“A new sexual ethic for Christians is desperately needed. I for one am going to work on that. Will you join me?”
Tony Jones is asking all of Christendom to join him in a quest to lift the moral outrage we Christians seem to have over premarital sex. Yes, that’s right. Apparently the Bride of Christ has had its collective undies in a bunch over this for centuries, and we need to stop, and just do it. I’ll share more from his blog post about this titled, Is It Time for Christians to Celebrate Pre-Marital Sex? in just a moment. (Warning: You might be disturbed by the photo he used for this article. Just saying.) But first, you’re probably asking, who is Tony Jones and where does he get the authority to challenge God about anything?
Tony’s bio tells you pretty much all you need to know about where his authority comes from. You can find this over on the Patheos Progressive Christian Channel:
Tony Jones is the author of The Church Is Flat: The Relational Ecclesiology of the Emerging Church Movement and is theologian-in-residence at Solomon’s Porch in Minneapolis and an adjunct professor at Fuller Theological Seminary and at Andover Newton Theological School. Tony serves as a senior acquisitions editor at sparkhouse. He’s developed an iPhone app called Ordain Thyself. Tony is the author of many books on Christian ministry and spirituality, including The New Christians: Dispatches from the Emergent Frontier and The Sacred Way: Spiritual Practices for Everyday Life, and he is a sought after speaker and consultant in the areas of emerging church, postmodernism, and Christian spirituality.
On to the article. He spends a moment or two gushing over two authors who lament at how unfair it is for Christians to have to wait until marriage to have sex. “Human beings are sexual beings. There’s no way around it,” says Jones. “And the fact that, in the West, the age of marriage has been steadily creeping upward means that our bodies are ready for sex long before we’re walking down the aisle. In the U.S., men get married at 29 and women at 27, on average. And we reach puberty a good decade-and-a-half before that.”
He then gives a nod to Esquire Magazine writer John H. Richardson, who opines,“I want to suggest that sex, be it adulterous or premarital or deviant or polyamorous, is a good thing, not a bad thing, and that sex itself is the moment of grace. And that our sterile idea of perfection is the actual sin. To start with the subject on the table, adultery is a brave rebellion against the invisible prison we build for ourselves.
And then this clincher from Jones, who tells us that we should stop pretending and accept that our children are probably doing it anyway:
To pretend that those are two virgins walking down the aisle, approaching the coital bed for the first time is uncommonly naive. And it seems to me that Jesus was lots of things, but he wasn’t naive to the world in which he lived. He did, however, both preach and live prophetically within that culture. He didn’t take it as it was, without pushing back against it. In his day, it was that tax collectors were ostracized and that men shouldn’t pluck heads of grain on the Sabbath. Today, sex is everywhere. It’s unavoidable.
Does it matter a hill of beans what I think or what Tony Jones thinks? Nope. It only matters what God says. His breathed-out word, the Bible, promotes complete abstinence before marriage. Sex between a husband and his wife is the only form of sexual relations of which God approves (Hebrews 13:4).1 Corinthians 7:2 says, “But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband.” In other words, marriage is the “cure” for sexual immorality, as many people cannot control themselves and should get married in order to fulfill their passions in a moral way. GotQuestions.org puts it this way:
Since 1 Corinthians 7:2 clearly includes sex before marriage in the definition of sexual immorality, all of the Bible verses that condemn sexual immorality as being sinful also condemn sex before marriage as sinful. Sex before marriage is included in the biblical definition of sexual immorality. There are numerous Scriptures that declare sex before marriage to be a sin (Acts 15:20; 1 Corinthians 5:1; 6:13, 18; 10:8; 2 Corinthians 12:21; Galatians 5:19; Ephesians 5:3; Colossians 3:5; 1 Thessalonians 4:3; Jude 7).
- Study: Watching Pornography Increases Support for Adultery and Same-Sex Marriage (thegospelcoalition.org)
- Is it Time for a New Christian Sexual Ethic? (scottpaeth.typepad.com)
- What does the Bible say about sex before marriage?
- Why Pastors Should Read Over Their Heads (christianresearchnetwork.org)
- Fun Factor? (fightingforthefaith.com)