Posts Tagged ‘Sexual ethics’

Deeper Waters Podcast 1/17/2015: Peter D. Williams

January 15, 2015

What’s coming up on this Saturday’s episode of the Deeper Waters Podcast? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

We’re going to be continuing our look at abortion as expected this Saturday. Normally, we in the West in America tend to think about what has happened here in America. We are busy thinking about Roe V. Wade. This is important, but we are not the only country in the world. What is going on in another country? For that, we will have a discussion with someone who is across the pond, and that will be Peter D. Williams in the United Kingdom.

Peter D. Williams

Who is he? According to his bio:

Peter D. Williams is Executive Officer for Right To Life, the UK’s premier right-to-life charity and campaigning group. Peter works closely with the All-Party Parliamentary Pro-Life Group (the legislators in the UK Parliament who campaign for the right to life), and engages in public debates in print and media for the dignity of all human beings.

A former atheist, who ‘reverted’ to Catholic Christianity, via a period of dissenting from the Church’s teachings during which he was also a radical supporter of legalised abortion, Peter also ‘moon-lights’ as a Catholic Christian apologist, arguing the case for the Gospel and the Church in the British media. He lives and works around London.

Admittedly, my main interaction with England happens to be listening to the Unbelievable? podcast, to which Peter D. Williams has been a fascinating guest to have on. They have had a number of shows on the topic of abortion, but I have yet to really interact with someone over there on the topic and find out what is really going on in the U.K. with abortion so like many of you, I will be learning as much as I can during this show. (That is a benefit of doing a show like this. It’s not just old hat stuff being talked about. It is a learning experience all throughout.)

We have the event of Roe V. Wade over here in America that is a landmark decision that changed abortion forever. Does the U.K. have anything similar? What is the general belief about abortion in the U.K.? Since the U.K. has a more nationalized system of health care, how does that affect the practice of abortion? Are teenagers allowed to get abortions without the knowledge or consent of their parents as can happen over here? What does opposition to abortion look like in the U.K.?

And also, we are told the U.K. is in a post-Christian climate. How does this affect the national attitude toward abortion? Does it say anything about where America could be heading? Do we have something valuable that we need to learn from those people who live across the pond from us?

I hope you’ll be watching your ITunes feed next week for this episode. Abortion is going to be our focus all month long on the Deeper Waters Podcast and I am sure Peter D. Williams will be a fascinating person to have on the show to talk about this important topic.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

A Response to Samantha Pugsley

November 7, 2014

Is it a bad idea to wait until your wedding night? Let’s dive into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I had an article brought to my attention a couple of days ago by a Samantha Pugsley who said she waited until her wedding night for sex and regretted it.

For some of us reading the article, it was hard to tell if it was serious or not. However, for all intents and purposes, I am going to be treating it like it really is a serious article and be telling where I think Samantha went wrong and why it is that the path she has chosen today is still the incorrect one.

“Believing that true love waits, I make a commitment to God, myself, my family, my friends, my future mate and my future children to be sexually abstinent from this day until the day I enter a biblical marriage relationship. As well as abstaining from sexual thoughts, sexual touching, pornography, and actions that are known to lead to sexual arousal.”

To which I say to an extent, good luck with that. Not saying that about the desire to make a commitment to God and keep yourself sexually pure. That’s all well and good. Yet there were extremes here. Avoid pornography. Yes. That’s not an extreme. Avoid any sexual thoughts or anything leading to sexual arousal?

Good luck with that one.

Certainly speaking for men, if we were to avoid everything that would arouse us, we’d probably have to hole up and be hermits and even then, I am sure we could find something. Sex is something inescapable in our culture, and it’s not just in a culture like ours that’s rather loose with sexual morality. Sex is just everywhere no matter where you go.

You see, wherever you go, you’ll find people. Those people, believe it or not, are sexual beings. Whether they’re virgins or not, they’re all either male or female. Why are all of them living and breathing today? Because at one point in time, a man and a woman came together in sexual union and that person that you see is the result of that union.

And avoid sexual thoughts? That’s too much of a legalism for anyone. You are going to think sexually. It’s not necessarily a wrong thing. How you deal with it could be, but you are made to think sexually. When you are dating someone also, you will be thinking sexually. You’ll be thinking about when you can finally get to see all that that person has to give you and enjoy the gift of intimacy with them. That’s normal.

So right at the start, Pugsley has taken an extreme stance and one that I don’t think any Christian should take. It’s part of the idea too many Christians have that sex is something dirty. Of course, in the same breath that they’re told that it’s dirty, they’re also told that they should save it for someone they love.

Pugsley goes on to tell about how she made her oath at ten, not even knowing what sex is, which tells me we need to do a better job with teaching our youth about sexuality early on. No. I’m not saying teach your 3 year-old about the birds and the bees. I am saying teach them some about how their body works and how they should respect it as well as the bodies of others.

The church taught me that sex was for married people. Extramarital sex was sinful and dirty and I would go to Hell if I did it. I learned that as a girl, I had a responsibility to my future husband to remain pure for him. It was entirely possible that my future husband wouldn’t remain pure for me, because he didn’t have that same responsibility, according to the Bible. And of course, because I was a Christian, I would forgive him for his past transgressions and fully give myself to him, body and soul.

Now naturally, I agree with the first part that sex is for married people. I have a number of friends who are single and who I think plan to marry some day and I do look forward to when they can experience this gift. Yet I wonder what kind of church it is that teaches you will go to hell for sex outside of marriage but that seems to apply only if you’re a female. Men have to stay pure also. Of course, there should be forgiveness if one person messed up before marriage, but both men and women should seek to keep themselves pure.

Also, sex outside of marriage is not the unforgivable sin. Making it a lifestyle does indicate that you are not a Christian, per 1 Cor. 6, but there are couples who have made mistakes and some of them are happily married today after finding the grace in Christ that they need for what they have done.

Once I got married, it would be my duty to fulfill my husband’s sexual needs. I was told over and over again, so many times I lost count, that if I remained pure, my marriage would be blessed by God and if I didn’t that it would fall apart and end in tragic divorce.

It is certainly true that a wife is to meet her husband’s needs. 1 Cor. 7:1-5 makes this abundantly clear. What Pugsley was apparently not taught was the reverse. The husband is also supposed to meet the needs of the wife. Paul is certainly talking about sexual needs here, although he would certainly include other needs a husband was to provide. In fact, the only reason for withholding was to devote yourself to prayer mutually and then come together quickly due to lack of self-control. This is a good word of wisdom to too many women in marriages who might be tempted to use sex as a weapon. If your husband doesn’t do what you want, then punish him by withholding sex! Sex is supposed to be an act of love. You are never to use it as a weapon. The same goes for husbands. If your wife is someone who really really wants a lot of sex (And if this is you, I can’t help but think that I agree with Mark Gungor when he said “On behalf of all men, I want to say ‘We hate you.’ “)  then you don’t use sex as a weapon on her either. The marriage bed is to be a place of peace and safety. It is not to be a weapon.

For more than a decade, I wore my virginity like a badge of honor. My church encouraged me to do so, saying my testimony would inspire other young girls to follow suit. If the topic ever came up in conversation, I was happy to let people know that I had taken a pledge of purity.

Believe it or not, this is problematic. It is good to be a virgin, but you are not a virgin for the sake of virginity. I have written on virginity elsewhere. As a married man, I am obviously no longer a virgin. I am pleased to no longer be one. But at the same time, I do think it is honorable if you are a virgin while unmarried because you want to save yourself for marriage. If you plan to never marry, then you must take lifelong celibacy and do so for a good that you consider to be greater.

What I would want to ask Pugsley is if she was seeing virginity as an end in itself. Virginity is not a goal. Virginity is a pathway to a goal. That goal is ultimately holiness. If you plan to marry, it is for saving yourself for marriage so you can enjoy sexual union with your spouse. If it is not your plan to marry, then it is for something greater, such as devotion to the Kingdom of God as in 1 Cor. 7.

It became my entire identity by the time I hit my teen years. When I met my then boyfriend-now husband, I told him right away that I was saving myself for marriage and he was fine with that because it was my body, my choice and he loved me.

