Archive for the 'Christian counselling' Category

A Christian discussion of homosexuality & sexuality

Friday, July 10th, 2015

It's Just Love

(image in public domain)

By Spencer D Gear

I have spent many years in counselling individuals and families and sometimes dealing with their sexual expressions. I retired in 2011 after 17-years full time as a counselling manager and counsellor of youth, families, relationships and marriages – most of it in a secular environment.

To raise the topic of homosexuality and sexuality from a Christian perspective, automatically raises suspicion in some quarters, especially with secularists in the mass media and in online forums. There is quite a bit of confusion in this area today because of the increasing promotion of homosexuality and homosexual marriage as an acceptable lifestyle choice.

How should evangelical Christians (including myself) respond to this kind of explanation of homosexual behaviour? On alleged Christian wrote:

For many years of my life, I also believed that all homosexual behavior was wrong — whether it consisted of anonymous hookups or committed relationships. I believed, based on what I had read in the Bible, that even the most loving and monogamous of same-sex relationships was evil in God’s eyes. But as I studied the Bible, my view on that subject changed. I now believe that homosexual behavior is appropriate within the confines of a committed, loving, monogamous, lifelong, Christ-centered relationship. Essentially, I’m arguing that a Christ-centered marriage is a good thing, regardless of the gender of the people involved….

But a growing number of Christians believes the church has made a mistake and that the church’s position ought to be reformed. In this essay, I’m going to refer to these differing Christian viewpoints as “the Traditional View” and “the Reformed View” respectively. I support the Reformed View.[1]

That was promoted by Justin Lee, executive director of the Gay Christian Network. This paragraph includes his basic understanding of homosexuality:

  • He used to believe that all homosexual behaviour was wrong;
  • He gained that view from the Bible and believed that even monogamous, same-sex relationships were evil before God;
  • He changed his view after further study from the Bible and now believes that,
  • It is appropriate to have a Christ-centred homosexual relationship that is committed, loving, monogamous and lifelong. So,
  • Christ-centred marriage is a good thing whether homosexual or heterosexual.
  • The traditional view of the church needs to be reformed.

If your children and youth are exposed to that kind of approach, how will they view homosexuality? It will send them a positive message that it is possible to have a Christ-centred homosexual marriage.

That is not the assessment that will be reached in what follows. Let’s look at some definitions.

I. Definitions

A. Sexuality

How would you describe your sexuality and the expression of sex in your relationship?

Students from the University of Western Australia in 2012 provided this definition: ‘Sexuality: Is about sexual feelings (who we are emotionally and sexually attracted to), sexual behaviour (how we express our sexual feelings) and sexual identify (who we say we are to ourselves and others based on our internal beliefs)’.[2]

Andrew Comiskey, a former homosexual who has been redeemed by Jesus,[3] gave this explanation:

Sexuality involves a lot more than mere behavior. It includes a heartfelt yearning for connection with another. At the core it’s not a lustful seductive exercise. It grows from that God-inspired desire within each of us [unless you have the gift of celibacy] to break out of the walls of the lone self and merge with another human being. [Sexual] intercourse is only one expression of this merging, albeit the most obvious (Comiskey 1989:37).

B. Homosexuality

Here are some biblical explanations of what is involved from Romans 1:20-30,

Romans 1:24, calls them “the lusts of their hearts to impurity” (ESV);

Romans 1:26 as engaging in “dishonorable passions” and “exchanging natural [sexual] relations”;

Romans 1: 27, Women were “consumed with passion for one another.” “Men [were] committing shameless acts with men.”

II. A biblical view of homosexuality (based on a biblical worldview of sexuality).

 Purple Homosexuality Button

A. Sexuality involves a longing and desire for unity/union

cubed-iron-sm The body longs for human touch;

cubed-iron-sm The human soul longs for companionship to ease our aloneness [unless you have the gift of celibacy].

cubed-iron-sm BEFORE the fall into sin, God said: “It is not good for the man to be alone; ‘I will make a helper suitable for him.'” (Gen. 2:18).

This intimate desire for another happened in the pristine state of a human being, prior to the fall into sin.

cubed-iron-sm What was God’s answer? [Please understand that man had access to God, but that was not enough.]

B. God’s plan is male and female

Background understanding comes from these two passages:

Genesis 1:26-28 (NIV),

26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals,[4] and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

27 So God created mankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.

28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

Gen. 2:22-25 (ESV) states:

22 And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made[5] into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 Then the man said,

“This at last is bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called Woman,
because she was taken out of Man.”

24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. 25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.

C. The origin of all depravity (incl. heterosexual  & homosexual depravity)

Sex Pit

(image courtesy ChristArt)

1. Genesis 3: the fall into sin

No matter what the sin, whether it be theft, adultery, rape, homosexual acts or genocide, the origin happened at the beginning of the human race.

Romans 5:12 explains how sin and all of its dimensions entered the human race: ‘When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned’ (NLT). Read the full fuller story of how it happened in Genesis 2 and 3.

How could a sinless human being whom God declared to be ‘very good’ (Gen 1:31) commit sin and condemn the whole human race, as our head, to depraved sinful actions? While admitting that Adam’s sin was the original sin of the human race, theologian, Henry Thiessen stated that

it still does not show how the sinful disposition found a place in Adam’s nature. We can be sure that God did not put motives before man that led him to sin. That would make God responsible and absolve man from guilt. Nor did God remove from him His sustaining grace, in which case He would likewise bear the responsibility. Nor is it sufficient to say that the power of choice with which God had endowed Adam was bound to lead to this result, for as [Augustus] Strong says, ‘The mere power of choice does not explain the fact of an unholy choice’[6]…. We cannot tell how the first unholy emotion arose in the soul of a holy being, but we know the fact that it did. The only satisfactory explanation is that man fell by a free act of revolt from God (Thiessen 1949:247-248).

All sin entered the world as a result of this disobedient action by Adam and Eve. That’s when the sin of homosexuality entered the world. Please note what I wrote. It is the sin of homosexuality and not the genetics of homosexuality that led to its being a sin that prevents one from entering the kingdom of God. But I’m jumping ahead of myself.

Here is an extended example from the Book of Romans that shows how homosexuality is one of the sinful desires that issues in sinful acts and God’s wrath is revealed against this godlessness and wickedness of human beings. Let’s take a read:

2. Romans 1:18-32 (NIV),

18The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

21For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.

24Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator–who is forever praised. Amen.
26Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. 27In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.

28Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. 29They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

3. The male-female relationship fell from innocence.[7]

When sin entered the human race, our sexuality was cast into disorder. Comiskey explained: “Every one of us is in turn is sexually vulnerable to some degree. People with a heterosexual orientation are no less fallen than those with homosexual tendencies.”[8]

Therefore, for anyone to experience homosexual healing, there needs to be, at the very base,

coil-gold-sm A clear understanding that brokenness comes from the fall into sin;

coil-gold-sm A humble recognition that “God never intended for man or woman to seek completion in the same sex. Thus, homosexual pursuit of erotic and emotional bonding [with a person of the same sex] violates something basic in our humanity.”[9]

coil-gold-sm The homosexual MUST accept that “homosexual pursuit of erotic and emotional bonding violates something basic to our humanity.”[10]

coil-gold-sm PLEASE also recognise that homosexuality is only one of the sinful sexual behaviours that is woven into our sinful humanity – the others include, any kind of sex outside of marriage, including pre-marital sex as singles, defacto sex as singles, prostitution (male and female), bestiality,

coil-gold-sm “The Genesis account underscores the futility of trying to become whole through a member of the same sex.”[11]

D. That is what some of you were

Who are the people who will not enter the kingdom of God? What are the possibilities of change? These verses put these issues in context and provide answers.

I Corinthians 6:9-11 (ESV) reads:

Or do you not know that the unrighteous[12] will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practise homosexuality,[13] nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

Please note that one of the kinds of unrighteous deeds preventing a person from entering God’s kingdom is the sin of practising homosexuality. It is important to emphasise that it in only one among a number of other kinds of unrighteous actions that will prevent people from entering the kingdom of God. Those who practise homosexuality are included with idolaters, adulterers, thieves and drunkards. ALL UNFORGIVEN SINNERS will be prevented from entering God’s kingdom and that includes those who practise homosexuality. Too often the homosexuals have been singled out by Christians without emphasis on the other kinds of sinners in this passage.

However, God’s view of sinners from 1 Cor. 6:9-11 is, ‘Such were some of you’. It is not, ‘Such ARE some of you’. It is in the past tense which means that these sinners have changed and that includes homosexuals – thanks to God’s redemption through Christ. Jesus changes all sinners if they confess their sins, repent and receive Christ alone for salvation. And that includes homosexual sinners. Yes, homosexual SINNERS. God’s assessment is that homosexuality is a sin that can be changed through Christ.

E. Accept/Receive one another

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(image courtesy openclipart)

There is an important verse to help the church deal with recovering homosexuals in the church. Romans 15:7: “Accept [or receive] one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.”

When I preached this message at a local church, I said: I could have brought a redeemed homosexual along to share his testimony, but I resisted UNTIL we know the truth of Rom. 15:7 in the Christian fellowship. I know of redeemed homosexuals who have been so hurt by Christians in the church that they may never return to the church – and that is tragic.

When I shared this verse in a devotional at a ministers’ association meeting with a group of pastors, one pastor shouted me down before I finished the devotional – objecting strongly to the biblical view that I was sharing that we ought to accept ALL believers, including redeemed homosexuals, redeemed paedophiles, redeemed prostitutes, etc. Please understand that I am talking about redeemed sinners who are being discipled and growing in grace. We are seeing the fruit of change in their lives. It is always wise to have others supervising redeemed sinners who have come from a dangerous, reprobate lifestyle. However, we need to remember that ‘there but for the grace of God, go I’.[14]

III. The genetic hypothesis for homosexuality has some holes in it.

Ribbon Homosexuality ButtonThe basic root is sin, as has been explained above.

A. Hasn’t it been proven that people are born homosexual?

There have been a number of examples of those who try to prove homosexuality has a biological cause. These are only two examples.

1. Simon LeVay[15]

This neuroscientist, Simon LeVay, has admitted he is gay.[16] He published research in 1991 (see LeVay 1991), indicating that there was an area of the hypothalamus in the brain that allegedly governs sexual activity and this is supposed to be smaller in homosexual men than heterosexual men.

LeVay has admitted that his findings do not prove “cause and effect,” but the media have reported it differently.

Zetlan’s assessment of LeVay’s research was:

‘as far as I can tell, LeVay has not found a biological substrate for sexual orientation. All LeVay has reported is that in groups of people

with unknown medical and sexual histories there is a significant difference in the size of a structure whose function is not known’

(Zetlan n d).

For a pro-homosexual expose, see Richard Horton’s article from Frontline, ‘Is homosexuality inherited?’ (1995)

2. Bailey and Pillard

Shortly after LeVay’s research, Michael Bailey, a gay-rights’ activist, together with psychiatrist, Richard Pillard, who is a homosexual, showed research on identical twins versus fraternal twins. They suggest there is a link between homosexuality and genetics. However, this research has many questions needing answers. We need to ask:

Was the research conducted in an unbiased and fair way?

What are the true implications?

Are they accepted universally by the scientific and medical community?

Are they compatible with biblical truth?

We do know this: The media were quick to jump on this bandwagon and promote homosexuality’s supposed biological cause, when the research did not prove that. There are too many questions about this research. Don’t let anybody convince you the biological cause of homosexuality is proven. Not so!

Even if at some point in the future it is proven that there is a biological association with homosexuality, we need to conclude as the Bible concludes: genetic origins do not justify sinful behaviour.

The Bible praises sexuality and sexual enjoyment within the boundaries of marriage. Homosexual behaviour is consistently condemned in both Old and New Testaments and there is no exception in this condemnation.

[I recommend the article, “Born Gay?”, by a redeemed homosexual, Joe Dallas, in Christianity Today, June 22, 1992, in which he assesses this research and comes to some thoughtful conclusions.][17]

3. Frank Worthen’s view

A lot of money has been spent on research to try to link genetics with homosexuality, but Frank Worthen stated in 1991 that “no concrete proof has been found” (Worthen 1991:6). In their book, Human Sexuality, Masters and Johnson say, “The genetic theory of homosexuality has generally been discarded today.”[18] However, as indicated below, more research has been done on this topic since Masters and Johnson.

Elsewhere they say, “Despite the interest in possible hormone mechanisms in the origin of homosexuality, no serious scientist today suggests that a simple cause-effect relationship applies.”[19]

Why are homosexuals so determined to believe they are born gay? Frank Worthen, a redeemed homosexual, gives two reasons:

a. “The idea that a choice exists as to whether or not they remain homosexual is both frightening and threatening. The gay person has a real investment in his/her identity.”[20]

b. “Most gay people cannot remember a time when they did not have homosexual feelings. They actually believe they were born gay. What research has proven is that the paths we take in life are laid down at a very early age.”[21]

4. A 2012 study put the cat among the pigeons

A new study (published in 2012) by William R. Rice, Urban Friberg, and Sergey Gavrilets of the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology, University of California Santa Barbara, California, has an interesting twist to this genetic view. The abstract of their article states:

Male and female homosexuality have substantial prevalence in humans. Pedigree and twin studies indicate that homosexuality has substantial heritability in both sexes, yet concordance between identical twins is low and molecular studies have failed to find associated DNA markers. This paradoxical pattern calls for an explanation. We use published data on fetal androgen signaling and gene regulation via nongenetic changes in DNA packaging (epigenetics) to develop a new model for homosexuality…. Our model predicts that homosexuality is part of a wider phenomenon in which recently evolved androgen-influenced traits commonly display gonad-trait discordances at substantial frequency, and that the molecular feature underlying most homosexuality is not DNA polymorphism(s), but epi-marks that evolved to canalize sexual dimorphic development that sometimes carryover across generations and contribute to gonad-trait discordances in opposite-sex descendants (Rice et al 2012).

This research concludes that

A major strength of our epigenetic model of homosexuality is that it makes two unambiguous predictions that are testable with current technology. Therefore, if our model is wrong, it can be rapidly falsified and discarded.

First, future, larger-scale genetic association studies will fail to identify genetic markers associated with most homosexuality.

Second, future genome-wide epigenetic profiles will find differences between homosexuals and nonhomosexuals, but only at genes associated with androgen signaling in the later parts of the pathway (e.g., AR cofactors or miRNAs that regulate them) or be restricted to brain regions controlling sexual orientation, i.e., not affecting sexually dimorphic traits like genitalia or sexual identity (Rice et al 2012).

While this is not a definitive study, it does progress the scientific evaluation of the origin of homosexuality beyond concluding that genetics is the cause of homosexuality.

5. What about the identical twin studies?

I highly recommend that you read Dr N E Whitehead’s research, MY GENES MADE ME DO IT! Homosexuality and the Scientific Evidence (2013). Neil Whitehead (PhD biochemistry) has worked for 40 years as a research scientist in New Zealand and around the world. The book is written in association with his son, Briar Whitehead, who is a journalist, writer and editor.

Dr Whitehead wrote:

Over the last decade, studies of twins have provided some of the strongest numerical evidence that “Our genes do not make us do it”…. Results from twin studies are quantitative, so they greatly focus and sharpen the results of many other studies we’ve mentioned so far. In a nutshell, if you take pairs of identical twins in which one twin is homosexual, the identical co-twin (a monozygotic (MZ) twin) is usually not homosexual. That means, given that identical twins are always genetically identical, homosexuality cannot be genetically dictated. No-one is born gay. The predominant things that create homosexuality in one identical twin and not in the other have to be post-birth factors’ (Whitehead 2013:175).

