I normally stay away from the absurd, but this story is, to be sure, not at all that absurd. It is almost beyond comprehension, but that’s just me.
All those old sayings about Christians being terrified of sex are out the window. There is a new trend going on in churches that involves preachers talking to congregations about sex. (Imagine the irony! Catholic priests can’t talk about it; Protestant do nothing but talk about it! Maybe only husbands and wives ought to talk about it? Do any of you want to hear your preacher talk about your sex life let alone his own?) Oh, it is all the rage. From large billboards, to television spots, to several week long sermon series–wow, what a great time to be involved in church!
Just imagine for a moment the Christians around the world who this very day will be persecuted for their faith in Jesus Christ as the Only Way. Imagine their suffering, their loss of dignity, their loss of property, and for many the loss of their lives. Now imagine the church here in America. This week’s sermon: Sex: Indulgence and Abstinence.
Take for example this church in FLA and the recent challenge offered up by their ‘pastor’:
TAMPA, Fla. — A Florida pastor has a new challenge for his parishioners. It involves sex – a subject that may be taboo in many congregations.
The Relevant Church in Tampa’s Ybor City has issued a 30-day sex challenge.
“It’s going to be tempting and awkward at the same time for sure,” said parishioner Brent Cayson.
Single men and women can’t have sex for 30 days, and married couples are urged to have it every day.
“If you look at studies, studies say in 30 days you can develop a habit,” said Pastor Paul Wirth.
It definitely caught wives in the church by surprise.
“Our married people are far more fearful than our single people,” said Wirth.
In a more detailed version of the story we learn of the pastor’s point of view on how to ‘connect with God’:
Wirth has found biblical references that he says suggest Jesus disapproved of pre-marital sex and promoted sex in marriage. So, he believes people connect to God through life-long commitment.
30 straight days of sex or no sex? I’m trying hard to understand what this is supposed to prove about a ‘connection’ with God. (So, does 30 days of no-sex teach us that a vital connection with God begins with a vital commitment to, uh, no one?) Forgive me, but what sort of connection would that be? Also, ‘Wirth has found biblical references…’? Isn’t the Bible about Jesus? (Oh, I know, Jesus talked more about sex and money than anything else in the Bible, right?) It ‘caught the wives by surprise…’? That just tells me that there were no women involved in the planning of this of this charade. Of course it caught the wives by surprise! I don’t know a woman on the planet who would agree to such an absurd proposition. This is the height of American self-indulgence!
I normally stay away from these sorts of posts, but this is so absurd that I had to weigh in on it. Even personal holiness, if that is what this ‘pastor’ is driving at isn’t merely about developing a habit. Seriously, holiness is about becoming like Christ for the sake of Christ and the glory of God. It is about being set apart from the culture, from the world, from sin. It is not merely about habits. This demonstration shows me two things. First, it shows me that this is really about publicity (as in ‘Yea! I got my name on Foxnews.com). Second, it shows me that level of biblical understanding is profoundly pathetic in churches in America.
I doubt anyone from that congregation will read my post, but if they do I hope they will enlighten me as to what exactly this has to do with anything even remotely connected with the Scripture? What sort of mangled exegesis was produced by such a self-centered hermeneutic? What sort of training must one go through in Bible College in order to produce sermons of this nature? I couldn’t do this if I tried. Seriously folks, the church really needs to wake up! The church, if the church would just preach Christ Jesus and Him Crucified all this other stuff would be common sense. I know that is naive.
I’d like to issue a little challenge of my own. To any preachers who happen to read this or parishioners who happen to know a preacher, here’s a challenge: Challenge your preacher to spend 1 month, 4 weeks, 4 straight Sundays, preaching nothing but Jesus Christ. I’m not talking fluffy ‘Jesus loves me this I know’ stuff. I’m talking hard-core, deeply exegetical, thought provoking, God-honoring, Scriptural sermons. Challenge him (or, God-forbid, her) to preach nothing but the cross for one month. No 50 days of adventure. No 40 days purpose. No 30 days to live. No 12 steps to better hair, family, and finances. Just Jesus. Preach on sin, justification by grace, propitiation, the coming wrath, sanctification, the cross. Preach Jesus Christ who took the weight of the world of sin on his shoulders. Preach it for one month. Forget about sex. Forget about purpose. Forget about your best life now (which, truthfully speaking, in Christ, won’t be our best life because our best life is yet to come). Forget about all that you have been taught to preach in order to be relevant and preach Christ; preach the Word in season and out of season. Preach the Word.
Soli Deo Gloria!
PS-if you need help getting started, I have 90 Days with Jesus right here at this blog. Have at ’em free of charge.
PPS–I don’t know why people are so convinced that the straightforward proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is so irrelevant that they have to preach all sorts of nonsense and issue all sorts of challenges like this. I cannot hail this sort of relevance at all. I think if this pastor really understood his call to preach, he would search the Scriptures for something more than ‘what did Jesus say about sex.’ Instead, he would search the Scriptures for what they say about Jesus (See Luke 24, John 5, John 20, Revelation 1). What could be more relevant, more radical that preaching a message that 95% of the world hates, disagrees with, and actively works to destroy? Preachers really need to open their eyes and see the world that is dying in its sin because they are more interested in sex than they are in Christ.