Friday 11 February 2011

Stanton L. Jones on How to Teach Sex

Stanton L. Jones, ‘How to Teach Sex: Seven realities that Christians in every congregation need to know’, Christianity Today (January 2011).

Christianity Today provides a portion of an address by Stanton L. Jones on how churches can deepen and refocus their message about sexuality. The address was given at a conference on abortion, but his ‘seven realities’ have obvious wider applicability than to that particular issue.

1. We are embodied

‘To be human is to be a physical, biological creature. Christians view all of physical existence, from the grandeur of the cosmos to the particularity of the human body, as the good creation of a benevolent God. Physical existence is not divine, but it is good.’

2. We are sexual beings

‘We are not merely generic physical beings but gendered and sexual beings... Genesis declares God's creation of gendered people to be the divine purpose, with both sexes made in the “image of God” and humanity corporately, male and female, declared to be “very good”.’

3. We are relational

‘Genesis teaches us to think of human nature as fundamentally relational. The Creator judges the first man incomplete, even though he lives in a perfect environment with perfect work and in a perfect relationship with the triune (and hence intrinsically relational) God.’

4. We are made in God's image

‘The cultures around ancient Israel used creation narratives to establish the descent of the king from tribal deities. The point was exclusion: the king was part of the divine family, and his subjects were not. What an inversion we have in Genesis! It establishes the royal and divine lineage of all humanity.’

5. We are broken and twisted

‘The basic, foundational truths about our sexuality are positive. But that’s not the full picture. Humanity is broken and in rebellion against God. This has not eradicated the primal good of human nature, but it conditions all of human experience.’

6. We encounter objective reality when we have sex

‘The creation account, Christ’s teaching on divorce, and such pivotal passages as 1 Corinthians 6 and 7 teach us that God made sexual intercourse to create and sustain a permanent, one-flesh union in a male-female married couple.’

7. We are souls under construction

‘The true self is both discovered and formed. Understanding our selves begins with the given realities of our lives, by meanings revealed by God and worked out in real community. Further, our selves are grounded in visions of objective realities beyond our selves, visions of virtue and goodness beyond our current abilities. Here is where our formation comes in: in light of what we discover about our selves, we make choices that form us.’

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