His continued assessment was:

These very complex comparisons of identical twins and non-identical twins definitively rule out genetic determinism. Identical twins with identical genes are about 11-14% concordant for SSA [same-sex attraction]. If homosexuality were “genetic,” identical co-twins of homosexual men and women would also be homosexual 100% of the time. In classic twin studies the genetic fraction is less than 22% for men and 37% for women, and may be as low as 10%. Twin studies continue to find steadily lower genetic fractions for homosexuality as methodology improves and samples become larger’ (Whitehead 2013:267).

IV. What causes gender confusion?[22]

How secure we feel in our maleness and femaleness can significantly affect how we relate to those of the opposite sex. A major study in 1981 (Bell, Weinberg & Hammersmith) found that one consistent theme among homosexuals studied was gender confusion. Looking back as adults, homosexuals have sensed a number of factors that influenced them to have a sense of being different from their same-sex peers in childhood. This confusion seems to be linked later in life with an erotic preference for the same sex.

What factors contributed to this gender confusion?

A follow-up study was conducted by Blanchard & Zucker with these results:

The authors compared parental age, birth order, and sex ratio of siblings for 575 homosexual men and 284 heterosexual men, matched on age and education. They were originally part of Bell, Weinberg, and Hammersmith’s large-scale study of male and female homosexuality. The results confirmed the previous findings that homosexual men have older fathers and later births than do heterosexual men but not the finding that homosexual men have larger proportions of brothers. The collective findings suggest that birth order is perhaps the single most reliable demographic difference between homosexual and heterosexual men (Blanchard & Zucker 1994).

A. The role of parents

Parents have a powerful influence on a child’s acquisition of gender identity. This is natural, since Mum and Dad are our first and most influential models in life of a man and a woman.

1. Perhaps the most powerful influence on our gender identity comes from our relationship with the same-sex parent. The nature of the relationship is very important (see George Rekers, Shaping Your Child’s Sexual Identity). That parent will influence your views of intimacy and how you identify with the same sex positively or negatively. If it was an affirming relationship, you will be approved in your gender role.

a. If that relationship is broken (e.g. physical or sexual abuse, personal victimisation, emotional detachment, death, illness, neglect, etc.) it can block the lifeline of intimacy and identification. Secure gender development may be obstructed.

b. The child responds to this breach by moving away from (detachment) the same-sex parent, the need for healthy same-sex love is repressed.

c. This detachment may limit the child’s ability to take on the characteristics of the same-sex parent. More than that, the child may develop a tendency to shy away from a person of the same sex.

d. But in adolescence, when one is aroused erotically, this repressed need for same-sex love may be expressed homosexually.

2. The parent of the opposite sex may play a vital role in affirming or hindering your sexual identity. If you do not see the parent of the opposite sex as a caring individual with whom you want to identify, you may be repulsed by that parent. How you relate to your opposite-sex parent will convey your `adequacy’ with the opposite sex.

a. Male example:

A dominant mother who is usually intense and emotionally smothering, may breed a fear of women. Gender confusion may develop along with perfectionism and contempt. A young man who detaches from his mother may generalise this contempt to other women.

b. Female example:

An abusive, erratic father fosters fears of the possibility of being violated. In future relationships with men, the woman may close down emotionally. Because the mother is most often the main nurturer in the family, the female child may develop a neurotic tie to mother’s love with no bonding with the masculine.

3. What impact does marriage have? How parents relate as a heterosexual couple will impact children. The children will be either attracted to how they see Mum and Dad interact or they may be repelled by it. Will the children want to repeat what they see in the parents’ response to each other, or will they be attracted to a same-sex model? This may be influenced by:

a. Evidence of abuse in marriage.

Does one partner seem to be victimised by the other? With which one does the child identify? This becomes somewhat complicated when there is a separation and/or divorce.

b. Siding with one parent against the other.

c. Inner vows that a child makes —

swearing never to be like him/her/them. This vow may handicap prospects for marital intimacy.

The child’s relationship with his/her family will determine many of the attitudes to life later. It is the seedbed in which attitudes grow: co-operation, competition, perception of self and one’s body, submission or domination. It is in the family that we nurture our hopes, fears and feelings about sex.

B. Some other contributors to gender confusion

1. Early sexual experiences.

By whom have you been erotically stimulated?

a. Heterosexual:

For young girls and women, sexual abuse by men can easily create a fear of, hostility and a repulsion towards men.

b. Homosexual:

Especially for boys, if there have been sexual advances by men and these have affirmed the boys, this can create a perversion of same-sex intimacy.

2. Peer rejection because of gender confusion.

a. This may alienate one from the peer group.

There is ambivalence—a yearning to be accepted, but there may be rejection by both the peer group and the same-sex parent.

b. There may be an over-identification with opposite-sex peer group.

c. You sense there is a difference about you, the peer group rejects you, you are labelled as ‘homosexual.’

So you experience a profound sense of inadequacy.

d. High anxiety linked with gender identity in your peer relationships.

So gender identity becomes a point of conflict (Satan the accuser).

3. Gender alienation:

a. If you are secure in your gender identity and it is being positively affirmed,

You relate reasonably well with males and females. However, insecurity leads to your being rigid and maybe fearful. So, in such circumstances one feels a need to work on trying to be ‘normal.’ One feels cramped and anxious.

b. The alienation leads one to suppress opposite-sex attraction.

c. A self-fulfilling prophecy, especially in adolescence.

4. What gets lost?

a. A clear and realistic picture of the opposite sex.

b. Legitimate needs for same-sex intimacy and identification.

c. The realisation that our need to have same-sex associations without being erotic.

d. The grace to allow God to separate sinful lust from legitimate desire.

The result of this gender confusion is often loneliness and fear. We have a fear of our sexuality—gender, bodies, ourselves—so we launch into homosexual expression in spite of the guilt that we experience.

IV. The steps that lead to healing for the homosexual.

Books by redeemed homosexuals:

  • Andrew Comiskey, Pursuing Sexual Wholeness: How Jesus Heals the Homosexual (1989).
  • Jeanette Howard, Out of Egypt: Leaving Lesbianism Behind (1991).
  • Frank Worthen, Helping People Step Out of Homosexuality (1991).

A. Summary of Steps out of Homosexuality[23]

https://i1.wp.com/www.christart.com/IMAGES-art9ab/clipart/114/b3-homosexuality.png

1. Making the decision

This is not a decision to be made lightly. Weigh the costs. Note Luke 14:25-35.

2. Brokenness

Change comes out of brokenness. Homosexuality is sin and you have grieved God. Deep sorrow is needed for your actions. Please take seriously this Scripture:

James 4:7-10, “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will lift you up” (NIV).

Before you find peace, there may be a time of grief.

3. Your need of a Saviour

“Brokenness must be so complete, that we no longer have any desire to regain control of our lives, but allow the Holy Spirit to lead. Victory is dependence on Jesus.”[24] (John 3:16)

4. Doing the ordinary with other believers

designBlue-sma Join with a group of Christian believers. You need the love and support of God’s people.

designBlue-sma There may be difficulties in fitting in with a church.

designBlue-sma Need to spur one another on to love & good deeds.

designBlue-sma Intercessory prayer is vital for victorious Christian living (with Christians). (Heb. 10:23-25)

5. Spiritual Warfare

Every step out of homosexuality will be challenged. (Eph. 6:10-20). Do not expect the secular world to be favourable towards the steps you are taking to be healed of the sexual sin of homosexuality. The mass media will be hostile towards your change if journalists hear about it.

6. Holding a correct view of God

His majesty, His unlimited power and His everlasting love. (Jer. 29:12-14: ‘Call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,’ declares the Lord” and will bring you back from captivity”)

7. Hold a correct view of others

Part of brokenness is that you realise how selfishly you have used others for your own gratification. They may have hurt us; we may have hurt them, but we need to respond to them as people made in the image of God.

8. You must have God’s view of you

designBlue-sma You are made in the image of God;

designBlue-sma You are fallen;

designBlue-sma In spite of your sinful, wicked condition, God loves you enough to die for you.

designBlue-sma God loves you too much to leave you that way; he wants you to change.

9. The belief principle

Walk by faith. Christ lives within you. He is alive in you. This is not blind faith, but faith build on the evidence of Jesus revealed in Scripture.

10. Submission

For the person seeking salvation and healing from homosexuality, accountability is part of the healing process. You need to submit to God, but you must also submit to one another. “Submission is death to self-interest and birth to God’s interests.”[25]

11. Fruitfulness

You must bear fruit consistent with repentance. Your old life, its attitudes,

associations, the ties that held you to that sinful lifestyle must be broken. Growing in grace (sanctification) is clearly God and us working together. (James. 1:5, “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.”)

12. Walking in the light

designQuiltsmall I John 1:5-7, walk in the light;

designQuiltsmall I Thess 5:17, pray continually;

designQuiltsmall 1 John 4:4, Live daily in the light of God’s presence; “the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world”.

I agree with Frank Worthen’s assessment: “In our ministry, we are frequently asked: ‘Do you make homosexuals into heterosexuals?’ Our answer is, ‘No, we only point the way to wholeness in Christ”’ (Worthen 1991:137). Why take this approach? It is because God’s design for heterosexuality has been so distorted by this worldly system in which we live.

V. God’s design

A. There is a deep spiritual factor involved in the sexual relationship – worship.

First Corinthians 6:16-17 says: “Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, ‘The two will become one flesh.’ But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit” (NIV).

Young people, if you forget everything else I have written here, please remember this: sex is a spiritual issue. It is impossible for you to commit sexual immorality and still be one with God. Sex has a strong spiritual dimension, as I Cor. 6:13 says: “The body is not for immorality, but for the Lord; and the Lord is for the body.”

The infamous Jim Bakker of PTL Television Network fame, USA, commented as his ministry lay in tatters: “It’s amazing how fifteen minutes can ruin your life” (Comiskey 1988:31). What he didn’t say was: Not just any fifteen minutes, but fifteen minutes of sexual immorality.

While Paul, the apostle, speaks of becoming one with a prostitute in I Cor 6:16, he expands it to general immorality in I Cor 6:18, “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body but he who sins sexually sins against his own body.”

B. DO YOU WANT SEX AT ITS BEST?

#

(image courtesy openclipart)

Surrender your rights to Jesus Christ. You must choose with your actions (not just words) to follow Jesus as Lord. This means refusing to yield to sexual temptation and fleeing sexual immorality. Does your walk match your talk? You will find it impossible to “flee sexual immorality” if you are in the back seat of a car at midnight in Queens Park.

God says through Paul, “They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work” (Titus 1:16).

But, you might ask:

C. ISN’T A FAITHFUL SEXUAL RELATIONSHIP OUTSIDE OF MARRIAGE OK?

A little while ago, a man in his seventies said to me: “The young ones these days have sure cottoned onto a great idea. They are very progressive. It makes sense to try her out before you marry her.” He was thinking of living with her first and sampling each other sexually.

But is living together before you marry very smart? Back in November 1977 the American edition of Seventeen magazine included an article, “The Case Against Living Together” (in Remsberg 1977). It included an interview with Dr Nancy Moore Clatworthy, a sociologist at Ohio State University.

For about 10 years, she had been studying unmarried couples who had been living together. When she began, she was like the elderly man with whom I spoke. She thought it was a good idea. The young had told her it was wonderful and she believed them. It seemed a sensible, practical arrangement. Then, as now, it seemed to have a reasonable ring to it.

But her research led to a change of mind. She said, “The things people say living together is doing for them, it’s not doing.” She found that this was especially so for girls who were uptight, fearful and looking past the talk ‘to the possible pain and agony.’

She stressed two points. First, “In the areas of adjustment, happiness and respect,” couples who lived together before marriage had more problems than those who had married first. They argued more about money, friends and sex.

“In every area the couples who had lived together before marriage disagreed more often than the couples who had not.” It was evident to this researcher that living together first did not solve problems. In fact it created difficulties.

Second, Dr Clatworthy discovered that defacto relationships had an impact on commitment. She believed that “commitment is what makes marriage, living together or any human relationship work.”

But “knowing that something is temporary affects the degree of commitment to it.”

So, unmarried couples living together are not wholehearted in working at and protecting the relationship. She found that 75% of them break up. And girls are badly hurt.

Nancy Clatworthy concluded: “Statistically, you’re much better off marrying than living together. For people who are in love, anything less than a full commitment is a cop-out.”

More recent studies have similar results. Newsweek magazine (1983) reported that 16% of college students thought that it was harmful “for a man and woman to live together before marriage” while 61% said it would be “helpful.”

But a study in the same year (1983) by the National Council on Family Relations (USA) found that those who lived defacto first were less happy in marriage. Women complained about the quality of communication after the wedding.

Yale University sociologist, Neil Bennett, discovered that defacto women were 80% more likely to separate or divorce than women who had not lived with their spouses before marriage.[26]

It is startling to realise that one study discovered that those who shacked up before marriage were almost twice as likely to dissolve within 10 years compared to all first marriages.

What does all of this say? Marriage is one shoe you cannot try on before you wear it. When it comes to marriage, try before you buy is not a smart idea.

This confirms what the Author of marriage commanded: “Marriage should be honoured by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral” (Hebrews 13:4).

This is a puzzle many people grapple with–not just the young. Why should sex with a permanent partner outside of marriage (in a defacto relationship) be any different than marriage to one woman for life? Many think the essential elements of both are identical.

The government thinks so and has given legal status to this kind of immorality (according to the Bible). The government treats the defacto couple like marriage.

The difference is this: God designed marriage; human beings designed the live-in, look-alike, defacto relationship.

I am indebted to Al Haffner for this illustration:

“Consider this: `It is possible to analyze an apple and ascertain its chemical constituents; but all the chemists in the world cannot make an apple, nor anything that can substitute for it.’ Neither can the world make any relationship do what marriage does, not even a monogamous love affair” (Haffner 1989:34).

In our way of thinking, there is a vast separation between a faithful lover and one who sleeps around. From God’s point of view, He lumps all sex outside of marriage into the same heap because sex makes a spiritual statement.

In Al Haffner’s words: “Inside marriage it is the melodious beauty of spiritual serenity; outside of marriage, even in a monogamous relationship, sex cries out a cacophony of spiritual chaos.”[27]

When you indulge in “sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed” this amounts to idolatry, according to Col 3:5-6 because it is self-serving selfishness, opposed to serving God and “because of these, the wrath of God is coming.”

I refer you to these links for further details:

flamin-arrow-small 5 (Secular) Reasons Not to Live Together Before Marriage (Jennifer Fulwiler 2013);

flamin-arrow-small Seven Reasons Why Living Together Before Marriage is not a Good Idea (Pastor Arron Chambers 2009);

flamin-arrow-small 5 Great Reasons to Live Together Before Marriage & 1 Better One Not To (Pastor James Hein 2010);

flamin-arrow-small 20 good reasons not to cohabit before marriage (Don Weston 1998).

D. WHAT ARE GOD’S REASONS FOR INSTRUCTIONS ABOUT SEX?

We must begin by understanding the character of God.

flamin-arrow-small He is not a killjoy wanting to ruin your fun.

flamin-arrow-small He didn’t make us to enjoy sex and then frustrate us.

flamin-arrow-small God made and designed us.

flamin-arrow-small He knows everything.

Only God knows what is best for us. Deuteronomy 10:13 says, “Observe the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good.”

Those last four words are critical: for your own good. All of God’s commands to us, all of his requirements are not to break us and kill our joy, but they are for our own good.

Psalm 84:11, “For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.

James 1:17, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”

God knows how you are wired–body, mind and spirit. God knows how human relationships function most fully and joyfully. God is not trying to stop us from having a wonderful sex life. He is giving us the positive instruction to have the most wonderful sex life possible.

