What Is Mature Manhood & Womanhood?

people on beach

What is mature manhood and womanhood?  Here is perhaps one of the most important questions for Christian parents to help their adolescent children answer.  If we place emphasis on an identity as a “sexual being,” we miss the opportunity to discuss what masculine or feminine personhood really is.  Men are not men and women are not women because of their sexual urges or desires, nor does marriage make a person more fully male or female.  By labeling children or adults as “sexual beings,” we can actually distort the purpose and vocation of manhood and womanhood.

Genesis 1:27 tells us four things about the first man and women.  They were created by God to be human, not the same but male or female, in the image of God (not animals) and, because they were created in God’s image, they were created to be holy.  There is no mention of anything of a sexual nature (“one flesh”) until God brings man and woman together as husband and wife (Gn. 2:24).  Too may of us scurry from Genesis 1:27 and skip straight to that union.  But in doing so, we miss something very important about the essence of male and female.

We are more than sexual beings because God first spoke to Adam about being a man.  Man was put in the Garden to “work and keep it” (Gn. 2:15).  Man was to be a good steward over all of creation.  In faithfulness to God, he was to defend life and avoid death (Gn. 2:16-17).  “Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him” (Gn. 2:18).  The creation was incomplete without woman.  Man had no one like himself nor did he have a way to procreate.  God made (literally “built”) woman from man’s rib.  In marriage, the woman is her husband’s “helper” (Hebrew: ezer), assistant and ally.  The vocation of “helper” is not inferior.  Jesus called the Holy Spirit a “Helper” in John 14:16 which can be translated as “comforter,” “encourager,” or “advocate.”  In her “one flesh” union with Adam, Eve became the bearer of life who would nurture, comfort, and encourage husband and children.

Sin distorted God’s perfect design and rhythm of life.  Sin causes the relationships of men and women–married or not–to be difficult.  But even in chaos, God’s order of creation stands.  Whether  married or single, men are stewards of creation.  Whether married or single, men are called to defend life and lead away from death in faithfulness to God.  In or out of marriage, women are called to help men do good (not evil), be encouraged (not discouraged), built up (not torn down).  Mature manhood and womanhood are not dependent on being married; thus, neither are sensually or sexually driven.

Do you see that boys can be mentored to work, build, protect and engage life without sensual implications?  Do you see that girls can be mentored to help, encourage, counsel and build relationships without sensual suggestions?

From The Failure of Sex Education in the Church:
Mistaken Identity, Compromised Purity (pp. 100-101)
by Linda Bartlett (Amazon)

 

Shall We Stir Their Desires?

candy store

Male and female do have a “sexual” side that includes more than sexual organs but also desires and feelings.  With that in mind, shouldn’t we help our children become acquainted with that part of themselves?

We have sexual organs, feelings, and desires for a special purpose, but little boys and girls are not interested in or ready for that special purpose.  Children cannot be lovers and marry but they can be friends.  They can work and play together.  Not until they are mature should they think about relating to one another as lovers.  A Christian parent or teacher should not stir up ideas of sexual love because, in God’s world, sexual love leads to the establishment of the home into which new life comes.  No child is ready for this privilege and responsibility.

Children need the discerning wisdom of parents who trust God’s Word more than voices of the world.  Christian parents are well acquainted with sin.  We are born in sin.  We battle sin daily; therefore, in a highly sexualized culture, it is not helpful to give detailed sexual information to adolescents who are just beginning to experience new emotions and thoughts about themselves but who do not have the ability to discern the proper use of that information.

Imagine if we described to a child the most delicious candy he could ever want.  We walk with that child by the candy store to look in the window, but tell him he must not go in.  We promise him that the day will come when he can enter the store and enjoy some of the candy he sees on display.  We talk with him about the candy all the way home.  During the week, we ask him if he has any questions about candy.  What desire have we stirred in him?  What will he think of candy?  Will he be curious about candy and desire a taste right now?

