Two Simple Questions

This concise and to the point article was written by our good friends at www.nakedandunashamed.org.

As a pastor my goal every week was to attempt to make the complex simple. As a simple guy myself I felt that I had a better grasp of Bible doctrine if I found ways to put it into simple terms. I know, many pastors pride themselves on being able to wax eloquent every week, but that was just not my style.

Recently I decided to see if we could do the same thing when looking at the subject of biblical naturism and here is what I came up with. It really boils down to two simple questions. The first question we must ask is how does God view the naked body…what is His view on the subject? By the way, that should be the basis for discovery on any doctrine. What is God’s view on grace? What is God’s view on forgiveness? What is God’s view on the Law? As far as I am concerned, the best place to find out what God’s view on a given subject is the Word of God…the Bible.

So, what is God’s view of the naked body or the body in general?

  • Psalm 139:14 – I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.
  • Jeremiah 1:5 – Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee…
  • Genesis 1:27 – So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
  • Genesis 2:25 – And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.
  • Genesis 1:31 – And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.
  • 1 Corinthians 12:23 – And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness.

In a nutshell, God’s view of us and our naked bodies is that they are:

  1. wonderful
  2. formed by His hand
  3. made in His image
  4. nothing to be ashamed of
  5. very good
  6. that no part of the body is less beautiful than any other part

Now, we get to the second question…does your view of the naked body match God’s view? Does your pastor’s view of the naked body match God’s view? Does my church’s view of the naked body match God’s view?

If it doesn’t, one of the views need to change so that they match. I am going to recommend that you not demand that God change His view, I am going to recommend that you get in line with God and His view.

I hope that this little exercise also helps with any discussion opportunities that may arise in the future. It’s the perfect question to ask…does your view of the body match God’s view?

Baptism and Nudity

A topic of much debate in Christendom (sadly) is baptism. The method or mode, the purpose, the people doing the baptizing, all of these are discussed at length. Is it immersion? It is sprinkling? Is it for infants or believers above the age of accountability? This article will not address any of these issues. What is never spoken about, hardly, is the fact that baptisms in the early church were performed in the nude. Is this is a shock to you? Keep reading…

At my own church, there is a sign by the baptistry that expresses the need for a robe to be worn over one’s clothes. This, especially for the females, will be the most modest approach and will not cause others to stumble in their thinking (is the general, though faulty, idea behind this). Church is not the place for a wet T-shirt contest, I get that! That would certainly not be appropriate. However, when I saw this sign, I immediately wondered how those in the church would react if they knew that ancient baptisms were performed devoid of any coverings at all! Candidates for baptism would strip off all of their clothes and jewelry to enter the waters naked and unashamed, and in mixed company. It was not scandalous like it would be today. It was just the way it was.

At some point prudery took over, and the art that portrayed these true facts about baptism got censored. See the tragic defacing of these historical pieces:

This should be proof enough that this was indeed the practice. However, should you need more convincing, you’re at the right place!

For the first 400 years in the Church, baptism was a nude practice. This was the pattern of the Jewish mikveh ritual before it was a Christian rite. Bathing outdoors was commonplace, so this was not offensive as it would be today. To quote Lightfoot in “Horae Hebraicae Talmuducae,” he acknowledges that: “Every person baptized must dip his whole body, now stripped and made naked, at one dipping. And wheresoever in the Law washing of the body is mentioned, it means nothing else than the washing of the whole body.”1

Robert Robinson wrote a 580 page book called “The History of Baptism” in 1817. In it he speaks of Jesus’ nakedness when he washed his disciples feet:

In regard to the nakedness of Jesus just now observed, it should be recollected, that, however shocking it may appear to English manners, and how rude and indecent soever it would be justly reckoned her to imitate the custom of introducing naked into publick company, yet in the ancient eastern world it was far otherwise, and at this day all over Italy, in places sacred and profane, statues, pictures, vases, and books exhibit such sights, and nobody is offended.2

He goes on to say:

Let it be observed, next, that the primitive Christians baptized naked. Nothing is easier than to give proof of this by quotations from the authentick writings of the men who administered baptism, and who certainly know in what way they themselves performed it. There is no ancient historical fact better authenticated than this. The evidence doth not go on the meaning of the single word naked; for then a reader might suspect allegory; but on many facts reported, and many reasons assigned for the practice.3

Furthermore, the symbolism of the sacrament takes on a richer meaning when it is practiced as it was intended.

Cyril of Jerusalem (313–386) brings significance to the naked portion of this ceremony in this way: “You put off your clothes, which is an emblem of putting off the old man with his deeds; and being thus divested, you stood naked, imitating Christ, that was naked upon the cross, who by his nakedness spoiled principalities and powers, publicly triumphing over them in the cross.” He adds, “‘Immediately, then, upon entering, you removed your tunics. Having stripped, you were naked. … Marvellous! You were naked in the sight of all, and were not ashamed.'”4

Of the Bishop of Jerusalem’s reliable account, William Tefler says, “Part of this heritage was no doubt a tradition of doctrine, and in particular of norms of baptismal catechizes. For all the freshness with which Cyril handles his matter, in catechetical lecturing, we may judge that he is guided by church tradition, when we note how impervious he is to the contemporary theological disturbances.”5

Theodore of Mopsuestia (c. 400) later added, “Adam was naked at the beginning, and unashamed. This is why your clothing must be taken off as baptism restores right relation to God.” He also said, “You draw near to the holy baptism and before all you take off your garments. As in the beginning when Adam was naked and was in nothing ashamed of himself…”6

St. Hippolytus, presbyter of Rome (c. 215), said that total nudity was required. The rule ordered, “let no one go down to the water having any alien object with them,” and directs women to remove even their jewelry and the combs from their hair.” And also these instructions:

“When they come to the water, the water shall be pure and flowing… Then they shall take off all their clothes. The children shall be baptized first. … After this, the men will be baptized. Finally, the women, after they have unbound their hair and removed their jewelry. No one shall take any foreign object with themselves down into the water…. Then, after these things, the bishop passes each of them on nude to the elder who stands at the water. They shall stand in the water naked. A deacon, likewise, will go down with them into the water.”

After being immersed three separate times, 

“when they have come up out of the water, they shall be anointed by the elder with the Oil of Thanksgiving, saying, ‘I anoint you with holy oil in the name of Jesus Christ.’ And so each one drying himself with a towel they shall now put on their clothes, and after let them be together in the assembly.”7

John the Deacon, writing around AD500, notices something similar. “They are commanded to go in naked, even down to their feet, so that [they may show that] they have put off the earthly garments of mortality. The church has ordained these things for many years with watchful care, even though the old books may not reveal traces of them.”8

Michael P. Wilson suggests that, “We should resist any suggestion that nakedness is being employed lightly. It is a costly word to express a costly truth. The saints of God shall, on the last day, be unashamed before their God as were Adam and Eve prior to the Fall. At baptism, though we do not completely and immediately escape the ravages of sin, we do at least enter into the secure promise of God. Further, just as at the eucharist we enact a foretaste of the heavenly banquet, so too, in naked baptism, we enact in a symbolic washing from head to foot a foretaste of the restoration of the innocence, shamelessness and joy that is only for those who find themselves in the presence of God and without sin.”9

Why have modern scholars ignored this evidence? Why did the pendulum swing so far in the other prudish direction? The influence of Plato and Gnosticism, especially with the desert fathers may have something to do with it. However, that is a topic for another blog post.

In a brilliant book Meeting at the River, part allegory and part autobiography, David Hatton depicts a scene of a group of people of all ages having a baptism service at the river’s edge which then results in bathing and skinny dipping, without a shred of indecency. An elder from the group, the ancient in this vision, comes over to the protagonist who is observing all of this in disbelief. Much of the book is their conversation, which includes these key sentences:

“We came here today to find if you are ready to be healed.” “Healed?” “Delivered from the wall dividing your mind for so long,” he explained. “On one side is a false ‘knowledge,’ a gnosis present since childhood. It tells you that the naked body is an object of indecency and sexual lust. Ever since you arrived here, that portion of your mind resists what has been displayed before your eyes. You were raised to reject it by the obscene view of God’s image learned in your upbringing. This false view of the body has been passed from one generation to the next with a zeal that rivals devotion to Christ Himself. It is the womb from which even more defiling imaginations are conceived and given birth.

“On the other side of that wall, your mind sees these unclothed families in the same way you observe nakedness in caring for mothers or for the sick. Your dismay at watching our baptism ritual came from the defiled side of your thinking. But the side informed by your long years of working with the naked body [as a labor and delivery nurse] began to wish this scene to be just as it seemed—a time of innocent fellowship. Only one of these two perceptions is true, and you already know which one it is.”

…These precious fleshly bodies of your brothers and sisters in Christ are just what they are, and nothing more. Only deceitful imaginations paint them otherwise.10

Whereas a nude baptism in any given church today would prove scandalous, it is not because the bodies are lewd or obscene in and of themselves. It is because our minds are. I had a friend recently say to me, “Isn’t it interesting how the Renewed Mind shows you that thinking on the beauty of the human body is “pure, true, noble, admirable, and excellent?” I’d have to agree with him. Having lived most of my life where the sight of a nude baptism would be a cause for stumbling and bring on all sort of impure thoughts, I never want to go back to that way of thinking! Now, to witness such a nude baptism ceremony would be a joy, because of the joyous occasion of baptism and the purity of heart on display. Nothing more. Nothing less.


1 “Baptism,” The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, I,1., p. 415.

2 Robert Robinson, The History of Baptism (From the Press of Lincoln & Edmands, 1817), p. 93.

3 Ibid., p. 94.

4 Bettenson, Henry, ed., The Later Christian Fathers: A Selection from the Writings of the Fathers from St. Cyril of Jerusalem to St. Leo the Great. (London: Oxford University Press) p. 42-44.

5 Cyril of Jerusalem, Saint,” Encyclopedia Britannica Micropedia (15th Ed.). I, 3., p. 61.

6 Quoted in Carnal Knowing—Female Nakedness and Religious Meaning in the Christian West, Margaret R. Miles, Beacon Press, Boston, 1989, p. 33-34.