I have found many Christians ignorant of this perspective.

If you look on God’s commands, such as, “You shall not commit adultery, flee sexual immorality, etc.,” as negative and designed to frustrate your enjoyment, you will miss what God wants for your sexual enjoyment. Remember, these negatives are given for positive reasons.

When my children were young, I warned them: do not touch a hot plate on the stove. That was very negative and it looked like I might have been stopping them from having fun. But it was really a positive command. If my Paul, Wendy and Jeff had burned themselves, it would have prevented them from enjoying life for a while–maybe permanently.

That’s how it is with God: Whenever he gives a command, there are at least two positive reasons behind it:

1. He’s trying to protect us from some harm, and

2. He’s trying to provide something good for us.

If you abstain from sex now, it is because God wants you to experience greater intimacy later–in marriage. But God is also calling you before marriage to greater intimacy with Himself.

E. CONCLUSION

There are many valid reasons for you to say “NO” to premarital sex. God really is acting in love when He commands that sex be enjoyed in the bonds of marriage only.

This is a message of prevention for those who are virgins. God loves you and wants to protect you from entering into the damaging consequences of illicit sex.

On the other hand, I know there may be some for whom this message is too late–you have lost your virginity, you are loaded down with guilt, you know what I have been saying is true. What can you do? You do as I had to do because the message I’m sharing with you was too late for me also.

Run to Jesus! You cannot undo what you have done, but you can be forgiven. God will lay down all charges against you if you repent and seek his forgiveness. The biblical message for all Christians who sin is I John 1:9, “If we confess our sin, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness”.

You can be forgiven today. If the Lord has convicted you about sexual sin in your life, respond to him.

1. Do you want sex at its best?

blue-arrow-small Wait for the sexual relationship until marriage.

blue-arrow-small  If that is too late, confess your sin and abstain from sexual relationships until marriage.

blue-arrow-small Be faithful in marriage.

blue-arrow-small Homosexual thoughts and practice are not consistent with biblical revelation of sex in Scripture.

The story is told of Alexander the Great who was reviewing his troops after a fierce battle. He encountered one of his captains disciplining a soldier for being a coward. Alexander approached.

“What is your name, soldier?” he asked.

“Alexander,” replied the soldier.

“What?” exclaimed Alexander the Great.

“Sir, my name is Alexander!” said the soldier.

Trembling with rage, Alexander the Great yelled, “Soldier, either change your ways, or change your name” (Haffner 1989:91).

As soldiers in Christ’s army, we must stop acting cowardly in the face of sexual temptation, or we should change our name—which will have eternal consequences. In this sexually perverted generation, the words of I Corinthians 4:20: come thundering through: “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.” Change your ways or change your name.

As noted in this article, there is a radical difference between a secular approach to the research of homosexuality and the biblical diagnosis of the condition and its treatment.

See also: Why is the Mass Media Promoting ‘Gay Rights’? – YouTube

Works consulted

Bell, A P, Weinberg M S & Hammersmith, S K 1981. Sexual preference: Its development in men and women. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press.

Blanchard, R & Zucker K J 1994. Reanalysis of Bell, Weinberg, and Hammersmith’s data on birth order, sibling sex ratio, and parental age in homosexual men. American Journal of Psychiatry, September 15(9), 1375-1376. Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8067496 (Accessed 10 July 2015).[28]

Comiskey, A 1988. Pursuing sexual wholeness (Guide). Santa Monica, California: Desert Stream Ministries. [You can read Andrew Comiskey’s blog at: http://andrewcomiskey.com/].

Comiskey, A 1989. Pursuing sexual wholeness: How Jesus heals the homosexual. Lake Mary, Florida: Creation House.

Haffner, A 1989. The high cost of free love. San Bernardino, CA: Here’s Life Publishers.

Howard, J 1991. Out of Egypt: Leaving lesbianism behind. Eastbourne: Monarch.

LeVay, S 1991. A difference in hypothalamic structure between heterosexual and homosexual men. Science 253, August 30: 1034-1037.

Malcohn, E 2014. Review of Gay, straight, and the reason why: The science of sexual orientation by Simon LeVay (online). PsychCentral, available at: http://psychcentral.com/lib/gay-straight-and-the-reason-why-the-science-of-sexual-orientation/0005404 (Accessed 17 April 2014).

Remsberg, C & B 1977. The case against living together. Seventeen, November, 132-3, 162-3.[29]

Rice, W R, Friberg, U, & Gavrilets, S 2012. Homosexuality as a consequence of epigenetically canalized sexual development. The Quarterly Review of Biology (online), 87(4), December, 343-368.[30] The University of Chicago Press. Available at: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/668167 (Accessed 10 July 2015).

Strong, A 1907. Systematic theology, 3 vols in 1. Philadelphia: The Judson Press.

Thiessen, H C 1949. Introductory lectures in systematic theology. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.

Whitehead, N E & B K 2013. My genes made me do it! Homosexuality and the scientific evidence (online), 3rd ed. New Zealand: Whitehead Associates. Available at: http://www.mygenes.co.nz/ (Accessed 10 July 2015)

Worthen, F 1991. Helping people step out of homosexuality. Manila, Philippines: OMF Literature Inc.

Zetlan, S n d. LeVay critique: Neuroscience or nonsense (online). Women’s Studies Program. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin. Available at: http://mith.umd.edu/WomensStudies/ReadingRoom/AcademicPapers/levay-critique (Accessed 17 April 2014).

Notes:


[1] Justin Lee 2014. Justin’s view, Homosexuality & Christianity, The Gay Christian Network (online). Available at: https://www.gaychristian.net/justins_view.php (Accessed 17 April 2014, emphasis in original).

[2] Current students, University of Western Australia 2012. Sexuality definitions (online), 15 May. Available at: http://www.student.uwa.edu.au/life/health/fit/share/sexuality/definitions (Accessed 17 April 2014).

[3] See The 700 Club 2014. Ex-gay encourages the church to welcome the sexually broken, The Christian Broadcasting Network (online), Available at: http://www.cbn.com/700club/guests/bios/andrew_comiskey_082504.aspx (Accessed 17 April 2014).

[4] The NIV footnote here was, ‘Probable reading of the original Hebrew text (see Syriac); Masoretic Text the earth’.

[5] The ESV footnote here was, ‘Hebrew built’.

[6] This citation is from Strong (1907:585).

[7] The following is based on Comiskey (1989:43).

[8] Ibid.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Ibid.

[11] Ibid., p. 44.

[12] Or ‘wrongdoers’ (ESV footnote).

[13] ‘The two Greek terms translated by this phrase refer to the passive and active partners in consensual homosexual acts’ (ESV footnote).

[14] For discussion on the origin of this phrase, see The Phrase Finder, available at: http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/there-but-for-the-grace-of-god.html (Accessed 16 April 2014).

[15] For an assessment of the research, see Zetlan (n.d.)

[16] Malcohn stated, ‘LeVay, who is gay himself’ (Malcohn 2014).

[17] I was not able to locate the article online on 16 April 2014.

[18] p. 319, in Worthen (1991:7).

[19] Ibid. p. 320, in Worthen (1991:7).

[20] Worthen (1991:8).

[21] Ibid.

[22] This section is based on Comiskey (1988).

[23] This is based on Worthen (1991:142-147).

[24] Worthen (1991:143).

[25] Ibid., p. 146.

[26] Psychology Today, July/August 1988. Also available at, ‘Sociological reasons not to live together ‘, from All About Cohabiting Before Marriage. Available at: http://www.leaderu.com/critical/cohabitation-socio.html (Accessed 16 April 2014).

[27]Ibid., 34.

[28] This online reference only provides an abstract of this research.

[29] Some of this material is available online at the University of Alberta, in Paul Flaman’s ‘Chapter 7: Some contemporary arguments for premarital sexual intercourse and responses’, 1999. Available at: http://www.ualberta.ca/~pflaman/PSAL/Ch7.pdf (Accessed 16 April 2014).

[30] The online edition of the article had no pages indicated.

 

Copyright © 2015 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 1 May 2016.

The failures of defacto relationships

Thursday, January 30th, 2014

Symbols Sex Clip Art(courtesy clker.com)

By Spencer D Gear

 It is not unusual to hear people advocating sex before marriage and the benefits of defacto relationships – cohabitation. Why do people decide to shack up together without marriage? There are many reasons for it that I have heard in general and relationship counselling over many years.

I encountered this fellow, who states he is a non–Christian, on a Christian forum online. He stated:

It IS all about sex.  All objections about shacking up, from time immemorial, are fundamentally based on the belief that sex outside of marriage is wrong.

What else about a couple living together would someone have objections to?  Sharing meals together?  Sharing housework?  The man seeing the woman early in the morning without her makeup on?  Let’s at least be honest:  a romantically involved couple who decide to live together are announcing to the world that they’re having sex, and this is fundamentally what upsets so many people.[1]

How should I respond? Here goes:[2]

I have two objections to cohabitation before marriage:

(1)   God says it is wrong (see 1 Corinthians 7) and I want to please him. And,
(2)  The statistical information is clear that cohabitation does not lead to long-term relationships, and marriage after cohabitation leads to a high level of break down of marriage.

Let’s look at some basic statistical information:

Take a read of these articles

The second article (Fitzgibbons 2005-2011) states:

In the U.S., cohabitation, not divorce, now poses the biggest challenge to marriage. In 1960: 500,000 and in 2010: 7,529,000 couples cohabitate. More than 60% of marriages are now preceded by cohabitation (Wilcox et al. 2011).

A 2013 report on cohabitation from the National Center for Health Statistics was based on in-person interviews conducted between 2006 and 2010 with 12,279 women, ages 15-44. It demonstrated:

as a first union, 48% of women cohabited with their male partner, up from 43% in 2002 and 34% in 1995;

designQuiltsmall 22 months was the median duration of first cohabitation, up from 20 months in 2002 and 13 months in 1995;

designQuiltsmall 19% of women became pregnant and gave birth in the first year of a first premarital cohabitation and

designQuiltsmall 70% of women without a high school diploma cohabited as a first union, compared with 47% of those with a bachelor’s degree or higher (Jayson 2013).

About 40 percent of children spend time in a cohabiting household, while 21% of children are born into cohabiting unions (Fitzgibbons 2005-2011).

Also, from the same article:

A. The Harmful Effects of Cohabitation in Relationships

Red Heart

(courtesy i2clipart)

  • A 1992 study of 3,300 cases found that couples who cohabited prior to marriage have a risk for divorce that is about 46% higher than for non-cohabiters (Journal of Marriage and the family: February 1992).
  • Annual rates of depression among cohabiting couples are more than three times what they are among married couples (Journal of Health and Social Behavior: September 2000).
  • Women cohabiting relationships are more likely to suffer physical and sexual abuse than married women (National Marriage Project, Rutgers University: 2002).
  • The more months of exposure to cohabitation, the less enthusiastic couples are about marriage and childbearing (Journal of Marriage & Family: 59, 1997).
  • Cohabiting couples report lower levels of happiness, lower levels of sexual exclusivity and satisfaction, and poorer relationships with their parents (Journal of Family Issues: January 1995).
  • Cohabiters tend to not have an ethic of commitment that is as strong as non-cohabiters.  This could explain the high rates of divorce among couples that cohabited prior to marriage (Journal of Marriage and the Family: August 1997).
  • Cohabiting unions tend to weaken the institution of marriage and pose special risks to children (Just Living Together: Implications of Cohabitation on Families, Children and Social Policy.  New Jersey, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates: 2002).
  • By 2000, the total number of unmarried couples in America was almost 4.75 million, up from less than half a million in 1960 (U.S. Census Bureau: 2001).
  • Cohabitation increases acceptance of divorce among young people (Journal of Marriage & Family: 59).
  • Cohabitation can contribute to selfishness and later a lack of openness to children.
  • Respondents who cohabited after divorce or cohabited with their partner in a subsequent marriage reported, on average, lower levels of happiness in the remarriage than remarried respondents who did not cohabit at after the initial divorce (Journal of Marriage and Family: Vol. 68, Number 2. May, 2006).
  • Compared with peers who had not cohabited prior to marriage, individuals who had cohabited reported higher levels of depression and the level of depression also rose with the length of cohabitation. (Alabama Policy Institute: August 2006).
  • The longer couples cohabited before marrying, the more likely they were to resort to heated arguments, hitting, and throwing objects when conflicts arose in their subsequent marriage. A longer length of cohabitation was linked to a greater frequency of heated arguments, even when controlling for spouses’ age. (Alabama Policy Institute: August, 2006)
  • Women in cohabiting relationships are nine times more likely to be killed by their partner than were married women. Within cohabiting relationships, middle-aged women were at greatest risk of being killed. (Shackelford, T.K. & Mouzos, J., 2005. Partner Killing by Men in Cohabiting and Marital Relationships: A Comparative, Cross-National Analysis of Data from Australia and the United States.  Journal of Interpersonal Violence, Vol.30, number 10, 1310-1324.)

The above details are from Richard Fitzgibbons (2005-2011).

Did you notice the first point of this last list? ‘A 1992 study of 3,300 cases found that coupled (sic) who cohabited prior to marriage have a risk for divorce that is about 46% higher than for non-cohabiters (Journal of Marriage and the family: February 1992)’. And that’s a 1992 study.

Cohabitation is NOT a good way to go with relationships and marriage. The statistics are out there for all to see.

The Fitzgibbons (2005-2011) article tells of the harmful effects of cohabitation on children. Why don’t people take a read and contemplate the harm that cohabitation is doing to the couples in our nations. My friend’s marriage ended in divorce a few years ago (she is in her 30s). Since then she has cohabited with 3 different fellows. Only a few weeks ago the third fellow, whom she would have liked to marry, walked out on her, leaving her devastated. She thought the relationship was going well, but he did not want the commitment she was wanting.

What would the stats be like in 2013? We do have some more recent statistical information. See, ‘Is Living Together Before Marriage a Good Idea?

B. Effects of cohabitation on children

This Fitzgibbons (2005-2011) article tells of the harmful effects of cohabitation on children. Why don’t people take a read and contemplate the harm that cohabitation is doing to the couples in our nation.

1. The defacto results

Those who cohabit have relationships that don’t last very long. Those who cohabit and then marry also have limited relationship longevity.

The statistics should scream at us that shacking up together in a defacto relationship is a bad idea.

C. The claim that porneia did not mean sex before marriage

Red Heart(courtesy 12clipart)

In this same thread on the same forum, I was somewhat shocked to read this kind of statement on a Christian forum about sex before marriage.

“Fornication” was an English word. The Greeks used the word “porneia” which meant “whoremonger, audultery (sic), idolatry.” It never meant sex before marriage.[3]

My counter punch was:[4]

I don’t know where you are obtaining your information about the Greeks and their use of porneia. I suggest that you go to Arndt & Gingrich’s Greek lexicon for the NT (I read and teach NT Greek) and you will find that porneia means ‘prostitution, unchastity, fornication, of every kind of unlawful sexual intercourse’ (Arndt & Gingrich 1957:699, emphasis in original).

We know from what Paul wrote to the Corinthians that he was dealing with the problem of unlawful sexual intercourse outside of marriage. He wrote:

‘It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman. But because of the temptation to sexual immorality [porneia], each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband’ (1 Cor 7:1-3 ESV).

It is clear from this passage that God’s requirement was against unlawful sexual intercourse – fornication (porneia) – outside of marriage. Therefore, Paul urged the Corinthians ‘concerning the matters about which you wrote’ (1 Cor 7:1) to marry and not have illicit sex outside of marriage. Therefore, it is against God’s Word to advocate sex outside of marriage.