Once again, I see the extreme. Virginity is not meant to be your identity. Christ is meant to be your identity. Still, I must say the man she was dating at least had the right idea. He respected her choice. I have also written on this elsewhere. Women need to realize they set the bar for how much they are worth as a woman and anyone who sets the price lower is your enemy essentially. They are cheapening not just themselves, but you and all other women.

We were together for six years before we got married. Any time we did anything remotely sexual, guilt overwhelmed me. I wondered where the line was because I was terrified to cross it. Was he allowed to touch my breasts? Could we look at each other naked? I didn’t know what was considered sexual enough to condemn my future marriage and send me straight to Hell.

At the start, I’m wondering why a six year wait. Some people like to wait for an education to be finished or to start a career, but if you’re someone who is burning, and it sure seems like they were, go ahead and get married. As readers of this blog know, my wife and I met and married in less than a year. We knew where we were going and we knew it quick. I have even been told that my roommate told a mutual friend when I got home from the first visit to meet Allie that they needed to start getting set to book a wedding chapel.

As for what would send you straight to Hell and condemn your future marriage, nothing. God can forgive and repair all things in your marriage. He can repair any damage that you do beforehand. You have to submit and that can be painful and it is a process if it is done, but it is still doable. I use the list of the 12 steps of intimacy and encourage dating couples to not go beyond #8. We never did.

An unhealthy mixture of pride, fear, and guilt helped me keep my pledge until we got married. In the weeks before our wedding, I often got congratulated on keeping my virginity for so long. The comments ranged from curious (how in the world did you manage?) to downright disgusting (I bet you’re going to have one busy wedding night!). I let them place me on the pedestal as their virginal, perfect-Christian-girl mascot.

Pugsley is certainly right that it was an unhealthy mixture. If virginity was all about her, she had a problem. I do wonder about the idea she has of downright disgusting remarks. What is disgusting about hearing you’ll have a busy wedding night?

When my wife and I got married, we had several members of TheologyWeb, where I debated and still do debate, come to our wedding. I understand that after the wedding, they all got together for a little mini-convention. I have often wondered what was said at that convention, but considering they were there for our wedding and there were guys present at the table, and some of them were married, I am sure some jokes about sex were flying around.

I would expect nothing less.

Sex is not a topic we should be hesitant to speak about. The fact that we are is a problem. It’s all God’s idea. It’s His beautiful creation and if you take the Bible seriously, you must admit that God has an awful lot to say in there about sex! He even has one whole book devoted to sex! Now I know we could say “It’s a beautiful allegory about God and Israel or Christ and the church.” Yeah yeah yeah. Let’s just say that upfront it’s a poem about sex and why not? God celebrates it. So should we!

Now of course, some comments can be crude and many of us know when they are, but not all of them are. We usually know when we have crossed that line. I remember years ago being in an AOL chat room where one lady said she was signing off because her husband was going to bed and was motioning that he’d like her to come up with him with a bunch of “ooooooooooooh”s following. Yeah. We all knew what was going on. It wasn’t crude. It was a knowing delight in fact.

I also have a good friend who I used to regularly tease her when she’d talk about having plans with her husband one time and she’d just say to me “Go and watch your Smallville DVDs.” In other words, get your mind elsewhere. It was a joke for us that we always liked to do. Now that I’m married, if she says something to me, I’ll say “Go watch your Babylon Five DVDs.”

In fact, we should be talking about sex regularly, not just in the humorous sense, but in the accountability sense. On Facebook, for instance, I have a group for Christian men to help us learn how to be better husbands to our wives and prepare those who aren’t married to learn how to better husbands in the future. We need to hold each other accountable sexually.

As we move on, Pugsley tells us some about her wedding night. There is nothing really explicit here, but then we get this.

Sex hurt. I knew it would. Everyone told me it would be uncomfortable the first time. What they didn’t tell me is that I would be back in the bathroom afterward, crying quietly for reasons I didn’t yet comprehend. They didn’t tell me that I’d be on my honeymoon, crying again, because sex felt dirty and wrong and sinful even though I was married and it was supposed to be okay now.

For a woman, I am given to understand this is certainly true. The first time will be difficult. This is one area we need to clear up. In some ways, Hollywood has the right message. Hollywood wants to show us sex as fun and glamorous and exciting. They’re right! We can complain that sex is all Hollywood seems to think about, but they’re just reflecting us. It’s on our minds constantly.

Unfortunately, Hollywood doesn’t pain other realities as well. I agree with Kevin Leman in his book Sheet Music that your first time is not likely to send you to the moon and back. That’s okay. You’re just getting started. The first time will be awkward, but then so will the first time you try to play a violin or ride a bicycle or do public speaking. You’re not likely to be an expert on the first time. You’re doing something you’ve never done before with no experience beforehand and add in that you and your spouse are both going to be really excited but also really nervous.

What can be done about this? First off, I cannot stress enough that women should be getting an examination from their gynecologist beforehand, preferably a few months beforehand, and be doing anything the doctor recommends. We men generally have things different. We don’t have the pain aspect, but I encourage men to find a man you can trust and talk with them before the wedding. I had a friend who helped me prepare regularly months before the wedding and at least one other man came to my apartment personally when it was just me there to talk with me about sex and what I could expect. I also find it helpful if this isn’t a close family member because that’s awkward, or even a future family member, such as your future father-in-law. I have in fact offered myself to men I know who are about to get married to be someone who will talk to them frankly from my experience.

And especially for men, take your time. Move as slowly as you can. You’ve waited for this and there’s no time limit. It’s a beautiful moment so do all you can to really make it last. Do you want to take a time like this and just get it over with as soon as you can, or do you want to take it and make it a pleasant memory?

And for both of you, try to get in a good meal beforehand together. It can be tempting to go straight from the wedding to the hotel. Try to get something to eat first. If you have to, just order a pizza somewhere and have it delivered so that you can have a good meal together. You might even want to consider getting a couple of protein bars.

Finally, get a good Christian guide. I already mentioned Sheet Music but there are others out there you can use such as Intended for Pleasure and A Celebration of Sex for Newlyweds. Be prepared for what you are doing. Listen to trusted mentors who have been there before you.

Now to get back to Pugsley, Pugsley writes about how she suddenly felt dirty, and this is a direct response to what had happened. She had treated sex as something dirty and that lightswitch cannot be flipped on and off instantly. You handle it right and you have no problem however flipping that switch. I always held sex was beautiful and when I got married and knew that I could to this freely now, that switch was extremely easy to flip.

Before we get to the next part, let’s look also at the point that I said Hollywood has right. The problem is Hollywood has the wrong context. The church meanwhile gives the right context, a marital relationship. They just often give the wrong message. That’s the one that sex is dirty. We need to outdo the passion we see in Hollywood and do so in the right context of Christian marriage.

When we got home, I couldn’t look anyone in the eye. Everyone knew my virginity was gone. My parents, my church, my friends, my co-workers. They all knew I was soiled and tarnished. I wasn’t special anymore. My virginity had become such an essential part of my personality that I didn’t know who I was without it.

And this again is part of the problem. I had no problem coming home after our wedding and yeah, everyone knew what we were doing. So what? I expect them to know. I expect them to know that things are different now. I have a wife and I’m going to enjoy the company and joy that she provides me, and that includes sexually.

Pugsley apparently put virginity before holiness. I suspect she did not really have a full idea of sexuality from a Christian worldview which is a problem in our church. We usually give only negatives about sex to our youth. I remember being at a Silver Ring Thing service where the pastor said if you have sex before you marry, it will be for selfish reasons.

Okay. That’s fine.

Then he went on.

“Think about what you will say to your future spouse one day. Think about the shame and guilt you will feel. What if you get pregnant? What if you get an STD?”

Those could be real, but all the while I was thinking “Hmmm. Sounds to me like those are pretty selfish reasons as well.”

In fact, the more he went on, I found myself getting bored.

If you can talk about sex and leave a college guy getting bored, you are doing something wrong.

One of my friends on Facebook once said the problem in our culture is we think too much about sex. That’s not the problem. The problem is the opposite in fact! We don’t think enough about sex! We dream about it. We fantasize about it. We joke about it. We even just do it! We just don’t think about it. As a Christian, I find thinking about sex and seeing it as a revelation of God makes me hold it in awe even more.