7 Dix, Rev. Gregory, ed., The Treatise on The Apostolic Tradition of St. Hippolytus of Rome, Bishop and Martyr. (Ridgefield, Connecticut: Morehouse Publishing) p.33-38.

8 Quoted in Carnal Knowing—Female Nakedness and Religious Meaning in the Christian West, Margaret R. Miles, Beacon Press, Boston, 1989, p. 33-34.

9 Michael P. Wilson, “Nakedness, Bodiliness and the New Creation.” https://cnfellowship.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/wilson-2006-modern-believing-2002-reworked.pdf.

10 David L. Hatton, Meeting at the River – A Tale of Naked Truth (David L. Hatton; 2nd edition (August 8, 2013), p. 50

Jesus is Better than Porn

This is a thorough book review of Jesus is Better than Porn: How I Confessed my Addiction to My Wife and Found a New Life” by Hugh Houston.

There is much to like in this book. I really appreciate the brother’s heart and the way he writes and much of what he says. Coming at this from a freedom that came drastically and is sustained without an effort (much through the influence of Christian naturism and the philosophies behind it), we disagree in the approach of eliminating the power of porn. We agree on the problem, yet differ on the solution. Read his quotations in quotes and my comments in italics to see the points of agreement versus the areas of disagreement.

“I chose to write this using a pen name in order to share my most intimate thoughts while maintaining my privacy. My wife and I have been missionaries for most of our adult lives. We have four adult children.”

I get this. In fact, I use some anonymity on this site as well. However, I have the naturism point of view that immediately would not be understood by the vast majority of Christians. I long for the day when I can be totally open about this. “Hugh” isn’t a naturist. If I had been truly delivered from porn aside from naturism, I’d tell the masses in my own name. That never happened for me without the catalyst of naturism. Now I can share principles of Imago Dei with others who would not listen to me if they knew about my naturism, but I shouldn’t shy away from speaking openly about being delivered from porn. So I don’t fully understand why this brother should use a pseudonym. He probably doesn’t want to scandalize those he ministered to for many years.

“A few years later I went away to college, where I ended up studying theology and preparing to become a missionary. I fell in love with a wonderful Christian woman who is still my wife to this day. Like many guys, I thought having a wife and a healthy sexual relationship with her would cure my desire to look at porn. I was dead wrong.”

I identify with this. I too thought being married would solve everything.

“After binging episodes, before I turned off the computer, I would make sure to wipe my search history clean and erase all of the cookies from my browser. Then I would vow to myself and to God that this was the last time I would ever look at porn. This happened dozens, if not hundreds, of times. Each time I promised God and myself that I wanted out of this predicament, vowing that this time I would try harder and this time I really meant it. I now know that the worst lies are the lies we tell ourselves. It’s been said that porn is a lot like throwing yourself off a cliff. You get a great rush all the way down, right until you smash into the rocks below. Who in their right mind would throw themselves off a cliff for the thrill of the fall?”

Again, I’ve had the same experience and feelings. This is good writing.

“What is porn anyway and why is it so bad? In Matthew 5, Jesus discusses murder, adultery, divorce, etc. In each of these situations the great sin which separates us from God is the fact that we have turned a human being, made in his image, into an object of anger, scorn, lust, etc. God is love. As his children he wants us to love everyone. It’s impossible to live for God while transforming his children (our brothers and sisters) into mere objects. This is why pornography is so hideous. To lust after another person degrades and devalues another human being as a “thing” to be used for our own personal self-gratification. Pornography is dehumanization at the most intimate level of our being. That’s why it’s so ugly. And in the end we dehumanize ourselves in the process.”

No issue here. Full agreement and I’m glad he phrases the situation this way.

“I know that I should have confessed my sin to a friend or to someone at church. But I was the pastor. I was the one everyone looked up to, who taught everyone how to do what was good and right. How could I confess my hypocrisy? That fear kept me quiet. My dark, dirty secret was like an albatross around my neck.”

Again, I can relate. I did confess to some people and to my wife. I used to be a “good boy” with a bad secret. Now I know I’m a “bad boy” with a great secret. We don’t have to remain “bad.”

“Renewing your desire for God’s help is not a one-time event. It has to be a continual process, one day at a time, one hour at a time, one minute at a time.”

This is where we start to differ. For me, it was a one time decision to see the world and others differently that changed everything. Phrases like “that’s someone’s daughter” didn’t do it for me. It was rejecting lies that we are all visual and can’t help ourselves, and Imago Dei (image of God) that caused me to respect and honor all people with a renewed mind, and the resulting remapped neural pathways.

“I never stopped to consider how many people live just fine without sex. No one can live without water and we all have to eat to survive. Sex is a wonderful blessing from God intended to bring a husband and a wife closer together, but anyone can survive without it. We won’t burst if we go too long without sex, nor will we shrivel up and die.”

Yes! Reject that lie.

“What helped me understand how this desire works was imagining a person who tries to quench their thirst with seawater. They can drink until they pop, but they will only get thirstier. Saltwater can never quench anyone’s thirst; in the same way, the more a person looks at porn in an attempt to fulfill their need for intimacy, the needier they become. Worldly desires can never be satisfied, they always crave more and more and more. John D. Rockefeller started Standard Oil and was America’s first billionaire. When a reporter asked him, “How much money is enough?” He responded, “Just a little bit more.” …It’s an endless battle, like pouring water into a bottomless pit or using gasoline in an effort to drown out a fire.

I was in that endless battle and was told it’s every man’s battle. I believed them, and so that was my frame of reference and in turn my reality. I was conditioned to respond that way. Now, I like to say that it will be a battle as long as you think it will be.

“Motivational speaker, Zig Ziglar urged people to get rid of “stinking thinking”. Well, there is nothing worse than a carnal mind using other people for its own selfish ends. The best way I know of to push all of those immoral images from my brain is to replace them with thoughts which are pure, true, noble, admirable, and excellent. Our primary battleground in the war against this plague (or any other undesirable practice), lies in what we decide to think about, what we allow to occupy the space between our ears.”

This is partly what I’m saying. A change in thinking is vital, and that’s the literal meaning of the word “repentance” anyway. The main difference would probably be another lie that “nude is lewd.” He says “immoral images,” and he’s speaking of pornography which has a sexual and enticing bent. When you begin to see the body as “very good” like God does, porn loses its allure. I have no desire for it any longer, and even a fully naked body won’t cause me to be tempted or stumble, because I see them differently, not as a purely sexual object, but as a whole person.

“My best strategy (really the only strategy that works) is to avoid every impure thought and to stay as far away from the slippery slope as possible.”

Then you aren’t free or healed or fully transformed. If you are, there aren’t slippery slopes. No matter what the visual stimuli (not that I seek out anything that is sexual in nature) you can control your thoughts. If you are free, you don’t have to work hard to avoid temptation, because you aren’t tempted by that any longer. I’m more likely to be tempted by too many brownies, and need to work on renewing my mind when it comes to over-eating like l have with my issues of lust. 

“Filthy or impure thoughts cannot be toyed with. Only a fool tries to see how close he can get to the edge of the slippery slope before sliding down all the way to the bottom.”

Avoidance and hyper-vigilance keeps us weak and susceptible. Facing even full nudity with zero issues is the most obvious sign of victory I can think of. I use this example a lot because it makes so much sense- a former alcoholic should be able to be around alcohol and be okay with it for them to be really delivered.

“zero tolerance policy.”

I hate porn. Jesus is better. I don’t see simple nudity as porn. I may stumble upon something that is pornographic by accident, but it has no power over me, because I have respect and honor for God’s image bearers.

“Crisp boundaries will mean eliminating most TV shows these days, as well as most movies. You will want to dwell on things that are edifying and beneficial.”

No problem with what’s edifying and beneficial, but it’s weakness to be so scared of seeing flesh! Maybe there is something beneficial to see in a show that shows nudity! You can’t watch Schindler’s List without issues? (Extreme example, I know.)

“[Otherwise you] will never find freedom.”

This isn’t freedom! It’s a tragic existence and a bondage of another kind.

“In the past, I would allow myself the “luxury” of looking when women were technically “clothed”. In reality, there are at least two things wrong with this kind of thinking: I was still lusting by ogling women’s bodies and degrading them as mere sex objects. One thing leads to another, and I’d soon find myself at the bottom of a slippery slope.”

I’m glad he used quotes for the word “luxury.” I agree with this bit about objectifying. When one’s thinking is pornified, it doesn’t matter if someone is “clothed” or not, seen or from memory or imagination. Your thought life dictates your behavior, and if you don’t change how you think, your responses will never change. This slippery slope business reminds me of my friend’s great allegory called “The Chain” – https://mychainsaregone.org/the-chain/  

“The only way to develop clean and healthy thoughts is to ruthlessly eliminate every impure thought. This means changing the channel on the TV and turning off the computer or my smartphone whenever I’m feeling vulnerable to lust.”

Just don’t be vulnerable to lust. It’s a self imposed chain you keep on when you can easily take it off. See link on previous comment in case you skipped over it!

“not looking back a second time when a woman catches my eye.”

Or try loving the person as a human being, as God does. It’s very hard if not impossible to love and lust at the very same time. (One caveat is that even married men who love their wives can even lust and objectify them. In those moments, they are operating more out of lust than in love and problems will arise.)

“Perhaps I will modify these boundaries someday, but for now, I know they are my lifeline. These guardrails are my friends who protect me from the slippery slope of doom. I ignore them at my own peril.”

No, no, no! Jesus is your lifeline. Look at your own book’s title. Imago Dei is his intent. You don’t need friends or any of these boundaries, and you don’t need a struggle or fear of falling again! This makes me so sad.

“Randy Alcorn puts it this way: “When it comes to sexual temptation, it pays to be a coward. He who hesitates (and rationalizes) is lost. He who runs, lives.”

What a terrible quote! Be a coward? That’s your advice? What low expectations! What a low view of the Savior’s power to renew your mind and make you truly new. These are said with good intentions and a motivation to be strong, but it reinforces weakness. 

I know I’ll be accused of rationalizing, but it took courage to get to this place. I’ll always choose courage of convictions over cowardice and fear (which are not from God).

“This strategy of quickly and ruthlessly throwing certain thoughts in the trash and instantly replacing them with beautiful, worthwhile ideas has served me well.”

