If Not Sex Education, Then What?

father reading bible

Sex education is built on a foundation that diametrically opposes God’s design for parents to instruct their children in purity.

Sex education is not biblical; rather, it grows from the ideologies and humanist faith of sexologists like Alfred Kinsey and Wardell Pomeroy, birth control and eugenics advocate Margaret Sanger, social reformer and SIECUS (Sexuality Information and Education Council of the U.S.) co-founder Mary Calderone, and advocate of child sexual rehearsal play, Dr. John Money.

Sex and sexuality education, sometimes called family life education, is described by Miriam Grossman, M.D., as “a social movement, a vehicle for changing the world. It happens one child at a time, and it goes on right under your nose.”

Sex education has led our boys and girls closer to the edge of the cliff. Parents and grandparents are not to lead children as close to the edge without falling off, but to keep them far away from the cliff. In a sexually-saturated society, what can a parent or grandparent do? First, we need to prepare ourselves:

1. Develop your parental “mission statement.” What do you want your son or daughter to know about their identity in God’s eyes? What do you want your child to know about sex or things of a sexual nature? Why will you strive to teach and mentor your child while also guarding the innocence of childhood?

2. Spend time with your child so that you can discern his or her questions. When your five-year-old asks, “Where did I come from?” don’t be too quick to assume, “Oh! It’s time for the full-fledged sex talk!” He might just want to know what city he came from because his friend Billy came from Denver. As the parent, you can ask questions of your child that will go a long way in determining what he or she really wants to know and is ready to hear and process, i.e. “Why are you asking me this?” or “What do you think?”

3. Follow the order of purity. When the Christian mother Laeta wondered how she could prepare her daughter for a life of purity in Christ, the Church father Jerome offered this order of instruction using God’s Word: First, teach the rules of life from Proverbs, the patience and virtue of Job, the Epistles, and the prophets. Only then, and at a more mature age, is there wisdom in directing a young woman to read about marriage and the spiritual bride in Song of Songs. (Appreciation to Rev. Dr. Christopher W. Mitchell, Concordia Commentary The Song of Songs, 278.)

4. You may have never thought about it, but fatherhood, motherhood, and grandparenthood are vocations. They are vocations that show love for God by serving others. Parents serve their children by teaching them to fear and love God, mentoring biblical manhood and womanhood, and preparing them to be good neighbors and citizens. (To consider parenthood from a biblical perspective, you might read God at Work by Gene Edward Veith, Jr.)

5. Many resources that instruct in purity come from Christians who do not believe in original sin. With the psalmist, I believe: “In sin did my mother conceive me” (Psalm. 51:5). Every Christian parent must bear in mind that even if we try to keep the walls up and the gates closed, evil still dwells within children. The purpose of instruction in purity should be to guard against temptations and attacks from the outside while we do our best with the help of the Holy Spirit to fight and clean things up on the inside, too. Our goal is not to keep children pure, but to purify them with the grace of the Holy Spirit and guard them from daily attack. We are to help them: “Put on the whole armor of God, that [they] may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil . . . and spiritual forces of evil (Ephesians. 6:10-18).

6. In every culture of madness, the unchanging Word of God gives fathers and mothers what they need to resist evil and build a future of hope. Don’t let anyone tell you that you’re not “progressive.” Tell them you’re progressing out of the insanity and chaos of this world into the sanity and order of God’s Word.

7. Become uncommon parents in a highly sexualized world. Look to the example of Joshua who proclaimed, “Choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in this region beyond the river, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15). Do not be faint of heart by what you see and hear. Sexualized cultures have always pressed on the Christian home. Create opportunities to talk with your child and contrast myths and half-truths with what is holy and pure.

8. Do not be afraid to question professionals and experts. If you remember, the Bereans “received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so” (Acts 17:11). The Berean Christians questioned the Apostle Paul, the one called by God to instruct them! Contrast God’s Word of purity with those who have a wall of diplomas but advocate sex education. A diploma doesn’t necessarily reflect wisdom. If your discerning conscience says, “No! Not for my child,” listen to it!

