Friday, September 11, 2009

A Surprising Admission!

I was fascinated that my email “debate” with Bob about nude baptism generated more response than anything else I had written to date!

That made me think about posting another dialogue I had with the “Answer-Man” from another Christian site. At the site, GotQuestions?org, there is a page which addresses the following question:

Can a Christian be a nudist? What does the Bible say about nudity?

I read the article, of course, and found that it was not convincing. So I wrote to them about it. The discussion that ensued is included below.

The interplay requires a little bit of contextual explanation here because I chose a different approach when I first started the conversation. Let me explain:

Instead of simply challenging him as his opponent, I only referred to myself in the 3rd person. I did not just try to point out all of the weaknesses in his argument, I simply told him that I didn’t think his argument would convince a brother who was a naturist, and I asked him if he could make his case any stronger.

In truth, I was actually representing myself as I was while investigating the issue before I became a naturist. I honestly wanted to know if his case against social nudity could be made stronger, so I gave him the chance to do that proactively, rather than challenging him point by point so that his response would be reactive instead.

The result was that he did not argue with me as with an “enemy,” but rather he treated me as a friend, for he assumed that I agreed with him, and that I was only facing the challenge from another brother.

I believe that this engendered a greater degree of honesty in his responses to me than he would have afforded me had I revealed that I was the Christian Naturist that I was referring to.

I also used a different name, but I have replaced it with “Matthew” for its publication here in the Blog.

Again, this is a long post, but I didn’t want to put all the emails in separate posts. Like the last one, I’ve tried to format it so that it’s easy to follow. The legend is as follows:


Blue = My words.
Red=His words.
Black = quotations from external sources

Can a Christian be a nudist? What does the Bible say about nudity?


Here is what I wrote in my first email:

I just read the following article:

Can a Christian be a nudist? What does the Bible say about nudity?

I found your answers to be too weak to convince a brother who believes that it is not biblically wrong for a Christian to be a nudist.

Allow me to share with you what his response would be to your statements:

Answer: There is nothing essentially sinful about nudity (Genesis 2:25). Adam and Eve did not realize they were naked until after the Fall (Genesis 3:7-11). Before the Fall, they were naked, and it was good (Genesis 1:31).

To all of this, he would agree

Sin is what caused nakedness to become a problem. Sin introduced lust, immorality, and perversion into the human race.

Again, to this he would essentially agree. But he does not believe that sin made nakedness evil, only that sin perverted the way mankind sometimes views nakedness. He would note however, that sexual “lust, immorality and perversion” are not found in the account of the Fall at all.

As a result, we can no longer look at a nude person of the opposite sex in a pure manner.


This he would claim is absolutely false. Otherwise, it would be impossible for godly Christian doctors to serve their patients. It would also mean that men could not bathe or care for their daughters and women could not bathe and care for their sons. In like manner, no one could care for aging and debilitated parents of the opposite gender.

He would claim that if doctors can live above such a response, anyone can.

How would you answer him?

God made clothing for Adam and Eve to resolve this problem (Genesis 3:21).

This brother would point out that this claim is without any basis in the text. He correctly points out that God did not tell us why He gave Adam and Eve clothing. And since lust is nowhere in the context, he would see your assertion as eisegesis.

If God approved of nakedness, He would have simply told them that being naked was okay, and they did not need to feel embarrassed or ashamed.

This man would find this statement very presumptive, declaring to know what God would or would not do. Furthermore, if God had made such a statement, we would conclude that nudity was a sign of righteousness, which it is not. He believes that God is neutral about nudity and therefore did not express intent one way or the other.

The fact that God clothed Adam and Eve indicates that God expects us to be clothed.

This brother points out that if this were the case, then it must also be concluded that God does not intend for husbands and wives to be naked with each other, for that is the context in which God gave this “command.” If husband/wife are to be excluded from a clothing requirement, then the exclusion is missing. But above all, he would point out that there is no command given, and a simple narrative cannot be considered an imperative.