It didn’t get better. I avoided undressing in front of my husband. I tried not to kiss him too often or too amorously so I wouldn’t lead him on. I dreaded bedtime. Maybe he’d want to have sex.

When he did, I obliged. I wanted nothing more than to make him happy because I loved him so much and because I’d been taught it was my duty to fulfill his needs. But I hated sex. Sometimes I cried myself to sleep because I wanted to like it, because it wasn’t fair. I had done everything right. I took the pledge and stayed true to it. Where was the blessed marriage I was promised?

Pugsley’s story is really common actually. If you treat sex as dirty, you will also tend to view yourself as dirty. Pugsley also is getting only one side of duty here. She is not an object just for sexual pleasure and unfortunately, that can happen even in marriage. A husband can too easily treat his wife as just an object and this is something all married men need to watch for.

I let it go on this way for almost two years before I broke down. I just couldn’t do it anymore. I told my husband everything. My feminist husband was horrified that I’d let him touch me when I didn’t want him to. He made me promise I’d never do anything I didn’t want to do ever again. We stopped having sex. He encouraged me to see a therapist and I did. It was the first step on a long journey to healing.

Let me say this. Kudos to this man! This man I think did exactly what was right! When he saw a problem, he told his wife to get the counseling she needed and in fact made it clear she did not ever need to be forced to give sex. For any husband who is in this situation, I cannot recommend enough Dawn Jones’s book. For a wife loving a man with the same struggle, there is a book by Cecil Murphey for you.

I don’t go to church anymore, nor am I religious. As I started to heal, I realized that I couldn’t figure out how to be both religious and sexual at the same time. I chose sex. Every single day is a battle to remember that my body belongs to me and not to the church of my childhood. I have to constantly remind myself that a pledge I took when I was only 10 doesn’t define who I am today. When I have sex with my husband, I make sure it’s because I have a sexual need and not because I feel I’m required to fulfill his desires.

Unfortunately, there are too many that will fit into this category. Imagine that you’re a nominal Christian and you go to church regularly, but you don’t really get into it. Then you discover sex and it seems like sex contradicts your Christianity. Are you going to be willing to give up sex for Christianity?

If you have a nominal Christianity, you’re fooling yourself if you think so. Pugsley unfortunately has the right idea to an extent. Sex can be because she wants to and she has a need to fulfill and she does so as an act of love. Of course, I think there are times a wife can go along with her husband even if she’s not feeling it then. Halfway through, that feeling could change.

Pugsley should realize many of us are devout Christians and have no trouble reconciling our Christianity with sex. I don’t even like to say that because there’s really nothing to reconcile! Sex is again God’s idea. It is His creation and the reason why it’s a totally awesome time is that He created it to be one!

I’m now thoroughly convinced that the entire concept of virginity is used to control female sexuality. If I could go back, I would not wait. I would have sex with my then-boyfriend-now-husband and I wouldn’t go to hell for it. We would have gotten married at a more appropriate age and I would have kept my sexuality to myself.

I find this quite a puzzle. After all, why would men invent a story that says they are to wait until marriage to sleep with a woman? How is that controlling female sexuality? If anything, the teaching controls male sexuality since this is something that men tend to struggle with a lot more than women do.

Unfortunately, I can’t go back but I can give you this message as a culmination of my experiences: If you want to wait to have sex until marriage make sure it’s because you want to. It’s your body; it belongs to you, not your church. Your sexuality is nobody’s business but yours.

And as one on the other end, I am very happy I waited. I am thrilled to know that Allie and I go through life only knowing each other as sexual lovers. We know that we alone have exclusive rights to each other and that will be the case until death does us part.

Unfortunately, Pugsley’s article really doesn’t present a full Christian view, and I suspect it’s because she only had the veneer of one. You do not find Scripture cited or see what role God plays in your relationship or see what the impact of the life of Christ is to have on your relationship.

Pugsley is a reminder to us that we need to do better in teaching about sexuality to the youth of the church today. Let’s try to do that.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Gentlemen. We Are At War.

July 8, 2014

Is there a battle to win and a cost if we don’t fight? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

Readers of this blog probably know by now that I quite like the church that Allie and I have found. I get a sermon that is intellectually satisfying while touching the heart as well. I wish I could say that this was the norm when it came to churches, but alas, I cannot. Too many churches have the congregations just getting some pablum so they can go home and at the end of the day feel good about themselves.

Christians. Take a look at the culture around you. Does it look like we’re really making an impact? Does it look like the church is being salt and light in this world?

If not, then why should we go to church and feel good about ourselves? If we are not obeying the Great Commmission, then we should be looking at ourselves with shame.

I have in fact reached the point where I want to go up to pastors and say to them “Please tell me why I should believe that Jesus rose from the dead.” There are two answers that are unacceptable for this one. Now there could be variants on how these answers are said but the answers are still the same.

“The Holy Spirit tells me that Jesus rose from the dead.”

“The Inerrant Word of God says Jesus rose from the dead.”

What’s the problem with both of these? In the long run, they both beg the question. You say the Holy Spirit tells you this? Fine. The Holy Spirit also apparently tells Mormons that the Book of Mormon is from God and that Joseph Smith is a true prophet. Do you believe that? Why should I think what you’re experiencing is the Holy Spirit and not something else? You could say “Well if you experience it, you know who it is.” Don’t you think the Mormons would say the exact same thing?

What about the latter? Now I do hold to inerrancy, but I hold to inerrancy as a conclusion and not a presupposition. You want to claim your holy book is the final authority. Fine. Muslims do the exact same thing. Why is it that I should believe what you say about your holy book but I should not believe what the Muslims say about theirs?

If all you have is your own subjective viewpoint for defending the resurrection, you will not last when opposition comes your way. When I meet pastors like this now I have a simple wish to make of them. “Get out of the pulpit. We’re in a war and we don’t need people like you dragging us down. Give your office to someone who deserves it.”

You see, too many pastors are acting like there isn’t a battle going on. They still have this idea that all Christianity is supposed to teach us is how to be good people. Christ did not need to come just to teach us ethics. The people of the day could have got that from the philosophers of their time. Christ came to bring about the Kingdom of God. Note that. Kingdom. How many people out there think that you could belong in a Kingdom and not care about what you were to do for the King but only think about what the King was to do for you?

There is a culture war that is going on here in America. If you want to deny this, then you are quite simply a fool. There is an active homosexual agenda that’s wanting to silence your voice on the public square. Abortion has been around for 40+ years and we have seen the lives of millions of innocent babies claimed. The new atheist agenda is spreading like wildfire through the colleges and your students are going to encounter it. Muslims would be delighted to bring Sharia Law here to America.

There is not a question any more of if we and our children will face opposition. We will. There is only the question of how we would face it.

Picture if you had a son or daughter who had to take a job somewhere where you had concerns about them walking to their car in the parking lot. What are you going to do? You might ask the police to keep a watch on the area, but the police can’t be there 24/7. What else could you do? You might want to say “I’ll give my children mace” or “I’ll enroll them in a class so they can carry a concealed weapon” or “I’ll have them learn karate.” Why? You want your children to have a fighting chance if they come against enemy opposition.

Picture your having a son who goes into the military. You receive word from his officers that they are about to fly overseas and go and fight the enemy. You ask if your son has taken any courses in combat to prepare for this mission and you hear “Nah. We don’t think that’s really necessary. We figure if we just give them a gun that they’ll know enough to be able to protect themselves.” I suspect you’ll be calling your Congressman or Senator before too long if that’s the case.

Yet we want to send our children into the lions’ den regularly and do so without giving them basic protection in apologetics?

There’s a word for that.

That word is “Stupid.”

Some of you might say “Well my children aren’t going to college.” Okay. College isn’t for every person, but this is happening in high school! Opposition will be there and not just intellectual opposition, but moral opposition. You want your children to practice a Biblical sexual ethic. What reason will you give them? If you just have them say “The Bible says so”, their friends in high school who are not Christians and are sexually active will be more than happy to clear them of their delusions on the Bible. If that takes place, do you really think your assurances will be enough to overpower hormones? How many of you would have had that work with your parents?

