Five Reasons Josh Duggar and Other Christian men fall into sexual immorality

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In my first post on Josh Duggar and his sexually immoral behavior, we talked about how God can forgive him and restore him if he has truly confessed his sin and sought the Lord’s forgiveness. We as the body of Christ need to be ready to receive him. In this post though I want to go back and look at what may have been the sources for Josh Duggar’s wrong decisions and ultimately sinful behavior.

This is in NO WAY meant as a judgment on Josh Duggar – God is his judge I am not.   I think if you read this post in its entirety you will see I am not approaching this in some “holier than thou” attitude, but rather I am approaching this with the attitude that all of us a Christian men could fall into this sin if we don’t learn from the mistakes of Josh Duggar.

God hold’s every person accountable for the decisions they make, even if those decisions may have been influenced by the actions or teachings of others. Having said that – nothing happens in a vacuum and I want to look at some things that may have influenced Josh Duggar’s wrong thought processes that ultimately lead him into the sinful situation in which he found himself.

Josh Duggar’s parents had a huge impact on his thought processes about sex

It is good and right for the Duggars and other Christians to stand up for marriage, and to stand against things that God calls immoral like sex outside of marriage and gay marriage. It is also good for Christian parents to try and protect their children from having sex outside of marriage by making sure when they are courting or dating that there are always other people around.

But where the Duggars and so many other Christians fail their children is in the fact that they teach their children to suppress their God given sexuality, rather than channel it in healthy ways that do not violate God’s law.

I use this illustration a lot. Let’s say you have a river running through the middle of a small town. Sometimes when you have bad rains, or in high water years it spills over into the town causing damage to the surrounding structures.

You could build some river walls along the river to the highest height it might go or perhaps you could even build a dam further upstream to control the water level of the river running through your town. But even a dam has to have release valves or eventually the water will overflow the damn and destroy the town.

The water is symbolic of our sexuality. The sea walls and the dam are symbolic of God’s law. Our sexuality is like water, it is a wonderful gift from God. But just as water can be a blessing in measured amounts but a curse when it is uncontrolled, so too our sexuality can be a blessing when channeled, but a curse when it is unbridled. God’s laws about how we may exercise our sexuality are for our own protection and also to fulfill his spiritual and temporal purposes for sex.

I realize both men and women come to sexuality from different positions, but for this conversation we are going to tackle this from the perspective of male sexuality.

As Christian parents we should never tell our sons that they are wrong for having sexual thoughts about girls or wondering what girls look like naked. This is NOT part of their sin nature, but rather by the design of God.

We should not be discouraging our sons from using the natural release valve that God has given them for their sexuality – which is masturbation. Just like that dam needs to release pressure, so too young people need to release sexual tension through masturbation.

There is absolutely no scriptural prohibition against masturbation and contrary to popular belief the Bible is not silent on masturbation. The Bible actually recognizes that masturbation will need to occur at certain points and it regulates the cleanup of masturbation in the cleanliness laws of Israel.   Check out Leviticus 15:16 – 18 where the first part is talking about a man having an emission of semen (and it’s not limited to a nocturnal emission as in Deuteronomy 23:10), then it talks about a man having an emission of semen in the act of sexual intercourse as a separate act.

Besides the fact that there is really no difference between nocturnal emissions and masturbation. A man has a nocturnal emission when he sleeps and has sexual dream. Many Christian’s have falsely taught that nocturnal emissions happen with no sexual dreaming and that is patently false. We as men will dream sexual thoughts whether we want to or not – it is by the design of God.

Josh Duggar like many Christian young people today was taught that he had to suppress his sexuality until he was married, rather than channeling it healthy ways such as masturbation. When people suppress their emotions eventually they end up acting on them in unhealthy ways and sometimes sinful ways. It no different when it comes to someone attempting to suppress their sexuality – eventually they will end up acting on it in unhealthy and sinful ways.

What will Josh be taught in rehab?

Josh Duggar has checked himself into a Reformers Unanimous Christian facility. This is actually a nationwide program that many churches use to help people deal with all types of addictions – including sexual addiction. But I am not confident that this program will work Josh, as it has not always worked for other men. I am familiar with some of their teachings as some of the Churches in the area I live host some of their programs.

This is what Josh Duggar will be taught in this program:

“If you look at any woman beside your wife and find yourself becoming aroused by her beauty or you begin to wonder what she looks like naked you need to quickly turn away or the pleasure you receive from looking at her becomes a sinful and lustful thought.

