Another common objection to Christian naturism is that seeing a nude woman will provoke lust and cause a man to sin. Case in point: Bathsheba and David. Bathsheba really gets a bad rap, but really, David is the one at fault. After all, Bathsheba was just taking a bath. She was doing what people did in those days. David had a view of people’s rooftops and he watched, and what he did was the sin. Seeing isn’t the sin. Looking with intent or desire, and coveting what is not yours (lust) is. Public bathing was a common sight, whether a rooftop or river or creek. Witnessing a person bathing can be perfectly innocent. Coveting, adultery, and murder (as in the case of David) are clear violations against God’s commandments.
As Chad Thompson wrote on page 90 of his book, That Famous Fig Leaf:
The story of David and Bathsheba is often referenced as a biblical admonition of nudity, as if Bathsheba was tempting David by bathing in the courtyard. Yet every other woman in Jerusalem did the same thing. Whether male or female, rich or poor, outdoor bathing was universal to the ancient cultures of both Egypt and Israel. The second chapter of Exodus even recounts Pharaoh’s daughter bathing in the open river while Jewish commoners walk about. Women participating in the culturally natural phenomenon of open bathing was not anything King David wasn’t used to seeing on a daily basis. What led him to rape his neighbor’s wife was not her public bath, but the evil in his own heart. Furthermore, if Bathsheba had committed any sin by exposing her body in public, it would seem odd that Nathan made her the “innocent lamb” in his story.
Watch this video to see a surprising but true example of public nudity that was church sanctioned:
For more studies on baptism practices of the early church read this short paper here.
Watch the other videos currently available in the Objections series on this playlist.
I remember having the talk. No not that talk, the one about fig leaves and God making clothes for Adam and Eve. I was in kindergarten. I went to a friend’s house and we took our clothes off to play. I don’t know who suggested that activity, but it was probably me. I did suggest that we take our naked play outside. So we climbed out the window in his room and played in the grass out back behind his apartment complex. There was nothing inappropriate, other than breaking social convention, that is. It was all fun and games until his mom caught us, then it was game over!
That’s what brought on the talk. His mom told my parents what we had done, and my parents took me home and sat me down. They told me I can’t be doing that kind of thing, and went on to lecture me about how God clothed Adam and Eve, and we need to be clothed now at all times. The inner nudist in me started to die and shame started taking its place.
It would be half a lifetime later that I would revisit what my well-intentioned parents taught me that day. I had never really pondered God’s question to Adam and Eve, “Who said you were naked?” I never thought much about clothes being an invention of humans (with some help or suggestions from a certain serpent). I was duped like all of humanity. I exchanged the truth of God for a lie. It’s time to reclaim the truth. That’s what this video is about…
My friend Jason (if you read the comfortablist blog, you know about Jason) has been helping me with this project since I put out the first “Objections” video. In fact, this video is a remake of the first one released. We have tweaked the content a bit and upgraded the voiceover. Instead of an artificial intelligence narration, we have hired a professional. Some generous naturist friends have contributed to help pay for these services. Jason and I do the writing and video editing pro-bono. If you would like to contribute towards our plans for at least 10 of such videos, let me know on the contact page and I will email you a way to help out. Each narration costs about $50-75, and we are finding unique voices for each video. Of course, there’s no pressure. We want to keep all our content free to view!
We are looking forward to putting out a new video as time allows, and hoping they will be shared far and wide. We especially hope that some of the videos get shared and seen outside of the naturist community to help stretch the thinking among our textile oriented friends. In case you missed the first video with a professional voiceover, you can watch “False Modesty” here.
The following objection and argument is an easy one. We will be delving into more difficult objections soon. However, that said, many opponents of Christian nudism (they may not even know the term “naturism”) will use Leviticus against us. As stated, the defense is easy, but it often doesn’t matter, if you are set in your ways. It would most likely take more than this video to convince anyone of a better way, but it’s such a common argument, that we must address it with an honest approach.
