I grant that the article contains some relevant Biblical truths about purity. Men should avoid sexual behavior with women outside the marriage bond. They need to also get away from any compromising situations and guard their minds against impure thoughts. However, I must ask a question: How much rat poison would you accept in a bag of corn meal? A half cup? A tablespoon? A teaspoon? A dash? I ask this, because what makes Mr. Schmucker's article so destructive is that it is Biblical teaching laced with Phariseeism and misandry.
For starters, the article opens with questions. Loaded questions, that is:
I have a few questions for Mr. Schmucker:
- Do you think it would be acceptable or unacceptable for me, a married man, to have sex with a woman who is not my wife?
- Do you think it would be acceptable or unacceptable for me to kiss, caress, and fondle a woman who is not my wife (something short of intercourse)?
- Do you think it would be acceptable or unacceptable for me to have a meal with a woman not my wife and engage in extended conversation about each other's lives (likes/dislikes/struggles/pasts)?If you answered "unacceptable" to three out of the three, or even two out of the three questions — "yes, it would be unacceptable for you as a married man to do those things" — I want to suggest that a double standard may exist in your mind. Many people who answer "unacceptable" with regard to me, as a married man, would not say "unacceptable" for the single man.
1) What if the woman you are having an extended conversation with happens to be a female relative? Why should we necessarily view all female-male relationships through the sexual lens?
2) If a single man has an extended conversation with a single woman, is he engaging in something dishonorable as you seem to suggest? If he cannot do this, is he supposed to be basically in the dark about any woman that comes into his life up until the time he marries?
3) Or if a single man can have a extended conversation with a woman that he has the intention of marrying, can he also have sex with her under these circumstances? If not, then why put extended conversations in the same boat as sexual behavior?
3) Would it be acceptable for you as a married man to pursue any kind of an amorous relationship with a woman not your wife? Could you, a married man, pursue courtship Josh Harris style or Candice Watters style with someone not your wife? If a single man's case is truly parallel to yours, isn't everything off limits?
In short, Mr. Schmucker's logic is downright asinine. Affirming that God's expectations for single men are different from those for married men is not a double-standard, friends. It's reality. Anyway, Mr. Schmucker continues:
That's a good principle. But here's another principle:Now to the male reader who says, "Lying with a prostitute is a black-and-white issue, and of course I would never do that," allow me to reply: You are missing the point. Being bought at a price by God should compel you to honor him with everything you have and with everything you are, including your body.
If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world, why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to decrees, such as, “Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!” (which all refer to things destined to perish with use)—in accordance with the commandments and teachings of men? These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence.That comes from Col. 2:20-23 (NASB). That applies just as much to the man-made casuistic theology of modern religious pundits as it did the Judaizers of Jesus' and Paul's time. Anyway, Mr. Schmucker goes on in his article to talk about men defrauding women. What is is his proof-text? 1 Thess. 4:3-6 ...
It is God's will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him.Ok, what am I missing here? Because I don't see anything in that passage about women. I'm pretty certain it refers to sleeping with another man's wife! And what pray tell, is the point that Mr. Schmucker attempts to make? Well, he says:
What do I mean by defrauding in this context? Simply put, a man defrauds a woman when, by his words or actions, he promises the benefits of marriage to a woman he either has no intention of marrying or if he does, has no way of finally knowing that he will ...This presents me with an opportunity to torpedo yet another lousy idea being floated by self-canonized relationship experts in the Evangelical blogosphere. Somehow we are to believe that if a man gets too cozy with a woman, he is essentially promising marriage to her. Such is the idea behind the charge that men are "defrauding" women. Nice theory ... if it weren't so full of baloney.
What may be considered innocent — holding hands, putting an arm around her in the pew, some "light" kissing, long talks over Starbucks coffee — all send the message to a sister that reads, "You're mine." Single men must be careful here.
Too many times in this culture, we have panderers that validate the feelings of women over the facts. The fact is that if a man has not promised something to a woman, her reading her own wishful thinking into his behavior does not change his "no" into a "yes". People, we would not tolerate this nonsense if the roles were reversed. If a man said, "She lead me on," we would shriek at him, "No means no! Jerk!" But somehow verbal communication doesn't mean anything when ladies get their precious little hearts broken. Give. Me. A. Break. If a woman is too stupid to have open communication with her male significant other about what behavior is appropriate and what that behavior implies, she doesn't deserve to get married. If she reads more into a man's behavior than what he has promised, then the only fraud that has been committed is that of her own self-deception. Heartbreaks are a fact of life for either sex, so let's stop automatically blaming men when relationships go sour.
Another concern comes to mind as I read Mr. Schmucker's remarks: Does anyone really expect me, as an educated Christian man, to believe that holding hands sends the same instrinsic message as heavy petting? I haven't seen too many married folks on Sunday morning engaging in heavy petting in pews, but I have seen them holding hands or throwing arms around the backs of each other. Maybe the elders at Mr. Schmucker's church should come out strong against married people showing such inordinate displays of public affection!
I will finish my review of Mr. Schmucker's with this quote of his:
We do not want a brother standing at the altar on his wedding day looking at his beautiful bride only to imagine behind her the boys and men who took advantage of her and robbed her of the trust and confidence that she now needs for her husband. We do not want a sister standing at the altar on her wedding day looking at her handsome groom only to imagine behind him a string of relationships with girls and women he failed to honor, and knowing that images in his head from pornography use and past flings may stick with him for a long time.Ah yes, it's the man who commits the sexual sin in both cases, isn't it? Did you pick up on that? I did, and I'm getting tired of the insinuation that men are wolves and women are Little Red Riding Hoods. Okay, boys and girls, repeat after me ... slowly now ... It. Takes. Two. To. Tango. Tell our fine Christian ladies to stop chasing pretty boy thugs and keep their pants zipped if they don't want to get "defrauded" (boo-hoo).
P.S. Somebody should inform the person in charge of graphics at Boundless that having a picture of a well-muscled man with his shirt wide open in an article about purity is in extremely poor taste.