If you find yourself having any sexual imagination or sexual fantasy about any other woman than your wife you are having lustful thoughts – you need to immediately confess that sin to God and turn from those thoughts.”

Josh will be taught that God’s original intention for man in the Garden of Eden was for him to only have sexual thoughts toward a woman once he was married to her. He will be taught that God originally designed men to have a monogamous sexual nature and that their sexual desire was intended to be focused on one woman for the entirety of their lives.

He will be taught that because sin entered the world – man’s sexual nature was corrupted from a monogamous nature into a polygamous nature. He will be taught that it is the corruption of his sinful nature that causes him to desire to look at any other woman, or have sexual fantasies about any other woman than his wife.

These are two common verse of Scripture that are used in these types of Christian sexual addiction programs:

“Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” – Matthew 5:27-28 (KJV)

“But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” – James 1:14-15 (KJV)

Josh will be taught that the root of his problem was his own lustful desire to look at other women and take pleasure from their feminine form. Then that lead to him having sexual fantasies. His sexual fantasies then lead to him going online looking to meet up with women to have sex and eventually he found some women and had sex with them.

He will be taught that the root of all his sin was him not learning to suppress his sinful desire to look at any other woman but his wife.

Lust is not sexual arousal or sexual fantasy

The first mistake that almost every Church and Christian sexual recovery program makes is in teaching an unbiblical (yet traditional) definition of lust. They define lust as a man having sexual thoughts about a woman, instead of the letting the Bible define what it is. In fact in most Christian Churches and sexual recovery programs they will give every verse on lust except this one:

“What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.” – Romans 7:7 (KJV)

This verse is conveniently left out, because the Church wants to make lust into a separate category than covetousness. Covetousness is the desire to actually take possession of something or someone that you have not right to possess. God addresses this in the Ten Commandments:

“Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.” – Exodus 20:10 (KJV)

The Pharisees only looked at outward actions and not the thoughts of the heart that proceeded those actions.   This is why Christ was reminding them that covetous thoughts can proceed adultery, just as in other passages Christ shows that hateful thoughts can proceed murder. God does not just condemn sinful actions – he condemns the sinful thoughts that may or may not proceed sinful actions.

You can’t fight sexual addiction without targeting the real enemy

So where these Christian programs often fail, and even many secular programs fail is in attacking the wrong source of sexual sin.

Make no mistake, sexual addiction and sexual promiscuity are problems that we must tackle as Christians.

But the enemy is NOT our sexuality, but rather it is our addictive and compulsive behavior.

We don’t tell food addicts that food is their enemy, but rather their addictive and compulsive behavior toward food and the same concept applies to our God given sexuality.

Men have visual and polygynous sexual natures whether we want to admit it or not

Josh Duggar like many other men has a very high sex drive and natural need for variety. And by variety I mean a variety of women.

“the average man’s brain is sexually stimulated by visual cues and is built for variety…

Using functional MRI scans, researchers examined the brains of young men as they looked at pictures of beautiful women. They found that feminine beauty affects a man’s brain at a very primal level – similar to what a hungry person gets from a good meal or addict gets from a fix. One of the researchers said, “This is hard core circuitry. This is not a conditioned response.” Another concluded, “Men apparently cannot do anything about their pleasurable feelings [in the presence of beauty]”

Dr. Walt Larimore, MD – pg. 99 “His Brain, Her Brain”

Dr. Walt Lairmore (a Christian physician) stopped short of coming to the conclusion that we know is true from looking at the Bible as well as men from a mental and physical perspective. Men are wired to seek out a variety of women, men are wired to be polygynous (to be a husband to multiple wives).

But because the Roman Empire passed laws that over several centuries greatly diminished the practice of polygamy and enshrined monogamous marriage in Western culture we have the situation where we force polygynous men into monogamous marriages.

In essence when we ask a man to vow to only love one woman, and only have sex with one woman we are asking him to vow to suppress his natural God given desire to have multiple wives. Most men except for the few that have the gift of celibacy have polygynous natures whether they consciously realize it or not.

Some Christian husbands will take offense at what I just said and say “I only love my wife and I have and have never had any desire to take another wife”. But the truth is in most cases these husbands are simply lying to themselves and they have spent so many years telling themselves this because this is what their church and the female side of our society expects from men.

