Re: Churchian Idolotry

Lest any of my readers should dismiss me as a heretic, I thought I might clarify my intentions of yesterday’s post.

There were two specific statements I was calling out as idolatry:

  1.  “Without systematic theology you can’t be the church.” (Stephen Wellum via The Gospel Coalition)
  2. “I don’t have Calvinism in a little compartment of my life. It is my life.” (John Piper)

Now, I realize that many people think anti-theology = anti-God. This is precisely why theological-based arguments are so powerful. Who are you, oh man, to question the attributes of God?

Well, if “theology” simply means the study of God as an activity, then I’m all for it. But most often, theology is used to refer to a particular theological theory or system… such as Calvinism, Arminianism, pre-millennialism, or any other “ism” you want to throw in there.

The problem with theology, is that proponents of one “ism” or another will perform a “Procrustean Bed” operation in order to make the Scripture fit their pre-conceived framework.

In Greek mythology, Procustes was a rogue smith who invited every passer-by to spend the night. He had a single iron bed which he would force every guest to fit into. If they were too short, he’d stretch them to fit. If they were too tall, he’d amputate the excess length.

As an ironic example of the Procustean Bed phenomenon, consider the often debated passage from 1 Corinthians:

Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.

Is this a challenge to “saved by grace alone”? Is it referring to a separate judgment? How do works and salvation relate?

These are questions one might ask if he was approaching it from a theological frame.

But if you simply let Scripture itself frame the passage, the meaning becomes clear. At the beginning of the argument, Paul states:

For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men? For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not mere men?

What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one. I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth. Now he who plants and he who waters are one; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor. For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.

According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it. For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

The biblical frame of this passage has nothing to do with the grace vs. works paradigm. It has to do with the jealousy and strife created when choosing one teacher (or theologian) over another.

This jealously and strife is what causes the church to divide. Rather than facilitate open discussion, true intellectuals who challenge extra-biblical church doctrine are branded (and, in the past, burned) as “heretics.”

It shouldn’t take much “theology” to understand that this behavior is despicable in God’s sight.

If you think that one teacher (e.g. John Calvin) or a theological system is the true foundation of the faith… you might be in for an unpleasant surprise when you find all your study, promoting, and defending of that system was in vain! You’ll escape with your life, but you’ll have no reward for all that work.

If a Calvinist or an Arminian or any other pointed you to Christ and the gospel, praise God! But be careful how you build from that point forward.

Paul says that no man can lay a foundation other than the one that has been built (i.e. the Scriptures).

Frame determines meaning.

Anything framed outside of the Scripture text itself is inherently fragile.

Any teacher who doesn’t see the plain point of the text is either dishonest or over-educated into a theological frame.

Any teacher who dogmatically promotes a particular theological framework is an anti-intellectual. Not only is he too dull to perceive his error. He is too prideful to accept correction.

I say this not because I care whether any of my readers lean one way or another theologically. We can remain united in Christ while holding different opinions.

I only want to encourage my readers, literally for the love of God, to do two simple things:

  1. Be aware of how the passage is being framed
  2. Reject any frame that is contrary to the biblical frame

 

 

 

 

 

Churchian Idolotry

It’s nice to see that the churchians are starting to openly declare their idols:

Soon it will be quite easy to separate the wheat from the tares.

In the mean time, rather than rely on the fragile theories of over-educated anti-intellectuals, here’s a better plan:

1. PRAY for wisdom
2. READ the scriptures
3. DO what they say

His Wife is Hotter Than Mine

Once again, in our backwards age we find that the sinners are preaching truth while the “righteous” teachers ignore reality.

