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History of How Sex & Marriage Became
Since the time of St. Augustine, certain in the Church decided sex was shameful and even sinful and that marriage was a lesser holiness than celebacy. Over the centuries, this control over people's sex lives has been loosened some to something more biblical. To give you an idea, at its peak, Christians were taught that it was a SIN to have sex with your wife in daylight. Further, that it was a sin to have sex with your wife for anything other than procreation. Also, it was a SIN for you to undress her (now try to figure that one out)! If I read you the whole list, you would be shocked and astounded. People were actually arrested for such actions!
Were these doctrines of God? Or perhaps, where these doctrines of demons, as was prophesied in 1 Timothy 4? Would it shock you to realize, that you may have a doctrine and philosophy ingrained in you that might just be literally something the devil thought up? Would it shock you to know in the early days of America, people actually invented devices to keep young men from having hard-ons? Contraptions to put on your son's body to cause him pain? Does that not strike you as twisted? Or would it shock you to know that Kellog's corn flakes was invented to curb sexual appetite? Where did this obsession with controlling people's sex life come from? It has the intensity of a Jehovah's witness on your doorstep. Could such a motivation be from God or is it more likely a doctrine of the Devil?
Doctrines of the Devil? Whoa. You never heard that one before did you? Yes, believe it or not, this doctrine that St. Augustine brought forth has been a cancer in the church since his time. Now, it has to be said that St. Augustine's contributions to Christianity far outweigh his error, but the fact is, he is the primary source for this erronious teaching regarding sex. You see St. Augustine, when he was a young Christian, still had not given up his sexual vices. He was a man who, prior to becoming a Christian and also a bit into his Christian walk, was obsessed with sex, even partaking in orgies. Before Augustine became a Christian, he was of a certain Gnostic sect called the Manicheans. The Manicheans condemned marriage and procreation, but participated in fornication, orgies and incest (Basically, they considered sex evil, as it is part of physical world, however, they considered themselves enlightened in the spirit, so it did not matter what they did with their bodies. Yes, twisted.). So, instead of taking a balanced approach to the topic of sex, he turned his life into a Crusade against sex. He turned his theology into one where sex is always shameful or sinful in every instance. Basically, he took the Gnostic philosophy to a more pure form, saying and living as if ALL sex is evil (as it is physical), and the spirit is good (avoid sex, even in marriage) (see Gnostic Dualistic Heresy / Manichaeism / Docetism / Etc). Further, he taught that Adam and Eve's sin in the garden of Eden was sex. However, anyone who actually studies the scriptures and is honest, knows that is not correct. Quite literally, St. Augustine taught all people should be celibate and that if you even think about sex (with even your wife), you should ask God for forgiveness. Is it too hard to conceive of the possibility that St. Augustine still had a problem with doctrine after becoming a Christian and tainted all Christian doctrine ever since? I believe this passage here underscores this point. (Reference Reading)
So, we know the root of any theological mindset is where we should investigate. And Augustine is the father of this theology, which he derived from a non-Christian source: Plotinus. If we look at 1 Timothy 4, we see that it says:
1 TIMOTHY 4:1 - 5
4:1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
4:2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;
4:3 Forbidding to marry, [and commanding] to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.
4:4 For every creature of God [is] good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving:
4:5 For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.
COLOSSIANS 2:20 - 23
2:20 Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances,
2:21 (Touch not; taste not; handle not;
2:22 Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men?
2:23 Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh.
Now, these are going to be our scriptures to cut at the root of this deeply ingrained philosophy and doctrine taught indirectly within the church today.
