Thursday, 24 June 2010

The need for a Biblical, Evangelical sexual anthropology & ethic

Orright - enough messing around & hilarity - time to get back to some serious theologising. Series of posts on sexuality coming up.

Sexual identity and behaviour lie at the core of self-identity and self-worth. When a baby is born, the first question we ask is “is it a boy or a girl?” Issues of masculinity, femininity, love and romance pervade all aspects of life: young boys run around with plastic machine guns while the girls have a tea party; teenage years bring an outburst of sexual self-awareness and activity; and sexual relationships, whether stable or casual, have a huge impact on people’s physical and mental health.

Our sexuality is, therefore, visibly at the core of our human identity. For the Christian Church, this means at least three things. This post will explore the need for a Biblical, Evangelical sexual anthropology and ethic. The next two points will explore how that anthropology & ethic helps us love all people, and points to the gospel.

First, it is imperative to develop a Biblical, gospel-focused, Christ-centred understanding of ourselves as sexual beings, and of how we should conduct our sexuality. To use theological language: we must develop a Biblical, Evangelical sexual anthropology (who we are) and ethic (how we should behave).

As Christians, we know the creator God of the universe, who made all things good, and who has affirmed the basic goodness of this creation by incarnating himself in the person of his Son, and who has given us his Spirit that we may walk in his ways. We have the Bible, which is God’s revealed will (his “law”), contains the whole counsel of God, and is useful for training in righteousness. Of all the people in the world, then, we Christians should have a healthy and realistic understanding of ourselves, and healthy, realistic ways of behaving – including sexual self-understanding and behaviour.

This healthy realism comes from the fact that we are in touch with God, the foundation of all reality, who made our bodies and this world that we live in. It also comes from a right understanding of our relationship with him – created by him; fallen from him, therefore subject to all manner of bodily and relational dysfunctions; redeemed in Christ, therefore able, truly if imperfectly, to enjoy created goodness in the manner intended by the creator; and looking forward to a glorious future which will both fulfil and transcend the pleasures of this creation. Ignorance and inability in such a core area of human life denies the God we worship, the gospel we preach, and the Bible we obey.

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