The Chateau Heartiste gives a spot-on analogy to explain male sexual desire and inequality:

A man goes to a car dealership. He’s a sensible fellow, and just needs a commuter vehicle. He sees a cherry red Corvette center stage. He salivates. He walks over, runs his hand across the finish. Maybe he asks to sit in it and dream, gripping the leather steering wheel. But he knows he can’t afford it, so he quickly focuses his thoughts and leaves fantasyland behind, to browse the boring sedans. He consoles himself with the hope that maybe, someday, he’ll have made it and can return with enough to buy that Corvette. In the meantime, he haggles like a champ with the seller to drive down the price of his sedan and maximize the amenities at his budget. No undercarriage rust protection, thank you! Finally, he signs on the dotted line, and drives off content that he got the best deal he could, and as he’s heading home he thoughtfully itemizes all the good things about his new car. The smell! The climate control! The gas mileage! He’s happy for himself.

As I’ve written before, the modern church’s teaching on “lust” is one of the most perverted doctrines out there. Not only does it ignore the context of the command, it completely ignores the basic nature of male sexuality.

A man will always notice hot women. And men will always wish (i.e. briefly fantasize) that they could have sex with the hottest women that they see.

But far from being a lust problem, this is simply a man’s biological programming on the lookout for signs of life and fertility. In other words, man was programmed to “be fruitful and multiply.”

But men are also used to living in an unequal hierarchy. And, unless he’s a gamma male, he accepts that hierarchy.

A ordinary man may briefly wish he was in the position of the alpha male when he sees him with a hot babe. But he also realizes that to attract a woman of that caliber would require more of him than he’s able or willing to do.

So he contents himself with his own, less-than-perfect-10 wife. He is fully able to appreciate her good qualities.

Furthermore, ordinary men admire alpha males. For example, Donald Trump is 70 years old and having sex with a supermodel. Like most men, I have briefly fantasized about what it would be like to be married/ have sex with a supermodel. But then I realize I wouldn’t want to do all the work Trump had to do to attain his status. Nor would I want to be under the amount of pressure he faces.

So, like most ordinary men, I think “good for him. I’m glad he’s on our side.” This is the healthy and ordinary response to a higher status man.

But since the church has driven out or emasculated all the alpha males (who might have a legitimate temptation to lust), the preachers must now content themselves with brow-beating ordinary men to feel even worse about their “toxic masculinity” than they already do.

Is it any wonder why Christians are a big bunch of pussies?

 

Does Sex = Marriage?

NOTE: This post is more philosophical, less practical. (i.e. it won’t help you get laid, but you might find it interesting.)

What creates a marriage?

It’s a simple question, but one that reveals a lot of confusion when you try to answer it.

It also has practical significance. What is your duty as a husband? Under what circumstances is a man legitimately no longer responsible for a woman?

The other week I got in a brief debate with a Christian red pill blogger by the name of “Artisanal Toad.” He caused quite a stir in the comments section on Dalrock’s blog a few months ago with his “eligible virgin” theory.

You can read his argument here. Basically, he’s taking the common “sex = marriage” to it’s fullest, strictly technical conclusion.

If Artisanal Toad’s argument is correct, it has some shocking implications. Specifically…

  • If a woman is raped, she is automatically bound to the man who raped her
  • If a man marries a woman who was previously penetrated by another man (including rape) he is committing adultery
  • If a Christian man is married to a woman who was raped, he must divorce her if he’s going to remain a Christian

If these conclusions sound absurd…well… they are.

But I chose to engage with his argument because he is arguing from a common premise. Many Christians who deny that the state creates a marriage believe that sexual intercourse creates a marriage.

While I acknowledge that ideally, sex and marriage would always be one and the same, I find several probelms with Toad’s argument and the sex = marriage belief.

First:

Toad’s argument doesn’t pass my basic “sniff test.”

The Apostle James tells us that wisdom from above is “gentle” and Christ says that “his burden is light.”

Toad’s teaching, if taken seriously, would place a heavy burden on any Christian married couple where the wife was not a virgin (either through rape or prior promiscuity). Fathers would have to tell their children, “well, we found out that your mother is not actually my wife so I’m going to have to divorce her. Sorry kids.”

That just doesn’t seem sensible to me or consistent with God’s character, so my B.S. detector immediately kicks on.

