Phlebotomic is a blog experiment that seeks to gather multiple perspectives around a common prompt, which is provided weekly.

Last week's prompt was "Beauty"...

This week's prompt is "Path"...

08 January 2009

Tension: The Sexual Kind

I recently read a short booklet on the topic of sexual purity written by Marc Driscoll, pastor of Mars Hill Church. As I am curious to see how Google's AdSense technology will handle this titillating topic, I'd like to present a short review. If you want to read the booklet for yourself, you may do so here. I am simply too puritanical (or is it victorian?) to use certain charged words in my post, so I will employ the euphemisms Philosophy and Math - difficult subjects with which men throughout the ages have obsessed, and godly men have often struggled. If you haven't guessed what Philosophy and Math refer to, please talk to your parents after school.

In the interests of full disclosure, I should tell you that Mars Hill appears to be one of those newfangled "emergent" churches that the kids are so crazy about these days (though it should be noted that Driscoll rejects this label). A lot of folks would probably characterize the church as theologically conservative and culturally liberal. Defining the term "emergent" is like trying to nail jell-o to the wall, so I have no idea whether everything coming out of Mars Hill is spiritually reliable or not. All I can tell you is that this booklet was drenched in Scripture and nothing screamed "heresy!"

In the first three chapters, Driscoll outlines God's view of human sexuality and provides a lot of examples where the idolatry and disobedience of God's people was either related to sexual immorality, or described euphemistically in sexual terms (God gets especially cheeky in Ezekiel 23... it's enough to make the whole Bible Belt blush). I think his conclusions are spot on:
However, throughout history men have been prone to obey the letter of the law on these matters, while violating the spirit. The spirit of these scriptures forbidding sinful sexual practices includes the sins of the mind where men amass a harem rivaling Solomon's but only in their imaginations.
* * *
[S]exual sins are not "out there" in the media, strip club, or gal with low-rise jeans and hi-rise thong. Truly, the problem is "in you." It is from the sinfulness of your heart that lust and sin proceed like sewage from a culvert. This is the painful, unvarnished truth.
In Chapter 4, Driscoll addresses the sinfulness of Philosophy and notes that the Philosopher degrades not only himself but the object of his study. There's a thought-provoking story about a young woman who was abused as a child and grew up thinking she was so filthy that she actively took part in her own degradation, even becoming a Philosophy Star. It wasn't until Jesus pulled her from the muck and mire that she understood her worth in Christ. The author wonders at the men in his church who rent Philosophy videos - possibly her own - and then stand next to her in worship oblivious to her tragic past.

Driscoll transitions to a discussion of Philosophy's endgame in Chapter 5, i.e., Math. There's a lot of scriptural support for his Mathematical warning, and he ends with a rather racy Q&A. I liked Chapter 6 because Discoll didn't just focus on the DONT'S of purity, but rather set the DONT'S against the DO'S. Christian men are the glory of God, and salvation has freed them from bondage to Philosophy and Math so that they can demonstrate this glory to mankind. The author quotes from a Greek philosopher (an actual philosopher, not a "Philosopher Star") who reported as follows on the sexual purity of the first-century Church:
They do not commit adultery or immorality... Their wives, O king, are as pure as virgins, and their daughters are modest. Their men abstain from all unlawful sexual contact and from impurity, in the hopes of recompense that is to come in another world.
Chapter 7 contains another racy Q&A, while Chapter 8 references a transcript of James Dobson's interview with Ted Bundy hours before Bundy's execution. Bundy grew up in a Christian home with godly parents and allegedly went from exposure to softcore Philosophy to serial killing in a relatively short lifespan. Slippery slope indeed. Driscoll ends this final chapter as follows:
In closing, sin leads to death. Jesus died for your sins. You are in a war. Be a man. Put your sin to death.
The booklet also contains several appendices which address prostitution and sex slavery, the purpose of which is to remind the reader that our sin grievously affects others.

I don't think there's anything new or surprising in this booklet for the somewhat mature believer.  I certainly don't want to harp on sexual purity to the exclusion of all else - and trust me, I've been in soul draining Bible studies and accountability relationships obsessed almost exclusively with this topic (in fact I think I led such a study at one point) - but it's still good to be reminded of these truths from time to time.

1 comment:

  1. "The author wonders at the men in his church who rent Philosophy videos - possibly her own - and then stand next to her in worship oblivious to her tragic past."

    to consider the object within the "philosophy" would change many hearts. having a daughter would be a perspective-changer too, i might imagine.