Because Christianity is bigger than Biblical manhood or Biblical womanhood (Blog of Retha Faurie)

Gospel sex?

I heard a new idea concerning sex last week. It is that God made sex to explain to us what a relationship with Him is about. According to that idea, God is the man, Christians are the woman, and sex is a symbol of our unity with Him.

If that was true, we could study the way females experience sex as an example of how we should think about unity with God.

For many women (and many men too, but this is not the topic right now), sex has to do with their most traumatic life experiences.  Even the cruder parts of popular culture admits that penetration is often not a good thing: It has expressions like “getting  ____ed” for getting cheated ; and the common curse that parents teach their children never to use is literally a desire that the cursed person gets penetrated.

If we get, from that, a picture of how Christ want to relate to us, the picture is blasphemy.

Female lack of sexual experience is generally related to purity. This idea appears across most continents, eras, and religions.  In fact, some groups even genitally mutilate women, so that they can have no desire to lose their purity. I do not subscribe to the idea that a married wife who have always been faithful to her husband is any less pure than a virgin, but she is not more pure either.

If girls lose purity by becoming sexually active, we really need another analogy for what Christ does when bringing us close – He takes us impure people and make us pure.

Sex is something not meant for children.

Kassian (the complementarian who wrote the sex-is-a-symbol-of –unity-with-Christ article) insist that “Without [marriage and sex]… we would have a tough time understanding the Gospel.” I know that children too young to understand marriage and sex understand the gospel very easily, and that many unmarried people do understand the gospel. On the other hand, I heard of nobody who ever testified that marrying or getting sexually active finally helped them to understand the Gospel.

Believing that sex is the main way people can understand the gospel, would lead to one of two ways of treating children: You could either get to the conclusion that the gospel is not meant for children, or that sex and marriage is meant for them.

… therefore a man shall leave his parents and cleave to his wife, and the two shall become one…

The texts on man and woman becoming one (Gen 2:24; Mat 19:5; Mar 10:7; Eph 5:31) has the word “therefore” in them – connecting to the reason why it happen. And the therefore words never say: “To symbolize a relationship with God.” From 3 of the 4 passages, “symbolizing a relationship with God” is not even among the possible inferences.

This idea is not in  the Bible.

As if that was not bad enough, Kassian believes that sex also symbolizes our relationship with the church elders. It would seem to me the way to symbolize unity with Christ and church elders would not be faithfulness to one partner. To symbolize that, you would need to sleep with A who represents Jesus and B who represent the church elders, but B also has to sleep with A…

By now, you probably guessed my verdict on “sex and marriage was meant to be symbols powerful enough to convey the gospel.” I find the idea hare-brained. But if it was true, unbelievers would have loved DVD’s with the gospel message in symbols…

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Note

I did mention to Kassian – in a comment on her post – why I find her idea to be neither Christian nor wise, but she did not publish it. I know several other Christians were also concerned about this teaching, and their comments were not published either. Instead, she chose to close down comments on the post.

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Comments on: "Gospel sex?" (16)

  1. The Bible uses a METAPHOR of God as husband with Israel as wife, in a patriarchal culture to help understand some aspects of God. But Kassian takes the metaphor too far and ends up in dangerous territory. There are LOTS of metaphors for God, some male human, some female human, some animal, and some mineral; but we should not take ANY of these too far and one way to know the male human metaphors are being taken too far is when they are taken sexually, as God the Father is NEVER said (even metaphorically) to have male genitals in the Bible, after all, God is spirit.

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  2. Err, to add to the blasphemous indications of this teaching, it seems to imply that God and Jesus are having sex . . . OK, this is just gross. Definitely taking the analogy too far.

    The point of Ephesians 5 is that the gospel should inform our sex lives (as it does everything else) not that sex was designed to proclaim the gospel.

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  3. I have wonder lately if we need to have a ‘rating’ system for some of these articles.

    Kassian complains about certain TV shows, and yet uses sex – which she says tv shows ‘hinted’ at – and yet she is okay with just laying it out there. Ugh. I remember her stating that the Mary Tyler Moore show ‘hinted’ that she was single, on the pill, sexual attractive, etc. They show never even went there, but she claims they ‘hinted’ at it. Nothing like if you can’t see sin – look for it long enough and you can find something I guess.

    Yet the bible speaks of singleness, and how it is a blessed way to serve God. They don’t have the distractions of the partner, and can serve him completely.

