Thursday, January 12, 2012

Evangelicals and Excessive Sex: Mark Driscoll and Ed Young from Augustine's Perspective

There is a proliferation of sex manuals, sex sermons and sex talks within the evangelical Christian community. From Mark Driscoll's sometimes crude and vulgar discussions of sex in his 'exposition' of Solomon's Song, to the extraordinary theatrics of Ed Young in promoting his new book Sexperiment, modern evangelicals seem infatuated with sex. If you intituitively feel something is not quite right with such an overemphasis on the pleasures of sex, but you are not quite sure how to define what you are feeling, then I refer you to St. Augustine.

In the early 5th century Augustine wrote two volumes on sex. In his book entitled The Good of Marriage and a follow-up treatise on the blessings of celibacy called On Holy Virginity, Augustine defends the superiority of celibacy while at the same time maintaining the dignity and genuine goodness of marriage as God intended it. Though Augustine wrote during a time much different than ours, and we would not agree with every argument he makes, Augustine should still be considered by us modern evangelicals as a valid resource on the subject of sex for two reasons: (1). Augustine was forthright and transparent about his own battles with sexual addiction prior to his conversion, an account of which can be read in Augustine's Confessions, and (2). Augustine possessed a brilliant theological mind.  R.C. Sproul maintains there has never been a better evangelical biblical scholar in the history of Christendom.

Augustine taught that the pleasures which come from doing things human naturally do, things like eating food and having sex, are good and edifying as long as it does not lead to excess. "Neither activity  (eating or sex) is devoid of pleasure for the senses, and when this (pleasure) is regulated and put to its natural use under the restraint of moderation, it cannot be lust," wrote Augustine. But eating food and having sex should always be for a purpose. The purpose of eating is to obtain strength and sustenance to accomplish one's God-ordained work, and the purpose of sex is the proceation of the human race. In Confessions (Book 8), Augustine describes what happens when sex is pursued for the sake of its pleasures and uses himself as an example: "By servitude to passion, habit is formed, and habit to which there is no resistance becomes a compulsion. By these links, as it were, connected one to another (hence my term a chain), a harsh bondage held me under restraint." One would be hardpressed to find a better definition of sexual addiction.

Those of us with an understanding of New Covenant grace would argue that pleasure in and of itself is not sin, as long as the boundaries God established are not violated (i.e. 'sex outside of marriage'). However, we would be remiss if we did not pause and carefully consider Augustine's arguments that the pursuit of the mere pleasures of sex, even within the confines of marriage, will lead one into the bondage of  sexual addiction. Augustine calls sex for pleasure within marriage a venialis culpa. Latin is not a strong forte among us modern Christians. In plain English, Augustine is saying sex within marriage for the pure pleasure of it is a "forgivable fault."

Augustine pointed to the words of the Apostle Paul who wrote that married couples "should abstain from sex only for brief periods of time for the sake of prayer. Then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. This I say by way of concession, not of command" (I Corinthians 7:5-6). The concession, in Augustine's interpretation of Scripture, was the absention of sex for brief times. Augustine believed the ideal was abstention from sex for much longer period of times, coming again to the conjugal relationship for the purpose of having children. However, the Apostle makes a  'concession' because of the struggle Christians have with 'sexual lusts' (Augustine's term).

Again, for Augustine sex has a God-given purpose; and without this purpose in  the forefront of the mind, the soul becomes deadened by the lusts for sex.  When a married person participates in sex for the sake of its pleasures, it becomes like overeating food for the ecstasy of its taste. Damage will occur. Unlike the effects of food overindulgence, the consequences of participating in sex for the sole purpose of pleasure are hidden and unseen. Married couples, according to Augustine, who pursue sex for the sake of its pleasures are commiting a "fault" (culpa).  They have substituted pleasurable sex for God. This fault in a married couple is easily "forgivable" (venialis) because of the goodness of marriage itself, but it is a fault. If left unidentified and unresisted, it will lead to further and deeper bondage and more and more movement away from God.

How radically different is Augustine's view to that of Driscoll's and Young's? I am not saying that Augustine is completely right and that Driscoll and Young are completely wrong; what I'm saying is something may be out of kilter with the pronounced advocacy of enormous pleasurable sex from evangelical pulpits. If we are to believe Augustine, the problem is that those promoting the pleasures of sex are themselves addicts--chained by their lusts. I trust that my four children, all of whom love Christ and read what I write, will realize that Augustine is worth considering on the subject of sex as much as he is on the doctrines of grace.


