Calvinist Gospel Sexy Time is a Longstanding Reformed Tradition
“Let me add one to the pile: Francis Chan has noted that Christ was his grandmother’s ‘lover.’ What did he mean by that? Well, he is paid millions to be a communicator—you be the judge. Is he overpaid or did he mean what he said?”
Unrivaled by the Marxist masters of propaganda, the Protestant Reformers of old and new have effectively sold the historic motif that they are the antithesis of mysticism. This is the biggest hoax ever perpetrated on mankind in all of human history. The results speak volumes: the Calvinist camp exemplifies steroidal confusion and weirdness dressed up in scholarly garb. A good example is John MacArthur Jr. who is the personification of religious academia, but in fact is the King of Confusion. Never in the history of the church has confusion been so well-articulated since the other religious John—Calvin.
You can only dignify mystical despotism for so long before remnants of it start showing; it is the proverbial Freudian slip at the formal dinner party. In regard to “intimacy” with God versus the dreaded “O” word (obedience), or the even more dreaded “D” word (duty), it starts with Jesus is my boyfriend music, and progresses to Jesus is my boyfriend theology, and culminates into including children in the wonderful intimacy with the more dignified covering for them. Admittedly, that is a bit snarky, but one wonders since intimacy is in the eye of the beholder. That’s the problem with going to the Bible with a prism, the results are always unpredictable.
It all starts with the idea that man’s fall was a total fall into madness and chaos. In fact, some in the Reformed tradition assert that man was fallen before the fall by virtue of the fact that he was material. Before the fall, man had some integrity, but lost all of it at the fall. That’s why he was fallible in the first place; his fallibility was predetermined for God’s glory. This was John Calvin’s position, also known as supralapsarianism.
In the scheme of determinism, God also predetermines chosen ones to save humanity from chaos and madness. Almost every leader in human history until the American Revolution, whether secular or religious, claimed determinism as the premise of their authority via the Universe, Mother Nature, or God. In Reformed circles, the practical application for that is reality being a narrative written by God. The elect, who get it, see life as a prewritten redemptive-historical meta-narrative (metaphysical narrative) where everything is predetermined for God’s glory including the good, bad, ugly, and mundane. Leaders that rule in God’s stead and save the masses from chaos are predetermined characters in God’s metaphysical narrative. And characters they are.
This is the premise of Pilgrims Progress written by the Puritan John Bunyan. Like the Bible, it is the “story of every believer” and for that matter, every unbeliever as well. Books like How People Change by Calvinist Paul David Tripp supply an interpretive prism for mentally processing life according to God’s gospel meta-narrative. It rivals any mysticism that a shaman from an obscure rain forest could muster up, but again, the traditional Reformed ability to present it as intellectualism is uncanny.
So, if the narrative is all about what God has done in redemption, and not about anything we do, of course, books like The Song of Solomon must be representative of man’s relationship to God. In this narrative of prewritten reality, everything must be vertical; any horizontal consideration is another story, specifically, man’s story. Martin Luther contended that all reality was interpreted through the cross story, and man’s story was darkness and insanity, what he referred to as the glory story. Anything at all to do with man was a contra reality of insanity—only the cross story was real. Luther asserted that only a theologian of the cross story was a true theologian.
Therefore, sex must have a vertical identity. Sex should reveal more about the gospel. Sex CANNOT be separated from the gospel narrative. Sex cannot be separated from its “gospel context.” So, when we have sex with our spouse, it’s not about us, it’s about the gospel. When you have sex with your spouse, or for the YRR crowd, your girlfriend, don’t you dare forget John Piper, John Calvin, or Charles Spurgeon. But fear not for you who are less able to worship, Viagra is sold at a retail outlet near you.
So, when Dort damsel Ann Voskamp wrote of her gospel sexy time with G __ __, was she able to defend herself from the rest of the Reformed, Oh crap! You can’t just come right out and say it plainly like that crowd? Absolutely. Note this post here: http://www.aholyexperience.com/intimacy-with-god/, along with the soft music in the background, where she shows decisively that gospel sexy time is a longstanding Reformed tradition. Let me add one to the pile: Francis Chan has noted that Christ was his grandmother’s “lover.” What did he mean by that? Well, he is paid millions to be a communicator—you be the judge. Is he overpaid or did he mean what he said?