Some of you might say you will home school your children. Fine. Do that. Keep in mind this reality however. Sooner or later your children are going to leave home and go off into the world. Are they going to be prepared or not? If not, you are one who will be held accountable, especially the fathers. The fathers are the main ones in Ephesians 5 who are to raise up their family and the only ones said to give an account for how the whole family turns out. I’m not at all saying mothers are unimportant in this. Mothers are vastly important. Fathers in the Biblical teaching however are called to be leaders of their family and to raise up their children well. If you’re reading this and a father, imagine how you will stand before God and give an account of how you raised your children. If they’re not equipped and they fall away, what account will you give?

The reality is that we can win this battle. I think of a certain person in apologetics who recently said about my position to reclaim academia “How do you plan on doing that in a nation under the judgment of God?” How? Simple. One battle at a time. How dare we abandon our intellectual heritage and give it right over to the enemy! This is especially the case with NT scholarship where Christians should be at their strongest. We have too often let the enemy dictate how the battle will be fought. No more.

In other battles, when Christians do something, results happen. When Chick-Fil-A Day came, Christians went in droves to their Chick-Fil-A stores and set records in fast food sales for that day. When Duck Dynasty was pulled from A&E, Christians started on their own a boycott page and called their cable companies and canceled. Cracker Barrel had decided to not carry Duck Commander material. They changed their mind on that quickly when Christians spoke up! When Suntrust decided to pull away from some men who were in support of traditional marriage, Christians immediately began going to their Facebook page and letting them know their discontent and began pulling their accounts. Before a day had passed, Suntrust changed their mind.

Christians WON all of these battles.

The problem is not that the church cannot win battles. The problem is that the church rarely shows up.

I have too often seen churches deny the need for apologetics training. I will go to churches regularly and offer them to come and work with them. It will be of no charge to them whatsoever! I would be delighted just to teach. 99% of the time the answer is that they don’t really need something like that. I always leave a church like that realizing the pastor is just deluding himself. As one of my mentors once told me “The pastor will call you back when his son comes home from college and announces he’s abandoned his faith.”

When we encounter those who abandon their faith, it is normally for foolish reasons. Also, it can be because too much emphasis was placed on a secondary doctrine instead of a primary, the resurrection of Jesus. The two biggest offenders in this category are young-earth creationism and inerrancy. In both cases, when someone finds a reason why these are called into question and they no longer believe them, everything else crumbles like a house of cards. If inerrancy or young-earth creationism are made the foundation for the Christian faith, we are setting ourselves up to fail.

Make no mistake. We are at war. We cannot be just playing games and getting pablum at church and expect to be able to fulfill the Great Commission in this day and age. Here in America, we have the best means to equip our people. There is no excuse for our being unprepared for the battle that awaits us. IF we who have been given so much ability to learn and spread the truth fail with it, we will all give an account before God of how we did.

I can only end with saying what Joshua said for how he would decide. Choose this day who you will serve but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Sexual Ethics Foundation: Marriage

September 18, 2013

What happens when you’ve said “I do.”? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

I took a break yesterday from this series to write a review of a really bad book. Today, I’m going to get back to our look on sexual ethics. I have repeatedly said that for the Christian, it’s chastity for life, or marriage. No middle ground. If you want sex, well you have to sign on the dotted line and say “I do.” If you don’t want to do that, then you live a life of chastity.

That person you marry? Till death do you part, that is the person that you are allowed to enjoy sex with. No one else. This is a serious message indeed and it’s one that the disciples were shocked about when Jesus shared it.

So now you’ve made it to that point. What are you to do now that the two of you are husband and wife.

Well here are some general rules I recommend.

First off, don’t do anything that one person is really unwilling to do. Something could leave someone feeling uncomfortable, but if they’re willing to do it, then they’re willing to do it. Perhaps they want to overcome their discomfort. There should not be any force when it comes to the sexual relationship in marriage.

Second, don’t do anything that would be harmful to your spouse. Suppose a man is married to a woman who has a medical condition at the time and it would be dangerous for her to have sex. If that’s the case, then the loving husband will have to abstain for the time being.

If you’re wondering about other forms of sex, then the best thing I can tell you to do is to do some research on the matters and talk to your doctor. If there’s a serious health risk involved, the loving thing to do is to avoid.

So what else is there after that?

Anything you want.

And if you think that could open you up to some incredible experiences, well that’s kind of the point.

Are there any other mistakes couples make at this point? Yep. Sure are. We’ll usually keep making them and there are many ways I can improve as well, but here are some observations.

Men can have a tendency to treat women as objects to fulfill their sexual desires. Instead, the woman should be viewed as your life partner through all that you go through. If you ask who is the most important person to me in my ministry, it’s going to be Allie immediately. I could not do what I do without her support. I consider her as the person who helped me open up more than anyone else.

A woman needs to be romanced throughout the day and shown how much she’s loved repeatedly. An excellent way to do this is to read the book “The Five Love Languages” with your spouse and work out what your love language is and what your spouse’s is and then learn to speak that language.

A guy should not come home from work, prop his feet up, grab the remote, have his wife personally bring him dinner, and then somehow expect that she’s going to want to be romantic with him when it’s time to go to bed. Try instead sitting down together and watching a movie together or maybe playing a card or board game together.

If men can overemphasize the sexual aspect, the danger for the woman is to downplay that. If a man was having all his desires fulfilled alone, he wouldn’t get married in the first place. The man wants something that he cannot meet on his own and that is best fulfilled in the loving sexual relationship.

Perhaps now just isn’t a good time. Okay. If that’s the case, then why not tease a little bit. Give a little hint of what is to come. Meet a man’s desire immediately and that’s nice for the time. Tell him that he’ll get what he wants in the evening and ladies, he’ll be thinking about you ALL DAY LONG.

Women by and large don’t really realize the power that they have over their men. In a Christian marriage, God is the #1 influence on the man’s life. Who’s #2? The wife. Love the man that way and you’ll empower him to go out and conquer the world for you.

No. Sex is not all that men think about. (Seriously. Give me a few hours and I’ll eventually come up with something else that we think about.) Yet it is something that we do think about a lot and when that desire is fulfilled, it also enables us to better focus on those other areas of our lives.

What needs to be realized in marriage is that marriage works best when each spouse puts the needs of the other above their own. (Yes. I do still stumble on this one.) When you do that, you are trusting in your spouse to meet your desires. Of course, there is nothing wrong with admitting your desires to your spouse. How else are they going to know? There is nothing wrong with you wanting something for yourself. What is important is that you come to your spouse and admit what you desire. Good communication is essential between a husband and a wife.

A great description I’ve seen of marriage is two people sharing one life. My spouse supports me in the ministry that I do and wants to see me succeed at it greatly and expects nothing less. She’s a strong incentive for me to succeed. (We recently won a two-week free membership at a gym. When I saw her going by yesterday while working out with the personal trainer I was assigned to, I did ask him to up the weight some that I was lifting.) Nothing motivates a man like a woman does.

Men can also be that for the women. The woman can be a success at what she does to and she should be. It could be a career, but it could be she wants to be a housewife and/or mother, both of which by the way are divine callings. We have too often said a woman is missing out if she does not have a career outside the house. Balderdash! A woman can be just as fulfilled working at home being a wife and mother. That could be her dream as is.

Note also that much of the change in marriage is not going to be about sex, but about the little day to day things that you don’t always think about. It’s ultimately about sharing and sex is the highest end in this as that is the direct sharing of two persons with one another.

In marriage, you learn to share a bed together not just for sex, but for sleeping and waking up together. You learn to share the food in the kitchen. You learn to share the money. You learn to share the remote control. (Okay. That last one could be stretching it….)

This means sharing as well your hopes and dreams and fears and desires. It means sharing your very self. The sexual aspect is so important because if you can share that, you can share everything else with someone. The exposure of bodies together is meant to mirror the exposure of hearts to one another.

Marriage is a gift from God. It should be treasured as such. Your spouse is also a gift from God. Treasure them. Seek to make the most of your relationship together. Pray together and worship together. Keep in mind a passage like Ephesians 5. The husband is to present his family to Christ one day to speak about how He did. The wife is to support her husband as well. If a man wants to say he’s the king of his castle, he should treat his wife like a queen.

