Biblical Child Discipline in an Age of Therapeutic Goo (8)

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Sexual Decorum in the Home

Sermon Video


In some ways, this message will be like a lesson in firearms safety—one of the basic rules of firearm safety is that you should always treat all guns as if they were always loaded. We are all of us sexual beings, men and women, boys and girls, and as Christian disciples, we need to learn how to conduct ourselves accordingly, with propriety and decorum. This, like many other virtues, begins in the home.  

The Text

“Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren; The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity” (1 Timothy 5:1–2).

Summary of the Text

The apostle Paul is instructing Timothy on how to behave in an appropriate and pastoral way in the congregation of the Lord. The standards that apply in a decent household are used by Paul as the template for his instruction. The way we ought to behave in our households provides a pattern for how Timothy should behave in the household of God, as well as how we should. When a young pastor has to deal with folly in an older parishioner, for example, he should not rebuke him, but rather entreat him the way he would plead with an aging father (v. 1). Younger men should be treated as brothers (v. 1). Older women should be regarded as mothers in Israel (v. 2), with honor and respect. And then Paul comes to the sisters in the Lord, where he tells Timothy to treat them as sisters. And how should sisters be treated? Well, with all purity, with all holiness, with all comeliness (v. 2). This is necessary because, as the apostle recognizes, every gun is always loaded. 

Arsonists and Firemen

Given the times we find ourselves in, it is necessary for us to consider these things together. But in order for us to do so, I have to deal with a possible distraction first. As many of you know, over the history of our congregation, there have been various sexual scandals and pastoral snarls. And some of these have been kept in the public eye by our enemies for political purposes, over the course of decades. Because of this, some will attempt to say that I have no right to be talking about this subject at all. But if the protection of the church requires it, we have the obligation to address it.

As we do, just keep a few basic things in mind. Since this church was planted in 1975, the session of Christ Church has consistently acted in a biblical and honorable way with regard to the various situations that have arisen—not perfectly, but honorably. Second, an enormous number of lies have been told about us and it is often the case that the lies cannot be answered without betraying pastoral discretion and confidentiality. And we would rather be lied about than to expose any of you to wolves. Third, it is clear that many of our critics have no idea what faithful pastors need to deal with, and what they are called upon to do. And last, some of our fiercest enemies are also carrying water for the pornification of America, the perverse grooming of drag queen story hours, the sexual mutilation of healthy children, and the pending legitimization of pedophiles—a.k.a “minor-attracted persons.” They are like arsonists critiquing the efficiency of fire fighters. While we are always willing to hear criticism from responsible people, such a description would not apply to them.      

Father and Brothers

One of the central obligations that the men of a family have is the protection of the household (Gen. 2:15), particularly of the more vulnerable members of that household (1 Pet. 3:7). Now if your first responsibility is the protection of your girls, then this begins with not being someone they need protection from. You are to protect them from snakes, and this begins with not being one.

Daughters and sisters grow up into women, a fact that is obvious to all with eyes in their head. The duty of the men in the house is to protect them by remaining warm, affectionate, and close—but not creepy close. As much as it is made fun of, there is a lot to be said for the Christian side-hug.

Third, you have a responsibility to behave like a gentleman (1 Pet. 3:7), treating the women in your house like ladies. There is a flippant and crass closeness that is also wildly inappropriate—innuendo or casual touching. Your home is not the locker room of your men’s rugby club.   

Mothers and Sisters

The women have a genuine responsibility in all of this as well. But because of feminist propaganda, we have come to treat anyone who believes in a woman’s moral agency as people who automatically “blame the victim.” This is ludicrous. Two things can be true at the same time—that a thief ought not to have gotten into your car and stolen your wallet, one, and secondly, you shouldn’t have left your wallet on the dashboard with twenty-dollar bills sticking out of it. The thief should be arrested and prosecuted, of course, and all your friends should still call you an idiot for leaving your wallet there.

So there are two things that women should be prepared to do. One is that of comporting yourself in a chaste and modest fashion (Tit. 2:5). This begins with teaching little girls to “sit like a lady,” and it extends into the teen-age years, when their goal should be to adorn themselves in modesty (1 Tim. 2:9). The apostles of Christ do not call upon the young women to be cool, or fashionable, or “not dorky.” The goal is Christian modesty. The goal is NOT to be “not immodest.” Different things, different attitude altogether. You should not be asking yourself how short your shorts can be before you are definitely in sin, and then have your shorts be a millimeter longer than that.

The second thing that the girls in a household should be taught is the courage to be vocal about anything that makes them uncomfortable. The first level of this is preventative—getting people to back off. Tell your dad that you don’t like your brother coming into your bedroom without knocking the way he does. Tell your mom and dad that you are too old to sit on dad’s lap. Being vocal about your discomfort levels is not accusing anyone of being nefarious. Sometimes problems arise accidentally, and sometimes brothers are just dumb. Budget for that, but budgeting for that is not the same thing as being quiet about that. Every young woman should have a perimeter that she guards, and part of guarding it includes being vocal as necessary.

The second level is when pastors and/or legal authorities need to be informed and involved. This would be when anything of an explicitly sexual nature has occurred. It is not your Christian duty to put up with that kind of thing, or to make excuses for it, or to pretend that ignoring something is forgiveness. Sins can be forgiven, but some sins are also crimes. And incidentally, the same thing is true for boys, who can also be targets. Do what you need to do, but do not enter into it lightly. You live in a time when false charges are too readily believed (Gen. 39:13-14), and so you should never play into that. But if it needs to be dealt with, then make sure to get the help you need to deal with it.

But Never Forget . . .

A topic like this is necessarily tawdry. But never forget that Christ came into a tawdry world, and He did it in order to suffer and die. And why did He do this?

“Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:9–11).

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22 days ago

I really appreciated the section on girls in the household being taught to be vocal about anything and everything that makes them uncomfortable. Women are the most vulnerable in the intimacy arena, and so ought to and ought to be encouraged to set up their own boundaries. It is also our obligation and duty as men to respect and uphold those boundaries as our own. (Love your wife as you love your own body and all that). Now to head off the inevitable caveat someone throws at me, a wife setting up a boundary such as “bedroom antics are only… Read more »