9. Personalize God’s call to live a life of holiness and purity. Familiarize yourself with His Word and how it contrasts “purity” with “sensuality.” Then ask: Do I dress in a way that tempts the opposite sex? What books, magazines, and movies do I bring into my home? What do I look at on the internet? Do I go against the “flow” of a sexualized culture? Your child needs an example to follow.

10. As a parent, take comfort and instruction from your own Baptism and that of your child. In the flood, Noah and his family were preserved. In Baptism, Christ the Savior brings parent and child into the holy ark of the Christian Church where He marks us as His own, cleanses us from sin and, for our sake, appeals to God for good conscience (1 Peter 3:18-22). Remind yourself of the promise of Baptismal identity and life by reading the Order of Baptism and the words of hymns. (Suggestion: Lutheran Service Book [Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, MO.], page 268 and pages 594-605.)

11. As a family, pray that the Lord be in your home and drive from it all the snares of the enemy. Develop friendships with other parents whose greater desire is to help children trust their identity as heirs of God in Christ rather than identity shaped by a restless and shallow culture.

12. Don’t be ashamed by what you believe and teach; rather, be convinced that the Holy Spirit sustains you and your child. Together with your child, live as people who know that Jesus is coming again (1 John 2:28-3:3).

(Note: These preparation suggestions for parents were excerpted from The Failure of Sex Education in the Church: Mistaken Identity, Compromised Purity by Linda Bartlett [Amazon.com.] The book offers questions and answers to help Christian parents and pastors navigate a sexually-saturated society. It includes age-appropriate suggestions and resources for teaching purity and biblical manhood and womanhood.)

In All Earthly Circumstances, Identity Matters

older man walkingFrom childhood, we are told that we are “sexual beings.”  It seems only fair to ask, “How does emphasis on life as a ‘sexual being’ help our brother or sister in Christ who practices celibacy but battles homosexual desires?  What are we saying to them when we educate early and long about God’s ‘gift of sexuality?'”

It is, first of all, understandable that Christians want to affirm sex as the “good,” “one flesh” union of husband and wife that God created it to be. However, when even Christians repeatedly define men and women as “sexual human beings,” how are we helping our brother or sister who struggles with sexual temptations? It was disappointing to read the following in The Lutheran Witness (October 2013, p.10):

Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10). This includes life in all its fullness regarding one’s sexuality and the gift of sex.

When Jesus says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (English Standard Version), He is describing a battle for our eternal body and soul. Jesus promises the believer an abundantly full and holy life with the Father in eternity, but Satan wants to steal away all hope of such life and leave us in despair. Abundant life is not found in the promises of this sin-filled world but in Jesus Christ and His promise of everlasting life with God. This passage is not about sexuality and our temporal life, but salvation and our eternal life. In heaven there is no marriage (Matt. 22:29-30), which seems to imply there is no sex. The Christian who struggles with homosexual desires on this earth but trusts their identity as a baptized child of God in Christ has the promise of abundant life in heaven, not where they will find fullness of sexuality, but complete holiness and eternal life with God.

I often quote Christopher Yuan, the author of Out of a Far Country.   In the midst of his struggle against homosexual desires, Christopher began to understand that God was calling him to be holy.

My identity was not “gay” or “homosexual” or even “heterosexual,” for that matter. But my identity as a child of the living God must be in Jesus Christ alone . . . God never said “Be heterosexual, for I am heterosexual.” He said, “Be holy, for I am holy.”

In this sinful world, it is rather depressing to think of my identity as being “sexual.” What will happen when I’m not thinking, looking or acting “sexual”? What if it isn’t the driving force of my life? What happens when sexual appeal fades, the pace is slowed and I require more patience and care from others? How will my value be measured?

In this sinful world, it is refreshingly hopeful to know my identity as a daughter of God. I am a treasure of great worth because of what Jesus Christ did for me. I am a vessel for honorable use until the day God calls me to His home where I, indeed, will enjoy the fullness of holy and abundant life.