If you research church history, you discover that through some within the Church (mostly certain Latin Fathers), sex became a sin, and also people were told not to marry. Priests who were married even had concubines at one time and multiple wives (polygamy), until Pope Benedict VIII issued a rule prohibiting children of priests from inheriting property. Pope Gregory VII banned marriages for priests ( Second Lateran Council held in 1139 - forbidding priest from marrying). Further Pope Innocent II voided all the current priests' marriages and forced all new priests to divorce their wives. I believe this is the beginning of this prophecy and the "Second Lateran Council" eerily fulfills this prophecy to perfection. Why did the Pope through this Council bann priests from marrying? Because he was afraid they would have children who could inherit church property. Quite literally, it was for reason of property and a false holiness that marriage was condemned. Further, declaring sex a sin made for a lot of people sinning and having to repent, which also gave the church another way to make money. For Augustine provided the framework for sex being intrinsically sinful, which led to many in the church being celibate. And, as you can see in the prophecy, this is a doctrine of the devil. (Further Reading) The question is why do so many conservative Christians accept a majority of these teachings on sex? Protestants are called by this name because they were "protesting" against certain Catholic Church teaching and doctrine. And at one time, even the Catholic church viewed this differently. So, you had the Eastern Church (Orthodox) from which the Western Church (Catholic) broke away from and then from there, the Protestant churches split from the Catholic church 500 or so years later. I have relatives and friends who are Orthodox.
Notice that it was in 1139 AD, through the Second Lateran Council that priests were forbidden to marry. What is so interesting about this date, is the fact that the Universal Church split in two in 1054 AD and became the Eastern (Orthodox) and Western (Catholic) churches, just before this teaching was brought into the Catholic church. And why did the church split in 1054 AD? It was mainly a result of the Roman Bishop declaring preeminence over the other bishops. Essentially, it was a power move by the Roman church, where the Bishop of Rome claimed direct succession from the Apostle Peter. Something that had been brewing for a while, yet I believe, it makes more sense that all bishops had their succession from the Apostle Peter rather than just the Bishop of Rome. The original design had all the bishops as equals and accountable to each other in doctrine and character. So, if one bishop began to teach a heresy or started to live indecently, the other bishops would strip him of his position and remove him from the church. So the Roman Bishop out of pride declared himself higher than the other Bishops and appears to have gone "rogue". As a result of this error, we see it led to more error over time. And one of the first errors was telling priests they can not marry. The Apostle Paul's prophecy literally says:
So, the point is God spoke through the Apostle Paul to clearly indicate which part of the church was in error at the Great Schism of 1054, namely the Catholic Church. And the sign of their error is that they forbid people to marry. Now, I believe the Catholic, Protestant & Orthodox comprise the "church", however these errors can not be ignored and it is clear that some in the church are not of God. Of course, there are good Christians in all three legs of the church, however, there are always "wolves in sheeps clothing" as well. As you can imagine, the Devil gave these ideas to the Catholic &, partially by extension, the Protestant church, so he could gain a foothold within the church. Even one of the Catholic Church's Chief Exorcists says the Devil is in the Vatican, and some signs of it is all this pedophilia and abuse of children by priests. Is this not a result or after-effect of this false teaching? I believe the Devil has deceived some people within the Catholic Heirarchy into pitting doctrine against God's design. God designed men to desire sex and to get married, so when you make a commandment against marrying, you are opening the door to temptation and sin. And does not all of this turn people away from the faith? Would not this be the Devil's ultimate goal, namely, to turn people away from faith in God, through scandals and not being able to trust leaders within the church? So, I believe God would rather priests be allowed the option of marrying to avoid this error and potential sin. And it is interesting that both the Protestant and Orthodox church allow their pastors and priests to marry.
Now, what is God's teaching on this topic? Well, according to the Apostle Paul, marriage is the holy institution set forth by God for man, as can be seen in 1 Corinthians 7. So, according to the Apostle Paul, not all men could be like him (he was either divorced or widowed and was now staying single). Since not all men could be like him and seeing God designed men, in general, to desire women, the solution is for a men and women to get married. Yet, as we can see, that certain in the Catholic church decided to pit doctrine against God's design and we can see, this is an error, which has led to more error within the church.
