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But What About The Christian Sexual Ethic? | POD 024

But What About The Christian Sexual Ethic? | POD 024

Show Notes

But What About Christian Sexual Ethics?

Have you ever felt that the Christian sexual standard is overwhelmingly narrow? In this episode, we delve into the topic of Christian sexual ethics with our host, Bill Gorman, and guests Ben Beasley and Nikki Dieker. Together, they navigate the complex landscape of human sexuality, revising Christ Community’s paper to make it more relevant to today’s cultural moment. Throughout the conversation, they discuss the theological and practical implications of the Christian sexual ethic, addressing questions about church life, gender dysphoria, and more. They also highlight the importance of community, spiritual discipline, and the pursuit of Jesus in navigating these challenging conversations. Get ready for a thought-provoking and insightful discussion that offers guidance and resources for those seeking to follow Jesus in today’s world.

 

THREE KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • Identity and Vulnerability: They discuss the importance of questioning one’s identity in relation to core beliefs of the Christian faith, and the need for a supportive and safe community within the church, especially in dealing with the vulnerability and brokenness associated with discussing Christian sexual ethics.
  • Community and Accountability: The significance of being involved in a faith community surrendered to scripture, rich spiritual friendships, and the importance of accountability in living out a Christian life and sexual ethic. The emphasis on the communal nature of faith and the need for support from others in following Jesus.
  • Spiritual Discipline and Faith: The impact of rigorous spiritual discipline, self-mastery, and faith, including spiritual disciplines like prayer, study, and fasting, in guiding one’s life and recognizing and redirecting bodily desires.

#ChristianSexualEthics #FormedLifePodcast #BiblicalSexuality #TheologyOfSexuality #SpiritualCommunity #FaithfulLiving #ScriptureAndSexuality #CulturalContex #JesusAndSexuality #ChristianEthicalLiving

 

RESOURCES:

CCKC Position Paper | Exploring God’s Design for Human Sexuality

POD 003 | Gender Dysphoria Issues | Dr. Julia Sadusky

POD 007 | Addressing Sexual Brokenness: Clues to Healing Through Story and Curiosity

POD 016 | Exploring Same-Sex Sexual Expression in Romans 1 with Greg Coles

Gentle and Lowly | Dane Ortland

Does The Bible Support Same-Sex Marriage? | Preston Sprinkle

Embodied | Preston Sprinkle

Finding Your Best Identity | Andrew Bunt

 

GUEST BIOS:

Ben Beasley enjoys communicating God’s Word in speech and writing, and he is interested in the church as a place of transformation for people individually and collectively. He is fond of exploring the many questions of faith and spiritual formation by engaging with the works of authors, poets, and artists. Ben received his Master of Divinity from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and his Master of Theology from Princeton Theological Seminary.

Nikki Dieker has been on staff at Christ Community since 2017, but has attended the Olathe Campus with her family since 2007. She is married to her best friend Ryan, and has three incredible children, Noah, Calvin, and Hadley. She loves hiking, getting lost in books, coffee, and spending time with friends. Nikki is passionate about connecting people to one another and the church.

 

QUOTES:

“We need each other. And so I think, yeah, we need those mothers and fathers who’ve gone before us. We need those brothers and sisters who are running beside us. And we need those kids that we’re encouraging that are coming behind us.” — Nikki Dieker

 

“We are all sexually broken. So yeah, it highlights that this is something that rubs up against each one of us in deeply personal places, because we’re all broken.” — Nikki Dieker

 

“The traditional Christian sexual ethic just feels like, to our moral taste buds, it almost feels, like, absurd. It doesn’t, you know, like, it doesn’t taste well.” — Ben Beasley

 

“Being involved in a faith community, is key. A community that is surrendered to scripture. That’s where life is. And when we follow Jesus, we follow him through his word.” — Ben Beasley

 

CHAPTERS:

00:00 Church revises paper on Christian sexual ethics.

06:24 Positive feedback on updated Christian sexuality content.

07:06 Paper revisions respond to evolving cultural context.

12:55 CS Lewis’ challenge on following Jesus honestly.

15:14 Modern age of identity questioning and harm.

18:40 Embracing vulnerability, shame, and mental health.

22:58 Growing in faith, friendship, and intimacy experiences.