Now in marriage, you do have the place for your desires to be fulfilled together and let that help you grow in love together. Instead of wading in shallow pools of sex with multiple people, you spend the rest of your life diving into the ocean of one with each of your learning to appreciate each other more and more over time.

Enjoy what you have and realize it’s a dream to have for the rest of your life.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Sexual Ethics Foundation: Engagement

September 16, 2013

If a Christian couple wants to practice proper sexual ethics, what do they do in the engagement period? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

Engagement is an important time. It’s one of the most tense moments I think in a guy’s life when he prepares to pop the question. I remember going to the mall with my then roommate and he went to jeans stores and I went to jewelry stores. I don’t know if he knew I was going to them, but I think he got an idea if he did of where things were going. I also remember overhearing someone at work talking about seeing Allie and I together saying things like “wonderful couple. Perfect together. Incredible how God works things out. Probably going to get married.”

Now I had called and asked her parents for the blessing before I popped the question. Of course, they knew where things were going. Her mother helped supply me with the stone, which was a family heirloom, a lovely pink sapphire. They knew all the details. (And yes, I’m telling this story because I just like telling it as well and now there’s a permanent record of it)

Before the time came, I was going to several co-workers and showing them the ring. I had everything planned. Allie was going to spend Christmas with my family. I was going to pick her up at the airport in Charlotte on Christmas Eve. I had to work until Noon that day. I got off work and went straight to the airport. Her flight was to arrive at 1:04. I got there around 12:30. Her flight arrived at 12:48.

Now you must understand I call my Allie, Princess, regularly, so there was a statue of Queen Charlotte outside the airport. It’s a continuous fountain with a star-shaped pool around it. I took her out there with the lines I’d been preparing for all ready to go. (And guys, I had practiced this routine in front of her picture in my own bedroom most every night before the big day.)

So as we get out there I’m fumbling in my pocket. I want to make sure I open the box the right way and the ring doesn’t come out. She’s looking around and then I say a line I’d been preparing for some time now. “So Princess, have you ever thought about being a queen?”

“Only if you’re the king.”

(Dang. What a great response.)

“Well I guess you’ve made this easy for me.”

To this day, I still remember her stunned shock as I got down on one knee and opened up the box with the ring in it and asked “Allie Licona, will you marry me?”

And it was a moment of shock and surprise as well for at that moment my cell phone went off. Of course, Allie said yes and I ignored who it was thinking it had to be my Mom who calls at the worst possible times. Half-right. It was a Mom, but it was her Mom. She wanted me to know Allie’s plane had arrived early.

It is a story that will be forever used as a piece of taunting.

And of course, when I first introduced her to some members of extended family and friends when we got to Knoxville who had never met her, I had us walk in with my hand around hers covering the ring. I introduced her and then said “As of X hours ago, she’s become somewhat more important.” I’d then lift my hand to show the ring and dive out of the way of all the women who wanted to rush forward and see it.

The next few months involved constant wedding plans over and over with me learning very quickly that it was best to go with what made Allie happy. Weddings are made for the women mostly after all. The honeymoons are where guys take charge. (Guess which one I planned for the most)

So in discussing sexual ethics, things change a bit at dating.

No. Not with behavior. The same rules apply. Chastity until you say “I do.” But at the same time, you are going to be spending the rest of your life with this person barring no extreme circumstances or cold feet, so this is the time that you should spend preparing.

Every woman definitely needs to get herself examined by a gynecologist beforehand and be preparing. This is also a time to start discussing what you want to do with children for instance. You’re preparing to spend the rest of your lives together after all!

In pre-marital counseling, there should definitely be talk about preparing for the wedding night and beyond. Couples need to learn to be more expressive in their language and preparing themselves for what they desire. I often recommend couples get books like “Intended for Pleasure” or “Sheet Music” or “A Celebration of Sex.”

It’s also important to realize both men and women have desires. In our church culture, we often make it that men are just big walking hormones and women are perfectly innocent and never have any sort of sexual thought whatsoever. This is a disgrace to both men and women.

There is no doubt that men are usually more driven in this area. Still, that does not mean it is all we think about. (After all, if someone gives me enough time, I can think of something else we think about, usually…) On the other hand, women have desires too, and it’s okay for them to have those desires. There’s nothing unnatural about that.

Too often, some women have the idea that they are to have no desire whatsoever and when it comes to the wedding night, it is hard for them to flip the switch and suddenly become someone with desire. (Men who have waited for marriage on the other hand often times seem to have no problem learning that this is something they can enjoy)

I encourage men to find a guy that they can trust to talk to. (It can be awkward talking to your own Dad and it would be even more awkward to talk to your future father-in-law) I was fortunate to have a number of people who stood in the gap and today often try to give candid talk to young Christian men I know who are preparing for marriage and let them know they can ask me everything. Of course, I don’t give any personal details whatsoever. I just give general advice and recommend them the works I recommended earlier.

I also think it’s important for women to do similar. Mature women should talk to younger Christian women about to get married and let them know what they can expect. A woman especially needs to know how vital this area is to the joy of her husband. Of course, that’s not to deny that this can be and should be a source of great joy to the woman as well. However, it’s my thinking that the man gets joy out of the physical mostly (Though that does transmit to the emotional) and the woman gets more joy out of the relational. (This is not to deny that she has physical joy. She does and should.)

And of course, enjoy yourselves in this time. You’re preparing for one of the most important events of your life. Note that this is a scary time as well as it should be. (I think I got an hour of sleep the night of my wedding) Also realize that the wait you have been observing will be worth it. There is a beautiful gift meant to be observed and celebrated in marriage, and you can look back with no regrets.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Sexual Ethics Foundation: Dating

September 11, 2013

So how do you go about your life if you don’t plan on staying single? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

Okay. I’ve written about life for the singles. What about those who do plan to marry? For that, dating in our culture is a necessary action. Now some might prefer a different name like courting or something of that sort. By dating, I simply mean getting to spend regular time with a person of the opposite sex that you are considering as a candidate for marriage.

I also think that you should really not consider dating until you’re old enough or near old enough to be getting married. A lot of young girls especially want to date early, but it’s my opinion that starting too early in our culture could also lead to the possibility of sex which for the Christian, is taboo until marriage.

Also, I want to make it clear that I am not condemning physical interaction before marriage. I think couples should. I don’t really care for the first kiss at the altar movement. That’s denying our physical attraction way too much and will lead to too big a rush. How do you go straight from first kiss to all-out sex?

Of course, in the dating relationship, one should be careful. When one looks at the twelve steps of intimacy I really don’t think it’s wise to move beyond #8. Allie and I certainly didn’t in our dating relationship. Why? Once you get to a certain state of passion, it’s incredibly difficult to put the brakes on. Yeah. It might sound like a shock to some of us but those hormones can very easily overpower reason.

Of course, enjoy the physical that you can enjoy for the time being. We certainly did that as well. There’s a funny story about our first date. Allie and I went to the Georgia Aquarium on our first date and came back to her house, where she lived with her parents, to watch Beauty and the Beast that evening.

We were downstairs in the living room together on the couch watching with Allie snuggling up against me. Her parents’ bedroom and her younger brother’s were upstairs. Her brother was thinking of coming down and getting a snack but her parents said we were down there and he might not want to go down. He didn’t. Of course, we weren’t doing anything immoral, but we were a really cute couple together, and still are I contend.

So here are some tips for purity in this time period and other important tips.

First off, I think it’s extremely important that you honor and respect the parents entirely. When I went to meet Allie it was “Mr. Licona” and “Mrs. Licona” until they gave me permission to go by a first name basis.

When I took Allie to meet my parents, they lived in a different state which meant I had to take Allie out of state over night. I sent an email to Mike and let him know about what I was doing, why I was doing it (Allie needed to meet my parents), what the sleeping arrangements would be, and how I would take the utmost care of his daughter.

There was no problem with my request then.

In fact, when it came time to propose, and this is something I wish more men would do more often, I made sure to call Mike and Debbie first and tell them what my plans were and let it be known that “I want to marry your daughter, but I don’t want to go forward with this unless I have your blessing.” They readily gave it. It is a decision I am sure they have never regretted. It doesn’t mean I’ve been the perfect son-in-law. I haven’t been. It simply means they know I always try to have Allie’s best interests at heart.