Our sinful human flesh too easily desires what it should not have.  Our flesh, like human instinct, cannot be trusted.  Obeying human instinct is like obeying people.  But people, with all kinds of opinions, tell us different things.  So do our instincts.  In The Abolition of Man, C.S. Lewis reminds us that our instincts are at war; each instinct, if we listen to it, will claim to be gratified at the expense of the rest.  So it is with our flesh.  Our flesh carries the sin inherited from our first parents.  Our sinful human flesh is fickle, selfish and easily deceived.  Better than helping young people be at ease with their flesh is helping them to stand guard.

In Gethsemane, Jesus knew His disciples would intend to be faithful.  Nevertheless, He said, “Watch and pray that you  may not enter into temptation.  The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matt. 26:41).  For this reason, the faithful parent or instructive adult begins early to teach a child their identity and purpose in Christ, explain the order of God’s creation, and set boundaries for behavior.  God’s Word teaches self-control.  Parents need to help children practice self-control even as they model it themselves.  We are like athletes in training, but our prize is not perishable (1 Co. 9:25-26; 1 Tim. 4:7-12).

From The Failure of Sex Education in the Church:
Mistaken Identity, Compromised Purity (pp. 9-98)
by Linda Bartlett (Amazon)

 

Children, Sexuality and Pedophilia

teacher and students

Sexual” is ambiguous. Christians may use the term to describe our sex: male or female. We may use the term to describe our procreative nature. But Alfred Kinsey, SIECUS (Sexuality Information and Education Council of the U.S.) and others like them refer to children as being sexual” which, to them, means “capable of sexual activity.”

We are disregarding God’s created order when we say that “children are sexual.” Children are not “sexual” in the sense of being capable of sexual activity nor do they benefit from early libido. God does not mock His little ones by creating them with tendencies that would be harmful both physically and spiritually.

Kinsey wanted society to accept pedophilia as a natural act and believed that sex with children is a problem only because we have laws against it. The crimes of Kinsey who gathered data for his research from the sexual abuse of 317 infants and young boys by known pedophiles were exposed by Judith Reisman, Ph.D., in Kinsey: Crimes and Consequences (also: Stolen Honor, Stolen Innocence). Kinsey used his fraudulent statistics to convince the world that “children are sexual from birth.” This opened a Pandora’s Box of illicit sexuality.

Forms of sex education, based on Kinsey’s research, worked their way into state and parochial schools with the purpose of helping children learn about sex. Children began experimenting with sex at earlier ages with sure and certain consequences. By the 1980s, schools that didn’t have sex education welcomed it out of fear of AIDS. More recently, pro-sodomy groups have gained entrance into classrooms to encourage fellow “sexual beings” to express all manner of “sexuality” without fear of bullying. Slowly but steadily, attempts to break down the walls guarding children have been made since those with Kinsey’s worldview settled onto university campuses.

Anne Hendershott is a distinguished visiting professor at The King’s College in New York City. She writes,

It was only a decade ago that a . . . movement had begun on some college campuses to redefine pedophilia as the more innocuous “intergenerational sexual intimacy.”

The publication of Harmful to Minors: The Perils of Protecting Children from Sex promised readers a “radical, refreshing, and long overdue reassessment of how we think and act about children’s and teens’ sexuality.” The book was published by University of Minnesota Press in 2003 (with a foreward by Joycelyn Elders, who had been the U.S. Surgeon General in the Clinton administration), after which the author, Judith Levine, posted an interview on the university’s website decrying the fact that “there are people pushing a conservative religious agenda that would deny minors access to sexual expression,” and adding that “we do have to protect children from real dangers . . . but that doesn’t mean protecting some fantasy of their sexual innocence.”

The redefinition of childhood innocence as “fantasy” is key to the defining down of the deviance of pedophilia that permeated college campuses and beyond. Drawing upon the language of postmodern theory those working to redefine pedophilia are first redefining childhood by claiming that “childhood” is not a biological given. Rather, it is socially constructed—an [sic] historically produced social object. Such deconstruction has resulted from the efforts of a powerful advocacy community supported by university-affiliated scholars and a large number of writers, researchers, and publishers who were willing to question what most of us view as taboo behavior. (Excerpt from “The Postmodern Pedophile” by Anne Hendershott in Public Discourse [A publication of The Witherspoon Institute], December 20, 2011.)

