What's your church doing about sexual sin?

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Last week our city held a seminar on sexual sin among men. It was attended by a variety of churches and about 280 men (and 2 women). The speaker was a Christian therapist who dealt with sexual sin in the Christian community. As many already knew, this is a serious problem even among the clergy.

In this seminar we were taught why this sin is so hard to beat. In short, it's another form of addiction. It's engaged in for the same reasons as drugs, alcohol, and gambling (elation and comfort), and must be beaten in much the same way. This involves spiritual warfare and accountability structures.

The latter is especially important, and involves getting men into small groups or with male partners to keep track of each other and report truthfully on their progress. Breaking this bondage is very difficult without the added motivation of having to truthfully report on your success in the battle over the week.

There is also a critical role for the wives in the case of married men. After the lessons there was a question and answer period that was very revealing as to the struggles going on in the group. Many questions dealt with spouses who used sex as a weapon, refused sex for long periods, etc. This leads to serious temptation for the man, though it doesn't excuse his sexual sin. I guess we could say that the wife needs to cooperate with her husband in his battle.

Have you ever considered the depth of this problem in your church? I'll bet it goes deeper than you realize. From fantasies to porn, adultery to child molestation, it's probably going on in your church right now, possibly even amongst the leadership. What is your church doing about it?

-- Anonymous, March 09, 2002


How are we defining "sexual sin" for these purposes?

-- Anonymous, March 09, 2002

At the seminar they talked at length about fantasies, masturbation, pornography in all forms, adultery, and fornication. We could also include homosexuality, molestation, phone sex, and looking at a person other than your spouse for arousal purposes. Basically, anything of a sexual nature that God would be displeased with even down to thoughts.

-- Anonymous, March 09, 2002

I should add that the speaker did not include as sinful different sexual methods and practices that took place between married couples. The only limits he recommended were things that involved role playing (because you're imagining your spouse is another person), anything harmful to the body, and anything not mutually agreed upon.

-- Anonymous, March 09, 2002


Excellent topic!! Open and frank discussions about human sexuality continues to be a missing item on the church's agenda. I assume from your last post that the presenter's endorsement of "other sexual methods" by married couples includes oral sex and sexual outercourse [sic] techniques. An often neglected topic in this general area is sexual dysfunctionality. For instance, assume one partner is a chronic diabetic and therefore becomes impotent. His loving and faithful wife maintains a voracious appetite for conjugal relations. Now, is it sinful for the impotent spouse to invest in artificial stimulus instruments in order to maximize his wife's pleasure? Or, will he be frowned upon if he decides to seek medication assistnace in the form of Viagara? If the church promulgates a policy of discouraging such purchases will the neglected needs of the spouse simply be reduced to "Well Honey-Child, just pray because you Know the Lord will make a Way"?

Or, what about the not-too-unusual case where some married women simply do not like sexual intercourse and as a result decline from participation. Furthermore, lets's assume she is caring, loving and faithful and for the sake of argument she looks like Halle Berry. If physical health is adversely impacted caused by intercourse do you respect the wishes of your mate or seek divorce? Now, surely the husband in this hypothetical case is in a real dilemma. It's "bad" enough being married to an attractive woman, I know becuase I have to carry this burden daily :-). But, to be married to a loving, caring and voluptuous woman who doesn't enjoy sexual intimacy and climax has to rank with one the the greatest injustices imaginable to modern man. Now before I'm inundated with comments about the need for "counseling" and therapy let me remind my puritanical friends that the latter case is not an "open and shut" case. On second thought, my last metaphor given this discussion is probably not the best. I''m no Dr. Ruth but some things simply cannot be pushed under the rug. QED

-- Anonymous, March 09, 2002

Brother Dickens,

Your questions remind me of Paul's instructions in these areas, and also reminds me of some statements made at the seminar. The role of the spouse is to meet the needs of their partner. If you have a diabetic or other person suffering dysfunction, I'd say it's their duty to find some workable way to still meet the needs of their partner. There are many aids that can be used by both men and women, and if it helps their spouse avoid temptation, it's OK by me.

If I had a problem with credit, my wife would clip those cards in a second to help me avoid temptation. If I had a problem with weight, you'd find her eating rice cakes right along with me. Why? Because she wants to assist in any area I'm weak. Why would she treat sexual temptation any differently? If a physical problem prevents traditional methods, it's time to find another way if one exists. If none exists, God's grace is sufficient. However in this case, many exist.

-- Anonymous, March 09, 2002

I think it is a slipery slope when we begin to let others define what goes on in the privacy of our own bedrooms and minds.

-- Anonymous, March 11, 2002

The issue isn't about what goes on, but who it goes on with and when. I think we'd agree that any improper thought, or deed with or directed at a person not your lawfully wedded spouse is sin. Based on what I've heard, read about, and observed, sexual sin in the church is a problem. These aren't the borderline areas. When I was a minister our leadership had to constantly emphasize the church's policy on involvement in porn by clergy. Who knows what's going on among the laity? God help the unchurched. It must be rampant.

Add in adultery (I personally know several ministers who have been canned for this) and fornication among singles, and it's safe to say that satan has found a powerful weapon. Again the question, is your church involved in delivering its people from this?

-- Anonymous, March 11, 2002


Although your seminar was basically for and to men, I think it would do well for women to get involved in some open dialogue in this area, as well.

Let me say that in the African American community, human sexuality, has always been a taboo subject. It was not discussed openly in most homes. Most of what we as pre-teens and teens learned when I was coming up came from the little our peers knew. However, when I think of my own growing up to be a woman years, my father and mother were very progressive in this area. Although they didn't sit us down and have a family discussion about it, my father would talk to us regarding boys, what was expected, etc. and then on any given day, my mother would take the same approach. They just didn't do it as a family circle. I think what really opened my sibling and my eyes was when my grandmother got involved in discussing sex with us. Wow! Granny? I wonder how we thought mom and dad came into the world?

With all of the other problems we have in the world why add another, huh? Well, with abuse, rape, and perversion on the rise, dialogue and accountability ought to be considered.

-- Anonymous, March 14, 2002

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