Wednesday, November 27, 2013

PORNOGRAPHY IN THE PULPIT

How can American Christians not fall into porn problems, when they’ve sat for years under preaching that paints a pornographic image of the body on the video-screen of their minds?

Michelangelo's David
Among the questions addressed in one of the 700 Club’s “Bring It On-Line” sessions (link) was this art student’s concern:

I am pursuing a Fine Arts degree, and I am having trouble reconciling my Christian faith with this environment. Specifically, I have been asked to draw nude models and peruse through nude artwork. I know that many Christian artists, even ones during the Renaissance, painted nude portraits (including Michelangelo). But I think it’s pornographic and shouldn’t be portrayed as “art.” What’s your perspective? – K. R.

Pat Robertson’s response was excellent:

Life Drawing Class
Pornea has to do with sexual intercourse. That’s what the Greek word means. The human body is not pornographic. It was made by God, and Adam and Eve didn’t have any clothes on, when they were first created. So God Himself doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with the human body. And you look at the David that Michelangelo did, and it’s so magnificent . . . a statue of a naked man, but it’s a magnificent piece of art. So, I don't think it’s pornographic. If you think it’s pornographic, then don’t do it. . . . But the truth is, you know, male and female models have been doing art forever, and I don’t see anything wrong with it.

As an L&D nurse, I see real-life pregnant bodies as nude as artist’s models are in “life drawing” classes. But when I made the following artistic representation of pregnancy, a devoted sister-in-Christ called it “pornographic.” My firm reply to her was that nothing in God’s beautiful design of the human form is indecent or pornographic.
Pregnancy by DLH
Why is this pornographic view of the naked human body so popular and widespread among Christians in America? Pat Robertson’s hint that pornography “has to do with sexual intercourse” gives us a clue. But a quote from Madeleine L’Engle’s book, Walking on Water (pp. 187-188), offers even more insight:

I would not hide the human body . . . , as though it was something to be ashamed of—though neither would I flaunt it. Let it be natural and holy. The incarnation was a total affirmation of the dignity of this body, and Paul goes on to emphasize that we are, moreover, the temple of the Holy Spirit, and if we abuse or reject or ignore our bodies we are abusing and rejecting and ignoring this temple. // I was both amused and appalled in a rotunda in the Prado, filled with Greek and Roman statues, to see that all the genitals had been removed, and covered with some kind of leaf. This prudery is in itself a form of pornography. (bold emphasis mine)

Her observation nails it! God did not create porn. We did, by creating a sexual focus when it comes to the nude body. In the beginning, this was not so.

Scripture’s very first description of humans implies gender-distinguishing genitals: “male and female He created them” (Gen 1:27). We still identify newborns as “him” or “her” by looking between the legs. God’s first command was for us to use that equipment properly: “Be fruitful and multiply” (Gen 1:28). By creating us naked, God made our procreative and gender-identifying anatomy fully visible. He included human nudity in evaluating “all” His handiwork as “very good” (Gen 1:31). Believers overlook this at great cost to themselves and to society, and they do so with the same diabolical help that misled our first parents into adopting a pornographic view of their own bodies.
The Original Sin (Sistine Chapel)

I challenge anyone to find a Bible commentary that honestly addresses what God asked Adam when He found him “afraid” of his nudity: “Who told you that you were naked?” (Gen 3:10-11). Great Bible scholars either entirely skip over it or boldly change His words to mean “What made you conscious of nakedness?” Why did they avoid God’s direct implication that Satan played a role in the adoption of body shame by the first human sinners? Does this divine question embarrassingly expose the deceptive source of our own fear of nudity? What could salvage Christian prudery if it was actually a liar “who told”our first parents that naked genitals should be hidden (with fig-leaf “loincloths,” Gen 3:7)? Is our religious devotion to a sexualized view of the nude body so sacred that even Christian teachers feel free to ignore the light God shed on its satanic origin?

Judging from modern body-image dysfunctions, our society’s porn-addiction epidemic, the objectification of the body in human trafficking, and the contemporary trends of gender-confusion in politics, Satan had an extremely far-reaching strategy in his original deceit. Hiding gender-distinctive body parts objectifies them, creating a sexual focus on what’s hidden. Satan knew this would create a doorway for pornea. His informational influence after getting humans “opened” to decide “good and evil” on their own—apart from divine guidance (Gen 3:5)—has been the fountainhead of human sexual waywardness ever since.

