Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Bible, Sex, and Pastoral Counseling

In regards to Mark Driscoll's latest book on sex, and Ed Young's sexploitation/exhibition, there has been much written by those more erudite and better communicators than me. This is not the first foray into the arena of sex for either of these two pastors; and I call them pastors, because that is the position they hold.  This is Mark's fourth book on sex, and Ed has preached a series on sex from a bed on his stage and issued a seven day sex challenge to those in his congregation, so they are not neophytes in this area.  But let's go a little deeper into the reasons they have openly stated are behind their books and sermons....their people are coming to them with questions concerning sex, what's taboo and what's not, how much is enough or too much, what does the bible say about these issues?  However, I do want to address the topic, and address it from a more foundational level than I have seen addressed, yet.

The heart of the matter is that many who profess to be Christians are too sex obsessed.  You see, the world, not just our culture, but the world is sex obsessed; and if you are paying any attention at all you can see it is not just an American cultural issue but a world wide issue.  I John 2:16 tells us that all temptation falls under the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life.  Sex has its roots deeply in all three of these categories, and as a result is one of the most appealing and controlling sins...maybe the most appealling and controlling.   

My point is this.  As pastors, instead of answering the questions above, instead of playing sex therapist, instead of giving in to the world's influence in this area, shouldn't we look to and bring to light the root of the issue?  Should we not first tell our people that sex is not the most important thing in the world, that maybe they need to take a step back and realize they are not to be preoccupied with it, it is not to dominate their thinking, and they should not be mastered by it. Shouldn't we have them take a good look at themselves and ask themselves if because of their background, television and movie choices, books and magazines they read, internet habits, music they listen to, emails they share or pass along, or conversations they participate in, that they might have a spiritual stronghold in this area.  And maybe perform this same spiritual check-up on ourselves, so that we can be sure our own attitude and thinking in regards to this area has not been colored by the world.

In dealing with this issue, many people want to quote I Corinthians 6:12...the part about all things are lawful for me...but leave out the part about I will not be mastered by anything.  The context of this verse is Paul dealing with the issue of food, and sex both outside the marriage and inside the marriage.  Paul also tells us in Romans 6:12-19 that we are slaves of what we obey...and ends this section talking about the weakness of our flesh. Christ gave the admonition to watch and pray that we would not enter into temptation, for the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. So it is obvious that even for Christians we can have ongoing issues because of the filthiness and wickedness (James 1:21) that is inherent in our flesh.  Pastorally we need to realize that this pre-occupation with sex is a hold over from our life before Christ, or, in some instances, an indication that they have never truly received Christ; and we should not respond in a way that panders to their natural fleshly inclinations, but respond in a way that sheds light on the true spiritual issue that is at its root.

The church has been too quick to give in the mind-set of the world; and I think that it is most pronounced in the area of sex.  Pastors, we need to take a stand against the mind-set of the world and tell our people and counsel our people that they are not to be sex-obessed like the world which has no control over its lusts, and is, in fact, controlled by those same lusts and indulges in the desires on both the flesh and the mind; and tell our people that this sex-obsession is not from the Lord, but from the world.  For knowing the truth is the key for them to be set free from the sex-obession that controls the world.

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