2 - Sex

How Should Christians Think About Sex?

In the previous session, we surveyed some of the difficulties for pastoral practice posed by the growing acceptance of homosexuality as normative. We also considered three principles for engaging with individuals pursuing same-sex relationships. Gay marriage has created challenges for church practice, but it has also revealed confusion among Christians over the topic of sexuality. In the second part of this course, Bruce argues that the church needs a more robust biblical view of sexuality and offers a practical foundation on which we can begin to build it.

In order to move towards a more holistic view of sexuality, Bruce suggested viewing the topic through four stages of the biblical narrative:
  1. Creation
  2. Fall
  3. Redemption
  4. New Creation
Seeing sexuality in light of the over-arching story of Scripture equips us to speak about it in a way that moves our conversations beyond the arena of Christian ethics alone. 

Do you agree that the church has too-narrow a view of sexuality? What do you believe are the most significant ways in which it needs to be further developed? Why?
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Were any of your own views challenged by what Bruce said? If so, how? In what ways does your perspective about sexuality need to grow? What will you do to achieve this going forward?
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God created sex as a joyful union between a man and a woman in the context of marriage. However, many people have a perverted view of sex due to the Fall. Rather than embracing it as a gift, they see it as something either to be despised or consumed inordinately.  

How would you characterize your congregation's view of sexuality? In what ways does it need correction? What practically can you do to encourage this correction?
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As a leader in the church, how do you communicate about sexuality to your congregation? How could you begin to weave Bruce's framework into the ways you teach on sex? How might viewing sexuality this way benefit the body of Christ?
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Bruce noted that earthly marriage is a prelude to that greater union we will experience one day with Christ. In glorification, our union with Christ will surpass that of marriage. How central is this truth in your communication about sexuality? What could you do in the coming weeks to further emphasize this point to encourage your people towards placing their ultimate hope in Christ rather than worldly experience?
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Many people view the ethical limitations of the Bible on sex as dampening their right to joy. However, Bruce pointed out that, "Sex is good, but it is not essential to a good life." Sex is a beautiful gift from God, but it has been perverted through the effects of the Fall. In Christ, we are able to see it in a redeemed light that moves us to hope for the purity of the new creation. 

Whether your people have an ignorant, obsessive, or wounded view of sexuality, help them to see its goodness in light of Christ. Sex is not an end, but a means to enjoying the Savior. It is not necessary, but an optional joy to be pursued through biblical marriage. May your people grow to see Christ's beauty in light of sexuality and may they serve as an intimate family for the broken in your midst.