Masturbation and the Single Adult
Hope no one minds this topic.......

I once attended a nonSDA Single Adult Ministries Convention. The topic of one of the meetings was on Sexuality and the Single Adult. The speaker was a pastor and he made the comment that no where in the Bible does it say masturbation is wrong but, that he couldn't help but wonder what a person was thinking about when they did the act. So, do you think he was right about masturbation? Are there any texts in the Bible that say it is wrong?
Make it Happen! :-)
Wow Darlene, you are so brave and unAdventist-like to broach this subject. When the Adventist Review is unable to use the word "masturbate" you are daring enough to type it here.

I haven't found a text in the Bible that specifically outlaws masturbation - but I think one of the main themes of the Bible is that our love impulse, including sex, is to look outward, to love someone else, to make love to someone else - not to focus on ourselves. Therefore, I believe an argument could probably be made from a spiritual and psychological standpoint that masturbation focuses on self - and therefore is not the ideal for humankind.

And yes, where is the mind? Is it on a porn image? Is it on some familiar and admired face from television or even the daily newspaper (the sports page) - they shouldn't publish some of those pics. According to Jesus if we are visualizing some married person when masturbating (whether real or a media image) we are commiting adultery. If we visualize a single person to whom we're not married we're fornicating.

That doesn't leave much room to manoeuver, does it! I've struggled with this in practical terms at times - felt guilty for doing it - but feel the need of release at times. I guess I'm not really ready to give advice to anyone.

Sometimes I do feel that we humans make a much bigger thing out of sex than God does - oh yes, it's meant to be part of the creative process, a sharing of that process with God - but as Christians we seem to get hung up on it - is it a sin to have sexual intercourse on the Sabbath?? (I remember that question in a book for young people). I don't recall whether these other questions were there but I suspect they weren't: "Is it a sin to overeat on the Sabbath?" or "Is it a sin to stay up too late on Tuesday?" or "Is it a sin to exercise to the point of terminal exhaustion on Friday?"

I'll leave off there and look forward to comments from younger and wiser people than me.
You're right, I probably will receive some flak for broaching such a subject, however, we can't hide our heads in the sand either. It happens to be reality for some single people.
Make it Happen! :-)
Why should people mind? Sexuality is part of human life. Some cultures make it something 'proper folks just don't talk about', in other cultures it is more accepted as being a part of life with a proper time and place. I am trying to remember a time when I've ever heard the official Seventh-Day Adventist position on this issue and I'm not able to think of a single time it's ever been addressed. I suspect that if you asked 100 Seventh-Day Adventists you would likely get 100 different answers. I can think of few ways that our church fails it's members as badly as dealing with sex and sexual issues in the life of the Seventh-Day Adventist, and this is as wrong as two left feet.

I have heard some people say masturbation was a sin because it is 'self mutilation'. I have heard other folks say it is 'selfishness' and therefore a sin. I'm still waiting for someone to quote the Seventh-Day Adventist church position on the issue. Here in America there was a campaign to 'just say no' to drugs. It seems many try the 'just say no' approach here too. But 'just say no' just doesn't cut it. People need a means to EFFECTIVELY deal with things they are supposed to 'just say no' to. God understands this and we see it in:

1 Corinthians 10:13. There is no temptation too strong for you to overcome, for God will always provide a way of overcoming it.

God seems to pretty clearly define some things in the Bible. Adultery is pretty clearly defined and labeled as a sin.

Leviticus 20:10 And the man that committeth adultery with another man's wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death

We also find this:

Leviticus 20:13 If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.

There are some things God feels very strongly about and we see them clearly spelled out in the Bible. Some would say masturbation is fornication. The Bible does speak of fornication and does speak of certain things and actions as being fornication. Does the Bible clearly define all things which are considered fornication? According to the pastor that Darlene mentions, no where in the Bible does it say masturbation is wrong. I would assume that this pastor went to seminary school and has studied the Bible in this regard to make such a statement. This would seem to indicate that fornication (in the view of that pastor) does not necessarily include masturbation but might include it depending on the mindset of the individual. Surveyor makes good points.

What about in the environment of marriage? If one spouse cheerfully and lovingly does this for the other, is this wrong? What about for each other at the same time? In the marriage environment I do feel masturbation is a sin if it causes the other spouse to be deprived. What does the apostle Paul say:

1 Corinthians 7:1-5 Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. 2 Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. 3 Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. 4 The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. 5 Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.