Nude beaches, nudist colonies, and all other forms of public nudity are not honoring to God. A Christian should definitely not be involved in nudist “activities.”

These concluding statements, of course, are based upon all your assertions made up to this point. If the assertions are weak or invalid, then of course, the conclusion cannot be trusted either.

Can you make any stronger case than that which you’ve provided?

Thank you for you time.

Matthew

I quickly received the following response:


Answered by: Shane

Answer: Matthew, you gave me several items that your friend would claim we are not interpreting Scripture correctly, but you did not tell us how He would interpret those passages, without eisegesis. If we are reading them incorrectly, your friend needs to give us his alternate explanation and understanding. He can’t just say “You’re wrong, that’s eisegesis!” without giving a different interpretation.

My second email



Shane, thank you for your quick response.

I’m sure I could get you his responses directly if you wanted.

I do have an issue with your last statement, however, You said,

“He can’t just say,‘You’re wrong, that’s eisegesis!’ without giving you a different interpretation.”

First of all, I don’t believe that’s true. We all must know how to recognize eisegesis even if we are not yet sure what the correct interpretation of a passage yet is. Wouldn’t you agree? For example, if I’m studying any given passage of Scripture, I have to guard against “reading into” the text anything that isn’t there. Otherwise, I might come to a faulty interpretation. This is important quite independently of -- and prior to -- having another interpretation to compare to.

Secondly, I related to you his objection to your statement about claiming that God provided clothing in order to “resolve” the problem of lust, immorality and perversion when none of those things are mentioned anywhere in the text. That’s his basis for claiming that this is eisegesis, and it’ a point with which I can’t argue. It isn’t in the context at all. I was asking you how you know that is indeed what God was doing.

I have to tell you that when I first ran into a committed and bible-believing Christian who believed that social nudity was not forbidden by God, I thought he was nuts. But when I interacted with what he said, I discovered that here was a brother who loved Jesus Christ as much as I, who loved the truth of God’s Word as much as I, who cared deeply that it be correctly exegeted as I do, and who was honest and careful with exactly what God did and did not say in His Word.

I also quickly discovered that many of the things I had always assumed to be true about the Gen. 1-3 account of the creation and the Fall simply were not found in the text. I found that I could not exegetically defend the position which I had held all my life even to my own satisfaction. This is why I raised the question with you, for your statement basically reflected what I had been raised to believe. Do you have any more exegetical basis for that interpretation than I had?

Perhaps I could boil down my questions to two main queries:

1. How can you be certain that God’s purpose for covering was to address sexual lust, immorality and perversion?

2. On what Scriptural basis can you claim that “we can no longer look at a nude person of the opposite sex in a pure manner”?

Thank you for your attention!

Matthew

His second response:

Matthew,

Before we proceed any further, I’d really like to hear your friend’s answers. You ask, “How can you be certain that God’s purpose for covering was to address sexual lust, immorality and perversion?” I ask, “If not to prevent lust, what was God’s purpose for covering nakedness?”

Also, in regards to doctors examining / operating on a naked person, that is different. There is no comparison between a doctor seeing a person naked in the privacy of an office and a grown man or woman walking around naked in public.

I would also be interested in how your friend views adults appearing nude before children.

I would also be interested in how your friend responds to the fact that most governments outlaw public nudity, and the Bible commands us to obey the government.

Shea

GotQuestions.org

My third email:


Shea (and/or Shane),

Thanks for writing.

I’m sorry to say this, but I’m pretty disappointed in your answer. It sounds to me like you’d rather take shots at someone else’s position than defend reasonable questions against your own.

I’ve always believed that truth is not afraid of an honest challenge. In my opinion, if you do hold the truth, you’re not acting like it. I don’t mean to be harsh, but that is a standard I hold myself to, and I respect it greatly when I see it in others.

Before we proceed any further, I’d really like to hear your friend’s answers. You ask, “How can you be certain that God’s purpose for covering was to address sexual lust, immorality and perversion?” I ask, “If not to prevent lust, what was God’s purpose for covering nakedness?”

