Aug 18, 2008

I Vow To Make A Covenant with My Eyes

(Ecc 7:25-26) I directed my mind to know, to investigate and to seek wisdom and an explanation, and to know the evil of folly and the foolishness of madness. And I discovered more bitter than death the woman whose heart is snares and nets, whose hands are chains. One who is pleasing to God will escape from her, but the sinner will be captured by her.

Should you avoid going to the public swimming pool, beaches, or strip clubs for that matter, for the sake of guarding and covenanting with your eyes, to prevent yourself from sin (Jas 4:7-8)? If these places are obvious stumbling blocks to an individual (man) it may be safe to say that you should avoid them as if they were the stench of death themselves (Rom 6:23). To maintain an accordance and attempt of walking in the righteousness of the Spirit and pursuing the holiness given of Christ Jesus would suggest so wouldn't it (Rom 12:2)?

So if the church is resembling the above description, is it the church? If it is, is it not due rebuke and correction? Lastly, should you treat it as you would the aforementioned stumbling blocks, would not it be the same sin, leading to the same outcome, and tarnish the same name professed by your mouth and the mouths of the very ones who violate His holy word?

You tell me. Because I'm either completely disgusted, disillusioned, and angry, or I am completely confused and totally misunderstanding the scriptures.


Arthur Sido said...

Should we forsake the assembly of the saints, the hearing of the preached Word because a few women (and it is just a few) dress immodestly? Some who dress that way are Christians and need to be shown from Scripture where the issue is. Many are not Christians, should we meet them at the door with rulers to check skirt length and exposed skin. How are they to hear the Word? You can't street preach then, women are floozing around downtown half-naked too.

When Paul heard of sinful behavior in the churches, he didn't write and tell people to flee the church, he called on them to repent and correct the behavior. You can't be a corrective force and be used by God to bring about reformation in the modern church if you aren't there. There is no perfect church and things don't change overnight.

James said...

Rightly stated, but to the degree of what you call an aversion to preaching as opposed to an aversion to sin is wrong. If you stand up in the street and proclaim Christ crucified to the lost, they are just that, but to congregate in the assembly of the saints....QUOTE Assembly of the saints are two different scenarios my friend.

In light of citing the situation of the Corinthian Church, the believers who were sinning were directed to be put out from amongst God's people, even a cursory reading of first Corinthians 5 gives us principle to understand this concept. So what then? The tares sown in amongst the wheat? Are they but few? Or are they vain professors of a religion who are let in under the unsuspecting sleepiness of the shepherd who have become comfortable in their guard? Who being children of the devil are all the more dangerous because they have an outward appearance of godliness and inwardly are destitute and bear no fruit but false fruit.

So what's the difference? One is in error, another blatantly and willfully sins, how to tell? Fruit, and bearing of fruit is only wrought with the Spirit of God. My friend, I ask of you, to what has thine eyes set his affections on? The light of Christ or the praise of men? And to what avail but death is the praise of men?

love God... said...

Hi James,

I saw the post below this morning and it brought to mind what you have been talking about. Jesus warned us to beware of the only takes a little tolerance...

The Death of a Church

“Death (of a Church) occurs when unbelievers are allowed to take over ministries in the church. It happens when a church becomes more concerned with form and liturgy than it is with life on a spiritual level. Death occurs when a church becomes more concerned about welfare and social ills than it is about salvation. It happens when a church loves systems more than it loves Jesus Christ. And it happens when a church becomes more concerned with material things than spiritual reality. That’s how a church dies. It all is a result of sin.

Sin–in any form that the church tolerates, whether it is in the members or the leaders. Tolerance of sin begins the cycle; then comes the tolerance of unbelievers in the church until no one cares who is a believer or an unbeliever. The end comes when the man who runs the church isn’t a believer. Sins of commission and omission kill a church little by little. When that happens, Christians become carnal. Soon afterwards, unbelievers come into the church, and then a total tolerance for sin exists. The church begins to die, and the people who really love Jesus Christ leave only to be replaced by people who don’t know Him.” — John MacArthur

HT: The Bororean

Michael R. Jones said...


1 Corinthians 5 has to do with sexual immorality (actual sexual contact); it does not mention immodest dress at all.

The last few verses of 1 Cor. 5spell out reasons for which some may be cast out of the church. Neither in this list nor in the other passages of the NT that deal with discipline is immodest dress given as a reason for exclusion.

I find it interesting that you don't call for discipline upon people with critical spirits.

This is something that the church, under the leadership of the pastor, must address. How do you know in a given church that it hasn't been addressed? How could you possibly know this when you have been attending a given church for only a few weeks?