Shelli said...

You can hear a pin drop..

Wade, you always write the most interesting things.

God, sex and Marriage have always been a confusing subject. We'd be hard pressed in these days to find people who do abstain from sex outside of Marriage including before Marriage.

I just can't help but believe that having Marital sex for pleasure is a gift that helps nourish the bond between husband and wife.

I medically can not bear any more children, though I am still the childbearing age.

I am indeed inclined to accept the sexual pleasures of our union to be a forgivable fault. :)

Debbie Kaufman said...

I see nothing wrong with sex for pleasure in marriage, as long as both partners are loving and respectful to the other partner.

From just the excerpts I have read from Driscoll and Young books which are admittedly short excerpts, I have to say I agree with Peter Lumpkins on his posts on this subject. I just see this as borderline porn and degrading in too many aspects. I'm also quite surprised and concerned at the leaders praising the Driscoll book. said...

Ladies, I happen to agree with you both.

I am attempting to add some historical context to the current discussion.

While Augustine may be wrong in some ways, he at least provides a buffer to the sex-crazed Christian therapists of today.

I just like people to think.

James said...

Wade, from the bottom of my heart - thank you. Thank you for showing us perspective. Thank you for reminding us of history. Thank you for helping us question others and think for ourselves. I, again, have been refreshed by reading your blog.

Like you have expressed here about yourself, I don't agree with everything Augustine writes. I do think, however, that his perspective is needed in a day of rampant excess.

John Wylie said...

I hear a Marvin Gay song getting ready to come on

John Wylie said...

Wade I was wondering, what Bible translation do you use primarily? Also on your article about Heb 9:28 what was the translation you used there? Just curious.

Kristen said...

Since Augustine also said he didn't quite understand why God had made women to "help" men, because he couldn't see what "help" a woman could give a man other than bearing his children. He said the company of women was far inferior to the company of men because of women's mental and emotional inferiority. He said he found the companionship of other guys to be ever so much more emotionally uplifting and spiritually challenging. Therefore it's understandable why he didn't take into account the benefits of sex in bonding a husband and wife to better face the world together. Augustine lived in an age when women were denied education and then dismissed as mentally inferior because of their "obvious" stupidity.

That said, I appreciate your quotes from him, Wade. I think he really did know something about sexual appetites. The early church swung the pendulum too far in the direction of acetism and virginity, because they were reacting to the decadence of Rome. Today we are swinging too far in the other direction. The church as a whole-- particularly the Protestants-- seem to think the only use for a single person is to seek a spouse, because they have little or nothing to offer otherwise.

I definitely agree that Driscoll and Young need some perspective. said...

NAS John.

I am convinced that is the best translation of all.

:) said...


You are precisely right.

I am using one of their heroes to prove a point! :)

John Wylie said...

Thanks Wade,

I actually think that it's one of the better translations as well.

Wanda (Deb) Martin said...


Thank you for this post! As I have said before, we need more pastors like you. Things are really getting out of hand in 21st century Christendom!

Stephen Young said...

"If you intuitively feel something is not quite right ... but you are not quite sure how to define what you are feeling, then I refer you to St. Augustine."

Thank you for that. I think, you nailed it. I haven't been able to identify or put into words what kind of bothered me, and your post just kind of made it click.

I appreciate your writing.

ml said...

Tommy Nelson "The Book of Romance" is an excellent study on the Song of Solomon.

Christiane said...

The Anglican wedding service has in it some lines that recognize the dignity of the marital relationship . . .

'With this ring, I thee wed,
With my body, I thee honor "

A personal commitment to honor the intimacy of the marital union has NOT gone out of 'style' in Christianity.

I'm sure that the evangelical wedding service must have some similar words.

I think Driscoll should have protected the privacy of his relationship with his wife, and kept her dignity safeguarded from the embarrassment of such a book.
I wish he had thought about how something like this might affect her and the children of the family, should people be 'unkind' about it to them, which I hope never happens.

Anonymous said...

I agree the "Sex" and "Marriage" subjects are very confusing. And I find it a little funny, but mostly frustrating having to argue with other Christians with what they believe God has in mind for my life based on their life.

