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A reader has noted a paradox in our relationship with The Family, as contrasted with our relationship with The Community (part of the Twelve Tribes movement). He writes:

"You have some serious moral complications with The Family, and only slight philosophical/theological complications with The Community. Yet it is The Family that you are getting on well with and The Community that you are having major problems with."

Actually, we have always thought that there are deeper issues than those relating specifically to sex. The deeper issues have to do with things like self-righteousness, pride, dishonesty, and an unloving spirit.

It has been our impression that The Community openly teaches that only one group can be right, and they are that group. Such a teaching leads to all of the problems listed above. The Family, on the other hand, teaches that people can have a genuine relationship with Christ apart from membership in their group.

There may be individuals within The Community who are sincere, and individuals within The Family who are self-righteous and unloving. But on the whole, official group teachings make it easier for us to get along with people within The Family.

The main reason why we are fellowshipping with The Family is that they are fellowshipping with us. We have not hidden the fact that we disagree with them (whereas we had to constantly hide our disagreements with The Community), but the more they love us despite our disagreements, the more motivated we are to understand their side of various issues.

And that is the real point of this article. We feel that we have moved a step closer to understanding their position with regard to sharing wives... at the same time that we continue to disagree with it.

We teach that people should follow the teachings of Jesus if they are going to call themselves Christians. We are sooner or later labelled heretics by every Christian denomination because of that one teaching. But The Family teaches that the number one teaching of Jesus is to love God and to love others. They call this "The Law of Love". We are both trying to make the teachings of Jesus our Cornerstone. But our focus is different.

We also teach that there is a second (less objective) Cornerstone which grows out of our understanding of what Jesus taught. We call this cornerstone sincerity. Our understanding is that anyone who is walking in all the light that he or she has is covered by the grace of God through Jesus. All theological errors will be covered by the grace of God.

There are indications that some in The Family are sincerely trying to serve God. It is conceivable that they are even acting sincerely in offering sex to other members of their community, i.e. as an expression of love. If so, then despite our total disagreement with the end result of their sincerity, the means (sincerity) justifies the end (sexual immorality), because God looks not on the outward appearance, but on the heart.

The same could be said of other shocking actions, such as a mercy killing or theft to save a life, etc. Even if it turned out that the theft (for example) inadvertently ended up destroying a life (e.g. by robbing the wrong medicine from a closed chemist shop and thus killing the patient), in the eyes of God, all that he would see would be the motive behind the action. The blood of Jesus would atone for any other errors outside of the motive.

Our differences with The Family over sharing sex partners, therefore, may not be based on insincerity in either them or their leaders, so much as it is based on differing assumptions. They assume that people need sex in the same way that people need food and clothing, and that it would be better for a loving Christian to fill these needs than for a selfish 'systemite' to fill them. Certainly the first assumption is widespread today.

So much bad fruit (e.g. broken marriages and sexually transmitted diseases) came from sharing sex partners with people outside the group that they eventually ceased that activity. If we are correct that a liberating teaching on masturbation is a far more loving way to help people deal with sexual frustration, and if bad fruit comes from sharing partners within the group, maybe in time at least some Family members will grow to see and appreciate the truth in our teaching as we have in theirs.

(See also Wanking, The Last Taboo.)

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