March 2018 – Matt Lauer, Harvey Weinstein, Al Franken, Stephen Collins, Kevin Spacey – names that were once respected and even admired – have now been diminished by their admitted sexual misconduct.
The culture of America has been bombarded with news reports of sexual scandals, and it seems every person in front of a camera or behind a computer is pontificating about why this all happened. While it is easy to point at the failings of these men and the culture around them that allowed their victimization of women to continue unchallenged, there is something missing in the vast majority of these conversations. Culture is looking at these episodes as if they are the problem. In reality, these stories are only the fruit of much bigger, much deeper issues.
Degraded view of sex
The sexual revolution in America changed the country’s understanding of sex. It claimed to release sex from the puritanical chains of religion. A secular understanding of sex does not elevate it; it degrades the act.
God designed sex to be a diamond, a precious thing to be cared for, treasured, and protected over a lifetime. Culture makes it the Cracker Jacks box at a baseball game, cheaply bought, quickly devoured, and carelessly discarded when it has served its purpose.
This is proven every day in the porn industry. Sex delivered via camera is a charade, an abominable caricature. But those who participate by making, purchasing, and viewing it have an understanding of sex that is just as degraded as the men whose names are plastered in the headlines.
To each, sex is a simple means to an end. That end is pure, unadulterated selfishness.
Degraded view of women
Once sex is degraded to an act of simple pleasure, the vehicle for that pleasure is degraded as well. When God created woman, He created her as the helpmate to Adam. She was so lovely, so treasured, Adam responded by composing a song to celebrate her (Genesis 2:23).
Throughout Scripture, God exemplifies how women are to be cherished and loved. 1 Peter even goes so far as saying if a man does not show honor to his wife, God will not listen to his prayers.
Contrast that to the view a sex-obsessed culture creates for women. One side of culture’s mouth staunchly states women should be respected and treated as equal to men. But the other side screams women’s primary purpose is the sexual arousal of men. As the degraded view of sex is seen in porn, the degraded view of women can be observed in advertising.
What does a woman in a bikini have to do with cars? Nothing. Yet it is cliché for a boy to have a half-clad woman leaning over a car in a poster hanging above his bed. Mall advertising furthers this ideology. Clothing companies put young girls in as little clothing as possible in the hopes of selling a pair of blue jeans. Their message isn’t, “Come purchase our quality denim.” Instead, it is, “Lust after this girl, and come into our store for more pictures like this.”
Degraded view of men
Because sex is degraded to be for mere pleasure and women are degraded to vehicles for it, men are encouraged to degrade themselves to be base creatures driven by sheer desire alone, as opposed to the biblical command to put fleshly desires to death (Colossians 3:5).
This message pushed by marketing, entertainment, and culture at large, has taught men that it is not only acceptable, but preferable for them to be this way. Shows and movies with male characters driven by sex are not reprimanded but celebrated. Very few, if any, alternatives are presented. According to the mass messaging of culture, men should ascribe to two pursuits: success and sex. And in the typical message, the two are one and the same.
God’s design for men is so much higher, so much bigger. Men are to be providers and protectors. They should not just care for women, but be a source of encouragement, peace, and safety. Men should lead and serve, in equal measure (Ephesians 5:25).
That is true manhood.
Degraded view of God
A degraded view of sex leads to a degraded view of both men and women. But these are still not the root cause of the sexual problems faced by our culture. The true root is a degraded view of God.
The secular world hates God. Their view of God is so much smaller and weaker than who He reveals Himself to be in Scripture. Many in society go so far as to believe God is accepting of their sin. Sadly and surprisingly, this degraded view of God has crept into some American churches.
A 2016 Barna study revealed, “the percentage of Christian men viewing pornography is the same as that of nonbelievers” (33-50%). That study also states 35% of born-again Christians believe sex outside marriage is “morally acceptable,” further exemplifying the degraded view of God’s standard in America’s congregations.
Many who profess Christ in America lead lives that reflect the culture more clearly than they reflect the Savior. How has this happened? Other Barna research reveals only 34% of Christians claim to read the Bible on their own. Beyond that, only 35% actually attended church in the last seven days.
All this begs the question: What is the solution? Reverse the order.
Christians must first examine their understanding of God. If one’s view of God is small, his view of sin will be small. When the light of God is seen, the darkness of sin is obvious. When the holiness of God is grasped, the sickness of sin is unmistakable.
Once a biblical understanding of God is grasped, a biblical understanding of manhood, womanhood, and sin will naturally follow. Men will understand their proper role and women theirs. Only when these are understood and applied will there be a biblical view of sex.
Christians cannot attempt to reform culture and call it to repentance until they first experience that reform and repentance.
Lead us not into temptation (Matthew 6:13)
Despite today’s scandalous headlines, there are men who build practical safeguards to protect their integrity and ensure that their lives honor God. Unfortunately, their stories rarely make the news.
Vice President Mike Pence is one exception. The secular media ridiculed him mercilessly when he stated he is never alone with a woman other than his wife.
Matt Chandler, pastor of The Village Church in Flower Mound, Texas, and president of Acts 29, travels extensively. However, he always travels with male ministry partners and leaves the door open between their adjoining hotel rooms.
Billy Graham decided years ago not even to ride an elevator alone with a female. If he entered with a crowd that exited to the point that he and a female would be alone, he disembarked and waited for another elevator.
▶ Pure Life Ministries (purelifeministries.org) and Restoration Path (restorationpath.org) were created to restore people from sexual brokenness. Both were featured in AFA Journal’s “40 Faithful” issue (7-8/17)
▶ AFA’s Freedom of Sexual Purity DVD Available at afastore.net or 877-927-4917. (See related story here.)