There can be achieved a chaste nakedness. Simple nudity is simply not prohibited…
Thanks for reading, watching, and sharing. Stay tuned for more exciting installments on this series of common objections to Christian naturism answered.
The next installment from the “Objections” video series comes from 1 Timothy 2:9-10. This is an often quoted passage to encourage modest dress in primarily females. But is that the real message in the text? This short video explains our feelings on the matter.
Mrs. Phil and I have written previously on this blog about modesty:
What passes today for modesty can easily become a false modesty or even a source of pride. Granted many of the proponents of modesty are well intentioned and their motives may be pure, but in our opinion, the general practice is not serving the purpose it claims to address. And with arbitrary standards of what is modest enough, one could go all the way and have a full covering burka, taking that logic to its natural (though unnatural) conclusion.
We have chosen to go the opposite way, because if the logic of the body as obscene is wrong, then the natural conclusion would be that body is and can be right in any state of dress and even undress. This is untenable for some because of indoctrination, tradition, and hyper-conservatism. It takes an open mind and courage to reject lies and embrace truth.
The main focus of this post will be the following video. We, at Aching for Eden, have produced this video to share a very important point regarding the practice of naturism as a Christian. I will leave it at that, and let you watch the video, and then I’ll discuss some more.
The premise of this video is simple. If you were to play the sound clips for any practicing Christian, they would be able to identify the sounds of worship to God. As soon as they learn that everyone in the audio was naked, their knee-jerk reaction will be to protest. To them the two notions are incompatible: one cannot be naked in mixed company and worshiping God at the same time. However, does it sound any different than any worship service in any church anywhere? At face value, if we did a blind test side-by-side could you tell the difference between Naked worship and clothed worship? No! They are the same. More importantly, God accepts them both as worship.
Well this begs the question: can people lust in a naked worship service? The answer, is yes. My follow up question is: Can people lust in a clothed worship service? The answer is also yes, absolutely! Do they? That depends entirely on the person. No external factor should be able to cause a human heart to lust or not. A lustful person will lust. A person whose mind has been redeemed on the issue of lust, who has been healed from the sexual brokenness of our world will remain mature, innocent, and pure in any and all settings. The depraved mind cannot control itself. The redeemed mind cannot be controlled.
I’m not saying we can be perfect, or that we will never sin. But I am saying that I used to struggle with lust a lot over a span of 20 years, and now I don’t anymore (Praise God!). I mean it’s a night and day difference, to the point that I can even worship freely with others of a like mind even completely naked and not fall into sinful thoughts or behavior.
That’s becuase it’s a mind and heart matter. Jesus and Paul seem to agree with that statement:
“There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him.” Mark 7:15 ESV
“To the pure, all things are pure, but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled.” Titus 1:15 ESV
In my experience in various nude worship gatherings, my brothers and sisters are simply worshiping the Lord. No one is there for any purpose other than to worship in that moment, and after that moment, they lead lives of worship. The thought that this concept is so radical and an impossibility is no more than a projection of one’s own imagination, and proof that the objecting person has not worked through the issues regarding the body that plague so many today. I’m so grateful to have this tremendous healing and be able to enjoy a mature purity. Does this come across as arrogant? It may, but I hope it doesn’t. I do not mean to boast in anything but the love of Christ. I would hope rather that it comes across as an invitation to see there is a better way to live, free from the sexual hang ups and brokenness that abounds in the world and frankly in our church pews. I’ve often said I would wish this upon my worst enemy, if I had any. It’s my wish that all who are exposed (no pun intended) to these truths prayerfully consider them and overcome the traditions of men in favor of the mystery of God revealed in our very bodies.
