How should we understand Ezekiel 23? How should we respond to a Muslim who states that this passage is pornographic (especially Ezekiel 23:19-21) and uses pornographic language? How should we respond to a Muslim if he challenges us to read this passage in a sermon or in front of a child? Are all parts of the Bible inappropriate for children to read? What is the proper age for someone to be able to read the whole Bible (including Ezekiel 23)? How should we defend Ezekiel 23 as the Word of God?


I have preached from Ezekiel 23 and taught from Ezekiel 23 a few times.  When I do so, I let the audience know ahead of time that there will be some language that will perhaps be inappropriate for small children.  In this passage God is describing the absolutely disgusting sins of the Jewish people with very strong language.  Sin is gross.  Sin is disgusting.  Sin will send us to hell.  The idolatry of the Jews was an abomination.  God tells this to his people using graphic descriptions.
No, this is DEFINITELY not pornography.  I believe that you and I both know what pornography is, and this is not pornography.  Pornography is the presentation of sexual material for the purpose of creating sexual arousal.  If you read Ezekiel 23 you will surely agree that this is NOT pornography.  Not at all.  Not even close.  It describes the disgusting idolatry and rebellion of the Jews in very strong terms.  I do not hesitate either to read these passages to adult audiences and to preach them.  But, I would not do so with five year old children in attendance.  We can talk plainly about sex without sinning or being pornographic.  Adults will certainly get the point of Ezekiel 23.   This criticism by Muslims is not sincere at all.  It is an examples of Muslims reading the Bible, not to understand it or learn from it, but to find reasons to criticize.  Such criticism is not at all sincere.
What is the appropriate age to read the whole Bible?  Well, what is the appropriate age to talk to children about sex?  Is it sinful to talk honestly about sex?  No, it is not.  I believe that any young person who is old enough to read and understand the entire Bible (typically 12-15 years old) is mature enough to read Ezekiel 23.  No six year old child reads the whole Bible.  By the time a person is old enough to read it, they are also old enough to read Ezekiel 23.  This is a  non-issue with which Muslims are insincerely simply trying to make trouble.
John Oakes

Comments are closed.