Public opinion that pedophilia is deviant behavior still remains. We should take note that even SIECUS does not currently promote pedophilia or incest even though its early officials did. However, as we see the barriers protecting childhood innocence removed in classrooms and society in general, groups such as NAMBLA (North American Man/Boy Love Association) will push for “boy love” in every community claiming that child/adult sex is acceptable intimacy among generations.

So, the question arises: Does sex education help protect children from sexual abuse and predators? Lynette Burrows writes, “The increase in talking graphically about sex to children is essentially pedophilic in nature.” Lest anyone think her remark too sensational, let’s hear her out. She continues,

It is increasing the number of people who are allowed to “talk dirty” to children, and so to breach the protective armor of their innocence. Thus it is widening the scope for pedophiles to target children. Warning children with slimy disclaimers about “inappropriate touching” is simply token and meaningless to a child. How can they recognize the danger signals from those who wish to exploit them if such a large number of adults are implicated in the same “dirty talk”? (Excerpt from “Worst Sexualisation of Children is Happening in Schools” presented by Lynette Burrows to the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children [SPUC] Safe at School “Sex Education as Sexual Sabotage” meeting in Westminster, London, 2011.)

Sex education in any classroom encourages children to talk about sex and sexually-related subjects in explicit terms with adults who are not their parents. This strips them of natural embarrassment and modesty which play an important role in protecting them from sexual abuse. Let’s also bear in mind that many of those trained or certified to teach sex education or family living have themselves been stripped of embarrassment and modesty in postgraduate degree programs developed by Kinsey followers and using Kinsey methods. The Christian should remember that embarrassment was a new emotion for Adam and Eve after their sin, but it was for their protection in a sinful world.

What does God say? Does His Word tell us that children are sexual from birth and that child-adult sex is normal? No, it does not. The culture desperately needs the Church to stand on the solid ground of God’s Word about children, the act of sex, and marriage.

For the sake of precious souls, we must resist evil even as we shed light in dark places.

This post is taken from Chapter Three of
The Failure of Sex Education in the Church:
Mistaken Identity, Compromised Purity
(Amazon) by Linda Bartlett.

Stop Sexualizing Children, Ruffle Feathers

Jesus and little children

Three decades of questions led to the writing of a book I did not want to write.

  • Why do even Christian women choose abortion?
  • Why do Christian girls and women dress as provocatively as non-Christians?
  • Why do so many Christians live together outside of marriage?
  • Why do a growing number of Christians defend homosexuality and counterfeit marriage?
  • Why are children sexualized beginning at young ages?

The book, says Dr. Daniel Heimbach, will “ruffle feathers.”

Daniel R. Heimbach, Ph.D., is the senior professor of Christian Ethics at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, NC.  He is also a Research Fellow in Christian Ethics with the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.  Dr. Heimbach has authored True Sexual Morality: Recovering Biblical Standards for a Culture in Crisis and Why Not Same-Sex Marriage: A Manual for Defending Marriage Against Radical Deconstruction.

Dr. Heimbach recently reviewed The Failure of Sex Education in the Church: Mistaken Identity, Compromised Purity (Amazon).  He writes:

This book exposes what has been driving the sexual education movement in Western culture in recent decades.  Bartlett speaks truth that will ruffle feathers because she exposes lies on which the PC movement operates.  Although she writes with conviction Bartlett is not contentious, meaning only to stop parents, churches, and schools from harming children in the guise of educating them.  This book may even startle some very conservative Christians, but what Bartlett argues is convincing.  Sex education cannot be redeemed and needs to be rejected entirely because the whole movement is established to forward notions fundamentally contrary to biblical reality.  We are never more free than when restraining the flesh on God’s terms and never more enslaved than when seeking to follow and express our own fleshly desires without restraint.