Porn is meant to sexualize and titillate. But even the actor of porn is a person, made in the image of God, worthy of honor and respect on that basis alone. What if you saw them in a new light? They are a beautiful creation of God, the pinnacle of his creation. What’s his or her story? How did they end up in pornography? What if instead of using them as an object for your own pleasure, seeing them as filthy and obscene, and feeling guilty for even seeing them, what if you prayed for them and loved them as a human? Would this not change the whole dynamic? Of course this is probably not your attitude if you are seeking it out. Get to this point so if you accidentally were to come across something of the like, it’s an automatic impulse to move on, and not a dangerous situation.

“…it seemed like it was an endless task, and sometimes, it felt like I would never make it.”

I’ve felt that way too, but it shouldn’t and doesn’t have to be like that.

“Joseph Frascella, director of the division of clinical neuroscience at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) wrote in Time Magazine: “Addictions are repetitive behaviors in the face of negative consequences, the desire to continue something you know is bad for you.” The Science Of Addiction, Michael D. Lemonick. Time. New York: Jul 16, 2007. Vol. 170, Iss. 3; pg. 42”

It’s been debated if porn is addicting in and of itself. It’s like a drug. It’s effects can be more powerful even. But I’ve come to see it more as a compulsion than an addiction. I did have addictive tendencies, for sure, but treat the compulsion, and it all goes away and practically instantaneously. Let God do that work in you, regardless of your own willpower, strength, or efforts.

“In my own dark, confused, and self-justifying mind, what I was looking at didn’t even qualify as pornography. Porn was something far more perverted and degrading. My excuse was, I had only been looking at pictures of women without their clothes on. Didn’t God make women beautiful? Wasn’t God the one who created and designed men to be attracted to the opposite sex? What I was doing wasn’t really so bad, was it? Later, when I finally worked up the courage to confess my sin to my wife, she saw things much differently. She said that I had betrayed her with hundreds, if not thousands of women. It felt as if I had invited these women into our home and had sexual relations with them. It made her feel unloved, unworthy and rejected. I had never even stopped to consider such an idea, but when she said it, I knew that she was right.”

I believe Jesus would call a spade a spade and to lust after other women is adultery of the heart. But I also believe in chaste nudity, where the ability to fellowship nude with other like-minded people without feelings of lust can be a beneficial experience for both husband and wife and not be sin. Crazy? Perhaps in your thinking. Before, yes I broke my wife’s heart many times over by committing adultery of the heart with many women I treated as objects. That is different than naturism, which is not the same as porn and doesn’t have the same goal. My wife is with me on this because it’s true! We are closer than ever, and it set her free from her own body issues as well!

“…sin will take you further than you want to go, cost you more than you want to pay, and keep you longer than you want to stay…. Change may not be easy, but it is a thousand times better than the alternative!”

Change IS easy. And there’s a whole other alternative which is far better than the options you suggest.

“Too often I saw porn as my friend, my source of comfort, rather than as my enemy.”

The porn industry and the objectification of humans made in the image of God, and the devil who hates Imago Dei is the true enemy, not the people caught up in it. The serpent must be the one who told Adam and Eve they were naked (see Genesis 3:11).

“Today I can say that I don’t want to eat worms ever again. I want to be free. I want to fly!”

You can! There is no wanting to. Be transformed by the renewing of your mind. A butterfly can’t go back to being a worm when it has truly been transformed through metamorphosis!

“Bad habits are a curse; good habits are a blessing. In order to live the life I wanted to live, I needed to unlearn my bad ways of acting and begin to develop good habits. This required time and effort on my part, but the benefits made it all worthwhile. Just like learning to ride a bike, the person who wants to learn a new sport or acquire a new habit will fail. Slips and falls are to be expected. All that’s needed is to get right back up and go back to doing what is good and true and healthy.”

This is pretty good, but with the effortless solution I suggest, slip ups are not expected.

“…I found my journal to be helpful.”

Cumbersome and not needed.

“Triggers are everywhere. We live in a sex-saturated society. I had to prepare for temptations to pop up in unusual places, and always be ready to say a quick and decisive ‘NO!’”

If you develop a new mindset, saying “no” is a breeze.

“I had to remain focused and maintain my mind in ‘battle mode’ in order to make good choices quickly and easily.”

I was so tired of “battle mode.” It’s so much better to just leave the battlefield!

“If we don’t plan ahead, act intentionally, and respect these limits, we are doomed to fail. We will fail every time. We can lament afterward that we didn’t really want to do what we did, but because we made the decision to cross the line, down the slippery slope we went.”

Or you can opt for true freedom and have success every time!

“The only way for change to take place in my life is for me to take responsibility. I have to recognize that I am not a victim. I’m in charge. It is up to me to learn from past mistakes, ask for help, make a plan and move forward to carry out that plan. And do all of this of course, with prayer and help from above.”

It’s true that it’s our own fault and no one else. But this is backwards. It’s help from above and not our own strength that causes the change that makes us free.

“I discovered that in [my wife’s] mind my involvement with pornography was if I had had an affair or worse yet, multiple affairs. I had betrayed her and abandoned her to be with other women whom I found much more attractive and desirable. She was nothing to me. I loved them. That’s not at all how I felt. I wanted to break free from the pull of my addiction. I desired the real love and intimacy, which only she could give me, but how could she trust me again?”

She felt like that because it is that. It’s not like that. It is adultery.

“Those first weeks and months after I told her were extremely difficult for both of us.”

Sorry it took that long! I had similar experiences the first times (multiple) that I had come clean with my wife. That is until a permanent fix took place. Then it was a matter of days.

“I was the definition of a hypocrite. I professed that I wanted to live for God and proclaimed that I believed in pure living and respecting women. I had never made a pass at another woman or kissed another woman, so I did not see myself as a hypocrite. In my confused, muddled thinking, I had compartmentalized my sin. I did not realize that pornography was like radiation, contaminating every corner of my life.”

Same.

“In my mind, I was a good, godly man, a good father, and a caring, faithful husband—I just had this problem in one area of my life. I had erected a wall of lies around this behavior. This allowed me to lust after women in my mind and yet hold on to the belief that I was one of the ‘good guys’ because I had not reached out to another woman on a physical level… I was lost in denial. Treating a human being as an object for one’s own sexual satisfaction is a monstrosity. When I convinced myself that looking at pictures didn’t hurt anyone, I was only deceiving myself. How was I able to brainwash myself into believing that my fascination with pornography did not qualify as betrayal and adultery? Because this is what I wanted to believe. I had to close my eyes to the truth in order to live with myself.”

Excellent comments and very true.

“A friend of mine sat down to examine how pornography had affected his life and discovered he had broken all 10 of the 10 commandments; the sins connected to porn addiction seem to cover them all! Take a look at this list: You shall not have any gods before me.–I set up pornography as a “god”. You shall not make for yourself idols.-Pornography was a big idol for me. You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God.-I denied God in my heart and thought that he did not care about my sin. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.–Those impure images were in my head every day. Honor your father and mother.–To my shame, I searched for porn in their house. You shall not murder (or hate)-I’ve been hateful in my thoughts and actions. You shall not commit adultery.-Pornography by its very nature means betrayal. Jesus said, “whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5: 28). You shall not steal.–I looked at what was not mine and stole from others. You shall not give false testimony.–I lied time after time to cover my tracks. You shall not covet your neighbor’s house or wife.–The definition of porn.”

Wow. Me too. This is good to consider and lament.

“in spite of the fact that society and the media bombard us with the idea that the human body is beautiful and should be admired and that sex between two consenting adults is healthy and normal, these guys still know first-hand something has gone haywire.”

It’s God’s idea that the human body is beautiful and should be admired. Sex is meant to be beautiful within the confines of relationship. Others are not to be objects for sex. You describe the pornified view Hollywood and the media sell and you in essence agree with them. The naked truth which sets you free to love people as image bearers and praise God for his creation is a new and wholesome mindset.

“What breaks my heart is that, as the weeks and months go by, I see these guys come and proclaim their eagerness to begin anew. They come and post: ‘One day clean!’ ‘Two days with no porn.’ ‘One week with no porn and no masturbation’. There are threads where everyone commits to 30 days clean or 100 days clean. And everyone rejoices when a fellow struggler actually reaches one of these milestones. But more common is the guy who remained clean for a week or two, or maybe even three, and then says: ‘I slipped. Back to square one.’ It’s so terribly tragic!

Breaks my heart too. And it’s so needless!

“Just getting up and determining to try harder next time will not be enough—it will never work. Trust me. I know from experience, and I’m guessing you do, too! That’s why it’s necessary to take the time to think about and write down what some would term a ‘battle plan’. Meaning, that you need ‘to plan your work and work your plan’.

I agree with the first part, but then you suggest to do what you just admitted doesn’t work.

“What steps do you need to take today, tomorrow and the next day in order to reach your goal?”

Just one: change your mind.

“She is beautiful and I am attracted to her body, thus I become stimulated.”

That’s a conditioned response and learned behavior. It’s a lie and needs to be unlearned.

“Your battle plan might look something like this…”

Here is the start of the very cumbersome plan of not necessarily bad things, but things that aren’t really needed to change your mind about people and the body.

“Permanent changes will not take place overnight. Have you heard how to eat an elephant? One bite at a time! Recovery is that way. It’s necessary to take small steps day by day, always with an eye on the finish line.”

Permanent change can come overnight and in one step!

“So here I am, fighting to stay clean, just for today, with His help!”

Don’t fight to stay clean! Be clean. A fight or struggle means you haven’t been freed from bondage with a redeemed view of the body.

“What makes a temptation tempting? I’ve mulled this over in my head over the past twelve years. Why am I not tempted to smoke a cigarette or to drink a beer? I see those things and I don’t give them a second thought. Some people struggle for years to give up these habits. The difference lies in the desire. I am only tempted by the things I desire. I believe we create, or at least we permit our own temptations.”

Pretty good insight here. James chapter 1 says temptation comes from our own lusts. For me, it all boils down to this. Temptation used to be everywhere. Now, temptation is nowhere (at least in regard to lust). 

Today I can’t tell you I’m no longer tempted in the area of lust, but the degree to which I am tempted has diminished dramatically.

So sad. It should be eradicated entirely.