In verse one and two I interpret that Paul as referring to fornication as sex between a man and a woman prior to marriage. Maybe others interpret it differently.

Romans 14 makes for interesting reading and gives insight. Read the whole chapter. I am including these verses here:

Romans 14:22-23 Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth. 23 And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.

While we see that some of this chapter relates to the eating of meat, what other areas of life does this chapter apply to?

I am sure there are Bible texts which could be used to argue opinions on both sides. Each of us is responsible to God and will answer to God. God knows the heart and mind of each of us. God has given us the Bible. Read and study the Bible.

2 Peter 1:20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.

Live according as God gives you understanding of the scriptures, and according to how He speaks to your heart and mind.

God leads us if we ask and let Him,
Jeffrey Lamb
Will compose my response later but, Darlene I applaud you for even broaching this subject!!!!
Jeffrey, you make several references to "the Seventh-day Adventist Church's position on" masturbation which reminds me of yarns an acquaintance who works for the SDA church tells me, of phone calls and letters he gets asking for the church's position on this, that and the other thing - like people do not have any brains of their own or don't trust their own scholarship or prayer life. I think you have stated it correctly when you say that we will all have to answer to God for our own actions and thoughts - and so we need to discuss this question with God and see how the HS inspires us.
As a true Christian, what we believe must be based on the truth God has given us in His word, The Bible. If we belong to a church, it must be because the teachings of that church are in keeping with what we have found to be true in the Bible. When folks learn that one is a Seventh-Day Adventist, they have questions. Some of those questions are based on misinformation they have heard. Other questions are based on the fact that they have just never heard the Seventh-Day Adventist church's position on a particular topic.

So how do we witness to someone who is not a Seventh-Day Adventist who wants to know our church's position on masturbation? Do I tell them I don't know our church's position on this issue because I've never heard it? How lame is that?! Sure, I could sit down with the person and study through the Bible and help the person to find all relevant texts. Sure I could help them to prove one text against another and show them that they can discover what they believe God is saying to them through the Bible. Sure I can tell them that God will speak to their heart and mind and that this with what they read in the Bible should guide them in their growth with Jesus. But as a Seventh-Day Adventist church, we should be a place where people can come to and get an answer. Not just an answer, but a sound answer provable through the scriptures of the Bible. They should be given an answer that they can use as a starting point in their own study of the Bible. As they study they can read for themselves if they believe the position or not as they interpret the Bible.

Yes, Christians have a responsibility to study God's word and know what they believe based on God's word. In the end times we will be called to defend our beliefs. Each Christian should study the Bible to know it very well and not rely on the "Seventh-Day Adventist Church position" as their sole defense. I believe as a church we should have a position on this issue so that when asked regarding the church's position, we aren't stuck saying "I don't know".

A child of God through His power,
Jeffrey Lamb
We have a good discussion going on here and several good texts have been given on sexuality but none really discuss masturbation.....

I do not believe that in the past and even now, our church has a postion on this issue. At least if they do, I have not heard of it. Maybe now that 50% of the church are single they will come up with one?

A wise man this weekend shared that masturbation in Biblical times was not a problem because people married by the time they were 12 years old and that if someone was widowed, the brother of the husband took on the responsibility to look after the widowed wife. Others had concubines and many had more than one wife. So maybe that means that this practice was created after Bible times? (now I dont' really believe that)
Make it Happen! :-)
Is having an answer to this vital to my eternal salvation? Is masturbation interfering with my relationship with God and with other humans? To me, that is one of the most important questions one can ask about any issue.
If masturbation is a sin, then I would say that it does or could affect your eternal salvation. Each person must study the Bible and come to an understanding on this issue for themselves based on their understanding of the Bible an how God speaks to their heart.

In regard to this issue and Biblical times, I believe it started with either Adam or Eve (personally I'm guessing Adam).
Masturbation can interfer with a person's relationship with God if God specifically tells humans not to participate in this practice. I believe some here are not certain if God forbids this practice or not. I have not studied the topic much either. I do believe though, that masturbation may be a minor issue for some but for others can become vital to their salvation.
Make it Happen! :-)
Some here mention the Church's position on masturbation. What is it? I don't believe I have ever heard it even mentioned. Its always been hush hush and we don't talk about it.
Make it Happen! :-)
I was looking for any statement made by the church regarding this issue...the following is the only statement I could find that relates in any way...

