Sexuality: Some Common Convictions

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“Scripture is the source and norm of our proclamation, faith, and life as a church. In Scripture we read that God created humankind male and female and ” … behold it was very good” (Gen. 1:27, 31). Sexuality is a mysterious, life-long aspect of human relationships. Through sexuality, human beings can experience profound joy, purpose, and unity, as well as deep pain, frustration, and division.

Human sexuality was created good for the purposes of expressing love and generating life, for mutual companionship and pleasure. Yet it has been marred by sin, which alienates us from God and others. This results in expressions of sexuality that harm persons and communities.

Because human sexuality is a powerful, primal force in personal and communal life, both church and society seek to order sexual expectations and expression. God’s Law serves this purpose by providing guidance and exposing sinfulness. For example, the Ten Commandments (Exod. 20:1-17) have implications for sexuality:

* sexuality is placed in perspective (First Commandment);
* family relationships are to be honored and nurtured (Fourth Commandment);
* destructive abuses of power that harm others are prohibited (Fifth Commandment);
* marriage is upheld and supported as a sacred union and social institution (Sixth Commandment);
* truth-telling is essential in all relationships (Eighth Commandment);
* sexual desire that lures one away from spouse or family is condemned (Tenth Commandment).

Christ’s death and resurrection inaugurated God’s new creation. Christians enter into this new creation and “die” to sin through baptism. As Christ was raised, so we walk in newness of life (Rom. 6:1-4). As sexual beings, we are called to a life of responsible freedom in God’s new creation, while still struggling with how our sexuality is captive to sin. We live in the tension between the old age of sin, bondage, and death, and the new age of the Gospel’s grace, promise, and freedom.

For Christians, the human body is a “temple of the Holy Spirit” (1 Cor. 6:19-20). Living in the power of the Spirit, we are called to avoid behaviors that harm or devalue ourselves and others, such as immoral sexual behavior (1 Cor. 5:9-11; Gal. 5:19-21). Through words and actions, Christians seek to build up one another and the whole Christian community. The law of love — “you shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Rom. 13:8-10; Gal. 5:14) — binds Christians together in anticipation of the fullness of God’s reign.

Through baptism, we have been received into the body of Christ and welcomed into the Lord’s family. [4] God’s gracious embrace through Christ is at the heart of the Church’s welcome to all to participate together in its life. Mindful of the sin to which all succumb, Christians are called to:

* respect the integrity and dignity of all persons, whatever their age, gender, sexual orientation, or marital status;
* discern and provide guidance for what it means to live responsibly as sexual beings;
* support through prayer and counsel those facing questions about their sexuality;
* heal those who have been abused or violated, or whose relationships are broken.

We live in various relationships, all of which are affected by the physiological, psychological, and social aspects of our sexual identity. People of all ages need information and experience to understand and responsibly live out their sexual identity in the varied relationships of their lives — as child or parent, sister or brother, spouse, friend, co-worker, neighbor, or stranger. This church affirms the importance of ordering society and educating youth and adults so that all might live in these relationships with mutual respect and responsibility…”

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