Let me answer by showing you why I could not use that approach to defend the position I grew up with.

1. I can’t justify adding “lust, etc.” to the text where it does not appear. By definition, that’s eisegesis. To this point, you still have not shown me why this would be a valid claim. “What else could it be??” is not a valid proof.

2. Your question itself betrays that you believe you already know the answer, for even your question about what the Scripture means adds to what the Scripture says. Let me explain.


Perhaps it’s a fine point, but in truth, your question presumes that God was “covering nakedness” on purpose... as if “nakedness” was the issue. But again, that’s not in the text. It only says “He clothed them.” If I were to examine the Scriptural purposes of clothing, would I find that the only purpose for clothing was to cover the genitals and prevent lust? No, I wouldn’t. So if even the whole body of Scripture offers more than one reason for clothing (warmth seems to be a major theme), why would I have to conclude that in this case, it was only the “lust” factor and not a “warmth” factor? Since neither are mentioned, what basis do we have to claim one is right over the other? So far as I can tell, either explanation might be reasonable, but neither is exegetically mandated.

But you claim that it was for lust without being willing to offer any other Scriptural basis for your claim.

I’m sorry, I can’t be satisfied with that for an argument, and I know that the guy I’ve been talking about wouldn’t respect it, either.

Also, in regards to doctors examining / operating on a naked person, that is different. There is no comparison between a doctor seeing a person naked in the privacy of an office and a grown man or woman walking around naked in public.

But your statement was that “we can no longer look at a nude person of the opposite sex in a pure manner.”

That is not a “qualified” statement. You presented it as if it were incontrovertible. If that statement is true universally, it is true for doctors as well. If it is not true for doctors, then how can it be an adequate basis for declaring moral absolutes? We cannot afford to descend into situational ethics just to preserve what might be actually be a man-made rule, can we?

Does God really have one standard for doctors and another for the rest of the human race? Isn’t that essentially what you are suggesting? Is that biblical? I suppose that if there was a verse that specifically exempted doctors from God’s laws regarding nudity, it would make a stronger case for the assertion that “the rest of us” have to abide by a different standard. If there is such an exemption in the Bible, I’d like to see it.

I would also be interested in how your friend views adults appearing nude before children.

I would also be interested in how your friend responds to the fact that most governments outlaw public nudity, and the Bible commands us to obey the government.

I will let you ask him yourself if you are willing to interact with him personally.

But, honestly, I was asking you to answer my questions in support of your own assertions; I did not write to ask you to tear apart a friend’s. I want to know how you know Scripturally and exegetically that you are correct, not why you think someone else is wrong.

Thank you for your time.

Matthew

His third response:


Matthew,

I am sorry you are disappointed, but you are the one who is trying to get me to answer something. If you want me to answer your question, do you not have to “play by my rules”?

I am in a similar place as you on this issue. I cannot produce an explicit biblically solid case against nakedness. That is why I am asking these questions. I want to know if they can be answered from the nudist’s perspective. “To keep them warm” is just as much “eisegesis” as “to prevent lust.”

Sincerely in Christ,

Shea

GotQuestions.org


Well, there’s an amazingly candid admission! “I cannot produce an explicit biblically solid case against nakedness.” !!!

What is perhaps even more amazing is the fact that while he admitted that reality, he’s still absolutely certain that he knows the mind of God on the matter anyway!

Oh, well... Back to the discourse (I couldn’t help but comment about that... sorry).

My fourth email:



Thank you. This answer was much better!

I am sorry you are disappointed, but you are the one who is trying to get me to answer something. If you want me to answer your question, do you not have to “play by my rules”?

Pardon me, but find a lot of irony in that statement. Your website says this: “GotQuestions?org The Bible has the answers, we’ll find them for you!”

As I see it, your posted “rules” are for me to have a question. Your rule is to “find answers.”

I am in a similar place as you on this issue. I cannot produce an explicit biblically solid case against nakedness.

