Tag Archives: Sexuality

LATC 2018 – Imago Dei: Theological Anthropology in a Hall of Mirrors

The following are notes from Megan DeFranza’s plenary talk.
*Disclosure: The following views are not my own but I believe faithfully represent the views of the speaker as best I could catch them in my notes.*

Imago Dei: Theological Anthropology in a Hall of Mirrors

Current context makes TA interesting because our current knowledge of our self is constantly changing.

Imago Dei

  • Substantival View: Rationality = soul
  • Functional View: “Let them rule” à “Let him rule”
  • Relational View: “Male and Female”


Relational Imago

  • Strengths: Women are fully included in the image // Men cannot image God without women // Recovering value of sexual/spousal love as an image of divine love
  • Weaknesses: Paradigmatic “other”/”Mother” = no room for real women, feminine diversity, female humanity beyond womanhood // Privileges “Spousal love” as paradigmatic of divine love, Devalues singleness // Spousal love become sexual love, sexualizes the Trinity, Devalues celibacy, asexuals, sexual dysfunction


Nashville Statement

  • Article 3 – Okay, an improvement on old views
  • We see the phrase “divinely ordained differences throughout the statement”, e.g. Article 5 – “anomalies” – “We should not sweep them or their differences under the rug”

Stories of Intersex and Faith

  • Showed a video of Megan Brukiewa and Jennifer Brukiewa
    • Megan had Androgen Sensitivity Syndrome // Intersex
    • Joshua Gallardo (Youth Pastor)
    • 5-2% born intersex (same as % with red hair)
    • David Burkiewa – we looked for answers, the right answers, in the Bible – Wants to be able to talk about these things.
    • Reassignment surgeries often happen in infancy – sometimes with emotional, physical, psychological, spiritual effects
    • Jennifer – God has a very specific purpose for Megan, she was not a mistake


Nashville Statement 6

  • They acknowledge some people w/multiple sex markers
  • Tell us JC recognized this
  • Remind us – they can live a fruitful life in joyful obedience to Christ
  • The authors draw a sharp line between those who are intersex and gay – but nowhere in the document are those who identify as transgender or experience gender dysphoria that they too are made in the image of God and can life a fruitful life pleasing to God – See Article 13 which calls “transgender self-conceptions” sinful.
  • Failure to acknowledge the fellow humanity/dignity of all is a weighty matter


Why it Matters

  • 57% have family who choose not to speak to them
  • 50-54% Harassment at School
  • 60% doctor refused health care
  • 69% homeless
  • Those who attempt suicide 41% vs. general population 4.6%


Telling the Truth About Sex and Gender

  • I am troubled about how Christians treat the “least of these” – vulnerability, those in danger physically spiritually emotionally, numerically
  • Binary (Male vs. Female) is typical – Reality (Male female – an area of overlap between) both in biological and Behavioral Gender Differences
  • Intersex and transgender represent the “least of these” as the minority group but also in terms of the vulnerable and harassed
  • What I do know is that the Good shepherd cares – this (Jesus) is the one whose image that we are called to be in

A Storm is Brewing…

For those of you who aren’t privileged to be member of ETS, you may have not heard but there is a storm brewing on the horizon about gender and sexuality in relation to the society’s “Doctrinal Basis/Statement of Purpose.”

Below is the abstract to Stan Gundry’s open letter to members of ETS:

In the last business session of the 2015 national Meeting of ETS a set of four resolutions was moved and passed that affirmed human dignity and worth, marriage as a life-long union of one man and one woman, sexual intimacy as reserved for such marriages, and an affirmation of distinct traits of manhood and womanhood as an unchangeable gift that constitutes personal identity. In the aftermath some ETS members expressed dismay that any ETS member would vote against passage of the resolutions. Others, I among them, were shocked that resolutions of this nature would be proposed and passed by a substantial majority. In this open letter to ETS members, I explain the problems with the resolutions and the real issue at stake: Will ETS be true to is Doctrinal Basis and its Statement of Purpose? Hence, my open letter to ETS members, Whence and Whither ETS.

You can read the whole thing here.

With this and the Trinity debate looks like ETS is going to be a lot of fun this year!