“It’s time for all of us to wake up and get RE-programmed feet, eyes, and brains. Today’s the day to begin teaching our feet the dance of life, not death!”

Agreed, but how? Not through man-made tactics and strategies.

“I assume that if Bathsheba was taking a bath on her rooftop, this was a common thing to do in those days. Wouldn’t David know he might just “happen” to see someone? David already had several wives. Why in the world did David’s feet take him up to the roof and why did his eyes spot the naked lady? How long and hard did David stare at this bathing beauty? And of course, that’s just the start of this story. David wasn’t content to simply be a voyeur. He sent someone to find out about her. How long did that take? Wasn’t there enough time for David to stop and think and come to his senses? And even when he discovered she was a married woman, married to a man David knew and respected, he took that next step and sent messengers to fetch Bathsheba.”

Right, it was pre-meditated coveting, not Bashsheba’s doing. Also right that it was a common thing in those days. That didn’t stop David from sinning, but simple nudity in bathing, exercise, and daily work, was commonplace. Nudity wasn’t the taboo that it is today.

“But just as the alcoholic needs to face up to where his problem might eventually lead him, the wise person will wake up and realize that to toy around with lust is like playing with fire. Which means getting burned is a very real possibility! Ouch!”

Yes, and as you’ve said, the desire needs to be eliminated- that’s when an alcoholic person is free, when they can go down the liquor aisle with no issue- not before.

Note: there is a nice section about lies we believe in this book. I mostly agree with that section which is worth the read if you get the book for yourself. I also had noted that I admired and respected the humility with which this section of the book was written. There are some great quotes that I’d love to include, but you can read it for yourself if you are interested. 

“What is the key for you and me to finally escape the prison of habitual sins? We need to find our peace, happiness, and fulfillment in Jesus.”

I’d add “and see others as He sees them.”

“Can I live a life without lust? Only when I believe that all my needs are being met by the One who knows me the best and loves me the most.”

And when you respect the dignity of others as made in His image.

“What might seem innocent will quickly lead to a house that is infested with the ghosts and demons of addiction. Before you know it, the house can quickly lose its light and once again become horribly haunted, dark and dismal. Such is the enslaving nature of this and all addictions.”

The problem with this analogy is the hypervigilance required to guard against anything that would bring it all back. I don’t feel that at all.

“I have worked hard to free myself of these ghosts.”

I’m glad, but I’m even more glad that after working hard to no avail, I stopped working and let the Jesus you see as better do the finished work for me.

“That’s why a “zero tolerance” rule is the only way to fight them off.”

Could you be in a naturist park, a nude beach, or an art class with no issues? Could you worship nude with other believers of like mind? I can and so do thousands of other believers.

“It’s hard work to break loose, but every day it gets a little easier, even though the temptations still drop by and knock on the door when you least expect them. Drive the “ghosts and demons” away today and you will find that freedom lies just around the corner.”

You’re so close, but in my opinion (and similar experiences), you haven’t found true freedom yet.

“We are all “in progress”. I’m still dealing with a variety of sins (selfishness, pride, lust, anger, laziness—all mixed up in varying proportions). But the Lord is here beside me to help me. I have brothers and sisters in Christ, fellow-strugglers who can encourage me and point me in the right direction.”

Still struggle with lust? I thought this book was about doing away with that.

See other book reviews here.

Unpresentable Parts?

If you ask a Bible scholar what 1 Corinthians 12 is about, they are bound to answer something having to do with the analogy of the body as it relates to unity in the Church. That is the undeniable context of this verse in question today. This blog is not Church unity, although that is a topic near to my own heart. It’s a blog about Christian naturism. Sadly, some have used verses 22-23 as an objection against the views of Christian naturists. This is a classic example of proof texting and taking verses out of their clear context.

In fact, those who would say Christian naturists are in error and as a result, you must break fellowship with them, they who maintain this position are in direct violation of the greater message of 1 Corinthians 12. Christian naturists are part (and I’d add a vital part) of the body of Christ, and not to be amputated. There must be no division between Christians with naturist freedom versus other Christians. We are not to say of another believer, “I have no need of you.” In an attempt to project prudish and repressive views onto others, believers attack other believers who hold different convictions and in so doing they commit the sin of divisiveness.

However, that is not the point of this post. Context aside, what is meant by the phrase “unpresentable parts”? That’s what our new video dives into in great detail. Watch the video and the script will be provided at the bottom. I would have to conclude, from all of this, that this verse is no reason to abandon the amazing Eden-like freedom of Christian naturism.

1 Corinthians 12:22-25:

“The parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater care, which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.” 

Like many passages in the New Testament, this one is actually a metaphor for unity in the church and for how each person plays a unique part in the makeup of the body of Christ. 

However, as these verses have been wrongly used to shame our physical bodies, let us dig into the idea that some parts of our bodies are “unpresentable.” What do we think these parts are? Our 21st century western perspective would jump to the conclusion that the passage must be speaking of breasts and genitals. 

If we lived in another place or time, however, we might think our ankles or our ears, or even our eyes were “unpresentable,” while having no concern with exposing the entirety of the remainder of our bodies!

The Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary informs us that the phrase “less presentable members” refers to “those limbs which we conceal from sight in accordance with custom, but in the exposure of which there would be no indecency.” 

Heinrich Meyer’s Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament explains that Paul was referring primarily to the inner organs, (the intestines, the brain, the heart) but allows for a reference to the delicate external organs (ears, eyes, genitals) as well. 

Modern pietists might “strain at a gnat,” or hunt for a needle in this haystack to proof-text the idea that some body parts are worse than others, but in this search, they’ll only find acres of hay.

Our true focus should be that God has called the entire body: good [see Genesis 1:31]. 

What, then, does “unpresentable” mean? If one is going out in a sand storm, it is smart to cover one’s face. It is “unpresentable” to the environmental conditions at the time. If you are going into a very cold environment, you will want to cover all of your exposed flesh. In that situation, it is “less presentable.” Our brains, our hearts, our lungs— to each of these, God has given more honor by enclosing them within our bodies. They are “unpresentable,” but “more honorable.” 

It is only our culture, feeding on customs and the passage of time, that has wrongly concluded that our genitalia or areolae are dishonorable and exist in a state of continuous shame.

If we continue to pass down faulty information and myths to our children, these meaningless traditions will continue… until someone asks a simple question: why? 

Before we say “because God said so,” or “because the Bible said so,” we should ask the simple question: Really?

The issue is not that our reproductive organs are inherently bad. Sometimes, they just get in the way! When not being exposed to harsh elements or strapped down because of exercise or work, our vulnerable external body parts are just as beautiful and “presentable” as anything else.

The Christian walk provides life and freedom. Next time you have the opportunity to bare your skin to the sunshine, let it beam! God is smiling on all of your created parts.

Sexual Response & Nakedness

This article first appeared on our friend’s site at www.nakedandunashamed.org. It is reposted here with permission.

In general, the assumption amongst the majority of non-naturists is that the sight of another naked human will cause sexual arousal or lust…especially the sight of a naked woman, by a man.

They say that experience is a great teacher and that if you can use other people’s experience that is even better as it can at times lead to wise decisions without having to make your own bad decisions first.

I’d like to take a few minutes with this article to address what I believe is the big lie that Satan has convinced the non-naturist world. He has convinced people that the sight of the beautiful creature that is the human body, made in the very image of our Creator is somehow shameful, sexual and dirty and will cause a sexual response. I can assure you based on firsthand experience and backed by the principles of the Word of God that the opposite is actually the case.

First, a little common sense…anything that is novel will gain attention. If the sight of a naked person is novel, then it is noticed. Anything that is common is ignored. When a person is only naked for a shower or sex, then nakedness is novel and therefore will garner attention and that can be in the form of a sexual response. When nakedness is common and in a nonsexual context often, then suddenly nakedness is no longer novel and it no longer garners a sexual response.

When a person first begins the journey to the Truth as it relates to the naked human form, they are forced to confront all kinds of mental and spiritual training that they have been subjected to that is contrary to the Bible and to experience. They are confronted with the fact that what they’ve been taught might have been wrong and that is a very discomforting emotion.

For example, when I was growing up I was taught “modesty” from I Timothy as meaning dressed from neck to knee for the ladies and long shorts for the guys at a minimum. It’s what I now refer to as our “Sunday Best”. There was no real Bible standard, it was basically whatever the pastor or church taught was modest, that was what the Bible meant. It was making Scripture conform to the pastor/church teaching rather than the other way around. As an adult when I studied the passage and its actual teaching, what I found that the Bible was actually teaching was the exact opposite of “our Sunday Best.” The real concern was that there were poor ladies in the church with literally nothing to wear and rich ladies in the church with their fancy and expensive clothing. The teaching was for the rich ladies to dress more “modest”…an old fashion word meaning humble. Well, the truth is that the most modest attire was to match the very poorest in the congregation. Notice the teaching went on to say not with braided hair, not with jewelry, etc…in other words “modest” or humble. Not the meaning that the church has ascribed to the Bible, but the correct meaning anyway.

Modesty was basically whatever the pastor or church taught was modest.

So, what does our experience tell us that the church isn’t? My wife and I have been biblical, nonsexual naturists for about the last 20 years now and this is the Truth of what we have found.

  1. The commonplace of nonsexual nakedness has led to a desexualizing of our minds and those around us.

We have visited over 20 family friendly naturist resorts across the country and 3 nude beaches and in every case, we have not seen one instance of sexual response at any of the locations we have visited. In fact, what we have found is that the commonplace of nonsexual nudity has eliminated the sexual response based solely on visual stimulation.

  1. We have seen our minds renewed to the point that we used to think the body was shameful, sexual, and dirty…we now see the body as made in God’s image, beautiful and nonsexual in nature.

We no longer view the naked body the way the world views the naked body, we view the naked body as God views it. Isn’t it odd that the church and Hollywood hold to the same belief regarding the body? Living as a naturist has changed that for us. We no longer see the body sexually…we see the body beautiful. All bodies, in fact…tall or short, skinny, or fat, black, or white. You see…when your mind is renewed you begin to see others as God sees them…not as sexual objects, but as beautiful creations of God…made in His very image.