I agree with Kristen, sometimes other Christians argue so hard with me about what God has "planned" for my life, that I'm "going" to get married. I know as a "Christian" you not supposed to have "sex" before marriage. I get that. I guess they figure, you gotta have sex, and as a Christian you got to get married to have that sex. So you gotta get married.

They quote to me a lot 1 Corinth 7:2-6, especially verse 4: The wife's body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband's body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife.. They never get to verse 8. Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I am.

Course please don't misunderstand, I"m not saying I have sex outside of marriage. I'm not married, I don't date, and I don't have all. And I'm not saying getting married or having sex is a bad thing either.. But its gets hard sometimes to not have another Christian assume I am automatically getting married. In fact, I think I'm the only one out of my old high school Sunday school class who has “yet” to get married. And I still think some of them still are waiting to hear that I'm “engaged”, even though I'm not dating. What is wrong with not dating, not having sex, or not getting married??


John Wylie said...

Anon 11:04 pm,

I know several people who feel the same frusration as you do. There is nothing wrong with singleness and celibacy, as a matter of fact it is a calling for some. I think the reason that most respond the way they do to singleness is because the majority are not gifted that way and, quite frankly, there is not enough pure Bible teaching on the subject. Our Lord was Himself single and celibate His whole earthly life and He spoke of those "who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake..." So I commend you for your committment to your calling. said...


You ask, "What is wrong with not dating, not having sex, or not getting married?"

I echo my friend John's comment. Nothing is wrong. In fact, some would argue (with biblical merit), that if you receive the calling to celibacy, it is an extraordinary blessing (as is the calling of marriage).

Our culture has changed so much that to even discuss Augustinian views of celibacy among Christians is almost impossible.

Thanks for making the impossible possible. :) said...

Someone sent me a private message asking, "How is the advocation or promotion of sexual celibacy (no marriage) any different from the advocation and promotion of total abstinence from alcohol?"

It's not. Both decisions are wise decisions if chosen by God's people. The rub comes when those who have chosen celibacy (or abstinence), begin to tell other Christians they are sinning if they do not have the same calling. When Augustinian uses the Latin venial culpa to describe sex for pleasure in marriage, he is using the same logic that the modern abstentionist uses when he says, "If you drink a glass of wine or a pint of beer, you are sinning against God."

I understand the logic. I commend those who hold to the principle themselves, and respect the positions--but disagree. I disagree with Augustine (and have stated so in my post), and I disagree with the the modern abstentionists.

However, that doesn't mean they don't have arguments that should be considered -- especially if Christians start glorifying drunkenness or pornifying sex.

That's the point I am attempting to make. Just because you appreciate a position and can understand logic (as I do Augustine's), doesn't mean you accept it and practice it as your own. It means you are open to learn, to debate, and to defend your views in the face of others.

Rex Ray said...

I admire your comment and ‘not having sex before marriage’ applied to my wife and I.

But I’m afraid that you and PAUL have overlooked the main point of marriage. He wrote:

“But if they can’t control themselves, they should go ahead and marry. It’s better to marry than to burn with lust.” (1 Corinthians 7:9 NLT)

Paul’s words imply the only reason to be married is for sex. Did he not know about love?

Love is loving to be with someone…to hear them laugh, talk, do things together. They make you happy, and to be apart is sad.

“…burn with lust”; ??? I was more scared at 25 than lust. Pleasure did not happen until after ‘learning’.

T, you don’t have to date to fall in love. If you ever meet ‘Mr. Right’, you’ll know it.

Hope you’re not like the old guy that was asked why he never married.

“I was looking for the perfect woman.”
“Couldn’t find her; huh?”
“Oh, I found her alright, but she was looking for the perfect man.”

As to Driscoll and Young, I think they’re crackpots.

Anonymous said...

Rex, you can love many without getting married. I have two beautiful nieces. I love being an Aunt. But many Christians who argue with me ask the same question "Dont you want to have kids?" When I say I've considered it, they always respond by asking "well if youre not going to get married, how the heck do you expect to have those kids??"
I guess adoption is majorly a strange concept in our country. Cause when I say "marriage" isnt in the plans they almost always jump to the conclusion that the only other way is to have a one night stand with some random guy.

No I would never tell someone that God wants them to stay away from marriage and that its a sin to get married. I get excited for my friends who get married. In fact with one of my friends, my thought about her and her boyfriend of Jr high got married was "it is about freakin time" (-:

but as far as looking goes...I'm not looking. I have never needed a guy to complete me. The only "boyfriend" I need I dont get to see face to face and actually touch, not until I pass on from here.