The root-word definition of pornography relates to a picture (imaged or written) of fornication. God’s own portrayal of the human body is very clear: “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psa 139:14). So, who is the gatekeeper on depicting it as a stimulus of unholy passions? The success of those who shoot and sell nude sex scenes depends on a much more fundamental portrayal of the bodys obscenity: the view held and promoted by popular Christianity. Society’s investment in Western Christendoms perpetuation of Satan’s original lie is the sustaining power behind our culture’s exploitation of nudity. Commercial pornographers exist for business only because conceptual pornographers persist in painting this perverted picture.

From art students claiming this porno-prudery as part of their “faith” to preachers exhorting men to “bounce their eyes” at women, the bulk of American believers need to abandon this ungodly, Creator-dishonoring deception. Only by eliminating what porn profits from—the church’s pornographic fantasies about the nude body—can we effectively fight the naked obscenities of the porn industry. Either we stand with the Original Designer of beauty and glory in the unclad human body or we join as accomplices of the original pornographer who deceived us in the first place.

(for further reading, see my blog article Prudery and Porn Addiction, my website article Incarnational Truth about Humanity’s Sexual Nature (Doing Body-friendly Theology Free from Gnostic Prudery) or read my novelette Meeting at the River to explore the biblical research behind my reason for treating this issue of body acceptance so seriously.)

6 comments:

  1. David, Thank you for everything. You and your family are in our prayers. God bless you all.
    Nice insight on PORNOGRAPHY IN THE PULPIT: We are moving to Ohio to be closer to family. I left a awesome job (gift from God) in Florida as a L&D Tech LPN / Surgical Tech. I had no luck with L&D but found a Great job as a surg tech. I also ask to volunteer with Operation Special Delivery (Free Doula for spouses of deployed military) . I thought being a military L&D Tech / LPN since 1985. I thought I would have a warm welcome. But this was their response.

    "Paul, Interesting. I will say that I wonder how other men feel about you touching/connecting/seeing their wives in that position and how it does not make them feel inferior/etc." How can someone make caring for a laboring mother a sexual and
    pornographic?

    I just smiled and left it in God's Hands.

    So thanks again for caring. The moms says your Webpage is awesome!
    http://www.pastordavidrn.com/files/L_Dtips.html

    Many Blessngs
    Paul Cobb

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    1. People raise brows at men in OB nursing only in a pornified culture. This is why I feel this blog article is important... trying to cut off the porn mentality at one of its main broadcast stations: the pulpit, sad to say.

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  2. Thought provoking article David. Thank you for exposing the lies of the enemy and how he influences our thinking. Thanks for clearing up the root meaning of pornography which I was not aware of, but that also helps clarify the issue. Hope you are healing well.
    Blessings and Prayers for you and your family.
    Brenda Virtue
    http://gnfaww.blogspot.ca/2013/12/good-news.html

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  3. “The root word definition of pornography relates to a picture imaged or written of fornication.”
    Yes I agree. But many have the wrong definition of the word “fornication”. They create wrong definition for “fornication” that does not even fit in the Bible anywhere and create major contradictions. If anyone does an opened minded research on the “word, “fornication” you clearly see that it means the misuse of your God given sexual freedom given to all creation at creation to join in the pagan worship of a fertility pagan god. Compare 1 Cor 10:8 use the word and the definition of “fornication” is in Nu 25: 1-9 where Paul is pointing. This is the correct definition. If you look up every “fornication verse and study each context you will see this is the correct definition that fits in 98% of the time. The other 2% they use the wrong word or there is a misunderstanding or just lazy translation work.

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    1. I disagree. In reference to Numbers 25, Paul does employ the word "fornication" (pornea) to describe sexual intercourse associated with pagan fertility-cult worship, because that was one of its common meanings. Sex in cult worship was so prevalent in OT times that "fornication" was often used metaphorically to describe forsaking God for idols. But the actual word itself ("fornication," translated from "pornea" in the OT Greek Septuagint and in the Greek NT) was an umbrella-like word that covered not only cult prostitution, but secular prostitution, adultery, incest---in other words, "illicit sexual intercourse in general" (see Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament; AMG's Complete Word Studies Dictionary; Theological Dictionary of the New Testament by Bromiley). The scholars behind these works cited are no light-weights, guilty of "lazy translation work," as you say. But I can see why someone might want to narrow the biblical meaning of "pornea" to cover only cult prostitution. It would diminish or deny the Bible's warnings against the general misuse of sex. However, that wouldn't be scholarship at all, but merely another rationalistic attempt to excuse sexual practices that God has forbidden.

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  4. This understanding of *porneia* and the human body's goodness is growing among Christians, but there is still heavy resistance based not on Biblical truth but on human tradition. Let us pray, and work, for greater understanding. "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge..."

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