I love the way Christopher West sums up his fascinating book, “Our Bodies tell God’s Story” and this too is my prayer for you dear reader:
Perhaps we’ve been caught up in a thousand lies about the meaning of our bodies and our sexuality. But it doesn’t matter how dyslexic or even illiterate we may have been in reading the divine language of the body up to this point in our lives. As John Paul II boldly proclaims, through the gift of redemption there is always the possibility of passing from error to the truth; there is always the possibility of conversion from sin to sexual purity as an expression of life according to the Spirit.
Come, Holy Spirit, come! Convert our hearts from lust to love. Impregnate our sexual desires with divine passion so that, loving as God loves on earth, we might one day rejoice in the consummation of the marriage of the Lamb in heaven. Amen.
That’s a great place to end, but if I could throw one more grenade of unorthodox truth in the mix, it’d be this one. Frank Viola and George Barna (non-naturists) have in their book “Pagan Christianity” a whole chapter devoted to “Costumes: Covering Up the Problem.”They conclude:
What’s the big deal about “dressing up” for church? It is hardly a burning issue. However, it is what dressing up for church represents that is the burning issue. First, it reflects the false division between the secular and the sacred. To think that God cares one whit if you wear dressy threads on Sunday to “meet Him” is a violation of the New Covenant. We have access to God’s presence at all times and in all circumstances. Does He really expect His people to dress up for a beauty pageant on Sunday morning? Second, wearing attractive, flashy clothes on Sunday morning screams out an embarrassing message: that church is the place where Christians hide their real selves and “dress them up” to look nice and pretty. Think about it. Wearing your Sunday best for church is little more than image management. It gives the house of God all the elements of a stage show: costumes, makeup, props, lighting, ushers, special music, master of ceremonies, performance, and the featured program. Dressing up for church violates the reality that the church is made up of real people with messy problems—real people who may have gotten into a major-league bickering match with their spouses just before they drove into the parking lot and put on colossal smiles to cover it up! Wearing our “Sunday best” conceals a basic underlying problem. It fosters the illusion that we are somehow “good” because we are dressing up for God. It is a study in pretense that is dehumanizing and constitutes a false witness to the world. Let’s face it. As fallen humans, we are seldom willing to appear to be what we really are. We almost always rely on our performance or dress to give people a certain impression of what we want them to believe we are. All of this differs markedly from the simplicity that marked the early church. Third, dressing up for church smacks against the primitive simplicity that was the sustaining hallmark of the early church. The first-century Christians did not “dress up” to attend church meetings. They met in the simplicity of living rooms. They did not dress to exhibit their social class. In fact, the early Christians made concrete efforts to show their absolute disdain for social class distinctions. In the church, all social and racial distinctions are erased. The early Christians knew well that they were a new species on this planet. For this reason, James levels a rebuke to those believers who were treating the rich saints better than the poor saints. He boldly reproves the rich for dressing differently from the poor. And yet, many Christians are under the false delusion that it is “irreverent” to dress in informal clothing when attending a Sunday morning church service. This is not dissimilar to how the Scribes and the Pharisees accused the Lord and His disciples of being irreverent for not following the tradition of the elders (Mark 7:1-13). In short, to say that the Lord expects His people to dress in fine clothing when the church gathers is to add to the Scriptures and speak where God has not spoken. Such a practice is human tradition at its best.
The practice of naturists runs contrary to this and puts everyone at the same level so to speak. It humanizes more than most anything I know. It makes us appreciate the real person, not some facade. Naturists interpret modesty as it used to be defined, as an attitude or state of being, not what we wear or how we adorn ourselves.
I realize God does not show favoritism and accepts all who approach him. But may I be as bold as if to say that those who worship him literally and figuratively uncovered and laid bare (Hebrews 4:13) may be more effectively honoring God over those who dress up in their Sunday best to look good for worship. It’s all in the motive. Maybe that’s just me, or maybe there’s some truth there.
We often quote and make references to David L. Hatton on this blog. His writings have helped and challenged us both in many ways.
Today, we will feature a wonderful poem of his with added visual elements. I have produced this video with David’s permission with the hopes that it blesses those who see it and would agree with its powerful message, and challenge those who may be startled by its assertions.