Second:

Much of Toad’s argument depends on Old Testament laws about marriage, rape, and virginity. Such as this often misunderstood and abused law:

If a man finds a girl who is a virgin, who is not engaged, and seizes her and lies with her and they are discovered, then the man who lay with her shall give to the girl’s father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall become his wife because he has violated her; he cannot divorce her all his days.

-Deuteronomy 22:28-29

But Toad ignores the basic principle for applying Old Testament law given to us by the Apostle Paul in 1 Timothy:

But we know that the Law is good, if one uses it lawfully, realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous person, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers…

Those who marry in order to find an outlet for their sexual passion are doing the righteous thing. But Toad is twisting the meaning of his proof texts by inducing guilt on those who are righteous and providing a loophole for those who are promiscuous.

I think it is clear that the Old Testament texts about rape and marrying the virgin were intended to prevent young alpha males from using the “pump-and-dump” strategy to getting laid. If a man could be legally forced to marry the young virgin he seduces, it forces him to consider the needs of his neighbor… even if only out of self-preservation.

Third:

We know that a righteous person will not be promiscuous. (If they are, they are not righteous by definition.)

But what happens when unbelievers marry (or co-habitate) and then one becomes a Christian?

Paul tells us the believer is not bound to the unbeliever if the unbeliever does not wish to continue living with the believer. The believer is then free to remarry. I see no reason why this principle wouldn’t also apply to unbelievers engaging in promiscuous sex and “long-term relationships” prior to becoming a Christian.

Fourth:

I find Toad’s argument rather weak when you strip away all the rhetoric. His argument is essentially:

1. daraq means sex
2. Genesis 2:24 describes the creation of a marriage and uses daraq
3. Therefore daraq = marriage (i.e. A includes B; therefore B = A)
4. Now look at what these laws mean with this new definition in mind
5. No one can disprove what I’m saying, therefore I’m right!

He pulls a persuasion trick by getting his readers to “think past the sale.” His opposers argue about his application of the individual Old Testament laws. But he’s framed the argument in a way where no one can disprove his interpretation because they implicitly accept his definition.

Furthermore, Toad ignores evidence that contradicts his theory, such as Matthew 1:

“And Joseph awoke from his sleep and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took Mary as his wife, but kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son”

So here, we have a clear case where marriage was not created by sex.

Also, we have a case in 2 Samuel where penetrating a virgin was presumed to be a separate act from marriage with Tamar and her step-brother:

“No, my brother, do not violate me, for such a thing is not done in Israel; do not do this disgraceful thing! As for me, where could I get rid of my reproach? And as for you, you will be like one of the fools in Israel. Now therefore, please speak to the king, for he will not withhold me from you.”

Tamar knew she was about to be raped and pleaded with her step-brother to marry her instead. There would be no point for Tamar to plead this if marriage was created by penetration.

So What is a Marriage?

All that said, I must credit Toad with bringing to my attention an important question: what defines a marriage?

My current belief is that a marriage occurs when a man agrees to allow a woman to live with him. This includes providing her with food, clothing/shelter, and regular sex. (per Exodus 21:10).

If a man has sex with a woman outside of this household provision and protection, he is committing the sin of fornication. If he has sex with another man’s wife, he is committing adultery.

Any time a man and woman separate (i.e. no longer live together) this is a divorce in God’s eyes. (Paul explicitly states in 1 Corinthians 7:11 that a wife who leaves her husband (unlawfully) should remain “unmarried” or be reconciled to her husband.)

Two righteous spouses will never divorce. But a righteous person may no longer be bound to an unrighteous spouse in certain circumstances.

Obviously, God’s design was that sex and marriage would be one and the same. But I believe in His wisdom, he makes sensible exceptions for us on account of living in a sinful world.

As far as I can tell, this view is most consistent with Scripture and accounts for all the difficult gray areas.

Hopefully, there will be more discussion of this in the fledgling Christian Red Pill space. I’m surprised there’s been so much confusion on the matter for so long.