Anonymous said...

Oh and I dont think "not dating" is not a good idea. Ive known a number of people who dated very briefly and got married. Their marriages either have ended in divorce or they dont want to admit they are in an abusive relationship, that their "Mr. Right" turned out to be so "Mr. Wrong".

So if God changes His mind on what Hes got for me and has designed me as, I would hope He would allow me 3 or more years to date someone min.

Course rereading your post sound like you are starting down the same line of reasoning as many others... "Thats all well and good, a nice idea...BUT..." (-: Just Saying.


Anonymous said...

Oh and I hope to be the old lady that when asked why I never married I can say "I was too busy to pursue after men, I needed everything I had just to pursue and keep up with God."

But oh I am so not to that point yet. I'm still quite a work in progress. But thats apart of life right. God never promised there would not be a few(or a ton) of potholes along the road of life. He just promised not abandon us.


Victorious said...

It seems come churches have adopted the view of sex we hear on TV. "Ask your doctor is you're healthy enough for sexual "activity." And it seems it's become (after sports, of course), the "national pass time."

We've lost our perspective.

Junkster said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tom Kelley said...

Oh, Rex...
You still have opportunity to accept, as did the Apostle Peter, that Paul was inspired by the Spirit of God to pen the Word of God.


Rex Ray said...

Tom Kelley,
Sure, “Paul was inspired by the Spirit of God to pen the Word of God”, BUT does that mean every word he wrote was the word of God?

Was this the Word of God? “I thank God that I never baptized any of you except Crispus and Gaius.” (1 Corinthians 1:14)

Tom, you probably won’t answer that will you?

Jesus told his disciples that they would desert him—leaving him alone, but his Father would be with him.

“Look: An hour is coming, and has come, when each of you will be scattered to his own home, and you will leave Me alone. Yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. (John 16:32 Holman)

Tom, was it true that God was with his Son at Calvary as Jesus said?

“My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46 Mark 15:34)

All words in the Bible are NOT true just because they are in the Bible.

Tom Kelley said...

No, Rex, not every word in the Bible is true, but every word in the Bible is a reliable record of the truth. (For example, Satan's words to Eve in the garden were not true, but it is the truth that he said them.)

Paul didn't write the chapter and verse numbers, Rex. You know that. What Paul wrote was the truth, and taking a few of his words out of their immediate context proves nothing. You might just as well have stopped sooner, and quoted only "I thank God that I baptized none of you" and asked if that was the Word of God.

If you have a hard time reconciling what Jesus said in John with what Jesus said in Matthew and Mark, you need more instruction in basic Bible interpretation than I can provide. But I somehow doubt you'd be willing to let go of your denial of the trustworthiness of Scripture no matter what I said.

Yes, indeed, Rex, the Bible and the Word of God are one and the same. It is sad that anyone claiming to be a Christian ever taught you otherwise, and sadder still that you believed them.

Tom Kelley said...

Good article, Wade. Nice to have a counterbalancing perspective to consider. I tend to think the truth is somewhere between Augustine's views and Young's and Driscoll's.

Anonymous said...

I dont know, if you take out God and that He wasnt there with Jesus at that moment, then people are left thinking, "whats the point of following God if He is just not going to be there in my darkest hour and when I need Him the most? If He is not going to be there for His son,why would He be there for me? And if He wasnt there, then that must mean He is not everywhere at once? And if He is not everywhere at once maybe He doesn't see me when I get attacked by the Devil. Or mabe He doesn't see me when I do this little sin or that little sin."

I'm just saying a thought process that could quickly develop by a person who might not be a beliver when you say "God wasn't there."

And if you start into saying not all of the bible is true, then that can get some people thinking "then what is really true? If not all of it is true then how can one really know if any of it is really true or not?"

Again just saying a thought process could develop.

I hold to the verses in Revelation 22:18-21.


Rex Ray said...

It’s good to have a response and not like someone that quoted “Work out your salvation with fear and trembling,” (Philippians 2:12 NIV) to support (James 5:19-20), but won’t reply to the same verse in NLT saying: “Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear.”

You used Satan’s lie for an easy example, but did not explain the ‘untruth’ of Jesus saying his Father would be with him at Calvary.

I think God ‘spared’ his Son the bitter truth just like Abraham ‘spared’ his son in knowing who was to be the sacrifice.