Dr. Heimbach and his ministry associates Russell Moore and Albert Mohler are faithful to examine the biblical standards on sexual morality.  They recognize the counterfeit views that have crept into our “sexually revolutionized” society.  Heimbach offers wise analysis of a deep and pervasive problem as a pastor, theologian, and professor.  His books, notes Albert Mohler, “frame debate and encourage Christians to battle for moral sanity and for souls.”  I am not a pastor, theologian, or professor.  My book is written from the perspective of a wife, mom, grandmother, pro-life advocate, and woman who has listened to countless stories of men, women and children who suffer the consequences of a mistaken identity.

I don’t want to ruffle feathers.  I am, at heart, a peacemaker.  But there comes a time when even a peacemaker has to rise up in the face of evil.  This is that time.  It is not because I want to, but because I am compelled to… for the sake of my grandchildren.

To learn more about the book, please visit:
Our Identity Matters or Amazon

Unhooked and Set Free (Part 2)

two women walking on beachMaura, my young friend, has bonded with her boyfriend.  She doesn’t seem to want to be with anyone else.  In fact, she moved in with him with the hope that he will ask her to marry him.

It’s really quite remarkable, don’t you think?  Despite the cultural acceptance of multiple partners most young women want to be married to one man and make a nest for their children.  Unfortunately, a woman’s consent to play house outside the commitment of marriage actually encourages young men to postpone marriage.

So what is going on with Maura?  Why has she bonded with her boyfriend?  I believe it’s because faith and science are at work in Maura’s life.  The Creator of life has not only written Himself on Maura but also wired her for monogamous attachment.

Right now, Maura’s faith is relegated to Sunday morning or an occasional religious discussion with her dad or me.  But, I’d like to help Maura see that faith intersects with daily life in all areas including the physical, emotional, and relational.  Together, Maura and I are learning that God has designed a woman’s body and mind to connect through the biological wonder of neurochemicals.

Oxytocin, or the “cuddle” hormone,” is a neurochemical.  It is present in both male and female, but is primarily active in females.  The female body releases oxytocin at four different times.  Take note!  Each has to do with procreation and the care of children.  Oxytocin is released:

  • During meaningful or intimate touching with another person (Action: bonding and trust)
  • During sexual intercourse (Action: bonding and trust)
  • During the onset of labor in a pregnant woman (Action: causes uterine contractions, results in birth)
  • After baby’s delivery (Action: stimulates nipples and produces flow of milk from mom for nursing)

Oxytocin, which floods a woman’s brain during labor, childbirth and breast-feeding, creates a bond between mother and child.  But first, it creates a bond between the parents of that child.  When a man and a woman touch in familiar and intimate ways, oxytocin is released into the woman’s brain.  Without being able to explain why, she desires more of that same kind of intimacy.  Can you see how oxytocin plays a vital role in the “one flesh” union of one man and one woman in marriage?  Oxytocin helps assure the continuation of the human race!

Oxytocin bonding helps produce long-term connectedness. It might be for this reason that an American woman in an intact marriage rarely has sexual intercourse with anyone but her husband.  Such stability is affected by oxytocin.  Think of the significance.  The bonding of father and mother greatly increases the chance for a child to be raised in a healthy, two-parent home.  Such a child is blessed not necessarily with perfect parents but with a mom and dad who mentor faithfulness.

The world speaks about the emotions of love.  The emotions of connectedness.  In reality, the desire to connect is more than an emotional feeling.  Bonding is like glue.  And it can’t be undone or ripped apart without great emotional pain.

The flow of oxytocin serves to promote trust.  Oxytocin triggered the bonding process between Maura and her boyfriend even before they went “all the way” but only kissed and hugged.  Do parents know this?  Do moms who think it’s “cute” that their 12-year-old daughter has a “boyfriend” and dads who allow 14-year-old daughters to spend long periods of time alone with a boy realize that they are placing vulnerable girls at risk?  A girl’s protective boundary of modesty and inhibition gradually breaks down with each kiss, each touch, each pledge of love… even though the boy she’s with has no intention of marrying her or having children with her.

