Sunday, January 10, 2016

The Biggest Enemy of Christian Naturism

…Is NOT Bible-believing Christians

There are a LOT of Christians who are absolutely sure that the very idea of social nudity is totally immoral and contrary to God’s will… 

But they are NOT the biggest enemy of Christian Naturism.

I’d better define what I mean by “Christian Naturism” first…

Christian Naturism Is…

Christian Naturism: The belief held by followers of Jesus Christ that social nudity can be practiced in a chaste and righteous manner; it is also the belief that the practice of naturism is spiritually and physically healthy, and is in fact, a help to personal moral purity.

I believe that statement with all my heart. I also believe that the church at large would be greatly benefitted by this belief gaining widespread acceptance. I know that I’m not alone in that belief, for I have had the privilege of making the acquaintance of many followers of Christ with whom I have enjoyed fellowship in a socially nude context.

An Enemy of Christian Naturism is therefore anything that would impede the wider acceptance of Christian Naturism among non-naturist followers of Christ.

 

What Committed Christians Care About

My identity as “Christian” is MUCH more important to me than my identity as a naturist. For me, that means that God’s moral truth is of paramount importance, and living a life that pleases God and is in harmony with God’s Word is what really matters… not the practice of naturism.

A committed Christian cares about:

  • God’s Truth as revealed in the Bible.
  • God’s standards of moral conduct.
  • Living life to please God rather than self or others.

I will never suggest to any Christian who loves God to abandon or degrade even one of those core values in order to embrace any practice or lifestyle.

the_enemy_thumb[1]

The Biggest Enemy of Christian Naturism

I hold therefore that greatest threat to the acceptance of naturism among Christians is when that acceptance is married to the acceptance of unbiblical positions on other moral issues.

I’m fully aware that I may incur the ire of many fellow naturists who have appreciated my other works on this blog, but I’m going to name the issues that I believe must be separated from the issue of naturism:

  • Sexual Immorality… in any of its forms:
    • Fornication (pre-marital sex)
    • Adultery 
    • Homosexuality
  • Unbiblical Social Stands:
    • Same Sex Marriage
    • Transgenderism
    • Abortion rights
  • Any rejection of the authority of the Scriptures as God’s truth for His people

I would never ask a Christian to abandon any of those convictions in order to embrace naturism. In fact, I will openly and vigorously oppose any naturist (Christian or not) who suggests or declares that the practice of naturism presupposes the alteration of their beliefs on any of the points I’ve just listed. Why?

Because doing so is the biggest enemy of Christian Naturism.

I Want Committed Christians to be Even MORE Committed To God’s Word!

I’ve written this blog principally for one purpose… to demonstrate that social nudity is NOT contrary to the moral teachings of God’s Word. I’ve written to demonstrate that the nudity-taboo taught in the church today is a man-made cultural doctrine that is actually unbiblical, offensive to God, and an impediment to moral purity.

I want Christians to study social nudity with a deeper commitment to the authority of God’s word, God’s truth, and God’s standards of morality than they’ve ever had before. I want them to have more confidence that their beliefs and practices are based on careful, honest, and accurate interpretation of the Scriptures than before they sought to discern a biblical stance on naturism.

I will never ask someone to embrace naturism at the expense of God’s revealed truth. Period.

— Matthew Neal —

See also:
Naturist By Biblical Conviction
I Don’t Promote Naturism
I Would NOT Be A Naturist If…

17 comments:

peternature said...

Good day,
As a bible believing Christian and a naturist I agree totally with your article. I BELIEVE THAT IT IS OUR RESPONSIBILITY TO SHARE THE GOSPEL WITH OTHER NATURISTS.
We must live a Christian live as the Lord Jesus requires, in the midst and amongst other naturists.
You can also have a look at my blog regarding naturism en being a Christian in South Africa - http://www.naturisminsouthafrica.blogspot.com
Have a blessed day.
Peter

jim said...

My first response was that you were against the abandoning of the moral principles that political conservatives hold to, but not the Biblical principles that political liberals may emphasize. But on a second reading I think you are correct in the types of false teaching that are linked to naturism. Thank you for the article.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for writing this. Listening to podcasts like The Naturist Living Show, it's becoming apparent that the sexual revolution ideals that many younger naturists believe will destroy naturism itself. But they don't see that yet. The idea of chaste non-sexual nudity cannot continue in a world which cannot make value judgements about sexual behavior.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for making these very important points.

