By Edwin Crayton/Opinion
In the early days of the Christian Church, Paul the Apostle, issued a stern warning to believers in Corinth. He warned them to avoid fornication (sex before marriage). In 1st Corinthians Chapter 6:18-19 he wrote these words with a sense of urgency “Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” Earlier in the chapter (verses 9-10), he warned that fornication is so serious, it can keep a person out of heaven, unless they decide to repent and turn from the sin (verse 11). Like I said, it was a stern warning.
Fast forward to today. It is clear that we are not listening to that stern warning. Movies promote sex before marriage—characters routinely sleep together almost a minute after being introduced to each other. Music is filled with references to pre-marital sex. The culture we live in has embraced fornication. But the best evidence I can offer to demonstrate that sex before marriage is now a mainstream value is that people refer to themselves as baby mamas or baby daddies. The ungrammatical words “baby daddy” and “baby mama” are so ingrained, they have been included in the dictionary. Not that you need a dictionary to understand what those words mean. The words typically mean the parents of a child or children had sex but were not married. That is what Paul was referring to as a sin. That is the focus of this article.
The obvious question is, how did fornication go from being shunned, to being accepted by society? Let me answer that by retelling an incident that happened recently. Two men stopped a third man and asked for directions to a lake. The man gave them directions but made one mistake: He got the starting point wrong. He told them to travel west when he should have told them to go east. In the same way, we as a world are traveling the wrong road in terms of sexual values because we are starting out wrong. We are putting our ideas and desires first instead of putting God’s desires and directions first. As a result, we are piling error on top of error. This moves us as a society and world, farther and farther from God’s plans and ideas about sexuality. When that happens, many people lose the ability to distinguish between right and wrong. Many young people today don’t even know that fornication is a sin. They think it is normal because generally it is treated as if it is normal. We have all contributed to making it feel normal, by what we have done and what we have left undone. Movies promote it. Music glorifies it. Churches do not often teach against it. Christians avoid sharing what the Bible says about it, hoping to keep the peace or to not seem judgmental. Some church members even practice fornication (I was one of them). Other people claim that it is not anyone’s job to warn others about sin. These people believe that it isn’t anyone’s business what other people do. They say the matter of sin is between the people who are sinning and God. Well, the Bible disagrees with that. In fact, Scripture says it is in fact the responsibility of God’s followers to warn others when they are travelling wrong morally. Read Ezekiel 33: 8-9 and you will see that God makes that point very strongly. Think of it this way: if you saw someone about to step into a deep, dark hole, wouldn’t you warn them? But because we don’t warn them, every generation becomes more and more comfortable with the sin to the point at which we can describe ourselves as being a “baby mama” or “baby daddy” and not feel self-conscious at all. It does not occur to us that when one of us says something like, “Hi, I’m Jane, the Baby Mama of Julie”, what is actually being communicated, to put it in Paul’s language is this: “Hi, I’m Jane, who has sinned against my own body” (1 Corinthians 6:18-20). And we are volunteering that very personal information– often in a room full of strangers. Of course, technically, only those who have read their Bibles will know what Jane is actually saying. But the fact remains according to Scripture that fornication is a sin and it should not be practiced because it can cost you your soul. And the price on this side of eternity is pretty high too. Fornication often leads to broken homes, as single parents struggle to raise a child without the financial assistance or commitment they might receive from a married partner. Fornication can lead to unwanted pregnancies and that can inspire abortions—a second sin, because it is nothing less than murdering an innocent child. Worst of all, fornication strains the relationship with God because it causes us to disobey him.
Well, what can we do about any of this? First, like that traveler seeking directions that I mentioned earlier, we must go back to the starting point and get the right directions. The best directions always come from God. That means we must agree with God’s Holy Word and avoid fornication. We must also teach our children to avoid it. This means we in the church need to teach proper sexual behavior. Our young people need to be properly armored to deal with the vile sexual concepts the world and contemporary culture is throwing at them nearly every second through sophisticated new media and peer pressure. Why is it that many Christians today allow secular movies and music to teach their children to sin? Why does the devil get five days to influence our children and the church only gets two days (Sunday and Wednesday)? Isn’t it time we empowered Sunday schools and youth programs to teach children what they need to know in order to resist the influence of a seductive, unbelieving world? And yes, I mean to say that I believe it would be helpful to teach them specific real-life situations that they will encounter and show them how to navigate through those situations as young believers. Our children are the future of the church. If that is true, then what they believe will shape the church of the future.
God designed the family to work a specific way: a man and woman meet, fall in love, marry and have children. God is perfect. God’s plan and design for marriage is perfect. It does not need to be changed. Man is imperfect. How can an imperfect being improve or change the design of a perfect being? When imperfect beings try to do so, the results are never good. The whole concept of “Baby Daddies” and “Baby Mamas” is proof of that.