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IFB Pastor James Melton on Safe Sex and Wicked Fornicators

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James Melton is the pastor of Bible Baptist Church, an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) church in Sharon, Tennessee. The Christian Nightmares website made me aware of a tract written by Melton titled Safe Sex. Melton, because he can read and understand the King James Version of the Bible, considers himself a “sexpert.” According to Melton, “No one is more qualified to speak on the subject of safe sex than God Himself.”

Really? What does God really know about sex or “safe” sex? Only the second person in the Trinity, Jesus, was human, so only he could have had sex. Did Jesus, an unmarried man, have sex? I am sure that Melton would say, ABSOLUTELY NOT! We do have the curious case of the Holy Spirit, a Ghost, an incorporeal entity, impregnating a virgin by the name of Mary. According to the Bible, this is the only reference to any part of the Godhead having sex. And even here, did not the Holy Spirit commit fornication, having sex with a woman he was not married to? (As one commenter said, the Holy Spirit actually raped Mary, having sex with her without her consent.)

Melton likens having sex to buying a gun:

Picture, if you will, a man who purchases a gun. By law, this man has done nothing wrong in purchasing a gun. He is allowed to have a gun, and he is allowed to shoot the gun as long as he does so in a safe manner. However, he is not allowed to harm anyone with the gun or even threaten to do so. If he does, then he has abused his free privilege, and he will be punished. Rather than use the gun for legal purposes, he chooses to use it illegally, so he must pay for his crime. Even if the judicial system fails to punish him, people with common sense still know that he is a criminal and he deserves to be punished.

Sex works the same way. There is nothing wrong with a person enjoying sexual activity. God made us to desire sexual gratification, and He doesn’t frown upon us when we fulfill this desire His way, according to His word. However, when we ignore God’s laws and practice our own sexual preferences, we become criminals in God’s sight, and punishment will surely follow. Even when the sexperts say, “Use protection and you’ll be okay,” God never said it, and you will not be protected from His wrath. “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” (Gal. 6:7)

Let’s see, why am I permitted to purchase and own a gun? State and Federal law determine whether I am permitted to buy and own a firearm. If I do not meet the criteria, then it is not legal for me to purchase and own a gun. Now imagine if I went to the gun store and the dealer, as he was explaining to me what the law said about firearm purchase and ownership, he opened up a King James Bible and said, right here in God’s Holy Word it says __________________. Does the Bible have any authority when it comes to purchasing and owning a gun? As Pastor Melton, hypothetically said earlier, ABSOLUTELY NOT!

Melton does the equivalent when he interjects the Bible into a discussion about sex. State and Federal law determine who may legally have sex. We rightly protect children from having sex and we punish adults who manipulate teenagers so they will have sex with the former. We have ages of consent and sexual assault and rape laws. At one time, we had laws criminalizing adultery, fornication, and sodomy. While some states still have these laws on their books, thanks to the Courts, such laws are not enforceable. While Melton is free to believe and practice the moral strictures of the Bible, and through strong-arm preaching get others to also do so, the Bible is no authority when it comes to sex. No one can be criminally punished or imprisoned for disobeying what the Bible says about sex.

Melton has harsh words for those who cohabit without being married:

…This is just a sinful grown-up way of “playing house.”   A couple who lives together without marriage is a couple who has become habitual and irresponsible fornicators. She thinks he’s a wonderful man, yet he’s such a coward he can’t even ask her to be his wife. He thinks she’s a fine lady, yet she’s nothing more than a cheap prostitute who allows herself to be used for his sexual gratification in exchange for what seems to be a stable and secure home life. This make-believe game may fool people, but it doesn’t fool God. This is a sin, and it will be punished! God didn’t change His law just because someone started acting like married people. Either you are married or you are not married. If you are not married, yet you have sexual relations, then you are a wicked fornicator…

I am shocked by Melton’s liberal, Bible-denying view. While he calls a sexually active, cohabiting, unmarried woman a cheap prostitute and the couple, wicked fornicators, he doesn’t use the word whoremonger one time. So disappointed.