I really appreciate this honesty.

That is why I am asking these questions.

I appreciate you admitting this, too. I would have appreciated it even more on the first email, however.

I want to know if they can be answered from the nudist’s perspective. “To keep them warm” is just as much “eisegesis” as “to prevent lust.”

The guy I’m talking about would agree that it is “speculation” to suggest that God gave A&E clothing for warmth (since any suggestion is speculation because God didn’t spell it out for us), but he does find basis in the Biblical text itself to reject the “lust” reason and embrace the more mundane “warmth/protection” idea, as you will see below.

(When something is not clear from Scripture, “speculation” says “it’s possible that...” where “eisegesis” just declares, “this is because...”)

Here are his main points on the creation/fall story:

1. God created mankind in His own image. This is a very high honor. The implications of this truth are far-reaching. Among other things, it suggests that Satan might have a strong motive to hate humanity, body, soul, and spirit.

2. Before for the Fall, nudity wasn’t a problem. It could even be surmised that a nude society was God’s design and intent. He suggests that if the Fall had not occurred, that men and women could have lived perpetually in a naked society without having any problem with lust, even though they would see many nude bodies of the opposite gender. At very least, there’s no indication at all that this would not have been true for there is no hint of nakedness being an issue with God or man until after the Fall. Of course, we can’t know because it didn’t happen that way.

3. Three words after “naked and unashamed,” (Gen 1:25) we are introduced to Satan in the form of the “serpent” (Gen. 2:1). This could suggest that the introduction of shame (and the discomfort with nakedness) might have come by his agency. More on this in a minute.

4. After eating the fruit, they “knew they were naked” (how? more on that, too). At this moment, they were now the “proud owners” of a depraved mind. Thereafter, we are told that they made three other choices: A) The covered themselves. B) They hid from God, and C) they deflected the blame for their disobedience. All would agree that B) & C) were sin, but most still assume that A)was natural and right.

5. God addressed all three of those actions with B) “Where are you?”, A) “Who told you...?”, and C) “What have you done?” None of these can be considered affirmation. And their correct response would have been to simply come to God (no hiding) exactly as He made them (not clothed), and confessed their sin (not blaming others). In other words, all three responses were wrong—actions springing from a sinful heart.

6. Their shame for their bodies was misplaced. Their sin had nothing to do with sex or with their bodies, it had to do with choosing their own way instead of God’s. It had to do with listening to and obeying a voice other than God’s. They should have been ashamed of their choice, not their bodies. Therefore, their body-shame was inappropriate and indefensible... and certainly not God’s will.

7. As to “how” they knew of their nakedness, God specifically asked Adam that question by saying, “Who told you that you were naked?” (Gen3:11). No answer is given, so we have to use deduction. Of the 5 possibilities (Adam, Eve, God, Satan, or “no one”), only “Satan” and “No one” can be considered viable. The “No one” answer assumes that they were informed by the act of eating the fruit. But since God knew exactly how they knew they were naked, it is safe to assume that He formed the question with the real answer in mind. Therefore, since God used a personal pronoun (“who”) and an active verb (“told”) in the question, it should point us to an answer that included personal agency. The only “person” who could be the answer to God’s question then is Satan. He was present, active, and surely had motive.The fruit was not personal, nor could it act in any way.

8. If that deduction is accurate, then it means that Adam and Eve’s concern over their naked state was a result of their listening to Satan rather than God. God’s question in Gen. 3:11 gives strong evidence that this is so.

9. So, when we get to Gen. 3:21, we find that God clothes Adam and Eve without saying one word about why He did so. We can only speculate as to His reason, but it would not be sensible to presume that this action was in conflict with God’s disapproval as expressed in Gen 3:11.

10. There is no lust anywhere in the entire account. Furthermore, there was no possibility of inappropriate lust at that moment since the only two people in the world at the time were married. The idea that the clothing was for controlling lust is completely foreign to the context.

