Not Guilty Says Who?

Harry Osborne
Alvin, Texas

The recent trial of William Kennedy Smith revealed some disturbing facts about accepted sexual behavior in this country. A jury found Mr. Smith "not guilty" of the charge of rape and that decision must be respected as legitimate under the law of the land. However, the conduct admitted by Mr. Smith in the trial put him in conflict with a higher law -God's law.

The television coverage of the trial gave little attention to the shameful nature of the admitted conduct, but focused almost solely upon whether or not rape was committed. The conclusion seemed to be that as long as rape was not committed, Mr. Smith's reputation as an honorable and decent man was restored. That is a disastrous message to send to a society already given to hedonism!

By his own admission, Mr. Smith says the incident started at a bar where he and the woman drank alcohol. The record showed that over $600 worth of drinks were consumed by the four people in Mr. Smith's party. He then says he took this woman whom he had just met on the dance floor and engaged in the sexually provocative movements of "slow dancing" and "dirty dancing" like the "lambada." The disc jockey for the club described such dances as "sexy" with "a lot of touching of the partner's body." One writer called it "an imitation of the sex act on the dance floor." It is the most popular form of modern dancing among young people today. Mr. Smith then admits he was involved in fornication on the lawn with this one to whom he was not married. Sounds like one honorable, respectable evening, doesn't it?

God's word makes it clear that a problem exists with every step in that sequence of events regardless of whether or not rape was involved. Let us see what God says about the nature of such acts and the character of one so acting.

Step One: Drinking Alcohol

The Bible repeatedly warns about the danger of drinking alcohol. "Do not look on the wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it swirls around smoothly; at the last it bites like a serpent, and stings like a viper. Your eyes will see strange things, and your heart will utter perverse things" (Prov. 23:31-33). "Wine is a mocker, intoxicating drink arouses brawling, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise" (Prov. 20:1).

The fortified wines and liquor of our time were called "strong drink" shekar in the Bible. The word is used 22 times in the Old Testament and is never approved for human consumption. Instead, the Bible clearly and consistently condemns any partaking of "strong drink" (e.g. Lev. 10:9; Num. 6:3; Isa. 28:7). Why? Its use inherently robs one of the full rational facilities of the mind in decision making and results in one acting improperly. As a matter of fact, no passage in the word of God ever approves the recreational use of any alcoholic beverage! If those justifying social drinking would like to attempt a defense of their practice, let them try to do so from the Scriptures. The fact is they cannot prove it to be "good" from the word of God (1 Thess. 5:21-22). God knew that messing around with alcohol would lead to one evil after another. It is high time we figure out the same!

Step Two: Dancing

The Bible condemns lasciviousness which is inherently involved in the modern dances. The word "lasciviousness" refers to unbridled lusts and the actions proceeding from such. Arndt and Gingrich define it to mean "licentiousness, debauchery, sensuality . . . (to)follow the inclination to sensuality" (114). Thayer comments on the meaning by saying it deals with "wanton (acts or) manners, as filthy words, indecent bodily movements, unchaste handling of males and females, etc." (7980). Remember the disc jockey's description of the modern dance? These definitions given of "lasciviousness" describe the modern dance perfectly!

Paul characterized lasciviousness as a "work of the flesh" and went on to say that "those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God" (Gal. 5:19-21). Other passages make the point just as plainly (Eph. 4:17-19; 1 Pet. 4:1-5). Mark 6:21-28 records an example of the evil produced by sensual dancing. The daughter of Herodias so aroused her step-father, Herod, through a dance emphasizing sensuality that Herod promised to give her anything up to half of his kingdom. She asked for the head of John the Baptist. Sensual dancing has continued to keep sinful company to the present day - it never has produced good.

Step Three: Fornication

The Bible condemns the sexual union of any people except a man and woman who are lawfully joined to one another in marriage. Marriage was given by God to provide among other things for the sexual fulfillment of the desires of the man and the woman so that they might "avoid fornication" (1 Cor. 7:2). Any sexual relationship outside of marriage is called "fornication" and is expressly forbidden (1 Cor. 6:15-20). God says that those who violate this law will not be allowed into heaven.

Or know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with' men, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God (1 Cor. 6:9-10).

Instead, we are commanded to live in sanctification by abstaining from fornication (1 Thess. 4:1-8).

Sexual union between two people is not right just because they both agree to engage in it. The Bible declares it is only in a God ordained marriage that a man and woman have the right to engage in sexual activity.

Let marriage be had in honor among all, and let the bed be undefiled: for fornicators and adulterers God will judge (Heb. 13:4).

When one has so little regard for God's law that he violates it upon the lawn, there is no honor to be found in it. It is shameful!


Why do many in our time fail to see the shame in such hedonistic behavior? Young people are urged to make sure they have "consensual sex" and "safe sex," but I hear precious little talk about "only marital sex." However, God's law still says that is the only proper place for the sexual union of a man and woman. Though men may disobey it, that is and will continue to be his law on the matter!

Guardian of Truth XXXVI: 9, pp. 161, 183
March 19, 1992