(Photo: Advance 13 video)
Pastor Blake Wilson is known for his Bible-based curriculum on sex, having shared his message on godly intimacy for years with NBA teams and churches across the country. The Houston, Texas, pastor of Crossover Bible Fellowship recently spoke with The Christian Post about his upcoming "Sex and the Gospel" conference and why he believes Satan is just as interested in the bedroom as God.
According to Wilson, whose nondenominational church is home to 700-800 members and has a strong youth presence, most people are unaware that sexuality is really an issue of warfare. As he explained, the devil knows that God's primary purpose for marriage is procreation, to "raise up godly offspring." He believes Satan is shown to have been attacking the purpose of marriage since the biblical account in Genesis 3 that tells of a serpent successfully tempting Adam and Eve to disobey God. As a result, said Wilson, man has been living by his own sexual agenda instead of by God's biblical blueprint, with disastrous results.
Below is a transcript of CP's phone interview with Wilson. It has been edited for brevity.
CP: Please provide some background on the Sex and the Gospel conference.
Wilson: The curriculum didn't start out as a curriculum. Actually, my wife and I were asked to speak at a retreat with teenagers and the teenagers chose the topics ... and one of the topics that they chose was sex, they wanted to talk about it and learn about it from a biblical perspective.
As my wife and I began to speak on sex, the kids really responded ... and so from there we started getting more and more invitations to speak on sex. The next thing you know, it kind of developed into a series. I became a youth pastor and we started putting more and more teachings together on it because kids were basically saying, "Here's what we're facing and dealing with everyday. These are the realities we're dealing with in middle school and high school, and we never knew God had anything to say about these issues."
According to Psalm 119:9-11, the Bible talks about how a young person can keep their way pure, and it says by living according to the Word. Well if a person doesn't have a word to live by, they're not taught a word to live by, then they're going to fail.
I kind of looked back on my personal experience growing up in church, [about] not having a specific biblical teaching or word or instruction on that area to show me why wait to preserve myself for a wife versus just the old school adage of "If you have sex, you're going to die and burn in hell." So that's kind of what we really wanted to do, to renew people's minds in that area and of life that's so real and teach them so that they can make wise decisions.
CP: Over time, have you found that you've had to adapt the message to make it more relevant to the culture?
Wilson: No, we really have not had to adapt the message. Actually, in teaching the message, you're talking about ancient stories from the Bible that are very relevant, whether it's just scenarios of date rape in 2 Sam. 13 or Gen. 34 that are very relevant to people. I think that God's Word is timeless, and as a result it's not a matter of it being made relevant to the culture but the culture, including the church, has never been exposed to the Word of God in the first place so they don't even know that God is addressing these types of issues in the Word of God.
CP: Who are you trying to reach and what kind of change are you hoping to inspire with the Sex and the Gospel conference?
Wilson: Number one, we believe that the message concerning sex is larger than the Church. It's a universal message, so in terms of reach, there are definitely churches we are reaching but also we have people in this social media world that have friends, the Facebooks, the Twitters, and they're saying, "Come and hear about sex from the manufacturer's manual." God is the one who manufactured sex, the one who thought of it. … So people are inviting their friends, they're inviting their coworkers, we're experiencing all those things. And people are saying, "I didn't even know that the church talked about sex." So we're getting people who aren't churchgoers on a regular basis as well as church people.
CP: You shared this message at the 2013 Advance the Church conference. How was it received?
Wilson: I think that a lot of the people were amazed how biblically-based the message was as it relates to the culture. One of the big premises in the teaching is in Acts 15:29-30 it says "seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay upon you no greater burden than these essentials." Here are some essential things the church has to know, and it said avoid idolatry and avoid immorality. It was because the culture that those people were coming out of were so idolatrous and so immoral that they said, "Okay, let's teach them in these areas and if they observe these things, they will do well." In other words, life will change for them. Which goes back to that revolution – you're no longer just engaging in an activity that's going to lead [to] pain and hurt. It was never God's design for people to have sexually transmitted diseases. It was not God's design for people to raise children with no fathers. That's not His design, that was once man entered into the equation and started running his sex life by his own agenda, versus God's biblical blueprint. So a lot of the things that are hurting us in the culture today, you know [a girl] losing her virginity to a so-called boyfriend who loves them only for him to start dating the next girl, and now she's hurt – that wasn't God's design, that was our plan. As a result, when people get informed they start learning things that they would have never learned in their entire life.
