Christianettes Make Bachelorettes

This weeks column in Christian Today – read the original here

That Bachelorette sex talk and what it says about Christianity in the West

Hannah B and Luke P
Hannah B and Luke P, both professing Christians, talk out their differing views on sexual intimacy on The Bachelorette.(Photo: ABC)

What a strange and different world we live in – the world of reality TV, social media and disintegrating foundations. There are some wonderful programmes on TV that make you glad to be a human being – and there are others that make you understand why the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.

An example of the latter is The Bachelorette. I confess that I would rather have a leg wax than watch this, but duty called!  I had heard of a controversy involving two professing Christians on the show and so decided to watch a couple of the episodes.

Whilst I could appreciate the garish fascination, a bit like watching a car crash, the main thought that came to mind was why would any Christian watch, let alone take part in, this exploitative, shallow and hedonistic voyeurism?

The incident that has, much to the programme makers’ delight, caused the greatest fuss is a conversation that occurred between the two Christians, Luke P and Hannah B. Luke wanted to talk about sex and began by saying that the marriage bed should be kept pure (citing Hebrews 13). Hannah B took offence and responded by saying that she had had sex on the show and justified that by declaring, “I’ve had sex and Jesus still loves me”.

She went on to add:

“I feel judge and shamed.”

“People get Christianity and religion messed up – your faith should be something personal in a relationship and it’s not to judge others ”

“I can do whatever, I sin daily and it’s all washed…and if the Lord doesn’t judge me, nobodies judging me.”

In a further interview she went on:

“I have to figure out who I am and not anyone judge that….”

“I know who I am and whose I am…I don’t want to be judged for that because nobody should be judged for what they do – we are supposed to love one another”.

The whole controversy is an insight into some aspects of Christianity in the West today and shows how a misunderstanding or misapplication of Christian teaching can become anti-Christian.

Pop Theology Christianity

There is something that I term ‘pop theology Christianity’. This is where people teach or say something which sounds as though it were something Jesus would have said. It appears to be ‘Christlike’ but is in fact the opposite of what he said, and the opposite of what Christianity is all about.

Three of these pop-theology doctrines are evident in this conversation:

1. If you love someone you don’t judge them.

Hannah declares, as do so many, that no one can judge her. There are two problems with this. Firstly, Hannah contradicts herself by judging Luke for judging. It appears that the only sin left in the judgmental list is judging. Secondly, as a professed follower of Christ she forgets what he has to say about the subject.

John 9:39 Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.”

Jesus is the one who judges. He separates the sheep from the goats. He is also the one who came to save us from the righteous and good judgement of God. Love and judgement are not diametric opposites.

It is the work of the Holy Spirit to convict us. To make us aware of our sin. When we declare ‘no-one is going to judge me or make me feel guilty’ we are denying the work of the Spirit.

John 16:8. “When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment.”

Those who appear on ‘reality’ TV have their every word recorded and judged by the audience. But there is a far greater judgment coming – which should cause all of us to think about what we say.

Matthew 12:36 says: “But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken.”

2. Jesus died for my sin; therefore I can sin as much as I want.

This is a misunderstanding and misuse of the doctrine of grace. It’s an old heresy – ‘let’s do evil that good may result”. It is the idea that the more I sin the more God is magnified in forgiving me. So when I sin I’m really doing God a favour. Paul’s answer to this was short and to the point: “Their condemnation is just!”

If we love God. If we know what Jesus has done for us. Then we will obey him. If we have this hope, we purify ourselves – not abuse ourselves and others. “In fact, this is love for God, to keep his commands” (1 John 5:3).

When we boast that we sin and that we have no intention of keeping the commands of God, we are in reality testifying that we do not love God. We love ourselves. God is just a convenient excuse. Grace is unknown for whom the only reality is themselves.

3. My faith is all about me.

Hannah declares, “My faith has grown so much and I realize what the relationship with the Lord is really about.” But she clearly doesn’t. She thinks that relationship is all about her – who she is and what she wants. The faith she has is in herself and her own personal Jesus – someone to hear her prayers and gives her what she wants. Faith in Christ doesn’t get a look in. Pop theology is what happens when you apply pop psychology to the Christian faith.

There is a sense in which I feel sorry for Hannah and don’t blame her. This approach is the product of a Christian sub-culture which encourages narcissism and superficiality – a culture which confuses love with lust and substitutes faith in Christ with faith in yourself.

This is the kind of understanding that comes from the soundbite feel-good theology being taught from the pulpit and through Christian media. It teaches that we don’t have to think, feel ‘negative’ emotions like guilt, or face the difficult task of living our faith in a culture that despises it.

But those who adopt this cultural Christianity end up not knowing Christ, not being able to love (because they have no depth) and caving into the culture. Sermonettes make Christianettes and Christianettes make Bachelorettes.

Christianettes will never find the love that is so wide, deep and high that it would take an eternity to bathe in it. Let’s look to the reality of Christ, not the superficiality of ‘reality’ TV.

