For those of you that are offended easily, I suggest that you not read the rest of this.

Recently, the subject of masturbation came up in a group that I was in. I ran into one of these Bible-thumping “Christians” that disgrace the Word of God by adding to it. I thought that friends of mine may benefit from what was discussed. For now, I will leave out the name of the person…that is, unless he keeps asking for it. *Dave is grinning. Please note: Unless something is misspelled by myself, I left the posts unaltered for the other guys. This includes misspellings which I believe tell their own story.

It started like this:

Someone wrote:

“I agree that excessive and addictive masturbation is a problem, and a

serious and self-destructive for many heterosexual and homosexual

guys. I am an accountability partner regualrly to four straight

guys, and a listenng ear to many others over the years, and each one

of them is overwhelmed by masturbation to varying degress, so it’s

not just an SSA issue, but a man’s issue.

96% of guys masturbate at some time in their lives, and 4% lie !

What is WRONG is the plotting to be home alone, planning to buy porno

mags, ensuring that you have a couple of hours alone with the

computer or late night television/video, or have a quick binge and

erotic fantasy scenario that is the real destructive force. Then we

have fallen to the temptation and are totally absorbed in feeding the

sin, going a further, more destructive step each time. But I agree

with the writers who say that it is NOT the same as acting out with

another guy, cos that causes another to sin, which is worse, believe

me.”

I wrote:

“I have often heard it said that masturbating is not wrong as long as you do not

lust. The problem is that no one can seem to define lust for me apart from

natural desire. It is completely normal for a man to be attracted to a woman

who has large breasts and a pretty face. So where does lust begin and

admiration end?”

This person, hereafter known as “The Bible Thumper” aka TBT wrote:

“I was wondering if you believe one thing and your heart says something entirely

different, that is a possibility. I know that if I were to do the act, it would

have to be in private when no one was watching. That is an indicater for the

conscience to see if you are deceiving your own heart and being unclean. Another

instance would be if you can do it if you knew that the Lord Jesus Christ was

there watching you. Would you do it then? Don’t deceive your own hearts.

Masterbation is a deviant form of the use of the member that God has

predetermined for it.”

I responded:

“I make love to my wife in private. Does that make it wrong? I also shower in private. Should I not shower? I personally believe that sex is a very spiritual experience. It is with me and my wife and when she is not available or not able to be with me, I masturbate. I’ve even prayed while I’ve done it thanking God for the body he gave me and the ability to enjoy it.

If God has commanded you not to masturbate, then by all means, do not do it. But blanket statements that condemn the act that the Bible only speaks about in a neutral setting is adding to Scripture and the Bible has very strong warnings for those who do that.”

TBT wrote to me in a private email:

“I have noticed that in the past, you have not agreed with hardly anything I have said. I also know that you are a seminary student. I am asking myself why is this man going into the ministry anyway? He doesn’t like it when he is called to the carpet and he obviously doesn’t like me so why does he bother at all? I am not going to tell you things to help your conscience block out what Gods word has already stated.If you have an evil heart of unbelief, confess it and forsake it and move on. I am not the kind of person who will help you stay in your sin, that is what the Christian gay ministries are all about. They want you to be confirmed in your sin. I will try to help you out of your sin if I can. I am not a liberal any longer because I have repented and forsook that way.

I told you that I have one more day of finals and then I will be able to research the old Testament concerning that masturbation topic. If you can’t wait for me, then by all means get off your ass and find it your self. The things I speak to you are in love.”

I responded to him in private:

“I have noticed that in the past, you have not agreed with hardly anything I

have said.”

You’re right.

“I also know that you are a seminary student.”

I am not a seminary student. I am still undergrad.

“I am asking myself why is this man going into the ministry anyway??”

I think a better question is why you have the right to question my motivation.

“He doesn’t like it when he is called to the carpet and he obviously doesn’t

like me so why does he bother at all??”

Where do you get that I don’t like being called to the carpet? I’m calling you

to the carpet, but you won’t come. Defend your beliefs. If you can’t, they’re

not worth believing. And where do you get that I don’t like you? I’ve never

even met you. I simply go by what you post.

“I am not going to tell you things to help your conscience block out what Gods

word has already stated.”

What are you talking about here? Masturbation? I’m simply asking you to show

me in the Bible where masturbation is wrong.

“If you have an evil heart of unbelief, confess it and forsake it and move on.”

…I’ve never questioned your intentions. Why are you questioning mine? You’ve given me nothing to hang my hat on here. I’m just asking you to back up

what you say.

“I am not the kind of person who will help you stay in your sin, that is what

the Christian gay ministries are all about.”