To that end, if you would want to share this video with others, please do so! Copy and paste this link where you would like:
A printable PDF file of “Christians and Nakedness” is available here via David L. Hatton.
CHRISTIANS AND NAKEDNESS
Today we are not used to the body when it’s bare, The skin beyond our face and arms beneath the clothes we wear. Untaught to see its beauty, we’ve learned to label “lewd” The “birthday suit” we started with, which God created nude.
It’s true we make exceptions for toddlers full of glee Who run around in pure delight, stark naked, clothing-free. But those who rediscover this liberty so clean Are called, when they come back to it, “perverted and obscene.”
Yet artists, who observe it in models posed unclad, Acknowledge how the human form is beautiful! Not bad! When health-care workers view it, no decency is gone. A patient’s dignity remains when seen with nothing on.
It’s found by missionaries, to naked peoples sent, That “porn” invades a culture’s land to which “our clothing” went. It’s known by skinny-dippers who bathe in sea and sun That recreation in the buff is simply healthy fun.
The church has failed her duty to guard and to proclaim That God’s own image in our flesh is free from body-shame. Instead, the naked body is marketed for lust, Relinquished into sordid hands by pulpits breaking trust.
Are human bodies “sinful” without their textile wraps? Must children have to look for them in pornographic traps? Can’t we who praise our Maker sustain our hungry youth Whose natural curiosity God meant to feast on truth?
False modesty is shameful! It sends the lovely breast Into a realm of carnal thoughts when mothers nurse undressed. It bans the Sistine Chapel, where nudes are plainly shown, And censures Michelangelo for sculpting them in stone.
We’ve grown quite unaccustomed to normal nudity. We even hide ourselves at home from friends and family. Some people hate their bodies, despising God’s design, Embarrassed if they must disrobe and let His glory shine.
Yet most of our ancestors all bathed in open air. They lived and dressed in one-room homes and saw each other bare. We trim for sports and work-outs. Greek athletes did so stripped! And Christians went to Roman baths with just their towels equipped!
The ancients often labored like Peter, in the nude. When prophets preached without a stitch, nobody called it “Rude!” The early church’s converts were naked when baptized. Though Bible scholars know these facts, they’re never advertized!
Have we made better progress in our morality By pushing man-contrived taboos on human nudity? Did God create His likeness to foster sinful lust? Do we confirm the Serpent’s scheme for souls God sheathed in dust?
If we could just recapture the ancient attitude That saw no scandal in a field of gardeners working nude, If we more often witnessed God’s image on display, We might regain a wholesome view of nakedness today.
One phrase you’ll read a lot in the posts to come is that of a renewed mind. We believe the renewing of our mind is a key part of the Christian life (See Romans 12:1-2). No one would debate this, but when it comes to the theology of the body, this notion of renewing our minds doesn’t seem to apply anymore. Why do I say this?
As a man, it’s generally believed that boys will be boys, or every man has a battle with lust, and that’s just how it is and how it’s always going to be. I believed that lie for a very long time, until I renewed my mind on how I view the body. Still not tracking? Watch this video… and be sure to watch until the end:
A renewed mind is critical to get beyond the battle of lust. Believe me! If you want to read more about this, I would suggest www.mychainsaregone.org.
My wife also needed a renewed mind. But hers is a little different. For her, it was not so much how she sees everyBODY else, it was more about how she sees herself. For most of her life, she did not believe she is beautiful, which to me (and the casual observer) is just CRAZY! She had to stop listening to the lies that plague so many women to see that she is fearfully and wonderfully made (on the inside AND the outside). She had heard Psalm 139:14 many times. She heard me tell her how beautiful she is countless times, but her mind was not renewed on this issue. Watch what happens when you start to believe the truth and stop believing the lies as if they were true:
Men who are in bondage to lustful thinking with no end in sight…
Those who have tried everything the Christian books suggest…