Sunday, June 13, 2010

Sexy Evangelism

A recent Christianity Today article is titled Sexy Evangelism. And subtitled, Why our narrative about sex, dating and marriage is a gospel priority.

Indeed, this leading blog (#2 in a recent poll) suggests that Christians should make:
1) their marriage look attractive ("sexy")
2) marriage to Jesus look attractive and
3) marriage "beyond the physical" look attractive
-in order that this attractiveness (sexiness) might win over the pagans.

But do we really need more talk of sex? And where is the gospel in this?

Reminds me of the Children of God cult. A Christian (yes, Christian) cult built through Sexual Evangelism. With their flirty fishing. Whose women were encouraged to evangelize- with sex. Of attracting members- with sex. Of retaining members- with sex. Not just of making the gospel look attractive- but making it feel attractive as well.
Yet, this cult has much to be commended for. For not just saying- but doing. For their sacrifice. For their zeal. But unfortunately, it was zeal without knowledge.
Yet, ex- members of this cult still appear unwilling to take a position on whether this type of evangelism is right or not. Whether this type of evangelism was biblical or not. We will examine a biblical argument for these types of evangelism in this post.

First, an argument may be made that the apostle Paul felt this pragmatism to be entirely permissible and promotable. That we should be "willing to become all things- that we might win some (1 Cor. 9:22)". That Paul became "all" things- in order to win some. Became a Jew to the Jews- and a Gentile to the Gentiles. Yet we also know that Paul was not always right.
In Paul's early evangelistic zeal- he called upon Timothy to conform to an obsolete boundary stone (circumcision in Acts 16). That Timothy might become more attractive bait. This bait did not attract the Jews.
In a later mission Paul also failed to heed the Spirit's warnings (Acts 21:4)- against fishing in Jerusalem. So the Gentiles took away his fishing license for a couple years (Acts 24:27).

Yet, what did Paul historically-grammatically mean by "all"?
Well... about as much as we currently-grammatically mean by "all".
For example- the primary ingredient listed in Kellogg's All Bran cereal is whole wheat. Followed by wheat bran, sugar, wheat flour, whole oats, and well... more stuff that isn't bran.
Or, as this video will show you- that not only did "all" not always mean an exhaustive "all"; it rarely meant an exhaustive"all".
And not even a cursory glance at the New Testament law is needed- to show you that not "all" things are in fact permissible (1 Cor.10:23). That "all" Old testament boundary stones have not in fact- been moved.
And certainly not this sexual stone- as much as COG cult leaders Moses and Maria Berg liked to get their rocks off.

But what about just this CT talk of sex? Is this not an acceptable form of evangelism?
After all, does not an attractive temporal marriage- suggest a much more attractive eternal marriage? Something worth striving for? Something worth fantasizing about?
Well...then you should have little difficulty with COG's Loving Jesus doctrine as well.
Problem is- that this doctrine too can become an idol.
In that Jesus may be worshiped for eternal sex- rather than as eternal Savior.
Not that Jesus may not in fact be- a literal groom. But that He may be worshiped merely for- His literal grooming.
Therein lies the idolatry. Worshiping a created thing- rather than the Creator.

CT ought to see that at best- sex talk is putting the cart before the horse.
You may see the connection- but not without correction.

And unless dead men get- the real gospel into them.
Unless they receive- repent and believe.
They are dreadfully far from an eternal groom.
And dreadfully far from an eternal grooming.

So, come on CT.
And come on COG.
Let's overcome this dreadful blight.
And get our gospel priority right.