I'm curious what your opinion is of non pornographic erotica. I'm leaning towards embracing it, but I wanted to see if you have any insights for me on this topic. There's a very well done website that describes what I'm speaking of: genesis2twentyfive.com

I look forward to your response.

Matthew Neal said...

Anon,

I'm sorry, but that site you referenced is one example of a "Christian" mindset that is a huge enemy of Christian Naturism.

While the author of those articles does welcome social nudity as a valid activity for Christians, he still is very much a promoter of the pornographic view of the Body.

You see, the most significant thing to be observed in the unclad human form is the beauty that reflects the image of God. Furthermore, sexual union--which is a part of that image--is to be driven by relationship, not by sight, for the unity of the Godhead is a relational unity, certainly not a visual unity.

That author's stance does not reject the "visual" lie (and its insult to the one whose image we bear), but welcomes it and utilizes the false visual conditioning of men as the foundation of sexual arousal and fulfillment.

You'll see in my articles on this blog that I'm not really about promoting social nudity... I'm really about promoting truth about our bodies and rejecting the church's pornographic view of the human form. The site you've referenced does NOT help that cause, but is actually an impediment to it.

For Christians who are committed to moral purity while exploring the morality of naturism, sites like that one will only serve to convince them that openness to nudity is also an openness to moral impurity and pornography.

Calling it "erotica" is not a valid avoidance of the fact that when it is using the nude human form to inflame sexual desires/lust/arousal, it's still pornography. I have no problem with nudity in art, but "erotica"--which by it's very name is intended to be erotic (sexually arousing) is not in harmony with the truth.

— Matt

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your quick reply. I only wish I noticed it earlier. I check your site at least once a week, but forgot I had asked your opinion. Your reply helped. Thanks!

John Romero said...

A couple of things... Why is transgendered a "social stance" to be condemned by Christians? What Biblical basis do you have to condemn those who identify as Transgender, which is arguably a health defect, when you wouldn't condemn another defect like Down's Syndrome? Similarly, and I'm being nitpicky, but homosexuality isn't condemned in any way in the Bible. Homosexual acts are. For someone who is very careful about differentiating between pornography and other forms of nudity, you seem to be painting in broad strokes with this blog.

Similarly, I think there is an implicit assumption that in order to be a good Christian, one must vote against any candidate who might advance abortion rights or homosexual marriage, when I don't think it's that simple. For example: Libertarians may indeed be opposed to homosexual marriage. HOWEVER, they think that the government has no business regulating any business, whether economic or personal. Therefore, they would vote for the candidate who got the government out of the picture, and if they so chose, they'd fight that battle on different grounds.

We conflate our beliefs and our politics, and I think that in a very real way, that makes us limited in our effectiveness both with our vote, and with our ministry. If we sit around waiting for the right candidate to come along, nothing that the Church wants to get done will ever get done.

Matthew Neal said...

Hey John. Thanks for your question.

I think you're making a mistake by accepting the world's definition of "sexual orientation" and "sexual identity."

The World tells us that you are defined by your "preference." If you have sexual interest in the same gender, then you ARE "homosexual. That's completely bogus. "Sexual orientation" is not a preferential attribute, it is a procreative attribute.

If you must procreate by inseminating a female, then you are "male." THAT is your "sexual orientation." It's how you biologically reproduce.

And this is why the bible never addresses anything but homosexual behavior! There is no such thing as a "homosexual" before God.

And the same thing applies to the so-called "Transgendered" person. How they feel/think/respond/relate is utterly immaterial. If a person needs to be impregnated by a male to procreate... she is female. Case closed.

THAT is the biblical position.

One more thing I'll add...

If a man relates, thinks, responds in ways that we typically associate with women... does that matter? Not a bit! Remember that all that we associate with femininity is actually a reflecting of the image of God. Likewise, all that we associate with masculinity. If a man is "soft" or a woman "strong," either way, that person is still reflecting God's likeness. That God might mix & match traits in a person as he crafts yet another image-bearer is 100% His prerogative. It diminishes that man nor that woman not one whit. And it has absolutely no bearing on their physiologically assigned gender. Culture—not God's word—is alone responsible for erroneously causing such persons to feel less than fully human or "normal."

John Romero said...

