Sunday, June 28, 2009

Why Athanasius?

If you are a student of early Christianity you will remember that Athanasius argued against Arius in the 1st ecumenical Council. The position that Athanasius took was that Christ is fully God and fully man. While he was not the first to hold this position he was the first to develop a succinct argument for this position.

The reason for choosing to blog under the name Athanasius is that the Biblical position on nudity has been misrepresented in the Christian community. I believe that the Bible teaches, and therefore I need to support, the position that there is nothing inherently wrong with the human body being naked.

The fact that someone might be unclothed cannot logically be tied, without other information being presented, to sin. To do so would be the same as saying that each time you shower, bathe, go to the doctor to be examined, or even sleep (if you do so in the nude) you are sinning.

Conversely, you do not have to be naked to sin (see the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5 -7).

How you dress or not dress is not the issue. What is in your heart is how you will be judged (Matthew 5:28, 6:21, 9:4). Therefore, anything you do will be judged on why you did it not just on what you did.

In the next post I will discuss how I came to the position that being nude around other people was not inconsistent with what I believe about the Scriptures, Christ, and my position before God. I hope that you will read these posts with an open mind realizing that is the Spirit of God who convicts and leads people into truth.

Your position may or may not change based on the arguments presented in this blog. However, please understand that all of them are written from the perspective that each of us is growing in Christ and has started from very different places. What you are experiencing your Christian walk is not necessarily what I, or anyone else, have experienced. All I ask is that you present your arguments with love in Christ and understanding that you have to answer to God for your position just as I.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Unchallenged Belief!

Welcome to The Biblical Naturist!

I suppose that for many those two terms might seem oxymoronic (or just plain moronic?).

I certainly understand that, because I was raised to think that way, too. It was not until I was challenged with the concept that a Christian could be nude socially without sin that I really examined what the Bible had to say about it.

I simply had never had that belief challenged before.

My father was a conservative Christian pastor for over 50 years. Not long after I had reexamined the issue from the Bible myself (and changed my views as a result), I talked to him about what I had come to believe. One of the first things he told me was that in 50 years of ministry, he had never faced such a question before!

In other words, his belief about social nudity had never ever been challenged. Let me make this bold assertion...

An unchallenged belief is not a trustworthy belief.

Even if what a person believes is actually true, until that belief faces a challenge in our hearts, it remains a weak belief. It will be unable to adequately defend itself. We will go through our lives unsure (deep down) if it is really true or not.

For example, I believe that every Christian should challenge their belief about the deity of Jesus Christ. I have in my own life. My conclusion? Jesus is exactly whom He claimed to be, and He clearly (to me) claimed to be God. I certainly hope that every other person who addresses that challenge will come to the same conclusion. But until a person really challenges it, they are only going on hearsay, not on personal conviction.

So, have you ever challenged your belief that social nudity is contrary to God’s moral standards?

For the record, I am not talking about “free sex” or “swinging” (swapping marriage partners) or any sort of extramarital sexual activity. For those who’ve never looked into it, a central component for sincere naturists is that the social nudity must be complete devoid of sexual, provocative, or suggestive attitudes or actions. If that surprises you, I would suggest you look into that claim before you settle your own mind on these matters.

When I faced this challenge in my own heart and mind, I was startled by what I found in God’s Word. Or perhaps more accurately, I was startled by what I did not find there. I was forced to change my beliefs about social nudity because of my study of God's Word!

Interestingly enough, though, my father is really indirectly responsible for my change. You see, he taught me that God’s Word is true, no matter what our culture or people say. He taught me to study it honestly and to embrace it fully. He taught me how to interpret it faithfully according to long-accepted rules of exegesis. It was literally because I followed that method of interpretation that my views were compelled to change.

So, here I am: A Christian all my life, the son of a career pastor, a Bible College graduate, a former pastor myself, and still deeply committed to my Lord and my faith, and the Bible. Yet, I believe that naturism is not in conflict with God’s Word or God’s moral absolutes.

Perhaps you’re thinking the same thing that Ricky used to say to Lucy in the old I Love Lucy show: “... you got some ’splaining to do!” And indeed I do. That, of course, is the purpose of this blog.

I aim to challenge your belief about Social Nudity and God’s Word. I hope that you’re willing to face that challenge!

I have a couple of friends who will be helping me. They too have strong Christian backgrounds and training. They too have come to understand this issue as I do... although each of us has come to this conclusion independently of the others. We all come from very different parts of the country and very different lives, but the most significant uniting factor is that we all hold firmly to our belief in the inerrancy and authority of the Scriptures, and a historical-grammatical approach to their interpretation. Explaining what that means would be a good topic for another post!

Welcome to The Biblical Naturist Blog! Your comments are welcome.

Matthew Neal