of those great

faith people he names. It is important for him to warn us against

fornication and adultery yet no mention is made of the multiple sex

relationships of these faithful men. The conclusion is obvious: even

in NT times multiple sex relationships were not viewed as either

adultery or fornication. If they were, we have absolutely no way to

learn it because no NT writer tells us that God changed His mind

about polygamy and concubinism, now condemning what He once

allowed.

 

The list above from Heb. 11 designates these most famous, most

blessed and most anointed men in the history of the church as

pillars upon which the church rests. They were blessed by God to be

close to Him and to fulfill their life’s calling even though every one

of them had multiple wives and concubines. This illustrates again

that God has never been concerned about how many people one

has sex with. The sex act is neither moral nor immoral. It is a

biological function in humans exactly as it is in animals. What God is

concerned about is how we relate to those with whom we have sex.

Any disregard for their personal dignity, refusal of responsibility

for any consequences that result from sexual relations or contempt

for the exclusive right of a person to control their personal

sexuality, is forbidden. But within the confines of that principle there is

no law against sexual relations with many partners. As long as

Scripture stands the above list alone proves our point. The many

other Scriptures and categories we have studied in this series

makes that statement, in our mind, beyond doubt.

 

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This principle being true, there is no reason for humans to bear

guilt or shame at the desire for wider sexual experience any more

than they desire “more” of many other things in life. No one thinks

that having one house eliminates the validity of the desire for

another one, perhaps a “summer cottage.” Having one automobile

does not make it invalid to desire another. Enjoying one kind of

meat does not make it excessive to desire other kinds. So on and on

we could illustrate this principle. People automatically put sex in a

totally exclusive category then interpret the Bible in light of their

preconceptions. What they readily accept in virtually all other

aspects of life they reject in regard to sex. Yet the Bible does not do

so. God treats sex as He treats any other human function. He made

some laws about eliminating bodily waste because of the way it

affects other people. He made laws concerning eating in order to

prevent wasteful, debilitating abuse of a good thing. He regulated

wine drinking to prevent drunkenness. He made laws against

“coveting” other people’s property to prevent stealing. In the same

way God made some laws concerning sex to protect people’s

dignity and personal property rights. Because sex is more personal

than virtually any other act it requires special laws. But those laws

all fall within the category of protecting the other person with whom

we may enjoy sex. Each participant in sex must be more concerned

about the other person’s well being and dignity than about a purely

selfish physical pleasure. As long as the other person is fully

regarded and respected God’s laws allow for much sexual variety.

Engaging in sexual activity with more than one partner, even if

married, is allowed for both husband and wife if they are both

willing to grant such liberty to each other, because doing so with

mutual agreement constitutes neither breaking the marriage bond

(“adultery”), nor “fornication” (unlawful sex). In the OT a husband

could have unlimited sex partners (cf. Solomon’s 1,000 wives and

concubines). The wife could not have more than one partner

because this threatened the tribal lineage of her husband. But with

the NT liberation of woman and her equality with man, a wife now

shares with her husband full sexual liberty. In matters of multiple

sexual relations nothing has changed from OT to NT except that

what once was a privilege reserved only for men, is now available

to women also.

 

Many other generic Scriptures list sexual sin:

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Gentiles must keep themselves from fornication, (Acts 15:20, 29;

21:25).

Gentiles were given over to unrighteousness and fornication,

(Rom. 1:29; 13:13).

“A man has his father’s wife” which is “fornication (1 Cor. 5:1f).

This is incest, a forbidden act.

“Do not associate with fornicators… who are called brothers,” (1 Cor.

5:9, 11).

“Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor

homosexuals…shall inherit the kingdom of God.” (1 Cor. 6:9-10). Trying

to undo the mess made by translating the Greek word arsenokoites

as “homosexual” is too much to undertake here. Obtain our book

entitled God Is Not A Homophobe for a thorough examination of

what this word means. We will be content here to state that any

reference the Bible actually makes to homosexuality is nothing at

all like what we mean when we use that word today.

“Shall I take away the members of Christ and make them members of a

harlot? May it never be! Or do you not know that the one who joins

himself to a harlot is one body with her?…Flee immorality…the immoral

man sins against his own body,” (1 Cor. 6:15-18). This statement

reflects Corinth’s pagan culture, complete with “sex-as-worship” to

idols, and temple prostitutes. Paul’s question is about the propriety

of joining oneself to pagan idol worship by having sex with a

temple prostitute. One cannot do that and at the same time remain

loyal to the one true God, who alone is to be worshipped. Such acts

make his body a device for idol worship and is a sin against his

body and therefore also a sin against the Holy Spirit who inhabits

the body of a Christian; “your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit,”

(vs.19).