Let me be very practical about the implications. I have just retired after 34 years as a counsellor and counselling manager, mostly with secular Australians. I have spent the last 17 years in a full-time counsellor / counselling manager position and also supervising counsellors.

I wish I did not have to deal with the consequences of illicit sex and what it does to a relationship and marriage. A significant portion of my counselling would have been eliminated if I didn’t have to deal with porneia (fornication) before and after marriage.

I could not begin to tell you of the damage that multiple sexual partners does to a relationship and the impact of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) on a person and relationship. Only 2 weeks ago I was in the emergency department of a major Brisbane public hospital being treated for a collapse associated with my heart disease. In the bed beside me, only separated by a curtain, I heard the horrific screams of woman that went on and on. I overheard an emergency nurse ask her: How many sexual partners have you had in the last 12 months? She had many and the nurse told her that she could have an STD. These are the practical consequences of the practice of porneia (fornication).

What happens with anal sex and the diseases caused? See my articles; (1) Reasons to oppose homosexual marriage and (2) The dangers of anal sex and fisting

I hope you understand by now that there are practical reasons why God tells Christians to avoid fornication, adultery, sex outside of marriage.

And we haven’t dealt with what God says that happens when a man and a woman join in sex – the effects of bonding. See my article, God’s view of sex.

There are biblical and practical reasons why God forbids sex outside of marriage – porneia.

D. Sex outside of marriage not forbidden, she says! Really?

Male Female Symbols Clip Art

(courtesy clker.com)

This person wrote:

I wouldn’t place the idea of sex before marriage in the same category as murderers. No where in the Bible was a personed (sic) punished for having sex out of wedlock, nor does the Bible say a single word about unwed mothers sinning. Mary became pregnant with Jesus before she was married (emphasis added). [5]

This is factually untrue.[6]

1. Old Covenant consequences

I suggested that this person should go back to reading the Bible from Genesis to Revelation where she will find the truth about illicit sex outside of marriage.
Take a read of Leviticus 20:10-14,

‘“If a man commits adultery with the wife of his neighbour, both the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death. 11 If a man lies with his father’s wife, he has uncovered his father’s nakedness; both of them shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them. 12 If a man lies with his daughter-in-law, both of them shall surely be put to death; they have committed perversion; their blood is upon them. 13 If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them. 14 If a man takes a woman and her mother also, it is depravity; he and they shall be burned with fire, that there may be no depravity among you (ESV).

Here, under the Old Covenant, the punishment for illicit sex outside of marriage was death for both perpetrators.

Why, therefore, did this person promoted the lie that nowhere in the Bible was a person  punished for having sex out of wedlock?

As for Mary’s pregnancy with Jesus, it was not caused by a joining of a man and a woman so could not be regarded as porneia (illicit sex).

Also, take a read of Leviticus 18:20, ‘You shall not lie sexually with your neighbor’s wife and so make yourself unclean with her’ (ESV).

2. What about the New Covenant?

I encouraged this person to be accurate in what she wrote about this subject on the forum.

E. God’s view of sex before marriage

Google (public domain)

 

See my articles,

bronze-arrow-small  God’s view of sex.

bronze-arrow-small  Cooch grass and a biblical view of sex

bronze-arrow-small Sex at its best

bronze-arrow-small  Conned by the Condom

bronze-arrow-small  Why should we oppose homosexual marriage?

 

In summary: Do you want sex at its best?

clip_image002 Wait for the sexual relationship until marriage.

clip_image002[1] If that is too late, confess your sin and remain chaste.

clip_image002[2] Be faithful in marriage.

First Corinthians 7:2-5 (NLT) is a key passage in understanding God’s view of sex at its best (in marriage):

But because there is so much sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman should have her own husband.

3 The husband should fulfill his wife’s sexual needs, and the wife should fulfill her husband’s needs. 4 The wife gives authority over her body to her husband, and the husband gives authority over his body to his wife.

5 Do not deprive each other of sexual relations, unless you both agree to refrain from sexual intimacy for a limited time so you can give yourselves more completely to prayer. Afterward, you should come together again so that Satan won’t be able to tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

All of that sounds all fashioned, but sex at its best comes with God’s approval and research supports it.

F.  Works consulted

Arndt, W F & Gingrich, F W 1957. A Greek-English lexicon of the NewTestament and other early Christian literature.[7] Chicago: The University of Chicago Press (limited edition licensed to Zondervan Publishing House).

Jayson, S 2013. Cohabitation first is new norm for unmarrieds with kids (online), USA Today, April 4. Available at: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/04/04/cohabitation-families-pregnancy/2050073/ (Accessed 30 January 2014).

Fitzgibbons, R P 2005-2011. The risks of cohabitation (online). maritalhealing.com, available at: http://www.maritalhealing.com/conflicts/risksofcohabitation.php (Accessed 30 January 2014).

G.  Notes


[1] Jim Odom #19, 6 November 2013, Christian Fellowship Forum, Christian Morals, ‘Shacking up before marriage’. Available at: http://community.compuserve.com/n/pfx/forum.aspx?tsn=11&nav=messages&webtag=ws-fellowship&tid=122551 (Accessed 27 November 2013).

[2] Ibid., Ozspen #41, 27 November 2013.

[3] Ibid., Melissa #34.

[4] Ibid., ozspen #39.

[5] Ibid., Melissa #34.

[6] I wrote the follow as ozspen #40, ibid.

[7] This is ‘a translation and adaptation of Walter Bauer’s Griechisch-Deutsches Wörtbuch zu den Schriften des Neuen Testaments und der übrigen urchristlichen Literatur’ (4th rev & augmented edn 1952) (Arndt & Gingrich 1957:iii).

 

Copyright © 2014 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 18 November 2015.

Could you be conned by the condom message?

Thursday, December 19th, 2013

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By Spencer D Gear

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Warning

The information I provide below is not designed to replace the relationship between you, the patient and your primary health professional. If you have questions about the use of condoms and contraception, I urge you to speak with your doctor (in Australia they are called GPs – general practitioners).

The following details in this article are for your information and consideration only and do not constitute the practice of medicine. I encourage all people who read this to see a licensed medical practitioner if you have questions about sexuality, birth control, various methods of contraception, and all other medical factors relating to sexual intercourse.

However, I encourage you to seek out a GP whose world and life view is consistent with your own regarding sexual morality.

I do not take responsibility for any treatment, procedure, action or medical application that results from reading the information in this article. I urge you to speak with your primary health care provider before engaging in any form of self treatment regarding sexuality.

 THINGS THREATENING TEENS

clip_image005THE PREMARITAL SEX CHALLENGE

Suppose you were invited to join a parachute club for one year with 6 of your friends. If the pilot of the plane told you that one of the parachutes would fail that year, would you jump? You probably wouldn’t even get into the plane.

Suppose you are a cricketer (that gives away that I’m an Aussie). At the beginning of the season, the coach tells you that at least 3 out of the 22 young men on the two opposing teams would sustain fatal injuries during the year-long season. Would you sign the permission slip to play?

Young people today face many threats. They are under a lot of pressure – much more than when I was a teenager about 50 years ago. I want to expose one particular threat that I am deeply concerned about. I’m apprehensive about it because of the damage I have seen it do to so many of our youth—all with the permission and promotion of the government, and with the endorsement of the mass media. This concern I am talking about has a failure rate equivalent to the examples I gave of the parachutes: one-in-seven; 3 out of 22 in the two cricket teams.

A report from 2013 stated that

according to mainstream scientific sources, its efficacy has been grossly overstated by its promoters. After the use of just 10 condoms, the probability of at least one failure is 52%, according to the authoritative Contraceptive Technology and other sources.  22 major studies of more than 40,000 condoms used during heterosexual intercourse in five different countries have found that 4.6% of all the condoms broke and 2.5% of them partially or completely slipped off, for a total failure rate of 7.1%.  That means that about 1 in 14 condom uses results in failure.  Failure results in exposure to all the sexually-transmitted diseases that a partner has and may result in pregnancy. Even the highest-quality condoms used in the most effective manner possible by educated, monogamous, adult couples fail at a high rate under real-world conditions (Human Life International 2013).

One of the foci of this article is:

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I. CONNED BY THE CONDOM?

One of the greatest pressures for you today will come in this form.

clip_image009 IF IT’S NOT ON, IT’S NOT ON!

clip_image009[1] THAT FEELING DOESN’T STOP HIV: SAFE SEX DOES

What is this sex education message saying? If you don’t wear a condom, you will become pregnant. And, if you want to prevent getting sexually transmitted infections (STIs), use a condom.

Have you noticed that we rarely hear the term, ‘venereal disease’ today? When I was a youth, when we heard ‘venereal disease’ we knew it was picked up by being sexually promiscuous, sleeping around. But now, the trendy description is ‘sexually transmitted diseases’ (STD) or the more politically correct, ‘sexually transmitted infections’ (STI). Those don’t have the same negative stigma as ‘venereal disease’. Sexually transmitted diseases are those that ordinary people get—they just happen to be sexually transmitted.

If that’s not enough, we go ahead and give the initials, STI – that even further diminishes the impact. Our society, which promotes sleeping around, is just trying to make these diseases another public health issue, without relating them to anything moral.

As young people, you are bombarded with the message: ‘sex is great whenever you can get it, and that waiting for marriage is for fuddy-duddy’s—incredibly old fashioned’.

I’ve had it said to me by youth: all kinds of pressures are put on me to have sex, and no-one has given me any good reasons for saying ‘No’. That young people are saying, ‘Nobody has told me the many good reasons to say, ‘No’ to premarital sex’, is a tragedy.

One of your greatest threats is that you may be CONNED BY THE CONDOM message. This is one of my major concerns for youth. You are in danger of submitting to the propaganda that condom use will make ‘safe sex’ possible.

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A. DANGER IN THE MAKING

What the government and media don’t trumpet loudly is this:

1.     The ‘safe sex’ message is a disaster in the making. Condoms have been found to have a failure rate of at least 15.7%. I have yet to see this as a significant emphasis in government or media campaigns.

A 15.7% failure rate for condoms represents the percentage of married women using the condom as a contraceptive, who will become pregnant over the course of a year.

It seems that you also are not told clearly this additional information: It is possible to become pregnant once a month—a woman can conceive only one or two days per month. But we can only guess how high the failure rate for condoms must be in preventing disease, which can be transmitted 31 days of every month—365 days a year. Any sexually transmitted disease can be transmitted at any time during a sexual relationship with an infected person. (This statistic is from Planned Parenthood, USA. See Jones & Forrest 1989:103)

clip_image011 You also will not be told that the failure rate of condoms in the survey I have just mentioned was shockingly higher for certain groups of people: among young, unmarried, minority women the failure rate was over one-in-three (36.3%). Among unmarried Hispanic women in the US, it is as high as 44.5%–that’s approaching one-in-two condoms will fail. (Jones & Forrest 1989:105).

clip_image011[1] You will not be told condoms cannot be accurately tested for AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. So researchers have been studying surgical gloves made out of latex, the same material as condoms. They found ‘channels’ of 5 microns width penetrated the entire thickness of the glove. (Arnold, Whitman Jr., Fox & Cottier-Fox 1988:19)

clip_image011[2] The HIV virus measures 0.1 of a micron. (Dirruba 1987:1306)

In other words, the latex of condoms has channels through it that are 50 times wider than the HIV virus, which makes it a possibility that the virus could seep through the rubber (latex) of the condom.

You might be saying that those statistics from the late 1980s are out of date and condoms are now more reliable.

Let’s check in with William D. Gairdner, in his 2010 article, ‘Condomania’. He reported:

Governments, schools, and media have been united for three decades in a frenzied effort to protect us all from sexual diseases by telling us there is safety in latex. The condom will save us. Pleasure can be snatched from the jaws of disease, or perhaps death. Even Toronto’s Globe and Mail has on occasion deigned to lecture us about ‘safe-sex fatigue,’ boldly advising that ‘condoms are effective against sexually transmitted infection, including HIV.’
This week we learned that the condom is useless against Human Papillomavirus.
But what about HIV, the virus thought to be the cause of AIDS? It would seem utterly sensible to ask whether or not the latex condom will in fact do what we are told, and why it is that information so readily available is so late entering the public mind?
A few years ago I interviewed the then editor of Rubber Chemistry and Technology, Dr. C. Michael Roland of the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory in Washington D.C., about his research on ‘intrinsic flaws’ in latex rubber condoms and surgical gloves. What he told me was alarming, to say the least, and gives at least a partial answer to the question the Globe raised in its Sex-ed editorial: ‘Why, in spite of so much effort, does AIDS keep spreading?’ Roland said that what I am about to relate is ‘common knowledge among good scientists who have no political agenda’.
Electron microscopy reveals the HIV virus to be about O.1 microns in size (a micron is a millionth of a metre). It is 60 times smaller than a syphilis bacterium, and 450 times smaller than a single human sperm.
The standard U.S. government leakage test (ASTM) will detect water leakage through holes only as small as 10 to 12 microns (most condoms sold in Canada are made in the U.S.A., but I’ll mention the Canadian test below). Roland says in good tests based on these standards, 33% of all condoms tested allowed HIV-sized particles through, and that ‘spermicidal agents such as nonoxonol-9 may actually ease the passage’.
Roland’s first paper on this alarming subject (in Rubber World, 1993) shows electron microscopy photos of natural latex. You can see the natural holes, or intrinsic flaws, ‘inherent defects in natural rubber [ranging] between 5 and 70 microns’.
And it’s not as if governments don’t know. A study by Dr. R.F. Carey of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control reported in the same period that ‘leakage of HIV-sized particles through latex condoms [is] detectable for as many as 29 of 89 condoms tested’. These were brand new, pre-approved condoms. But Roland says a closer reading of Carey’s data actually yields a 78% HIV-leakage rate, and concludes: ‘That the CDC would promote condoms based on [this] study…suggests its agenda is concerned with something other than public health and welfare’. The federal government’s standard tests, he adds, ‘cannot detect flaws even 70 times larger than the AIDS virus’. Such tests are ‘blind to leakage volumes less than one microliter – yet this quantity of fluid from an AIDS-infected individual has been found to contain as many as 100,000 HIV particles’.
Condoms are not the solution to the tragedy of AIDS, he warns. ‘It is ludicrous to believe they allow one to safely engage in sexual relations with HIV carriers. Their promotion for that purpose is dangerous and irresponsible’. As one U.S. surgeon memorably put it, ‘The HIV virus can go through a condom like a bullet through a tennis net’.
It’s the same story with latex gloves. Gloves from four different manufacturers revealed ‘pits as large as 15 microns wide and 30 microns deep’. More relevant to HIV transmission, ‘5 micron-wide channels, penetrating the entire thickness were found in all the gloves’. He said the presence of such defects in latex ‘is well established’.
Perhaps that is why a review of major studies shows that while condom use may reduce ‘rates’ of infection, nevertheless the acknowledged HIV infection rate for couples using condoms is very high, ranging from 13 to 27%. Handing a student a condom to protect against AIDS is like giving him an overcoat to walk across a battlefield. Meanwhile, strict avoidance of sex with infected partners gives a 5,000-fold increase in protection.
For Canada, the story is the same. I investigated this in 1995 and have a letter on file from Health and Welfare Canada explaining that a standard test of condoms manufactured between 1987 and 1990, based on stringent tests of pressure, leakage, and volume (as in the U.S., there is no effort to examine micron-level leakage), revealed that an astonishing 40% of the condoms tested failed at least one of the tests. Tests in 1991 showed an ‘improved’ 28% rate. Why didn’t this hit the front page?