Maura confessed,  “It’s so very strange.  The more time I spend with my boyfriend, the more I need to be with him.”  Maura’s neurochemicals are doing what they were designed to do.

Here, then, is one of the failures of sex education.  Children are imagined as “sexual from birth.”  The wonders of sex and sexuality are dangled like carrots in front of them from early age through high school and beyond.  Then hands are washed when the educators say, “We told them to wait.”  But can anyone turn off the oxytocin?

Maura and I are talking about the glue of oxytocin.  I hope she is telling her friend Nichole.  Nichole has been in several intimate relationships.  She has “hooked up.”  She has “friends with benefits.”  It all seems so casual and harmless.  But, oxytocin is at work.  Every time that Nichole and her “friend” break up and she moves on to a new sexual partner, a bond is broken.  This is emotional.  Painful.  Sometimes paralyzing.

Being sexually intimate with one person, breaking up, and being sexually intimate with another is like a divorce.  Repeating this cycle again and again places a girl in danger of negative emotional consequences.  Sexual activity creates emotional bonds between partners.  Breaking these bonds can damage the brain’s natural connecting or bonding mechanism, cause depression, and even make it more difficult to bond in marriage.  Nichole doesn’t realize it, but her choices are in conflict with her own body and the way she was designed to function.

Sexual intimacy, as Maura has discovered, is addictive.  But through the honesty of a friend, she is learning why her body, mind and soul are so interconnected.  It is by Divine Design.  As her friend, I can’t force a change in her behavior but I can be a reminder of why God’s design for marriage matters.

If Nichole is your friend, too, will you speak up?  Will you tell her about the “glue” of oxytocin?  Will you help her unhook… and be set free to better navigate away from depression and hardness of heart?  Will you tell her how well her body has been woven together and why and by Whom?

This was first posted by Ezerwoman with appreciation to
Joe S. McIlhaney, Jr., M.D., and Freda McKissic Bush, M.D., authors of
Hooked: New Science on How Casual Sex is Affecting our Children.

Sex Education in the Church

My book coverOn May 29, 2014, Todd Wilken helped his listeners learn more about the new book entitled The Failure of Sex Education in the Church: Mistaken Identity, Compromised Purity.  The book is available on Amazon.

Please listen to the interview (following a brief commercial) by clicking Sex Education in the Church

Too Long at the Animal Circus

creepy circus clowns“Sexuality” appears to be the one “right” above all others. It dictates how things are done in the marketplace, classroom, court of law, and military. It even threatens to re-define marriage.

How did this come to be? I think it’s because we stayed too long at the animal circus.

At the animal circus, children are wrongly identified. They are not seen as their Heavenly Father sees them, but as people of a different faith want to see them. “Children,” said Alfred Kinsey, “are sexual from birth.” Kinsey didn’t mean that children are either a boy or a girl. He meant that children can enjoy and benefit from early sexual activity.

Something smelled foul in the circus tent but those who wanted to hear that even children are defined by their “sexuality” — indeed, their sexual desires and inclinations, were ecstatic. Others, including many Christians, were troubled but decided to accept the data of this “social scientist” and examine human sexuality in light of his “new information”. Kinsey made a mockery of science. Nevertheless, he and other humanists such as John Money, Mary Calderone and Lester Kirkendall set in place a social movement that changed the way we see our children and each other. Children were sexualized and imagined as little more than animal-like beings captive to urges and desires.

The “progressive” folk among us already knew they were “animal-like.” Charles Darwin said so and many believed him. All who resisted the God who creates life and, therefore, has authority over that life determined that now they had “license” to do as they pleased. Piggy-backing (how animal-like!) on the theory of Darwin, Kinsey plunged into “scientific” study with the goal of breaking down all sexual inhibitions. Kinsey’s “scientific” study has been exposed as fraudulent and criminal. (See resources below.) Yet the distorted truth of a psychologically twisted and sexually deviant Kinsey seems to have more influence on our present culture than God’s Word. Kinsey and other secular humanists lured parents, pastors and teachers away from guarding purity, modesty, and the innocence of children. The animal circus of sex education went on the road.