Other Christian men recognize their polygynous desires but they dismiss these desires as a corruption of their God given male nature – in essence they are convinced this is part of their sinful nature or they are trained to by Christian sexual recovery programs like the one Josh Duggar is currently attending to believe this. So they spend their entire lives asking God to forgive them anytime they are aroused by another woman or wonder what another woman beside their wife looks like naked. Every time they have a sexual fantasy or dream they are asking God to forgive them, in essence they live in a perpetual state of war not with their sinful nature, but with their God given sexual nature.

Five reasons Josh Duggar could have fell into sexual immorality

Josh Duggar is not the first Christian husband to watch porn and masturbate and then get on dating sites and finally meet up with women to have sex. To say this same scenario has occurred with thousands of other men or even more would be an understatement.

Here are five reasons Josh Duggar and so many others Christian husbands fall into this type of sexual immorality.

They allowed their sexuality to dominate and overpower their lives, rather than controlling and channeling their sexuality within the bounds of God’s law and design.

“All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.” – I Corinthians 6:12 (KJV)

Many Christian men rather than controlling and channeling their God given male sexuality – have allowed it to overpower them and control their life. The results of unbridled and uncontrolled sexuality are on display before us in what happened to Josh Duggar.

They allowed their normal visual sexual arousal and imagination to turn into covetousness

Again there is not one passage of the Bible that condemns a man’s visual arousal or sexual imagination. Not one. But what can happen is men can allow that natural visual arousal and imagination to turn into covetous thoughts as we see happened with Josh Duggar.

They allowed their faulty view of their own sexuality to rationalize their sin

I can’t tell you how often I get accused by my fellow conservative Christians of rationalizing sin because of my teachings (based on the Bible) about polygamy, lust and sexuality. But the real rationalizing of sexual sin goes something like this.

Because most Christian Churches and sexual addiction programs teach that a man is committing mental adultery by watching porn or being sexually aroused by any kind of female imagery many Christian men rationalize – “If I am already committing adultery by viewing porn, I might as well do the real thing and have sex with an actual woman instead of just imagining it”.

So in essence the false interpretation of Matthew 5:28 that they have been taught actually promotes sin rather than discouraging it. Christ was saying in Matthew 5:28 if a man looks on a woman “to lust after her” – to covet her (to think about how he would might take possession of her) then he has committed adultery with her in his heart. He was not condemning sexual arousal and sexual imagination as these are part of his natural design of male sexuality.

They allowed their natural polygynous nature to be corrupted into a promiscuous nature

As I mentioned previously God has created men as naturally polygynous creatures, but our sin nature wants to corrupt our God given polygynous nature into a promiscuous nature.

Even in the ancient times of the Bible not every man was able to act on his polygynous nature. For the most part only wealthier men were able to act on their polygynous natures by having more than one wife. Many less wealthy men were fortunate if they could have even one wife. Often poor men or men that were slaves were not able to have wives at all.

But what happens often is when men find themselves frustrated by not being able to find a wife, or even men that have wives desiring more wives they turn to promiscuous activities like going to prostitutes or whorish women.

Because their wives have sexually denied them

Some men because their wives sexually deny, or severely restrict how often or what ways they may have sex feel justified in seeking sex with other women. In their hurt and frustration they act out in sinful ways. But one sin never justifies another. Just as a woman does not have the right to deny her husband sex because of sinful things he might be doing, in the same way a husband does not have the right to go out and have sex with other women because his wife is sexually denying him or not fully giving herself sexually to him. We don’t know if Josh’s wife was sexually denying him, but even she was this does not justify him going out and having sex with other women.

So what is the answer for Christian men like Josh Duggar?

Let me just reiterate when I say “Christian men like Josh Duggar” I am not singling him out in any way trying to say he is some rare case – the only difference is that he was public figure.   All of us as Christian men should have the sixteenth century reformer John Bradford’s attitude toward Josh Duggar’s sin – “there but for the grace of God go I”.

Here are six ways we as Christian men can avoid falling into the same sexual immorality that Josh Duggar did:

We must hide God’s Word in our heart

“Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” – Psalm 119:11 (KJV)

We can’t distinguish between our sinful nature and the nature God designed us with without knowing God’s Word. God’s Word is the “Cannon” or measure by which we must judge our actions.

