I Gave My Life to Christ: Now What? (part 5)

As we continue with Brownlow North’s six steps for new Christians (and old Christians can benefit from these, too), we come to a tough one:

Never take your Christianity from Christians, or argue that because such and such people do so and so, therefore, you may (2 Cor 10:12).  You are to ask yourself, “How would Christ act in my place?” and strive to follow him (Jn 10:27).

The church is, in fact, “the pillar and buttress of truth” (1 Tim 3:15).  So it’s impossible not to take (at least some) Christianity from Christians.  To not take your Christianity from Christians denies the whole concept of discipleship, which is the spirit in which I posted these rules in the first place.

The place of the church is education and discipline.  It should be the responsibility of the church’s elders to identify sin in the congregation and do something about that.

So it’s fair to say that I disagree with the first clause.

The second clause is excellent.  Because other people do it, that doesn’t make it okay.  As a manager for over a decade and a half in the fast food industry, every single time I dealt with someone’s tardiness the first thing I always got to listen to was an angry litany of names of people who are also “always late.”

That’s what North is talking about.  Using someone else’s behavior to justify your own is not acceptable.  Take responsibility for yourself.

Amanda Brown, co-founder of We Are Atheism, posted a video that indicted Christianity using the other side of this coin.  She said that the church she grew up in preached abstinence, but her peers had sex in the pews during the service.  Therefore, abstinence-only education is total crap and doesn’t work

Well, let’s think about this:

  1. Everyone has sex before marriage.
  2. It’s really hard to abstain from sex until marriage.
  3. Currently, the church thinks it’s morally wrong to have sex before marriage.

Given these facts, society has decided that the best solution to the problem is to lower its expectations, accept sex before marriage, and make fun of the church for continuing to preach “antiquated” morals.

Let’s look at this from a different perspective.

What if I were the new manager of your local fast food restaurant?  Let’s say that the people in the store think that it’s okay to serve french fries that have been baking under heat lamps for two hours.  It’s really hard cook new ones and make customers wait, and it also costs a lot of money in wasted food.  Everyone in the store thinks this is cool.

If I were to follow Amanda’s logic, then my best course of action as the new GM is to lower my expectations until I, too, believe that serving two-hour old french fries is acceptable.

Ridiculous, right?

Lowering expectations is never the best solution.  Indeed, it shouldn’t even be an option.  Yet, with sexual morals, this is exactly what society is doing.  It’s too hard to resist having sex until marriage, so let’s just have sex now and risk unwanted pregnancies, incurable diseases, serious heartache, etc.  Just wrap it up with a condom and you’re good to go.  The solution to loose sexual morals is to encourage them, as long as the people involved are being “responsible.”

That’s about like using a Band-Aid to treat an ear-to-ear throat slash.

Bringing this back neatly to the point, we cannot expect to justify behavior by comparing our behavior to the behavior of others.  The yardstick for comparison is what North says next: Ask what the Lord would do were he in our place.  In other words, “What Would Jesus Do?”

We might not have an immediate answer, but if we follow the first rule and the second rule, we’re on our way to having a good sense of the answer.

About Cory Tucholski

I'm a born-again Christian, amateur apologist and philosopher, father of 3. Want to know more? Check the "About" page!

Posted on August 26, 2011, in Morality, Philosophy, Religion and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Cory Tucholski, do you support abstinence-only education in all schools? If so, how do you reconcile that with the reviews that show that it leads to higher rates of unplanned pregnancy, STD’s and HIV/AIDS ?

    • Nope, not in support of abstinence-only education. But my view on that is fairly complex.

      It’s the only surefire way to prevent debilitating and fatal diseases, unwanted pregnancy, and horrid heartache. Hold out until marriage, then you can experience sex in a safe, loving context bringing true intimacy.

      But it comes down to this. You have to:

      1) Love God enough to say, “I’m going to make the commitment to obey his rules on sex, because he is God and knows better than I do.”
      2) Love your future spouse enough to say, “I want only you, and I present myself unblemished with no baggage so we can discover our sexuality together.
      3) Discipline yourself (though the Spirit) each day, and develop mad coping skills to avoid or deal with the temptations that will come your way.

      Most people mess up on one of the three (my guess is #3, though I think I screwed myself on all 3 at some point).

      I favor presenting it like this: “Total abstinence is your best option, here’s why *blah, blah blah.*” Follow that up with a second segment of equal weight: “Your sexuality is deeply personal, and though abstinence may be the only guarantee, if you do engage in sexual intercourse, there are some steps that you can take to minimize things like disease, pregnancy, etc., *blah, blah, blah.*”

      I think both should be taught, with abstinence presented as the logical choice. It is; nothing else is 100%. If birth control were 100%, I would not have a third child on the way as I type.

      Abstinence-only education, however, invites trouble because forbidden fruit is always the sweetest. Example: When I was in high school, I was one of a few members of the class of 1995 that didn’t have a serious drinking problem (if I went to high school with you and you were offended by that statement, C’MON–you KNOW I’m right!). My math teacher used to joke that he was going to invest in a rehab clinic to make some money in the future.

      I didn’t develop a drinking problem for two reasons. 1) I was kind of a nerd, and wasn’t invited to any parties where drinks were served. Even if that wasn’t the case, there’s still 2) My parents told me that it was fine to drink and even offered to let me drink or get drunk at home so that I knew what it was like. They told me that if I go to a party with drinking and drugs, please call them if I get drunk or high–they won’t judge and they’ll happily give me a lift home (whatever the time).

      Drinking: not forbidden. Not sweet. I didn’t drink much then, and I hardly touch any now. It’s not enticing to me. I just don’t care.

      So I think it will be with abstinence. If presented in a way that makes abstinence the superior path and the one commanded by God, and allowing the kids to keep the choice personal, and offering the alternatives, and explain there’s no judgment or shame in sex, then I think more people will stick to abstinence.

      Ultimately, the problem is with us, not with abstinence. Sex is a base need, and people will seek it out. But if we make the choice of sex less forbidden (and by default less enticing), then I think that teens are smart enough to pick abstinence on their own. The key is not to force them, and to not be judgmental (rather, loving and supportive) to the ones that do undress.

      In closing and to clarify, I do not think that throwing condoms at the problem will make it go away. Too often, social liberals seem to think that will do some good. No, no, no, no. That’s (as I mentioned) akin to using a Band-Aid to stop a bleeding throat gash. Education is the key, but not “Have sex all you want, irresponsibly and with both boys and girls and with pets, just use protection!” That’s not responsible behavior. Sex is a big deal, not a casual, recreational activity. We should make sure our teens know it is a big deal and not a decision to be made lightly.

      • I’m pretty much in agreeance with you.

        (except of course for the supernatural stuff)

        I also had a similar supportive environment with alcohol.

  1. Pingback: Case Against the Case for Gay Marriage, part 1 « Josiah Concept Ministries

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