So why not?

OK -- last night's post was an attempt by me to get people rattled and to frankly get almost everyone to agree with me that the idea of surrendering sex to the culture is a totally vacuous idea.

Because that's what I was advocating, right? In the face of the culture using sex like some kind of condiment, my great idea was that Christians should have no sex whatsoever. And let's be clear here: whether you agree with that statement or not, the Bible tells us that there should be no sex apart from marriage, but I was going far beyond that to say that even inside marriage people should forego all sex to show the culture ... well, something.

It's when we get to the "well, something" point that we have to raise an eyebrow, so to speak. What exactly would we be showing the culture by becoming a sex-free people -- besides the last generation of believers of that mind?

Here's what we'd be showing them: that we are not at all serious about our own claims about the sufficiency and inerrancy of Scripture. That somehow we don't really believe our Bibles when they say things like, Eph 5:31 and also 1 Cor 6:16 -- which are two sides of the same coin, one the affirmative plan of God for sex in marriage, and the other the negative discouragement about how one culture expressed its views on sex.

The novice apologists will simply brand this kind of "liberty" as "legalism", but it's worse than that: it's actually something for which Paul had some harsh words:
    Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared, who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer. (1 Tim 4:1-5, for the verse wonks, ESV)
Now, think about this: Paul says the demand to abstain from foods is in the same class as the demand which "forbids marriage". It's the same kind of "lie", the same kind of "departure from the faith", the same "insincerity" from people who have "seared consciences".

For those who can't work it out, when some teacher is "forbidding marriage", he's not advocating an open sexual context: he's talking about the end of sexual relationships altogether.

So let's not pretend here that my example last night was somehow disconnected from the idea of tea-totalling: it is Paul's example, and it's Paul's concern to Timothy which underscores that it's the same class of falsehood to demand abstinence from sex as it is to demand abstinence from various foods.

But for the record, Psalm 104 makes it crystal clear that among the foods God has blessed man with is wine. That's "yayin" in the Hebrew, which is the same word for the stuff Noah drank after he grew his vine and was naked-drunk in his tent in Gen 9:21. Paul's not talking about the small potatoes here: Paul's going for the whole menu.

Here's what I'm not doing: I'm not condoning the drunkeness of Noah. The Bible condemns drunkeness over and over. But the Bible calls on us to be people who demonstrate something which receives the blessing of God without abusing it. The Bible teaches us to use what God has given us without abusing it. The Bible does not say to give up things which the culture is defiling -- even to the place, frankly, that we can eat meat which was probably offered to idols so long as we don't ask too many questions.

So when we think that the solution to drunkeness is sweet tea so that nobody ever sees how a redeemed person will handle a drink, maybe we are cutting off our God-given nose despite our God-given face because we think we don't like the smell. Maybe we should clean up what stinks instead.

I'm sure I have more to say about this, but I'll bet this is enough to make someone lose it. And I have the thread at TeamPyro to deal with.

Carry on.