IFB preachers like Melton are fighting a losing battle when it comes to sex. Far stronger than the Holy Spirit or the outrage of the preacher is the human desire for sexual intimacy. While there are certainly many good reasons for waiting to have sex, the fact is,  most people don’t. Rather than shaming people for indulging their sexual desire, Melton’s church would be better served if he taught them how to responsibly handle their sexuality. Instead of threatening punishment from God for any sexual activity outside of heterosexual marriage, wouldn’t it be better to educate teenagers and young adults about birth control, sexually transmitted diseases, and when it is “right” to have sex? Instead, Melton preaches the Puritanical IFB gospel of NO!

I get it, it IS in the Bible, but we are thousands of years removed from the writing of the Bible. It is NOT a timeless book of absolute moral instruction. Take, for example, masturbation. Many IFB preachers still preach against masturbation. It’s considered fornication with self. How boring, eh? We now know that masturbation is a good way to release sexual tension. It won’t make you blind nor will it make you sterile. Imagine how relieved the purity-ring-wearing teens in Baptist youth groups would be if they hear their pastors compassionately and honestly tell them that it is normal and healthy to masturbate. No shame, no guilt; just a wonderful THANK YOU JESUS release of sexual tension.

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Bruce Gerencser, 64, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 43 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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13 Comments

  1. Avatar
    Lynn123

    I think all the dramatic sin talk messes up the discussion. I can’t think of the right adjective, but I do think there is something lost by women and men when they choose living together over marriage.

    • Avatar
      Brian Vanderlip

      Sure, Lynn123, there is something lost in both arrangements depending on the individuals involved. As marriages fracture at a fairly high rate, how do you think that people feel when they realize they have a need to separate and carry on alone? Did they lie in their vows? I think not. The point for me is not the rule of marriage vows but relationship! Living together in a loving relationship that endures is better than arrying and getting divorced, isn’t it? Or do you feel that you must lie forever in the bed you make? Why not consider the human relationship involved in this matter? Why not be honest instead of spouting nonsense about forevers and to death do us part!

  2. Avatar
    Troy

    It says on the door of the van, “Donations Accepted Please give to driver 10% tithe your pastor lied.”
    While figuring them out is sometimes hard, what do you suppose the pastor lied thing means?

    • Avatar
      Brian

      Troy, I felt the door message was saying that the driver KNOWS the correct percentage of your required donations according to the holy word and that preachers who suggest 8 percent or whatever is okay, are treading down that slippery slope to devil worship… Give a full ten percent, as required by woo-woo…

  3. Avatar
    Brian

    Hi Lynn123, Yours is a good way of saying it. Something lost but that something not really able to be expressed…. That might be because it is the king wearing no clothes… Once you leave the ‘belief’ behind there is something missing. For me, it was the beginning of a life that I knew finally was my own.
    I would be very grateful if you would state “dramatic sin talk” in other terms for me, non-drama let’s say or plain English. I think the wild extremes of belief are very human boils and I believe the Bible is the evidence for that….

  4. Avatar
    Scott

    When it comes to sex, conservative Christianity was losing the battle before they even started the fight. Records for many years, decades and even centuries back show about a 3rd of brides pregnant when they got married. It continues to amaze me that people like Melton want the government enforcing their sexual mores. Christianity needs to declare the war over the sexual revolution over and accept what is going on. Their current war against gays will show just how out of touch they are.

    Sex is a natural part of humanity and trying to exert ridged controls on never work. The best things we can do is find guidelines that help people and exert the least amount of shame, stupidity and control. I still don’t grasp why they are against basic pragmatic sex education and contraception. It boggles my mind.

  5. Avatar
    Charles

    I have only one correction for you Bruce. In Tennessee, it is not “God.” It is “Gawd.” Now, if you go to Georgia and list to Charles Stanley preach, you will quickly learn that the deity is some character named “Gyod” who I suppose must have a new—-you guessed it—“Cyah.” And what kind of Cyah is it:

  6. Avatar
    Brian Vanderlip

    Hey BJW, the almighty murdered his own son too…. Quite an invention, that Gawd above but necessary, I guess, for humanity to continue crawling out of the cave. I like to think of Christianity as not entirely wrong but a peeling of the onion. Science is a good example. It proposes and tests and allows a thesis to stand as true until it becomes known to lack something, to be not-as-true-as……., let’s say. Science does not say worship at my altar, give me your children and so on. Christianity could use some Science lessons, a bit of the humility built into the method instead for fire and brimstone, hatred of others. sick self-harm.

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Bruce Gerencser