Israelites engaged in pagan revelry, “fornication,” and were

punished, (1 Cor. 10:7-8).

Do not use freedom in Christ to indulge sinful nature, (Gal.

5:13). Live by the Spirit and you will not indulge that nature, (vs.

16). Acts of sinful nature are “fornication, impurity, lasciviousness,”

(vs. 19). Those who belong to Christ have crucified the evil nature

with its lusts & desires, (Gal. 5:24).

Once we all gratified the cravings of our sinful nature, (Eph.

2:3). Gentiles have given themselves over to sensuality to indulge in

every kind of impurity and continually lust for more. (Eph. 4:19).

Among saints there must not be even a hint of fornication, or

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impurity, (Eph. 5:3). No fornicator or impure person can inherit the

kingdom of God, (Eph. 5:5).

Human rules have no power against fleshly indulgence, (Col.

2:23). This being true, if we find what we must admit are human

rules relating to sexual matters, we can safely disregard them. Put

to death fornication, uncleanness, lust, evil desires, (Col. 3:5).

God wills that we avoid fornication, that each one learns to

control his own body, (1 Thess. 4:3,4). God requires that we learn

sexual self-control. Sexual excess is lasciviousness or concupicence.

The law is for adulterers and “sodomites,” (1 Tim. 1:9, 10).

Again, this translation is so unfortunate because arsenokoites has

nothing at all to do with Sodom, or anything that happened in

Sodom. See our book entitled God Is Not A Homophobe for details.

Flee youthful lusts, (2 Tim. 2:22; 1 Pet. 2:11).

We once walked in “lewdness” (1 Pet. 4:3). This is lasciviousness;

excessive, shameless disregard for God’s sex laws or public morals.

By God’s promises we escaped the depravity that is in the world

through lust, (2 Pet. 1:4). God will judge those who “walk according

to the flesh in the lusts of uncleanness,” (2 Pet. 2:9). They allure

through lusts of the flesh, through lewdness, those who are saved,

(2 Pet. 2:18).

“Lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes…is not of the Father, but of the

world,” (1 Jn. 2:16). See the chapter on Lust of the Eyes for

discussion of the meaning of this phrase.

Some have turned the grace of God into “lewdness,” (Jude 4).

Angels “left their proper sphere…just like Sodom and Gomorrah,

gave themselves to fornication, and strange flesh” and became subject to

God’s wrath, (Jude 6, 7). This verse is discussed in detail in our

book entitled God Is Not A Homophobe. But we remark here briefly

that the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah is said here to be in going

after “strange” flesh. It is so intriguing to learn that the word Jude

used here is heteras, the word from which we derive our word

“heteros” as in “hetero-sexual!” The sin here is not “homo” flesh,

but “hetero” flesh. Jude thought the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah

involved some sort of illegitimate “hetero” sexual pursuit!!!

At Pergamos some taught people to “commit fornication,” (Rev.

2:14-16). They must “repent.” Thyatira “tolerates Jezebel” who

“seduces My servants to commit fornication, …I gave her time to repent

of her fornication, but she would not…I will cast her…and those who

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commit adultery with her, into great tribulation unless they repent,”

(Rev. 2:20-22).

At the sounding of the 6th trumpet, men “did not repent of their

fornication…” (Rev. 9:21).

144,000 saints “were not defiled with women, for they are virgins,”

(Rev. 14:1-4).

“Babylon is fallen…she made all nations drink of her fornication,”

(Rev. 14:8).

The “great harlot” is judged, with whom kings of the earth

committed fornication, and earth’s inhabitants were made drunk

with wine of her fornication, (Rev. 17:1-2). Her cup was “filled with

the filthiness of her fornication,” (vs. 4).

All nations have drunk the wine of the wrath of Babylon’s

fornication. Earth’s kings have committed fornication with her; the

kings of earth who commit fornication with her will mourn when

she is destroyed, (Rev. 18:3, 9).

God judged the great harlot who corrupted the earth with her

fornication, (Rev. 19:2).

The “… fornicators …have their part in the lake of fire…” (Rev.

21:8).

Outside the heavenly city are “dogs, sorcerers and fornicators,”

(Rev. 22:15).