IS it a mistake, though, to recognize that those who would consider themselves as transgendered or homosexually oriented by definition DO accept the world's view, and is it a mistake to acknowledge that this is the frame of reference that they see the world in? We can talk all day about the Biblical perspective, and that is fine for you and I perhaps, but until we learn to speak to homosexual and transgendered identifying people on THEIR level, the way Jesus and Paul spoke in ways their audience would understand, no progress will happen. Jesus, in his "Sermon on the Mount," argued his positions using the traditional Rabbinical debate format of "You have heard this, but I say this, therefore, that." Paul spoke of the flesh and the body and used Stoic principles that he lifted from Greek philosophy to connect with his audience. Yes, Paul used the "world's" ideas about the connection between spirit and flesh, and used the "world's" common terminology of the day! Google it.

So I disagree. I think it solves nothing to say that "there is no homosexuality" and I think it's avoiding the real issues that REAL people face: "What do I do about the fact that I am genetically XY but I have a vagina?" "What do I do about the fact that I'm attracted to the same sex?" Telling these people that "there is no homosexuality" and that the way they identify themselves doesn't exist, doesn't actually deal with the fact that they STILL have sexual attraction to the same sex.

So yes, I accept the world's definitions of sexuality because the large majority of those who do experience non-conformative gender identity or sexual attraction to the same sex (whatever label you wish to or don't wish to put on those phenomenon) have accepted them. Even if, as you mentioned, we went back to the ancient Biblical way of thinking about homosexuality (for lack of a more clear term), and you somehow convinced EVERYONE to use your Biblical definitions, it wouldn't magically erase the sexual attraction or gender identity. There would just not be a name for it. Arguably, because we HAVE names for these types of things, it is easier to deal with them from a Christian perspective. Back in Paul's day, the Romans thought that gay sex was due to a man having an excess of passion that just couldn't be sated by the female body. So you're right, there weren't "orientations," there was just sex and sexual actions. However, unless humans have evolved recently, what we would describe as sexual orientation still existed back then! They just didn't have a name for it! You can see how that belief would have covered up any discovery of sexual orientation. Any man who predominantly wanted to have sex with males would simply think he had a very high libido compared to the average man.

I don't want to put words in your mouth, but I get the feeling that, in the back of your mind, you think that if more people converted to the thinking that there is just sex, not orientation, that gays would just "suck it up" and conform to hereto-dominated society, and either get a wife and close their eyes, so to speak, or just not marry, like the good ole days of yore in Biblical times. That's called repression, or even oppression if heteros such as you and I enforced such behavior. That's not dealing with the issue, that's avoiding it. Or perhaps it is that you think that somehow, the fact that we acknowledge homosexuality as a real condition legitimizes their actions, and that if we just ignored homosexuality as a condition, there would be less of it. Again, that's repression, not a solution.

John Romero said...

Also, tangentially, you mentioned in a previous comment that you think that erotica is bad BECAUSE the human body should not be displayed in order to incite sexual arousal, such as the case with pornography. My first thought was, "well, what about my wife? Am I not allowed to expect her to incite sexual arousal in me? Is it sinful to enjoy the way she looks in a sexual way?" You answered that previously in the comment, and your answer was that "sexual arousal should be about the relationship and not MERELY a visual phenomenon." I think I have to partially disagree with that too. While it sounds great to say that the relationship between husband and wife should be the primary motivator of sexual arousal, to be frank, that's hogwash on the male end. Yes, being in a loving relationship may motivate to HAVE sex, but talking about flowers, going on dates, or whatever, had NEVER gotten me aroused. You know what gets me aroused? My wife acting in a sexual manner, whether visual, auditorial, or sensual. The senses, not the relationship, inflame the passions. This is true whether we have a relationship or not. Our body doesn't distinguish between when our wives arouse us and when a stranger does, in the sense that both give you an erection. Otherwise, there would be no male rape! The female rapist knows that all she has to do is act sexual and the man, willing or not, will get hard. Men are visual beasts, and God ostensibly made us to become aroused when seeing a sexual display. I agree that the mere naked body should NOT be sexualized, to where even seeing one makes one uncontrollably lust. But in order for you to be consistent and say that erotica is bad because it incites sexual arousal, you have to say that it's also bad for my wife to incite sexual arousal in me through the use of her body and sexual body language.