“Get your tickets here!” cried Kinsey. “Come one, come all!” cried Mary Calderone of SIECUS (Sexuality Information and Education Council of the U.S.). Four generations have been trained to believe that “sexuality is our entire selves, influences us in every way, and encompasses everything” but left clueless about what it means to be male or female. Sex education has equipped boys and girls to be sexual, not relational; all about me, rarely about others; less inhibited, but more at risk; and far more hopeless than hopeful.

We’ve been too long at the animal circus. What is the evidence?

  • Parents assume that their children will be sexually active.
  • Too many young women are held captive by the political correctness of feminism and denied the biological facts that explain why a female body is more vulnerable than a male body physically and psychologically. (Visit Miriam Grossman, M.D. or read her book, Unprotected.)
  • The brains of young men and women have been “re-wired” and addicted to sex. (Read Hooked by Joe McIlhaney, M.D., or You’re Teaching My Child What? by Miriam Grossman, M.D.)
  • An increased number of husbands and wives who have partnered intimately with others prior to their marriage are discontent and in search of having their “needs” better satisfied.
  • Pregnancy resource centers hearing from adolescent girls who consider themselves “normal” because they dress “hot” and have casual sex but can’t understand why they are “not happy” or “content”.
  • Girls demanding the “right” to “shower together” during church retreats and experiment on Christian campuses with bi-sexual and lesbian lifestyles. (These examples from personal testimonies.)

The Church stands guilty. Fearful and not wanting to be irrelevant, Christians filed God’s Word on sexual purity under “Unrealistic.” Willingly or unwilling, they adapted the ways of circus trainers to keep pace with the world. Too many Christians assumed that as long as Jesus was part of sex education, their children would be all right. But they are not all right. Children pay the price every time we try to wrap Jesus around the foolishness of the world.

Nowhere in Scripture does God identify male and female as “sexual beings”.  He does not call male and female to be “sexual” but to be “holy” (1 Peter 1:14-16).  God created male and female to be so much more than our urges, desires and perceived “needs”. We are, by His design, persons of great significance with bodies, minds and souls. We are male or female and, no matter if we are young or old, single or married, we can live in relationship to our brothers, sisters and neighbors. We can work and play side by side without any hint of sexual intimations.

Is there hope? Yes… away from the animal circus.

Away from the animal circus, we are better able to see children as God sees them. Each child is God’s own (Isaiah 64:8) and called by name (43:1) to be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work (2 Timothy 2:21).

Followers of Christ Jesus need to abandon the animal circus. The structure is unsound and the tent began to collapse long ago.

Resources:
The Failure of Sex Education in the Church: Mistaken Identity, Compromised Purity
by Linda Bartlett (Amazon)
Stolen Honor, Stolen Innocence by Judith Reisman, Ph.D.
(Original title Kinsey: Crimes and Consequences)
The Children of Table 34 (google for Youtube video)
The Kinsey Syndrome (DVD)

This post was first written 3-23-2011 and posted by Ezerwoman

Significance & Permanent Place of Clothing (#5 in series)

wedding feastIs clothing a thing indifferent?  In His parable of the wedding feast, Jesus has something to say about the significance of clothing.

But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment. And he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless” (Matt. 22:11-12).

In the tradition of the Israelites, invited guests were expected to wear festive wedding garments.  Such garments could be provided by the host.  So, when the man fails to dress in appropriate clothing freely given to him, he offends the host.  Jesus was not describing party attire here.  The garment freely offered by the host signifies the righteousness of God, which covers our sin” (cf Is. 61:10; Gal. 3:27).

Revelation 16:15 explains more about the significance and permanent place of clothing.

Behold, I am coming like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays awake, keeping his garments on, that he may not go about naked and be seen exposed.”

