The Elephant in the Sanctuary – Part 1‏

Posted on January 24, 2013


Sexual SinAuthor: Andrew Kerbs

There is no issue so scarcely talked about in the church, nor is there an issue that has claimed more casualties. It is a silent, cancerous killer, and I believe it is one of the devil’s primary means of ensnaring, emasculating, and incapacitating men. Truly, the devil is a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour, yet in our everyday lives we treat such warnings as fables.

Whether we talk about the issue of sexual sin in the church or not, it exists. It is indeed an elephant in the sanctuary. It is an ever-present reality that has shamed countless men into quiet resignation and despair, which has torn apart the hearts of many wives, and left far too many children in the ruins of a divided family. Yet we do not speak of it!

Oh, we do speak of it amongst ourselves. In the hallways or in the fellowship hall after potluck one member may say to another, “Did you hear about Elder so-and-so’s affair?” Together they will shake their heads, say they ought to pray for him and his family, and then move on. What about the months leading up to the unnamed elder’s fall? What about his past years in the church? Sure there were health seminars, prophecy series, and perhaps a class or two on witnessing. But what significance does healthful diet have on a man who is spiritually in the fight of his life? Understanding the prophecies is fine and good, but what about the man who is still struggling to simply keep his eyes to himself? And how can a man witness of God when he himself is caught in the thralldom of internet pornography? It is paradoxical for a man to witness of a Savior who he himself is still desperately yearning to find!

Do not get me wrong. Health, prophecy, and witnessing seminars are all excellent and necessary and should be maintained and emphasized within the church. What I am pointing out is that there is a vast and growing need within our church for those dealing with sexual sin. Thus far, this need has not been adequately met. That is the premise of this article—not to necessarily provide answers on how to overcome sexual sin as for that I am by no means qualified. Rather I aim to address the need in our church for resources and programs to help those who are seeking freedom from their sexual sin.

Because of the nature of the sin, it is naturally stigmatized within the church. Thus it is not talked about. Not talking about it does little to alleviate its existence. Any medical professional will confirm that when a wound is bandaged that the dressing must be periodically changed. If the dressing is not removed, the wound cleaned, and new dressing applied, the wound will only fester. If this is allowed to proceed unchecked, eventually the wound can become gangrenous, and the limb may very well need amputated.

This simple fact transcends the medical world, reaching far beyond into the spiritual. When we find ourselves confronted with an issue as pervasive as sexual sin, the answer is not to keep it hidden. As the wound is never acknowledged, cleansed, and allowed to heal, it will only fester, all to the detriment of its victim. Eventually, if nothing is done, the wound will be his death.

The Bible speaks frankly about sexual sin.

  • Matthew 5:28 – “But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
  • 1 Corinthians 6:18 – “Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is out the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body.”
  • 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5, 7 – “For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God…For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness.”
  • Galatians 5:16, 19 – “I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh…Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness…”

Did you know that more than half of the books of the New Testament warn against sexual sin? For it to be a front-and-center issue in the apostolic church, would it not still be an issue in the twenty-first century church? Yet we speak so little about it.

The Elephant in the Sanctuary – Part 2

Posted in: Addictions, Sexuality