We must take every thought captive to Christ

“Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;” – II Corinthians 10:5 (KJV)

Any thought that we have we run through the filter of Christ and his Word.   Oh and for those who always ask me “Would Christ allow himself to have sexual thoughts about a woman” – Christ had the gift of celibacy rather than the gift of sexuality. It would have gone against his mission from God to be married (despite conspiracy theories to the contrary).

Accept our male sexual nature

As Christian men we must accept our male nature (including our sexual nature) as God designed it. Our fight is against our sin nature, not our male nature.

We must fight against sexual excess

We cannot allow ourselves to be over-powered by our own male sexuality.  Satan wants to take a good thing God created – our sexuality – and turn it against us to destroy our families and our lives. We should not suppress our sexuality, but at the same time we must channel it to experience it within the bounds of God’s law.

We must fight against covetousness

We must fight against our flesh that wants to take our normal sexual desires, our visual sexual arousal and our imagination(all which are gifts from God) and turn them into covetous thoughts which eventually could lead us into fornication or adultery.

We must depend on God’s strength

We cannot fight against the sinful desires of flesh in our own strength or will power we can only fight our flesh with the help of the power of God.

“But be not thou far from me, O Lord: O my strength, haste thee to help me.” – Psalm 22:19 (KJV)

Josh Duggar PhotoSource: https://www.flickr.com/photos/96024429@N00/17781684170/in/photostream/

JimBob and Michelle Duggar PhotoSource: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/3c/Jim_Bob_%26_Michelle_Duggar.jpg

 

In Defense of Josh Duggar

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I had an initial reaction to the story of Josh Duggar having an Ashley Madison account last week but I wanted to wait for more details and really collect my thoughts on this. There is so much I have to say on this that I will need to divide into several articles. In this first one we will deal with “the apology”.

As most people expected after the announcement of his Ashley Madison account Josh Duggar admitted to cheating on his wife. So far one porn star has come out admitting to having sex with him while his wife was pregnant.

John Duggar himself made these admissions:

“I have been the biggest hypocrite ever. While espousing faith and family values, I have secretly over the last several years been viewing pornography on the internet and this became a secret addiction and I became unfaithful to my wife,” he wrote. “I am so ashamed of the double life that I have been living and am grieved for the hurt, pain and disgrace my sin has caused my wife and family, and most of all Jesus and all those who profess faith in Him.”

Those who are enemies of the Christian faith and the Christian morals that Josh Duggar and his whole family espouse are rejoicing in his failings while at the same time disparaging his wife for supporting him and not immediately filing for divorce.

I support the Duggar family – Josh’s family as well as his extended family including his parents and I am praying for them during this dark hour.

A mistake that many non-believers and even some Christians make is to think that just because we believe in God’s law, his ways and his standards that somehow we will never fall short or fail to live up to those standards.

We as believers fail to live up to God’s Word each and every day of our lives and that is why we need his forgiveness each day.

And make no mistake – If Josh has truly sought God’s forgiveness – grieving over his sin –God has already forgiven him. What may take longer is for his wife to forgive him and really for him to forgive himself.

Who does Josh Duggar really owe an apology to?

While Josh feels he has to apologize to his wife, his children, his family and the whole world I am going to refer to another high profile occurrence of adultery that occurred in the Bible and the prayer admission of sin and request for forgiveness that was offered by that man:

“Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.

Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.

For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.

Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.

Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me. Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.

Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities.

Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.

Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.

Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.

Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.”

Psalm 51:1-13 (KJV)

The key verse in this as to whom forgiveness is sought from is found in Psalm 51:4:

“Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight”

King David when he committed adultery with Bathsheba didn’t go running around to each of his wives (he had several other wives) and apologize to them for “cheating on them”.

King David didn’t go apologize to his children.

King David didn’t go apologize to country men, he made no proclamation to Israel telling them how he had let them all down.

King David apologized to God. I believe if King David had not had Bathsheba’s husband killed – he would have owed him an apology as well for violating his wife. But since Uriah was already dead – King David really only did owe God an apology. You can see his full admission of guilt, and his request for the Lord to restore him.

In fact King David says something here that might shock us today in light of Josh Duggar’s actions – in verse 13 he says this:

“Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.”

Wow! He is asking God to forgive him – so he can get back to teaching the people God’s ways. God did not say to David – “Ok now after committing adultery with Bathsheba and having her husband killed, you need to go hide in some deep dark place and never speak in my name again”. No God forgave David! He restored him. David ended up writing some of the most beautiful passages of Scripture in the Psalms that mankind has ever seen!

