Monday, April 17, 2006

Divine Sex

Traditional Christian teaching on sex does not mesh with the original writings of the Bible set in their historical and cultural context. That is one premise in this important book by Philo Thelos (Divine Sex: Liberating Sex from Religious Tradition - click on title above). The book will shock card-carrying evangelicals or fundamentalists but simply can't be ignored. Again, my conservative Christian friends will think I've gone overboard with my endorsement of this book. The few I've shared it with think anyone who accepts it is ignoring the "clear" teaching of scripture and just wants to be free from moral constraints.

The book is compelling because the author is from a conservative church background and maintains a high view of scripture. He advocates for sound Bible study methods (original language, meaning, and historical context is key to understanding) in the vein of scholars like Gordon Fee. So, what's the controversy? He challenges traditional moral understanding about adultery, sexual immorality, and marriage fidelity with a sound Biblical argument.

For instance, have you ever wondered why polygamy, concubinage, and other multiple sexual relationships are practiced by Biblical heros without a word of censure from God? Did you know that if Bethsheba, with whom David had an adulterous liaison, was single, he wouldn't have committed adultery? In the NT, the word translated "sexual immorality" or "fornication" is the Greek word "porneia", which refers to illicit and idolatrous practices as defined by the Torah and does not refer to singles sexuality, oral sex, masturbation, erotic writings, or viewing graphic depictions of the human body.

The main ethic that can be derived from the Bible regarding sexual practice is a love ethic. In your sexual life, do not harm another but love and respect your neighbor. Adultery is wrong because it takes what belongs to another (sexual theft) or breaks a commitment made to another. If in a marriage, a couple allows one another to engage in other relationships that don't steal what belongs to another, those relationships don't fit the Biblical definition of adultery. Monogamy and abstinence from sex until marriage is not demanded by the Scriptural definitions of porneia. The book Divine Sex convincingly makes this case and challenges the traditional faulty interpretations of sexual morality in the church today.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...
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Michael said...

Yvonne,

Thanks for sharing your story. It is encouraging to hear how the book is being used to set people free from misguided and/or legalistic teaching. Problem is, the premise that traditional Christian thinking on sexuality is unbiblical is so radical that only the truly open-minded will accept it. All the best to you in the Lord as well. -MC

Michael said...
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Yvonne said...

Hello Michael:
I trust that you and your family are doing well.
I am finding that I want to share this new "insigh" with single Christian friends, but they don't get it nor seem interested enough to seek some real Biblical truths out for themselves. I feel fustrated that they don't seem interested at all or maybe I'm just not expressing it correctly enough to raise their curiousity at least.
Other than your Blog, how do you share some of your insights and have then accepted? Should I just keep my mouth shut (which is so frustrating)? When will I know that it is worth trying to explain? Am I throwing pearls before swine or what?
Have a wonderful 4th.
Yvonne

Michael said...

Yvonne asked me to repost this comment with her edits:

Dear Michael:
I read the book "Divine Sex" and it has changed my thinking and my life...Thank the Lord!
I was searching the blogs to see if there were others who read the book and had given their reviews/thoughts.
My life story is a complicated one and became so because I grew up in the church "Assembly of God" and thought I was following truth. I married the wrong person for me because I thought that physically I was already married to him in God's sight (premarital sex). He turned out to be mentally and physically abusive to me. I suffered 20 years in the marriage because I thought I had to stay married according to the church's/Bible teaching that I was to "be submissive and love my husband" and not to divorce if the believing husband desired me to stay...so I did until I became physically and mentally ill. That forced me to leave. I was being "loving" when I did not call the police on him when I should have AND told his Christian family which I didn't. My second marriage was entered upon without premarital sex because he was from the church. After we were married I discovered he had a low lobido and also was impotent half our married life of 12 years. Without going any futher about that, I am now divorced for the second time after 32 very unhappy married years. I am happier now than I have been all my life. I know there are other people's lives who have been damaged by "wrong truth". I thought I was being obedient as a believer. The book "Divine Sex" was an answer to my crying prayer for understanding. I am so happy that I am allowing myself to be open minded and search things out and change my views and thinking if new truth replaces mistruth. "Seek and ye shall find."
All the best in the Lord.
Yvonne

DaCosta said...

I've read snippets of the book and plan to order it. What I've read has already opened my eyes from a lot of misinformation about sexuality. God bless.

Anonymous said...

The book is truly incredible. It can't NOT change your life! You do have to have a very open mind, but if you are patient and prayerful and press into God's word even if it feels uncomfortable, you will be amazed at how God will open your eyes. I knew it was the work of God because it pushed me into God's word (not away from it), released so much of the devil's guilt and shame, and liberated my prayer life. Get it and read it over and over! I bought two copies so I could lend one to a friend.