1965, the year that changed my life
Peter and I go to Kirkby-in-Ashfield
Perhaps Sunday 22nd August 1965
When we got back home and attended the next meeting at church, Pastor Smith asked Peter and me whether we had visited a young lady, or a young married woman, while we were away. Pastor Hollis had been in touch with him with information to that effect. We admitted to Pastor Smith that we had visited her, but told him more or less that nothing happened. His first attitude to us was one of fatherly concern mixed with alarm; our answer seemed to satisfy him after he had looked at us with uncertainty and hesitation. He concluded that Hollis must have over-reacted.
We may have denied it to Pastor, but we bragged about our exploits to Chris and Trevor. With hindsight, their reaction of condemnation and indignation should not have been surprising. “With a married woman!” But I recall being taken somewhat aback.
A number of points spring to mind, which may help to explain this and, for that matter, my behaviour throughout this sordid little episode:
Letters from the W—s and the Williamses
- My opinion, before my conversion, was that Christianity was just a set of rules that one had to follow, mostly “don’ts”. Afterwards, it seemed to me that rules, as such, were remarkably absent; and this may have misled me into an “antinomian” way of thinking.
- At Scarborough Camp, the Pentecostal boys and girls seemed quite free and easy in their willingness to engage in snogging and so on; and although these were single people, it may not have seemed such a great step to do it with a married woman.
- I considered, on a reading of the scriptures, that a couple became married “in the eyes of God” when they had sexual intercourse together. Adam and Eve did not have a minister or priest to pronounce them married; instead the scripture says: “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). That is why, despite whatever else I might do with a girl—up to this point snogging and fondling—I considered that I must not go all the way to having sexual intercourse, unless I was prepared to spend the rest of my (or her) life with her. And I might have considered that it was all right to do these things—even with a married woman—if I avoided going the whole way to having sexual intercourse.