David Robertson is Director of Third Space at the City Bible Forum in Sydney, Australia

Quantum 51 – Cricket; Bigotry; The Catholic MP and the Free Church MP; Child Abuse; Jess Phillips; Scotland and Drugs; Trump; The Bachelorette; Mark Driscoll; Joni; The Handmaids Tale; Augustine Banned

Is the Church in the UK a sinking ship? Christian Today

5 thoughts on “Christianettes Make Bachelorettes

  1. There are theological discussions that can be had about sex in the light of Hebrews 13 for Christians but I think this a core seems to be about one interpretation being expressed of scripture and there being offence taken to it. Sadly true of much of Christianity that divisions have been had over such things.

    In the light of this on the one had here the issue of judgement and offence came up and how there is a perception of there being a dichotomy between this and “Jesus loves me”. Well, you’d have to be living in ignorance of accounts of Jesus or insane to think that the love that Jesus has for humanity does not have judgement and feeling offended as part of that. I imagine perhaps his closes deepest disciple Peter being deeply offended with Jesus associating him with Satan and saying he didn’t have the mind of God. That’s just one example. There’s others where he has seriously offended a number of people. When Jesus said not to judge it was in the context of equal treatment and in effect if you don’t want to be judged harshly, don’t judge others harshly – what goes around comes around. If he meant not to judge then he would have been a hypocrite and I don’t think this is what the biblical accounts are conveying.

    But I think what we are seeing here is something in wider society where in an appearance of diversity, tolerance and inclusiveness there seems to be a limited number of approaches / views that are tolerated. And the taking offence seems to take precedent over the intention and context in what is being expressed.

    Add to this identity politics and virtue signalling and you have got some “good TV” i.e. TV that gets airtime.

    Nothing new there.

  2. Excellent post! You expound on the reasons why Christianity is seen as hypocritical. Those who try to live for Christ daily are put under the same microscope as people like Hannah who have no idea of the consequences of what she is doing.

  3. Everybody can trust in nothing but God; for it hardly requires to be said, but in defiance to the prevailing wrong perception that not everybody believes in God, Paul teaches everybody believes in God because not the love but, the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of everybody who holds the truth in unrighteousness.

    That said, and although the ruling powers in state, church and education declare the logic of scripture illogical and set themselves into open rebellion against God, the Christian cause of convincing people to trust in nothing but God(Note 1) continues to be successful where it is unfailingly self-evident that:

    1 All ungodliness and unrighteousness is subject to the wrath of God not, illogically, to the love of God, and:

    2 Everybody goes through life believing in God and, therefore, everyone denying belief in God is holding the truth in unrighteousness and is without excuse.

    Trust in nothing but God ensues only where this is known, perceived and taught, because and not until and unless this is known, perceived and taught, does the validity of scriptural teaching start to become logical again so that even a little child can understand it: for is not the validity of scriptural teaching very obviously self-evident to everybody before the law (Note 2), as well as to everybody before death, and also to everybody before God who in His own time is obliged to judge everybody equally, that is; with no respect of persons?

    As for the perception of the ‘wrath of God revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them’. To whom is the wrath of God revealed? To all men and always with causation; for God is absolutely true.

    At worst, and very evidently, the wrath of God causes vile affections whereby: woman change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burn in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which is fully justified. And, at best, it (the wrath of God) causes an irrefutable need for something by which to be convinced that can have a negative and positive benefit.

    Negative, because honest people with an irrefutable need for something by which to be convinced are easily gratified short of knowing God. Positive, because as Elihu rightly asserts to Job; ‘surely it is meet to be said unto God, I have borne chastisement, I will not offend any more: that which I see not teach thou me: if I have done iniquity, I will do no more’.

    In light of how the wrath of God is currently affecting people all over the world:

    1. Worst cases obviously need only be made familiar with Romans Chapter 1,

    2. Negatively impacted beneficiaries must be warned they are not saved once and for always but, rather, heading straight to hell because, unknown to themselves, they are following a dishonest religion, much less frightful in its threats and sooooooooo much more accommodating in its morality than Christianity,

    3. Positively impacted beneficiaries are meet to escape from the wrath to come,

    4. There is no ground for anyone benefiting from sensing the wrath of God to be convinced of anything falling short of knowing God personally.

    Finally, cursed are they that entice others to believe in God so that they might stumble for not believing God, my God who hereby says:

    “… prepare the way, take up the stumblingblock out of the way of my people. For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones. For I will not contend for ever, neither will I be always wroth: for the spirit should fail before me, and the souls which I have made. For the iniquity of his covetousness was I wroth, and smote him: I hid me, and was wroth, and he went on frowardly in the way of his heart. I have seen his ways, and will heal him: I will lead him also, and restore comforts unto him and to his mourners. I create the fruit of the lips; Peace, peace to him that is far off, and to him that is near, saith the LORD; and I will heal him. But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.”

    Note 1:
    Jer. 17:7 Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is.
    Jer. 17:8 For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.
    Jer. 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
    Jer. 17:10 I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.

    Note 2:
    Ro. 2:1 Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.
    Ro. 2:2 But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things.
    Ro. 2:3 And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?

  4. Sometimes I think we completely forget why sin is sin – it doesn’t work! It harms, it messes us up, it hardens and it debases the beauty of what God intends for our lives. All sin is a step out of love. It promises much and delivers nothing other than temporary pleasure – it enslaves and Christ came to set us free. Real freedom is freedom from sin and not freedom to sin. The scale of its evil can be seen in what our Lord paid at Calvary to redeem us.

    Lose sight of these fundamental truths and you get the ludicrous situations described in the programme.

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