I was re-reading this old post of mine, and thinking about Carl Trueman’s quote from Rosaria Butterfield’s autobiography:
What good Christians don’t realize is that sexual sin is not recreational sin gone overboard. Sexual sin is predatory. It won’t be ‘healed’ by redeeming the context or the genders. Sexual sin must simply be killed. What is left of your sexuality after this annihilation is up to God. But healing, to the sexual sinner, is death: nothing more and nothing less.
which Trueman used to back up his contention that the problem of porn is deeper than sexual sin, which strikes me as absurd. (See my previous post.)
Anyway, I wondered how Butterfield could arrive at this notion that sexual sin warps one’s sexuality so much that it may need to be annihilated and then reconstructed by God, if He pleases.
Well, as I mentioned in one of the comments (read through them to find the link to the wiki about her), Butterfield was a practising lesbian. By God’s grace, she was removed from that lifestyle, and is now a married mother, the wife of a Reformed pastor.
Which is wonderful; I praise God for that. She has been most greatly blessed.
But I believe that Butterfield errs in thinking that because it was necessary in her case for God to annihilate her homosexuality, in order to then grant her heterosexuality (as certainly seems to be the case), that all who struggle with sexual sin can expect, if they repent and turn away from their sexual sin, to experience something God doing similar with their own sexuality.
Because, after all, for those of us who aren’t homosexual in orientation, our sexuality, however sin-stained, is at least pointing in the right direction, if you will, in terms of opposite-sex attraction. Obviously that was not the case for her, so a more radical transformation, a complete deconstruction and then radical reconstruction, was necessary for her to have a normal, healthy, God-honouring sexuality.
Therefore she is wrong to assume the general from the specific and personal anecdotal; to take her personal experience, and see what God had to do with her, as normative for all Christians. I’m not by any means trying to minimize the radical lifestyle changes that those of us who have gone astray in such matters may need to undergo; the radical change of spirit, of mindset, of lifestyle, in order to be in compliance with God’s revealed will for us, to live our lives in God-honouring ways in the sexual sphere as in all others.
But at least those of us who are straight don’t need to be turned in our orientation.
We are blessed to have it a bit easier than she did.
Her advice, therefore, on that point, is misguided and not especially helpful to straight Christians.
She’s wrong. That’s all.
And Trueman remains wrong in citing her perspective to back up his own misguided views about male sexuality.
The Law of God, or the Ten Commandments, have two separate commandments that deal with sexual sin; one is primarily about the actions (though also including thoughts) – ‘Do not commit adultery’, while the other is about the desire behind the actions (and thoughts) – “Do not covet”.
And Paul encourages, for those not inclined to lifelong celibacy, marriage, to avoid fornication; see 1 Corinthians 7.
Ideally, if both spouses are striving to satisfy each other’s desires and needs, neither of them will covet anyone else’s spouse (or someone not married), and therefore won’t fall into the breaking of the other commandment, either, in that regard. (Of course, we may still have to deal with stray thoughts / memories, etc., and can’t expect that we can or will obey perfectly, but Paul surely would tell us it’s still better for us to go through that than falling into fornication itself; hence why he recommends it.)
Surely the same applies to pornography; pornography is surely akin to a virtual form of fornication, since lust is equally involved, and lust can be in the heart and mind even if not committed in the body; Christ warned us, after all, that if we so much as think about adultery that we have committed it in our hearts, in God’s eye.
And so, if Paul advises marriage with regular sexual intercourse to avoid fornication, as we read in 1 Corinthians 7, surely marriage with regular sexual intercourse helps one avoid the sexual sin of pornography. So Trueman was wrong to criticize the other pastor for positing marriage as a solution to the man’s pornography problem, as outlined in the previous post. Marriage is the best solution to avoiding sexual sin, which is why God’s Holy Word recommends it, to that very end. QED.