11. The clothing of Adam and Eve came immediately after the curse, and immediately before the banishment from the Garden. Therefore, it is incontrovertible that they were going to be living in a different environment than the one that had been crafted specifically for them. There would now be thorns which could harm the body, and conceivably, a more hostile climate temperature-wise. Therefore, there are clues in the account which would suggest that the provision of clothing was a gracious act of God to provide warmth and protection rather than some preventative.

12. Gen. 3:21 tells us that God clothed them and nothing more. There is no command concerning clothing given even for Adam and Eve, let alone the rest of us. Exegetically, a narrative does not constitute an imperative. If this account did constitute an imperative to remain clothed,then we would also be forced to conclude that God did not want husbands and wives to be naked with each other either, since that was the context where God provided the clothing.

This does not represent everything that he believes from this text, but it’s a reasonable summary as it relates to the issues we’ve been talking about.

For the record, this brother has declared that he did not come to these conclusions in order to support his views on social nudity, but rather, he first studied the scriptures and reached these conclusion. Only then did he reject the nudity taboo as a man-made convention. In other words, his personal practices did not change until he had thoroughly studied the matter from the Bible.

Do you have any responses to this perspective?

Thanks again for your time and attention. Again, I very much appreciated the honest response.

Matthew

His fourth response:


Matthew,

Perhaps there is no conclusively strong argument to be made against nudity exclusively from the Bible. There may be better biblically-based arguments that we are just not aware of. Whatever the case, it cannot be argued that the Bible is FOR public nudity either. Other than the case of Isaiah prophesying naked, there is no instance in the Bible of nakedness being presented as anything but shameful, embarrassing, a situation to avoid.

1 Corinthians 12:23 states that our “unpresentable” parts are to be treated with special modesty. How does your friend respond to that? 1 Timothy 2:9 instructs women to dress modestly...how can nudity in any sense be considered modest?

Ultimately, for me, it comes down to an issue of conscience. There is absolutely no way I could see beautiful women naked and not lust. There is absolutely no way I can see adults being naked in front of children being anything but a perversion. The whole desire to be seen in public naked, to me, seems like a perverted disorder.

Even if there is not a conclusive biblical case against it, I am grateful that modern governments outlaw public nudity, and I am grateful that the Bible instructs us to obey the laws of the government.

Sincerely in Christ,

Shea

GotQuestions.org

My fifth email:

Thanks for writing back.

I have to say that I was hoping for a more thoughtful response to the 12 points I delivered last time. Be that as it may, I’d like to respond to your statements below.

Perhaps there is no conclusively strong argument to be made against nudity exclusively from the Bible. There may be better biblically-based arguments that we are just not aware of. Whatever the case, it cannot be argued that the Bible is FOR public nudity either.

Doesn’t Galatians give us strong warnings against submitting to man-made rules for righteousness? And if the Bible is neutral on the subject, shouldn’t we be neutral as well?

If God had extolled living naked, wouldn’t we be tempted to make nakedness a mark of righteousness? But it’s not. If living naked was evil, isn’t it inconceivable that God would neglect to mention that?

If God intended neutrality on the subject, isn’t it more likely that we would find silence on the matter?

Other than the case of Isaiah prophesying naked, there is no instance in the Bible of nakedness being presented as anything but shameful, embarassing, a situation to avoid.

I’m not sure we can so easily dismiss the account of Isaiah.

Nor can we make the sweeping statement that you just made about nakedness. I’ve heard that declaration many times before, but I have not found it to be as easily defensible as we might assume.

Have you ever examined every place “naked” or “nakedness” or the state of undress is actually mentioned in the Bible? I have. And what I’ve found is that wherever there is nakedness AND shame, there is also some other activity that is very clearly shameful.

And Isaiah’s story is not the only “innocent” nakedness to be found in the Bible. King Saul was overcome by the Spirit of God and laid down naked, prophesying with Samuel and the other prophets all night. The people certainly took note of it, too! They were not shocked at his nudity, but surprised by his change in occupation. The implication is that nudity among the prophets must not have been very uncommon. Isaiah’s nakedness was mostly likely notable because it persisted for three years unbroken in duration.

