[19]   Sex (1): Extra-marital Sex

Background:

Canada allows cohabiting couples to claim common law marriage. In 1981, only 8% of couple families were common law couples. In 2001, common law couples increased more than twice to 17%.

87.  What is the Biblical viewpoint on human sexuality?

a.   Sexual relation:

·         Strictly speaking, it refers only to sexual intercourse. However, deep physical intimacy may lead to an uncontrollable desire for sexual intercourse. Therefore, extreme caution is required.

·         The Biblical viewpoint is that sexual intercourse has a much deeper meaning than the physical act itself. It turns the sexual partners into “one flesh” (Mk 10:7-8), forming a mystic union.

b.   God’s intent for sexual relation:

·         Sexuality was designed by God and is good.

·         God’s design is that sexual relations will lead to procreation.

·         Sexual relation properly leads to sexual satisfaction but it should only be in the context of a loving relationship, as illustrated in the Song of Songs.

·         Sexual relations must occur only within marriage (Heb 13:4; 1Co 6:12-20) as they will strengthen the marital union by: sealing it, constituting it, and making it fruitful. Sexuality itself is not sin but sexuality outside marriage is.

88.  What is the meaning of extra-marital sex?

a.   Extra-marital sex refers to all sexual relations outside marriage including:

·         fornication: sexual relations between unmarried persons (Gr. porneia) (1Co 6:9; 5:1-2,13)

·         adultery: sexual relations between a married person and someone not the spouse (Gr. moicheia)

·         incest: sexual relations between close relatives where their marriage is illegal or forbidden by custom

·         other “sexual orientation” (the term is not legally or practically defined): such as homosexuality (sexual relation with the same sex), pedophilia (with a child), polygamy (with many spouses), etc.

·         other sexual perversions, such as bestiality (sexual relation with an animal)

b.   The 7th Commandment: “You shall not commit adultery” (Ex 20:14) includes fornication because terms for fornication, adultery, prostitution in NT coincide and are generally called “sexual immorality” (Ac 15:20,29; 1Co 5:1; 6:13,18; 7:2; 2Co 12:21; 1Ti 1:10; 1Th 4:3).

c.   All extra-marital sexual relations are violations of the 7th Commandment and are a serious sin.

·         In the 11 sin lists [see lesson 2], “sexual immorality” is included 6 times, 5 of them placed first.

·         Persistent and unrepentant sexual immorality risks second death (Rev 21:8; Gal 5:19-21).

89.  Can Christians have sexual relations before marriage?

a.   Today, many couples live together (cohabitation) without being formally married. In Canada, it is even recognized by the government as common law marriage. The arguments for it include:

·         It is a test for compatibility (sexual and psychological) before marriage.

·         The ritual of marriage is unimportant.

·         A couple can live together after formal engagement as they are preparing for marriage.

b.   However, any sexual relation outside or before marriage is fornication.

c.   Other problems of fornication:

·         physical consequence: pregnancy

·         emotional consequence: guilt and emotional scars

·         fornication naturally leads to promiscuity (multiple sexual partners) which then leads to of STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) and AIDS (Acquired immunity deficiency syndrome) (see Gal 6:8)

·         causes others to stumble and sin

d.   Dating:

·         Dating couples need to exercise self-control in their behaviour because physical intimacy during dating may easily lead to sin.

·         An unmarried couple under temptation for fornication should be advised to marry.

·         Because of these problems, some Christian leaders promote no dating or else only group dating.

e.   For church members who are involved in extra-marital sex, they should be rebuked and be required to repent or else be expelled. Public repentence and possibly some kind of discipline are required before the marriage of a cohabiting couple can be allowed in church.

90.  What should Christians do about sex education of children in schools?

a.   The need of sex education for children:

·         Children face sexual temptation early in their lives because of sexual explicitness everywhere.

·         Sex education can be of two kinds: moral sex education and practical sex education.

·         To face today’s challenges, children require only basic sex education that concentrates on the moral component and only a brief and rudimentary practical component.

b.   Basic sex education that the children should be taught include:

·         What everyone decides about their sexual life will affect one’s whole life. The consequence can be long-term or even permanent, not temporary.

·         Sexuality is a gift from God for marriage; abstinence until marriage in the best choice.

·         Extra-marital sex is immoral in God’s eyes. It will also earn rebuke from parents.

·         Sexual relations can be dangerous because of possible pregnancy, STDs including AIDS.

·         For now, there is no need to know things like sexual acts or birth control methods.

c.   Characteristics of many sex education courses in schools:

(1)  Premarital sex is routinely promoted, with efforts made to reduce guilt, inhibitions, moral imperatives, and prior teachings. Abstinence is mocked or made to look hopelessly out of date.

(2)  Desensitization techniques are used to make the subject of sex more familiar and commonplace.

(3)  Sexual perversions such as homosexuality are typically held up as valid alternate lifestyles.

(4)  Marriage receives a consistent, but subtle, drubbing.

(5)  Societal attitudes based on the Christian ethic such as chastity are universally undermined.

(6)  Sometimes, emphasis is put on describing and downplaying the seriousness of sexual deviations.

(7)  Contraceptives are distributed, discussed, and demonstrated in class.

d.   Problems of today’s sex education courses:

·         By lower sexual inhibition, students will ignore the impact of sexuality on their entire lives.

·         As chastity and abstinence are either ignored or ridiculed, students will feel the peer pressure of getting early sexual experience.

·         Showing students the “forbidden fruit” has the effect of encouraging them to try it out.

·         Knowing about abortion will dispel the fear of possible pregnancy and encourage pre-marital sex.

·         By describing sexual deviations and perversions simply as alternative lifestyles (a mere “preference” or “orientation”), students are encouraged to try it out.

·         In general, sex education courses will encourage students to select an immoral lifestyle.

e.   Action for Christian parents:

·         basic sex education at home, with emphasis on morality

·         know the content of the sex education classes taught at school

·         if content unsatisfactory, apply or insist on non-participation of children [Remember: Parents have the authority to decide how their children are educated.]