As busy a I may be, I guess I can still do one post a week. Here is this week’s post.
If you really want to know how this series began, check out THE SEARCH FOR THE MOST VIRTUOUS VERSATILE BLOGGER — PART 1. Otherwise, just read on and enjoy.
What is the subject of this post?
Chastity is one of the seven virtues, and because of the self-discipline required to remain chaste, chastity is a controversial subject. Nonetheless, the term chastity does not necessarily stir up controversy. Why? Consider how Wikipedia’s article on chastity begins.
Chastity refers to the sexual behavior of a man or woman acceptable to the moral standards and guidelines of a culture, civilization or religion. In the Western world, the term has become closely associated (and is often used interchangeably) with sexual abstinence, especially before marriage. However, the term remains applicable to persons in all states, single or married, clerical or lay, heterosexual or homosexual, and has implications beyond sexual temperance. (continued here)
The change in language is actually relatively recent. Consider this definition of Abstinence in the Catholic Encyclopedia; it’s about food. In 1917, when the Catholic Encyclopedia was published, the term Chastity denoted abstinence from sex. Now, however, when Wikipedia writes about Abstinence, its authors have much to say about sex.
What is the controversy about? Google abstinence vs contraception education. The controversy is about children and their education. Even Planned Parenthood has its web page, Abstinence. Yet at Planned Parenthood abstinence is simply a technical term – an alternative — not a virtue or a moral concern.
Because of the way we educate our children, we have become paganized. In the pagan worldview, life is about going for the gusto. As one wit observed:
In the hope they will be rewarded for amusing them, pagans offer the “gods” sacrifices. In the Christian world view, God cannot be bribed, and we cannot earn salvation. We can only accept the gift of Christ Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross and live according to His righteousness. Chastity thus becomes a command we obey because we love Jesus. The Apostle Paul put it this way.
1 Corinthians 7:1-5 English Standard Version (ESV)
7 Now concerning the matters about which you wrote: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” 2 But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. 3 The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. 4 For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. 5 Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.
posts the thoughts of a philosopher and several Catholic priests. Therefore, that blog posts on issues important to Catholics, including sexual abstinence.
- Biltrix‘s latest post, What Every Married Couple Should Know About the Truth of Sex and the Lie of Contraception explains the problems with contraception and suggests a natural alternative, the discipline of sexual abstinence.
- Plan-B = The New Plan-A condemns the distribution of abortifacient drug Plan-B in vending machines on college campuses. That includes this quote from Archbishop Charles Chaput.
Catholics need to wake up from the illusion that the America we now live in – not the America of our nostalgia or imagination or best ideals, but the real America we live in here and now – is somehow friendly to our faith. What we’re watching emerge in this country is a new kind of paganism, an atheism with air-conditioning and digital TV. And it is neither tolerant nor morally neutral. ~~Archbishop Charles Chaput, Archbishop of Philadelphia
- Love without Remorse links to a series of six videos. The videos record a presentation on chastity and love to high school students. Surprisingly, the students gave the presentation their full and complete attention. Moreover, they clapped very appreciatively at the end. The video is definitively worth your time.
Rob Barkman is run by a man devoted to teaching the Bible. Because the Bible has much to say about love and relationships, it has much to say about chastity. Thus, pastors must explain what the Bible has to say about marriage and chastity. For example, here is a powerful series that discusses what the Bible has to say about divorce.
- What we need to know about marriage to understand divorce.
- The definition, allowance and purpose of divorce and allowance of remarriage.
- The Biblical grounds for divorce (fornication).
- The Biblical grounds for divorce (loss of favour).
- The Biblical grounds for divorce (departure).
- A Summary Of Our Study and Closing Thoughts
Since my wife and I have been married for decades, I did not expect to learn much from this series. So at first I ignored it. What brought me back to it was the thought that this series on divorce might be relevant to this post. With a bit of arrogance, I still did not think I had much to learn from it. I was wrong. In particular, I recommend The Biblical grounds for divorce (loss of favour). That post contains what I believe many Christians will find an interesting and unusual insight.
The Correct Approach
Does the absolute Truth exist? Is virtue important? The secular world laughs and suggests the answer is NO. For example, check out the April 26, 2013 comic from Pardon My Planet by Vic Lee.
Because we see things only from our own point-of-view, we have a limited view of the Truth. Nonetheless, because of our pride, we all tend to think that we see is true, and when someone tells us the Truth, we find it difficult to believe.
Consider. People use to think the world was flat, and they had to be convinced otherwise. Non-Christians have a similar problem. Because God inspired it, what the Bible says is True. Without faith in Jesus, we are just rude, nasty, and vile pagans; we become so full of ourselves we find it difficult to love anyone else. Yet just as the ancients had to be convinced the world is round, non-Christians must be convinced Christ Jesus offers each of us salvation.
How do Christians convince a secular world the Bible is true? How do we convince people we need God — Jesus? Do we remind people of the danger of sin? Is that enough? To refrain from sin, we do need the strength of God. Our own will is not sufficient. Hence, I was mildly disappointed that ‘s posts on chastity do not plainly state we need the help of the Holy Spirit. Instead, ‘s posts on chastity provide cogent presentations that offer practical arguments acceptable to a secular audience. Of course, other posts on discuss the Holy Spirit. See How the Holy Spirit’s Gifts Can Come Alive in You: A Personal Pentecost, for an example. But the posts I reviewed that discussed chastity did not.
On the other hand, rigorously references the Bible, but ‘s approach presents a different issue. How do we get someone who has been taught not to take the Bible seriously to pay any attention? Does ever even try to prove the Bible is true. Yes, but uses what the secular world considers an illogical approach. In his The Precious Word Bible Study Series – Introduction (Part 1), uses the Bible itself to prove the Bible is true. Because our usual procedure is to verify the information we receive with data from disinterested and objective third parties, ‘s approach strikes some as absurd. But it is not. With respect to God, none are disinterested or objective, and if the Bible is true, we have every reason to believe its truth is self-evident. Therefore, if the Bible is true, the problem is that we have to be persuaded to read it and study it.
How do we get people to read the Bible? We can begin with arguments that appeal to secular reason. We can end with arguments based upon the Bible. Nevertheless, somewhere in the middle we must explain that when we believe the Bible God will give us His peace and His strength. We must strive to live the life we preach. Then He will bless us with stronger marriages and stronger families, and others will seek to follow our example.
- In Support of Chastity (holdingontogood.wordpress.com)
- Abstinence Education Endorsed by the American College of Pediatricians (cyfairparentscare.com)
- Planned Parenthood Redefines Abstinence for Kids Sex Education (texasparentscare.com)