2.  The Bible is very clear that God’s purpose for you is to save your sexual relationship until marriage. Sexual purity before marriage and sexual fidelity in marriage are God’s plan. However, I ask you: based on the information I have just shared with you about condoms, do you think youth should be taught to abstain from sex until marriage?

No other approach to the epidemic of STDs will work. Abstain from sex before marriage and be faithful in marriage. That’s exactly what God designed for the maximum sexual joy of human beings. The ‘safe sex’ message you are getting from schools, universities, the government, the mass media, is a disaster in the making.

There is a word for people who rely on condoms as a method of birth control. We call them ‘parents.’

I believe it is criminal for me or anybody to tell you that that little latex device, called a condom, is ‘safe’. You are risking life-long pain and even death for a brief encounter of pleasure.

 

B. WHAT WOULD THE PROFESSIONALS SAY?

These figures are somewhat dated, but they are worthy of note. How do you respond to assessments by these professionals?

Dr. Harold Jaffe, chief of epidemiology at the National Centers for Disease Control [USA], said, ‘You just can’t tell people it’s all right to do whatever you want as long as you wear a condom. It (AIDS) is just too dangerous a disease to say that’.[1] Dr. Robert Renfield, chief of retro-viral research at the Walter Reed Army Institute [USA], has said, ‘Simply put, condoms fail. And condoms fail at a rate unacceptable for me as a physician to endorse them as a strategy to be promoted as meaningful AIDS protection’ (in Alexander 2013).

What do you think the professionals’ who advocate ‘safe sex’ would say about the information I have just shared with you, if they were sitting in on my teaching today? Would they call me a scare-monger who is undermining what the government is doing to prevent the spread of AIDS? Would they say I am out of touch?

I had been counselling for 34 years when I retired in 2011, the last 17 years as a full-time counsellor and counselling manager (I have a master’s degree in counselling psychology and doctoral studies in the same field). I am not a theorist. I deal with real people with real diseases. I am seeing the sad consequences of people who thought they could get away with the ‘safe sex’ message and are living with the highly infectious, appallingly painful blisters of genital herpes.

I will not go into what gonorrhoea, syphilis, chlamydia (pelvic inflammatory disease), HIV, and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can do. Dr. Patrick Dixon says: ‘Sleeping around has always been unhealthy, now it is becoming suicidal’ (Dixon 1987:29).

What would the ‘professionals’ say about my warning? I’ll give just one example. Dr. Theresa Crenshaw, past president of the American Association of Sex Education, Counsellors and Therapists, and a member of the national AIDS Commission, had first-hand experience with the ‘professionals’. She says this:

On June 19, 1987, I gave a lecture on AIDS to 800 sexologists at the World Congress of Sexologie in Heidelberg. Most of them recommended condoms to their clients and students. I asked them if they had available the partner of their dreams, and knew that person carried the virus, would they have sex, depending on a condom for protection? No one raised their hand. After a long delay, one timid hand surfaced from the back of the room. I told them that it was irresponsible to give advice to others that they would not follow themselves. The point is, putting a mere balloon between the healthy body and the deadly disease is not safe (Crenshaw 1987, in Antonio n d, emphasis added).[2]

[Dixon, 1987, alerted me to many of the above statistics and information that he obtained from ‘Condom Roulette’ (n.d.)]

‘There is only one way to protect ourselves from the deadly [sexual] diseases that lie in wait. It is abstinence before marriage, then marriage and mutual fidelity for life to an uninfected partner. Anything less is potentially suicidal’ and definitely against God’s purpose for your sexual expression’ (Focus on the Family 1992:7).  See also,

(1) ‘Dobson Addresses Condom Effectiveness;

(2) Results from the year 2000 of ‘Scientific Evidence on Condom Effectiveness for Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) Prevention’.

Let’s come to the year 2013 and the information provided by Columbia Health of Columbia University, New York City, about the risks associated with condom use:

During a year of typical condom use, between 10 and 15 out of 100 sexually active women will become pregnant. During a year of perfect condom use, that number drops to between 2 and 3 out of 100 sexually active women becoming pregnant. Just for the record, 21 percent (typical use) and 5 percent (perfect use) of women who use the female condom experience an unintended pregnancy within the first year of use.

Here’s the difference between perfect use and typical use. Perfect use means using a condom during intercourse consistently and correctly every single time, and reflects the effectiveness of condoms themselves. Typical use gets at the reality that people may use condoms incorrectly or may not use them every single time they have sex. That is, the ‘typical use’ condom effectiveness rates you see include the possibility of human error or omission. It follows that typical use condom effectiveness would be lower than perfect use – if someone uses a condom 90 percent of the times they have sexual intercourse there is a higher chance of pregnancy than if they use a condom 100 percent of the time.

As long as we’re on the subject of effectiveness, it s hould be noted that condoms are also highly effective in preventing transmission of HIV and a number of other STIs (sexually transmitted infections). Studies done on heterosexual sero-discordant couples — where one partner is HIV-positive and the other HIV-negative — show that HIV was transmitted in zero to two percent of couples who correctly and consistently used male condoms for both vaginal and anal sex. With typical use, the HIV transmission rate increased to between 10 and 15 percent. While condoms can also reduce the risk of other STIs, but their exact effectiveness is harder to determine (Columbia Health 2013).

Perhaps you’re saying, ‘That is not realistic today. It won’t work. Kids will not put it into practice’.

Some will. Some won’t. But it is still the only answer, and I must warn you of the bad consequences of the ‘safe sex’ message. If I knew my teenager was going to have intercourse, I would not recommend the use of a condom because it gives five dangerous messages. They are:

1. You can achieve ‘safe sex’. From what I’ve said so far, it should be evident that that is not possible.

2. It tells you that everybody is doing it – that’s not so.

3. It says that responsible adults expect you to do it. I never want to give any teenager that information. If I promote the so-called ‘safe sex’ message, it is encouraging you to do what is dangerous and what God does not want you to do.

4. If I tell you to use a condom, it gives you the message that it’s a good thing. I hope I’ve shown you that it is not, and terribly dangerous.

5. The fifth danger of recommending condoms is that it breeds promiscuity – sleeping around with anybody.

They are five destructive messages I NEVER want to convey to any young people. ‘Safe sex’ sounds so good, but it is pregnant with a dangerous message.

 

C.     CRY FOUL: ‘THAT INFORMATION IS OUTDATED’.

1. The story hasn’t changed

I can hear the objections: ‘That’s outdated information.  Get with it!  Be current!’  Before you get over enthused, we need to ask and answer this question: Has the story changed in recent years or is the message as destructive as it was back in the 1980s-90s? Westside Pregnancy Clinic, Los Angeles (2009) provided these details:

6pointGold-smallThe male condom as a birth control method, ‘If used consistently and correctly every single time, the male condom is 98% effective at preventing pregnancy. However, during typical use, condoms are around 85% effective at preventing pregnancy’. ‘The female condom is 79-95% effective at preventing pregnancy’.

Although some of the following statistics are somewhat dated, they do provide a pattern of condom failure rates and other issues (where possible, updated statistics were added):

6pointGold-small For persons under the age of 18 who have used condoms for at least a year, condoms were found to fail 18.4 percent of the time. [MD Hayward and J Yogi, ‘Contraceptive Failure Rate in the US: Estimates from the 1982 National Survey of Family Growth’, Family Perspectives, Vol 18, No. 5, Sept/Oct 1986:204.]

6pointGold-small Among sexually active teenage girls aged 12 to 18, 30% contracted an STI over a six month period, including condom users. [LM Dinerman et al, Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Med, 149(9):967-72, Sept. 1995.]

6pointGold-small For unmarried minorities, the condom failure rate is 36.3 percent, and for unmarried Hispanics, the failure rate is as high as 44.5 percent. [Jones and Forrest, 1989:105.]

6pointGold-small Among married couples where one partner was HIV-positive, 17 percent of the uninfected spouses contracted the disease, despite the use of condoms. [Contraceptive Technology, Hatcher et al 1990:173.] That is a rate greater than one in six. Statistically speaking, the uninfected partners would have been better off playing Russian Roulette. More recent research in Australia has indicated that

the most frequently reported routes of HIV exposure were male to male sex (71%) and heterosexual contact (18%), and the population rate of diagnoses have increased in both categories. Among the cases reported as heterosexually acquired (n = 2199), 33% were in people born in a high-prevalence country and 19% in those with partners from a high-prevalence country. Late presentation was most frequent in heterosexually acquired infections in persons who had a partner from a high-prevalence country: 32% compared with 20% overall (Guy et al 2008:91).

6pointGold-smallOnly 7 percent of HIV positive persons voluntarily notify their sexual partners. [New England Journal of Medicine, Jan 9, 1992.] More recent UK research in 2008 is more encouraging:

London-based Mortimer Market Centre’s audit showed HIV partner notification was not documented for 15% of newly diagnosed patients.[3] In another, separate study a case note review of 145 HIV positive pregnant women revealed 18% had no record of partner notification discussion with a healthcare worker.[4]

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Courtesy HealthCentral

HealthCentral reported in 2013 that:

If a condom is used regularly and correctly, it should prevent pregnancy 97% of the time, and prevent the spread of most STIs. The actual effectiveness among users, however, is only 80 – 90%. This is due to:

3d-red-star-small Break in condom due to manufacturing problems (rare)

3d-red-star-small Failure to use a condom during each act of intercourse

3d-red-star-small Occasional tear of a condom during intercourse

3d-red-star-small Semen spilling from a condom during withdrawal

3d-red-star-small Waiting too long to put a condom on the penis (penis comes into contact with vagina before condom is on) (HealthCentral 2013).

For an update on research, see: Renewing HIV Prevention: Solutions for Today’s Challenges, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (U.S.). This is from the Jon Cohen AIDS Research Collection.

2. Update on Condoms & Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)

clip_image013Clamydia

  a.    Are condoms a safe protection against STIs?

Latex or polyurethane (plastic) condoms are useful in helping to prevent certain diseases, such as HIV and gonorrhea. However, they are less effective protecting against herpes, trichomoniasis, and chlamydia. Condoms provide almost no protection against HPV, the cause of genital warts and cervical cancer’ (Contracept.org 2013).

b. In particular, are condoms a safe way to prevent contracting HIV & AIDS?

clip_image014 HIV

‘Condoms will reduce your chance of infection, compared to having sex without any form of protection. Nonetheless, one in three AIDS victims will contract the disease from an infected partner despite 100% use of condoms. One study found that among married couples where one partner was HIV-positive, 17% of the uninfected spouses contracted the disease, despite the use of condoms. The best way to prevent AIDS is abstinence. [More about HIV/AIDS.]’ (Contracept.org 2013).

The European Commission has a different view:

Brussels 20 November 2003

Questions have arisen recently over whether the HIV virus can or cannot pass through pores in latex condoms. EU research projects provide extensive proof that this is not the case: if properly used, condoms are safe. Over the last 15 years, the Commission has supported about a dozen research initiatives in this field across Europe, as well as in Asia and Africa, the areas most affected by the AIDS pandemic. EU projects focused on condoms’ potential porosity and quality standards, and included surveys of infection transmission in couples and prostitutes. Scientific evidence shows that condoms are the only effective protection against HIV/AIDS. HIV/AIDS kills over 3 million people every year, and the fight against this virus relies mostly on protective measures, including condoms….

ll the studies concluded that the male condom was an effective way of preventing the transmission of HIV, with an efficacy close to 100% when the condom is used appropriately (European Commission Research, ‘HIV/AIDS: European Research provides clear proof that HIV virus cannot pass through condoms’, 2003).

c. Testing condoms in Europe

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Red condom

‘In Europe, about 2.5 million condoms are bought daily. Until recently, no standard European test for holes existed. Manufacturers and testing laboratories in different countries used different tests, leading to questionable safety of condoms being traded across borders. National testing laboratories from seven European countries, an AIDS charity and a condom manufacturer decided to see which of five tests is best. After extensive testing of nearly 200,000 condoms, they found two accurate and reliable tests which are now included in the European standard for testing condoms for holes’ (‘Comparing condom tests’, 2002).

In a test of condoms over a 30-month project, the partners went through about 180,000 condoms. The results concluded that ‘the two test methods in the European standard are in fact the best ones to use’. These are:

(1) ‘Here, a condom is filled with water and rolled on absorbent paper. If the tester finds any wet patches on the paper, the condom is faulty. This test has been used in the UK and in Scandinavia’.

(2) It is ‘used in France and Germany, is known as the European electric test. This involves filling the condom with a salt solution that can carry an electric current. The tester dips the filled condom into a bath of salt solution and measures the electrical resistance. If the condom has a hole, the resistance is low as the current is not halted by the insulating condom material. A perfect ‘hole-free’ condom, on the other hand, will show a high resistance as the current cannot be carried through the condom’.

What were the conclusions?

‘The extensive testing and results confirmed that the two test methods in the European standard are in fact the best ones to use. They are the most effective and reliable….

This thorough study of the standard tests gives condom manufacturers and testing laboratories more confidence. They know that the tests actually give reliable results. Likewise, the public can be certain that the condoms they are buying are safe to use. Good health is obviously the first priority but the result also has important economic consequences for the industry with the European market of about 900 million condoms being worth 467 million ECU in 1994’ (‘Comparing condom tests’, 2002).[5]

d.  A challenge to the ‘holes in condoms’ data

The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concluded in 1992 that:

‘While holes large enough for HIV to pass through have been found in natural membrane condoms, latex condoms do not allow the HIV to pass through the condom unless the condom has been damaged or torn. Used properly, latex condoms are effective in reducing the risk of HIV infection’ (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1992). [as of 6 May 2007, see http://www.righto.com/theories/condoms1.html]

See this 1994 article, ‘Can HIV pass through the pores in latex condoms?’ This article by Cecil Adams[6] states:

In short, regardless of who’s right about latex, you’d be foolish to make condoms your only defense against infection. Abstinence or, more realistically, avoidance of high-risk sex partners are far more effective strategies. (If you’re a gay male and thus in a high-risk group to start with, at least stay away from IV drug users.) On the other hand, condoms do offer substantial protection, and if you insist on having sex with a high-risk partner, they’re a lot better than no protection at all.

 

II. REASONS FOR SAYING ‘NO’ TO PREMARITAL SEX

clip_image018’True Love Waits

Our society does not want to give you the message: Say, ‘No’, to premarital sex. Of course, that would be imposing their views on you if they promoted abstinence–and that would be moralistic–that’s what they would say. However, what do you think the ‘safe sex’ message is? Just that! Imposing the view that sex with anybody is okay, as long as the male wears a condom.

I am indebted to Josh McDowell & Dick Day for helping me to understand the many good reasons why you should say ‘No’ to premarital sex.Their two books are outstanding: Why Wait? (McDowell & Day, 1987) and How to Help Your Child Say ‘NO’ to Sexual Pressure (McDowell, 1987).

Before I share with you these reasons to abstain from sex until marriage, I must begin by focussing on God’s reasons for the instructions about sex:

A. God’s reasons for the instructions about sex.

We must begin by understanding the character of God.

  • He is not a killjoy wanting to ruin your fun,
  • He didn’t make us to enjoy sex and then frustrate us,
  • God made and designed us,
  • He knows everything–he is all-knowing,
  • He loves us so much he sent his Son to die for us. He always has our best interests in mind.
  • Only god knows what is best for us,
  • Everything he requires of us is meant only for our best good.

Deuteronomy 10:13, ‘Observe the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good’.

Those last four words are critical: for your own good. All of God’s commands to us, all of his requirements for us are not to break us and kill our joy, but they are for our own good. How come? Because he created us, knows what is best for us, and gives us instructions that are for lasting joy and satisfaction.

