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Sexuality and Trajectory: A Few Thoughts

As we see here and here, sex and sexuality continues to be a major topic of discussion in the church.

One of the leading arguments for acceptance of alternative sexualities is the argument from trajectory: later parts of the biblical story overturn earlier pieces as the Spirit speaks to the church (“continuing revelation”). For example, the Ethiopian eunuch would once have been excluded (for race, sexual abnormality, etc), but now he is included. The early church had to discern by the Spirit the temporal nature of the Law (Acts 15), so that circumcision, diet, calendar and like legislation were no longer determinative.

In the same way, some are arguing, we need to hear the Spirit’s voice guiding us into a new dawn where we can accept…well, it depends on who is speaking…some want us to accept merely gay covenant relationships,while the majority want us to accept gay, bisexual, and gender-change, or serial monogamy, and the discouragement of fidelity/chastity for young people. (And we could-and some would say should, and I can’t see a logical argument against this on the logic of progressive sexuality-add polygamist and other sexual practices and approaches to sexuality.)

I can’t fully engage this argument at the moment, it’s a big hermeneutical issue (see William Webb, discussed here by Hiestand), but here are a few thoughts. Apart from other weaknesses, this approach presupposes that the Story itself has elements that are a problem to be overcome. But the weaknesses actually belong to the human condition, not the Story (which may stoop to address us as we are, but never leaves us as we are).

After all, the Ethiopian eunuch no doubt read this passage:

For thus says the LORD: “To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths, who choose the things that please me and hold fast my covenant, I will give in my house and within my walls a monument and a name better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that shall not be cut off.” (Isaiah 56:4-5)

Paul and others appeal to “one family” language that undergirds the removal of laws that divide, and the pre-circumcision status of Abraham as justified, so that what God began with all humanity Adam is beginning to come true in the Last Adam, and one can be right before God without the marks of Torah.

From such vantage points the problem is not the Redemption Story but our own brokenness, rebellion, and uncleanness. According to the NT there are two determinative points about the story of sexuality:

(1) the Story is grounded in Genesis: one man, one woman (Matt 19:8).

(2) The story ends not with sex, but with the union to which sex points (Matt 22:30; Eph 5:25-32, Rev 21:2).

Sexual desires (whether heterosexual, same-sex, or other) will never have the last word over our identity and destiny, unless we rebel and make it so. Then our sexuality belongs not to the apex of redemption, but the nadir of tragedy.

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Jason is a graduate of Rhodes College, Reformed Theological Seminary, and Highland Theological College and the University of Aberdeen. Jason works as Scholar-in-Residence and director of Christ College Residency Program at Christ UMC. He's trying to figure out the twitter thing, twitter.com/jasonbhood.