• Of Premarital Sex, and Marriage-By Edward Maroncha

    The question of sex has always fascinated mankind. Due to the Church’s stand on sexual purity, it really excites the general population if a Christian is caught up in the middle of a sex scandal. Better still, if it is a man of the cloth. I remember when I was in high school, I was the CU chairman. I generally stayed away from girls because of the attention it attracted. But once, when we were in form 4, our school hosted an interschool discussion. One of the schools in the area, Iruma Girls, was invited.

    The discussion went well, and afterwards I made a disappearing act just like I had always done. But then someone came looking for me, and said there was a girl looking for me. Just the idea that there was a girl looking for the CU Chairman was enough to excite my friends. It turns out it was the Chairlady of Iruma Girls Christian Union, and she wanted to have a conversation with the Chairman of Ikuu Boys CU. She did not know me personally. But anyway, I met her and we had a long conversation at the school playing field. She was a bubbly girl, and an interesting person to converse with. She left for her school, and I never saw her again.

    But going back to the preps in the evening, my class was bubbling with excitement. The Chairman had finally found a girl. And not just a girl, but a fine girl. She was admittedly beautiful. Apparently, someone had taken photos with a phone they had smuggled into the school, and the photos were circulating. Chairman and his girl.

    These were some of the challenges that came with the office. But this was nothing compared to some of the questions I had to answer. There is one I specifically remember, because it disturbed me for a long time. We were preparing to leave school after KCSE and one fella asked me:

    “If I get one girl, and I sleep with her, and only her, forever, what is wrong with that?”

    I said it was a sin according to the Bible. He challenged me to quote the specific scripture. I quickly ran to 1 Corinthians 6: 15-19:

    Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a harlot? Certainly not!  Or do you not know that he who is joined to a harlot is one body with her? For “the two,” He says, “shall become one flesh.” But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.

    Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?

    He pointed out that first, his woman would not be a prostitute (harlot), and second I still hadn’t answered his question, which was, what scripture made his sleeping with his one woman sexual immorality? The one scripture I had pulled said flee from sexual immorality, but did not define what that immorality was. I said that having sex with a woman that is not your wife is sexual immorality. He said she would be his wife. I said she was not yet his wife.

    The discussion ended, but I knew I had won on a technicality. He wanted scripture, and I could not provide scripture. So this conversation stayed at the back of my mind. Much later, my Bible study group had this discussion on premarital sex. Valarie posed the question: when does marriage occur? I argued that marriage occurred once sex happened. I was still clinging on 1 Cor 6: For “the two,” He says, “shall become one flesh.”

    My argument then was that once sex happens, the two have become one flesh.

    “So you want to say all these people who fall into sexual sin are married?” They asked.

    “Yes”, I replied.

    The gang concluded that I had taken an extreme position. Without further proof, I backed down. So we agreed that marriage is a social function, and a marriage occurs if it is recognized by the rules of the particular society. Thus, in Kenya, anyone who gets married under customary law, or civil law or in a church can have sex without falling into premarital sex, provided they fulfill all the requirements of the particular system they choose. The Bible does not prescribe any particular form of marriage, and all marriages recorded there were conducted according to Jewish culture and traditions.

    But now I have found new evidence to present to the gang (they are all lawyers, so they understand that I have a right to retry the matter because of fresh evidence). So I am bringing back the matter to the pot. The New Testament does not define sexual immorality, it only warns against it. There are various mentions of certain acts, such as homosexuality and incest but that is about it. But the Old Testament does. Leviticus 18 gives the laws on sexual relations. Premarital sex is not listed so that is not what I am presenting. I am presenting Deuteronomy 22. Specifically, verse 28:

    “If a man meets a virgin who is not betrothed, and seizes her and lies with her, and they are found, then the man who lay with her shall give to the father of the young woman fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife, because he has violated her; he may not put her away all his days.

    I will straight away point out that I am uncomfortable with one part of this verse: the word “seize”. Because it implies force (some versions actually use the word rape). Rape is a crime, and should not be tolerated under any circumstance. But none the less, this text is addressing premarital sex, and in our case, consensual sex. This text states that if the girl is not engaged, the only remedy is to marry her. Not to repent. To marry her. (There is the question of “if they are found” but God is always finding you, no?)

    If she is single, but engaged, you are sleeping with someone’s wife, so you should be stoned. Deuteronomy 22:23-27:

    If there is a betrothed virgin, and a man meets her in the city and lies with her, then you shall bring them both out to the gate of that city, and you shall stone them to death with stones, the young woman because she did not cry for help though she was in the city, and the man because he violated his neighbor’s wife; so you shall purge the evil from the midst of you.

     “But if in the open country a man meets a young woman who is betrothed, and the man seizes her and lies with her, then only the man who lay with her shall die.  But to the young woman you shall do nothing; in the young woman there is no offense punishable by death, for this case is like that of a man attacking and murdering his neighbor; because he came upon her in the open country, and though the betrothed young woman cried for help there was no one to rescue her.

    But before someone rushes to have sex with their girlfriend, there is something else that caught my eye in that text:

    “…he may not put her away all his days.

    Generally, divorce was allowed under the Law of Moses. But this text says that if you had sex with a single woman before marrying her, that was not a sin. So repentance was not a cure. There was no sin offering or punishment attached to it. All you had to do was to marry her. However, you could never divorce her for the rest of your life.

    So if you are like that boy who challenged me those many years ago, the thing is, you have to marry that girl. Legally. And you can never divorce her. So you can’t break up after having sex with the girlfriend. Once sex is in the mix, there is no way out. Except death.

    I have a feeling the gang will accuse me of taking an extreme stand again. But come on people. Our next Bible Study is coming up at Kyalo’s in the next couple of weeks. Take out your Bibles. Prepare. Let us thrash this one out.



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