'BEFORE THE MOUNTAINS WERE BROUGHT FORTH, OR EVER THOU HADST FORMED THE EARTH AND THE WORLD, FROM EVERLASTING TO EVERLASTING THOU ART GOD.' [KJV PSALM 90:2]
8/17/2019 0 Comments
My friends, Welcome Back.
Now, my friends, as during the months of May, June, 2019 we have completed our 'first asides' - 'the blessed hope'; 'the living hope'; and the 'now' 'abundant' life - all based on the meanings from the Holy Bible, let us look at another 'topic' we said we would get to - 'chastity'. Continuing from July 6, 13, 20, 27; August 3, 2019.
Now excerpts from such as Bibliography W. G. Cole, Sex and Love in the Bible (1959); R. Pattai, Sex and Family in the Bible and the Middle East (1959); The Standard Jewish Encyclopedia (1959), 1693, 1924, 1925; O. Piper, The Biblical View of Sex and Marriage (1960); R. Marcus, tr., The Antiquities of Flavius Josephus (1966), Bk. IV, Ch. VIII. Some words to ponder for more understanding, to wit: 'SEX'
B. The teachings of the Early Church concerning sex.
The attitude toward sex prevalent among the early Christians reflected agreement with the highest moral ideals of the OT and the spiritual ideals of Christ.
The Hebraic tendency to avoid direct reference to the sex organs and sexual intercourse persisted in the Early Church. For example, Paul referred to “our unpresentable parts” which were to be treated with greater modesty (1 Corinthians 12:23, 24); and the writer of Hebrews refers to the “bed” as undefiled when occupied by marriage partners (Hebrews 13:4). While the subject of sex is not discussed specifically in the NT, topics related to the subject frequently are dealt with by the Early Church. It seems that the early Christians adopted generally the views and teachings of the OT concerning sex; and the OT teachings related to the subject seemed to provide adequately for their needs with respect to sex instruction.
The prevailing attitude toward women in the Jewish culture was adopted by the Early Church. In general this involved ascribing to men a major share of the leadership. The apostles were male and apparently the early elders were males according to existing records. However, women were not overlooked in the activities of the church. Paul placed restrictions upon the activities allowed to women but at the same time made mention of women occupying places of service and leadership in the churches. For example, women served as deaconesses (also called servants of the churches: Romans 16:1, 6, and 12 together with Philippians 4:3 and 1 Timothy 2:12-14; 3:11]. The first convert in Europe was a business woman, Lydia of Thyatira (Acts 16:14); and women served as prophetesses and exercised charismatic gifts in the early worship services (Acts 21:8, 9 and 1 Corinthians 11:5. Note also 1 Corinthians 11:6-15 and 14:34-40 concerning the role of women in the church).
While the Early Church relied largely on the OT with respect to specific instruction about sex, reference is made in the NT to a variety of subjects related to sex. Sexual intercourse between marriage partners is considered appropriate and expected (Hebrews 13:4); but married couples may forego, at times, natural sex relations in order to give themselves to prayer (1 Corinthians 7:5). Sexual desire of the unmarried and widows is spoken of as “burning” and refraining from sexual intercourse is referred to as “refusing one another” in accordance with the Hebrew tendency to refer to sexual intercourse indirectly. (See 1 Corinthians 7:1-9 for a treatment of sex in marriage.)
Polygamy was condemned by the Early Church and monogamy was the expected practice (1 Corinthians 7:1, 2 and 1 Timothy 3:2). Homosexuality (Romans 1:26-28), prostitution, adultery and fornication (Galatians 5:19 and Jude 7) were condemned along with other vices prevalent in the early Christian era. It was stated that indulgence in such vices would keep a person from entering the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9, 10).
No mention is made in the NT of formal sex education in the Early Church. It appears that such instruction was left largely to the home and family apart from specific instructions which are cited above.
The Biblical teachings concerning sex manifest a high ethic, especially. when contrasted with the prevailing views of sex in the same period of history. The sex roles are distinguished and a division of labor commensurate with each role is apparent. However, women gained considerable status over time and the Christian view of sex allowed for mutual respect among the sexes coupled with a monogamous view of marriage, which was based upon the original relationship of the first created beings.
Sexual activities during both the Christian and OT eras were discussed with caution and candor coupled with relative frankness. Apart from positive instruction regarding the responsibility for procreation, sexual instruction in the Bible was largely related to prohibitions which would discourage participation by the people of God in those sex practices exhibited in the surrounding nations.
Bibliography W. G. Cole, Sex and Love in the Bible (1959); R. Pattai, Sex and Family in the Bible and the Middle East (1959); The Standard Jewish Encyclopedia (1959), 1693, 1924, 1925; O. Piper, The Biblical View of Sex and Marriage (1960); R. Marcus, tr., The Antiquities of Flavius Josephus (1966), Bk. IV, Ch. VIII.
Next week, a 'final question'. Please return. Amen. Amen.
Has God changed? [Numbers 23:19; 1 Samuel 15:29; Isaiah 31:2; 2 Corinthians 1:19]
Be blessed. And, please return Saturday, August 24, 2019, for a 'final' post in this part of our 'series', as the Lord wills. Amen. Amen.
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