PERHAPS you could say that erotica is wrong because it incites lust over those whom we ought not to lust over, but that is a different argument entirely.

Matthew Neal said...

John,

I'm fully aware that there are many people who experience a disconnect with their assigned physiological gender. And I know that there are many whose sexual attractions don't seem to align with their actual gender. But that simply doesn't change biology. It does not change identity. That's the error of our times... thinking that it does.

I have nothing but compassion, kindness, and acceptance for anyone having those experiences. But I also believe that truth matters, and only truth is the path to wholeness... for ANYone on ANY issue... myself included.

Therefore, I don't believe there is any benefit to be found in affirming a lie... no matter how badly someone wishes to claim it for themselves. No, my perspective is no instant cure... but affirming that which is false is no path to a cure at all.

I've written this blog to declare what is biblically accurate and true. And I believe that the path to wholeness for us all—from salvation to personal identity and sexual health—is by aligning with the truth as revealed in God's Word. This is why I will not recast the biblical teaching to assuage current trends in thought regarding nakedness or sexuality.

I know that it's not popular or widely accepted, but for those who uphold the Scriptures as authoritative, it is what is true.

And ultimately—and the point of this particular blog post—it is a huge mistake for Christians to assume that the rejecting of the nudity-taboo is also a rejection of biblical standards of morality or the biblical definition of gender.

My call in this post is two-fold:

For Christians considering naturism... Don't assume that you must weaken your understanding of the Biblical position on sex to accept naturism as a godly activity or lifestyle.

For Naturists who are Christians... Don't give into the temptation to just "go along with" the notion that because you're a naturist, you must also lay aside your commitment to other moral standards as revealed in God's word.

The related issue of how do we respond to those struggling in this area is a topic NOT covered in this blog, so, no, you shouldn't attempt to put words in my mouth about how you think I think that issue topic should be addressed. However it should be addressed, the starting point has to be truth. From there, it proceeds according to the dictates of Christ-like love.

— Matt

Matthew Neal said...

And tangentially....

I don't think you see that your comments more MAKE my point than dispute it.

For your wife to communicate to you with her body that she's sexually interested in you is fine. But even though it is a visually perceived action, it is still a relational activity. Communication is relational... even when accomplished visually. You claim it is by the "senses" that your passions are aroused... I tell you that it is by the senses that she communicates—and RELATES—to you... it's still a relational act.

But you are mistaken when you say that all a woman has to do is act sexually and a man will automatically respond. We men are not beasts! We are ALWAYS responsible for our reactions. Honestly, if some stranger woman came up to me and started coming on to me and I had no relationship with her, it would NOT sexually excite me. That sort of relational presumption would totally turn me off! I do NOT live my life looking at every woman as a possible "quickie."

Sure... if a man is receptive to the woman's sexual advances (communication = relating) then it will work. Just read Prov. 7 and you'll see it at work. It's all about her communicating her sexual availability to the man... and yeah, it works BIG time. That's exactly what you described with your wife!

When it comes to pornography and erotica, bear in mind that the imagery being sought by the guy is being sought *specifically* for the purpose of arousal... so that he is already primed to accept the false "relating" of sexual interest that is being portrayed in the imagery.


What's really at stake here is how we define the human form. Is it sexual first and foremost? Or is it first and foremost a representation of God's image on earth? Is it an object for sexual enticement, or is it an expression of a whole person? These questions matter. And we need to get the answer right *before* we attempt to define our sexual beliefs and behaviors.

Sex is a good and God-given thing, make no mistake! But it is only an aspect of our existence as human beings made in God's image.

— Matt

Brian Somers said...

Brother Matthew,

Reading over this post, you're on 100% solid ground. Now, unlike most Christians, I start at Genesis and go forward to Revelation, instead of the New Testament and work backwards. Either way, what you outlined works.

Brian

Ihsomiet said...

To the one called Neal:

You have no idea how much I appreciate your post here as it saves me a lot of time regarding the upcoming question. I have no wife, and no children... Yet I find myself thinking ahead on how to properly raise my children one day. I'm interested in one particular method known as Attachment Parenting Discipline. It's a positive method that supports the idea of building trust at an early age so that one can properly discipline child without resorting to harshness. There's a lot involved to make this work and requires patient endurance. From what I've read, it creates affectionate family units... It also deals with co-sleeping... The Sharing of the family bed.