Good. I’m glad you’re not that kind of person. But you cannot even prove to me

that masturbation is a sin. So why are you trying to help me stay out of it?

“They want you to be confirmed in your sin. I will try to help you out of your

sin if I can. I am not a liberal any longer because I have repented and forsook

that way.”

Here I am. Help me by showing me what the God’s Word, the Bible says.

“I told you that I have one more day of finals and then I will be able to

research the old Testament concerning that masturbation topic. If you can’t

wait for me, then by all means get off your ass and find it yourself.”

Oh, here it comes. …I have done extensive research in this area and I am

calling YOU to the carpet. BRING IT. That’s the only reason I asked you to

show me. You can’t show me.

“The things I speak to you are in love.”

I missed the love part. Was that the “get off your ass and find it yourself”

part?

Someone went on to mention the Levitical passage regarding a man being unclean if he ejaculated. I added:

“If you will allow me to wax theological, there are three divisions of the law:

civil, ceremonial, and moral. Liberal theologians want to lump the law together

and throw it all out, but the moral laws reflect the character of God. Since

God is immutable, those laws do not change. Civil laws, such as laws for

uncleaness, were made to keep disease and such from coming into the camp. God

instituted these to protect his covenant people. Ceremonial laws usually had to

do with the tabernacle and such. The latter two really do not apply for us

today, although I would argue that they are not irrelevant. There’s just

something about that covenant love!”

Someone asked me which category I believed that masturbation fell into. I said:

“Really, I don’t think it belongs in any category. If you’re referencing the OT

passage, then I believe that was civil law and not to be necessarily followed.”

TBT wrote:

“I recently departed from [NAME OMITTED] because of the evil

communication of the wicked there was too deviseive to stay.There is some very

wicked people in these gay groups who want to stay in their sin, keep others in

their sin, and justify themselves for causing others to stumble. This

masterbation issue is black and white. The self righteous will try to justify

their compromises and call it grey. What that reveals to me is a lack of

spiritual conviction in these last days.”

My patience wore thin, so I responded:

“…it’s time for you to put up or shut up. You recently told me in a private

email to ‘get off my ass and look it up yourself.’ Well, physician heal

thyself. You have no biblical evidence to support your view of masturbation and

you are not content to let others disagree with you. Rather, you want to beat

them over the head with the Bible. It’s completely unbiblical. Until you offer

evidence, I think it’s best that you stop your rambling. When you can offer

biblical support for your view, bring it. Until then, I’m living by grace and

not by a law that went away with the new covenant.”

In a public message, TBT said:

I gave you chapter and verses referrences in my personal email to you. Now you

are publicly rebuking me to scorn me before all. I know what you are all about,

a sower of discord among bretheren. This is my last email I will send you

because the word of God says we are not to reprove a scorner.

I responded:

“…it’s really funny how to stick the word of God in one email, ignore it in

another, tell me to ‘get off my ass’ in another and then two lines later tell me

you do out of love. Go ahead and pick and choose the parts of the Bible you

want to believe and add to it what you think will be there. Just post your crap

in any board that I’m a member of because I will be sure to call you out on it.”

He responded:

“You are deviseive trouble maker. go ahead and others will see you for what you

really are.”

Another person on the message board directed a message to TBT and said:

“I apologize for butting into a private(?) fued but often I don’t even read posts

from you because to me, your writing is rather abrasive and hard lined. It

reminds me too much of my own self when I was younger and thought that

everything and every situation had an answer. Truth is I too often overlooked

circumstances and did not consider all of the aspects of love defined in 1 Cor

13:4-7

4Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5or rude.

Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record

of when it has been wronged. 6It is never glad about injustice but rejoices

whenever the truth wins out. 7Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always

hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

I used to zero in on verse 6 and think that somehow I knew the scripture and

God’s intent well enough to always be the truth bearer for others. Well, thank

God, I have grown from that point and the first thing that I try to look at is

verse 4 (which comes first) and then if I can get through that I check out verse

5 to see if my motives are right. If they are and I can submit what I believe

to be God’s truth out of compassion and with the understanding that I might not

have the whole picture of scripture and can be instructed further, then I offer

my thoughts.

Bottom line is that I used to hit people over the head with what I knew to be

the truth and now I realize that much to my chagrin, I don’t know as much about

the Word as I thought I did. (Did you ever go back through your bible and look

at your notes and wonder why you made some of them? They seemed so right when

you wrote them but years later you see a different picture because you have

gained more wisdom to go with your knowlege – just curious to see if I am the

only one who does this).

You might find that taking this approach in your posts will get more favorable

results.”