COMMENTS AND OBSERVATIONS:

 

God’s laws against specific sex practices relate to proper regard

for other people’s personal property and their exclusive rights to

their own sexuality. All God’s laws against sex have to do with this

aspect. It is not the sex act that God is concerned about. It is how

we relate to other people through this act. Where people’s personal

feelings, personal conscience, personal “property,” that is their

body, is respected there are virtually no rules against sexual

enjoyment. There is nothing inherently either moral or immoral

about the human sex act. Sexual activity has no essential holy or

unholy quality to it. Anything moral/immoral or holy/unholy as

associated with sex, comes as direct revelation in the form of God’s

prohibitions against all sex acts that encroach upon other people’s

rights to their own body, their own personal feelings, etc. In the

absence of a direct prohibition there is freedom to explore the full

range of sexual enjoyment that remains, inhibited only by the

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requirement of love for one’s neighbor. That range is much broader

than most of us thought possible.

Once people learn this fact there is no reason for them to feel

any reluctance about going forward in their sexual exploration. The

fact that most sexual experience has been taboo all our lives can

cease to have any negative effect on our enjoyment of all of life that

God makes available to us. There is more to be enjoyed than a

husband and wife having intercourse in the missionary position.

For those who can see the truths we have tried to bring out of

Scripture, and illustrate, we believe that:

Husbands and wives can be free to explore sex with each

other in as many ways as they both desire. Again, concern and

love for the other person will prohibit the husband from

demanding that his wife submit to something she does not want

to do. On the other hand, she should be willing to discuss the

activity with her husband and be willing to be as open as

possible to sexual activities that are not painful or degrading to

her.

They may also be free to enjoy sex with other partners as

long as they are both agreed to the plan. Neither husbands nor

wives should feel threatened that their mate desires to have sex

with others. Doing so does not constitute adultery. Adultery is

breaking or seeking to break the marriage union, ridding oneself of

one’s own mate, or trying to break up another’s marriage. Any

act done with that intention or having that result, is adultery and is

forbidden. But the simple act of sex with another person is not

adultery. Let us say it again: Adultery is not a sex act! If both

mates can see this and decide to move forward in their

relationship with this information then new, exciting,

pleasurable doors open for them both. And neither should feel

any guilt, shame or jealousy. True marriage is based on God’s

requirement that a man and woman make a commitment to

remain together for life. Sexual activity with another person

does not change that commitment in any way.

Neither husbands or wives should feel threatened that their

mate desires to attend a show where either male or female

shows their body for paying customers. A “strip show,” in

Biblical terms, is neither moral nor immoral, for the reason that

nakedness is neither moral or immoral, nor is sexual arousal either

moral or immoral. For one to dance naked today, even for

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paying customers, is no more immoral than it was for the

Shulammite girl to dance naked for admiring onlookers in the

Song of Solomon, or for David to dance virtually naked before

the men and women thronging the road to Jerusalem. The

dancer is not immoral nor is the audience. It becomes a moral

issue only when the dancing is done to entice to sin via adultery,

incest, rape, etc. To become sexually excited while watching a

nude dance, or viewing nude photos is not immoral. Sexual

excitement, regardless of the source or cause, is neither moral

nor immoral. It becomes immoral only when that excitement

comes from illegitimate sources, (depictions of forbidden

activity) or leads to illegitimate action (anything God has

prohibited).

Masturbation is innocent. No man or woman should feel the

least troubled by the desire or practice of personal sexual

pleasure. Parents should not discourage their children from

masturbation but should explain to them that it is a legitimate

enjoyment of personal pleasure. If the situation arises where a

child plays with his/her genitals in public, he/she can be gently

taught to save that kind of play for the privacy of their own

home when strangers are not present. And there is no need to

confine your child’s masturbation to the bedroom or bathroom.

The attempt to confine it to secrecy re-enforces the faulty

lessons we need to un-teach. In a family’s home, parents and

children ought not have any reluctance about their bodies.

Families may and we think should practice nudity much of the

time when they are alone together at home. And when little

Johnny or young Susie manipulate their sexual organs in the

presence of the other members of the family they should not be

disciplined or discouraged. Indeed there is good argument for

establishing an “open door” policy in the household. That is,

children should not be taught to hide their sexuality when at

home. This means that parents should keep an “open door”

during their own sexual activities. There is no evidence that if

children watch their parents having intercourse, it will warp

their minds or otherwise harm them. When parents desire

privacy from time to time they can farm the kids out and spend

time alone. But to close and lock their doors when they enjoy

sex tells the children that there must be something wrong with

sex after all else mom and dad would not be hiding it. To send

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children to the bathroom or bedroom, behind closed doors to

masturbate, tells them the same thing.

The author of these studies will always remember

thankfully, an event in his home, when as a teenager he was

awakened during the night to the unmistakable sounds of

sexual activity coming from his parent’s room just a feet away.