This doctrine of the devil has continued to pervade itself within the church in various forms. Now lets turn the tables to another topic of influence as a result of this teaching. How about erotic materials and what license do we have sexually as Christians? I believe statistics within the Christian community show the error of doctrine here as well. Consider how Christians are so anti-erotic, yet end up hypocritical as they often use erotic materials. I just recently read some statistics from the Barna Group who did a biblical worldview survey. It said that only 0.5% of Christians with a biblical worldview consider pornography not a sin, in word. But, when it came to deed, Christians with a biblical worldview watch pornography HALF AS MUCH as non-Christians! What happened to that 0.05%? Also, if you look at the statistical links above, you will also notice, people are far quicker to condemn pornography than just about any other sin that was in the survey!
HERE IS THE MATH:
I am not here to condemn you. But, the fact is, you are watching movies, looking at nude photos or even reading erotic stories, yet you tell everyone you are against such things. That is a contradiction. And, you have to ask yourself, WHY are you doing it? To be honest, I recall doing it myself a couple times, particularly one time while I was in college. Telling people I do not watch it, but I was playing word games. Depends on what the word "is" is, right? Back then, I had some nude photos I printed out. So, wasn't "watching" porn, but doesn't even nude photos fall under pornography?
Well let me help you out here. As you already know, sex is something that God created a desire for inside everyone of us. It is very similar to our desire for food or sleep. The Devil knows this. This is why he decided to use this against you by declaring every type of sexual thought, etc a sin. What better way to screw you up? Its like the Devil convincing you it is a sin to eat or sleep! You are guaranteed to loose! And do not the statistics above allude to this very point?
Now, I am not saying it is healthy or good to watch pornography, read erotic materials, etc. What I am saying is, this idea that every form of nudity, sexual thoughts, eroticism is a sin, is not correct. Yes, most of what is out there is likely evil, but that does not mean all of it is evil.
You might be wondering to yourself, "How can you say this as a Christian? On a conservative website! How can you even imagine God would be OK with certain erotic materials?" My answer to your questions would be, "Haven't you noticed that God included an erotic story in the Bible, called 'The Song of Solomon'? If God was against every form of eroticism, he would not have included this book in the Bible." The fact that conservative Christian's ignore Song of Solomon and feel embarrassed about it and try to symbolize it to death shows that God is not the one with the problem, but rather those reading and commenting on his book.
Since sexual desire is not intrinsically sinful and we have been given certain freedoms in Christ, the Devil thought it wise to make a doctrine that worked against God's design. By using a small misunderstood Bible verse, the Devil has convinced many Christians that any and all types of sexual thought, activities, etc are sinful (save maybe missionary style with your wife once a month). God created sex. God does not have a ton of rules on sex. He DOES have rules, but not the myriad you have been probably taught.
It is very deeply rooted in your mind. Let me prove it to you. What do you see when you read this Bible passage?
Here is an assumption that is in your mind, but it is not in the text. You believe he is talking about sex directly here in this passage, or atleast the thought of sex, don't you?
Well, actually, I don't blame you for assuming that. Those who translated the greek in this passage used the term "lust" when it should have been more properly translated "desire" or "covet".
Long story short, if you actually study the greek, THIS is what the Bible passage actually says:
Jesus was not teaching something new here. Rather, he was merely using the Ten Commandments. Yes, very interestingly, Jesus used the 10th Commandment - "... thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife ... " to explain the 7th Commandment - "Thou shalt not commit adultery.". He was saying, you can not "covet" or "desire to take" someone elses wife, property, etc.
Unlawful intercourse does not just refer to sex. It is refering to any type of compromising relationship with another man's wife. Could be she talks to you a little too nicely. Could be she likes doing things for you. Could be you take special interest in her beyond just friendship. If you are taking compromising steps towards her, you are committing adultery in your heart.
But, you assumed it was talking only about sexual thoughts. Why? Because it has been engrained in you. You have been actually brainwashed a little on this topic.
Do you want more proof? How about this. Is it a sin for you to think about your friend's car? His house? Is it a sin for you to think about driving his car? To watch TV in his house? NOW, ask yourself, is it a sin to think about your neighbor's wife? Actually, no, it is temptation, not a sin. However, that does not mean you should do it either (as, it is a temptation). So, what is the sin? The sin would be when you want to steal your friend's car or wife. Not, when you think about how nice his car or wife is.
