This essay depends upon your having read Pastors and their problems I and Ia, which gave an introduction and then addressed the first major category of problems, Pride.
The second major category was Women, the subject of this installment. Some immediate qualifications are needed:
- The pastor’s conference mentioned in installment I was at a time when almost all pastors were men;
- All the pastors present were men;
- This series is intended to apply not only to pastors, but also to non-pastors of both sexes;
- Therefore we will be continuing this installment on the second major category, The opposite sex;
- This is not to infer that the opposite sex is a problem per se, but that the pastor’s/person’s problems can be an improper relationship with the opposite sex;
- But wait a minute, in just writing that I realize that in today’s culture with its rampant gay agenda, yet another change needs to be made. Let us just call the second major category Biblically improper sexual activity.
The most obvious evidence of this hazard to pastors is the incredibly long and incredibly sad list of famous televangelists who have fallen into sexual sin before the world’s television audience. The damage to the Church from these scandals is incalculable.
But alas, such lapses are just as common in the lives of lesser known pastors and non-pastors also. We Christians, supposedly new creatures (2 Cor. 5:17 ), the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:19), able to do all things through Christ, who strengthens us (Phil. 4:13), ought not to be thus bringing shame to our Lord Jesus Christ and judgment on ourselves!
Proper (Biblical) sexual activity is one of the greatest blessings humans can have during their earthly existence. At the same time the sex drive is one of the most powerful forces that shape human behavior. All of this by God’s intent and design, the primary reason for which is reproduction.
The male and female human babies born as a result of sexual activity are utterly dependent upon the loving care of both the father and mother for many years in order for the children to become the kind of adults God wants them to be. So parenting becomes a great responsibility.
Since the sex drive is so strong to assure reproduction, and the resulting babies require so much parental attention, God has given strict commands in the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, to regulate sexual activity:
- Genesis 2:23, 24, And Adam said: “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh;
- Revelation 22:14, 15, “Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie.”
Between these two passages, the Ten Commandments, the Levitical Law, the words of Jesus in the Gospels, and the Epistles of the New Testament spell out God’s regulations on sexual conduct. Sexual intercourse:
- Before marriage (fornication) is forbidden;
- With someone other than one’s spouse (adultery) is forbidden. [related commandment-spouses are both to be Christians];
- Between partners of the same sex (homosexuality) is forbidden
These limitations are not because God is trying to deprive people of some sort of “human right” to sex. They are to:
- Establish strong Christian families-God’s intended basic building blocks of society);
- Allow God to richly bless the spouses’ sexual relationship because it is carried on in an environment of which God approves;
- Keep people from being judged by God for breaking His commandments.
So what to do? Let’s start with pastors and evangelists, how can they cope with the problem of sexual temptation? I can think of no better plan than the one successfully demonstrated by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. In the early days of Billy’s success, he and the team realized that they needed to have a plan of conduct that would minimize the possibility of falling into sexual sin. They were all happily married, but they were also young and virile, would be away from home and family a lot, and would be encountering droves of people, including attractive females who admired them. They prayed about and discussed what to do.
They ended up making a sacred covenant with God and each other:
- They would never be alone with any woman other than their spouse or a close family member;
- They would continually quiz one another to ascertain if they were keeping the covenant;
- They admitted that on occasion when they had been away from their wives for a long time, that a cold shower was needed to get to sleep at night.
There never was a hint of sexual scandal in all the many years of ministry by the BGEA. Praise Go!
How about those who aren’t pastors or evangelists-the other Christians? Listen to God’s word:
- “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it (1 Cor. 10:12, 13);
- “How can a (young, middle aged, old) (man, woman) cleanse (his, her) way? By taking heed according to Your word. With my whole heart I have sought You; Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments! Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You!”
- “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9);”
- “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my thoughts; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting (Psalm 139:23, 24);”
- “Who can understand his errors? Cleanse me from secret faults. Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me. Then I shall be blameless, and I shall be innocent of great transgression. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer (Psalm 19:12-14).”