Is It OK to Talk “Dirty”?

A married man asks how other Christian men feel about talking “dirty” with their wives.

Is it sinful? Does the Bible say anything about the issue?

I’ve always been a bit baffled why modern Christians are so sensitive about “inappropriate” topics. As best I can tell, this pious prudery comes from a sloppy exegesis of the following passage:

and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.

-Ephesians 5:4

“filthiness” (aischrotés) means “baseness” or someone who lacks moral character.

“silly talk” (mórologia) literally means foolish (moronic) words.

“course jesting” (eutrapelia) means using wit to refer to sexual functions in a rude and irreverent way.

These concepts are contrasted with thankfulness. Does your language indicate that you have an intelligent appreciation for God’s good creation? Or do you come across as an immoral, stupid person who can only manage to crack cynical jokes about body parts?

But this is not to say “dirty” topics are off limits to Christians. It’s all about how you say it.

To illustrate, consider the following examples:

Example 1:

“Your mouth is a cum receptacle for me to masturbate into.”

The above statement indicates a lack of character. It shows no respect for the sexual needs of the woman. It’s supposed to be clever/funny but there’s no point to the joke. It reveals a godless worldview. The statement does nothing to praise the beauty and goodness of sex. In fact, it lowers the act to a meaningless level.

Contrast that with the following expression from Song of Solomon 4:11:

Your lips, my bride, drip honey; Honey and milk are under your tongue

Both expressions could be referring to the same act. But the latter expression is beautiful rather than base. Instead of using cleverness to lower a sexual act to nihilism, it elevates a physical act we might be tempted to think of as meaningless or gross to it’s proper place of beauty and goodness.

But it is “dirty” in the sense that it’s not something you would talk about in the presence of elderly ladies.

But in the proper context, Christians should feel free to invent and use all kinds of sexual metaphors… so long our language indicates that we have understanding and see sex as a good thing!

P.S. It’s also worth noting that the Bible never instructs us to be offended by “course jesting”… only that we are to avoid doing it ourselves.

Is It Unkind to Pressure Your Wife to Have Oral Sex?

Desiring God delivers another fine specimen of effective anti-male propaganda:

“It is unkind to pressure your spouse for oral sex when he or she finds it unpleasant. Outdo each other in kindness.”

I almost find it admirable how clever these guilt-inducing statements are. It should be rather fun to dissect it.

First off, we have to realize who this message is addressed to.

Ask yourself this question:

How many married men in your local church do you know who is a true alpha male?

Can’t think of any?

Yeah, me neither.

Despite the stereotype of the high-testosterone domineering Christian husband, you’ll rarely find one.

What you’ll find instead is a multitude of “nice guys.” Men who have been trained since youth to seek the approval of women.

If you’ve ever read No More Mr. Nice Guy, you know that “nice guys” constantly worry about not being seen as “selfish.” So framing oral sex as selfish appeals perfectly to the Nice Guy’s insecurities.

Furthermore, the last thing a Nice Guy wants to do is “pressure” anybody to do anything. There’s an entire industry of training programs designed to help nice guys sell without using “sales pressure” and get dates without having to “be a jerk.” *

Nice Guys never want to rock the boat and live for the approval of others. A Nice Guy will have no trouble believing it’s selfish to “pressure” a woman into doing a sexual act.

DG then covers their tracks by adding the “he or she” statement. Always exaggerate the exceptions to make the problem appear egalitarian.

Finally, DG once again displays a complete ignorance of female sexuality.

According to a study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, over 70% of women fantasize about performing oral sex on a man.

Furthermore, a woman can be sexually aroused by almost anything. If something is acceptable to her culture and/or if an alpha male is directing her, a woman will be down with just about anything. (This is probably why so much ancient wisdom warns husbands to keep a close watch over their wives.)

But this sexual “fluidity” is also good news for husbands. Just because she won’t do something today, doesn’t mean she won’t be thrilled to do it under the right conditions.

