Well-Being Australia chairman Mark Tronson said that for some years now, Christian leaders have at last been doing some “straight talking” about the issues of sex, particularly young people and sex. One such example he cites is Mark Driscol.
Mark Driscol Mars Hill Church, Seattle
It was not that long ago that Mark Driscol (described as one of the three leading evangelical prophets of America), as the preaching pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, declared that the subject of delightful 'Christian sex' is a proper topic for discussion. (au.christiantoday.com)
Mark Tronson said that at the time, his topic and his preaching “frightened the horses” in the land of Christian conservatism!
Mark Driscol undertook a series on The Song of Songs which he said was the most erotic and exciting book in Scripture and it literally describes an intimate relationship between a husband and a wife. He was quoted as saying: "At Mars Hill Church, we believe that 'all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable' (2 Timothy. 3 verse 16), therefore we do not hesitate to discuss anything that the Bible addresses.”
In his "The Peasant Princess" sermon series he deals frankly and openly with [Christian] sex; challenging married couples in their congregations to be intimate every day for a week or a month.
He says that The Song of Songs chapter 6, describing the wife dancing for her husband: "exceedingly visually generous to her husband," while the husband is verbally generous as he pays her compliments of her body and then - "proceeds forward.” He claims that it's in the Bible and is "an example of marital freedom."
In effect, Mark Driscoll dares to acknowledge this “insatiable sexual drive within the human DNA” and addresses it within the context of Christian marriage (as does the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 7).
By so doing, he also recognises there is a negative side to sex outside of the marriage bed.
Many US sit-coms says Mark Tronson are revealing. Teen relationships are complicated and none-more-so than illustrated in the US sitcom “The life of American Teenagers”. These are some questions one of the main characters asked which, according to Jefferson Bethke (above), includes Christian young people.
In the sit-com mentioned, this particular character, a 16 year old girl, offered herself to the boy of her dreams, a young man of 17, who had meanwhile fathered a baby to her sister. The young fellow refused, in that he was trying to resurrect a relationship with her older sister.
The context was that this 16 year old girl was desperate to experience sex for herself (a virgin), and the reason was to: "find out what it's all about"! In her conversation with this 17 year old, she raised these questions (paraphrasing) -
“Why it is that my friends will put at risk teen pregnancy or disease or herpes or HIV to have sex;
“Why is that my friends will put their terrific (high school) relationships at risk to have sex?
“Why is it that committed young adults who are into 24 month relationship will have sex outside that relationship when offered;
“Why is it that married people will put everything at risk - career, children, spouse, finances, security, grand-parenting - to have sex outside of their marriage?
“What is it about sex that is so overpowering that drives people to have sex?”
Her questions reveal a great deal
This certainly provides part of the answer to this 16 year old's questions, that is, the DNA natural sexual appetite. But her questions go further, in that there is a destructive element to sex – health, relationships, marriages, careers …
We see this in the Bible with Abraham's wife Sara giving the handmaiden to have a child (Ishmael) and the historical consequences of that situation are still with us today (Arabs and Jews). Sexual sin is replete throughout the Old Testament, perhaps David and Bathsheba is the classic example where her husband Uriah was sent to the front of the battle to cover up the adultery and pregnancy.
Mark Tronson says that from a sociological viewpoint, as far as he can see ‘some’ humans will have sex when it is available, whether they are Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist or atheist or Aboriginal (lots of Aboriginal legends about couples running away together from their various tribes and arranged marriages).
There are also lots of stories written about the Kings and Queens of Olde England and France – eg the back stories in The Three Musketeers – and the name Fitz means the illegitimate child - so Fitzroy is the illegitimate child of a king – Roy = King, hence Royal, so they did it too – a whole lot, proving they too are human.
Then there are people with another type of personality whose heads rule their hearts (or hormones, in this case) and they are what we ‘see’ as more rational – and those people can be all of those other faiths and religions too, or none.
Again, it is one of those traits of human nature, and possibly another where there is a genetic dichotomy – ie approx half the population will act one way according to a stimulus, and the other half the other way. (Like shyness, and people who leave or stay after a war or bushfire – other examples of dichotomy in personality, although not examples of sex).
'Commitment' is a forgotten ideal
Mark Tronson says that it seems, again by the statistics of Jefferson Bethke, that the idea of commitment has somehow missed the link to sex and fidelity in recent generations. Moreover, “commitment” is cross-cultural.
Many people without Christian commitment from many different world religions have been totally monogamous all their married lives. Likewise, he knows Christians who have misbehaved and remain committed Christians (as it were).
As an aside (perhaps not), the Catholic monasteries instituted vows of celibacy for their monks so that the extensive property of the Church would not be subdivided and re-subdivided among the children of the said monks. This had nothing to do with sex, but sexual activity was legend.
Moreover, there is specific New Testament teaching on sexual restraint and the advantages of monogamy. In Mark Tronson's view, this helps explain the questions raised by the 16 year old girl, in that the Scriptures reveal that following the Lord's life-directions brings positive relationship outcomes and none more so, than in our human drive for sex.
As Mark Driscoll points out, the Bible brings sexual freedom into a marriage whereas outside of God's best practice - there is this constant search for “grass that is greener on the other side (of the fence)” - it's like tomorrow, it never arrives.
Mark Tronson explained that as a young Christian Minister at seminary 35 years ago, his mentor the late Reverend F P McMaster MBE gave him a copy of a document he himself prepared: “Preparation for Marriage”. It was part of his parish ministry (Canberra Baptist Church for 29 years) and as a Military Chaplain at Duntroon (Defence Academy). This booklet's emphasis from start to finish focuses on the word “commitment”. It's focus is entirely Biblical and of sound doctrine.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html