  1. Sexuality becomes more about the relationship than the superficial.

The typical non-naturist is visually motivated. In fact, we are told by good-willed pastors all across the spectrum of denominations that men are visually motivated, so it’s up to the woman to dress modestly to keep the beast at bay. We are told that this problem is “every man’s battle.” I am here to tell you, that is a lie. It is told by Satan to continue the cycle of try, fail and eventually give up trying when it comes to conquering the addiction to pornography.

I can tell you that men and women have been programmed to think this way, but that the thinking is contrary to how God sees us and how God wants us to see each other. Addiction to pornography is a matter of incorrect thinking and incorrect thinking can be corrected. When a person experiences the commonplace of nonsexual nakedness…again, I said commonplace…they see naked bodies doing normal everyday things like mowing the lawn, doing the dishes, vacuuming the floors, gardening, taking a walk in the woods, swimming, playing volleyball, etc. and instead of a sexual response they now see the body as just that…a body.

Think with me for a moment…if this is you and you are now used to seeing naked people doing normal everyday things all the time with zero sexual context how does that change your thinking? You are no longer a victim of Pavlov’s experiment…you are a victor because you now see people as God sees them. You now see people as the wonderfully made creation that He intended from the very beginning when He made them naked and not ashamed.

You see what we’ve really done by teaching that the image of God is somehow dirty, shameful and sexual is that we have propagated Satan’s lie, rather than the Truth of God’s Word.

• God is the One who created us naked.

• God is the One who said that there was no shame in it. God is the One who called it “very good.”

• God is the One who questioned “who told thee…so we know He didn’t start the lie…someone else did…Satan did.

So, what about sexual relationships with our mates?

We have found that because of our lack of sexual response to visual stimuli that our sexual relationship has moved from the superficial to an emotional response.

Our sexual relationship is based more on our friendship now. Our sexual desire comes out of our spiritual connection.

Our intimacy has deepened as has our relationship and our lovemaking is now way better than it has ever been.

The fact that we are not visually stimulated by a simple naked body has not reduced our sexual response to each other, it has strengthened our sexual relationship and made it more intimate and more connected.

The fact that there is no sexual response at the sight of others naked has increased our trust of one another and therefore our intimacy.

It’s almost like, when you experience life the way God intended…naked and not ashamed that you find that God was right all along, which means that the standard teaching in the church was wrong all along.

This is disappointing and unsettling in the beginning because what you thought was foundational was wrong and now you wonder what else was I taught that was wrong as well. Do not let that uneasy feeling stop you from living the life that God intended for you, just realize that you now believe what God said and not what man/Satan twisted it into.

Finally Free?

Book Review:

I bought a book by Heath Lambert entitled “Finally Free.” There is much of the book that I enjoyed. I really appreciate his heart and dedication to the Lord. Sadly, I’m finding some of the same advice found in other books I’m critically reviewing, even though Heath says his is different. I will give him this, he does approach this issue a bit differently than most, but as we’ll see, it leaves me wondering if those who follow his advice will actually be “finally free.”

As in the last post of this nature, the author’s brief quotations will be bold and in quotation marks, and my comments written in real time as I read the book will be italicized. (A few of my comments have been edited for clarity.)

“Finally Free is not the typical man-centered self-help book that offers the reader shallow teachings and a hopeless future.” p. 1

I hope it’s not. But one look at the table of contents is bringing up some red flags for me.

“I have never met anyone whose life was radically changed by hearing (again) how damaging the pornography industry is and how they desperately need to think differently about it.” p. 12

I would tend to agree here. I believe thinking differently is vital and a key part in changing and having a renewed mind.

“This book is about something much better than pornography. This book is about the amazing power of Jesus Christ to free you from pornography.” p. 12

I would also say that true and lasting freedom comes by the power of the finished work of Jesus on the cross. Also, it is not my work at all. God does it aside from our own effort.

“Eagerness to be clear of pornography expresses itself in two practical ways. First, you pursue accountability. You need help in a struggle that is impossible to fight alone. Accountability entails enlisting other Christians who can help you think about strategies you have not considered, who can actively check up on you, and who will diligently pray for you. Second, eagerly seeking to clear yourself means you pursue radical measures to ensure you have no access to pornography. This enslaving sin is only defeated by drastic measures to cut it off from all angles.” p. 37

Wrong, wrong, wrong! This is just avoidance of the problem, not a solution to eliminating the problem.

“You will never be free from pornography until you acknowledge that in order to change you need the help of God through brothers and sisters in Christ.” p. 46

Is God not enough???

“Ben’s meeting with this group of guys was the only thing he was doing to fight against porn. As important as that is, it’s not enough. In other chapters, you will learn about other strategies that are needed to win the battle.” p. 47

Or more cumbersome man-made strategies that fail to do God’s redemptive work that he alone can do, and do so effortlessly.

“Sadly, this well-intentioned conversation illustrates several defective approaches to accountability.” p. 49

This chapter talks more about the problems with accountability than it does the good kind of accountability, which still, he states that it is not enough in and of itself, even when done correctly!

“God has given more spiritual authority to spiritual leaders.” p. 51

Hmm. Spiritual leaders have been woefully inadequate to quell the problem of porn and lust in the church. They have perpetuated these ideas that are not helping to eradicate the issues at the core.

“…not giving so much detail that it would fuel further temptation.” p. 53

Here he’s saying that in your accountability group you should spare everyone the details of your habits, so as to not tempt anyone else and give them ideas. I see what he’s saying, and I’ve been the victim in this. Guys in my youth group growing up were so surprised I had not masturbated in all my high school years. Their talk finally got me curious once I gained some more independence. However, this is part of the problem with traditional approaches. An honest approach would spare no detail if the resulting outcome is true freedom. It won’t be a temptation any more!

“Accountability oriented around questions and answers can devolve into a cat-and-mouse game in which the struggler provides legally precise answers that are something less than a full and open disclosure of sin. Even when the confession is totally honest, what gets confessed can easily be limited to the question asked… If you’re going to hold people accountable, you should actually hold them accountable.” p. 54-55

True victory is achieved only when there is no need of accountability.

“…true accountability requires an effort to be committed in the long term.” p. 56

No, all that is needed is a one time work of God changing how you view the body and others. It will work for the long haul easily.

“When people get lazy and stop trying, failure is not far behind.” p. 56

This is only if you do the band-aid approach and not true healing. It’s not bare-knuckling and your own will power that will bring success and victory. It’s not striving or trying harder. Change your mind, trust God, see people as made in His image, and the body as a beautiful creation, and watch failure be a thing of the past.

“Frog and Toad quickly realize that if they are ever going to stop eating cookies, they will have to do something to limit their access to them.” p. 59

This analogy is flawed. It supposed cookies are bad in and of themselves. Cookies are good. Porn is bad. While eating too many cookies is bad, just a little porn is still harmful. Bodies are not bad in and of themselves, nor is sex within God’s plan. A better analogy would be cookies that have poison in them and look similar, but are deadly. Porn is a counterfeit of godly sexuality and chaste nudity is porn’s antithesis.

“Many people struggle with pornography because it is so easy for them to get it.” p. 60

While it is easy to access, men struggle because we told them they would. Then we don’t tell them how to lose their appetite for lustful thinking. We don’t teach them to reject lies. All we offer them is sin management without true solutions.

Let me put it another way. Booze is easy to get. If you’re an alcoholic, it never ceases to be easy to access, but one has to learn to hate it and its drunken effects in order to be free of problems. As I write this, my sister in law is celebrating 10 years sober tomorrow. I’m proud of her and that she can go to the grocery store and be just fine.

“…we must act aggressively— every time we are tempted and in every way required to avoid the sin.” p. 61

How about not be tempted in the first place? That sounds to me like a better plan. And yet, it seems unfathomable to so many— like it’s the only sin Jesus can’t heal this side of heaven or something!

“The truth is that you could be all alone in a room filled with pornography and remain pure if you had no desire for it. In fact, this is the long-term goal. You will know you are finally free from pornography when you have full access to it and yet no desire for it. Though you’re not there yet, that’s where you’re headed. And in order to get there, you will need to change the way you think about pornography.” p. 63

This is SO true, and this is what I have been saying! But then what is suggested in the rest of the chapter and book is not the way to achieve this. Not at all.

“You will not have victory over pornography until you first have victory in the battles that come before you look. Foundationally, this battle begins in your heart—with your thinking.” p. 63

So renew your mind on the body and how you view others as the image of God! That’s the heart and mind shift needed and that God does instantly when the switch is flipped. Then, the war is over, let alone the battles.

“If you only attack the outward behavior, the problem will keep returning. You must uproot pornographic lust in your thinking, dealing with what Jesus unveils as the lustful intentions of your heart (Matthew 5: 28).” p. 64

Exactly. But these radical measures don’t do that.

“I can guarantee failure if you wait to begin the fight against porn until you are alone in the dark with your computer.” p. 64

Not if transformation has taken place!

“…there are three radical measures you can take with regard to your thinking.” p. 64

Nope, there’s only one, one time.

“…reach out for help.” p. 65

Repentance is not needed if you are healed, remember scriptures to thank God, you won’t have to reach out for help!

“…you must limit the time you spend alone—” p. 66

Doesn’t sound like freedom, but another type of bondage!

“I realize that after reading this, some of you are freaking out. Reading about these radical measures raises all sorts of objections…” p. 71

No, I’m freaking out because this is bad advice. The “cure” needs to solve problems, not create more problems. Again, this isn’t true healing! They are cumbersome methods of sin management, and unnecessary. 

“You can try to remove porn’s availability. You can eliminate your time alone. Yet you will still seek out porn if you desire it. This is why Jesus and the good news of the gospel is the only sure hope for those who want to be free from porn. Only Jesus has the power to change your heart desires, and he does this as you believe in his forgiving and transforming grace.” p. 72

This contradicts the whole chapter! Again, I agree, it’s only Jesus. It just doesn’t have to be a long journey and his work is done outside of your own effort or involvement! This advice is so ineffective if you are still sick! I think that was Heath’s point, but it’s a caveat that goes contrary to the rest of his content and advice.

“Outward radical measures do not change your desires…” p. 73

Another admission of man-man strategies not working at the heart level.

