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No to premarital sex

Bryan Walker

No to premarital sex

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The Bible states clearly that sex before marriage is wrong – dead wrong!
That was the emphatic response from a number of church leaders to Anglican priest Rev. Charles Morris’ contentious view that nowhere in the Scriptures was it listed as a sin.
Speaking last Sunday on the television programme Religious Reasoning on the topic Is Premarital Sex Right Or Wrong?, Morris also said he saw nothing wrong with premarital sex, though he did not condone promiscuity.
The priest with more than 25 years’ experience in the pulpit went on to ask the audience if they would go into a store and buy a pair of shoes before trying them on.
Fellow Anglican Rev. Errington Massiah, who sat next to Morris on the panel, told the SUNDAY SUN he was taken aback by the comments.
“We were all trained at Codrington College together and taught by the same New Testament lecturer, so I can’t understand how he can hold that view,” said Massiah, adding that during a break in the show, he told Morris “the public will deal with him”.
The rector of St Joseph’s Parish Church cited Colossians 3:1-5 as an example of where fornication was condemned in the Bible.
“I took the church’s position. We see marriage as a sacrament and we advocate and preach ‘No sex before marriage!’ You might not see ‘sin’ in the Bible, but the Apostle Paul said no fornicator should inherit the Kingdom of God. In order to reach fornication, sex must be involved.
“Men need to keep their zips up and women need to keep on their undergarments. They are too quick to pull them down!”
Massiah said he knew of no other Anglican minister who held such a view, though he stopped short of calling for Morris to be disciplined by the Anglican Church for touting a view that was contrary to its teachings.
He was worried about what effect any mixed signals from the church would have on society, particularly the youth.
“In a society where everything seems to be going wrong, we have to uphold some of the things that are right. Too often we turn a blind eye. We have to stand up for righteousness.”
Monsignor Vincent Blackett of the Roman Catholic Church said one had to first ask what was the purpose of sex.
“In the Catholic Church, our understanding is that it is for procreation and the carrying on of the human family in the context of marriage. Therefore the persons who are engaging in sex should be those who are totally committed in marriage,” he said.
The monsignor said while he could not speak for the Anglican Church, he believed that what the church “could do is clarify its position for the community, especially one like Barbados that is very Christian”.
Rev. Anthony Worrell, district superintendent of the 38 Wesleyan Holiness churches in Barbados, said there was evidence in both the Old and New Testaments that Morris was wrong.
“I accept that we live in a secular society. I also accept that such a philosophy will inevitably run counter to those of us who believe in a Holy God and in the practice of righteous living. Subsequent to giving the Seventh Commandment (Exodus 20:14), Jehovah also furnished a list of sexual behaviours which He prohibits (Leviticus 18).
“In the 21st century as in the first century, the church must guard against shifting the boundaries of morality. The idea that one can select a lifetime sexual partner in a manner similar to choosing a pair of shoes is inimical to all that is pure and positive about human sexual relationships,” Worrell concluded.
Despite the torrent of criticism and religious rebuke, Morris said he had no intention of retreating from his position.
“My contention is whether we are dealing with the church’s position on the issue, and premarital sex in the Bible. They are two different positions,” he told the SUNDAY SUN.
Morris admitted that while he agreed fornication was sinful, “premarital sex was not fornication”.
He claimed there were ministers who held a view similar to his, but they needed to come out and “tell the truth”. He charged some with practising hyprocisy.
“They have been fooling the people for too long and too many of us as ministers have been running away from the truth. This is an enlightened age and we can’t keep using the same old things.”
Rev. Dr Lucille Baird, of Mount Zion Mission Inc., indicated she was not overly worried about Morris’ influence.
“Most Barbadians are Christian-minded and know from time immemorial that sex before marriage is wrong. Therefore what [Rev. Morris] said should not have a significant impact on Barbadians and the Christian church. At the end of the day the Bible is the manual for living and it says that fornication is to be avoided at all costs.”
As for any censure against Morris, Baird said that was something for the Anglican Diocese to look at, but “God has a different way of dealing with men of the cloth”.
“But I will pray for him, that God would give him direction and intervene,” she added.