Sex and Culture: What Scripture and a Freudian Sociologist Have to Say To Modern America

people gathered near building holding flag at daytime

“Do not make yourselves unclean by any of these things, for by all these the nations I am driving out before you have become unclean, and the land became unclean, so that I punished its iniquity, and the land vomited out its inhabitants. But you shall keep my statutes and my rules and do none of these abominations, either the native or the stranger who sojourns among you (for the people of the land, who were before you, did all of these abominations, so that the land became unclean), lest the land vomit you out when you make it unclean, as it vomited out the nation that was before you.

— Leviticus 18:24–28 —

A few weeks ago, our church restarted its Tuesday discipleship night, which means we have begun again our study of Leviticus. And this week, we looked at Leviticus 18 and its detailed prohibitions against sexual sin. While many parts of Leviticus are foreign to modern readers, this chapter is not. Sadly, sexual sin continues to overrun our world, ransack our families, and invite the judgment of God. And in Leviticus 18, we find a long list of prohibitions that outline ways that men and women deviate from God’s design and invite God’s destruction. And as we will see, that destruction is not just personal, it is also national. Therefore, Leviticus 18 has much to say to us today and the judgment of God that comes upon nations that celebrate and promulgate sexual immorality.

Yet, we cannot make an immediate jump from Leviticus 18 to ourselves, not without seeing how this passage fits in Law of Moses and the rest of the Bible. While initial impressions of this text make it easy to connect God’s judgment on Canaan to the widespread sexual immorality of our day, superficial connections often misapply God’s Word. Moreover, we need to step back and understand how God can bring a judgment on Canaan, or any other nation, when in fact Israel is the only geopolitical nation who has ever been in covenant relation with God. To put it differently, we need to see how Leviticus 18 fits into the larger plans of God’s creation. For this in turn will help us make sense of the way Leviticus 18 finds fulfillment in a passage like Romans 1 and in our world today.

So, in what follows I will (1) set Leviticus 18 in the context of creation, (2) explain from the text what vomiting from the land means, (3) make connections to Romans 1 and God’s ongoing judgment on sexual sin, and (4) illustrate how the Bible finds confirmation in the historical research of a British sociologist, J. D. Unwin. (N.B. We start with Scripture and illustrate with social sciences, not the reverse.) Continue reading

Sermon Audio: Deviation from God’s Design (Romans 1:16-32)

Because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

— Romans 1:25-27 —

After four weeks of considering God’s design for marriage, sex, and gender, I turned to the subject of homosexuality today—a subject that has and is dividing our nation, and one that Scripture addresses with candor and the message of grace.

In today’s message, I argue from Romans 1 that the great problem is not homosexuality but humanity. All who are born ‘in Adam’ are sexual sinners. Idolatry is the chief sin and as a result of this inward deviation, all men and women experience various kinds and degrees of illicit sexual desires.

I fear some Christians have been to quick to dismiss people who experience same sex attraction. Too much of the message has been, “Just change.” To support our cause, many Christians have cherry picked verses to contest homosexuals instead of sharing the full doctrine of humanity and sin, which tells us that all of us have us have sinned, and none of us have natural (read: true and righteous) sexual desires according to the flesh.

As Paul argues in Romans 1, humanity has exchanged the glory of God for the glory created things, therefore God has given the human race over to the lusts of their flesh. As Romans 3:23 concludes, “all have sinned and fall short of God’s glory.” This is the great problem. Man has suppressed the truth in unrighteousness, because their natural state is not good or righteous. Sexual deviation is the ‘natural’ result of a fallen human condition. Homosexuality—like pornography, fornication, adultery, and divorce—is but one outward expression of this deeper deviation.

I am still grappling with how to state these things, but I pray this message will help you avoid some traps and give you light to better understand what God has said about humanity’s fallen condition. As I state at the front, the message is directed at Christians, but it is also applicable to those non-Christians who are willing to hear how all of us have sinned and how God has provided salvation in Jesus Christ.

Deviation from God’s Design (Romans 1:16-32)

For the rest of the sermons in this series (‘God’s Design for Marriage and Sex’), go to Sermon Audio.

Soli Deo Gloria, dss

The Gospel is God’s Power to Save (Romans 1:16-17)

Last Sunday, I began a series on the gospel—what it is, what it isn’t. Much has been written about ‘the gospel’ in the last few years. This sermon series is my attempt to help our church fall in love with the gospel all over again.

Over the course of the next two months, I hope to tackle a number facets about the gospel and to help our church to stand firm in the gospel of Jesus Christ. If the subject of the gospel interests you—as it does the angels in heaven (1 Pet 1:12)—please check back to hear the audio and/or leave a note. I’d love to keep up the conversation with you.

Here is a rough outline of what we will cover in the days ahead.

1. The Power of the Gospel (Romans 1:16-17)

The Good News in Time and Eternity

2. The Eternal Gospel (Revelation 14:6; cf. Genesis 3:15; Revelation 21-22)

3. The Gospel Beforehand (Galatians 3:8; Genesis 22)

4. The Gospel Fulfilled (1 Corinthians 15:1-8)

The Good News of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit

5. The Triune Gospel of the Kingdom (Mark 1:1-15)

6. The Gospel of God (Romans 1:7; cf. 2:16; 10:16; 11:28; 1 Corinthians 4:15)

7.The Gospel of God’s Glory (1 Timothy 1:8-11; cf. 2 Corinthians 4:4)

8. The Gospel of Christ’s Cross (2 Thessalonians 1:8; cf. Romans 1:9; 15:19; 1 Corinthians 9:12; 2 Corinthians 2:12; 9:13; 10:14; Galatians 1:7; Philippians 1:27; 1 Thessalonians 3:2)

9. The Gospel of Christ’s Resurrection (Preaching in Acts)

10. The Gospel of the Spirit’s Grace (Acts 20:24)

11. The Gospel of the Spirit’s Gospel of Truth (Colossians 1:5; Ephesians 1:13; cf. Galatians 2:14)

The Good News in the Church

12. The Preached Gospel (1 Thessalonians 2:1-20)

13. The Church’s Gospel (Ephesians 3:6-7; 1 Timothy 3:15)

14. The Fruit of the Gospel (Philippians 1:27)

15. The Passion of the Gospel (Colossians 1:24ff.; cf. Philippians 1:12; Philemon 13; Ephesians 3:1; cf. 1 Corinthians 9:12; 23)

16. ‘My’ gospel (Romans 2:16; 16:25; Galatians 1:8, 9; 2 Timothy 2:8; cf. Galatians 1:6; 2 Corinthians 11:4)

If you are interested in keeping up, here is the first message: “The Gospel: God’s Power to Save.”

Soli Deo Gloria, dss