Over 2,000 years ago, in ancient Biblical times, the Christian church of Corinth earned a notorious reputation for its sexual immorality. The Apostle Paul documented in 1 Corinthians 5:1 that the Corinthian church members’ immoral sexual behavior was more notorious than their non-Christian counterparts. Then and now, fornication and adultery are tarnishing the reputation of the universal church body.
So, how are saved and sanctified church members confronting sexual immorality in the modern day church?
“Christians are also men and women, many of whom come to church with excess baggage from the prior week. Unfortunately, in this day of fast food, instant messaging, and high-speed internet, some Christians are allowing themselves to get ‘caught-up’ in instant gratification without considering the repercussion of their actions on themselves, their families, and/or their communities,” says Quibila A. Divine, a local committeeperson for the11th Ward/12th Division.
Many people from all walks of life visit and join churches for diverse reasons. Among the myriad of reasons, people are seeking healing, protection, hope, forgiveness, spiritual counseling, repentance, encouragement and unconditional love.
Is the church failing them?
“In the last 10 years we have had our share of sex scandals that have rocked the Christian church. Black and white — religion sees no color,” states Shirea L. Carroll, author of “10 Sex Scandals that Rocked the Christian Church,” which appeared in the September 2010 edition of Essence magazine. Carroll, web editor for Juicy magazine, offered the following comments when interviewed for this article: "Christian is just a title. The belief system, morals, values, and responsibility that come with that title isn't always practiced the way it is taught.
Religion doesn't stop ‘Christians’ or anyone else from answering to their flesh, In a real deal relationship with whatever higher power you answer to, that weighs in on the decisions people make."
The Holy Bible urges people to, “Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body (1 Corinthians 6:18).” It is believed that Biblical scriptures warn against Christians committing adultery and fornication, because sexual immorality has harsh mortal and eternal consequences. So, why do many Christians sin against their own body and God?
Col. Larry Boyd, U.S. Army, who is a married Christian, offered this response: “Christians do not have a special immunity to these lusts and temptations.” Boyd cites that there’s no such thing as “a little sin or a big sin. Sin is sin and we all fall short from time to time…None of us can cast any stone. We just have to keep one another in prayer and (examine our own behavior).”
Jillian Patricia Pirtle, the reigning Miss Black Pennsylvania and a native Philadelphian, offered this comment: “I do not know how much light I can shed to the subject…because I am still a virgin saving myself for marriage. So I am not an expert on being a (single) Christian that is sexually active and I tend to be very private…It is okay to be a virgin and not to give up. God has a plan.”
Confessing that he had sex before getting married, Ted Watkins, a member of Community Baptist Church, in Henderson, Nev., offered this candid testimony: “For me, [I] was seeking my own pleasure and satisfying my desires…[and] not accepting God's authority in my life. [Christians] still fight that battle, even to this day. We stand in opposition to Christ and his authority on many issues. We think we know it all. Imperfect vessels? For me, absolutely.”
“Sin is sin. One sin is no different from the other. Christians are people,” says Naja Killebrew, a marketing and public relations entrepreneur in Philadelphia. On the topic of Christians having sex before marriage, Killebrew pondered, “What if you never marry? Now what?”
Merwin L. McIntyre, a retired postal worker, said, “As a married Christian, I understand the ramifications of adultery (and) single Christians should never put themselves in a compromising position, the flesh is weak!”
The Bible teaches that faithful Christian disciples (single or married) should avoid sexual immorality (Exodus 20:14; Proverbs 6:32; 1Corinthians 6:9-10; Hebrews 13:4).
“Like a world class athlete, serving God takes constraint, self-sacrifice and a laser-like focus on God’s mission and will,” shared Derek Green, an airplane pilot and aerospace engineer from the University of Alabama.
Kim Barnett, a happily married graduate of Liberty University and Philadelphia Biblical University, stated that it’s sexual frustration that lures single and married Christians into sexual immorality.
“If the truth be told (sexual immorality) is not only a single’s sin, it’s a marital sin as well! When a Christian is sexually frustrated, being obedient to the Word of God is desired, but the pull of the flesh is desired as well. When we allow ourselves to be put in tempted situations, we need to know that God will make a way of escape.”
The key is, are most Christians spiritually strong enough to recognize and take God’s escape-route from the lure of sexually immorality?
Ideally, it is best for Christians to simply avoid acting on urges to commit fornication or adulterous sex. How? Peter David, author of “How Christians and Ministers Can Avoid Sexual Immorality,” on Ezinearticles.com, offers a few simple answers:
--If you’re single, get married.
--If you’re married, pay more attention to your spouse. Don’t take him or her for granted, and pay particular attention to your spouse’s sexual needs.