So, adultery in your heart is when you DECIDE you are going to take your neighbor's wife in some way, shape or form. Everything in the commandments is build on: love God, love neighbor, or on the flip side: do not steal from God, do not steal from your neighbor.
Now, let me ask you something. When you looked at some nude picture, afterwards, did you ever literally want to get to know the woman in the photo? Did you want to look her up online, goto her house, try to get to know her?
Of course not, because that was not the intent of looking at the photo. Your intent was not to take her for yourself. You just thought she was hot and you got off looking at her. It isn't rocket science what your intentions were.
Now if you thought about your friends brand new Lamborghini or million dollar house, did you sin? Or, would it be, when you turn that desire into a desire with intent to take?
If you look at the greek behind this passage you discover that the desire mentioned has an "action" component to it. It is a desire that conceives in your heart. It is when you decide, I am going to steal her in some way shape or form. So, it is not noticing or admiring her beauty.
Consider this. When it comes to your neighbor's wife, she is close by. Obviously, it is not wise to fantasize about her, as it could lead you to desiring to take her in some way, which would be sin. However, with erotic materials, the woman could live in another State or even country. It would be a very rare situation that, by chance, she lives near you. If you see a woman in an erotic video, it is highly likely you do not know her. Also, you are not trying to get to know her. It is far far less tempting than say a woman near to where you live, as you do not see her during the day. Your intent with looking at such things is sexual arousal, not a relationship or to take someone's wife. So, the temptation to desire to take a woman in an erotic video is minimal. However, that does not mean "anything goes". Rather, you should ask yourself, in light of this scripture here, what would God permit? As there is a vast amount of evil and vile erotic materials out there. And consider your walk with God first and foremost.
The point, though, is God's ideal is for man to marry, as that is where God desires sex to be. So, the point being, it is better to marry than to burn, as the Apostle Paul said. As there are a great deal of temptations for things outside of marriage. Yet, being single, you are not required to somehow pigeon-hole every sexual thought into oblivion. I could see how that would torture many men and cause many problems within their own personal life. So, obviously, a false understanding of Matthew 5:27-28 would make it even worse and I think that is why you have so many people saying they are against erotic materials, yet are hypocritical as they use them anyways. It would be better to realize, maybe your understanding of scripture is the problem, rather than fighting the common sexual desire that God created. Controlling your desires is good, as that is a fruit of the Spirit(self-control), but killing desires is not, because you can not fight God's design. Just look at the Catholic church. Did forcing celebacy work? Look at the news and you see all these horrible crimes perpetrated by certain "priests" against young boys. Sex and marriage being condemned because of a false ideal on holiness only led to a deep depravity and wickedness among certain priests. The end result is many people turning from the faith.
A more balanced approach would be to realize that marriage is good for everyone, including priests and that sex in marriage is a holy act, no matter how crazy or imaginative you are. It is not a dirty thing, as many assume. Such thinking is just what the Devil wants you to embrace. Further, not every single erotic thought, movie, photo, story is evil or sinful, as many Christians would have you believe. Neither is it a sin to use "sex toys", erotic games, go on sexually charged vacations with your wife, etc. With regards to pornography, a large amount of it is evil, but that does not mean that all erotic photage ever taken by man is evil. Yet with such things, you need to very careful. Now, seeing a nude woman in a magazine or doing a photoshoot, many will have you believe you are "committing adultery" with your mind. Just one milli-second look, and you have committed adultery, right? Yes, I used to have this very same opinion. But, as you can see above, it is quite clear, it is refering to desiring(lusting) to take another man's wife, not googling a nude woman on a piece of paper or in a movie. Consider this: I can go into old catholic churches and see nude women painted by "revered Christian painters", such as Raphael or Michael Angelo. IN CHURCH! Of course, that is just "art", according to the same person accusing you of sinning when you saw some nude lady on TV. QUESTION: How many churches built today have nude art? Good luck finding a "Christian artist" today who will paint a nude woman. They would be out of business, because of bad publicity and everyone saying he is an "adulterer". If that is not surprising, consider this: I talked with one Catholic who told me he saw a painting of Eve mounted on Adam in a Catholic church in Chicago! Now, seriously, do you think maybe some Christians today go too far with what is adultery with the eyes? And what about Song of Solomon? Did you actually read it in light of this topic? Is not Song of Solomon textual porn? What if someone put the Song of Solomon into realistic video form? When you read Song of Solomon, does it not conjur up imaginations of nudity and sexual interaction in various places within the text? Do you think maybe God placed it in the Bible on purpose, to thwart those who would like to tie heavy burdens on the backs of believers?