Even thinking his Father would be with him at Calvary, Jesus said, “My soul is swallowed up in sorrow—to the point of death. (Matthew 26:38) An angel came to give him strength.

Tom, I could go on and on with ‘White hats’ not telling the truth, but I’ll do that if you explain why it was true what Jesus said in John 16:32.

Rex Ray said...

You said, “It is sad that anyone claiming to be a Christian ever taught you otherwise.”

No one taught my belief. I once believed as you until I studied Acts 15 and saw the different opinions of ‘good’ men, and I wondered how they both could be right if they were speaking for God.

“For it was the Holy Spirit’s decision—and ours—to put no greater BURDEN on you that these necessary things.” (Acts 15:28 Holman)

James’ “decision” was the opposite of Peter saying:

“Why are you now challenging God by BURDENING the Gentile believers with a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors were able to bear?” (Acts 15:10 NLT)

It seems since James was the pastor and the only one allowed in the Holy Place where he prayed for the sins of the people that his “judgment” (Acts 15: 19) was more respected than Peter’s. So his words were put in the letter to the Gentiles while Peter’s words were swept under the rug.

Paul spent the rest of his life ‘fighting’ against James’ rules of not eating certain food.

Jesus said, “It’s not what goes into the mouth that defiles a man, but what comes out of the mouth, that defiles a man.” (Matthew 15:11 Holman)

James missed the three years of ‘college’ from the greatest teacher that ever lived.

He didn’t know that Jesus said, “Beware of the teachers of religion!” (Mark 12:38 Living) or he would not have said, “…We teachers of religion…”(James 3:1 Living)

I could claim the Holy Spirit taught me but you wouldn’t buy that would you?

Gene S said...

I am right now remembering a part of Joel Gregory's "Too Great A Temptaion."

It dealt with a sermon series Dr. Criswell preached on Sex. After several pontifications from the pulpit giant, someone asked Mrs. Criswell what she thought of his presentations.

She gave a quick and precise response: "He doesn't know what he's talking about!"

I don't think I can top that and I'm still rolling on the floor laughing about her simple answer!!!

Rex Ray said...

You asked an interesting question:

“If He [God] is not going to be there [Calvary] for his Son, why would He be there for me?”

When Jesus took our sins upon his self, He became our sin, but God cannot comfort sin; He punishes sin. Therefore at Calvary, God turned his back upon his Son. Being separated from his Father was spiritual death—our death—the death that was pronounced Adam and Eve.

That spiritual death was so physical painful it broke the heart of Jesus—some of his blood turned to water which happens under extreme pain. It wasn’t the nails that killed Jesus but the absence of his Father.

Likewise, when we sin the Holy Spirit grieves within us. A Christian cannot remain happy if he continually sins because of the grief of the Holy Spirit.

God will be with us when we are hurting because of situations beyond our control, OR because we are repenting from sin because we have the promise of Jesus: “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever.” (John 14:16)

Rex Ray said...

You asked: “If not all of it [Bible] is true then how can one really know if any of it is really true or not?”

The Bible is much like a camcorder that reveals what man has said and done. The trouble is a camcorder doesn’t say when that person is right or wrong—sinning or righteous.

Why didn’t God tell us—I don’t know other than ‘God’s ways are not man’s ways’. We get in trouble when we ‘write’ the Bible the way man would write it.

Why didn’t God tell in Deuteronomy that Moses was lying when he said; “And the Lord was also angry with me BECAUSE OF YOU. He said to me, ‘Moses, not even you will enter the Promised Land’.” (Chapter 3:37)

Moses said the same lie two more times in (Deuteronomy 3;26 and 4:21)

How do we know Moses was lying and was not just confused? Because God told him:

“The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust me enough to demonstrate my holiness to the people of Israel, you will not lead them into the land I am giving them!”

“The time has come for Aaron to join his ancestors in death. He will not enter the land I am giving the people of Israel, because the two of you rebelled against my instructions concerning the water at Meribah.”

“After you have seen it, you will die like your brother Aaron, for you both rebelled against my instruction in the wilderness of Zin. When the people of Israel rebelled, you failed to demonstrate my holiness to them at the waters…of Zin.”
(Numbers 20:12, 24 and 27:14)

Man tends to want to read the Bible like a novel, when really it is more like a murder mystery.

