Skip to main content

Sex in the City of God


Gerald Hiestand a fellow of the Society for the Advancement of Ecclesial Theology writes, regarding his book Raising Purity, "As a pastor striving to write robust eccleisal theology, a book on dating seems a bit off topic."  I have a review copy waiting on my desk, so I can't tell you if it is any good or not yet, stay tuned.  However, his story rang bells for me, because my thesis on Paul's approach to prostitution in 1 Cor 6:12-20, where I had to spend a whole year thinking about sex in the ancient world (among other things), started as an examination of Paul's use of the "body of Christ" as a metaphor for the church.  My entire 40,000 word masters thesis is in fact a (necessary) digression before I could approach the topic I was really interested in.  So why is there such a connection between sexual ethics and ecclesiology, and should it be so surprising?  Some ideas:
  • Being God's people means being holy to/for God, appropriate sexual conduct has always been one of the ways of maintaining that holiness
  • Being God's people involves us in a complex network of relationships, as with all human relationships, sexual conduct must be regulated in order to keep those relationships in harmony
  • Being God's people makes us a diaspora in the world, to maintain our unique identity in the world means resisting conformity to the world's patterns in all areas of life, including sexuality
  • Especially in light of our increasingly permissive society God's people stand in need of a distinctive, gospel centred and persuasive sexual ethics that works not as a barrier to but as an apologia for the church
  • The church's public image (protestant and catholic) has been destroyed in recent decades by sexual scandal, there is an urgent need to get our house in order if we are to have a credible moral witness
  • The "gay" debate is dividing churches and yet most pastors cannot give a properly theological rationale for either position, the debate is currently characterised by people not listening to each other, anyone who cares about the church needs to be engaged in this

Any other thoughts?

Comments

  1. Well, yes, your last point is a good one. I have a post in process about presenting a culturally relevant argument against homosexuality, and hope to finish it soonish.

    As for the theological side, while I've incorporated some theological points, I think there is far more to be mined than the pebble I have included, and the slightly larger stone I've thought through.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Ali, yes, i've been enjoying your series, looking forward to the next installment :-)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Whew. Finally got the time to get it published on my blog. So needs constructive input! Please humour me and give me some as you are able.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Why Dr Charles Stanley is not a biblical preacher

Unusually for me I was watching the tele early on Sunday morning and I caught an episode of Dr Charles Stanley preaching on his television program. Now I know this guy has come under some criticism for his personal life, and that is not unimportant, but it is also not something i can comment on, not knowing the facts. His preaching is however something I can comment on, at least the one sermon I did watch.

He started off by reading 2 Timothy 1:3-7. Which is a passage from the Bible, so far so good. He then spent the next 30 minutes or so talking about his mum and what a great example of a Christian mother she was. Now nothing he said or suggested was wrong, but none of it actually came from scripture, least of all the scripture he read from at the beginning. It was a lovely talk on how Stanley's mother raised him as a Christian despite considerable difficulties and it contained many useful nuggets of advice on raising Christian kids. All very nice, it might have made a nice…

That one time Jesus got the Bible wrong

It's so typical isn't it? You are preaching all day long, training your disciples, sparring with the Pharisees, encouraging the poor and down trodden, healing the sick and casting out demons, all day, day after day, and even when you go up a mountain to get a rest the crowds hunt you down and follow you up, and then the one time you get a bit muddled up with some of the details of a biblical text . . . that is the one they write down in the first gospel - verbatim. At least Matthew and Luke had the good sense to do some editing. But Mark, he always had his eye on giving the public the "historical Jesus" whoever that is supposed to be . . . warts and all. Thanks a lot Mark!

Some think I made the mistake on purpose, just to show the Pharisees up.

For some there is no mistake worth mentioning, only a slightly ambiguous turn of phrase.

Others think I am doing something tricky with Abiathar's name, getting him to figuratively stand in for the priesthood.

It really has…

The Addictive Power of End Times Speculation

The mighty Rhett Snell has picked up his blog again (I wonder how long he'll last this time), check out his theory on why people get so into annoyingly unbiblical end times nonsense.

I think that where codes-and-calendars end times theology is dangerous, is that it can give a sense of false growth. We read a theory online, or hear it from some bible teacher, and we come to think that we have mastered an area of our faith. A bit like levelling up in a computer game, or Popeye after he’s eaten some spinach. At worst, we begin to believe that we’ve taken a step that other Christians have not; that we’ve entered an elite class of Christianity.