There is such a thing as righteous anger. Jesus displayed it in John 2 when He drove out the moneychangers from His Father’s house with a whip and shouting. The apostle Paul displayed it in his letter to the Galatians with his well known, but not oft-quoted line, “I wish they would emasculate themselves!” (Galatians 5:12).
I’m angry about a blog post I read yesterday afternoon.
Now I’m not putting my anger on the same level as the righteous anger of Jesus Christ or even that of the apostle Paul. But it is my hope and prayer that in this post, I would express an anger half that righteous at the stench of legalism that pollutes so many conservative churches today.
On July 16, 2018, Christian blogger Lori Alexander published a post entitled “Men Prefer Debt-Free Virgins Without Tattoos.”
In her post, she wrote about how Christian men find women more attractive and marriageable if they have no debt, sexual history, or tattoos. I’m sure she’s a fine Christian woman and she may have meant well in writing this particular post, but in my opinion (and the opinions of many other Christian bloggers who have also written rebuttals to her post), she stomped on the heart of grace in the process.
To even insinuate that someone possesses less value than another because of choices they’ve made reeks of legalism and does serious damage to the church of Jesus Christ and the hearts of His holy ones.
As Christians, we are to emulate the only perfect person who ever lived – Jesus Christ the Righteous.
Now Lori Alexander suggests that men prefer women who are debt-free virgins without tattoos. If we believe the truth that Jesus Christ is the man of all men and the One after Whom we should seek to order our lives, let us consider the bride He took to Himself.
All throughout Scripture, the church is referred to as the bride of Christ. If Lori Alexander’s post was right, we could expect that the church would be made up of debt-free virgins without tattoos.
Nowhere in Scripture is that presented as a reality. In fact, the exact opposite is put forth as the truth.
Did Christ take to Himself a virgin bride?
No. He committed Himself – His sinless, pure, and righteous Self – to a whore. I would ask you to please excuse my word choice, except it’s not mine; it’s Scripture’s (Jeremiah 3:8 ESV, Ezekiel 16:15-22 ESV). The Bible tells us that Israel was a prostitute, an adulterous wife who whored after other gods at any chance she got.
That’s who Christ calls His bride.
Did Christ take to Himself a debt-free bride?
No. And if for a single split second you think He did, open your Bible and think again. As sinners, we carry so much debt from the moment we’re conceived, that it’s an impossible task for us to rid ourselves of it by our own strength. As sinners, we wear a spiritual ball and chain of debt that is enough to drag us to the depths of hell unless broken by the power of One greater than ourselves. We are debtors…beggars…it is true.
It’s the debtors and the beggars who Christ calls His bride.
And as for Lori Alexander’s point about tattoos, I think it a sorry combination of sad and silly to believe that what marks a person’s body matters more than what marks their soul. It is possible to have a tattoo and be living very much within the statutes of the Lord (just as it is possible to have no tattoos and be living very much outside His statues).
Yes, I am aware that the Old Testament forbade the Israelites from marking their bodies because of body markings’ associations with paganism. I am also aware that foods such as lobster and pork were out of bounds for the Israelites. And even more pointedly, I am aware of our Lord’s own statement that it is not what goes into the body that defiles a person, but that which flows from the heart (Matthew 15:11, 17-19). If it is not what goes in the body that defiles, I don’t think it too far off to believe that it is not what goes on the body either that defiles, but still that which flows from the heart.
Lori Alexander closes her article this way.
“Stay virgins until marriage, out of debt, and don’t get tattoos!”
I will close mine like this.
Seek the Father. Walk by the Spirit. Glory in the riches that Christ has won.
ONE MORE THOUGHT
In my post, I chose to address the topic of debt from a theological standpoint, talking about our spiritual debt to God because of sin. In Lori Alexander’s post, she wrote mainly about financial debt, encouraging young women to think long and hard before deciding to go to university, saying that the resultant debt would impede their lives as wives and mothers.
Whoa. It’s time to wake up.
Financial debt is not insurmountable nor is it always inherently sinful, college is beneficial even if you’re not planning a life as a career mogul, and God does not call all women to be wives and mothers.
Sisters in Christ, guard your hearts against lies such as the ones Lori Alexander would have you believe.
The Gospel does not shame, it redeems. The Gospel does not guilt, it restores (Matthew 12:20).
I’m thankful that there are Christians in this world who understand that truth at a deep level. To reject a repentant Christian because of their past is to express loudly and clearly that you don’t understand the 2 Corinthians 5:17 nature of the Gospel. The old has passed away, behold, the new has come!
Believe that, all you debtors.
Believe that, all you long since virgins.
Believe that, all you tattooed bodies with hearts made new.
Christ is bigger than human choices, whether they be your own choices or the decisions of another imposed on you.
He is greater.
He has overcome.