White garments serve as a symbol for Christian righteousness which is bestowed through Christ at Baptism. Here, again, we are reminded of our earthly and eternal identity: we are holy as opposed to sexual; uncommon and useable by God as opposed to common and useable by anyone. Revelation 19:8 speaks about the marriage of the Lamb (Jesus) to His Bride (the Church), saying:

It was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.”

Commentary on this verse explains that the bride’s preparations for the marriage are the result of God’s grace and Spirit, not simply her own efforts.  The saints’ righteous deeds which, in this passage are identified with spiritual adornment, are a gift granted by God and not a human achievement.  (The Lutheran Study Bible, 2228.)

Nakedness, modesty and clothing should take on a new meaning for children of God.  If we infer that embarrassment is unnecessary or even unnatural, then I believe that we might actually do a disservice to children and ourselves.

There is no shame in blushing. It’s natural, too!  When the wind whips up a woman’s skirt, she quickly responds by pulling it down. I’ve watched girls in strapless dresses with their boyfriends out dining before prom who are so distracted by tugging and tucking that I can’t help but wonder: What will they do when the dancing begins?

To be embarrassed about nakedness is God’s natural protection for our body and spirit. We cannot separate the physical and spiritual parts of our body. The two affect each other. In this world, men and women see each other through sin-damaged eyes. We are too easily tempted to wrong thought or action by a warped vision and perspective. We owe our sons and daughters the truth about nakedness and the reason for clothing. The world cares little, if at all, about our vulnerability. It is God, because of His great love for us, who wants us covered. When we are not, God uses natural emotions of shame and embarrassment for our benefit.

Physical clothing actually affords brothers and sisters in Christ—married or single—more freedom to interact with one another in their vocations of biblical manhood and womanhood.  They are less distracted and able to do the work laid before them, whether that is studying in class or clerking in a store. As baptized sons and daughters of God in Christ, we are dressed in preparation for heaven. We are not left naked—physically or spiritually. God covers our body and spirit with appropriate clothing so that we are less vulnerable and tempted to stray away from Jesus who waits for our meeting with Him in heaven.

It cannot please God when an adult tries to remove a child’s embarrassment. Embarrassment and shame, like guilt, can move all of us to the Cross where repentant sinners can robe up in Jesus’ righteousness. More than anything, we should want to help our children appreciate Jesus’ robe of righteousness which makes them holy in God’s eyes. Wearing that robe, children of God are called not to sensual living, but holy living.

From Chapter 14, Questions 88 & 89
The Failure of Sex Education in the Church: Mistaken Identity, Compromised Purity
by Linda Bartlett, Copyright 2014 Titus 2 for Life
Our Identity Matters

Physical and Spiritual Clothing (#4 in series)

robe of righteousnessEvery person conceived and born after the Fall is a sinner. Every person who believes in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior is a saint. Clothing, which is significant in Scripture, speaks to both of these identities.

After the Fall, a loving God provided Adam and Eve with two kinds of clothing. Coats of animal skins covered their physical body, but the covering of Jesus Christ was promised for their spiritual body. As forgiven sinners, we are clothed in the garment of salvation which is the robe of righteousness given freely to us by Jesus Christ (Isa. 61:10). Wearing the robe of His Son, God sees us as holy. However, it is a consequence of the fallen world that men and women see each other through sin-tainted eyes. For this reason, God tells women to dress modestly—in a way that professes faith—so that they do not tempt an admiring man by way of false glory to sinful thoughts or deeds.

Adam and Eve covered only certain parts of themselves with fig leaves, but God designed clothes to cover their bodies. From this we know that Adam and Eve could not sufficiently cover themselves physically (nakedness) or spiritually (works righteousness). The work of their hands was neither acceptable nor enough. There was absolute necessity for the full covering and righteousness of the Savior, Jesus Christ. Today, whenever we consider clothing, we can remember that its purpose is to cover our bodies and protect us from our own corrupted thoughts.