Psalm 84:11, ‘For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.

James 1:17, ‘Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows’.

God knows and wants the best for us. He knows how your total being works–body, mind and spirit. God knows how human relationships function most fully and joyfully. So when he says that sex belongs in marriage, he is not restricting your fun. He’s showing us the way to enjoy it best. God is not trying to stop us from having a wonderful sex life. He is giving us the positive instruction to have the most wonderful sex life possible.

I have found many Christians ignorant of this perspective. I was ignorant of it for many years and it destroyed my approach to sex in my teens.

If you look on God’s commands–you shall not commit adultery; you will flee sexual immorality, etc. If you view these commands as negative and designed to frustrate your enjoyment, you will miss what God wants for your sexual enjoyment. Remember, these negatives are given for positive reasons.

When my children were young, I warned them: do not touch a hot stove. That was very negative and it looked like I might have been stopping them from having fun. But it is really a positive command. If my Paul had burned himself, it would prevent him from enjoying life for a while.

That’s how it is with God: Whenever he gives a command, there are at least two positive reasons behind it:

(1). He’s trying to protect us from some harm, and

(2). He’s trying to provide something good for us.

Suppose that a hurdler trained hard and sacrificially for four years to prepare for the Olympics. But when he showed up for the race in Barcelona, he found that there were no lanes marked to keep the runners from crashing into each other. What if the hurdles were scattered all over the track and there was no finish line to show the end of the race?

The race would be a dangerous chaos, with runners bumping into each other, cutting one another with their spikes, tripping over each other and the hurdles, and running around in confusion as they figured out how and where the race was to end.

That Olympic race needs to be set up and managed by somebody who knows what he is doing. In the same way, we need someone–the Lord–who knows what he is doing and how this life is to be lived. We need someone to set the boundaries for us. Fortunately, God has done this even before we asked–the instructions are in his Word–the Bible.

Now to some more reasons why you should wait until marriage for the sexual relationship. These are solid reasons why you should say ‘No’ to premarital sex. There are four major areas: physical, spiritual, emotional and relational.

B. Physical reasons

God wants:

1. To protect us from addiction to premarital sex.

Sex is an extremely pleasurable activity–God made it that way. But you can get hooked on it. Illicit sex can become a real addiction causing all kinds of grief and our loving Lord wants to protect us from that.

2. God wants to protect you from the way premarital sex can damage the view you have of yourself.

Premarital sex puts you on a performance basis. That brings insecurity into any relationship. You will become anxious about how you are performing. You know that as soon as your ability to pleasure the other person diminishes, your relationship is in deep trouble.

Debora Phillips, author of Sexual Confidence and the director of the Princeton Center for Behaviour Therapy wrote:

Due to the instant sex of the sexual revolution, people perform rather than make love . Many women can’t achieve a sense of intimacy, and their anxiety about how well they perform blocks their chances for honest arousal.

Without genuine involvement, they haven’t much chance of courtship, romance or love. They’re left feeling cheated and burned out (in McDowell, 1987:129).

There’s another physical reason to wait until marriage. We’ve spent a good amount of time on it:

3. God wants to protect you from the threat of sexually transmitted diseases.

In one sexual encounter it is possible to pick up as many as five separate diseases.

If you have sex outside marriage you are at risk. As one researcher put it: ‘Unless you’re monogamous (married to one person) for a lifetime, with a monogamous partner, you’re at risk. And the more partners you have, the greater the risk’ (McDowell 1987:129).

A fourth physical reason to wait:

4. God wants to protect you from unwanted pregnancy and abortion.

To protect you from the physical reasons it involves, God says: don’t engage in premarital sex. On the positive side, God wants to provide you with the full beauty of sexual oneness in marriage. You will experience the beauty of sex most fully in the security, love and commitment of marriage.

The Lord want you to enter marriage free from the scars of your past life. God knows that the only way for you to experience maximum sex is in marriage. There are many good reasons to wait.

Let’s look at:

C. The spiritual reasons to say ‘NO’ to premarital sex.

1.    First, to protect you from sinning against your own body and losing respect for yourself and your body.

I Corinthians 6:18, ‘Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body’.

When you engage in premarital sex, there is often a deep loss of respect for your own body and for the body of your partner.

2. God wants to protect you from his righteous judgment.

Hebrews 13:4, ‘Marriage should be honoured by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral’.

In I Thess. 4:3-8, God says he will judge sexual immorality. God is holy and will judge those who break his commands.

King David’s sin with Bathsheba (2 Sam. 11-12) is a perfect example of this. Out of adultery a child was born, and in judgment God took the son’s life. It was a painful judgment for David.

Remember this: the Lord doesn’t always judge immediately, but it is always sure. Stay pure for God. God doesn’t want you to suffer at the hands of his justice.

There’s a third spiritual reason:

3.     God want s to protect you from anything that will tend to break fellowship with him.

There is guilt associated with premarital sex. God is uncomfortable to be around, so you withdraw from your relationship with God.

4.     A final spiritual reason to wait: God wants to protect you from being a poor witness to non-Christians because of your sinful sexual activity.

Christian values are different from the world’s. There should be a noticeable difference in our lifestyles. If the Christian young person is sexually active, how will that attract the unsaved to Christ? What will make them see that their lives need to be changed, if you are into illicit sex?

If you abstain from sex now, it is because God wants you to experience greater intimacy later–in marriage. But God is also calling you before marriage to greater intimacy with Himself.

There are emotional reasons why you should say ‘No’ to premarital sex:

D. Emotional reasons to wait

Premarital sex can cause you great emotional stress. God wants to protect you from this. Perhaps the greatest problem is:

1. Guilt

This comes from knowing you have violated God’s standards. As one young person put it: ‘One of the worst feelings many sexually active people experience is to get up the next morning and realise the person lying next to you is a total stranger. This robs you of the ability to experience the honesty of an intimate relationship. Then there are the flashbacks from past sexual encounters’.

Guilt is real. God doesn’t want your minds and consciences plagued by that kind of guilt.

Another emotional reason to wait is:

2. God wants to protect you from misleading feelings.

Young people who get involved sexually often confuse sex and love. When you confuse sex and love, you will confuse the concepts of giving and taking. Real love always gives and seeks the best interests of the person you love. But in premarital sex, each person is taking for his/her own selfish reasons. The confusion is this: taking can sometimes look like giving.

The third emotional reason:

3. God wants to protect you from the way premarital sex can create in you negative feelings about sex.

  • emotions of guilt,
  • resentment over being used,
  • fear of getting caught,
  • an unwanted pregnancy,
  • catching a sexually transmitted disease.

As one young woman put it, ‘I feel physically used and therefore undesirable. My past mistakes are evident on my body. Who would ever want to marry me? Can I ever freely give my body to a man? Would another man even want my body? Can I have children? Do I have some undetected STD? The past never goes away’ (McDowell 1987:134)

Immoral sex can make the sexual experience seem dirty and tainted to a young person, causing not only hurt feelings now, but tremendous difficulty later in the sexual part of marriage.

4. God wants to protect you from the difficulty of breaking off a bad relationship when sex is involved.

Sex either does one of two things to a dating relationship. It either ends a good relationship, or it sustains a bad relationship. The bonding that takes place through sexual intercourse, or even heavy petting, causes a person to look unrealistically on the relationship.

It may cause you to . . .

  • see the relationship deeper than it really is,
  • think you know the other person better than you do.

On the positive side, if you wait for marriage, it . . .

  • allows maturity to develop,
  • allows self-control, character and the ability to focus on the relationship to grow.
  • waiting also shows love for your future mate.
  • When you say ‘NO’ you are saying: ‘I value the feelings and respect of my future mate more than the pleasure of the moment’.

E. Relational reasons to wait

1. God wants to protect you from a breakdown in communication.

Spending time in sex takes away from the time that could be spent in getting to know each other more.

2. Sex makes a good courtship difficult because, in addition to reducing communication, it usually comes to dominate a premarital relationship.

So, in the time when the man and woman should be getting to know each other well and developing the social, intellectual and emotional aspects of the relationship, that process is cut short by the lack of communication and focus on the physical.

3. God wants to protect you from the comparison of past sexual partners.

This always plagues those who engage in premarital sex. In my 34 years of counselling youth, relationships, marriages and families, I have never met a person who has been able to forget former lovers entirely. This plagues them in marriage. Even in the marriage bed, they may be comparing the spouse with a previous partner. This is wrong in and of itself, but it also is cheating your spouse.

The other side of the coin is that if a person knows his or her spouse was sexually active before marriage, he or she also knows comparisons are also going on in the spouse’s mind.

This is unhealthy for marriage. God wants to protect you from it.

Take a read about how the ‘AIDS/HIV rate was slashed in Uganda after 10 years of True Love Waits. Further:

July 29 1994 – True Love Waits National Display at DC ’94, Washington, D.C., with 210,000 cards displayed on the National Mall between the Capitol and the Washington Monument; 25,000 youth attend rally.

On the same day, students conduct a parade and rally in Kampala, Uganda, launching True Love Waits efforts in HIV/AIDS plagued Africa; IMB missionary Sharon Pumpelly initiates a close partnership with Uganda’s first lady Janet Museveni that sets in motion the most effective True Love Waits efforts resulting in a reduction of the HIV/AIDS infection rate from 30 percent in 1993 to 6 percent in 2006 (A History of True Love Waits, LifeWay Christian Resources 2013).

 

III. CONCLUSION

There are many valid reasons for you to say ‘NO’ to premarital sex. God really is acting in love when He commands that sex be enjoyed with in the bonds of marriage.

This is a message of prevention for those who are virgins. God loves you and wants to protect you from entering into the damaging consequences of illicit sex.

On the other hand, I know there may be some reading this for whom this message is too late – you have lost your virginity, you are loaded down with guilt, you know what I have been saying is true. What can you do?

This is exactly what I had to do. Run to the cross. You cannot undo what you have done, but you can be forgiven. God will lay down all charges against you if you repent and ask his forgiveness. The biblical message for all Christians who sin is I John 1:9, ‘If we confess our sin, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness’.

You can be forgiven today. If the Lord has convicted you about sexual sin in your life, respond to him today. But let me remind you of the Scriptures, ‘You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his own heart’ (Matthew 5:27-28).

Ladies, if you have lusted after a man or had impure sexual thoughts about him, you have sinned against God and need to seek God’s forgiveness and cleansing.

Gentlemen, if you have lusted after a woman, you have committed adultery or sexual immorality in your heart and need to seek God’s forgiveness.

Do it today. Come and seek God, ask for his forgiveness, and he is sure to cleanse every sin (1 John 1:9).

It is wise to have somebody to whom you will be accountable so that he (for males) or she (for females) can ask you at any time for absolutely honest answers to these questions: ‘Have you been tempted to engage in sex outside of marriage this last week/month?’ and ‘Have you committed acts of sexual immorality this last week/month for which you need to seek God’s forgiveness?’

Works consulted

Alexander, R 2013. High school sex ed indoctrination reaching dangerous levels (online). Townhall.com, 9 December. Available at: http://townhall.com/columnists/rachelalexander/2013/12/09/high-school-sex-ed-indoctrination-reaching-dangerous-levels-n1759689/page/full (Accessed 15 December 2013).

Antonio, G n d. Article from AIDS Rage & Reality (online).[7] Available at: http://crl.i8.com/Eternity/Aidsinfo.html (Accessed 14 December 2013).

Antonio, G 1993. AIDS: Rage & reality: Why silence is deadly. Dallas: Anchor Books.

Arnold, S G; Whitman Jr., J E; Fox, C H & Cottier-Fox, M H 1988. Latex gloves not enough to exclude viruses, Nature 335, September 1.

Comparing condom tests (online) 2002. European Commission, Research – Europa. Available at: http://ec.europa.eu/research/success/en/med/0309e.html (Accessed 14 December 2013).

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 1992. HIV/AIDS Prevention Training Bulletin (online), July 1. Available at: http://www.safersex.org/condoms/work/ss6.4.html (Accessed 3 June 2002).

Columbia Health 2013. Go Ask Alice: An explanation of condom failure rates (online). Columbia University in the City of New York, 11 April. Available at: http://goaskalice.columbia.edu/explanation-condom-failure-rates (Accessed 15 December 2013).

Condom roulette n d. In Focus, Family Research Council, 700 Thirteenth St., NW, Suite 500, Washington, DC, 20005.

Crenshaw, T 1987. From remarks made at the National Conference on HIV, Washington DC, November 15-18, 1987 (available in Antonio n d).

Dew, D 1995. Condom ‘safe sex’ theory full of holes. Available at: http://dianedew.com/condom.htm (Accessed 26 May 2002) – based on an article written for The Covington News, March 16, 1995.

Dirruba, N E 1987, The condom barrier, American Journal of Nursing, October, 1306-1309.

Dixon, P 1987. The truth about AIDS. Eastbourne: Kingsway Publications.

Dobson, J 1992. Focus on the Family newsletter, February 13.

Focus on the Family 1992. In defense of a little virginity: A message from Focus on the Family (online). Spring Hope Enterprises, July 30, 7. Available at: http://she.stparchive.com/Archive/SHE/SHE07301992P07.php (Accessed 14 December 2013).

Green, E C 2003. Rethinking AIDS prevention: Learning from successes in developing countries. Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers. Part of the publication is available free online as a Google Book HERE.

Gruson, L 1987. Condoms: Experts fear false sense of security. The New York Times, 18 August, Section C, p. 1. [This was cited in Green (2003:327).]

Guy, R J; McDonald A M; Bartlett, M J; Murray, J C; Giele, C M; Davey, T M; Appuhamy, R D; Knibbs, P; Coleman, D; Hellard, M E, Grulich, A E & Kaldor, J M 2008. Characteristics of HIV diagnoses in Australia, 1993–2006. Sexual Health (online) 5(2) 91–96, 2 June. Abstract CSIRO Publishing. Available at: http://www.publish.csiro.au/?paper=SH07070 (Accessed 19 December 23013).

HealthCentral 2013. Condoms (online). Remedy health media. Available at: http://www.healthcentral.com/genital-herpes/prevention-8800-108_1.html (Accessed 14 December 2013).

HIV partner notification: a missed opportunity? 2012. NAT: Transforming the UK’s response to HIV, 1-32. Available at: http://www.nat.org.uk/media/Files/Publications/May-2012-HIV-Partner-Notification.pdf (Accessed 17 December 2013).

Human Life International 2013. Condoms: Little-known scientific facts (online). Available at: http://www.hli.org/resources/condoms-little-known-scientific-facts/ (Accessed 15 December 2013).

Jones, E F and Forrest, J D 1989. Contraceptive failure in the United States: Revised estimates from the 1982 National Survey of Family Growth, Planned Parenthood, USA: Family Planning Perspectives, Vol. 21 No. 3, May/June.

McDowell, J 1987. How to help your child say ‘NO’ to sexual pressure. Milton Keynes, England: Word Publishing.

McDowell, J & Day, D 1987. Why wait? What you need to know about the teen sexuality crisis. San Bernardino, CA: Here’s Life Publishers.

Westside Pregnancy Clinic 2009. Contraception (online). 11500 W Olympic Blvd #570 Los Angeles, CA 90064. Available at: http://www.wpclinic.org/sexual-health/contraception/ (Accessed 17 December 2013).

Copyright (c) 2013 Spencer D. Gear. This document is free content. You can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the OpenContent License (OPL) version 1.0, or (at your option) any later version. This document last updated at 19 December 2013.

Notes:


[1] This was cited in Gruson (1987:1).

[2] Some of these details are in Antonio (1993:271).

