A Biblical View of Sexuality

Recent discussions have thrust issues of sexuality into the spotlight, rekindling debates on abortion, same-sex marriage, gender identity, and contraception. A comprehensive exploration of these subjects from a biblical standpoint is found in Sexuality: Contemporary Issues From a Biblical Perspective, a 2022 publication by the Biblical Research Institute. The book benefits from contributions by 22 authors of diverse backgrounds, reflecting the international scope of the topics discussed.

The initial chapters lay the groundwork by addressing fundamental questions about human sexuality and delineating the boundaries of sexual immorality. It engages head-on with questions about premarital sex, cohabitation, polygamy, and ventures into even more sensitive territories like sexual addiction, prostitution, rape, and abortion. The volume doesn’t shy away from explicit conversations on queer theology, homosexuality, cybersex, and even the realm of robotic sex.

Readers will learn much from a perusal of the volume, perhaps feeling at times they are learning a little too much.

For example, some theologians imagine an erotic trinity and even sexualize the spiritual connection with Jesus. Throughout its pages, the book interweaves intriguing historical insights, such as the historical utilization of spermicides by ancient Egyptians. In the context of addressing comprehensive sexual education, the book importantly educates readers on recognizing and responding to child sexual abuse.

Of particular relevance are two chapters dedicated to dissecting the complex issue of transgenderism. The first chapter, co-authored by Elias Brasil de Souza and Larry Lichtenwalter, surveys modern theological approaches to transgenderism. It references historical instances of transgenderism in civilizations like Egypt, Canaan, and Mesopotamia before delving into a biblical examination of the topic. The subsequent chapter, penned by Kwabena Donkor, offers an Adventist perspective on gender and sexuality. Donkor provides lucid definitions of various LGBTQ+ terms, followed by an assessment of three distinct Christian frameworks for comprehending transgenderism. The chapter concludes by proposing a “great controversy framework” as the most constructive approach to understanding and assisting transgender individuals. It is worth noting that the treatment of sex-reassignment surgery within these chapters remains somewhat cursory, an aspect that could have been explored in greater detail. An implicit reference to Genesis 1 underscores the binary understanding of human beings as “male and female.”

The book culminates with a consideration of “The Seduction of Forbidden Intimacy” by Alberto Timm. Timm sheds light on the prevalence of sexual fantasies, presenting lessons drawn from scriptural instances of forbidden intimacy. He provides readers with a set of eight principles designed to cultivate resilient relationships impervious to the allure of affairs. The final touch to the book is an appendix consolidating 16 church documents from 1987 to 2019 that pertain to the issues discussed in the volume.

In our present era characterized by a heightened focus on sexuality, even among children contemplating alternative gender identities, Sexuality: Contemporary Issues From a Biblical Perspective emerges as a crucial resource for Christians. It offers a lens through which to navigate the sexually charged environment. While some readers might yearn for a more comprehensive spectrum of perspectives on the multifaceted issues, others will undoubtedly appreciate the authors’ articulate, biblically-grounded reasoning. As the challenges posed by these issues continue to transcend geographical and generational boundaries, the book equips parents, pastors, teachers, and those influenced by the seismic shifts in sexual norms. It encourages readers to engage critically with their beliefs, potentially prompting a reassessment of their perspectives. Ekkehardt Mueller and Elias Brasil de Souza are to be commended for providing a valuable resource that facilitates a nuanced understanding of societal dynamics through the prism of biblical teachings.

—By Clinton Wahlen, Ph.D., associate director, Biblical Research Institute

Ekkehardt Mueller and Elias Brasil de Souza, eds., Sexuality: Contemporary Issues From aBiblical Perspective, Biblical Research Institute Studies in Biblical Ethics 2 (Silver Spring, Md.: Biblical Research Institute/Review and Herald Pub. Assn., 2022), 625 pages. US$25.00.

Images: adventistbiblicalresearch.org

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