Here is where instruction in purity does what sex education does not. Clothing is not usually considered very significant in sex or sexuality education. But to help male and female of any age understand that we are called to a lifestyle of purity means that we must talk about clothing.

From Chapter 14, Question 87
The Failure of Sex Education in the Church: Mistaken Identity, Compromised Purity
by Linda Bartlett, Copyright 2014 Titus 2 for Life
Our Identity Matters

The Language of Clothing (#1 in series)

what label are you wearingDoes clothing speak?  Does how we dress say something about who we think we are?

With eyes open, it appears that clothing even for Christians is a thing indifferent. Younger (and older) women too often approach the Lord’s Table clothed in eye-catching attire not dissimilar from the women one might see working the corner of Hollywood and Vine. From time to time, I ask teen girls and their moms if they would be comfortable wearing their lingerie or bra and panties out in the front yard or going shopping. “Of course not,” they proclaim, “no way!” But how is their bikini any different?

As a wife and mom, I strive to see the world through the eyes of my husband, sons and grandsons. They are sorely put to the test. For example, there was the time when a beautiful and well-endowed woman waited on the table of my family. The cross the server was wearing hung low and visible between her breasts, but where were the eyes of my husband and sons invited to focus: upon the cross or somewhere else?

Sex education turns the eyes of boys to the bodies of girls.  It turns the eyes of girls to the bodies of boys. Sex education teaches that there is no shame in the human body. After all, as this thinking goes, God made our wondrous bodies. But this thinking ignores the fact that sin has corrupted our desires. This thinking may unconsciously encourage girls to become temptresses. Sometimes a young woman is completely unaware that she is being a temptress. She is, perhaps, uneducated in godly womanhood, dressing “like everyone else” or unaware that immodest clothing draws a man’s attention. There are other women who know full well that sensual clothing invites attention and this is how they exercise power over men.

We may hear people claim that clothing is a matter of “Christian liberty;” it is simply a personal choice. “Sexy,” they say, is just part of being female. It is, as I have been told, “showing my best assets.” But showing them to whom and for what reason? To believe it is a “liberty” to wear clothes designed to highlight certain parts of the body is to be fooled. Foolishness puts us at risk.

For the sake of young women and men, let’s be honest. There is a reason why the marketing industry uses scantily-clad women to sell products. There is a reason why the procurers of prostitutes want their “working girls” to dress the way they do. That reason is sin. It is sin when one person uses another person to gain power or financial profit. Young women need to know that they are more—far more—than objects of pleasure for display. Failing to speak about clothing as God’s protective covering for their bodies puts them at risk of being identified not as He created them, but as the world sees them. It removes respect. It places them in conflict with themselves and compromises their true identity. It sets young men up for temptation, frustration, and trouble. A young Christian woman in college told me that she never gave much thought to the way she dressed until the day her boyfriend blurted out, “Do you know what you’re doing to me?”

A classroom educator might try to explain to a young woman that a man’s eyes rest easily on a woman’s body. It is, however, far more appropriate and protective when a father explains the virtue of modesty to his daughter. He can explain to her that before sin Adam could gaze upon Eve’s body in appreciation for what God had made, but that after sin his eyes would distort that appreciation. It is also the father who best explains to his son how to avoid the temptress. The father’s warning away from the temptress in Proverbs 7 is wisdom to his son:

At the window of my house I have looked out through my lattice, and I have  . . . perceived among the youths, a young man lacking sense, passing along the street near her corner, taking the road to her house in the twilight, in the evening, at the time of night and darkness.  And behold, the woman meets him, dressed as a prostitute, wily of heart.  she is loud and wayward; her feet do not stay at home . . . let not your heart turn aside to her ways; do not stray into her paths. (Prov. 7:6-11; 25)

The father in Proverbs 7 wanted his son to know that identity matters.  Even what we choose to wear says something about who we think we are.

From Chapter 14, Question 84
The Failure of Sex Education in the Church: Mistaken Identity, Compromise Purity
by Linda Bartlett ~ Copyright 2014 Titus 2 for Life
Our Identity Matters