An Exchange of Letters
On Saturday, February 21, the Minneapolis Tribune printed an editorial I wrote entitled, “Condom Ads Promote Promiscuity not Good Health.” The next Monday I received the following letter. I print it with my response to show a slice of “real world” sexual amorality and how your pastor tried to respond. In turn he wrote a conciliatory letter saying he respected my views. I still pray he will stop settling for mudpies.
His letter: “After reading your commentary on condom ads I for one am glad I am not a member of an organization that thinks on the same lines as you folks do. You all have your heads deep in the sand. I am single and 38 years old, so according to you I am not to have sex until the day I get married. What if I never marry? Am I never to have sex? I for one like to have sex and so does my girlfriend. And physical stimulation of the sexual nature is one of the greatest feelings one can have. Without it you lose something from your general well being.”
My response: “I appreciate your honesty and your willingness to sign your letter to me. Not everyone has the courage to stand behind his opinion.
“Yes, you are right in concluding that I think people should not engage in sexual intercourse outside marriage. I certainly agree that our sexual nature is good and that the experience of consummation in sexual relations is a ‘great feeling.’
“What I don’t agree with is that these good physical feelings can be pursued without regard to larger issues in life, like commitment and loyalty. Or, to put it another way, I’m profoundly convinced that since sexuality is a gift of God, we should look to God for guidance in how to handle this remarkably precious gift.
“When I look to God’s written Word, the Bible, I find the teaching that premarital and extramarital sex are forbidden. Since God is a God of love and wisdom, I take that to mean that it would be good for me to abstain from sexual intercourse outside of marriage.
“Yes, in a sense, those who don't marry experience ‘loss’—the loss of a physical sensation—but they also experience great gain! The moral and emotional thrill of being master over your own impulses is like reaching a snow-swept mountain peak against all the odds of ice and wind. The greatest pleasures in life do not come from giving in to bodily impulses that we share with animals. The greatest pleasures in life come by rising to that moral, personal, spiritual conformity with our Creator, in whose image we were made.
“I wonder if you would want to say that because Jesus was never married and never experienced sexual intercourse, he was somehow less admirable, less worthy of our trust, obedience, and praise?
“Please know that I do not resent your writing to me, nor do I despise you because of your opinions. My deep desire is that you would simply take more seriously the possibility that our sexuality may be an expression of extraordinary love rather than Victorian prudery.”
© Desiring God Foundation. Distribution Guidelines
Share the Joy! You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in physical form, in its entirety or in unaltered excerpts, as long as you do not charge a fee. For posting online, please use only unaltered excerpts (not the content in its entirety) and provide a hyperlink to this page. For videos, please embed from the original source. Any exceptions to the above must be approved by Desiring God.
Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By John Piper. © Desiring God Foundation. Website: desiringGod.org