More on engagement later.

Second, try to not put yourself in tempting situations. Yes, they will come up naturally. If you don’t think you’re going to be tempted sexually, you’re just fooling yourself. It is going to happen. It is not a sin to be tempted. It is normal and in fact healthy. It is a problem if you’re not tempted!

If your brakes were to come off, it would be much much harder to be able to stop again. Sex changes both parties. The changes are not just physical but psychological and hormonal as well. You have already formed a bond with that person. For more on that, I recommend listening to Dr. Freda Bush who was on my show. That link can be found here.

Third, I also recommend you don’t go to the movies on a first date. Movies are fine for a later date, but for that first date, you two don’t need to stare at a screen like that. You need to be watching each other the most and talking to each other and learning how you relate to one another.

Fourth, I actually don’t recommend praying together in person. Praying is a very intimate activity and that could lead to further wanting to continue that intimacy. Allie and I took care of this by praying on the phone.

Fifth, this brings us to the phone. Make the most use of it. In our dating time, we would often spend hours on the phone staying up till the late hours of the evening, sometimes not getting to bed until 1 A.M. or so. Can I remember a single thing we talked about? Not one. We were just talking, and that was fine. (Note: Communication is great once you get married as well. Never stop it.)

Sixth, I also recommend watching how you treat your other friends in this time and listen to their advice. Also, try to not exclude them still. I was pleased to surround myself with friends at my wedding and have them be an active part of my life. Even today, I try to keep in touch with them.

Different friends could respond differently. I remember it was hard for me watching my friends get married before I was. If it was the same for some of mine, I don’t know about that. I do know they have been supportive and have noted the greater happiness that I do have in my life since marriage. I also try to spend some time with them and invest in them and encourage them.

It was exceptionally fortunate that things worked out for my roommate. While we din’t have a “roommate agreement” such as on The Big Bang Theory, we did have matters worked out that we split the bills for living together evenly. Unfortunately, we didn’t have a clause of “If one of us happens to get married” and as people who know Allie and I know, it all happened very fast! I especially remember my roommate messaging me while at work saying he’d been offered another place to live and he figured since he was reading the tea leaves right, Allie and I wouldn’t want him to be around when he got hitched. I told him instead he wouldn’t want to be around. (He has been a great friend to both of us as well, including being my best man and giving the best wedding toast I have ever heard.)

In fact, I am told that for him and another one of our good mutual friends, when I had returned from the first date the talk was “We’d better go ahead and prepare the wedding chapel.”

For friends, if you know someone who is getting married, if you think it’s a good relationship, I do encourage celebrating with them. It’s important for them to know that you highly value their good even if you know that your relationship with them is going to be different from now on, and it most certainly will. Every single friend in the world has to take a backseat to the marriage relationship.

Also, in these relationships, men need to be the ones to take the lead. The man should be doing the asking and should be making arrangements and paying for dates. To this day in fact, I still go and open the car door for Allie and get her in first. There is no excuse for not being a gentleman. Get that fact in your heads men. Always be a gentleman.

Mainly, the dating time is a time to get to know the other person and learn good communication with them. Get to know the family as well. This will be your family as well and you need to establish a good relationship with them. There will be times of disagreement. It happens. In fact, my in-laws and my parents both know that if I think that they’re wrong with something about Allie, I let them know. Of course, they always have Allie’s best at heart as well, but that does not mean that it’s done in the best way. I contend that in fact this shows everyone my devotion to my wife.

When Allie and I were engaged, there was a time that her mother and her and I were in Knoxville together to visit my mother for something and we stopped at a pizzeria before we each went our own way. Her Mom made it clear that when the time came that I had to stand up for Allie to my own mother (Who by the way, loves my wife dearly so don’t be thinking otherwise. Both of my parents would die for my wife if they had to), that I would do it immediately.

I hope I have demonstrated that.

People who know us know that I call Allie my Princess. That is still a name I call her to this day. Remember men when you’re dating that before that woman is your Princess, she is someone else’s. Her parents have both treasured her and since I hold Christians should only date Christians, she is a child of the King as well. Treat her accordingly.

Overall, have fun and enjoy yourself and if you decide to propose, well I guess we’ll have to write more on that later. Right?

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Deeper Waters Podcast 9/7/2013: Hook-Up Culture

September 2, 2013

What’s coming up this Saturday on the Deeper Waters Podcast? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

I know some of you are quite curious. Why is the podcast about the show this Saturday coming out on Monday? Simple. I’m going to be heading to Atlanta tomorrow until Friday to visit my in-laws for our annual Labor Day get together. I do not plan on doing the blog then so I’m going ahead and getting this taken care of now. Therefore, no blogs the rest of the week.

So what are we going to be talking about? We’re talking about a favorite topic for many of us. Sex! Unfortunately, we have to talk about how a great thing has gone wrong in our culture and that is what is going on in the hook-up culture.

Now I’m not an expert on the medical side of matters of course, so I made sure to invite someone who is. My guest is Dr. Freda Bush. She is an M.D. who has been involved with women’s health issues for some time and seen the effects that the hook-up culture has had on people from a medical perspective.

We’re so often told that it’s just sex. It’s no big deal. Is that really the case? Dr. Bush thinks it is quite a big deal and I agree. Dr. Bush will be speaking about issues in relation to abstinence, the usage of condoms, teen pregnancy, and the spread of STDs.

But it will go deeper than that still. There will be talk about how this affects us all relationally. What does it do to a woman when she has multiple sex partners over and over? What impact will that have on her future? Will all that messing around in college be something that just stays in college or will it have long-term effects? Will it cause problems with them in a future marriage or maybe even make it difficult for a woman to get pregnant later on?

What happens to a woman in abortion? Is it really just a medical procedure or are there real effects to it beyond terminating a pregnancy? (Ugh. I even hate typing in that part.) Dr. Bush will tell us about these kinds of issues.

This is definitely a show that I urge you to listen to if you are wanting to protect yourself and those younger than you. If you are a parent, you owe it to yourself to listen to this program. Don’t tell me that your children are Christians and so the culture won’t effect them. If you really think that, you are only deluding yourself. Morally, the culture has declared war on our children and sexuality is a major contender in the battle for purity. Of course, in listening to a show like this, I advise parents to show discretion with younger children.

So I ask that you tune in this Saturday to the Deeper Waters Podcast from 3-5 PM EST to talk about the hook-up culture with Dr. Freda Bush. The link to the show can be found here. If you want to ask Dr. Bush a question, the number is 714-242-5180. I hope you’ll be there!

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Sexual Ethics Foundation: The Single Life

August 30, 2013

What does the Bible say about you sexually if you’re not married? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

A friend suggested that sometime after a series on sexual ethics, I should do something on the single life. I figure why wait until the end because even if single Christians are not to have sex, that does not mean that they don’t have sexual ethics to follow. As he said, I have spent most of my life single so maybe I have some things to say about my prior state.

So let’s clear up something right at the start.

As long as you’re single, one rule is clear. No sex.

Now there are some people who are single because they just don’t honestly want to get married. Some have never married and they’re just fine with staying that way. If you’re one of those people, God bless you. We need to realize that the life of Jesus really changed the world and one aspect that it did was it made the single life a viable lifestyle.

In the church, we can be too quick to look down on those who are single as if they are incomplete somehow and think that we have to find just the right person for them. Now if someone wants to get married, this can be well and good and highly appreciated. Many a marriage starts by one person introducing two people to each other. In essence, that’s how my marriage started.

We dare not look at single people as if they are lesser people. They could just have a different calling in this life and they think that if they are married, that might slow them down in their service of the kingdom. Maybe they just don’t have a lot of sexual desire and they look at something like sex and think “Yeah. It’d be nice, but it’s no big deal.”

If these people are willing to accept the rule of “No sex”, then let us encourage them.

On the other hand, some people want to get married. These are people who do happen to have strong sexual desire. When I was single living with a roommate, he did know that I was a guy who was very interested in getting married someday. Of course, there will be more on that later, but it was something I thought about often. There’s no doubt for me that lack of a spouse was indeed a lack in my life that needed to be filled.

If you are someone who does want to get married, then by all means go out and search for a spouse but until you find one, no sex. That’s the rule for the Christian life. Of course, how that will work about as you are dating is something that we will discuss later, but in the meantime, what are you to do?