[3] Mortimer Market Centre 2010. How to improve partner notification in HIV prevention (unpublished) [HIV partner notification 2012:28, n. 43].

[4] Forbes K, Lomax N, Cunningham R et al (2008): ‘Partner notification in pregnant women with HIV: findings from three inner city clinics’, HIV Medicine , vol. 9 (HIV partner notification 2012:28, n. 44).

[5] This page is no longer being updated.

[6] At the time of writing this article, Cecil Adams was a syndicated columnist for 30 newspapers across Canada and the USA, writing the weekly column, ‘The Straight Dope’. Available at: http://www.straightdope.com/pages/faq/cecil (Accessed 17 December 2013). For a list of newspapers carrying ‘The Straight Dope’, see: http://www.straightdope.com/pages/newspapers (Accessed 17 December 2013).

[7] AIDS Rage & Reality gives a reference to Angonio (1993).

 

Copyright (c)  2013 Spencer D. Gear.  This document last updated at Date: 14 October 2015.

I was conned by Christian counselling [1]

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

image

(image courtesy of ChristArt.com)

By Spencer D Gear

What is causing me to use such a provocative title. To be ‘conned’ is a serious allegation. Let’s examine what has happened to others and me as we have worked in Christian counselling.

THE INFECTION

I am deeply concerned about something that is contaminating the Christian church. It is already causing deep problems and promises to be destructive — it could tear the heart out of our gospel.

These are quotes from a leading Christian author:

1. Please complete this author’s statement: “The basic personal need of each personal being is _____________. [3]

2. “When we raise our voices in favor of a radical commitment to biblical sufficiency, there is danger of losing depth in our understanding.” [4]

3. “A commitment to biblical sufficiency has sometimes resulted in shallow explanations of complex disorders. And shallow explanations promote the unchallenged acceptance of superficial solutions… The result is a shallow understanding of problems and solutions that sounds biblical but helps very few.” [5]

4. “Reminders of God’s love and exhortations to meditate on Jesus’ care sometimes provide about as much help as handing out recipes to people waiting in a food line.” [6]

5. “Unless we understand sin as rooted in unconscious beliefs and motives and figure out how to expose and deal with these deep forces within the personality, the church will continue to promote superficial adjustment while psychotherapists, with or without biblical foundations, will do a better job than the church of restoring troubled people to more effective functioning. And that is a pitiful tragedy.” [7]

6.  “Although the Scriptures provide the only authoritative information on counseling, psychology and its specialized discipline of psychotherapy offer some valid insights about human behavior which in no way contradict Scripture.” [8]

All of the above quotes are from leading Christian psychologist, Dr. Lawrence J. Crabb Jr. They are a symptom of what is happening in the evangelical, charismatic, Pentecostal and liberal churches today. We expect the liberal church to take that line because it has rejected the infallible Word of God. However, something is desperately wrong when it has invaded the churches that accept the Bible as authoritative and proclaim the gospel.

The tragedy is underlined by Lawrence Crabb’s proclamation: When dealing with sin, “the church will continue to promote superficial adjustment while psychotherapists, with or without biblical foundations, will do a better job than the church of restoring troubled people to more effective functioning.” [9]

A. WHAT IS HAPPENING? THE WOLF AT WORK

1.  Based on Psalm 1, those who try this amalgamation are walking in the “counsel of the wicked”.

2.  Matthew 16:6: “`Be careful,’ Jesus said to them. `Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees’.”

3. I Cor. 5:6: “Don’t you know that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough?”

Yeast/leaven has crept into the church and it is sweeping through the church–and most of us don’t know it is happening. It is so subtle.

3.  Colossians 2:8: “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.”

I believe deceptive, human philosophies are infiltrating the church and we are being taken captive.

4.  Read 2 Corinthians 6:14-18. We are unequally yoked together with unbelievers. The end result will be as devastating as if you are yoked with an unbeliever in marriage, or business, etc.

5.  Isaiah 6:20-21: “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; who substitute bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, And clever in their own sight.” [10]  I believe we are calling evil good and darkness light in this invasion in the church.

It may well be a heresy that is unleashed in the church. If it were an attack on:

  • the substitutionary atonement, we would recognise it immediately;
  • the deity of Christ, it would stand out like a sore thumb;
  • the authority of the Scripture, it would be self-evident and we would oppose it.

But here we have an attack on the sufficiency of Christ and the Scriptures to meet your needs as a believer and there seem to be few objectors.

Evangelist, conference speaker and author, Leonard Ravenhill, wrote: “This psychoheresy is a menace and threatening to become a plague in the pulpit. Your trumpet is needed against what is nothing less than heresy.” [11]

In Christian Psychology’s War on God’s Word, Jim Owen writes: “If the church will not take a hard look at ‘Christian’ psychology, then it is well on its way to becoming enmeshed in a modern day heresy.” [12]

It is one thing to buy cars manufactured by unregenerate Shintoists (Japanese) or pharmaceuticals manufactured by some secular humanist, but it is quite another thing to turn to unbelievers to discover:

  • the nature of human beings,
  • the diagnosis of problems of living,
  • the cure of problems of living.

For the first 1900 years of the church’s existence, the “cure of souls” ministry (helping people with their personal problems) was given to the churches. Since the time of psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, about 100 years ago, the “cure of souls” has become the “cure of minds” as we have handed people’s problems over to the psychotherapists, psychiatrists, social workers, counsellors, and other mental health professionals.

When we integrate psychology and the Bible, we are implying that God gave commands and instructions for living without providing all the necessary means of obedience until the coming of psychology.

When I speak of the danger of psychology, I am referring to the secular theories and techniques which “depend on human tradition”. They are human-made ideas which offer substitutes for salvation and sanctification.

I am “not referring to the entire field of psychological study”. But I am “referring to that part of psychology which deals with the nature of [human beings], how [they] should live, and how [they] can change. It involves values, attitudes and behavior.” [13]

B.  WHAT IS HAPPENING?

1.  The psychological society is leading to the psychological church.

The church is being seduced by departing from the fundamental truth of the gospel and what leads to Christian growth. It is using unproven and unscientific psychological opinions of secular people, in place of absolute confidence in the biblical truth of God. Theories of psychological counselling are becoming poison to the soul.

The church has bought into these myths:

    a. Psychology is science rather than religion.

b. The best kind of counselling combines psychology and the Bible.

c. People who are experiencing mental-emotional-behavioural problems are mentally ill. They are supposedly psychologically sick. We take the line that a medical doctor treats the body, a psychologist treats the mind and emotions, and a Christian minister deals with strictly spiritual things.

d. Another myth: Psychotherapy has a high record of success. [14]

Christian psychologist, William Kirk Kilpatrick, concludes that, “True Christianity does not mix well with psychology. When you try to mix them, you often end up with a watered-down Christianity instead of a Christianized psychology. But the process is subtle and is rarely noticed.” [15]

 

2.  We are becoming the psychologised church by integrating psychology with the Bible.

We see this in:

  • Psychologised sermons with pastors quoting psychologists as the experts and using psychological concepts in their sermons;
  • Church counselling has become psychologised–the Bible is supposedly not enough.
  • Those who want to help people in the church get psychological training.
  • When people have problems of living and go to the pastor for help, he quickly refers them to the psychological professionals.

A pastor friend of mine, who pastors in one of our capital cities, said that he doesn’t have time for counselling so he does one interview and then refers his parishioners to psychological professionals. Even conservative churches are now hiring people with psychological training to pursue church based counselling ministries.

Christian schools and Bible colleges are partially or entirely teaching psychological rather than biblical solutions to problems.

It is almost compulsory that marriage and family counsellors or psychologists be speakers at conferences, camps, or guests on radio shows.

Psychology has invaded the church and it is not a good thing, as we shall see.

There is an international organisation, based in the United States, called the Christian Association for Psychological Studies (CAPS), an organisation composed of practising therapists.  Martin & Deidre Bobgan surveyed them to discover which psychotherapeutic approaches most influenced their private practices of psychology/counselling. They listed 10 approaches. The results were:

  • Client-Centred Therapy (Carl Rogers) and Reality Therapy (William Glasser) were the top two choices.
  • Freud’s psychoanalysis and Albert Ellis’s Rational Emotive Therapy followed closely behind.
  • The only biblical approach, Jay Adams’ Nouthetic Counselling, tied for last place.

Many of the psychotherapists were eclectic–using a variety of approaches. There are over 250 competing and often contradictory therapies using over 10,000 techniques that are not always compatible. [16]

What I find so alarming is that the number one method used by Christian psychotherapists is Carl Rogers’ method of counselling. Christians often find his active listening, client-centred, non-judgmental approach very attractive. I know of one Bible College in Australia whose counselling department is dominated by Rogerian counselling.

However, never let us forget that Rogers’ basic premise is that human beings are good and can solve their own problems. That’s why he believes in active listening and unconditional positive regard of the client. No matter how much prayer and Bible reading you have in counselling, if you are acting from Rogers’ premise it can’t be biblical. Rogers also said that the crowning discovery of his lifetime of counselling was love. For him it means “love between persons.” [17]  Freud said the basic problem was your psychosexual urges in the unconscious.

Albert Ellis says your problem is with irrational self talk that needs to be changed. He is an atheist who would drive any religion that believes in absolutes out of any counsellee. Yet this is what is being used in the name of Christian psychology by Christian therapists. Several Christian counsellors have developed a Christianised version of Ellis’s Rational Emotive Therapy, calling it Rational Christian Thinking: Renewing the Mind. [18]

Secular psychological theories are built on the secular psychologist’s view of human nature and his/her personality. Secular therapist Dr. Linda Riebel acknowledges this. She says: “Theories of human nature reflect the theorist’s personality as he or she externalizes it or projects it onto humanity at large… The theory of human nature is a self-portrait of the theorist . . . emphasizing what the theorist needs.” [19]

In the book, Makers of Psychology: The Personal Factor, Dr. Harvey Mindess states it clearly: “The leaders of the field portray humanity in their own image. . .  Each one’s theories and techniques are a means of validating his own identity.” [20]

They portray “humanity in their own image” and yet that is what Christian psychologists want to integrate with biblical Christianity. From this premise, you can expect psychologised religion that drifts away from the Bible.

This is all done in the name of integrating psychology with theology. Martin & Deidre Bobgan call it “amalgamania” [21].

Why is it done? All in the belief that:

3. All Truth is God’s Truth

They pick up this mish-mash of psychological opinion, try to glean some facts from it, and proclaim “All truth is God’s truth”. I don’t believe they are sure what God’s truth is. Is God’s truth what Freud says about obsessive neurosis? Or Carl Rogers’ ideas on human love? Or B.F. Skinner’s behaviourism that wants to manipulate your environment?

Similarities do not make psychology and Christianity compatible. Christianity and other world religions have similarities, but that does not make them compatible.

To say that the discoveries of unredeemed people like Freud, Rogers, Jung, etc. are God’s truth is to undermine the very basis of the Word of God. They are confusing facts with truth. [22]

There is a great deal of difference between taking your car to an unbelieving motor mechanic and seeking answers to life’s problems from an unregenerate psychologist.

What else is happening?

4. Secular values are invading the church

Even secular psychologists admit this. Dr. Hans Strupp says: “There can be no doubt that the therapist’s moral and ethical values are always `in the picture.’” [23]

Psychiatrist, Dr. Perry London, agrees: “Every aspect of psychotherapy presupposes some implicit moral doctrine… Moral considerations may dictate, in large part, how the therapist defines his client’s needs, how he operates in the therapeutic situation, how he defines `treatment,’ and `cure,’ and even `reality.’” [24]

Yet Christian psychologists want to take this secular morality and integrate it with Christianity. It will make a poisonous mixture.

What is really happening?

5. It is subverting the Christian faith

The antagonism of psychology towards Christianity gradually seeps into the church. We use psychological ideas to explain why we are the way we are, how we should live, what we need, and how we change. The claims of Christ are compromised.

Instead of denying the validity of the Word of God, we simply tell pastors and gifted Christians that they are not qualified to minister to the deep levels of human need — and we refer them to psychologists.

Pastors and Christians: You are ministers of the Word. Everything, including counselling, must be guided by the Word. Psychologists want to see the counsellee restored to what society considers normal. Our goal is to have the counsellee restored to right relationship with God. That is not the goal of secular counselling. How dare we allow such heresy to invade the church.

Carl Rogers confessed: “Yes, it is true, psychotherapy is subversive. . . Therapy, theories and techniques promote a new model of man contrary to that which has been traditionally accepted.” [25]

Bernie Zilbergeld, in his book, The Shrinking of America writes:

Psychology has become something of a substitute for old belief systems. Different schools of therapy offer visions of the good life and how to live it, and those whose ancestors took comfort from the words of God and worshipped at the altars of Christ and Yahweh now take solace from and worship at the altars of Freud, Jung, Carl Rogers, Albert Ellis, Werner Erhard, and a host of similar authorities. While in the past the common reference point was the Bible and its commentaries and commentators, the common reference today is a therapeutic language and the success stories of mostly secular people changers. [26]Psychology is undermining the church.

C. WHAT IS IT DOING TO THE CHURCH? THE SHEEP ARE SCATTERED

I’ll have to be brief here because each one of these areas is a sermon in itself:

1. The Self

Psychology is self-centred. Listen to the terms: self-fulfilment, self-love, and self-actualisation. Self denial and dying to self are out!

Observe Christian book titles: Love Yourself; the Art of Learning to Love Yourself; Loving Yourselves; Celebrate Yourself; You’re Someone Special; Self-Esteem: You’re Better than You Think; Self Esteem: The New Reformation. [27]

Something else is happening to the church and Christians:

2. Self-esteem

Most secular and Christian psychologists accept the premise that low self-esteem is the cause of most human behavioural problems. The good news of the psychologised gospel is that

People who realize their self-worth don’t have any need to do ugly or unkind things. And this is the point, please note, where Christianity and psychology part company. People will continue to behave badly, says the Christian, because human nature is twisted, and liking yourself doesn’t remove the twist. But psychological theory doesn’t take account of the Fall; it takes the position that there are no bad natural inclinations. [28]We don’t need a pat on the back or a regular positive affirmation. We need radical surgery. Humanity’s problem is not poor self-esteem.

“G.K. Chesterton once observed that the doctrine of fallen man is the only Christian belief for which there is overwhelming empirical evidence.” [29]

Another invasion in the church:

3. Recovery groups

Christians have bought into the “disease” model of Alcoholics Anonymous and so we have “New Hope” groups for those from dysfunctional families, recovery groups for children of alcoholic families. Based on the A-A model, they are 12-step programs that say your problem is sickness, not sin. You will always be an alcoholic. It’s a disease. The Bible calls drunkenness sin. The disease approach denies the spiritual dimensions of the problem.

An advertisement for a “Christians in Recovery” conference said that 90% of Americans come from

Dysfunctional homes–that is, homes that are not just damaged by, say, alcoholism or drugs, but also by such disorders” as workaholism, perfectionism, depression, compulsive behavior, intimacy problems, etc. These problems, we are informed, affect the family as much as does alcoholism.The advertisement continued:

For years millions of Americans have had to struggle alone with these kinds of dysfunctions. But times are changing and many of these individuals, including Christians, are tearing down the ‘walls of denials’ and opening doors of opportunity for emotional and spiritual healing. [30]How? Through “Recovery Groups” which call sin disease.

Closely related to this is:

4. Codependency

This is the psychological “disease of those with a `caretaker’ mentality, who are over committed and over involved in the lives of needy individuals… They have a high need for keeping people dependent on them.” 31]

Codependency is an extremely subjective definition and runs counter to the biblical view of self-denial. If you blame some addictive behaviour of another person for your problem, you are not taking personal responsibility.