Exploring Same-Sex Sexual Expression in Romans 1 with Greg Coles |  POD 016

Exploring Same-Sex Sexual Expression in Romans 1 with Greg Coles | POD 016

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RESOURCES

HOSTS & GUESTS

Greg Coles – Guest
Author & Scholar

Bill Gorman – Co-Host

Paul Brandes – Co-Host

Show Notes

Exploring Same-Sex Sexual Expression in Romans 1 

Today’s episode is a thought-provoking conversation on homosexuality with special guest Greg Coles. We explore the theological aspects and cultural beliefs that influence how marriage, singleness, and LGBTQ+ issues are discussed in the church. Greg shares his insights on the biblical understanding of singleness, challenging churches that prioritize marriage and exclude unmarried individuals from fully participating in the family of God. We delve into the contentious topic of same-sex sexual expression in the context of Romans 1, exploring different interpretations and arguments surrounding it. Join us as we navigate these complex discussions with grace and seek to bridge the gap between differing views within the church. Stay tuned for an enlightening and respectful dialogue on homosexuality, theology, and the radical love of Jesus.

 

THREE KEY TAKEAWAYS:
Join us in this conversation about building a legacy of generosity.
  • Reconsidering Singleness: There is a need for a more nuanced and biblical approach to understanding and valuing singleness. Often, churches that prioritize marriage and overlook the biblical understanding of singleness isolate the members of the Body that need a life of singleness.
  • Different Interpretations on Same-Sex Sexual Expression: It is a challenge to reconcile our cultural context with open and respectful discussions on the topic of affirming and non-affirming interpretations of the Bible’s passages related to same-sex sexual expression and practice.
  • The Church as Family: Churches can better support LGBTQ individuals both structurally and on an individual level by encouraging our congregants to view the church as a family and provide meaningful community for all members, regardless of their sexual orientation. The family of God should be equally open to all who profess Christ rather than prioritizing the individual family units.

#theFormedlife #PodcastEpisode #Homosexuality #GregColes #TheologicalAspects #CulturalBeliefs #Singleness #ChurchTeachings #Marriage #LGBTQinfaith

 

GUEST BIO:

Greg Coles, is a tangle of identities: born in upstate New York, raised on the Indonesian island of Java, and now working as a freelance author and scholar in Idaho’s Treasure Valley. He holds a PhD in English from Penn State and has been in love with language since age 8, when he started learning his older brother’s SAT vocabulary words and reading Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Greg’s fiction and expository writing have been published by Penguin Random House and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. His academic research on rhetorics of marginality (how language works in society for disadvantaged groups) has appeared in College English and Rhetorica and in an edited collection from Cambridge University Press. His first book, Single, Gay, Christian: A Personal Journey of Faith and Sexual Identity, was a 2017 Foreword INDIES Award Finalist. His newest book is No Longer Strangers: Finding Belonging in a World of Alienation.

 

QUOTES:

“The context in which we would turn toward the same sex as well as many contexts in which we would turn toward the opposite sex outside of God’s vision for that expression those would all be places where we take sex, this really good created thing, and we make it into something that is no longer about the pursuit of the creator and turns it into something that’s about ourselves.”
— Greg Coles

 

“I think a lot of our church structures still assume that people ought to be kind of funneled into marriage, that singleness is more like the purgatorial, you know, waiting zone where the losers hang out until they get their act together, which seems to miss something of the biblical understanding of singleness.”
— Greg Coles

 

“And yet despite having all that, my experience in conversation with many people is that they don’t actually really experience their churches as family or as a deeply meaningful community. That lots of churches are still mostly centered around the nuclear family unit, as if to say, like, church is the thing that we do where we all get together and you are equipped as a family unit to then go out and have your own family.”
— Greg Coles

 

RESOURCES:

The Center For Faith, Sexuality, and Gender

Greg Coles

 

CHAPTERS:

[00:02:49] Humans worship creation instead of God.
[00:05:59] Two sides: affirming and non-affirming interpretations.
[00:08:34] Romans includes an intense passage on same-sex behavior.
[00:13:51] Argument: Women exchanging natural relations for unnatural ones.
[00:18:49] Passage discusses caution in interpreting text, and addresses same-sex sexual expression concerns.
[00:20:41] Broadens the argument on sexual behavior.
[00:24:26] Marriage symbolizes the fullness of God’s image.
[00:27:56] The importance of reflecting God’s vision.
[00:31:23] Churches can support LGBTQ individuals but may not be inclusive overall.
[00:36:27] Missed opportunity to discuss marriage and singleness.
[00:40:16] Importance of LGBTQ+ inclusion within church families.
[00:44:43] “How can I connect with my LGBTQ+ friend?”
[00:46:16] Jesus wrecks lives, but it’s worth it.
[00:49:02] The Center for Faith, Sexuality, and Gender offers various resources.