In fact, if one studies hard enough, I believe the roots of Catholics and Baptists can be found, and even a plot to remove Paul from preaching Jesus only instead of including the Jewish laws.

Rex Ray said...

Love your story!

Anonymous said...

Actually no where in my bible does it say that Jesus' blood turned into water. In my bible it says "blood AND water flowed". Looking up a few sites on google and since it only says that Jesus was pierced in his side, medically speaking, the soldier pierced his heart and the pericardium. One very indepth look at the aspects of the crucifixion from a medical stand point:

In my bible though it does say "his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground." Luke 22:44.

And I hope you read my posts close enough to see that I pointed out what a non believer could start thinking that line of thought wiyh people tossing out "not every word in the bible is true". Not that after many years of being a believer, suddenly have jumped to that conclusion. You said "I asked"... I didnt ask, but pointed out a quickly falling domimo effect a non believer's thought process could get to. Though I do disagree, I believe as one former youth pastor of EBC, Mr. Risner said, "The Bible is God-breathed".

And its funny, I had always heard that the Bible was Gods love letter to us, not a murder mystery novel. Yes, a murder mystery is still a novel. Next time you are at public library, look up Tess Gerristsen and any one of her Rizzoli and Isles books like "The Sinner". At the bottom, they all say "novel".

Though I am not sure exactly how the Bible is a murder "mystery" novel. You are never left wondering who thrust the spear into Jesus, who betrayed him, and even though every single enraged pharisee has motive to kill Jesus, you know who actually kill him and the key men in those scenes before his death.


Gene S said...

Long ago I learned to trust the Bible for total accuracy on life and the resuts of sin or faithfulness to God.

The magic "kicker" on honesty is the fact the Bible presents their great historical characters "warts and all." Even the great King David is shown in his failure with Absolom and Bathsheba.

Any other book of history or biography I have read minimizes the failure of the great ones.

Don't even go to the current Political campaigns where candidates expell gas that smells like roses----according to the PR guy!!!!!!!!

The same is true of the CR "greats" who never had a moral failure personally nor turned their heads when moral corruption invaded their churh or staff.

Rex Ray said...

I sure hate to lose two points in one comment:

1. The blood of Jesus did not turn to water.

2. And a ‘murder mystery’ is a novel.

T, you may have heard of the TV ‘Cold Case’ where the murder is solved after many years.

Well, the oldest “Cold Case” in my opinion would be the murder of Paul.
Sure we know the Romans did the actual killing, but who ‘set’ Paul up?

The congregation of the Jerusalem Church wanted to kill Paul:

“You know, DEAR BROTHER, how many thousands of Jews have also believed, and they all follow the law of Moses very seriously. But the Jewish believers here in Jerusalem have been told that you are teaching…to turn their backs on the laws of Moses. They’ve heard that you teach them not to circumcise their children or follow other Jewish customs. What should we do? They will certainly hear that you have come.” (Acts 21:20-22)

“For anyone who refused to obey the law of Moses was put to death without mercy…” (Hebrews 10:28)

But Paul teaching against the Law was much worse which he did:

“…the old written covenant ends in death…” (2 Corinthians 3:6)
“You are certainly free to eat food offered to idols…” (1 Corinthians 10:23 Living)

I’ll skip a lot of clues and go to the end where Paul names the ‘guilty’. (my opinion)

“At my first charge [trial] no man stood with me…I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge.” (2 Timothy 4:16)

Paul knew who he was referring to—probably those who called him DEAR BROTHER because it was their suggestion that got him in jail, and after years of no visitation, I believe Paul figured he had been hoodwinked.

Paul’s prayer was the same prayer he heard Stephen pray as he was being murdered—had the same crime been done?

Anonymous said...

Okay so theres a murder about Paul in the Bible, but I thought the Bible was about God and Jesus, not about Paul. The whole set of chapters at the beginning, Paul wasnt even born yet. How do they figure into Pauls murder. For it to be taken into consideration, wouldnt the author, director and judge throw out the whole old testimant as not relevat to Pauls murder mystery novel if the Bible was focused on Pauls murder.

Even your own link does not explain how on jan. 17, you said blood turned to water. It explains how water AND blood flowed not how blood turned to water.

Anonymous said...


Rex Ray said...

I see you’ve joined Wade and I in NOT understanding what we SOMETIMES read.

BTW, you probably write directly your comment on Wade’s post. This tells me if I was a psychologists, that you’re in a hurry, very confident in your ability to type and spell, or don’t care if you make mistakes or not by not using spell-check and copy-paste.