As far as I can tell, there are four reasons a wife would not want to perform oral:

  1. Stinky crotch or foul-tasting semen (due to poor hygiene or bad diet)
  2. No emotional meaning given to the act (she sees it just as something gross they do in porn)
  3. She associates it with “sin” due to her religious background or past sexual experiences
  4. Her man has not yet successfully passed her “shit tests” and thus she is not ready to submit to him sexually

Finally, DG closes with a classic use of pseudo-Scripture. “Outdo each other in kindness” sounds like something that would come from the Bible, but it’s not. The correct text is:

Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor;
-Romans 12:10

The Greek word translated into honor is time, which means “what has value in the eyes of the beholder.”

“Kindness” could be an acceptable word if you truly are thinking about what the other person needs and values.

But when a Nice Guy hears “kindness”, he doesn’t think “what does a woman need sexually?” Instead, he thinks “I work so hard and help out around the house. Why won’t she return the favor?!”

If you truly want to honor your wife, you’ll work on developing the masculine attributes that she needs. For most of us, that means being more dominant.

Increase your dominance, and giving you head becomes her pleasure… not something you have to “pressure” her to do.

* The alternative to “no pressure” is not “high pressure” (which is needy) but rather declaring what you want and being outcome independent.

Feminist Fight Club

That was the name of a book that caught my eye today at my local public library.

I opened the book and found the following “Rules of the Feminist Fight Club”:

1. You must talk about the Feminist Fight Club
2. You MUST talk about the Feminist Fight Club!!!
3. We fight PATRIARCHY, not each other
4. Membership to the FFC means you’ve taken an oath to help other women—all women. Vagffirm [sic] your fellow fighters.
5. The FFC is inclusive and non-hierarchical. Everyone’s an equal fighter.
6. If someone yells stop, goes limp, taps out, the fight is still not over. The fight is not over until we have achieved equality for ALL women.
7. Whi-i-i-i-ich [sic] might be a while. So put on your favorite sweats.
8. No wallflowers. Everyone must fight!

It’s nice to see that our women are putting their empowerment to good use.

At first, I thought this book was a satire making fun of feminists. But it had the endorsement of Sheryl Sandberg on the back… so I guess it’s the real deal.

I’m calling “cultural appropriation” on this one.

Though on a personal note… this was the first time I ever read a word dumb enough that I felt the need to use [sic] in a sentence.

15 Lies “Churchianity” Teaches Men About Sex and Marriage

In case you’re wondering why it’s so difficult for Christians to have good sex, this starter list might give you an idea.

The quicker you can unplug from the following beliefs, the sooner your sex life will improve:

Lie #1: Men Should Focus on Their Wives’ Inner Beauty

Truth: A woman does not have much inner beauty until she matures and submits to her husband’s leadership. A loving husband wants his wife to become beautiful on the inside and see that reflected on the outside.

Lie #2: Women Understand the Needs of a Marriage Better Than Men

Truth: Most women are incapable of empathizing with a man. She is living in her own movie and it never crosses her mind how she is causing her husband frustration. Contrarily, most husbands are well aware of what causes his wife anxiety. Men are usually in a better frame of mind to call the shots.

Lie #3: Men are Shallow for Being Obsessed with a Woman’s Body Parts

Truth: God’s fundamental command to man was to “be fruitful and multiply.” It is God’s good design that men should be attracted to signs of fertility.

Lie #4: Husbands Should Love Their Wives Unconditionally (i.e. not put pressure on her to lose weight)

Truth: An overweight woman will feel horrible about herself. She knows (at least subconsciously) that her excessive weight is a sign of selfishness and lack of discipline… qualities that are not fitting for a godly woman. A good husband will love his wife as his own body and help coach her to becoming attractive again.

Lie #5: A Christian Woman Should Dress Modestly

Truth: A Christian woman should dress in a way that pleases her husband and shows she is sexually available to him when at home. Even in public, religion often wrongfully forces women to hide their beauty on account of the false doctrine of “lust.” God wants women to be beautiful and pleasing to the eye.

