>Jeff graciously invited me to add my copycat post on the 30 Day Sex Challenge, so here it is. Thanks Jeff.
A church in Tampa called “Relevant Church” may be demonstrating just how irrelevant attempts to be relevant can make a church. The pastor of the church has issued the “30 Day Sex Challenge” to his members. He wants married couples to have sex every day for a month. So far I really like this guy, although my wife may take issue with him. He also wants singles to abstain for the month:
Oh, and the flip side of the challenge? No rolling in the sheets for the unwed.
Church member Tim Jones and his fiancee agreed to take on the challenge, though he acknowledges it’ll be a tough month.
But he added: “I think it’s worth trying to find out other things about each other.”
That’s where it gets a little tricky for me.
Shouldn’t the church be telling single people to abstain from sex ALL the time, not just during a publicity stunt, er, spiritual challenge? I get the impression from Mr. Jones’ response that this stunt is not so much about stressing holiness and encouraging the people of God to enjoy righteous pleasures within God’s parameters as it is about “finding out other things about each other.” How nice and personally enriching.
Now, I guess the thinking could be something along the lines of, “Well, those horny singles are doing it whether we like it or not. Let’s at least encourage them to stop for a little while and get to know each other in a different way. Maybe it’ll stick.”
From a cultural perspective, I see the benefit of such thinking. But from a spiritual standpoint, it is little more than coddling idolaters (see 1 Corinthians 10:1-8 for the connection between sexual sin and idolatry). The Bible doesn’t say abstain from sexual immorality if you can; it says the sexually immoral will not inherit the kingdom. It doesn’t say to abstain from sexual immorality so that you can know each other in deeper ways first (although this is certainly a benefit to abstaining until marriage); it says to abstain from sexual immorality because “this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God,” (1 Thessalonians 4:3-5).
I certainly believe that the Church must be a place where those who have sinned sexually can find grace and forgiveness. Trust me, I have far more sexual baggage than the average bear, so I’m grateful for this truth. And, in fairness, I have to add that most churches probably go to the opposite extreme of Relevant Church’s coddling of sexual sinners and essentially demonize them, offering anything but a place of grace and forgiveness. Both are unfaithful to God’s high calling of the Church.
The Church is called to strive to uphold God’s standards, not to cater to society’s standards. The sad reality that sexual sin is rampant in our society is no excuse for the Church to lower the high standards that Scripture places on the sexual conduct of its members. Otherwise, we may find ourselves to be a very socially hip, yet spiritually irrelevant, church full of members who are “like the Gentiles who do not know God.”