Another example of how psychology has invaded the church is:

5. Healing of the Memories

This uses the occult technique of visualisation. The positive confession heresy uses a similar technique. I cannot and must not use such pagan procedures.

6. Victimisation

This is sanctification by victimisation therapy. You are a victim of your past, your environment, somebody else’s behaviour. This threatens to destroy biblical teaching on progressive sanctification.

Here’s a paraphrase of Luke 9:59-61 (our Lord’s call to obedience): The Lord said to one man, “Follow me.”

But the man replied: “Lord, first let me go back and analyze my childhood. Bad and harmful things were done to me then. My family failed to affirm me properly. Let me go back and again feel deeply the hurts and disappointments I experienced. Only then can I forgive those who inflicted them upon me. Only then can I overcome my dysfunctional behavior. Only then will I be able to develop an appropriate self-esteem. Only then can I truly ask your forgiveness. Only then, Lord, will I be free to follow you.”Jesus replied: “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God. No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” [32]

We see psychology in the church in the doctrine of rejection being preached and counselled in some quarters.

7. Rejection

My wife was adopted into a loving, caring family when she was a baby just three weeks’ old. She read recently: “Every person who has been adopted suffers from a spirit of rejection.”  This is psychological confusion, not biblical Christianity. In addition, that is NOT what my wife experiences.

Christian counsellor, Charles Solomon says: “Research has also substantiated a cause-and-effect relationship between a mother’s rejection of the unborn child and the psychological difficulties of the child later in life.” [33]

That’s an interesting psychological idea, but research has not substantiated it. Just phone any medical school with faculty in child development and you’ll find there is no such evidence. How could that be quantified?

8. The four temperaments & personality testing

Space doesn’t permit us to go into these, except to say that the four temperaments are based on an occult model.  For a detailed assessment, see Martin & Deidre Bobgan, Four Temperaments, Astrology & Personality Testing. [33a]

9.    New language

  • disease for sin nature and bondage to lust,
  • addiction — people don’t lust any more, they have an addiction,
  • dysfunctional is a substitute for sin,
  • self-actualisation is equated with sanctification,
  • reprogramming in place of what the Bible terms “renewing the mind”

We are uneasy with sinners, salvation and sanctification so we say people hurt, have diseases, are traumatised, are addicted and dysfunctional. In a victimised world, these words sound better than sinner, rebel and wicked.

Christian psychology is writing a different gospel. The Bible points me to the cross and says, “Stand there, or be lost.” [34]

10. Whatever became of sin?

A Gallup poll of evangelical college students in the USA asked if they disapproved of premarital sex. Forty-eight percent answered “No”. I am disturbed by the deliberate avoidance of “sin” and “sinners” by evangelicals. This is a foreign gospel. [35]

D.     I WAS CONNED BY CHRISTIAN COUNSELLING: I WENT ASTRAY

What I write is not theory. I have learned from bitter experience what happens when you mix secular psychology with the Bible. I wasted 10 years of my life pursuing the psychological integration model. I came out of a fine evangelical seminary in the USA with a master’s degree in pastoral psychology and counseling (counselling is the Aussie spelling).

I was convinced that the teachings of Albert Ellis (Rational Emotive Therapy) and his changing your irrational self-talk to his definition of rational self-talk, was the equivalent of “renewing the mind.” I was deluded. When a Christian came to me for counselling, say, for depression, anger, anxiety, marriage breakdown, etc., I never began with what the Bible says. I began with Albert Ellis. I counselled according to his model for over 10 years.

This is what a Rational Emotive Therapy text says:

What is ethical, then, is specific to each situation; there are no absolute rights and wrongs… The ethics that RET advocates are not based upon rigid dogmatism. In fact, RET holds that rigidity, authoritarianism, dogmatism, and absolutism are among the worst features of any philosophic system and are the very styles of thinking that lead to neurosis and disturbance (Walen et al 1980:9; details at note [36]).In humanism, the reasoning individual is the source of wisdom, not the almighty God. The existence of God is questioned or even denied entirely, since God is not needed to explain the creation of things (that is the job of science), nor is He needed to create an ethical code (for that can be done by clear thinking). . .

While Ellis is an unabashed hedonist, humanist, and atheist, one can retain a form of religion and practice RET. Many Christian and Jewish clergy do just that, although they do not share Ellis’ atheism. . .

A rational belief is not absolutistic…. An irrational belief is a command. [36]

Conclusion: For the above promoters of Rational Emotive Therapy, God’s absolutes are an irrational belief, but you can retain a form of religion and still practice RET. I concluded that the RET model is riddled with Ellis’s castigation of absolutes and his promotion of humanistic ethics. I forsook it in 1990.

It took a friendly debate with international author, Dave Hunt, at the church I pastored in Canberra, ACT, Australia in 1990 and encouragement by my wife, Desley, to investigate the sufficiency of the Bible for counselling.

I went to a secular university pursuing a Ph.D. in counselling psychology. But even my confrontation with this secular mentality in 1982-84, did not cause me to turn around. But my debate with Dave Hunt did.

Since then, I have sought to counsel according to the sufficiency of Scripture as a biblical counsellor (and it has not been an easy job in` putting off’ the psychology that I had imbibed into my counselling). Naive, you might say. Not when I read, 2 Peter 1:3-4:

His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. [37]I studied under Christian psychologist and ordained minister, Dr Richard Dobbins. When I pastored a church in Ohio, I showed his film series, “The Believer and His Self Concept.” In that film he leads the viewers through a series of steps and ends up reciting together: “I am a lovable person. I am a valuable person. I am a forgivable person.” [38]

Here’s the confusion. The biblical fact is that God loves and forgives us. But it is a humanistic psychological lie that we are intrinsically lovable, valuable and forgivable.

The hymn writer puts its in much better theology: “Nothing in my hand I bring. Simply to Thy cross I cling.” I bring nothing. The biblical truth is: “I am not a lovable person. I am not a valuable person. I am not a forgivable person. But, Christ died for me!” That’s the grace of God. How dare we confuse psychology with Bible. We do so to our own downfall and the church’s seduction. Our focus must be Christ — he’s the lovable person, the valuable person and the forgiving person. [39]

The psychological message sounded so convincing to me. But I was conned by Christian counselling.

E. WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT IT? PROTECTING THE SHEEP FOLD

1. I encourage all Christian counsellors to practise biblical counselling.

God’s word says: “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” [40]

Everything you need for life and godliness through your knowledge of him. That includes every counselling problem. On the basis of the Word of God, does psychological counselling and its theories have something better to offer the Christian than ministry through the Word of God, the Holy Spirit, prayer and the church?

As you move closer to God through His love and the ministry of truth and mercy expressed through His Word, the Holy Spirit and caring Christians, you will change in areas of thoughts, emotions and actions.

2. You don’t need professional psychological training.

Pastors and church members seem to have bought into the confusion that they need to have professional psychological training to be successful.

Truax and Mitchell state that, “There is no evidence that the usual traditional graduate training program has any positive value in producing therapists who are more helpful than nonprofessionals.” [41]

Psychologist Robert Carkhuff conducted a careful survey of all the research that had studied the effectiveness of what he called “lay helpers.” The findings are startling: “When lay counselors, with or without training, were compared with professionals it was discovered that ‘the patients of lay counselors do as well as or better than the patients of professional counselors.’” [42]

Say “No” to professional psychological training.  It may hinder your practice as a counsellor.

3. Say “YES” to the Holy Spirit and the Word

The primary training for biblical counsellors is:

  • learning how to live in obedient relationship with God;
  • so you reflect God’s character and do his will in daily challenges;
  • know the Word.

In nearly every church fellowship there are mature believers who have been prepared and trained by the Lord for this ministry of teaching, caring and encouragement– called counselling. In most congregations you can identify those who:

  • know the Word,
  • have responded to the work of the Holy Spirit,
  • and are gifted in this way.

If there is a need for counselling in the local church, these are the people who are prepared to do this in mercy and truth.

I believe Martin & Deidre Bobgan hit the mark when they state:

There is some justification to conclude that for all problems of living the best way out is by individual effort; the next best help is the informal support group; then the formal support group; and finally least effective is individual therapy. [43]This is why, in addition to biblical counselling, I recommend that counsellees attend the regular services of the church and are involved in the loving environment of a small home group.  However, I urge you to practise your Christian counselling in subjection to the leaders of your local church and their “equipping” ministry (see Eph. 4:11-12].  I urge you neverto be a lone ranger Christian counsellor.  There is always safety in being subject to the supervision of God’s leaders in the church.

4. The cure of souls’ ministry belongs in the church

“For Christians, problems that can be treated by psychological counselling can be better ministered to by biblical counsel within the Body of Christ.” [44]

The psychological way provides man-made solutions. The spiritual way provides biblical solutions.

F. “CHOOSE YOU THIS DAY WHOM YOU WILL SERVE”

  • The choice is God’s way or the human way;
  • The flesh or the Spirit;
  • Self effort or faith in God;
  • Are you a victim or a sinner?
  • Will it be psychological referral or repentance and restoration?

Psychiatrist Thomas Szasz, who is not a Christian, “recommends that mental health care be taken away from professionals, such as psychiatrists and psychologists, and given back to the church.” [45]

These have been the cherished friends of believers down through the centuries:

  • love of the Scriptures,
  • the wonder and power of prayer,
  • fellowship with other believers in the Spirit,
  • the obedience of self-denial,
  • the longing to see our Lord,
  • and joy unspeakable and full or glory, no matter what the circumstances.

What has happened to these friends who have helped us to grow in grace, say no to sin and bear fruit in Jesus’ Name? The grace of the Lord has been replaced by the worldly wisdom of psychology. It is another gospel, a hybrid, that is overtaking the church and I am angry that we are letting it happen.

I call you back to the all-sufficient Christ and the sufficiency of His Word. When we emphasise people as victims instead of sinners, we radically challenge the biblical teachings on a person’s guilt and need of the cross, the supremacy of the Holy Spirit in the believer’s sanctification, and most importantly, the sufficiency and authority of the Scripture for the believer. [46]

I am firmly convinced that Christian psychology represents one of the most dangerous challenges to the sufficiency of Christ and the authority of Scripture that the church has confronted this century. If this poison is allowed to continue, it will destroy the heart of Christianity. Christian psychology is, I believe, a modern day heresy. I was conned by Christian counselling. Will you join me in renouncing this heresy and getting back to biblical counselling?

Endnotes:

1. When I say that I was `conned’ by Christian counselling, I in no way suggest that I was a victim of some subversive activity. I voluntarily subjected myself to the integration of psychology with the Bible, thanks to the influential professors who taught counselling psychology in the evangelical seminary that I attended in the USA. It was my own lack of discernment that resulted in my accepting the unbiblical doctrines promoted in this program. Perhaps a better title would be, “How I allowed myself to be conned by the secular messages integrated into Christian counselling.” But that kind of title is too long — but accurate.

3. Answer: “To regard himself as a worthwhile human being. Nothing is sinful about the need to be worthwhile. . . To accept oneself as a worthwhile creature is absolutely necessary for effective, spiritual, joyful living.” (Lawrence J. Crabb Jr., Basic Principles of Biblical Counseling. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1975, 53).

4. Lawrence J. Crabb, Jr., Understanding People. Melbourne, Australia: Interbac (S. John Bacon), 1987, 55.

5. Ibid., 57-58.

6. Dr. Larry Crabb, Inside Out. Colorado Springs, Colorado: NavPress, 1988, 194.

7. Crabb, Understanding People, 129.

8. Lawrence J. Crabb Jr., Effective Biblical Counseling. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1977, 15.

9. Crabb, Understanding People, 129.

10. New American Standard Bible (NASB).

11. In Martin & Deidre Bobgan, Psychoheresy. Santa Barbara, CA: EastGate Publishers, 1989, in the “about this book” section, at beginning of this publication, emphasis added — no page number given.

12. Jim Owen, Christian Psychology’s War on God’s Word. Santa Barbara, CA: Eastgate Publishers, 1993, 21.

13. Bobgan, Psychoheresy, 4.

14. From ibid., 8.

15. William Kirk Kilpatrick, Psychological Seduction. Nashville (USA): Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1983, 23.

16. Martin & Deidre Bobgan, How to Counsel from Scripture. Chicago: Moody Press, 1985, 40; Martin Bobgan & Deidre Bobgan, Prophets of Psychoheresy I. Santa Barbara, CA: EastGate Publishers, 1989, 50.

17. In Bobgan, Prophets of Psychoheresy I, 51, Carl Rogers, “Some Personal Learnings about Interpersonal Relationships,” 16mm film developed by Dr. Charles K. Ferguson. University of California Extension Media Center, Berkeley, CA, film #6785.

18. Alice Petersen, Gary R. Sweeten, & Dorothy Faye Geverdt, Rational Christian Thinking. Cincinnati, Ohio: Christian Information Committee, 1987. This manual is available from the publishers, Box 24080, Cincinnati, Ohio, 45224, USA.

19. “Theory as Self-Portrait and the Ideal of Objectivity,” Journal of Humanistic Psychology, Spring 1982, pp. 91-92.

20. p. 15. This and the previous quote are from Bobgan, Prophets of Psychoheresy I, 53.

21. Bobgan, Psychoheresy, chapter 5.

22. Ibid., 31.

23. “Some Observations on the Fallacy of Value-free Therapy and the Empty Organism,” in Steven Morse and Robert Watson (Eds), Psychotherapies: A Comparative Casebook. New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1977, 313.

24. The Modes and Morals of Psychotherapy. New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1964, 6, 5). [Quotes from Bobgan, Prophets of Psychoheresy I, 41.

25. In Bobgan, Psychoheresy, 20, quoted by Allen Bergin, “Psychotherapy and Religious Values,” Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, Vol 48, p. 101, emphasis added.

26. In Bobgan, Psychoheresy, 20, The Shrinking of America, 5.

27. In Bobgan, Psychoheresy, 58.

28. Kilpatrick, Psychological Seduction, 37.

29. Ibid., 40.

30. In Owen, 190.

31. Ibid., 153.

32. Ibid, 121.

33. The Rejection Syndrome, Tyndale, 21, in Bobgan, Psychoheresy, 96.

33a.  Santa Barbara, CA: EastGate Publishers, 1992.

34. Based on Owen, 13, 109.

35. In Owen, 29. “Religious Belief vs. Behavior,” The Church Around the World, September 1989.

36. Susan R. Walen, Raymond DiGiuseppe, Richard L. Wessler, A Practitioner’s Guide to Rational-Emotive Therapy. Oxford University Press, 1980, pp. 8-11,72, 74).

37. New International Version of the Bible (NIV).

38. In the brochure advertising the film, 6.

39. Based on Bobgan, Psychoheresy, 67-68.

40. 2 Peter 1:3, NIV.

41. In Bobgan, How to Counsel from Scripture, 87, quoted by Sol Garfield, “Psychotherapy Training and Outcome in Psychotherapy,” BMA audio cassette #T-305. New York: Guilford, 1979.

42. In Gary Collins, How To Be a People Helper. Santa Ana, California: Vision House Publishers, 1976, 58; R.R. Carkhuff, “Differential Functioning of Lay and Professional Helpers,” in Journal of Counseling Psychology, vol. 15, 1968, 117.

43. Bobgan, How to Counsel from Scripture, 43.

44. Ibid., 7.

45. In Bobgan, Prophets of Psychoheresy I, 101.

46. Based on Owen, p. 18.

I call you back to the all-sufficient Christ and the sufficiency of His Word in Christian counselling.

Copyright © 2011 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 16 May 2016.

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