|Keep the marriage bed pure…or don’t.|
Premier Christian Radio is a well-known radio station in the UK. One of their most
Unbelievable?, hosts many debates. In a recent debate, Dianna E. Anderson and Sara Long debated the issue of whether or not Christians ought to save sex for marriage. Diana defends the negative, while Sara maintain the affirmative. The debate can be heard here.
In classic Unbelievable fashion, the debate was not allowed to be…well..a debate. Typically Unbelievable runs their debates in more of a “you tell your side and I’ll tell my side” structure. A more appropriate title for what takes place would be “dueling monologues”. During the debate, I found myself disappointed with both sides. I was disappointed in the negative for obvious reasons, like maintaining the negative. However, I was also disappointed by the affirmative. Not for being the affirmative, but for giving too much cushion to the negative.
What Sara demonstrated was a false understanding of how Christians should present the truth with gentleness and respect. Gentleness and respect does not mean giving up the truth. You can’t defend the truth by giving up the truth. However, it seems to be a growing trend in the world that the only way to show your opponent respect is to give some credence to their viewpoints. This is a mistake. Christians ought to be gentle in vocabulary, tone, and emotion. However, there is nothing ungentle or disrespectful about maintaining that someone is wrong, nay, DEAD wrong.
Although this will evidently self-identify me as glib, this quotation is the moment of capitulation for the affirmative:
It would be glib to say it’s obvious. It would be glib to say you can open up and find a “thou shall not have sex before marriage” verse.
Apparently Christians must maintain that it would be glib to believe the Bible is clear and explicit about premarital sex. And what’s the justification for this? The fact that we can’t find a verse worded in the exact, precise, English structure that Diana and Sara have concocted. Since no verse says, in this structure: “thou shall not have sex before marriage”, it would glib to assert the Bible clearly teaches thou shall not have sex before marriage.
I would like to ask Sara if it would be glib to assert the Bible teaches the doctrine of the Trinity. After all, a verse that says, “God exists as a Trinity; one in Being yet, three in co-existing, co-eternal Personages.” That verse doesn’t exist.
I would like to ask Sara if she thinks it would be glib to assert the deity of Christ. After all, no such verse exists where in Jesus says, “Although I am 100% man, I am also 100% God.”
I wonder if Sara thinks it would be glib to assert the Bible clearly teaches it is wrong to rape a human being. After all, “thou shall not rape another human being” is a verse absent from the Scriptures.
Clearly, this kind of absurdest literalism is biblical lunacy. The Bible does not have to meet our idiosyncratic, English sentence structure demands in order to teach something with clarity.
Dealing With the Texts:
A discussion on the Bible’s teaching is necessary. Not only to demonstrate that the negative holds no water, but to also demonstrate to the affirmative that she ought not maintain a belief that the orthodox view on this issue is “glib” when considered clear, giving some reassurance to the sinful consciences of those who maintain the negative.
To briefly scratch the surface and demonstrate the not-so-glib assertion that the Bible is clear on premarital relations, Jesus’ words in His famous sermon on the mount will bring much light to the subject.
Matthew 5: 27-28
“You have heard it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
Apparently, we can sleep with people outside of marriage, provided no lust is involved…How is it possible lust is sinful but premarital sex isn’t? How can lust be adultery if a person is not married?
This verse is radical. This verse teaches that lust is a form of sexual deviance any time it is directed toward someone whom the one lusting is not married to. The reason lust is sinful, as the context bears out, is that it is a kind of adultery. Lusting after your own spouse is like sleeping with your spouse; it’s not sinful. However, lust is sin, and it’s sin because it’s adultery. The key is that Jesus was teaching this to single people as well; this verse applies to everyone. Clearly, all forms of sexual intimacy outside of marriage are wrong, because the most basic sexual instinct, the desire itself, outside of marriage is wrong.
1 Corinthians 7: 2 & 9