1 Corinthians 12:23 states that our “unpresentable” parts are to be treated with special modesty. How does your friend respond to that?

I would suggest that you examine the Greek on that one. “Unpresentable” is really a very “interpretive” translation. The word really means “uncomely” as the KJV translates it. It simply means that the part is not that pretty to look at, not that it must be hidden. For some people, their noses or ears or hands are “uncomely,” but we would never say that for that reason alone, they should be hidden.

1 Timothy 2:9 instructs women to dress modestly...how can nudity in any sense be considered modest?

That was a very important verse to me and I’ve studied its meaning in depth. My discovery is that the verse has been very poorly translated. “Adorn” and “modest” (from the KJV) are both based upon the word “kosmos” which means “order.” The word translated “apparel” is not a piece of clothing at all, but the noun form of a verb that in Acts 19:35 & 36 is translated “quiet” “appeased” or “calm” depending on the translation. How can the noun form of such a verb be a simple garment of some kind?

I can point you to an article explaining why it is a mistranslation, and what would be a more suitable translation. The author has posted it online, so you can read it by following this link. It’s certainly not written to defend nudism, but it does show that the traditional understanding of that passage is mistaken.

Regarding modesty, I read something from C.S. Lewis’ “Mere Christianity” not long ago which spoke to the nature of “modesty.” This is the opening of his chapter on “Sexual Morality.”

We must now consider Christian morality as regards sex, what Christians call the virtue of chastity. The Christian rule of chastity must not be confused with the social rule of “modesty” (in one sense of that word); i.e. propriety, or decency. The social rule of propriety lays down how much of the human body should be displayed and what subjects can be referred to, and in what words, according to the customs of a given social circle. Thus, while the rule of chastity is the same for all Christians at all times, the rule of propriety changes.

A girl in the Pacific islands wearing hardly any clothes and a Victorian lady completely covered in clothes might both be equally “modest,” proper, or decent, according to the standards of their own societies: and both, for all we could tell by their dress, might be equally chaste (or equally unchaste).

...I do not think that a very strict or fussy standard of propriety is any proof of chastity or any help to it, and I therefore regard the great relaxation and simplifying of the rule which has taken place in my own lifetime as a good thing.

If “modesty” is culturally derived, how can it be a Biblical standard?

Ultimately, for me, it comes down to an issue of conscience. There is absolutely no way I could see beautiful women naked and not lust.

Your inability to see God’s beautiful artistry on display without having wicked thoughts is not a reflection of the nature of what you see, but of the depravity of your own heart, and your unwillingness to view it as God does. If you desire to be Christlike, do you believe that Jesus would (and does) have to look away from a beautiful woman, no matter what she is or is not wearing?

Forgive me for coming on so strong here, but in this matter, I’m quite convinced... Jesus told us clearly that it was not anything outside a man going into him which defiled him, but that which comes out of him! (Mark 7:14-22) Whether it goes in his eyes or his mouth, it’s still on the outside going in, and it cannot defile him.

There is absolutely no way I can see adults being naked in front of children being anything but a perversion. The whole desire to be seen in public naked, to me, seems like a perverted disorder.

Here again, I ask you, can you defend your stance that being naked in front of Children is a real biblical concern, or is it your cultural bias? Are you really willing to hold on to “absolute standards” which you cannot defend biblically? Personally, I am not willing to do that. Even if letting go of such false standards forces me to accept something I would rather not accept.

Also, have you ever examined the philosophy and motivations which undergird nudism? I was quite surprised to discover that it was not about exhibitionism, voyeurism, or sexual license. You might be judging its practitioners unjustly.

Even if there is not a conclusive biblical case against it, I am grateful that modern governments outlaw public nudity, and I am grateful that the Bible instructs us to obey the laws of the government.

