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Pastor Judah Smith Says Pleasuring Yourself Sexually in the Confines of Marriage Is a Gift From God

judah smith
Screengrab via Instagram @chelseasmith

A video conversation between Chelsea and Judah Smith, the husband and wife team who serve as lead pastors for Churchome in Kirkland, WA, regarding single people’s sexual desires recently resurfaced because of popular YouTuber Ruslan KD.

Churchome is known for being the church home of world-renowned pop-star Justin Bieber and his wife Hailey. Judah was featured on Bieber’s surprise 2021 Easter album titled “Freedom” and gave a short message at one of Bieber’s concerts last July. Bieber credits Judah for helping him change his life, pointing him to Jesus.

In the video, Ruslan KD breaks down a portion of a 35-minute video wherein Judah Smith discusses the topic of masturbation, calling it a “gift” from God when done within the confines of marriage.

The Instagram live conversation between the Smiths took place over a year and a half ago and was part of Chelsea’s social media marriage series titled “Marriage Monday.” The description of the video reads, “A session for singles! We talk about sexual desires, masturbation, and loneliness. Judah even cries at the end…wait for it.”

In the video Chelsea said to Judah, “Somebody asked, I’m single [and] I don’t want to have sex right now. Is pleasuring myself okay?”

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Chelsea explained the distinction between biblical absolutes, community standards, and personal convictions to provide a framework for the question before Judah responded.

“There’s a history to the Church and there’s a history to what the Church teaches and there’s a history to certain communicators and teachers. And so there’s a bit of a history with masturbation in the Church,” Judah said.

Judah said that while Scripture doesn’t directly address “personal sexual pleasure and masturbation,” it does address the idea of lust. The pastor shared his reasoning for not using Old Testament passages, saying, “Old Testament is a portrait and a neon sign pointing us to our need for the Incarnation, for the fullness of the Godhead bodily forming the person of Jesus. And so the New Testament now is our guide in terms of in the Old Testament reveals why we needed a new covenant and why the fulfillment is Jesus.”

Lust is the imagination, where someone thinks about having sex with someone with whom they’re not in a covenant relationship, Judah explained, going on to characterize lust that leads to masturbation as “against God’s desire.”

“But there is a way to pleasure yourself for physical reasons and use it as a weapon to resist and fight the urge to sexually engage someone and start crossing lines that not only hurt you but hurt others,” Judah said.

The pastor admitted that this isn’t a popular opinion with most Christians, citing Christian psychologist Dr. James Dobson, who founded Focus on the Family and would disagree with he and Chelsea’s take on self-pleasure.