    Contradiction once again.

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  4. Another aspect of Ephesians is that of harmonious unity, of shared life. Jesus died so that He might obtain for Himself a holy people. Believers are born through Christ’s suffering death on the cross in our stead. Husbands should die to selfishness and a self centered life so that they may give their lives to their wife. There is an intimacy of shared life in both of these examples.

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  5. The really odd thing is what this does to 1 Cor 7 where it says, “the husband does not have authority over his body, but the wife does, and the wife does not have authority over her body, but the husband does.” If sex is really a picture of our relationship with God, this would mean we have just as much authority over God as God has over us.

    Kassian and those who believe as she does, want there to be authority of male over female in the bedroom, so they have come up with this doctrine. But 1 Cor. 7 completely negates the possibility of such a thing being true.

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  6. KR, your argument is perfect. That completely disproves it.

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  7. Thank you for this thoughtful analysis of that crazy essay by Kassian’s. And thank you for taking comments… I am so tired of wacky Christian leaders printing their own wacky ideas and expecting everyone to swallow it and no one to question it or present an opposing view- even from Scripture. And thank you commenters. You and Retha have given me, a random reader, and I am sure many others, encouragement that all of Christendom is not jumping on this X-rated bandwagon. My young adult daughter and I have been discussing this recent craziness and with Scripture truths and common sense arrived at many of the same conclusions.

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  8. […] internet friend Retha also wrote an important  blog post in response to Mary Kassian’s rather alarming blog post Sex in the […]

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  9. […] internet friend Retha also wrote a  blog post in response to Mary Kassian’s rather alarming article Sex in the […]

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  10. If God is the man and humanity the woman, does this mean that all of humanity that are not Christian and don’t want to be Christian are being raped? The original article was just too unbiblical and even horrifying to comtemplate.

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    • Linda, you showed me that I need to change the wording of my post: To be fair to Kassian’s position: God is the man, Christianity – not humanity – is the woman.
      (Which brings me to my problem with the likes of Kassian: I am not upset that they disagree with me. I am not upset that they sometimes say something wrong or stupid – I do too, as evidenced in the word (humanity) that I will now change in the post above. The problem is that they are not open to correction.

      All the egalitarian blogs I know of take critical comments – no complementarian blog I know of does.)

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  11. Linda, I think Kassian thinks of unbelievers as single/ sleeping around out of free choice, while Christians are married to God.
    But one of the problems with such a view would be that no reader in Bible times could have thought like that. Women usually married very young then, to men they did not choose. Female slaves (and male slaves, but they don’t have a place in this analogy) in Roman society were raped with impunity. Few females had the priviledge of choosing a partner.
    (It makes me wonder if the sex gospel promotors are Calvinists…)

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    • Thanks for your replies and the correction. I suspect that most cultures past and some even today did not give women (or men?) a choice in who or when they married. Many of the complementarian ideas about marriage are really very recent. I have yet to see any of them address this in their discussions on how marriage relationships are supposed to be. If you know of any complementarians who discuss the historical aspects of marriage and how that fits with the Bible I’d love to know about them.

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      • I should have said our modern ideas about marriage, such as marrying for love are recent. It’s not just complementarians who don’t understand how recent that is for most cultures.

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  12. I thought again over what Kassian said, and I think she got something right too: She connected sex with holiness. But I also think she got it backward:

    Sex (as it is in the real world) is not the thing so untarnished, so wise for both partners to do, so pure and so enjoyable on the deepest level- not just the shallow – that it teaches people in a broken world, a world needing God, what God is like. And God did not, as far as is taught in the Bible, make sex for that purpose. On the contrary, since sex is the most personal and vulnerable of all human interactions, it is often the thing where brokenness is felt most.

    I think it is the opposite: a relationship with God allows us to understand what being intimate is ideally about – To love and be vulnerable, but to have that vulnerability as a place where goodness flows in from the partner, to have someone who really cares, someone faithful that you are safe with. I think a relationship with God make us hope that what we do in the bedroom can also be sacred – clean, unashamed, love that brings out your highest and not your most base. To know someone love you despite all your imperfections.

    But meanwhile, we know that in this world, sex is often used to hurt and degrade, and it sometimes brings out the worst in people. Sex often leads to disease, and children who are unwanted by at least one parent. Sex as it happens often in this world could remind us of God, IMO, mainly by reminding us that we need God to make everything new – including sex.

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