“These external measures are the first steps of change…” p. 73

In my experience, and that of thousands of other brave and outside the box thinkers, there is only one step. Yes, it’s unconventional, but it makes perfect sense. One of my friends stated, he does not think true victory is achievable aside from the normalization of non-sexual nudity and the mindset that comes from embracing Imago Dei fully. I don’t know that I can go there, but there is nothing like it that works faster or better!

“Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy” (Proverbs 28: 13). p. 76

I’m including this to highlight Heath’s use of scripture throughout the book. It’s a real positive to this volume. No argument here. Confession is important, first to God, then your spouse if married, then overcome your sin, lose the need for confession, and use your knowledge and testimony to help others!

“Tom made a critical error when he confessed to his wife. After he fessed up, Tom said something foolish before either of us in the room could stop him. He commented that perhaps if she had a more active sexual relationship with him, he would not have been tempted. His wife did not take that very well. Her response was understandable because Tom’s suggestion was selfish and wrong. This kind of statement transfers the responsibility for your sin onto another person. When you sin, you are the one responsible (Mark 7: 21–23). Other people can sin against you, make your life difficult, and entice you to sin, but they can never make you sin. When you sin, it is always your fault, and you should never say or do anything to make it sound like the fault lies elsewhere. If someone did sin against you, it is necessary to bring that up only after you have confessed and taken full responsibility for your own sin (Matthew 7: 1–5).” p. 85

I really appreciate this from Heath. This type of garbage (if I may be so bold) is believed and even taught in many Christian circles. I’m glad Heath recognizes this type of thinking, anticipates the objections, and swiftly refutes them. This is one of the ways this book is different than some others.

“Do you notice something about my effort to quit thinking about my old gray car? It isn’t working. Even though I’m trying really hard to quit thinking about that unpleasant automobile, my efforts are ineffective. Every thought that goes through my mind—though motivated by a desire to quit thinking about the car—only presses the image of it deeper into my mind. I need another strategy. My problem is that I am focusing on the very thing I want to stop thinking about. Instead, I need to start thinking about something else—something different.” p. 90

This is interesting. I submit that you have to reframe how you think about the body and other people. No one is an object. A person is more than the sum of their parts, way more! We know this instinctively, perhaps, but we still dehumanize others all the time. We have to think of human beauty as “very good” like God said at the beginning. We have to think of others as beautiful (not in the shallow ways of the world). We have to love and respect others. Humankind is the pinnacle of God’s creation. When we look through the pornographic mindset we will see temptation. When we see others as God does, temptation is non-existent.

“Jamie grew up in a nominally Christian, conservative home. When he left for college, he was what most would consider a good kid—responsible and hardworking. Jamie wasn’t at college for long before he became involved with a group of young men who introduced him to pornography. Jamie loved it. He had never seen a naked woman before and had certainly never seen sex. Jamie loved porn because it allowed him to enjoy women who, he believed, were prettier than anyone he could ever have a relationship with in real life, all without any fear of rejection. Porn was so easy and so fun that Jamie couldn’t get enough of it. At first he was shy about walking into a store to buy it, but he quickly got over his initial embarrassment. Eventually he placed a huge bookcase in his living room full of nothing but pornographic videos. Any shame he once had about using pornography was now gone… Jamie’s porn collection had grown so large that it now took up almost the entire basement. He would return home from work and descend into the basement to indulge in porn late into the night. He was often late for work because he had no strength to get out of bed after late nights watching actors fornicate on screen. Alyssa wanted out of the marriage. By now, however, she had given birth to twin daughters and was worried about how she could raise a family by herself. She tried fighting for her marriage to no avail. Jamie had moved a bed into the basement and would hardly speak to her. He lost his job and spent all of his time in the basement instead of looking for employment. One afternoon Jamie came upstairs and asked one of his daughters to come into the basement and play. Alyssa took the girls and left. Jamie is now in his sixties. He doesn’t have a job and lives with his elderly father. All he does, day after day, is look at porn. He doesn’t care about work, his ex-wife, or his grown daughters. He is a miserable sight to see. He is unshaven, has missing teeth, smells bad, and wears dirty clothes. Talking to him is nearly impossible, as it seems he doesn’t even know how to have a relationship with a real person anymore. Jamie’s story is a bad one. In fact, you might read this and feel pretty good right now, congratulating yourself that you’re not nearly as bad as he is. You might also be thinking you would never let your problem get so extreme. If so, you are missing the entire point of Proverbs 5.” p. 103

This is a very sad story. I agree with Heath that we should never justify our issues by saying they aren’t as bad as someone else’s. What sticks out to me in this tragic tale is, “He had never seen a naked woman before.” Had non-sexual nudity been normalized for him, instead of growing up sheltered and repressed, this would be a different story. This is why my wife is naked at times around my teenage boys. We believe this is the way to porn-proof them. They know what a real woman looks like, and are learning that there’s just not much of an allure or mystery to a body. It’s just a body. It’s not the big deal that others make it out to be. They are learning to despise pornography for the way it objectifies and creates a false fantasy, and they are seeing real love and commitment in their parent’s example. Where I was once powerless to help them as they grow, now I have the knowledge and experience to share with them and have them be different than their peers.

“I don’t think your wife should fill that role [accountability]. You should treat your wife as your wife. She should be free to treat you as her husband. It is a deadly poison for a marriage when a wife becomes a cop policing her husband’s activity, asking him all kinds of questions, and examining his Internet reports. Your wife needs to know you have a faithful accountability partner doing those things so she can have peace of mind as she focuses her energy on being married to you.” p. 104

No, she needs peace of mind knowing that she can trust you without any accountability! Trust me, this is better. I’ve had accountability partners, and against Heath’s advice, I’ve had my wife fill that role. I actually had her give me a chip for every month I’d been “good.” She could usually tell when I was lying or when I’d “fall off the wagon.” Now I don’t need any accountability or any software, and we are loving life and each other like never before.


As stated, much of Heath’s book was enjoyable and good. These would be parts where I took issue. The differences are glaring. My experience flies in the face of the radical measures Heath suggests, in exchange for an even more radical measure, but just one. That said, Zondervan would probably not publish my book!

Woefully Inadequate

I have a habit of looking intently at what the Christian world is saying about pornography addiction. The good thing is it’s being talked about more openly. The bad thing is that conventional Christian wisdom on the subject is woefully inadequate. I wrote some about this in the post titled “Save your money, sanity, and dignity!” I mentioned in that post that I may feature some books I’ve read along with the notes I took while reading them. I read material hoping to find something different and something that actually works, but even those who claim to be different recycle the same sad ideas that are failing miserably. Today, I’ll cover just one chapter. I bought this book because I knew there would be one chapter dedicated to lust and pornography. I love reading on kindle and highlighting certain parts and adding notes. I hate it when I see the same ole tired advice, however.

Before I get into the quotes and notes (with limited commentary) I have to share a few qualifiers. 

First of all, my critiques are not ever directed toward the good hearted individuals promoting these ineffective strategies. In this case Patrick Morley has made a tremendous impact on men’s ministry for thousands and thousands of men over the years. I’m grateful to him and others and their positive contributions and ministries. I’m sure this book is wonderful. I just found this particular chapter to be lacking.

Second, since I’ve found true and lasting freedom with no help from popular techniques or practices, I’ve become very passionate about the truth and that can sometimes come across as arrogant. This is never my intent. I have to constantly remind myself that I thought the same way most of my life. Now that I’ve overcome what was once thought to be virtually impossible to eliminate, I have to be careful not to be harsh toward those who can’t fathom this level of freedom.

The book I bought to read is “The Christian Man: A Conversation About the 10 Issues Men Say Matter Most” by Patrick Morley. Chapter 8 is ironically (in my opinion) called “Lust: The Right Way to Deal with This Powerful Drive” – I say ironically, because I didn’t see a right way in there. In fact, the big idea for this chapter is: “the practical solution to lust for most men is to get married and enjoy regular sex with their wife.” My reaction is: Seriously? That’s the best you can do? That’s just purity culture all over again. Marriage doesn’t guarantee fidelity and integrity! I thought that would fix my issue. How many others thought the same? That’s what we were told. It’s a lie. Even a good marriage and good regular sex is no solution if you have a perverted way of thinking.

Ok, let’s get to the quotes and then my notes (his words will be bold and in quotation marks while my reaction will be in italics):

“I have always felt too uncomfortable to teach this material in depth at the Man in the Mirror Bible Study until, essentially, I was forced to as part of my preparation for writing this chapter!”

Being so unformfortable with a topic, that you were forced to look at it does not bode much confidence in your level of expertise in this area.

“I don’t know how it could be any clearer: If you have chosen marriage, Satan will tempt you if you don’t have regular sex. If you want to go on a “sex fast,” you can, but only by mutual agreement and not for long. To be blunt, if you’re not horny, you’re more likely to exercise self-control. Bottom line: Our sexual design is a powerful, primal force. Having regular intimate relations with our wives is the biblical solution to block the corruption of that design by sexual immorality, including lust.”

I’ve written and re-written this comment a few times as it’s a touchy subject but it is the crux of the matter with my and many others’ frustration with popular Christian teaching on sex, especially “obligation sex.” The underlying premise is that men are are highly susceptible to sexual temptation if their wives aren’t meeting their “God-given” needs enough. I believed this type of mindset for most of my life until I rejected it as the lie it is. Much could be said here, and I will probably expand on this topic in an future article all by itself. For now, let me direct you to a podcast by some ladies (Sheila Wray Gregoire and company) who are working hard to undo a lot of the harm that comes with this teaching. They talk openly and frankly about many items which aren’t brought up very often, such as consent and marital rape. They give voice to 20,000 women surveyed in their research (that’s a massive study and important data!). While they are asking hard questions and pointing out valid problems, in my opinion they don’t go far enough with solutions, but they are at least moving in the right direction. The sad truth is unhealthy men in many cases can abuse their wives in several ways while appearing to be godly in the process. Those are startling words to take in, but unfortunately I believe them to be true. I was once complicit in these types of abuses, that are typically overlooked. Give this podcast a listen if you have the courage to do so. 

Patrick makes a common disclaimer here in quoting 1 Corinthians 7 allowing for moments of temporary abstinence by “mutual agreement” in order to distance himself from any allegation or criticism of this nature. And while he would not condone any of the evils I’ve mentioned, this is often the logical end result of the ideas being perpetuated even in his own quote, if you read between the lines. This is so common in these resources! The consequences can be quite tragic. We need to be better!