Jonathan Edwards Week – Sex & God’s Glory

Earlier this week we saw that Edwards believed that “God is a communicative being.” This significance of this is that God is all about his glory – specifically God is all about communicating his own glory ad intra (within the Trinity) and ad extra (to sentient beings he has created). Then we asked the question:

How do sentient beings, participate in the glorification of God? What is these beings role (whether humans or angels) in glorifying God? Two answer this other question we need to look at two other axiom’s Edwards’ Trinitarian theology… but we’ll save that for later.

Today we get to those two points and what it means for our sexuality.

Two Axioms

Axiom 1 – In the beauty of spiritual community the glory of God becomes visible.

Axiom 2 – The church glorifies God when it knows and delights in Him.

It is clear that for Edwards God’s self-glorification was fundamental to his theology. To put it quite simply, Edwards believed that God is all about his self-glorification. God is glorified when the beauty of the spiritual community becomes visible and when this same community knows and delights in him.

So What Does This Mean for the Church’s Sexuality?

First, we must take seriously the fact that sexual sin within the church is not merely a private matter, it affects the whole community and it is a violation of the love that ought to be seen within the church.[1] Second, we must oppose sexual morality done simply for the sake of being moral, rather we must encourage sexual morality by encouraging people to find delight in God. As people’s knowledge of and delight in God grow, their desire for sexual sin will begin to diminish. If the church would begin to do these simple things, the church would certainly bring much glory to God.

Do you want to know more about this these two axioms or Edwards understanding of sexuality in the church? Then come to ETS MidWest 2015, April 10 & 11 – I will be presenting a paper titled:

Bad Books and The Glorious Trinity:
Jonathan Edwards on the Sexual Holiness of the Church


[1] Paul picks up on this in his letter to the Thessalonians: For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you. (1 Thessalonians 4:3-8 ESV)

Satan Hates Sex!

God loves sex. Satan hates it.

You probably think that I have got things backwards – the enemy loves sex, because it’s the downfall of so many relationships (and non-relationships)…. Broken hearts, abuse, deviancy, pain, are all things that people experience in sex – how could the enemy not love it! But he does hate it. The enemy hates sex. The enemy hates it because it is God’s creation – God’s love for us, pleasure towards us, and desire to give us great gifts are all expressed through sex. Sex is a divine gift given to us. Sex points us to a deep relationship, deeper than any other relationship we can have with people, in which body and soul enter into pure intimacy. Sex is also a connective link into what it means to worship. Worship is expressed in awe and gratitude. When we have sex, the way its meant to be, the result is that we are amazed by God’s goodness. We are amazed by a gift that we could not create on our own or deserve as if we earned it. So, God loves sex.

God Loves Sex combines, psychological insight, a fictional narrative, and biblical scholarship on Song of Solomon. Dan Allender and Tremper offer a fantastic summary of this biblical book:

As we have observed from the Start, the Song of Songs is not a narrative with a plot that has a beginning, middle, and end. It does not tell a single story. The Song is a collection of love poems, though these love poems serve a common purpose and thus have an organic and coherent feel to them. The common purpose is first to celebrate physical intimacy, but there is also the warning that love is risky and not easily experienced. (149)

As Allender and Longman use Song of Solomon (Longman’s area of expertise) and psychological insight (Allender’s areas of expertise) with a good dose of fiction mixed in (the story of a small group on sex) the authors explore what the Bible really says about sexual desire and sexual intimacy. Here are a few things they cover, just to name a few:

  1. The Nature of Desire
  2. The Intrigue of Beauty
  3. Fantasy and Sexual Play
  4. Struggles Toward Intimacy
  5. The Glory of Sex
  6. Marriage

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed the book – the fictional narrative was very entertaining and Longman’s interpretation of Song of Solomon was thorough, aware of the most recent scholarship, but at the same time not too academic (perfect for this book’s audience). This book does a fantastic job of recovering the beauty and intimacy of sex. It reminds us that God really does love sex, and as followers of Christ we should too. In fact, as followers of Christ we need to makes sure that we are experiencing the fullness of the gift of sex as God intended us to have it.

The Song of Solomon refers to sex in a garden quite a bit – its probably a hint towards the glory of sex in the Garden of Eden.