From The Failure of Sex Education in the Church:
Mistaken Identity, Compromised Purity (pp. 109-110)
by Linda Bartlett (Amazon)
Visit Our Identity Matters

Singleness Is Not An Affliction

silhouette of woman on beachSex education in the Church, quite unintentionally, may diminish the vocations of biblical manhood and womanhood.  It may, perhaps, cause some men and women to view singleness as an affliction.  Sex education that has taken its cue from the secular model misses something vitally important when it focuses primarily on God’s “good” creation of sex and sexuality, but gives very little time to God’s “good” creation of manhood and womanhood.

We do not need sexual intimacy to be a man or to be a woman, but men and women do need to be relational. We do this best when we see ourselves in light of our Baptism. As sons and daughters of God in Christ, male and female can see each other as brothers and sisters. We can work together, enjoy life together, pair up different perspectives in order to problem-solve, serve in church or neighborhood together, and always trust that God knows the desires of their heart.

The Tenth Commandment has something to say to the single man or woman. We are not supposed to covet “anything that is your neighbor’s.” This includes our neighbor’s sexuality. Marriage is the sacred place for all things sexual, but being a husband or a wife is a vocation for some and not for others. It is important for the Body of Christ to see each member as fully human as opposed to sexual and, therefore, an instrument for God’s purpose and glory whether a child or adult, single or married, in this circumstance or that. We see in Scripture that singleness is not an affliction or lessening of personhood; rather it is an opportunity to serve the Lord Jesus in a different way than in marriage.

God does want our undivided attention. St. Paul writes, “The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord. But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife, and his interests are divided. And the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit. But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband” (1 Co. 7:32-34). The commentary in The Lutheran Study Bible reads, “Neither Christ nor Paul praise virginity because it justifies, but because it is freer and less distracted by domestic occupations in praying, teaching, and serving.” (p.1956)

Pleasing God is the priority for a Christian. In all honesty, do you think sinful men and women in this world are more encouraged to please God when they see themselves as “sexual,” or when they see themselves as baptized sons and daughters of God in Christ?

The right identity matters.

From The Failure of Sex Education in the Church:
Mistaken Identity, Compromised Purity, pp 107-108
by Linda Bartlett (Amazon)
Visit Our Identity Matters

Sex Education and Singleness

group of peopleHow might an emphasized identity as a “sexual being” influence a single man or woman?  What impact might years and years of sex education (or even abstinence education with a focus on “waiting” for the “joys of marital sex”) have on a person who is not married?

The unmarried man or woman might ask, “If God created me to be a sexual being, am I not fully human?” The mistaken identity of “sexual from birth” might tempt a man or woman to believe that they’ll never be all they were meant to be if they don’t marry and enjoy sexual intimacy.

Jesus Christ was not married and yet He was fully human. It is our personhood that defines us and not our sexual desires or urges. Oh, but some insist, our sexuality is part of our personhood; we would be incomplete without it. But Jesus Christ, fully human, never entered into a sexually intimate relationship. There is liberation in this truth for the single man or woman.

Knowing who we will be in heaven is also liberating for the single man or woman.  Some men once posed a question of Jesus.  “Now there were seven brothers among us.  The first married and died, and having no children left his wife to his brother.  So too the second and third, down to the seventh.  After them all, the woman died.  In the resurrection, therefore, of the seven, whose wife will she be?  For they all had her” (Matt. 22:25-28).  How did Jesus answer?  “You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God.  For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage . . . .” (vv. 29-30).  If earthly marriages are no longer binding in heaven; if, indeed, we “neither marry nor are given in marriage,” wouldn’t we also be able to say that identity for a male or female is not sexually-bound?   In heaven, we will be the person— body and soul—that we were on earth only perfect in every way.  But it does not appear that sex or “sexuality” is part of our eternal personhood.

