News Articles

Christians should be honest earlier to avoid adultery, O’Chester says

AUSTIN, Texas (BP)–Many Christians become involved in adultery because they ignore some “danger signs,” Barbara O’Chester said at the annual conference of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.
O’Chester, a pastor’s wife and founder of a popular women’s retreat ministry, said many Christians become “caught up in immorality” because they “aren’t honest enough early enough.” A husband or wife should be concerned, she said, if:
— “You get exciting news, and the first person you want to tell is someone other than your mate.”
— “Someone else is meeting an emotional need that your partner is not.”
— “You keep secrets from your spouse regarding your relationship with someone else.”
— “Your feelings for someone else diminish your pleasure with your mate.”
— You “feel even a minor pull to someone else.”
Barbara O’Chester and her husband, Harold, spoke on marriage during a March 2 session. The three-day conference, on “Faith, Family and Freedom: The Moral Challenges of the Next Millennium,” was held at Great Hills Baptist Church in Austin, Texas, where Harold is the pastor.
In order to prevent adultery, pastors and other Christians “must work to see that our homes bring honor and glory to God,” Barbara O’Chester said. “We must train our children in purity from their very earliest days. We must show them by our lives and by our conversation that marriage is a covenant relationship and that we must keep our vows.
“We must guard our minds against the onslaught of temptation. We must keep our flesh under the control of the Holy Spirit by daily dying to ourselves. Men must abstain from pornography. Men, you must guard your minds. … You have got to take responsibility for your minds.”
Pornography is the “secret sin of many Christians, both men and women,” she said.
“Pastors must preach on the home and call their people to holiness. I’m convinced that many ministers do not preach on the home because their own home does not stack up to the principles” of the Bible, she said.
Harold O’Chester said marriage is “not a 50-50, give-and-take proposition. That may be reasonable. That may be logical. It’s simply not biblical. The biblical definition of marriage is a 100 percent giving of one’s self to the other.”
The Bible tells husbands to love their wives but never says they should make their wives submit, he said.
The biblical command for husbands to love their wives is a “naked call by the Spirit of God to men to love with a willingness to die sacrificially,” he said. “If we are going to love our wives responsibly like Jesus loved us, we’ve got to die to our rights; we have to die, men, to our time; we have to die to our perceived pleasures.”
For a wife, submission, as commanded in Scripture, “is an attitude of the heart and is only possible when God is in control of her life,” Barbara O’Chester said.
Men and women are “coequal in their relationship” but are different in their roles and responsibilities, Harold O’Chester said.
“Superiority and inferiority are not the issues in a marriage. Order is,” he said.
The O’Chesters have been married more than 40 years.