TBT wrote back:

“Thank you for the reproof. Your right I was a little out of sorts with my

brother Dave McDowell. I should have prayed for him instead. I also should have

sent him correspondance privatly. I guess I wasn’t very loving was I. You are

correct, I had wrong motives for correcting him. I had read his other emails and

I assumed that he was going to hold his position regardless of the evidence to

the contrary. Sort of ‘DONT BOTHER ME WITH FACTS, I HAVE MY MIND MADE UP’.”

Someone else posted this:

“Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over

doubtful things. For one believes he may eat all things, but he who

is weak eats only vegetables. Let not him who eats despise him who

does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats;

for God has received him. Who are you to judge another’s servant? To

his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand,

for God is able to make him stand. One person esteems one day above

another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully

convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it to

the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does

not observe it. He who eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God

thanks; and he who does not eat, to the Lord he does not eat, and

gives God thanks. For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies

to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we

die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the

Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that

He might be Lord of both the dead and the living. But why do you

judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother?

For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is

written: “As I live, says the LORD, every knee shall bow to Me, and

every tongue shall confess to God.” So then each of us shall give

account of himself to God. Therefore let us not judge one another

anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a

cause to fall in our brother’s way.”

I responded in a message that tried to explain everything:

“Hmmm…I’ve often wondered…which do you guys think is stronger (or maybe you

both think they are equal), the biblical admonition to not be weak in your faith

or the biblical admonition for stumbling blocks and weaker brothers?

I only ask this because some of you (not the person that posted this verse btw)

have been critical of the way that I handled things with [NAME OMITTED]. I, in no way, want to place a stumbling block before [NAME OMITTED] or cause him, if he is a weaker brother, to stumble and fall. Please understand my intentions.

There are way too many people in the “ex-gay” movement who feel that they must

use the Bible and twist it to make it say things it doesn’t because they

believe, good-intentioned or not, that their pet sin is wrong or whatever they

are trying to put forth.

My issue with [NAME OMITTED] (and [NAME OMITTED], despite what you think, it is not personal) is not what he says, but how he says it. I have absolutely no problem with anyone who chooses to not masturbate because they think that it is wrong for them to do so. I may also say that if you believe that it is wrong for you to masturbate or

that you should abstain from masturbation because God wants you to that you

should not masturbate. To do so would be a sin against God. If you believe

that God would have you fast, and you do not do it, you’re sinning. It is the

same with masturbation.

Sin is not defined always by action, but rather by a state that we are in. We

are born depraved (totally depraved, I believe). We are in a state of sin when

we are born. The Bible says that we are dead in our sins. Interestingly

enough, there is no amount of sin that you can commit to send you to hell. A

person goes to hell because they die without Jesus. An unbeliever has no amount

of sin that he can commit that will send him any more to hell that he already in

(unless you get into degrees of hell which is a whole other issue. I’m speaking

here of hell in general) and there is no amount of good that he can do that will

get him or her to heaven. The only defining thing that sends you heaven or hell

is Jesus. Sin is probably best defined, at least in terms of action, as missing

the mark.

Now, with that being said, does the Bible say anything about masturbation? It

does. But it never condemns it, but it never extols it either. Therefore, I

may humbly offer, that it cannot be argued that the act of masturbation, in and

of itself, is sin. As I have said before and earlier, if you believe that it is

wrong for you to masturbate or that you should abstain from masturbation because

God wants you to that you should not masturbate. To do so would be a sin

against God.

With all that being said, I’ve never believed that the biblical admonition

against laying stumbling blocks before others and the admonition of the weaker

brother was complete in and of itself. When balance with other passages of

Scripture, it is clear that the purpose is not for the brother to remain weak,

but rather for him to grow strong. This has nothing to do with masturbation,

per se. You could apply this to all areas of spiritual growth. You may stumble

over the issue of, let’s say stealing. You may avoid grocery or department

stores because the temptation is too much. But sooner or later, you got to eat

and buy clothes. Too often, we want to throw out a “biblical” admonition against

stores when the Bible does not draw the line at going to a store, it draws it at

stealing. For myself, it was a wonderful liberating moment when I realized that

I could stand on what the Word of God said, realizing that God said what he said for a reason, and it could be, that he did not say some things for a reason. It was God’s will that

I develop a biblical view of sexuality. Stronger brothers do not need to add to

the Scriptures in order to justify their behavior. They simply stand on

Scripure alone (Sola Scriptura).

God knows that I’ve got a long way to go, but I know that I’m stronger than I

was ten years ago when I became a Christian.

Sola Gratia,

Sola Scriptura,

Soli Deo Gloria!

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