True, at times, the apostle Paul used marriage as an idiom to make a theological point. But this goes far beyond that. This is the idea that sex enhances our actual experiential intimacy with G __ __. Paul used marriage as a metaphor to distinguish the differences between law and gospel. The goal was understanding law and gospel, not a means of experiencing part of our future glorification.
This is a segway into the vital union aspect of the Reformed gospel that keeps us saved by faith alone in our Christian life. The idea of the church being the bride of Christ, oneness with Christ like a married couple become one, and the Reformed doctrine of the vital union are closely related here. We remain one with Christ by faith alone by believing that we can do no work pleasing to God; we are merely playing the part he wrote for us in the gospel narrative. We have all said it: I didn’t do that good thing, it was the Spirit! lest we do a good work and make “the fruits of sanctification the root of justification.”
Hence, all spiritual disciplines merely enhance the gospel experience of grace in our lives resulting in a transformation from “glory to glory” as far as what we experience, see, or perceive, not anything we do. This is an increased experience of the actual full glory that we are to experience at the resurrection and a source of our present assurance. Experiencing more and more of the future full glory is evidence that we are abiding in the vital union. Church fellowship, the Lord’s Table, baptism as the initial experience, trials, John Piper’s exultation style of worship, and yes, sex, all contribute to the experiential future glory found in the gospel narrative. Otherwise known as the “means of grace (salvation).”
“I think Peter Kreeft is on the right track in his analysis:
For we are designed for something beyond morality, something in which morality will be transformed. Mystical union with God. Sex is a sign and appetizer of that.”
Mysticism is no less mysticism though dignified with credentials.
Notes from aforementioned citation:
The Language and Analogy of Scripture & Historical Protestant Christianity:
“Hosea 2:14-23 is one of the tenderest and most beautiful love songs in the Bible…
In the context of a broken marriage being renewed with the fresh vows of betrothal must not the words, “and you shall know the Lord,” (v. 20) mean, you shall enjoy an intimacy like that of sexual intercourse.
~ John Piper The entire sermon is available here.
“Sex is for fully committed relationships because it is to be a foretaste of the joy that comes from being in complete union with God. The most rapturous love between a man and woman is only a hint of God’s love for us (Rom. 7:1–6; Eph. 5:21–33). …
Positively, we are called to experience the spousal love of Jesus.”
J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible Radio:
“When a man and a woman give themselves to each other in an act of marital love, they can know the love of Christ as no one else can know it.”
Jonathan Edwards in the Excellency of Christ:
“So again, we being united to a divine person, as his members –
can have a more intimate union and intercourse with God the Father.”
~ John Calvin:
“The strong affection which a husband ought to cherish towards his wife is exemplified by Christ, and an instance of that unity which belongs to marriage is declared to exist between himself and the Church. This is a remarkable passage on the mysterious intercourse which we have with Christ.”
“…a loving soul wants fresh food every day from the table of Christ.
And you who have once had the kisses of His mouth, though you remember the past kisses with delight, yet want daily fresh tokens of His love.”
–Charles Spurgeon’s sermon on “The Church’s Love To Her Loving Lord
“Consider he makes love to thee. Not one soul that hears me this day but the Lord Jesus is a suitor unto, that now ye would be espoused to him; “He came unto his own, and they received him not.” Whatever the secret purpose of Christ is, I regard not.
In this evangelical dispensation of grace, he makes love to all.…
‘Tis fervent, vehement, earnest love… The Lord longs for this… pleads for this,… mourns when he has not this… Take thy soul to the Bride-chamber, there to be with him forever and ever….” ~ Read the rest of the sermon at Puritan and Reformed Sermons
Peter Leithart, Reformed Pastor: “Sex is allegory… and as allegory it is …theology. For Christians, sexual difference and union is a type of Christ and the church… Only as allegory can the Song play its central role in healing our sexual imaginations.”
