Purity, Temptation, and Sexual Fulfillment

Man praying in the forest

Recently a young man was arrested and charged with killing eight people after opening fire on three Atlanta-area massage parlors. Naturally, this horrific tragedy made national news. As is typical in cases like this, investigators, reporters, and news commentators have sought to determine the motive of the killer. According to the Cherokee County sheriff’s Captain, this man claimed to have a “sex addiction” and “wanted to eliminate” the temptation that existed for him in these locations.

Predictably, many were quick to use this tragedy as an opportunity to push certain talking points. Rather than simply condemning the one who committed the murders, blame was spread to the denomination to which he belonged; this then turned into charges of “racism and sexism” in churches. There have even been claims that “purity culture” in churches (which has been described in part as an emphasis on modesty in women in order to not cause a temptation for men to lust) would lead religious people – especially those who are socially conservative – to blame this crime on the victims and not the gunman.

Every reasonable person – Christian or non-Christian – should be able to immediately agree that what this man did in murdering these eight women was wrong and that the authorities should see to it that he is tried, convicted, and strongly punished for this. Yet this tragedy has been turned into an opportunity by some to attack religion, Biblical morals, and modesty.

I will not defend the reprehensible actions of the young man who murdered these women, regardless of his motive. It is also not my intention here to defend the denomination of which he was a member or any group with which his church was reportedly affiliated. However, I do believe it is important for us to understand what the Bible teaches about purity, temptation, and sexual fulfillment. This story, along with the reactions to it, make it evident that many do not understand these topics.Continue Reading

“Raccoon” John Smith: Alexander Campbell Was a Fool

"Raccoon" John Smith and Alexander Campbell

“Raccoon” John Smith (1784-1868) was one of many preachers in the 19th century who saw the division in the religious world and the departures from the New Testament that had occurred. As a result, he became associated with an effort to restore the doctrines and practices of the New Testament. Smith was also known for […]

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Unlikely Converts

Men on the subway

In the following passage, James described a scenario in which two individuals visited the assembly of the church. After they arrived, the brethren treated them differently based upon their appearances. “My brethren, do not hold your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ with an attitude of personal favoritism. For if a man comes into […]

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The Limitations of Man

Man on a mountain

“The word of the Lord came again to me, saying, ‘Son of man, say to the leader of Tyre, “Thus says the Lord God, ‘Because your heart is lifted up and you have said, “I am a god, I sit in the seat of gods in the heart of the seas”; yet you are a […]

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The Christian’s Boast

Man in front of waterfall

In the first half of Romans 5, Paul explained how Christians have been justified by faith and by the sacrifice of Christ on the cross (Romans 5:1-11). In this passage, Paul used the word exult three times (NASB). This is not a term we commonly use today. The King James Version uses three different terms […]

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Practicing Church Discipline

Empty pews

Church discipline is often not a pleasant topic to discuss and is even more difficult to practice. Because of this, some congregations hardly discuss it at all. Then when a situation arises that requires it, they are either unsure how to proceed or they ignore it altogether and hope the problem simply goes away. However, […]

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“Follow Me”

Jesus Calls the First Apostles

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20). In the Great Commission, Jesus told […]

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