“This is not a chapter on how to have great sex, but on how to deal with lustful thoughts.”

Deal with lustful thoughts? How about eliminating them?

“Every man is wired by God to appreciate beauty of all kinds—sunrises, mountain vistas, newborns, soccer, and so on. But a woman falls into an altogether different and exclusive category.”

Why? Says who? Surely not the same God as we see in Genesis 1-2?

…men think about sex nineteen times a day on average.”

They’ve been conditioned to do so. That was the case with me. Not anymore.

“As men, the main way we experience sexual attraction and arousal is through sight.”

That’s the lie that abounds. I think an exclusive and intimate relationship is a better way to attraction and arousal with your wife and with her alone. I’ll write a piece called “The wife of your youth” soon to explore more on this.

“He [David] didn’t go up to his roof to look for a naked woman so he could be sexually aroused (provided that’s true, and I think we can plausibly assume it’s true).”

David’s sin of adultery was probably premeditated. I think it’s likely that he went up there for that very reason. It was a common occurrence, and he knew what he was doing and sought it out, and when seeing wasn’t enough, he had to have Bathsheba.

“[We can also be] surprised by a sensuous waitress, the suggestively dressed coed who attracts your attention at the gym, a sex scene you didn’t seek out… Sex, of course, is everywhere. But in our cultural moment, seduction is inescapable. We’re bombarded. The visage of a shapely woman walking down the street comes to mind, or a scantily clad model who suddenly appears while scrolling through what should be a harmless news feed. But these images burst into our minds like a guest who doesn’t knock. When a sex scene comes on your screen, is that for you a temptation to lust or the sin of lust? It depends. It’s not lust to “stumble” onto a temptation.”

This is the tragic reason why men are so weak and frankly immature; we tell them over and over that these little situations are so dangerous. It’s sickening! We must always be on guard if we haven’t renewed our minds on how we view the body and other human beings, made in the image of God! Once you remove the desire in the first place, temptation goes away completely.

“It was a bare-knuckles brawl between old habit and new commitment. My face was half twisted toward her, but my eyes bulged out to stay glued on those peas. ‘Finally the battle began to subside. A few moments later it was over. I had won. God gave a spiritual victory. I still am tempted to lust, but God has given me the power to have victory every time I ask him to help.’”

This is a story about a guy focusing all his attention on 3 peas on his plate to avoid looking at a “very sensual woman.” What a terrible way to live! And it’s unnecessary.

“[His] wife, Sarah, asked him, ‘Are you intentionally not looking at other women?’ When Mike said, ‘Yes,’ Sarah said, ‘You have no idea how secure it makes me feel to know that you only have eyes for me.’’

I had a similar experience with my wife, but now I have seen that the covenant with my eyes which Patrick is referring to from Job 31:1-4 is not as he describes it here. And in the verse’s immediate context it refers to the thoughts. It’s not about what you see, but how you react and think about what you see. Bouncing your eyes solves nothing!

“There’s no reason you can’t make it your covenant too. I did many years ago. I haven’t been able to keep it fully, but I’ve sure done a lot better having made the commitment than not.

Exactly- you won’t keep it fully until you change your mindset. Then it will be easy to keep it and fully.

“Job’s covenant requires will power—your will and God’s power.”

I know it can’t be, but it sounds like you’re saying God’s power isn’t enough. The logical deduction is that God needs us. That’s just not true. As long as you believe that, you won’t see God’s power and transforming effect, because you think he needs your involvement. He’s powerful enough regardless of any of our efforts. Our will power is feeble and frail. We need God plus nothing.

“Let’s be honest: you can’t resist googling something you shouldn’t or thumbing through the Victoria’s Secret catalog on your own—at least not every time. If you haven’t already done so, consider making “Job’s covenant” right now as a call to action. That’s what Mike did.”

Let’s be honest, even though Mike made this covenant, he’s going to fail because you told him as much, and didn’t offer him real hope or a better alternative.

“He [David] graduated from “seeing” her to “watching” her. Instead of turning away, he stared.”

This is predatory behavior from someone who is conditioned to think these desires are unavoidable. Instead of preying on any woman, I’d rather be a protector of all women.

At this point it was either turn away or lust was inevitable.”

Aha! There it is. The notion that lust is inevitable is so strong in Christian books. It’s like we can’t imagine our men being equally as strong or mature!?

“Lust is sexual desire out of control.”

No, it’s just the desire. If you remove that desire, you have nothing to have to control. The commandment against killing my brother is so easy to keep, because there’s no desire to do so (hopefully)!

“Adultery type 2 is mentally having sex with someone not your wife, or lust.”

Absolutely agree! No argument here. This is part of what is missing in the usual discussions.

“Nevertheless, ‘mental’ adultery is not the same as “physical” adultery.”

Wait just a second, didn’t you (and Jesus for that matter) say it was the same? It IS the same and needs to be viewed as the same. There are some different ramifications, granted, but it still is adultery. As long as we make distinctions, we won’t treat it with the same severity, and we need to.

“You can’t commit adultery with your own wife.”

Yes you can. It would help to study some of Pope John Paul II’s “Theology of the Body” to better understand both lust and purity of heart. 

“What I’m about to tell you is opinion—please read it accordingly. You can masturbate and not sin.”

I suppose it’s a matter of opinion and conviction. I’ve determined as a married man to have my wife’s direct involvement with any and all of my orgasms. It’s been surprisingly simple to keep to this. It doesn’t feel cumbersome. It’s a joy to have and honor this conviction.

“When you see a beautiful woman and feel an attraction, here’s what you should do: Pause and say, ‘Thank you, God, for this beautiful woman whom you have reverently and wonderfully made. I pray she knows you, or one day will know you, the way I know you.’ And then move on.”

This is ok. This is some good advice. I appreciate this; I just don’t think it goes far enough. To renew your mind is to see the other person as a whole person (not just an object), an image bearer, beautiful and deserving of love, respect, and dignity on that basis alone. I’d rather die than objectify another human being reducing them to the sum of their parts. That’s the mind change.

“Look once, you’re human; look twice, you’re a man; look three times, you just disrespected your wife.”

Not just disrespected. You’ve committed adultery in your heart because you looked with intent.

“Nobody is forcing us to lust. Lust is our own fault.”

True. It’s our fault alone- not our hardwiring or any external stimuli. So no excuses! And no more pressuring wives to “put out” more or “be more sexy” in the guise of protecting you from having a lust problem. That’s victim blaming and it’s wrong and gross. Why can’t we see this?

“Here are several practical examples of how you can flee sexual temptation:”

These, like so much advice given, are mere avoidance techniques and sin management. We have to do more than treat the symptoms of a greater and more dangerous disease. We have to kill it at the root and eradicate the problem. Or using another metaphor, don’t just brush away the cobwebs, which will surely come back as long as the spider lives! See Romans 8:13.

“Give a brother or your small group permission to hold you accountable…”

You can lie and fake it.

“Even if you have a group of men asking you weekly, “Have you sought out any sexually explicit materials this week?” you can still lie to them.”

Thank you.

“Run as fast as you can from any group that reinforces the notion that all men “struggle” with lust and so it’s acceptable. Men in those groups can rarely testify to God’s power to change their lives in this area.”

My point exactly. It’s better to not even have the need for accountability in the first place. 

“…was still struggling with unwanted sexual behavior. He said, “PG-13 gives me hungry eyes.”

I like that term “hungry eyes” – it describes so many men today and myself at one time. The problem is you are opting for junk food instead of a gourmet meal that is a healthy and loving committed relationship with your wife (if married). Hungry and thirsty should describe your desire for righteousness not for sexually provocative and relationally empty conquests.

“He said, ‘I had a broken mind.’”

Yes, indeed. But behold, Jesus is making ALL things new, including your mind, if you’ll let him (Revelation 21:5, Romans 12:1-2).

“…the leader of a ministry that specializes in sexual purity said, ‘One hundred percent disclosure in brokenness, humility, continued transparency, and confession to the people you care about is the only way out.’”

Nope. The only way out is not confession, but a redeemed mind to see others as God sees them.

“Steve has now been free from bondage to pornography for three years. ‘I’m still tempted all the time,’ he said. ‘But now I immediately text my wife and tell her what’s happening.’”

He is SO not free! It breaks my heart that this is viewed as success. I have been free for three years, but I’m no longer tempted. And it’s been so different than the 20 years prior! I know it’s a permanent change, not just temporary victory. I’ve had sustained times of victory in the past, but always with a constant struggle. Now, the struggle is gone. It does not have to be every man’s battle!

“Objectifying women and thinking about sex constantly became a daily struggle.”

Objectifying is the key word. But again, it’s only a struggle because you think it will be. We have this unhealthy fixation on certain body parts due to a hyper-sexualized culture and the constant warnings about it from the church, which only serve to reinforce this dehumanizing view of other people.

“Today, Miguel is living in victory over pornography. He said, ‘That doesn’t mean I’m not tempted. I still have pornographic images pop into my mind, and I’m not perfect.’”

Miguel’s story as told by Patrick is a very sad story, and I’m glad it’s better, but this is still NOT full victory!

“…they can be free from compulsive behavior, but it’s going to be a lifelong battle. They’re going to be tempted every day.”

No, no, no!!

“Miguel, who now lectures on porn and sexual purity…”

What? After what I know of Miguel from this story, it seems like the blind leading the blind.

“[Miguel’s] own intentional plan…”

This is indeed “his own” plan. He and so many others. It’s not God’s plan. God, the only one needed for immediate, lasting, and permanent change, is sorely missing in this awful plan.

“Confess to everyone you can—”

Or just to God and your wife (if you’re married). Get the real solution and then help others with your testimony.

“Ask them to monitor your computer with software like Covenant Eyes.”

Save your money and be trusted without these aids. Again, you’re not truly free if you have to depend and rely on these filters. 

“Purge all pornographic content from your home, your devices, your social media accounts, etc. Delete apps, people, websites, etc. that may be triggering lust.”

Trade one bondage for another, it would seem. And still not be free from either!

“The best way to overcome temptation is to not put yourself in a position where you will be tempted.”