I share your stance on the tenets and principles regarding Christian naturism... I'm quite devout as a Christian on its own. Despite the controversial nature of both subjects, I have this sense that they both would go well together provided the inner dialogue within such a family. I believe the moral nature of conservative naturism within a biblical context would be most beneficial for children growing in an APD family.

There is one small problem I can't seem to wrap my mind around though. Sex. Is it or is it not okay for a child to see their parents doing it? I question this because there's got to be a way to teach children about this "without things getting weird.". I add quotation marks because I can't stress that enough. Every time I read about parents who allow this, there's always that one slip up. There's always something that goes wrong and there's a lot of negativity and people get in trouble. I get that... I understand that. But if there's one thing naturism has taught me, it's that there are stereotypes everywhere... And there's definitely a stereotype going on here because it just doesn't sit right with me.

God gave us sex for a reason. Its supposed to be a pure, good thing. If we are to teach our children God's view regarding sex, it should be done without all the porn and the weird ideas and the bad psychology.

The reason I say all this is because I am just as much a Christian as I am human. I am a nudist because I was made in his glory and in his image. I don't want my child seeing porn. It's fantasy and it's idolatry. I'd want my child to see the real thing.

At this moment, I am thinking about honor. Would it be dishonorable to look upon ones parents during the act as compared to porn? Who would claim it as dishonorable? I am reminded of what Yeshua said to the Pharisees, "I honor God and you dishonor me.". As I consider this more and more, I wonder about the effect the Bible may have in our sex lives. The idea of an honorable sex life and how it affects children offers much to be explored. What are your thoughts on my crazy rant?

CJ Michelli said...

O Matthew, Matthew, where art thou, Matthew? This blog is the bomb! I've so enjoyed hearing another Bible-believing Christian defend naturism. I follow the Naturist Living Show, and when I heard your name I said: "Hey, I read that blog! How cool!" Great show, awesome blog - just wish they were still coming. I know that content for postings isn't always forthcoming, and you probably have your reasons for taking a break, but I hope you'll be back soon. I've been defending naturism since 2012, but you've helped me see things even more clearly and in whole new light sometimes. God bless!

Matthew Neal said...

Hi, CJ.

Thanks for your encouraging comments.

Honestly, the real reason I've "taken a break" is that I've rather ran out of things to write about!

My objective has been to deal with the theological and biblical basis for supporting the body-friendly view and practices of naturism, and to demonstrate how the many scriptures used to promote a nudity-taboo are simply being falsely or dishonestly interpreted.

At the start of my blog, I made a long list of topics I wanted to address... theological concepts that ere incorrectly applied and/or scripture passages that were being misinterpreted and misapplied. I set out to address them all. And one day, I reviewed my list and realized I'd pretty much covered them all! So... I ran out of things to address.

This isn't a blog about "my thoughts to day about Christian Naturism" although you might find a few posts that align with that idea. Rather, it's a hard-hitting presentation of biblically sound hermeneutics... as they relate to naturism.

My target audience was two types of people: 1. Christians in whom God has begun the work to question the Church's rabid loyalty to the nudity-taboo, and are genuinely and honestly exploring the idea of naturism while still committed to the moral authority of God's Word. And 2., Christian naturists how are "found out" or "exposed" and confronted by well-meaning pastors or other Christians who condemn naturist practices... to provide them with some well-researched, well-written, and biblically sound answers to their accusers.

So, in response to you, I wonder if you have an idea or a question or a difficult passage or anything else you wish I would write about... I'd be happy to tackle another biblical topic if it fits the purpose of the blog.

Thanks again!

— Matthew

Boyd Allen said...

I can fully appreciate what you are saying here. With the heavy use of social media, Facebook to be more precise, as well as other chat rooms and forums where many naturists come together, regardless of religious beliefs, or lack of, we are often bombarded with these issues, and we are tempted to "slightly agree" or "tolerate" their false ideas. We get so much "opinions" which, for some reason, is supposed to be legit, even though its bogus. As a result, we have to daily fight temptation to let naturism (in all forms) to be our mantra and Christian thought a side issue. We have to be consistent in our study and teaching of Christianity without being pushed out. I have even seen Christian Naturist forums being blasted for speaking too much Christianity and not enough nudism. Maybe that is why my forums have a small audience (if any) because I often speak of Christianity without much mention