If you are to follow the path of no sex, you are to be consistent and avoid lust. A definite sign that you are engaging in lust is the practice of viewing pornography. That’s a negative for the Christian. To view pornography is to treat the opposite sex as if they are an object meant to satisfy your desires alone. One of the beauties of sex in marriage is to realize both persons are there to satisfy the desires of the other person. If each person seeks to please the other, both will be happy.

It also definitely means respecting the opposite sex. By all means have friends of the opposite sex, but don’t date. Dating is for people who plan to marry. If you don’t plan to marry, then it is just dishonest to someone of the opposite sex to date them.

Until you get married, learn to be happy where you are and make the most of it. I am happy to be married now, but I wish I had done more with my single life. Marriage does require something of you. The person who is single does in some ways tend to have more time and I wish I’d made more of it looking back.

A difficult step to follow, at least for me it was, is to try to not be jealous of your friends who are getting married. This was a difficult one for me as I watched my friends around me get married when I first lived in Knoxville and wondered “When will it be my turn? Why am I being left behind?” Ironically while in Charlotte, in my circle of friends, I was the first to get married, and in fact out of my circle of friends there, I’m the only one still to be married. None of the others have said the “I do” yet, and I’ve made it a point to not really press them on it. If they want it, they’ll go for it when they’re ready. If not, then that’s their choice and I respect that. If any of them want to talk to me about married life, I’m more than happy to do that. In fact, it’s something that I quite love to talk about.

When you see your friends getting then, try to be happy for them. I liked that at our wedding, my best man I am sure was genuinely happy and might I add, gave the best toast that I have ever heard given at a wedding ceremony. I think Allie quickly became part of the inner circle by them and we would often have good discussion times. She did enjoy watching them come over and seeing us do something like Super Smash Brothers Brawl together or watching the final season of Smallville. Celebrate your married friends and realize that they still want to be friends with you, but their first priority is still going to be to their wives.

I used to get together on Sunday nights with some friends in Charlotte and play on the Wii and then do something like bowling together. Allie understood that it was a guy thing then, but if she really needed me, she gave me a call and I came straight home if need be. My other friends understood that.

Of course, you should also realize that there are times when your married friends don’t want to be disturbed. That’s okay also.

So as long as you’re single, with your mind and heart, honor the people of the opposite sex in your life. Avoid pornography and if you plan to get married, good for you. If you plan to stay single, good for you also. Live the proper life in each path and seek to serve God to the fullest with wherever you are right now.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Sexual Ethics Foundation: Women

August 28, 2013

Does a woman truly view sexuality different from a man? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

Obviously, this account will not be a firsthand perspective.

I have made it a point to try to understand how women think. I have done this largely due to several years of seeing guys with their girlfriends at various places, such as when I worked at an arcade, and noticing mistakes in relationships. I have made it a point to learn from other marriages around me and to really listen. Some women who have been married and are married are some of my closest friends and we’ve had numerous conversations about their own thought lives and my approach and treatment of women.

I also will say that while I hope I do a good job, I am in no way a master of this. I am seeking to learn more and more how to respond better to the opposite sex, most importantly my own Allie, who I seek to love so she can be the best she can be. I take the statement “As Christ loved the Church” very seriously.

If I am wrong in any of this, I do welcome correction from women. I am sure that I will not have everything down perfectly, but I hope I get a general idea and that it will also help my fellow men know the better way that we can approach women.

I wrote yesterday that generally a man can consider sex an end in itself. This doesn’t mean he doesn’t see other benefits. He can enjoy the acceptance, affirmation, intimacy, etc. as well as the great physical pleasures, but for him the physical pleasure can be one of the greatest drives.

Of course, a woman is designed to enjoy sexuality. This is in fact why women have a clitoris. It is the way that they can enjoy the physical sensations of sexuality. Yet the woman’s appetite is not normally as strong as the man’s. I happen to like the statement I’ve seen of a marriage counselor in a video saying (paraphrased)”Some of you men are married to women who love sex. They can’t get enough of it. They want it constantly. I think I speak on behalf of all men here when I say ‘We hate you’.”

In today’s society, a woman often feels a lot of pressure to look and be her best. Now to be fair, there’s nothing wrong with a woman wanting to have a good appearance. She should want that. There’s something wrong with a woman putting all her identity in her appearance. I think the Dove commercial with the artist doing a sketch of women and then having a neutral observer describe the same woman is quite revealing in this regard.

A woman just as much as a man seeks to be affirmed in her beauty. If I was asked what the chief marker of a woman is, it is beauty. Everything about her is to radiate beauty from her inner character to her outward appearance. It is the focus on the outward alone that really damages women. God created women to be the representation of his beauty on Earth. The union of strength in men and beauty in women will be strong and beautiful both.

What a woman seeks to know in sexuality is if she’s beautiful or not. She wants to feel the security and acceptance of someone else. It’s not the physical sensation so much as it is the relational connection. She wants to know that she is in right relationship with a man.

Naturally, we men who aren’t as relationship oriented as women are have a hard time understanding that.

This is also why a woman can take longer to be in the mood for sex. A woman needs to fill love and have that love brimming up inside of her until she can’t take it and has to fully express it. This is also why some women have to work to do things to get set to be in the mood if they want to please their husbands that evening. I know of one woman, for instance, who on the days she planned on romancing her husband wrote T.S. on the calendar for “Think Sex.”

Note to men then. Because she is not as ready to leap at the possibility of sex as you are, it does not mean she does not love you or does not care about you. It just means that she’s wired differently and it could be that you have to try harder. Note that she wants to know you truly care about her and are interested in her and not that she’s just an object for your sexual pleasure.

Today, many women give sex in order to get love. It is the idea that if they sleep with the man, he will come to love them. He could. He might not. My thinking is such women are already treating themselves as object saying that the only way they can be loved is sexually. If they are not desired sexually, then they are not lovable and they need to know they are desired sexually.

In fact, if a man is just interested in pleasure, then he could be with you just because he sees you as easy pleasure. You want to know a man who truly cares about you? Look at the man who is willing to put everything on hold for you, who is willing to walk down that aisle with you, and who then says “Only after I have made that covenant with you will I enjoy the fruit of the garden.”

This is not to say that this happens with every couple that doesn’t wait. Some can be very loving and no doubt are. Do I still think it’s a mistake to not wait. Definitely, and I will be writing more on that later. It also doesn’t mean that even Christian couples who make a mistake are doomed to an unloving marriage. They’re not. What it does mean is that I’m convinced you’re putting up a barrier for your future.

For women, sex begins at breakfast. What does that mean? It means a man cannot do nothing all day, come home, have his wife bring him dinner while he sits and watches TV, and then give her a wink as he prepares to go to the bedroom thinking that she’ll be all gung-ho to be with him.

A man who wants a romantic evening had better be living a romantic lifestyle.

This is also why I recommend a couple getting set for marriage or already married go through a book like “The Five Love Languages.” By knowing your spouse’s love language, you can better know how to speak to them which will lead to more sex. More sex leads to more intimacy and more love. It then becomes a beautiful spiral that grows and grows.

My love languages for instance are words of affirmation and physical touch. Allie’s are gifts. One of the benefits of the book and learning it is that you realize you have to speak another language. If I get Allie a gift, it speaks far more than a word of affirmation or physical touch would. Note that this does not mean I have to buy a gift. Allie has been quite happy with me drawing a picture for her. (She studies art with a teacher on Wednesday nights, but the teacher has me learning some too. Allie thinks I have a natural talent.) On the other hand, Allie can get me great gifts and I really appreciate them, but speaking my languages is what really speaks to me. Thus, if I’m at the store, I can see if I can find something, even a small thing, I can get Allie. If we’re driving together, Allie knows she can reach over and put her hand on my leg and I immediately feel the love.

So women, I hope that I have done so far a noble attempt to try to understand where you are coming from in discussing this issue and I hope I have set a point for women who are not yet married, a point I wish to expound on later on. Please remember as much as you want to be understood, and that is a good thing, your man will also want the same thing. I honestly encourage couples to have real candid talks on sexuality and what each of them expects from the other. For couples about to get married (Advice to you is coming later), I suggest that in pre-marital counseling, you talk about this together. If you’re not married, don’t talk about it in person. Talk can too easily lead to action.