A.W. Tozer: The Pursuit of God … to read the entire compelling excerpt, click here …
“We have almost forgotten that God is a Person…
The continuous and unembarrassed interchange of love and thought between God and the soul of the redeemed man is the throbbing heart of New Testament religion.
This intercourse between God and the soul is known to us in conscious personal awareness.
It is personal: that is, it does not come through the body of believers, as such, but is known to the individual…
And to the body through the individuals which compose it. And it is conscious: that is, it does not stay below the threshold of consciousness and work there unknown to the soul (as, for instance, infant baptism is thought by some to do), but comes within the field of awareness where the man can ‘know’ it as he knows any other fact of experience.
From the hymn: The Church is One Foundation
The Church’s one foundation
Is Jesus Christ her Lord,
She is His new creation
By water and the Word.
From heaven He came and sought her
To be His holy bride;
With His own blood He bought her
And for her life He died….
’Mid toil and tribulation,
And tumult of her war,
She waits the consummation
Of peace forevermore;
Till, with the vision glorious,
Her longing eyes are blest,
And the great Church victorious
Shall be the Church at rest.
Yet she on earth hath union
With God the Three in One,
And mystic sweet communion
With those whose rest is won,
With all her sons and daughters
Who, by the Master’s hand
Led through the deathly waters,
Repose in Eden land.
C.H. Spurgeon: Morning and Evening
Song of Solomon 1:2
Let Him kiss me with the kisses of His mouth.
For several days we have been dwelling upon the Saviour’s passion, and for some little time to come we shall linger there…. let us seek the same desires after our Lord as those which glowed in the heart of the elect spouse.
How bold is her love! …
Esther trembled in the presence of Ahasuerus, but the spouse in joyful liberty of perfect love knows no fear. If we have received the same free spirit, we also may ask the like.
By kisses we suppose to be intended those varied manifestations of affection by which the believer is made to enjoy the love of Jesus.
The kiss of reconciliation we enjoyed at our conversion, and it was sweet as honey dropping from the comb.
The kiss of acceptance is still warm on our brow, as we know that He hath accepted our persons and our works through rich grace.
The kiss of daily, present communion, is that which we pant after to be repeated day after day, till it is changed into the kiss of reception, which removes the soul from earth, and the kiss of consummation which fills it with the joy of heaven.
Faith is our walk, but fellowship sensibly felt is our rest.
Faith is the road, but communion with Jesus is the well from which the pilgrim drinks.
O lover of our souls, be not strange to us; let the lips of Thy blessing meet the lips of our asking; let the lips of Thy fulness touch the lips of our need, and straightway the kiss will be effected.
This Evening’s Meditation
C. H. Spurgeon
Art thou, beloved one, with Christ Jesus? Does a vital union knit thee to Him?
… Come, my soul, if thou art indeed His own beloved, thou canst not be far from Him.
If His friends and His neighbours are called together to see His glory, what thinkest thou if thou art married to Him? Shalt thou be distant?
Though it be a day of judgment, yet thou canst not be far from that heart which, having admitted angels into intimacy, has admitted thee into union.
Has He not said to thee, O my soul, “I will betroth thee unto Me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in lovingkindness”?
Have not His own lips said it, “I am married unto thee, and My delight is in thee”? If the angels, who are but friends and neighbours, shall be with Him, it is abundantly certain that His own beloved Hephzibah, in whom is all His delight, shall be near to Him, and sit at His right hand.
Here is a morning star of hope for thee, of such exceeding brilliance, that it may well light up the darkest and most desolate experience.
~ Thomas Watson, Puritan (1620-1686):
There is a closer union in this holy marriage than there can be in any other.
In other marriages, two make one flesh, but Christ and the believer make one spirit: “But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.” (I Cor. 6:17).
Now as the soul is more excellent than the body, and admits of far greater joy, so this spiritual union brings in more astonishing delights and ravishments than any other marriage relationship is capable of.