This activity quite naturally excited him sexually and he

masturbated while he listened. The following day he mustered

the courage to ask his mother about the activity of the previous

night. As they talked, his mother explained that there was

nothing to be ashamed of at being sexually excited by the

incident. Questions about a woman’s body, her genitals, her

breasts, etc. were asked and she answered very casually and

non-threateningly. He risked telling her that he was

experiencing an erection even as they talked and she very

kindly explained that the “power of suggestion” was natural

and that its effect in causing an erection was nothing to be

ashamed of. She asked if he had masturbated before and when

he admitted that he had she simply encouraged him to control

the desire to masturbate so that it did not become a “habit.” In

terms of prevailing standards such advice was truly “liberal.”

This author is so thankful that his mother did not heap guilt

upon him but rather gave him liberty to enjoy an innocent and

most natural activity.

What evidence exists, suggests that sex education in Biblical

times was done in a family environment. Children learned

about sex by observation in the home and no doubt shared their

information among their friends. Ancient documents prove that

communities were small, self-contained units consisting of

houses clustered together within a walled city, town or village.

Everyone lived packed together with large families occupying

small houses. They had no plumbing, toilets or baths as we have

and there was virtually no privacy. For the common populace,

most homes consisted either of one large room or at most two

rooms, one serving as kitchen/dining area. Except for wealthy

families with large houses, adults and children lived, ate and

slept together. Animals generally were brought in at night, and

in the daytime were corralled close to the house in small yards

with minimal fences. Children witnessed animals mating both

indoors and outdoors. Bowel and bladder elimination was not a

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private matter as males especially would commonly “piss

against the wall,” (1 Sam. 25:22, 34; 1 Kg. 14:10; 16:11; 21:21; 2 Kg.

9:8) exposing their genitals to view by whomever was near.

Bathing was done in the open room in a tub set in the floor

for the purpose and adults and children became accustomed to

seeing each other’s sex organs and thinking nothing of it.

Sleeping quarters were cramped and boys and girls generally

slept together, making it easy to observe the difference in their

genitals and to experience sexual excitement as they “experimented”

with each other. When parents copulated, children

couldn’t help hearing the sounds and witnessing the act, even

when it was done in the dimness of moonlit nights. Separated

from parents by only a few feet children easily and frequently

awoke to the sounds of bed bouncing, heavy breathing,

moaning and cries of sexual pleasure. Parents did not have the

luxury of privacy. Children who were roused out of sleep

would, in curiosity, go to the bed of their parents to see what all

the racket was about. When such activity began to pique their

own sexual urges it was no more unusual for them to

masturbate than for them to witness their parents having sex.

Masturbation itself was never an issue in ancient societies. As

children grew together, experimentation with and manipulation

of their own and each other’s sex organs was as natural as any

other physical activity. Masturbation was as normal for children

as bowel movements. We have no indication that children were

discouraged from masturbation or that they were required to do

it only in private. They could not practice private masturbation

any more than they could privately bathe, or than their parents

could have sex in private. Sexual activity running the gamut

from petting to full scale intercourse with all the accompanying

family intimacies could not be hidden from the growing child. It

was a natural part of their intellectual, social and sexual

development. In this environment, nudity was commonplace,

both parents and children being uninhibited about their naked

bodies, sex organs and their function, and feeling no shame

about being seen by other family members.

There is no indication in Scripture, that God considered such

conditions to be unsatisfactory, uncivilized, etc. We shudder at

such conditions only because we have learned to think of sex as

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basically unwholesome, and something that must at all costs be

kept hidden.

Parents are role models for their children in sex as with

everything else. The way a father relates to a mother teaches

children how men and women interact. If in the home there is

little or no talk about sex, or if what talk is done consists of

negative references and warnings; or occurs in homes where the

body is always hidden and children’s hands are spanked when

they feel their sex organs and all talk of sexual function is taboo,

then children learn that sex is dirty, shameful and vulgar. They

learn to fear sex and hide it. When they reach adulthood and

marry they are frequently unable to experience the joy of sexual

intimacy with their partner. What sex they have is hidden,

secretive, in the dark. In such conditions a woman who

manifests a positive desire for sex is considered a “hussy,”

“brazen,” a “Lolita,” etc. So many women in our culture cannot

truly enjoy sex because their upbringing enslaves them to the

“dirty sex” mentality. Growing out of that mentality is difficult

at best and sometimes impossible. We believe the only truly

workable prescription for this miserable condition is to return to

the true Biblical attitude toward sex as a wholesome, Godcreated,

pleasurable and to be sought after activity. If we can see

that God gave sex to His kids for their enjoyment, then we can

come out of our shells and receive it as the gift and Godordained

blessing it is.