The tip off is you forgot to sign your ‘name’—not to mention there were eight spelling errors. It’s a good thing you didn’t write the Bible. :)

Just because I said the Bible tells of Paul’s murder, how can you get the idea that I said the Bible was about Paul?

Also, didn’t you read that I wrote: “I sure hate to lose two points in one comment”?
And I listed those two points where I was WRONG.

As I write this I’m telling myself a quote from Ebner-Eschenbach who said: “Conquer, but don’t triumph.”

I think of some pro football players as examples what not to do.

Every time I go to ‘internet’ a new quote shows up and I keep the ones I like.

With all that said, I feel you’re a sensitive person with a searching mind, and not afraid to tell your thoughts.

Paul, like John the Baptist, was not worthy to fasten the shoes of Jesus, but besides Jesus, Paul is my biggest hero.

Even so, Paul was just a man who made mistakes. I believe he was wrong in the argument he had with Barnabus about John Mark. (Paul didn’t want to give the young man a second chance.)

BTW, why isn’t the Book of Barnabus in the Bible? Was there something that Catholics didn’t like about his writings?

God seems to specialize in hitting straight licks using crooked sticks. Meaning the Bible does not have to be ‘perfect’ to get God’s message to man, and we do have to study like Paul wrote:

“Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15 KJ)

John Wylie said...


The reason that the Gospel of Barnabas was rejected as not being canonical is because of two reasons. The same two reasons that the other 84 false gospels were rejected. It's not some conspiracy.

1. It was not written early enough to have been written by the person that it's named after. Barnabas would have had to live several hundred years to have written the book. (By the way there were only two copies ever found, one in Italian and one in Spanish!)

2. It is doctrinally contrary to the rest of the N.T.

Now we know that the Gnostics wrote all kinds of false writings and placed the Apostles names on them. Surely Rex, you don't buy into the whole conspiracy thing that the church somehow suppressed writings for no good reason do you?

Rex Ray said...

John Wylie,
Thanks for the information about Barnabus. I didn’t know any of what you wrote.

You asked: “You don't buy into the whole conspiracy thing that the church somehow suppressed writings for no good reason do you?”

Well, since the “church” that put the Bible together was the Catholic Church, I thought that MAYBE ‘Barnabus’ conflicted with their teachings, but I see now that was NOT the case as you wrote. Thanks!

But I will ask how in the world did the Book of James get in the Bible since it is so anti-Baptist thinking that Baptist scholars have to twist his words to fit ‘our’ thinking?

Oh, I know: James was a Catholic that Catholics love. James went by tradition which Catholics gave equal authority with the Bible in 1545.

“…anointing you with oil…” (James 5:14) was the tradition of healing the sick. Did Jesus use oil? No; he used spit to show healing came from God.

Could ‘confession’ in the Catholic Church start from: “Confess your sins to [Priest?] each other…The earnest prayer of a righteous person [Priest?] has great power and wonderful results. (James 5:16)

Once again, James used tradition to back up his words: “Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed…” (James 5:17) Since James had a 40 hour/week job of praying in the Holy Place, did he fancy himself an Elijah?

Calvary eliminated James’ job but he didn’t give it up. Why? Was it ignorance or did he enjoy the prestige as the most “Just” man in Israel?

There was such a cry from the people when James was killed; the King fired the man that ordered his death.

“I will show you my faith by my good deeds.” (James 2:18)

His “deeds” didn’t produce enough evidence to convict him as a Christian. While apostles were being whipped in the temple, he was hid out in his Holy Place.

Till the day of his death, Pharisees told him that they and all the people should obey him. (Foxe’s Book of Martyrs page 10)

I believe without James and the sect of Christian Pharisees (Acts 15:5), the Catholic religion would never have had roots.

John, if you show me how James was a ‘Baptist’ like you corrected my thinking on the book of Barnabus; I’d probably think more of him when I met him in heaven. Of course, that’s not true because we won’t know any bad things in heaven.

Anonymous said...

Wade, this is such an interesting and thought-provoking post.

I suppose I won't be a hypocrite and claim not to have a forgivably faulty attitude towards marital sex :) but the point that even married couples should seek God first and pleasure second is one worth being reminded of from time to time.

I've noticed that some sites for Christian women focus on wives who don't want to have sex with their husbands. "Revive Our Hearts" posted a board on this several years ago.