And men, keep this in mind with your women. If you want to enjoy a healthy harvest, you have to cultivate your garden very well. If you want sex, and we all do, then that means you have to treat your women well. I have often said that biblically, I think a man should lead. A man is the king of his castle. If that is the case, then that means the woman gets treated like a queen. She is not a servant.

Protect her. Cherish her. Let her know that she’s loved every single day. Set aside time for her regularly. Realize when you’re married that this woman has done something incredible. She has said she loves you enough that she wants to spend the rest of her life with you. She’s willing to put up with all of your obnoxious behavior. (This goes for me as well. I’m sure there are times Allie sees some of my crazy behavior and thinks to herself “What in the world did I get myself into?”)

The reality is both the man and woman have to learn from one another. There are times I have some insomnia and to calm my mind down, I read Philippians. I’d like my readers to consider the first four verses of chapter 2.

“Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”

In reading this last time I thought “This is the way all marriages should be.” Indeed it is. Imagine if we all in marriage strove to be of one mind, to do nothing for ourselves, to seek the interest of the other person, etc. Imagine if our marriages could indeed be a little example of the relationship of Christ and the church. (And wouldn’t you know it, Paul has that same idea in Ephesians 5)

Men need to realize that women are a treasure. We men should all be thankful we found someone who loves us. Women can realize the same thing. They’ve found someone who loves them and that is something indeed worth celebrating. By seeking to build up one another, you can make things better and better. It could be that in fact the more you love one another, your spouse will also do those loving things so you’ll get your own needs met. Suppose they don’t? Oh well. You’re still doing what you’re supposed to be doing.

Well that’s our foundation for how men and women perceive matters differently. Again, I welcome the comments from women on this. I hope with this kind of foundation laid, we can get into some ethical reasons for why Christians believe we should behave the way we do.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Sexual Ethics Foundation: Men

August 27, 2013

How do men handle issues of sexual ethics? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

I’ve been asked to write a foundation series on sexual ethics and since I think I’ve already established that we need to have this conversation, I’m going to write first off on the part that’s much easier for me, writing about how a man thinks about the issue of sex.

I am sure it’s no surprise to women out there to know that men like sex and we think about it constantly. Now it’s not true that that’s all that we think about (We do sleep sometimes after all), but it certainly is always ready to be brought to the forefront of the mind.

The average wife tends to think that her husband has such a dirty mind. I dare say that if women knew the way men were really thinking a lot of the times, they’d be even more disgusted with us than they already are. If many women who are dressing sleazy in order to impress men knew what went on in a man’s mind, they would probably be more prone to dress like women in Islamic countries.

In the debate on homosexuality, I am surprised so often to hear about the need to fill a natural desire. If we men did that, we’d be starting a polygamous marriage or adulterous affair the day after our wedding. We have to make it a constant battle in order to avoid thinking about other women in our minds when we’re married or dating.

The first movie Allie and I saw while dating was Couple’s Retreat. It was certainly a funny movie and given to us as a gift later as a reminder of the first movie we saw together, but even then when it came to women in bikinis on the big screen, I was looking away. Why? Because I knew darn well the way my mind worked and that I can have that panorama of images in my head.

This is one reason that pornography is such a big draw for a man. A man can just have an image in his head and frankly, it’s a lazy way to meet a woman. Pornography requires nothing of the man. He does not have to be a man to experience sexual release at the sight of pornography. He just has to have the right equipment to do so. There is no challenge on his character or call for him to better himself. When such a man meets a real woman, he will not know what to do with her.

This is something we in the church need to be aware of. Please note that I am not saying that the desire for the man to have sex is a wrong desire. Heck no it’s not wrong! What I am saying is that it is a desire that, like any other desire, needs to be controlled. Handled properly, it will be a great benefit to a man. Handled improperly, and it can lead to his destruction.

Men are also very much ready to go for sex at a moment’s notice. Men are like microwaves and women are like ovens. Of course, there are times that are exceptions and there are people that are exceptions, but generally, a man does not take much to get in the mood and to be ready to go.

Men also tend to view sex as an end in itself. While women want it generally as a means to something else, for men, the sex itself is the goal. Sexuality for a man is one of the strongest shapers of who that man really is.

How does this work with marriage? Sex is a major reason why men get married. When men marry, it is not because they want someone to have intellectual discussions with. It is not because they want someone to play games with or watch TV and movies with. Their guy friends can often do that just fine. They want something different. They want what only the woman can give them, and that is sex.

Having said that, the man in marriage must avoid this temptation. He must avoid the treating of his wife as just a sex object. This is often thought about with the joke that a man is doing his taxes and filing his wife under the category of “entertainment expenses.” Of course, a man should enjoy the sexual company of his wife, but realize that she is much more than that.

Biblically, I think God set up the system this way because the only way the man would be drawn to the woman was for sex. Men don’t really need someone around for security usually. We’re normally stronger and better able to care for ourselves. We also tend to look out for #1 and there’s no reason why we’d want to just take on someone who we would have to look out for.

That’s why God gave us men a great incentive to be with the woman. If you give the woman love, you get to experience the fruit of that love. An analogy we could think of is with gardening. If a man tends to his garden rightly, when the harvest comes, he can enjoy its choice fruits. In fact, this is the same kind of language that we find used in Song of Songs.

As a man learns to love his wife then (Since marriage based on love is really a new phenomenon) he will find that he does in fact love her. Many of us know the paradox that if we wait until we feel like doing something, then we will never do that something. Want to lose weight? Don’t wait until you feel like exercising. You’ll never do it. Just start exercising.

This sexuality is an integral part of the man. This is the best way that a wife can build up her husband. Those of you who have embraced the five love languages, and I recommend that you do if you haven’t, should realize that for every man, there is a sixth love language. Some might think the language of physical touch means sex. It doesn’t. Sex definitely involves physical touch, but physical touch means much more than that, such as the holding of a hand, the patting of a leg, the caressing of a back, etc. Bottom line women is that if you want to empower your husbands, this is the number one way to do it. Sexuality gives the man the affirmation and knowledge that he is indeed the man. After all, a guy will do most any crazy, stupid thing you can imagine just to hear some one guy shout out “You the man!”

What of men who don’t get married? The biblical model is quite simple. If you want sex, then you get married. If you don’t get married, then you are to be chaste your whole life. I do plan on writing more on this later, but the man who plans to be single must be prepared biblically to accept that fate.

For those who do, we must not look down on them. Christianity did something radical in that it made singleness an honorable position to hold. Anyone who disagrees should realize that our Lord was single in his earthly sojourn and we would not look down on Him. If you choose to be single, just make sure that the energy you would have given to marriage that you give to the service of the Kingdom.

For men who are planning to get married, you are called to wait until you have said the “I dos” before you can have sex. Doing this is the best way to honor the woman that you love and you can go with the confidence that after you get married, they’ll be plenty of time to catch up on any time you might think you’ve “missed” in the dating period.

What women need to do is realize what an integral part of the man this is and act accordingly. A woman should make herself desirable, but she should also until she’s married leave some mystery to her. Let it be that the man earns her trust and love. Do not downplay his sexuality. Instead, try to make the most of it. Realize that this is just the way that God made men. God made us to have a strong drive so that we would use that drive to honor you all the more.

Men are to always be loving and honoring of their women. Do not make that love conditional on the sex. After all, most of us would want our women to be there and loving us for the sake of loving us and not sleeping with us just so that we will love them or we have guilted them. It should be our hopes that our women will want us for us. In a marriage, I think it’s fine for sex to be an incentive or reward or gift, but it should not be used as a weapon.

Remember men, we are called to love our wives as Christ loved the church, and if such a thought does not make you nervous, then there is something that is wrong with you. It is a remarkable calling and one you should seek to strive towards every day. Do you think Christ would use the church as an object for His pleasure? Or, do you think rather that Christ seeks to honor the church and build her up so he can present her without fault and blemish, you know, the very words Paul himself uses here.

Well that’s about it for men. I hope next time to discuss this subject in relation to women, something much more difficult, but that is going to be tried.

In Christ,
Nick Peters