After repeated questions: Fornication…
Ok, I’ve finally been asked about this one time too many. Ignoring grace and freedom for a moment and joining the legalists at their own game, allow me to declare a little jihad…
It’s time to post:
What follows is a brief word study demonstrating what I have said for years: Pastors or other church leaders lumping two teens making out in the backseat of a car in with the word fornication is an improper use of the text, it displays terrible hermetical skills, it represents more of the same attempts to twist Scripture to fit our world views and is basically irresponsible.
(I know it’s unclear but it will just have to do as a position statement…) 😉
First, a simple cut and paste from the Greek Strongs:
1608. e˙kporneu/w ekporneuo; from 1537 and 4203; mid. to give oneself up to fornication: —indulged in gross immorality(1).
4202. pornei÷a porneia, por-ni´-ah; from 4203; harlotry (including adultery and incest); figuratively, idolatry:—fornication.
4203. porneu/w porneuo, porn-yoo´-o; from 4204; to act the harlot, i.e. (literally) indulge unlawful lust (of either sex), or (figuratively) practise idolatry:—commit (fornication).
To combine the three terms in question: It describes a behavior that is not simply immoral — it is grossly immoral and abnormal. It is about sex with children or family members, adultery, prostitution (Or sex which is criminal in nature) and it is almost always referenced in the context of idol worship — a fact we repeatedly blow past as a figurative reference. IT’S NOT!!! It’s about deviant sexual behaviors.
The three verses where such is directly referenced in any more then passing comment are as follows:
Acts 15:20 but that we write to them that they abstain from things contaminated by idols and from fornication and from what is strangled and from blood.
Acts 15:29 that you abstain from things sacrificed to idols and from blood and from things strangled and from fornication; if you keep yourselves free from such things, you will do well. Farewell.”
Acts 21:25 “But concerning the Gentiles who have believed, we wrote, having decided that they should abstain from meat sacrificed to idols and from blood and from what is strangled and from fornication.”
We have this picture of their worship as being a bunch of savages dancing around an idol — nothing could be further from the truth. There were two gods in question:
Among the false gods to which Israel was vulnerable, Baal (Otherwise known as Mollech) posed the greatest threat.
This deity was the supreme fertility god of Canaanite worship. He was celebrated as the lord of death and destruction. Sacrifices to Baal were thought to increase one’s own abundance. Baal was a god associated with the sun, power and violence. Altars to Baal were erected in high places in order to allow a full view of the sun’s rising and setting.
His temple was staffed by prostitutes and involved both heterosexual and lesbian acts as well as the sacrifice of children — usually after raping and torturing them. Bestiality was also involved. Children in question were usually the illegitimate infant offspring of the priestess…
When the early worship centers were excavated in the 60’s, the people involved refused to publish what they found as no one would have believed them that these things were possible.
Ashteroth-wife of Baal:
“The queen of heaven” in Canaanite worship (Or Diana or Isis) (Jer. 7:18) was the feminine counterpart of Baal and the god of life and sensuality; her priests were eunuchs dressed in women’s attire (I Kings 14:24). Worship involved the most gross forms of heterosexual and homosexual sexual behaviors.
Worship emphasized ecstatic, sensual feelings and digressed to orgies and the eventual worship of the penis (phallic symbols marked their worship in the same way that the Cross marks Christian worship).
The penis symbolized Baal in the same way that Ashteroth was the idol of idealized, erotic femininity. Both male and female expressions of sexuality were exaggerated and inflamed by the worship of Baal and Ashteroth.
The writers of the New Testament were very well aware of the behaviors practiced in the worship of these gods as well as the feasts where animals were first tortured to death via strangulation. For them to continually lump this word in with said worship would have come part and parcel with their total abhorrence of the actions in question.
The definition of the word as well as the repeated use in this context makes it hermeneutically irresponsible to try and adapt it to define two teens in the back seat of dad’s car.
Doing so is roughly the equivalent of describing a thirteen year old girl who just had an early term abortion and discovered she would have had twins as a, “Bloodthirsty, homicidal serial killer of children.”
Ok, so, can even the legalists stop beating up on their hormone-stoned children now and find a better way??? (It’s not like your judgment ever stopped their roaming hands anyway…) Just maybe, a weird concept like having a relationship with them could help???