My theory is that sex that disregards the humanity/free will of one of the partners, even in marriage, is not healthy. This is the sort of situation that Driscoll seems to promote. This would also explain why he has to write a book and give sermons that use the Bible to command wives to have oral sex.

I mean, shouldn't something like that be because both partners WANT to do it?

Another interesting note: Fundamentalist pastor Michael Pearl and his wife teach that sex between a married couple is as good as worship from God's perspective. They also teach that a woman is worshipping/serving God by serving her husband and that the husband is receiving a special blessing from his wife.

Even with all these warped views on sex (who needs Larry Flynt when you've got Mr. Driscoll?) I still like a forgivable fault every now and then.

I guess that's because egalitarians do it better!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Maybe these pastors should stay focused on the gospel and not on themselves and their agendas or selling books. As pastors, they should be ashamed of promoting such teachings that "adds to the scripture" it's just foolishness.

Thanks for calling it out

Anonymous said...

I believe that the reason Augustine had this view about sex is because he had pornography issues.As well as those who go over the top about this subject. His view is not scriptualy based.Also, Augustine didn't have a respectful view of women. This all plays into his sinful thinking.

There are men who may be good theologions but because they are men and still have sinful minds, they don't always interperate the Bible correctly. Nor do they have all understanding of everything in life. Only God is privey to this.

So I will say that a lot of theologions, pastors,etc have a lot of views that come out of their own sinful heart and try to make it look like it is Biblical.The unfortunate thing is that you would never be able to refute them on this because of their own sinful egos.

Nicolas Gold said...

I find this interesting because though I didn’t find this blog post until today, last night I gave my lesson to the youth group on Chastity: the Christian Virtue of Sexuality.
I taught the youth that:
1) Chastity isn’t the Resistance of Sexuality, but it is the Pursuit of the Highest form of Sexuality.
2) God created sexuality
3) God created sexuality for a purpose
4) It was designed to be experienced in a particular way: In a lifelong committed marriage relationship
5) It’s physical but also spiritual
6) “The Two become One” (1 Corinthians 6:16; Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:5)
7) When we engage in sexual activity, something spiritual happens
8) This is why sex outside of a lifelong committed marriage relationship can be so devastating
9) Wait for that marriage relationship for the spiritual connection to take place
10) Don’t Settle for a Watered Down, Degraded, Generic form of the Most Incredibly Intimacy Two People Can Have
I’ve started positing the PP of my lesson outlines online:!/media/set/?set=a.332816533429552.85733.196870670357473&type=1

I actually mentioned Ed Young’s antics on the subject. Ed Young is a performance-artist. Art is his background and he uses his God-given gifts and passions for ministry purposes. If you really want to understand him, study the performance art of the prophet Ezekiel and the enacted parables of Jesus for where Pastor Young is coming from.
Ed Young believes that the Church in America MUST address the huge and seemingly all-encompassing problem that sexual immorality is in our country. And he’s doing so by proclaiming God’s great intention for sex and how small and degraded the world’s form of sex is.
As I told the youth: God is crazy about sex! He created it. It was his idea. It was one of his best ideas. BUT he created sex for a purpose and that’s a lifelong committed marriage relationship.

Anonymous said...

Having just read Ed Young's 7 days book, I can tell you that your concerns are misguided, though understandable. If you haven't read the book, then yes, you could draw a conclusion that it's purely sex. However, the book is about relationship and the involvement of sex. The church has historically done an awful job on its teaching of sex in my opinion. If we continually proclaim that sex is God created, but also continually ignore teaching proper use of this in relationship, then divorce and unhappiness will continue to be constant. Sex and marriage go hand in hand. You can't have a good marriage relationship without sex, nor can good sex be had without a healthy marriage...they're inseparable. With the amount of struggling going on in our churches alone, it seems to me that you may be inclined to get behind books that actually promote good marriages rather than shunning them because they discuss such a beautiful gift given to us expressly by our Creator. Just my 2cents...but to me, your view on these books echos the false teachings of our church, which in turn has led to the weakening of marriages in our church, not strengthened them. No longer can the church teach "have a healthy marriage" while neglecting to discuss a vital element of having said healthy marriage. It's time to get over our embarrassment, shame and guilt about sex!! If you just can't handle it' then frankly, Wade, you may need to consider that you yourself have a problem with sex.