The exaggerated place of sexuality in cradle to grave sex education is destructive to all relationships between men and women, married or single. It takes our focus off the identity bestowed upon us at Baptism. For Christians, mature manhood and womanhood is about relating to one another as brothers and sisters in Christ, being thankful for the gift of self-control and enjoying the respectful interaction of male and female perspectives on life. It means men assume the role of leader and protector but in ways that vary from how a husband would lead and protect his wife. It means that women assume the role of helper, ally and even counselor but in ways that vary from how a wife would submissively yet confidently help her husband. Personally, I find it humorous, productive and comforting to interact with my brothers in Christ. Seeing my identity as fundamentally “sexual” would potentially change every relationship I have with the men in my life. That would be a tragic loss for me.

The baptized child of God in Christ can live fully as a male or female without ever being sexually intimate. Self-control, as evidenced by the Apostle Paul (1 Co. 7:7) is a gift. We can say that with the gift of self-control comes order and strength for life. Mature manhood and womanhood receive the gift of self-control and are not dependent upon sexual intimacy. Man does not become man by getting married and being “one flesh” with his wife, nor does woman become woman by getting married and being “one flesh” with her husband.

From The Failure of Sex Education in the Church:
Mistaken Identity, Compromised Purity, pp 106-107
by Linda Bartlett (Amazon)
Visit: Our Identity Matters

Awkward or Not, Talk to Your Child!

50 shades of grey

The book Fifty Shades of Grey associates love and romance with sadomasochism and humiliation.  Planned Parenthood references the book when telling 15-year-old girls that dominance, role-playing, and inflicting pain by way of sadomasochism is “okay” as long as it’s “consensual.”

On Valentine’s Day, Universal Studios will release Fifty Shades of Grey in theaters across the country.

Parents, no matter how awkward it might be, you must talk to your children about intimacy—what it is, and what it is not.   To help you stop procrastinating, Miriam Grossman, M.D., offers wise counsel based on her unique position as a child and adolescent psychiatrist.

Some of you may know Dr. Grossman as the author of You’re Teaching My Child What? and Unprotected.  I have great respect for Grossman who uses science to refute politically-correct feminism and other such folly.  Last year, I helped the pregnancy center in my hometown sponsor Grossman on the campuses of two state universities and our local community college.   Her message opened the eyes of smart kids who succeed academically, yet are ill-equipped to resist a highly sexualized culture.  But, Grossman did more.  She appealed to the responsible, loving parents of teens who have avoided honest discussions with sons and daughters about what sexual intimacy is—and what it isn’t.

This Valentine’s Day, Hollywood will entice your daughter to join with her peers in viewing Fifty Shades of Grey on the big screen.   Grossman writes,

With Universal Picture’s mega million dollar publicity campaign, and a soundtrack by Beyonce, your child is about to be bombarded with a dangerous message about romance.  Fifty Shades of Grey teaches your daughter that pain and humiliation are erotic, and your son that girls want a guy who controls, intimidates, and threatens.  In short, the film portrays emotional and physical abuse as sexually arousing to both parties.  You know these are foul lies, but your kids may not be sure.  If the world was a better place, they would never hear such awful things.  But this is the world we live in.”

Parents, don’t be intimidated!  Turn the darkness of Fifty Shades of Grey to your advantage!  Connect with your child in a life-influencing way.  Use the billboards, previews, and sound clips as opportunities to talk to your child about manipulation, right vs. wrong, healthy vs. unhealthy.  Grossman says that all the hype about this movie can be a “springboard for discussion about disturbed relationships—how to recognize and avoid them.”