Wouldn’t the very best test of whether you are free or not be to spend time in the place that is unthinkable, where temptation is all around you (say like a nude beach)? If you are fine, then you are truly free! I know this sounds crazy and unconventional and like the worst advice. But it worked for me and for thousands of others and a true cure to pornography and lustful thinking.

“When you fail—and you will—”

I’m wondering why I wasted my time on this chapter if you, like other authors, are just admitting defeat here!

“Ed Cole, a pioneer in men’s ministry, wrote a story in his magnum opus, Maximized Manhood, about a men’s retreat in Eugene, Oregon…”

This was a good story and a good point that’s worth reading. But then I still was asking how those men are going to overcome their longings after repenting? It will continue being a struggle and temptation, as long as you think it will be.


I want to end with a story he used to open and set up this chapter on lust. It shows just how pervasive the habits of thinking sexually like the world have become, even among those who are supposed to be leading spiritually. I don’t want to be too critical of the pastors in this story, because that would’ve been me too, as long as I believed the lie that all men are visual, etc.


“At a conference away from home, several pastors went to lunch together and were waited on by a strikingly beautiful, sensuous waitress. You could hear the sexual energy crackle in the air. The temptation they felt to lust was so arresting that each man muttered his order into his menu so as not to stare. As she exited into the kitchen to place their orders, they all sat speechless staring at their place mats. As Mark Rutland told the story to our Bible study group, the senior man finally broke the ice in his own inimitable way. “Well, God hath made the heavens and the earth.” They all nodded in agreement. “Oh, yes.” Then he said, “And all that is in them hath God made.” “Yes, that’s right,” they agreed. “And also all humanity hath God made,” he continued. “Yes, God made humanity,” they chimed in perfect cadence. Then the older pastor nodded his head toward the kitchen door where their waitress had just disappeared and said, “And God hath made some nifty humanity, hath he not?” They all howled, and the spell was broken… If even pastors can be so easily tempted to lust, one thing should be crystal clear: no man is immune from the temptation to lust. As one man put it, ‘My three greatest temptations are money, pride, and bikinis.’ Any man who says he doesn’t struggle with the temptation to lust is lying. Plain and simple.”

Good writing, but my experience and the testimony of many new friends causes me to vehemently disagree. Or I guess I’m lying! (I’m not.)

See more posts on lust by clicking here.

Let Us Err on the Side of Faith

This is written by a personal friend who goes by Okie61. He wrote this short, but profound piece for his family and he was gracious enough to share it with us all.

My Family:

By nature Christians try to err on the side of caution when it comes to doing anything that could offend God or other Christians. When we talk about any concept of covering the human body, most Christians would be even quicker than normal to abandon dialogue and state that ‘erring on the side of caution’ is the only prudent course of action.

But when it comes to depending on the power of Jesus’ blood, isn’t erring on the side of caution also erring on the side of little faith? When considering the power of Christ’s sacrifice to save us, is it wise to err on the side of the argument that judges His perfect gift as being…well…not quite as powerful as Adam’s sin?

God created man and woman with the intent that they walk naked with Him in the cool of the morning. God didn’t do that with a child’s innocence. He authored their perfect life with an intellect we cannot fathom, nor should we question. When God acts, He acts with perfect reason.

God knew man would fail, and God knew that an ultimate sacrifice would be required to forgive man’s sin and restore man to God’s plan. Did God author the sacrifice of His only begotten son so that it would not completely cover Adam’s sin? No. In fact, God used the perfect sacrifice of his only begotten Son so everyone would understand that there was no sacrifice more perfect, more powerful, or more complete. As Christ said, “It is finished.” (John 19:30)

Sadly, the issue of naturism does cause many Christians to waver in their awe of the power of Jesus’ blood. The worldly view of the naked human form is so steeped into our culture that most Christians mistakenly consider that Christ’s sacrifice falls short of atoning for Adam’s sin. It is Satan’s lie that makes people consider that Christ’s sacrifice wasn’t entirely perfect or complete. Isn’t it an insult to underestimate the power of God? Isn’t that what Peter did when he attempted to walk on the sea to meet Christ? Didn’t that lack of faith by Peter sadden our Savior? Didn’t Christ portray Peter’s lack of faith as a weakness? “O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?” (Matt. 14:30)

  1. Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.
  2. Looking unto Jesus the author and FINISHER of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, DESPISING the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2)

Note that Jesus is the author and FINISHER of our faith. He didn’t start it and leave something to be completed later. We are buried in Christ’s death, and we are raised in his resurrection. His blood gives us the power to crucify the lusts that at one time made us sin at seeing the human form— made in His perfect image. Not only does it give us that power, it gives us the responsibility to wash our hearts clean in that sacred blood.

I believe anything less is denying the power of the blood, which washed a wretch like me white as snow. It. Is. Finished.

Your loving dad.

The Sign of Circumcision

When you hear the word “sign” you get the impression that you should to take note of whatever it is that is being called a sign. In fact, most signs are visible, otherwise how are they to be seen and understood?

It’s a terrible analogy but imagine driving high speed on a country road and you see a sign with a cloth draped over it obscuring the message it contains. You wonder what it was trying to convey, and as you are free falling to certain death, you realize it must’ve said “Bridge Out!” OK, I warned you that this would be a stretch, but if there are dangers present on a road you would want a sign to also warn you! Signs communicate all sorts of truths and provide direction and understanding for greater purposes than the sign itself. 

We don’t give much thought to the “sign” of circumcision today, do we? Let’s start contemplating this sign of the Covenant through this “part 1” video:

There’s a lot more to cover, which is why we made a two part video. The question, though, is why did God make such a sign? Maybe you can add your thoughts in the comments. With hyper-privacy and prudish thinking today, we can’t really fathom this being a visible sign, but it certainly was in those days. Maybe the only place today where this would be visible would be the gym (interestingly enough that word comes from the Greek word for naked), but even then, people don’t walk around exposed very often, even in the dressing room! In Bible times, however, you would know for sure who was and wasn’t circumcised. Watch “part 2” for more of which you may not have considered:

The issue of circumcision caused some drama in the New Testament era. Did Gentiles need to be circumcised after conversion to Christianity? It sparked quite the debate as a new issue that was never pondered before. The Judaizers seemed to think they should be circumcised. What did Paul have to say about it? And again, how did people even know who was and who wasn’t in the first place? The answer is nudity was much more commonplace then, and not a taboo like it is today.

Have you thought about this?

Now this last observation is sobering. Our Lord was crucified naked. They cast lots for his clothes. Early art depicted this, but censored art gave way to the loin cloth making the image less shameful and grotesque. Our Lord endured the cross, scorning its shame (Hebrews 12:2)- the shame is not in the nudity, but rather in the complete subjugation and forceful nature of having been tortured. However, our Lord declared, “No one can take my life from me. I sacrifice it voluntarily (John 10:18 NLT).” He bore the shame of a lowly criminal’s death by his own volition. 

Pilate hung the sign above Jesus that read, “King of the Jews.” Everyone could see that he was not a Roman. He was in fact a Jew. This, not because of the sign above his head, but also because of the sign of the Covenant on his body, which was then broken for us. He gave us another sign- the bread and the cup, that we might remember the new covenant and proclaim his death every time we eat and drink of it until he comes (1 Corinthians 11:26). 

See all posts and videos in the “Objections” series here.

Top Ten Reasons to Become a Christian Comfortablist

This clever and insightful article comes from our friend, Jason. You may recall him from this interview post we did with him. He is also instrumental in the writing of the scripts for our “Objections” series of videos. He’s a good friend and encouragement to us, and we’re so glad he submitted this piece…

Top Ten Reasons to Become a Christian Comfortablist

  1. It’s literally how God made you.
  2. Less Laundry.
  3. Teaches Body Acceptance.
  4. Teaches Humility.
  5. Teaches Vulnerability.
  6. Reminds You that You’re Human.
  7. Helps You Sleep Better.
  8. Makes You Heathier.
  9. Helps De-Stress.
  10. Promotes the Gospel.

What’s a Christian Comfortablist?

It’s like a Christian naturist/nudist, but instead of being naked all the time and/or hating to wear clothes, the mindset is this: clothing is mostly unnecessary. It’s not necessary for “modesty.” It’s not necessary to hide any particular body parts. Clothing is decorative and/or functional. If there’s no good reason to wear it, for example, anytime a person is swimming or sitting in water, then a comfortablist doesn’t wear it.

  1. It’s literally how God made you. God hand-sculpted Adam’s and Eve’s naked bodies from the clay and breathed into them the breath of life. Had He wanted us to be furry or walk on all fours so that our breasts and genitals were obscured, wouldn’t He have done so? By observation, we can see that God wanted our upright bodies with visible genitals to be seen by each other.
  2. A comfortablist is going to have less laundry to wash, dry, fold and store. If desired, bras and underwear can be eliminated from the wardrobe. Resources of space and electricity can be maximized.
  3. Being around other naked people help us realize that our bodies are similar, yet different and come in all shapes and and shades.
  4. For those of us who do not enjoy being seen naked, humbling ourselves and submitting to being seen is a righteous act.
  5. And this leads into vulnerability. When we take away the barriers of clothing, our human status tends to go with it. It’s easier to be truthful and open about your thoughts and beliefs when clothes-free.
  6. Wearing nothing on our skin reminds us that we are a created being – it grounds us – connects us to our roots as living, breathing, feeling beings.
  7. With no restrictions binding you or making you a great place for breeding germs, sleeping nude is also good for genital and reproductive health.
  8. Sunlight is known as the best disinfectant there is. Allowing your skin to make full us of sun and air lets your body soak up vitamins and can also clear up skin blemishes.
  9. Some would say there’s nothing like coming home from work and taking off a tight bra. Why not just take it all off? De-clothing as a ritual is a great way to relax and unwind and tell your body that it can breathe more freely.
  10. In the New Testament, we are called the Body of Christ. Our nude bodies testify of creation and of the truths of fruitfulness and community. Just as the body is made up of many interconnected parts, so is the church meant to be. Owning our humanity – our naked selves – is to testify that Jesus Christ has defeated the Curse and is building His Kingdom with and through us.

So there you have it. Do it for yourself. Do it for Jesus. Try living in your skin when it feels comfortable and see just how great it feels!