By Gene Taylor
There was an interesting article by Jennifer Lee in The Wall Street Journal Monday, August 11 (“Before the Fall: Small Church Seeks the Purity of Eden” 1). It told of a church that held “clothing-optional” services.
The one-room church with its lace curtains could be any other small-town church in America until the lay preacher, Harry Westcott, steps out from behind the pulpit naked except for white sneakers and a black watch. The accompanist, his fingers skimming the keyboard of the Wurlitzer, is similarly undressed.
Thus begins the services of a non-denominational church at Cedar Waters Village nudist resort in Nottingham, New Hampshire. This village “claims to be the first Christian nudist resort in the U.S.” It was founded in 1950.
The bulk of the article goes on to relate the argumentation and justification these nudists give for their practices. They include such things as “People were always baptized nude until the second or third century,” “Nude is natural. The philosophy is body acceptance,” and “If you believe that the human body is a creation of God in his own image, there is nothing shameful or harmful about being nude.” I have come to expect such typical rationalizations for such aberrant behavior. As a matter of fact, I heard these same arguments used by a minister of a denominational church in Texas some 25 years ago to justify using an exotic dancer in worship services. It seems that anyone who wants to engage in any practice can somehow justify it.
Some so-called “Christians” are that way. Those who claim to be members of the body of Christ but cling to worldly practices often seek such justification.
Those who claim to serve Christ but enjoy drinking alcoholic beverages try to justify their practice by saying such things as, “Well, Jesus drank wine”; “Paul told Timothy to take a little wine for his stomach’s sake”; or “You know, the Bible doesn’t condemn social drinking or just having a drink in the privacy of your home as long as it’s done in moderation.” The Bible does condemn “strong drink” (Prov. 20:1; 23:29-32) and drunkenness (Rom. 13:13; Gal. 5:21) and common sense ought to cause anyone in their right mind to realize where the use of alcohol leads. It leads to death from alcohol poisoning as with the LSU student who recently died after pledging a fraternity. It leads to impairment of faculties and death when driving as in the fatal automobile accident of Princess Diana. Be smart enough to abstain from alcohol completely. Even at Cedar Waters Village, a nudist resort, “alcohol isn’t allowed.”
Others who claim to be members of the church justify dancing in much the same way. Quoting again from the article in The Wall Street Journal, it said, “Sexual promiscuity and excessive physical contact aren’t tolerated. All dancing even square dancing — must be done clothed because, as Mr. Westcott explains, ‘Dancing is a vertical manifestation of a horizontal desire.’” Even nudists can see the dangers involved in dancing. Why can’t some of those who claim to be Christians? It is because it is something they want to do and, as we have already seen, when someone really wants to do something, he will go to great lengths to justify it in his own mind and the minds of others. The problem is, though, no matter how he may try, he cannot change the mind or will of Almighty God.