Thinking Slowly Together About Gender 

Thinking Slowly Together About Gender 

Confusion, frustration, and distress are but a sampling of emotions we may feel as we consider topics of sexuality in our cultural moment. However, it is not just the culture “out there” that is deeply troubling for many believers. Our own evangelical culture all too often exhibits unhealthy and unbiblical patterns in male and female relationships. A host of critiques of our evangelical culture have been published recently, including Jesus and John Wayne, The Making of Biblical Womanhood, Recovering from Biblical Womanhood, and The Great Sex Rescue, to name a few. In addition, the podcast The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill has unmasked a particularly toxic church culture. And perhaps most disturbing in recent months has been the revelation of the extent to which the Southern Baptist Executive Committee mishandled and covered up sexual abuse. Is there hope for our culture? Is there hope for the evangelical church?

 

A Challenging Conversation

Addressing these questions is complex and requires difficult conversations. I am usually one who runs from confrontation and uncomfortable topics, so my first impulse is to throw up my hands, thinking it is futile to engage. However, gratefully, our local church is a place that invites challenging conversations and makes room for long, thoughtful engagement. To borrow a phrase from a recent book, we are invited to think slowly together. This past year, I have had the privilege of being a part of a “think slowly” group, a task force of five people from different campuses and different walks of life. We were invited to sit, study, pray, and write together about God’s design for male and female flourishing in our church. This little band of people met for many hours for the better part of nine months, leaning into this challenging conversation. We prayed, read widely, and worked through the vast sweep of Scripture. Entering  the conversation with open hearts, we made room to be corrected, surprised, and inspired by what we learned. The result is several papers that are posted on our website. We hope you will read them for a much more in-depth reflection. 

 

Flourishing Together 

So, how do men and women flourish together? Our team’s best understanding from Scripture is that we are designed to be in a complementary alliance as members of a family. Complementary means male and females are uniquely made so as to enhance one another. Genesis 1:27 clearly declares that male and female together bear God’s image. We are so similar: both embodied image-bearers of God. But we are also unique in our contribution and biological distinction. Alliance means we are designed to be in a relationship for the purpose of a common mission. Genesis 1:28 gives the male and female a mandate to rule over God’s earthly kingdom, as well as to multiply and fill the earth. Genesis 2:18, in response to the declaration that it was “not good for man to be alone,” describes God’s intention, “I will make a helper corresponding to him.” The word translated “helper” in this verse is the Hebrew word ezer. Too often this word has been conceived as “assistant” or subordinate. However, the word ezer is most often used to describe God himself as our help. Far from a mere assistant, the ezer is the essential one to come alongside, to enable the fulfillment of a given task. The ezer is what Talbot professor John McKinley describes as “the necessary ally,” emphasizing the joint mission for which male and female are created; to rule God’s earthly kingdom.

This beautiful relationship of complementary alliance was devastatingly fractured in Genesis 3, and God foretold that the consequences of sin would introduce male domination and female frustration into the relationship. This is the part that prompts the throwing up of the hands. However, as believers, we are redeemed to be reconciled—to God first, and then to one another as males and females in relationships of complementary alliance. Whether married or single, we are necessary allies on mission together as family members. We are neither identical nor interchangeable, and we are all necessary. 

Most profoundly of all, we find that God himself is pictured as the husband of his people in the Old Testament and Jesus as the Bridegroom to his church in the New Testament. The mystery of male and female is theological (pointing us to God) and eschatological (pointing us to our glorious future). Ultimately, we will live in the New Creation as a complementary alliance of brothers and sisters forever in the perfected family of God.

 

Living This Out

As a result of this conversation, the leadership structure at Christ Community has not changed, but our understanding and expression of God’s beautiful design for males and females in complementary alliance has blossomed. Our task force has been deeply humbled and grateful for the manner in which our elders and senior leadership have commissioned, engaged with, and endorsed this conversation.

After thinking slowly together with the task force and our leaders over the last year, I no longer feel like throwing up my hands in exasperation regarding the relationship of males and females in the church. Rather, I am prompted to lift my hands in worship of our Bridegroom, the Lamb of God. Praise to the Father for his good and gracious inclusion of all his children in his plan. May we be found faithful to increasingly live into his marvelous design.

 

Read the resulting papers created by this task force:

1) Exploring God’s Design for Male and Female Flourishing In the Church A Biblical Theology of Male and Female

2) Male and Female in the Church Structure and Polity

 

 

 

Note about the task force:

This team experienced the joy of functioning in a true complementary alliance on this project:

Ben Beasley, former Associate Pastor, Downtown Campus, MDiv, pursuing ThM at Princeton Theological Seminary

Nikki Dieker, Associate Pastor, Olathe Campus

Bill Gorman, Campus Pastor, Brookside Campus, MDiv

Melody McSparran, Bible Teacher, Trinity International University Board of Regents Member, Congregant, Leawood Campus

Kelli Sallman, ThM, Writer and Editor, Congregant, Leawood Campus