A Statement of Concern on Sexual Behavior

In His infinite love and wisdom God created mankind, both male and female, and in so doing based human society on the firm foundation of loving homes and families.

It is Satan's purpose, however, to pervert every good thing; and the perversion of the best inevitably leads to that which is worst. Under the influence of passion unrestrained by moral and religious principle, the association of the sexes has, to a deeply disturbing extent, degenerated into license and abuse which results in bondage. With the aid of many films, television, video, radio programs, and printed materials, the world is being steered on a course to new depths of shame and depravity. Not only is the basic structure of society being greatly damaged but also the breakdown of the family fosters other gross evils. The results in distorted lives of children and youth are distressing and evoke our pity, and the effects are not only disastrous but also cumulative.

These evils have become more open and constitute a serious and growing threat to the ideals and purposes of the Christian home. Sexual practices which are contrary to God's expressed will are adultery and premarital sex, as well as obsessive sexual behavior. Sexual abuse of spouses, sexual abuse of children, incest, homosexual practices (gay and lesbian), and bestiality are among the obvious perversions of God's original plan. As the intent of clear passages of Scripture (see Ex 20:14; Lev 18:22,23,29 and 20:13; Matthew 5:27,28; 1 Cor 6:9; 1 Tim 1:10; Rom 1:20-32) is denied and as their warnings are rejected in exchange for human opinions, much uncertainty and confusion prevail. This is what Satan desires. He has always attempted to cause people to forget that when God as Creator made Adam, He also created Eve to be Adam's female companion ("male and female he created them" Gen 1:24 NEB). In spite of the clear moral standards set forth in God's Word for relationships between man and woman, the world today is witnessing a resurgence of the perversions and depravity that marked ancient civilizations.

The degrading results of the obsession of this age with sex and the pursuit of sensual pleasure are clearly described in the Word of God. But Christ came to destroy the works of the devil and reestablish the right relationship of human beings with each other and with their Creator. Thus, though fallen in Adam and captive to sin, those who turn to Christ in repentance receive full pardon and choose the better way, the way to complete restoration. By means of the cross, the power of the Holy Spirit in the "inner man," and the nurturing ministry of the Church, all may be freed from the grip of perversions and sinful practices.

An acceptance of God's free grace inevitably leads the individual believer to the kind of life and conduct that "will add luster to the doctrine of our God and Saviour" (Titus 2:10 NEB). It will also lead the corporate church to firm and loving discipline of the member whose conduct misrepresents the Saviour and distorts and lowers the true standards of Christian life and behavior.

The Church recognizes the penetrating truth and powerful motivations of Paul's words to Titus: "For the grace of God has dawned upon the world with healing for all mankind; and by it we are disciplined to renounce godless ways and worldly desires, and to live a life of temperance, honesty, and godliness in the present age, looking forward to the happy fulfilment of our hope when the splendor of our great God and Saviour Christ Jesus will appear. He it is who sacrificed himself for us, to set us free from all wickedness and to make us a pure people marked out for his own, eager to do good."—Titus 2:11-14, NEB. (See also 2 Peter 3:11-14.)

This statement was approved and voted by the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists Executive Committee at the Annual Council session in Washington, D.C., October 12, 1987.
I appreciate the posting by LoriH, I see lots of words but I don't see in the statement that this issue has been addressed. The statement as posted skirts dealing with the issue. It mentions some sexual issues, such as adultery as being wrong. But the Bible already clearly defines adultery and some other issues as a sin. This statement as approved by the "church fathers" fails to deal with the issue at hand directly. Like a politician who doesn't want to answer a difficult question, they used lots of words to sound like they answered the question but really didn't say much we didn't already know.

The statement uses the words "obsessive sexual behavior". The life of a true Christian should be all things in moderation. We see in

Phillipians 4:5 Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.

Moderation would not only apply to sex but also to eating, sleeping, working, and many other aspects of the Christian life. The statement as posted addresses some issues but not this one in my opinion.
It has been a few years since this topic was discussed. Have there been any further developments in our church concerning this topic? Am I still crazy to being this topic up again?
Make it Happen! :-)

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