My brother, though you may think you know much (and you may know much compared to some others), you may not know as much as you think you do.

Prov. 13:10; 14:3; 16:18; 21:24; 29:23.

James said...

I concede to and acknowledge that I dont know as much as I think I do sometimes, and this is a willful admission.

I question your appropriation of the grammar and application of porniah/immorality. Textually it's application is spread across scripture, and doesn't necessarily remain isolated in the text of Corinthians 5 as relation to physical sexual sin, but also to thoughts and speech. And whether it be of commission or omission it is still sin, and sin is still punishable by discipline. I would hope that citation of scripture is necessary, as you would know where and how to look. I believe your skills to be sufficient.

We get so wrapped up in correction coming from the leadership of a pastor, that we dismiss the actual application of church discipline and who actually plays a part of that...It is not the pastors sole job, nor is the pastor the sole decision maker. He is amongst the rest of the body as an equal, not of a greater caliber who consistently reminds the people that he is in charge. That is Lording the authority over the flock.

So I will continue to clang this cymbol and proclaim the cessation of personally owning something that is not directed at you. However it may apply, it was never personal to begin with, the reason for the following post was for just that, it was never personal.

Maybe the emphases on teaching and pastoring, and exposition, have been so consuming for so many, that walking and living in the Spirit and the Holiness that is to be expected of the Saints is overlooked. After all, it's about how good the sermon sounds right?

Michael R. Jones said...

My point was not to limit the word to physical sexual sin only but to point out that immodest dress is not listed in Scripture as an occasion for expulsion from the church. (My argument was not a linguistic one; I was simply pointing out that the passage was not about immodest dress, but about people having sex.)

I will point out that divisiveness (Titus 3:9-11) and gossip (2 Thess. 3:11-14) are reasons for discipline, one by expulsion and the other by rebuke.

I'm not quite sure what you meant by your last paragraph but I'll let it go (Prov. 9:7a, 8).

Michael R. Jones said...

The meaning fo the verb porneia must be determined by context, just as any other word since context determines the meaning of a word. But note that one cognate verb (meaning a word with a common origin) means “to commit fornication.” Another cognate noun, porne, means “prostitute.” Another cognate, porneia, also refers to unlawful physical sexual activity such as having sex with a protitute or adultery. Still another cognate is a verb, porneuo and refers to practicing prostitution. It can refer to sexual immorality in general, but of the 8 NT occurrences, 3 are figurative (in Revelation) and the other 5 times clearly refer to concrete sexual activity. It does not refer to immodest dress. One final cognate used in the NT is ekporeuo which does mean simply sexual immorality, but the verb is hapax (meaning it is only used once) and is used in Jude 7 to refer to the behavior of the people in Sodom. I concede that this could include immodest dress, but that’s kind of a stretch, isn’t it?

The noun porneia, which you referenced, is used twice in 1 Cor. 5, both times in v. 1, and the context makes clear that it refers to physical sexual immorality. It does not refer to immodest dress. To make it refer to immodest dress is to twist Scripture.

This noun is used 25 times in 24 verses in the NT, and in none of those occurrences can one reasonably conclude that it is referring to immodest dress. (I won’t post each reference here; if you want them ask me and I’ll send them and you can do what you want with them after that.)

As to your statement that it can mean many different things you are right, but you can’t make a case from the NT that it ever refers to immodest dress and most of the occurences refer to actual physical behavior.

As I said above, it is used 25 times in 24 verses. Seven times it is used in Revelation and appears to be used metaphorically or symbolically (still can’t refer to immodest dress).

Of the other 18 occurrences, 3 are in lists with other items and give no context for narrowing it down, and two are in Acts 15 and could be very broad in their uses, but the other 13 occurrences are clear references to physical sexual behavior. This is made clear by the context in each case.

For example, 1 Thess. 4:3 refers to “sexual immorality” and is translated “fornication” in the older translations, KJV, Geneva, and Tyndale’s NT, because the following verse refers to keeping one’s “vessel in holiness and honor.”

Other occurrences reference one’s body or one’s members.

If we use these 13 occurrences to interpret the other 5, then we would have to take those to refer to physical sexual immorality as well.

So to answer your assertion, no, the main usage of the verb porneia is not for some vague notion of sexual immorality, but most often refers to actual physical sexual immorality. Even if you allow for some broad usages, you still cannot fit immodest dress into the range of this word’s meaning without doing serious damage to the integrity of Scripture.

Ten minutes with Scripture is of infinitely more value than an hour on the blogs or the Q&A section of

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