Indeed the Bible instructs us to obey the laws of the government. And I suspect that most nudists abide by those laws with great consistency. But the laws do not totally forbid nudism, it only restricts it to places where it can be exercised without offending others.

As you can see, I’ve done a lot of my own study. I’ve reached the conclusion that most (if not all) of the objections to nudism I’ve always heard are a lot less biblical than I would have guessed. When I found your statement on your website, I was intrigued and was curious how you would defend them when I had concluded that I could not.

I was hoping that when I gave you what this brother believes, you would be able to demonstrate where it was weak or mistaken, if indeed it was in error. Perhaps he is not mistaken after all.

Thanks for your time.

Matthew

His final response:


Matthew,

To be honest, I am tired of arguing this with you. I am absolutely convinced that public nudity is not God’s will. Nothing you, or your friend, could say would convince me otherwise. Only God could change my mind, so if you think my mind needs to be changed, ask God to change it.

Nowhere in the Law are the Israelites instructed to be nude in public.

Nowhere in the Gospels did Jesus instruct people to abandon their shame and go naked in public.

Nowhere in the Epistles do the Apostles instruct or encourage people to be naked.

If nakedness is such a good thing, and if fear to be naked is such a bad thing, surely God’s Word would have corrected our thinking or given some kind of instruction. It does not. Whatever the reason God clothed Adam and Eve, He clothed them, and nowhere instructed them to remove the clothing. Without any biblical instruction whatever on the value of nudity, I am going to follow God’s example with Adam and Eve and clothe myself.

I will not be responding to any further of your emails on this issue. Again, if you think my mind needs to be changed, pray for me.

Sincerely in Christ,

Shea

GotQuestions.org

My final email:


To be honest, I am tired of arguing this with you.

I wasn’t arguing. I asked you to biblically defend your position.

I am absolutely convinced that public nudity is not God’s will. Nothing you, or your friend, could say would convince me otherwise. Only God could change my mind, so if you think my mind needs to be changed, ask God to change it.

So what you’re saying is that you are willing to hold on to moral absolutes that God has not declared. Why should you require God to show you something is not true which He has not ever
declared to be true.

Nowhere in the Law are the Israelites instructed to be nude in public.

And, as you admitted, nowhere in the Law does God command the Israelites to always be clothed in public. Pretty inconceivable, actually, considering that every person who has ever lived has had to face the question, “What do I do with my nudity?”

Nowhere in the Gospels did Jesus instruct people to abandon their shame and go naked in public.

Au contraire... In Matthew 5:40, Jesus said, “And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well.” People didn’t wear much more than that. Women certainly did not wear bras. So if people had actually followed Jesus’ command, then they would have been significantly underdressed, if not completely naked. Evidently, that was not a concern for Jesus.

Nowhere in the Epistles do the Apostles instruct or encourage people to be naked.

Once again, not true. In 1 Timothy 4:8, Paul tells Timothy, “For physical training is of some value...” If you check the Greek word used by Paul (here translated “physical training”), you’ll see that it is the word “Gumnadzo” which of course, is based on the Greek word for “naked” and it referred to the exercise that was engaged in at the Greek/Roman Gymnasiums, where nudity was the norm, hence the name, “Gymnasium”

If nakedness is such a good thing, and if fear to be naked is such a bad thing, surely God’s Word would have corrected our thinking or given some kind of instruction. It does not. Whatever the reason God clothed Adam and Eve, He clothed them, and nowhere instructed them to remove the clothing. Without any biblical instruction whatever on the value of nudity, I am going to follow God’s example with Adam and Eve and clothe myself.

Again, you are willing to accept a narrative as a command? Do you ever take off your clothes with your wife? If you do, then you are not being faithful to God’s Word, for He nowhere told Adam that he could allow his wife to see him naked.

I will not be responding to any further of your emails on this issue. Again, if you think my mind needs to be changed, pray for me.

For the record, I did not ask you to respond to my last email.