One major fact is a girl's virginity. A lot of women know the price of getting their hair done, their nails done, their feet done, but don't know the price of their virginity in the Bible. In Exodus 22:16 and 17 and in Deuteronomy 22:29, it talks about a girl's virginity being worth five years of salary. So a bride price would be paid in which the guy interested in marrying the young lady would pay the father five years of stored up salary for the value of his daughter who was a virgin. So virginity at the time was the expectation not the exception. So you know, Mary and Esther, they're not being used in the Bible the way they're getting used on accident because they're virgins. They were getting used the way they are used in the Bible because there was the expectation and they were living according to God's Word.
I think that one of the things that came out of the conference the most is people being amazed at what God said. We've just never really been taught well concerning sex.
CP: What would you say to critics? Not everyone welcomes sex, no matter how biblically-based, being preached from the pulpit.
Wilson: When people say "we don't need to talk about this issue," I think that's an error because it's not been talked about enough. I think that if you look at what's happened ... there's a word in English [called] "immorality," but it's the Greek word "porneia," where we get our English word "pornography." God's problem is not with sex, God's issue is with sexual immorality. The word "immorality" or porneia, pornography, is all forms of illicit sex outside of the marriage covenant. So the issue is, is we've not spoken concerning sex. I believe that the vocal chords and the mouthpiece of God are quiet on a subject that God has been talking about since Gen. 1 to Rev. 22. The original purpose for sex in the Bible was procreation, the first purpose of sex for a man and woman, husband and wife, was to reproduce God's image on the face of the earth. God wanted us to be fruitful and multiply, to bear His image and to raise up children that would reflect His character in the earth realm.
As it relates to critics, I would just say really take some time to listen and hear and be well-informed, because we're not doing well with the sexually transmitted diseases that we have across the country, and people dying from those, children being raised out of wedlock. I think that if we would run the plays that God has instituted, we could possibly do better than [how] we're doing on our own.
CP: You mentioned that God's purpose for sex is procreation. Are they any other purposes?
Wilson: The very first night of our conference, the first session is called "Four Play: the Foundation for God Sex" ... In Gen. 1:26-28, the first purpose: procreation, to reproduce the image of God on the face of the earth through a married couple; number two: consummation, Gen. 2:24, that you would become one flesh; and then number three: recreation, Proverbs 5:15-20; and then number four: protection, 1 Cor. 7:5.
Potentially, maybe one of the most critical is protection because God is basically telling the married couples of the Bible that you ought to engage in a healthy sex life as a couple so that you will not be tempted by Satan due to a lack of self-control.
Many people don't realize that sex is actually an issue of warfare, because the devil knows that God is trying to reproduce His image through procreation, the original purpose, and to raise up godly offspring. That's why I believe that the enemy has the issue under such attack from the very beginning of the Bible. So as a result, the man [starts] living according to his own sexual agenda, versus God's biblical blueprint. You begin to see a falling away from what God had intended in terms of the act of sex.
I think that those four purposes are critical. The Bible says that you ought to come back together again so that Satan will not tempt you due to your lack of self-control. So Satan is just as interested in the bedroom as God is, and we as a church need to find out who's winning. I think that it ought to be God winning based on the fact that He's manufactured it, but a lot of times it looks like Satan has an upper hand because the church has not spoken and taught well. We have not renewed people's minds in this area so that they can make wise decisions.
CP: Please share a little about your church, Crossover Bible Fellowship.
Wilson: Crossover Bible Fellowship is a church that started out of my house, out of my living room. We would be considered a nondenominational church. We have close to 700-800 members. We started seven years ago. Great young adult population in the congregation. We've seen God do amazing things. We've gone from my living room to [over] seven acres in seven years, so God's been good to us.
CP: Do you have any upcoming projects, besides the Sex and the Gospel conference on April 5-6?
Wilson: There's [material] I'm working on in terms of the Urban Lighthouse Curriculum. The Urban Lighthouse Curriculum is ultimately going to be a youth and young adult-based curriculum that deals with topics biblically to produce curriculum for youth pastors and young adult ministers to teach their teens and young people over a series of time, over two to three years, with the lives of young people based on the big issues they're facing. We've surveyed over the years a lot of young people and they've told us, "Here are the issues that we're facing," and what we've done is we've gone into the Bible, pulled out those topics and isolated Scriptures in those areas to teach them. That curriculum, being formed since about 1999, is putting itself now in a publishable state.
I also work with Thrive in the City Network with Pastor Dr. Eric Mason out of Epiphany Fellowship. I'm one of the board members for Thrive in the City, which focuses on building up inner-city churches and strengthening inner-city churches with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
More information about the 2013 Sex and the Gospel conference can be found at the official event website.