Adam and Eve began their lives naked and unashamed because that’s how they were created. God invented the miracle of DNA, the symphony of starry heavens, the splendor of tropical rain forests; it was people who invented clothing. And they did it because they were ashamed, not because they were cold.
When A&E were standing there nude and alone, the most seductively irresistible sight in paradise was- well– a piece of fruit. God had strongly encouraged them to make love and have babies, but it was impossible to get that papaya from the Tree of Knowledge out of their minds. The first human couple had to lose paradise before they could discover sex. It’s too bad for us it took them so long to get aroused!
Thoughts like these have been rattling around in my brain for a few months now. It’s been widely reported that a tidal wave of generational change has just come crashing down on the American church. Half a century after the Sexual Revolution, a whole generation of young people think Christians are too uptight about sex. Older generations insist that we had sex too; we conceived those irreverent little libertines! But that misses the point: what if they’re right?
Make a list of the 10 most divisive debates in the world today and you’ll be surprised how many have erupted from the abuse or corruption of sex. Adultery, abortion, pornography, child molestation, same-sex marriage, the fragmentation of traditional marriages, and human trafficking have at least three elements in common: 1) they are sexually driven; 2) they are becoming more common and widespread; and 3) they are rarely mentioned in most churches.
No wonder members of the Millennial generation have embraced a whole range of sexual behaviors that shock their grandparents and defy the Bible. Many of them never heard anyone speak joyfully about God’s design for sexuality, the theology of marriage, why faith is more powerful than lust, or how to respectfully help young men and women who are confused about their sexuality or troubled by unhealthy yearnings. Has anyone ever explained why the battle of the sexes is a friendly competition, not a war? Usually not. To the contrary, so much preaching and teaching over the decades has deflected many of life’s great questions- sexual questions– with shame and silence.
In a couple of weeks, I will step into the pulpit at Providence to undertake a series of messages on the theology of sex- the joys of gender and the glory of God. No, I won’t be preaching from giant bed or encouraging married couples to mark their calendars and have more sex. (I think most people got that part.) And despite the fact that I will be reverent and diplomatic, children may go home asking questions. But what’s the alternative: asking their misguided friends or wandering innocently into Sex&Sadism.com on Google? When a child begins constructing a sexual ethos for the rest of his life, he ought to begin with insights from his parents.
This is why I’ll be preaching about sex, gender, and the glory of God in a few weeks. That’s why my friends should probably start praying for me now. To God be the glory!
Lift up the Cross!