The joy that flows from the mystic union is unspeakable and full of glory (I Peter 1:8).
To read his entire sermon: Mystic Union of Christ and the Saints
“Yet you were naked and bare.
Then I passed by you and saw you, and behold, you were at the time for love;
so I spread My skirt over you and covered your nakedness I also swore to you and entered into a covenant with you so that you became Mine,”
declares the Lord GOD.
Then I bathed you with water, washed off your blood from you and anointed you with oil…
32″You adulteress wife, who takes strangers instead of her husband!“
“God very commonly takes on the character of a husband to us. Indeed, the union by which he binds us to himself when he receives us into the bosom of the church is like sacred wedlock…
“Therefore that joining together of head and members, that indwelling of Christ in our hearts—in short that mystical union—are accorded by us the highest degree of importance.”
John Calvin ~ Institutes of Christian Religion
14″Therefore, behold, I will allure her,
and bring her into the wilderness,
and speak tenderly to her…
16″And in that day, declares the LORD, you will call me ‘My Husband,’ and no longer will you call me ‘My Baal.’…
19And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy.
20 I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know the LORD.
Edward Fisher in his 1650 book The Marrow of Modern Divinity (Christian Focus, 2009):
I tell you from Christ,
and under the hand of the Spirit,
that your person is accepted,
your sins are done away,
and you shall be saved;
and if an angel from heaven should tell you otherwise,
let him be accursed.
Therefore, you may (without doubt) conclude
that you are a happy man;
for by means of this your matching with Christ,
you are become one with him,
and one in him,
you ‘dwell in him, and he in you’ (1 John 4:13).
He is ‘your well beloved, and you are his’ (S. of S. 2:16).
So that the marriage union betwixt Christ and you
is more than a bare notion or apprehension of your mind;
for it is a
it is an union betwixt the nature of Christ,
God and man,
it is a knitting and closing,
not only of your apprehension with a Saviour,
but also of your soul with a Saviour.
Whence it must needs follow that you cannot be condemned,
except Christ be condemned with you;
neither can Christ be saved,
except you be saved with him.
And as by means of corporeal marriage all things become common betwixt man and wife;
even so, by means of this spiritual marriage,
all things become common betwixt Christ and you;
for when Christ hath married his spouse unto himself,
he passeth over all his estate unto her;
so that whatsoever Christ is or hath,
you may boldly challenge as your own.
‘He is made unto you, of God,
and redemption’ (1 Cor. 1:30).
by virtue of this near union it is,
that as Christ is called ‘the Lord our righteousness’ (Jer. 23:6),
even so is the church called, ‘the Lord our righteousness’ (33:16).
He leans on Christ his beloved and lives by communications of grace from him.
“His life is hid with Christ in God;” and “the life which he now lives in the flesh, he lives by faith on the Son of God.”
This is the vital or real union; the union of affection between Christ and believers. Faith has be some been called the hand or instrument by which believers lay hold on and receive Christ.
But with more propriety may it be called the act of unition itself, or the uniting act, by which Christ and the believer
~ Jonathan Edwards: The Works of Jonathan Edwards
And would you have him nearer to you than to be in the same nature, united to you by a spiritual union, so close as to be fitly represented by the union of the wife to the husband, of the branch to the vine, of the member to the head; yea, so as to be one spirit?
For so he will be united to you, if you accept of him.
~ Jonathan Edwards: the Excellency of Christ
There he is, for “he feeds among the lilies.” The spouse sees him of whom she speaks; he may be a mere myth to others but he is a substantial, lovable, lovely, and actually beloved person to her.
He stands before her, and she perceives his character so clearly that she has a comparison ready for him, and likens him to a gazelle feeding on the tender grass among the lilies. This is a very delightful state of heart. Some of us know what it is to enjoy it from year to year.
Christ is ours, and we know it. Jesus is present, and by faith we see him.
Our marriage union with husband or wife cannot be more clear, more sure, more matter of fact, than our oneness with Christ and our enjoyment of that oneness.
Joy! joy! joy! He whom we love is ours!