Pastor Tim Keller, who ministered in culture-shaping Manhattan, recently answered a question about church revival by saying that “one of the biggest obstacles to repentance for revival in the Church is the basic fact that almost all singles outside the Church and a majority inside the Church are sleeping with each other”. In other words, good old fornication.
But what caught my attention was that Keller connected one’s doubt about Christianity with their sexual behaviour. He has seen many new Christian college students coming back home with questions about evolution and philosophy. After some digging, he often found it was because of their troubled conscience due to having sex. A writer named Derek Rishmawy says it is not surprising because when you engage in a behaviour you’ve been raise to believe is sin, but is fun and powerfully enslaving, you naturally want to find reasons to disbelieve your former moral convictions. English writer Aldous Huxley famously confessed in his work “Ends and Means” that he didn’t want there to be a God and meaning because it interfered with his sexual freedom. For many modern people, God is someone who gets in the way of free expression of their sexuality.
Some may ask, “Why does God care so much about what we do with our sexuality?” It is simply because he cares about “us”. We are not just our bodies, but we are body/soul/spirit-united being. Sex affects our soul like no other behaviour, and it also does something deeply damaging to our body (1 Cor 6:18). If God is a loving Heavenly Father as we Christians believe it, then he “has to” care about our sexuality and sexual behaviour.
A Christian writer C. S. Lewis once wrote: “there are few of Christianity’s teachings more offensive, unpalatable, and likely to drive people away from hearing the Gospel than its sex ethic.” I personally have witnessed a few Christians leaving our church because they find the Bible’s teaching on sexual issues “oppressive”. But here is what we need to ponder. No society can last long while taking a loose view of sex. That’s a proven historical fact. Edward Gibbon, in his book The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire, listed the causes of the fall of Rome in order of their importance. Number one on the list was sexual immorality. Not only Rome but it also led to the downfall of Greece, Egypt, and Babylon. But even as Rome was falling from within, Christianity kept the society intact wherever it spread primarily because of their distinct, Body-honoring, Bible-based sexual ethic. Christian sexual ethic is not a message of oppression but of hope, hope for the healthy family, society and nation.