Let the reader remember that we have gotten ourselves into

our sexual mess because of wrong information and human

rules. If we went strictly by Scripture as it is actually written,

there would be no negative feelings about the foregoing

comments. For the sake of grown up and child alike we need to

work at getting back to a sane and Biblical perspective on sex. If

we can do that sex will be many times more pleasurable and

many times less guilt inducing.

An action does not have to have an example in Scripture, for it to

be permissible. Most of the things we do have no example in

Scripture. We have freedom to do them because they are in

harmony with principles of Scriptures. Life is governed by

principles. A specific example of behavior that God allows makes it

permissible for others. A general principle will allow all activity that

falls within that principle even though it is not specified. In all

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cases God legislates against the behavior He forbids. What He does not

forbid is allowed. This does not mean He advocates or encourages

everything else but it does mean that non-forbidden practices are

allowed for those whose personal choice is to engage in them.

This study on sex is radical departure from conventional

religious thought. But “salvation by grace alone” was a radical

departure in salvation theology and experience. Likewise healing,

tongues, etc. is radical in the area of theology and Christian service.

Also “spiritual warfare” over cities and nations is a radical

departure in the area of kingdom living. And dancing, raising

hands, shouting, etc. is radical departure in the area of worship.

Women in ministry is a radical departure in the area of church

leadership. Radical does not equal wrong. Radical often brings sanity

back to a culture or church that has been taken down the path of

legalism. Conventional religious thought is radically different from

Biblical thought in many areas, especially concerning church

growth. Tremendous tragedy has been visited upon the church

because men have grown predominantly interested in the number of

people rather than in the strength of the people who make it up.

Consequently the church has been reduced to no more than a

religious social club. Conventional church thought in this area

needs desperately to be abandoned.

So it is on the subject of sex. People wear shackles and blinders

God never placed upon them because the church has followed the

human tendency – oft repeated through the ages – of taking what

God says, then adding human interpretation to it, altering and

augmenting it until we have something totally different from what

God said in Scripture. Fundamentally, people are no more

restricted in sexual practice than are animals. God requires of

humans that we honor and respect relationships with each other

and do nothing that compromises the property rights of others,

especially their rights to sole control over their bodies and their

sexuality. Within the boundaries that honor God’s law on strictly

forbidden practices, plus respect for and responsibility for others,

humans are free to enjoy sex in many variations. Other humans do

not have sufficient wisdom or authority to steal this blessing

through religious dictatorship.

Being stigmatized by others because of personal choices that

range outside the religious, cultural or social mainstream does not

make those choices wrong. Labels of “pervert,” “hedonist,”

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“voluptuary,” “sex addict,” etc. should not carry enough weight in

our minds as to scare us from enjoying activities that are innocent

as defined by Biblical standards. Each individual must weigh the

risks of being “caught” in the act of enjoying sexuality in ways of

which others do not approve. Then decisions should be made on

the strength of one’s personal desire for God-approved activity as

weighed against possible public censure. Many people cannot

escape the grip of fear of being “caught.” They imagine every

possible scenario that might “expose” them. And even if the

likelihood of “exposure” is minimal some people cannot walk in

liberty to enjoy their own choices because they are bound by fear.

This is sad. However we encourage even those people to risk as

much as they dare. We encourage them to walk as far into sexual

liberty as they may. As they take even a few steps we believe they

will discover their “risk level” rising and they will be able to go

further and further as they grow into their own persons, unbound

by the unfounded opinions of others. The issue is more

fundamental than the specific issue of sexual liberty. It is the cause

of personal liberty itself for which we contend. No being in the

universe except God has the authority or power to circumscribe

human behavior. Where He refuses to do so, no human agency has

the right to do so. Even civil law is drawn from the moral law

originally codified in the Bible. Responsible civil law merely makes

mandatory in society the observance of laws that prevent

encroachment upon the property, rights and welfare of others.

In all areas where God has not legislated, humans are free to

experience what they choose. No human is obligated to honor the

decisions, ideas or desires of other humans. No human can grow to

their potential intellectually, psychologically, socially or sexually

until they rid themselves of all merely human restraints and pursue

the freedom to learn, experiment and experience what interests

them. One who will not do this will forever remain the prisoner of

other people’s ignorance and prejudice. Let us be free. Let us take

advantage of a world of possibilities for all parts of our life. Let us

reject the attempts of all people who seek to bind us to their

personal opinions. We live in bondage to others only if we choose to

do so. Likewise we will walk in freedom only if we choose freedom.

 

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