Lie #6: The Husband Should Help Around the House More

Truth: God calls young women to learn to be managers of the home. Women often are overwhelmed in their duties because they have not learned to prioritize and use their time effectively. If she cannot manage her domestic duties she will be unfit for greater responsibility in God’s kingdom. Do not rob her of the opportunity to mature by offering too much “help.”

Lie #7: A Husband Should Always Seek His Wife’s Counsel

Truth: Adam was condemned by God for listening to his wife. Men are supposed to listen to wise counsel, not wife’s counsel. If your wife has wisdom in a particular area, then yes, listen to her counsel. But if she is being foolish and immature, you must ignore her counsel.

Lie #8: A Wife’s Unhappiness is a Sign That Her Husband Needs to “Man Up” (i.e. do more stuff for her)

Truth: A wife’s unhappiness is due to her own discontentment. She is listening to people she should not listen to and/or thinking about things she should not think about. A loving husband will show his wife the path of happiness, but he is not at fault for her discontentment.

Lie #9: A Wife Gives Sex to Her Husband

Truth: Both nature and Scripture tells us that a man gives, a woman receives. Sex is a husband’s gift to his wife.

Lie #10: A Man’s Semen is the Source of Sin

Truth: A man’s semen is literally living water that brings forth life and happiness in a woman’s body. The church has long associated a man’s semen as the source of “original sin.” Thus we are conditioned to think of semen as something that is “gross” rather than a symbol of abundant life.

Lie #11: Husbands Who Want Oral Sex Are Being Selfish

Truth: Giving fellatio is an important emotional experience for a woman. In a mysterious way, the sexual union of a husband and wife represents Christ and the church. There is something profoundly good about when a woman humbly gets on her knees to receive and adore her husband’s vessel of life.

Lie #12: A Woman Needs to Feel Comfortable to Be Aroused

Truth: Comfort is the antithesis of arousal. She needed to feel comfortable to marry you and trust that you won’t abuse her. But arousal is created from tension. There needs to be a challenge involved. She needs to wonder if she’s even ready to handle a full-grown man unleashing his primal passion on her body. Her body will sense this tension and release her juices in preparation.

Lie #13: A Man Should Be Gentle and “Considerate” with His Wife in the Bedroom

Truth: Woman was created after Adam studied and named all the animals. It was during this activity that Adam realized he couldn’t find a “helper” suitable to him. Not to put to fine a point on it, but I don’t think Adam was watching the animals take nice romantic walks together in the garden. He was watching animals in heat go at it like…well, animals. He felt a longing in his loins to do the same. And so God created woman. A woman feels most alive and fulfilled when she is the object of a man’s unbridled beastly passion. There’s a reason women are turned on by the phrase “You might be left a little sore after this.”

Lie #14: A Man Should Not Expect His Wife to Do What He’s Seen in Porn

Truth: Porn depends mostly on taking things men and women want to do by instinct and adding theatrics, ridiculous exaggerations and camera angles to make up for the lack of passion. It is lame in comparison to the unrestrained sheet-soaking sex suggested by King Solomon. A Christian sex life should be better than porn.

Lie #15: Sometimes a Wife Needs to Put Up a Fuss to Get Her Husband’s Attention

Truth: A godly woman trains her voice to sound sweet and pleasing to her husband. If a wife truly is more spiritual than her husband, she will win him over without a word by her gracious conduct.

Before you can experience the joy of sex and marriage, you have to believe that God is not opposed to masculine instincts and preferences. He created the woman for the man. She will be happiest when she is molded to your preferences.

 

 

And We Wonder Why We Don’t Have Any Strong Christian Men…

Christian men are too busy fighting the so-called “battle of lust” to be of any use to God’s kingdom.