Doesn’t Josh owe his wife an apology for cheating on her?

The reason that David did not owe his wives an apology for his sin with Bathsheba is because the vows he made to them were very different. The most common vow that a Jewish husband made to his wife when they married was “food, clothing and bed”. This was based on Moses command in Exodus 21:10-11.

There was not a vow that he would love them only and no other woman, or that he would never have sexual relations with another woman.

David’s sin was the sin of adultery but it was adultery against God and Uriah (the husband of Bathsheba). Biblically speaking adultery was a property crime against the husband of the wife a man had sex with. The most literal meaning of adultery in the Old Testament and New Testament is “a man having sex with another man’s wife” – it always has at its center a married woman. In the New Testament Christ expanded the definition of adultery saying that a man committed adultery against his wife when divorced her for reasons that God does not allow. So in essence he dishonors her, and causes her to dishonor herself (when she marries another man) if he divorces her without a proper cause that God allows for.

But in the case of Josh Duggar’s wife Anna – he does owe her an apology because of the fact that he took our modern vows of monogamous marriage. He vowed not to love or have sex with any other woman but Anna and he broke that vow, thus he owes his wife an apology for breaking it and I am sure that he has already apologized and asked for her forgiveness for breaking those vows.

If Josh was still working for the organization he was with where I am sure he signed a morality clause then he might have owed them an apology for breaking that clause and bringing shame on their organization.

But my point in this is – I don’t think Josh needs to run around apologizing to the whole world for what he did. He has sought God’s forgiveness, his wife’s forgiveness and that is all the apologies that he owes.

The Consequences of Sin

While it is true that God forgave David and restored him his sin had some consequences. God spoke these consequences through the prophet Nathan:

“Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house; because thou hast despised me, and hast taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be thy wife… Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house; because thou hast despised me, and hast taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be thy wife.

Thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbour, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun.

For thou didst it secretly: but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun.

And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the Lord. And Nathan said unto David, The Lord also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die.

Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die.”

II Samuel 12:10-14 (KJV)

Josh Duggar shut down his Ashley Madison account back in May. But just like with King David’s sin, God saw fit to reveal what Josh Duggar did and God shamed him before the world, as he did King David. If Josh had not lost his job over the previous scandal he certainly would have lost it over this.

If Josh were a Pastor or a Deacon he would have forfeited his position because of the requirement that a Pastor “must be blameless” or above reproach.

Josh has certainly lost the respect of many people because of this. He may even loose his marriage because of this.

Conclusion

So what am I defending about Josh Duggar? I certainly am not defending him seeking out women to have sex with on AshleyMadison.com. I am not defending that he slept with at least one woman that we know of and there may be more revealed in the future.

What I am defending about Josh Duggar is his faith and his God. I am defending the Scriptures which he spoke and the stands for traditional marriage and against gay marriage that he took. God’s Word is just as true today as it was before this scandal broke. I am defending the concept of God’s forgiveness and how it applies to ALL sin – even sexual sin.

There is no question that Josh Duggar sinned against God. But he does not owe you or me an apology. He needs to admit his sin and seek God’s forgiveness (which I think he has already done).

God says in his Word:

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” – I John 1:9 (KJV)

He needs to apologize to his wife for breaking his vow of monogamous marriage and she needs to forgive him as Christ commands us all to do:

“For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” – Matthew 6:14-15 (KJV)

But if she forgives as God would have her – does that mean she stays with him and does not divorce him? That is a larger question. See my post “Does God allow divorce for Adultery” for a larger discussion on that topic.

This sin committed by Josh Duggar does not have to mean his life is over with or that he needs to hide in some deep dark hole for the rest of his life. It does not mean he can’t tell others about Christ, or teach his children and others about God and his ways just as King David continued to do after he committed adultery with Bathsheba.   While his actions would disqualify him from a leadership position (Pastor or Deacon) in a church, it does not disqualify him from continuing to serve Christ in other ways.

The story of King David tells us two things that relate to Josh Duggar’s sin. The first is that Good men, great men of God have committed sexual immorality. The second is that when they acknowledged their sin before God he restored them and if God forgives and restores Josh Duggar we have no right as the body of Christ to ostracize our brother in Christ.

Photo Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/96024429@N00/17966165892/in/photostream/