Grossman will be providing a series of blogs on her website during the next few weeks.  She will explain the dangers this film poses to your sons and daughters, but also provide tips on how to speak with them.  Grossman plans to write a letter to your child which you, the parent, can use as you think appropriate.  For now, Grossman offers two suggestions that can help moms, dads, and grandparents get the discussion started.  I’ve added suggestions #3 and 4:

  1. Gain some credibility with your child by learning about the film’s plot and main characters—Christian and Anastasia.  You can read a synopsis on Wikipedia or, if you want more, there is more detail at the Book Spoiler (be warned: there is obscene language).
  2. Identify some opportunities for private and uninterrupted time with your child.  This may be in the car or while working together in the kitchen or garage.  If you don’t think it’s going to happen, consider a bribe: There’s something really important I want to talk about.  If you turn your phone off for fifteen minutes while we chat, I’ll give you five bucks.  (Grossman finds nothing wrong with this kind of “bribe.”)
  3. Pray.  If talking about the intimacies of sex has always been awkward for you as a parent, pray for wisdom from the Creator of your child.  Pray for help in contrasting God’s design for sex in marriage with the world’s idea of sex at any time, with anyone, and in any way.
  4. Order Grossman’s book, You’re Teaching My Child What? and, while you’re at it, consider ordering mine, The Failure of Sex Education in the Church: Mistaken Identity, Compromised Purity (Amazon) or visit Our Identity Matters.

Some may defend Fifty Shades of Grey.  I join with Grossman to defend children against it.

 

 

 

Sex Matters, But Marriage Matters More

older couple's hands

We are witnessing the deconstruction of marriage. But, how did it happen and why? Can we place the blame on those who advocate same-sex “marriage”? Are they the only ones chipping away at the institution of marriage?

Long before society began to tolerate the “marriage” of two men or two women, it accepted cohabitation, adultery, and no-fault divorce. It accepted the lie that we are, first and foremost, sexual beings who have the “right” to love, be loved, and have our needs met. Society, however, would not be left in such darkness if we in the Church had trusted the Light and resisted the sexualization of marriage.

What does this mean? In 1961, Mary Calderone, the co-founder of SIECUS (Sex Information and Education Council of the U.S.) and former medical director of Planned Parenthood, lectured on the role of churches in sex education to 500 delegates from 38 Protestant denominations. Calderone worked her way into churches and homes because she feared that parents did a poor job of teaching their children about “sexuality.” She wanted parents to teach children the “yeses” of sex instead of so many “thou shalt nots.” She wanted boundaries and inhibitions removed. Calderone wanted children to experience the “wow” factor of sex. There were those in the Church who embraced this thinking. It was their hope that talking about sex with children beginning at an early age would help boys and girls grow up to be husbands and wives who would experience the “wow” factor of sex.

And so, for half a century and from kindergarten on, children hear: “God created sex to be beautiful within marriage.” “Sex in marriage is the best thing ever.” “Sex is worth waiting for.” “Sex within marriage is when we are the closest to God.” “Sex is so amazing, my dear child, that we are going to talk about it a lot.”

Because sin permeates all relationships, including marriage, is it possible that years of fantasizing on the ecstasy of sex might have an impact on a husband and wife? Might sexual expectations be so high that when marriage is put to the everyday challenges of real life, husbands and wives are disappointed? Might they be so disappointed that they are tempted to believe that sex with someone else might be better, maybe even with someone of the same gender who might better understand their partner’s needs?
Has marriage been sexualized?

Consider the husband and wife who desire to bring new life into the world, but are barren. Rebecca Mayes writes, “One of the aspects of barrenness that is so awkward is the fact that the ‘success’ of your marital relations (more modernly called your ‘sex life’) with your spouse is often scrutinized by those around you, either privately in their own minds, or quite publicly to your face. The joining of two fleshes into one in the bonds of holy matrimony used to be treated with such modesty and respect. No one would dare ask you whether you’re ‘doing it’ right or if you’ve tried such-and-such a method. But the sexual revolution has changed all that, and in numerous Christian publications we read that the act is a beautiful, natural part of marriage and there’s nothing to be embarrassed about. We should celebrate our ‘gift of sexuality’ and teach children in our Church all they need to know to be prepared for utilizing this ‘gift.’ But is this what the Bible says? When we blush at the questions about what’s wrong with our reproductive organs, is that for a good reason, or are we just prudes?” (He Remembers the Barren, 6-15-2014)