From a recently posted John Piper sermon about lust:

My text on that point was Matthew 5:28–29 where Jesus says, “Everyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and throw it away; it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell.” I pointed out that Jesus said heaven and hell are at stake in what you do with your eyes and with the thoughts of your imagination.

After the message one of the students came up to me and asked, “Are you saying, then, that a person can lose his salvation?”

This is exactly the same response I got a few years ago when I confronted a man about the adultery he was presently living in. I tried to understand his situation and I pled with him to return to his wife. Then I said, “You know Jesus says that if you don’t fight this sin with the kind of seriousness that is willing to gouge out your own eye, you will go to hell and suffer there forever.

He looked at me in utter disbelief, as though he had never heard anything like this in his life, and said, “You mean you think a person can lose his salvation?”

So I have learned again and again from firsthand experience that there are many professing Christians who have a view of salvation that disconnects it from real life, and that nullifies the warnings of the Bible and puts the sinning person who claims to be a Christian beyond the reach of biblical threats. And this doctrine is comforting thousands on the way to hell.

Jesus said, if you don’t fight lust, you won’t go to heaven.

Fear is the most powerful persuasive tool. And there’s nothing more fearful than the thought of spending an eternity in hell.

But remember that God says it’s the fear of the Lord that’s the beginning of wisdom, not the fear of preacher’s rhetoric. Fear of the Lord means we’re careful not to violate or abuse God’s Word. And we know that God hates it when people add to his Word:

Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Do not add to his words, lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar. (Pr 30:5-6)

Given that the entire modern doctrine of lust is based this single passage in Matthew 5, we should be careful not to distort the definitions or the context.

The Hart translation of the New Testmanet (a more literal, albeit less poetic, translation of the Greek) renders the text in question more accurately based on the context:

“You have heard it said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ Whereas I tell you that everyone looking at a married woman in order to lust after her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

Remember that the sin of adultery can only be committed with a married woman.

To clarify the meaning of “lust”, all a layperson has to do is use a Greek word reference tool. We learn from HELPS word studies that epithumeó (lust) means:

properly, to show focused passion as it aptly builds on (Gk epi, “upon”) what a person truly yearns for; to “greatly desire to do or have something – ‘to long for, to desire very much’

In other words, lusting after a married woman means having a focused passion for another man’s wife. Your heart is set on seducing her away from her husband and having sex with her and you continue to build upon this fantasy.

This is a far cry from the fleeting sexual imaginings a man might have at the sight of a beautiful woman.

Granted, I am no expert in Greek. I can only look at the context of the text and use the accepted references that Greek scholars have created for English speakers. But by looking at the text in context and using accepted definitions of the Greek words, the meaning is plain.

The Real Damning Doctrine of Lust

Far more serious than the “battle of lust” is the matter of conscience. When preachers such as Piper preach damnation for so-called “lustful thoughts” they are doing the very unloving thing the Apostle Paul warned us about:

I know and have been persuaded by the Lord that nothing is profane in itself except to the one who reckons something to be profane—it is profane for him. For, if your brother is caused distress on account of food, then you are no longer proceeding in accord with love. So do not let the good be blasphemed by you. (Rom 14:14-16)

The male sexual instinct is not profane. It is something good and pure that God created. Teachers who teach otherwise and call a man’s sexual instincts a “sin” are blaspheming God’s good creation and causing men to stumble.

Persuading somebody that something is evil (that God did not call evil) is a serious matter. For as Paul continues…

How blissful is he who does not judge himself by what he approves of. But the one who has doubt has been judged, whether he eats or not, because it is not out of faithfulness; and everything that is not out of faithfulness is sin. (Rom 14:22-23)

If you allow yourself to be convinced that something is a sin yet continue to do it, then you are sinning. Rather than gritting your teeth and trying harder to avoid your self-defined “sins”, Paul instructs to not profane what is good and thus condemn yourself by your conscience.

Each man must choose what he will bind his conscience to: the Word of God or the traditions of man.

Plead with the Lord to give you wisdom so that you may be set free.