And what I think doesn’t matter a bit... what matters is if God wants you to change your mind. I get the impression that you’re not willing to even consider an alternative opinion.

I am reminded of this qoute:

“We routinely disqualify testimony that would plead for extenuation. That is, we are so persuaded of the rightness of our judgement as to invalidate evidence that does not confirm us in it. Nothing that deserves to be called truth could ever be arrived at by such means.” - Marilynne Robinson.

One last historical point to think about...

Did you know that for 350 years after Pentecost, all Christian Baptisms were performed nude? Whether you believe it or not, it’s true. You can research it on your own. Shouldn’t that historical fact inform your understanding of the NT position on nudity? You need not answer me, but you should have an answer.

I pray the Lord opens your mind to truth.

Matthew

As always, I welcome your comments.

Matthew Neal

8 comments:

Steve (NTL) Howatt said...

Well, brother. If I were to tell you really what I think about your musings, we would probably not be able to find a hat made that could fit you anymore!! You amaze me, with your careful thoughtfulness, time and time again. Good work!

Wondering if your friend undresses for bed at night, as he said his clothes weren't coming off...or the shower...?

Boyd Allen said...

I found the same problem with many nay-sayers. After they ask or pose a question or thought, my rebuttal or answer never gets a response in kind. Since it could not be argued with, they either lash back, create defensive, redirected thoughts, or no answers at all. But never really any true dialogue that stays on course and become part of a "think tank" to truly understand the word of God.
Besides, you didn't ask them to go naked, just prove their stand, which they could not.

Good work,
Boyd
http://christiannaturism.blogspot.com

Allen said...

Shake the dust from your sandals and walk away.

Nothing we can do will change his mind. Only God can clear the cobwebs out.

Walk in peace... Allen

bn2benude said...

This was an interesting exchange.

A couple of additional thoughts about the issue of Adam & Eve, clothing and "lust".

I don't believe the shame A & E felt had anything to do with their dress but with their sin. They knew they sinned so they were ashamed.

Why would God have them worry about lust? They were a "couple"... Man & Wife... Up until the point of the first birth, we are told that they were the only two people around...

King David said...

Once again, you've proven that the anti-nudists cannot justify their position from the Bible; they just repeat their own opinions over and over. Their inability to respond Biblically to extensive arguments made by the Christian nudists make it pretty obvious who is right and who is wrong. But it's certainly disappointing when someone who claims to have Bible answers is so blinded that he clings to his opinions in spite of correction, and refuses to admit his inability to deal honestly with the questions.

Minister 72 said...

I especially appreciated your breakdown of the Gen. 3 passage. I have to give some more thought to my understanding to the answer for God's questions of "who told you . .?" An excellent exchange.

It has also provided some insights in how to dialogue with others. I attempted an exchange on a forum a few months ago, but the author quickly closed the comments and was rather short with me in emails. I don't think I could have done much more to be cordial to him, but I might have presented my argument a little more strongly in my initial response.

Thanks Matthew!

Lonnie said...

Matthew and others...thanks for the well thought our responses and excellent technique in addressing the subject. I watch the "Got Questions" site and have used it many times. This dialogue from one of their moderators presents a leading error in our "Christian" community. So many of our "Christian" leaders are more intent on providing customs and traditions, then they are in finding "truth" through the Word of God. Too many "Christian" people approach life from the context of 'I know what I believe, don't bother me with the truth.'

Lon W

Jake said...

Phew! Quite the lengthy discourse between you and Shea, but well worth reading. I will say one thing, Matthew, and that is that in the last twenty years or so there have been few Believers who have imparted something new to me Scripturally. Today you did exactly that. Not that I didn't already know the verses of Scripture you quoted or the context of them concerning nudity, clothing, shame, and such, but the weight of the manner in which you portrayed these facts was different and much better than I have seen previously, including my own study on the same. Thank you greatly, brother for sharing all of this. I shall keep this as reference and study it a bit more so as to be more fluent when I have need to express these truths in such a manner.

Jake
Eternal Naturist