On Judgmental Christians and Sexual Ethic

On Judgmental Christians and Sexual Ethic

We live in a fallen, broken world. Some of the evidence of the fall can be seen all around us in man’s hypocrisies, unwarranted judgment of one another, unnatural desires, and lack of true fulfillment. The world around us continually strives to use the hypocrisy of Christians as an attack on the faith, without also examining its own. Culture yells from the rooftops that Christians must bow to the current culture’s desires or be labeled as bigots and judgmental. People have begun to view their bodies as merely playthings to do with as they please and continue to miss out on a truly fulfilling life. There’s a cause for all of this, and it starts with the fall of man in the very beginning. There’s also a great solution, provided out of true love for mankind, Jesus Christ who chose to leave the glory of Heaven and die on the cross in order to bring us back to relationship with Him[1].

The claim that Christians are just a bunch of judgmental bigots and fundamentalists is one that gets thrown around quite regularly. It’s brought up by various groups from atheists to secularists to eastern religions, even the Native Americans[2]. It seems that the view that Christians are judgmental is fairly common, and sadly in some respects it’s true. There are times when Christians in the past, and in the present, have judged others based on some perception that is flawed. This isn’t right, no one should be judging another on perceptions without evidence, and certainly Christians should be beyond even that. However, just because we can admit that some Christians have a judgmental flaw doesn’t mean that all Christians do.

In fact, when placed under the microscope of the experience of many, many of these groups mentioned above, in fact all of them, have individuals who judge others based on perceptions. Sadly, it’s become a part of the human experience to look down on another in judgment. Christians, who claim to be a part of a culture beyond this world, should be beyond this judgmental nature. In fact, adherents to Christianity were commanded by Christ to love the Lord and their neighbor[3], but also warned to avoid judgment of others[4]. Paul expanded on this in 1 Corinthians 5 that it was not his place, nor ours, to judge those outside the fellowship, that was left up to God.[5] The love of Christ, that is not judgmental, is what Christians are supposed to strive to exhibit. His is a love that goes far beyond just being indifferent to another’s problems or struggle. It’s a love that exhibits the very passion of Christ.[6] Christians are expected to be different than others around, but we too struggle.

            The struggle that Christians face is the same that everyone faces.[7] The Christian’s explanation of the source of the struggle goes all the way back to the very beginning and the fall of mankind in the Garden. Christians can trace the trend of culture and society that leads to this level of judgment on all sides as starting with the fall. Because of this fall, all mankind has suffered. This suffering, because of sin, brings about the desire for man to rise up against another in an attempt to be better, or to look down on another in order to feel superior. It’s this fall and subsequent struggle that Christ came to defeat.

            A common struggle in the current postmodern era that mankind, at least in the West, contends with is the idea of sexuality. The current secular view of sexuality views the person as being not much more than just a body with which to do as we all please.[8] As one begins to view the world through this lens, the importance of healthy, monogamous relationships goes out the window. If one only views the body as a toy to be played with, then everything is on the table. From polyamory to homosexuality to pedophilia as well as the idea of just “hooking up”, it’s all allowed.[9] There’s no guide to determine what is acceptable beyond what the current culture or society approves. The lack of an objective guide today may permit these sexual desires, but tomorrow may shift dramatically and deny the very same.

Indeed, Christians do have a clear and concise belief on sexuality. However, the point of this idea and belief is not to limit sexuality but instead to accept it as having a purpose given by God. The belief that God placed man and woman together, both with the necessary anatomy to fulfill each other, enforces this idea of sexuality. In the beginning, when God created man and woman they were called “very good”[10] as they each served and fulfilled the necessary functions to populate the world.[11] Not only was mankind given the functionality to go and populate the world[12], but mankind was made in the image of God[13]. Humanity, therefore, has a higher purpose than just to be born, work, and die. We were created in order to bring God to the world.[14] This understanding leads Christians to understand that the person is more than just a body, but both body and soul. As such, Christians have a higher view of the person.[15] This higher view leads to limits on sexuality that follow in accordance to what God intended in His creation.

            A question that begs an answer would be “does sex truly fulfill all?” This idea that fulfillment comes from sex has its own issues. In just examining the “hook-up” culture, it’s expected within this framework of sexuality that there are no strings attached, no emotions transferred between the parties.[16] But remember that mankind is more than just a body, we do have a mind the center of thinking, a heart the center of emotion, and a soul that longs for more. This fact of being more is what leads to the transfer of emotion and feeling, even when we strive to avoid it. In an article in the Washington Post, a young girl was quoted as being depressed because her “hook-up” had just broken the relationship.[17] There was a transfer of emotion and a desire for fulfillment there. There’s clearly a lack of fulfillment in just the physical acts of sexuality. Just as Christians believe that Jesus came to defeat that sin and struggle, He came as well to bring fulfillment.

            Fulfillment in Christ a form far greater than just the physical desires of our body. Christ’s love, as displayed by His willingness to suffer and die[18], completely satisfies the needs of the whole human person.[19] By following His example[20], being transformed into His likeness[21], and letting His life shine through[22] Christians can experience the fullness of the Kingdom of God on earth[23]. That relationship, far more than physical, goes back to the Garden where man walked with God and God with man.[24] Fulfillment, while not truly experience in sexuality, can be truly experienced in active relationship with God through grace.             As, hopefully, it can be seen there are issues today that still come from the fall in the very beginning. Yes, Christians can seem, and even be, judgmental at times, but they are not alone in this. All mankind is fallen, and some strive to regain that footing by looking down on others in judgment from all walks of life. Sexuality, as expressed today, can be connected to the separation of the body from soul and spirit making it just a plaything with no objective guide. Fortunately, for all mankind there is a solution presented in Jesus Christ who not only defeated the fallen nature of man giving us a path away from sin, but He also provided for us at the same time a path toward God and good relationship with Him.

[1] Philippians 2:5-11

[2] Discussion with Native American Pastor in Window Rock, AZ, June 2016

[3] Matthew 22:37-40

[4] Matthew 7:1

[5] 1 Corinthians 5:12-13

[6] Richard John Neuhaus, “You Are Loving, or You Are Judgmental”, First Things: A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life 186 (October, 2008), https://go-gale-com.ezproxy.liberty.edu/ps/i.do?p=ITOF&u=vic_liberty&id=GALE%7CA185486557&v=2.1&it=r&sid=summon

[7] Romans 3:23

[8] Nancy Pearcy, “Sex, Lies, and Secularism”, Christian Research Journal 34, no. 4 (2011), https://www.equip.org/articles/sex-lies-and-secularism/?fbclid=IwAR3nQPW8eiKUCiQXsDyjV9yDn_POObMpL0RFBaoySWrp0Y_uhN1md-foKOE

[9] Hank Hanegraaff, Truth Matters, Life Matters More, (Nashville: W Publishing, 2019), 209

[10] Genesis 1:31

[11] Pearcy, “Sex, Lies, and Secularism”

[12] Genesis 1:28

[13] Genesis 1:26

[14] John H. Walton, The Lost World of Genesis One. (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2009), 68

[15] Pearcy, “Sex, Lies, and Secularism”

[16] Pearcy, “Sex, Lies, and Secularism”

[17] Ibid.

[18] Romans 5:8

[19] 2 Corinthians 9:8, 2 Corinthians 12:9, 2 Peter 1:3, and others

[20] Matthew 16:24

[21] 2 Corinthians 3:18

[22] Galatians 2:20

[23] Luke 17:20-21

[24] Genesis 3:8-9


Leave a Reply