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Examine a key issue that was faced by the New Testament Church (Prostitution) - Could these arguments used in the first century be used by the Church of today for this problem?

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Introduction

Marc Belli Examine a key issue that was faced by the New Testament Church (Prostitution). Could these arguments used in the first century be used by the Church of today for this problem? Prostitution is the performance of sexual acts solely for the purpose of material gain. Persons prostitute themselves when they grant favours to others in exchange for money, gifts or other payments and in so doing; use their bodies as commodities. In legal terms, the word prostitute refers only to those who engage overtly in such sexual-economic transactions, usually for a specific sum of money. Prostitutes may be of either sex, but throughout history, the majority have been women, reflecting both the traditional socio-economic dependence of women and the tendency to exploit female sexuality. Although prostitution has often been characterised as the "worlds oldest profession," the concept of women as property, which prevailed in most centuries until the end of the nineteenth century, meant that the profits of the profession most often ended up in the hands of the men who controlled it. Men have traditionally been characterised as procurers and customers, but during the latter half of the twentieth century, they are increasingly being identified as prostitutes themselves, who generally serve male customers and sometimes impersonate women. The Torah (Law) ...read more.

Middle

What the Torah and Proverbs agree upon then is the condemnation of those who place personal gratification ahead of family duty. The Torah condemns the unmarried woman who prefers sexual pleasure above her obligations as a good daughter of the household who must preserve her marriageability, which is, indeed the family's investment in her. Proverbs condemns the man who spends family resources on private pleasure. He should marry a woman and be content with the sexual pleasure he receives from her. Proverbs was concerned to make the prostitute sound as unscrupulous and unattractive as possible. The Torah was speaking to the woman who was trying to behave as an unattached individual in pursuit of pleasure while still remaining under the protection of her father. According to the Torah, prostitution, though a slightly less serious crime than adultery, was wrong insofar as it represented the triumph of individual gratification over against the principle of subordination to the family. The matter of prostitution receives very little attention from the Gospel writers, but it appears in a significant pronouncement of Jesus. The tax collectors and the prostitutes, he said, were entering the Kingdom of God ahead of respectable religious leaders (chief priests and elders) because they believed the preaching of John the Baptist (Matt 21:23-32). ...read more.

Conclusion

In other words, the prostitute and the man, who has used her, actually belong to each other for the duration of their sexual intercourse, though not beyond. In Paul's own terminology, the relationship thus established is "one body;" but in the terminology of Genesis, it is a relationship of "one flesh." Paul insisted that the man who had intercourse with the prostitute was not unchanged by that act. However, it was destructive of one's spirit; the relation to Christ and to God: "Every sin that a person commits is outside the body, but the man who uses harlots is sinning against his own body." (1 Corinthians 18-20) It is evident that where Proverbs discourages a man from using prostitutes because he belonged to his family, Paul discouraged it because he belonged to God. The body, the person as a whole, is the spirit's temple, into which other forms of worship must not be introduced. "One might well ask, then, whether the implication of this line of reasoning is not, finally, to forbid sexual intercourse altogether."1 From whichever interpretation or opinion one adopts, as a Christian, or more to the point, as human beings, it should be understood that the use of prostitutes or the actual act of prostitution is both morally and ethically wrong. It is a sin against God, in that it undervalues the gift of love, through intercourse, given to us by God, and moreover, it shows a lack of respect for the body and minds of others. ...read more.

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