I’ve studied the bible, examining what it says about sexuality. I wanted to do this as honestly as possible. In order to do so, I had to be open to the possibility of coming to a conclusion either way. I certainly had some motivation for finding that the bible doesn’t forbid or frown upon certain sexual relations. Could I determine that the sexual prohibitions were just cultural for that time and no longer apply in the same way today? If so, that would seem to free me and most other people in our culture. On the other hand, if I did find that the bible has clear guidelines about sexual relationships which still apply today, I’d keep all the conservative christians happy.
As much as I might not want this to be the case, I can’t get by the fact that the bible seems to have a high sexual ethic across the board. We know that since Christ, we are no longer under the (Jewish/Mosaic) Law or any specific set of rules. There is nonetheless still right and wrong and guidelines. One important set of these is recounted in Acts 15:28-29: “It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things.”
I find it quite interesting that, out of the whole law, the one thing which they instructed believers about which is still most applicable, is to abstain from sexual immorality. (As far as I’m aware, food sacrificed to idols, blood, and strangled animals aren’t something most of us run into in our culture).
Now exactly what constitutes sexual immorality (and what doesn’t) is not specified here, nor comprehensively addressed anywhere I can think of in the New Testament. Apparently the authors of the New Testament assumed an understanding of what sexual immorality is. The best thing I know to do is to go back to the Law to gain a better understanding of this. I say this because I believe that the Law provided foundational knowledge for the leaders of the first century church. (All of the earliest church leaders were Jews, and the Law was a foundational belief in that culture.)