Isn't it hypocritical to say, you can watch Rambo kill 50 men, but you can not look at ONE nude woman? What are the two commands? Thou shalt not kill. Thou shalt not commit adultery. With killing, we know it means "Thou shalt not murder". Since Rambo was a soldier, he was given appropriate license by the United States government to use lethal force, so we know his actions do not fall under "murder". How is it we do not know that adultery requires a married woman for the sin to occur. Therefore, if a non-married hot nude woman is showing her goods, I would have to ask you, "Where is the sin?" Can you point me to some Bible verse that says, she can not do this? Does women's apparel apply to every situation or when they are out in society? Does she have to wear clothes in the shower? So, obviously, standards for dress do not apply to every situation. I have just shown the error with the common interpretation of Matthew 5:27-28, now is there any other passage you can point to that would give you such an idea? Seriously, do you not see a double standard here? Now, for the sake of comedy, lets switch the tables and pretend that Christians have a double standard the other way: looking at 50 nude women is OK, but watching 1 person getting killed on a movie is a sin. Now, does not that sound very strange to your Christian ears?
Now, with regards to woman who are married that you know. It is potentially dangerous to think about such a woman, as it could lead you to sinning in your heart (desiring to take her). However, the thoughts about her are temptations that lead to the sin, and are not sins in and of themselves. The sin would be when you "decide" to act on the temptation and go after her in some way, shape or form. But with a woman in a video or magazine, your thoughts are not sins in of themselves and consider also, they are really not temptations either, as they will not lead you to desiring to take her for yourself. Well, atleast from my experience, I have never wanted to get to know a woman I saw in an erotic movie or nude magazine.
But, no. I am not allowed to say these things here, especially on a Christian website! Rather, I am suppose to be hypocritical and claim it is a sin to ever think a sexual thought and then tell you, you will goto Hell if you continue in the "sin" of just thinking about sex or looking at some erotic content. And to top it off, I am suppose to be a hypocrite, right? Isn't it the case, seeing 0.5% of "Bible believing" Christians are "OK" with erotic content, yet 30% use it (see statistics above - 50% Christian men, 20% Christian women)? So, this means that 29.5% of the Christian population either regularly change their mind back and forth, or they are hypocritical.
My point in this article is that this Latin(or conservative) form of teaching on sex is in error and you can even see that God used the Apostle Paul to identify the culprit of the error. So, St Augustine and some in the Catholic, Orthodox & Protestant churches came to their philosophy as a result of false theological conclusions. Virgins are not more holy than married women. Sex does not make you unclean or less holy. Sex in of itself is not sinful, but rather why you are having sex determines whether it is a sin or not. Forbidding a priest to marry is far worse than a priest having a wife, seeing they will then not be tempted to have sex with children! Viewing nudity is not intrinsically sinful, but rather, the conditions surrounding her nudity and your desire is what would determine whether or not it is sinful. Rather than all of this, sex is created by God and is to be enjoyed by his creation within the bounds he created. The main teaching of scripture is for you not to steal another man's wife and to honor God's design. This is in contrast to the idea of being a celebate hermit who lives in a cave or a nun in a convent and avoids sex as a "holy act". Even the Apostle Paul states that no young woman should be allowed to with the widows, lest they turn their desire of marriage against God - 1 Timothy 5:11. So, forcing priests to be celebate is equivelant and it forces men to choose between God and marriage, which God never intended. It is like a "vow". It is wise not to vow, lest later you change your mind and God require it of you.