Sex matters, but marriage matters more. Some pastors take care during pre-marital instruction not to overemphasize sexuality because they believe that it could threaten the hierarchy of values in marriage and assume too predominant a place in terms of producing a well-grounded and joyful marriage. The “wow” factor of sex can be wonderful, but it is the friendship, trusted companionship, communication, and agape love of a husband and wife that carries them through good times and bad, sickness and health. With an identity that is primarily “sexual,” we are limited in the ways we can serve others. Not so with our holy identity; for indeed, when we see ourselves as “uncommon” and set apart for use not just by anyone but by God, our opportunities to serve are multiplied.

Instead of detailed sex talk, parents do better—with the support of the Church—to help boys understand the vocation of manhood and girls to understand the vocation of womanhood. Boys need to know how they, as the stewards and defenders of life, should regard women, most especially their someday wives. Girls need to know how they, as the co-stewards and nurturers of life, should regard men, most especially their someday husbands. Parents go a long way in preparing sons and daughters for marriage by mentoring respect, patience, selflessness, and forgiveness. Parents also do well in preparing young men and women for the realities of married life. Because of the Fall, marriage is hard work. It requires appreciation of our differences as male and female, the commitment to work together, trust, friendship, and more agape than eros love. Marriage can be a beautiful relationship, not just because of the sexual union, but sometimes even in spite of it.

It is God’s design that the marital union of man and woman become the nest for new life; the foundation for home and family. Sin has distorted God’s perfect design but, even in disappointment and difficulty, a faithful marriage is the bedrock of a finely-tuned and healthy society. Marriage is the amazing teamwork of male and female; indeed, the two eyes of the human race. Both eyes are needed for a proper perspective on all matters of life.  Biblical marriage is the only pairing that allows a man formed from the dust of the ground to welcome the help of a woman made from his rib. The world is better for it.

Intimacy in marriage is not all about the sexual act. It is the most perfect trust, companionship and loving faithfulness this side of heaven. It is the unity of two spirits in this life—male and female, each encouraging the other to journey well to a sure and certain destination.

Linda Bartlett strives to help mentor
biblical womanhood through Titus 2 for Life .
She is the author of The Failure of Sex Education in the Church:
Mistaken Identity, Compromised Purity (Amazon.com)
Visit: Our Identity Matters
Photo credit: dreamstime.com

A Letter to Parents

  jesus walking with child

What follows are excerpts from a letter written by a Lutheran pastor to the parents of his confirmation students ~

This summer I read a new book by a Missouri Synod author.  Linda Bartlett has written a most helpful volume called The Failure of Sex Education in the Church: Mistaken Identity, Compromised Purity. This book discusses the origins of the modern notions of “sex education,” the consequences of those notions being taught in the public schools since the 1960s, and a plea to Christian parents and churches not to repeat the secular “sex ed” model among children and teenagers in the local congregation.

On the basis of what I have learned, I make the following request. I encourage you to opt [your child] out of sex education.

I make this request of you knowing that some may be concerned that their child will “stand out” from their peers by not attending the sex ed class. I understand. Permit me to suggest you look at things this way.

On the day your child is confirmed, I will ask this question: “Do you intend to continue steadfast in this confession and Church and to suffer all, even death, rather than fall away from it?” (Lutheran Service Book 273) Being hassled for not attending the sex ed class may be seen in terms of the “suffer all” wording from the Rite of Confirmation. Long before we suffer death for being Christians in these United States of America, there will be all kinds of smaller “sufferings” that we may endure for the sake of our faith and convictions. Not attending the sex ed class may be one of them. But we take heart in the words of St. Paul:

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” (Romans 5:1-5)

Photo source: http://www.daydreamsaboutgod.wordpress.com
The Failure of Sex Education in the Church:
Mistaken Identity, Compromised Purity
by Linda Bartlett (Amazon.com)