By Dn Ernest Tan
This weekend marks the second of a two-part series by Dr Ng Liang Wei on sexuality, and how we as a church can respond in a healthy way to the community (both in and out of The Bible Church) on this subject.
I must confess that I am not an expert on sexuality. Much of my learning on the biblical perspective of sexuality comes from sermons, online articles, and infrequent conversations with Christian friends. However, please permit me to share some thoughts, having reflected on this subject.
Sexuality and singlehood
Even as the conversation topics around sexuality frequently revolve around porn addiction, gender dysphoria or same sex attraction, one important question we should ask is whether we have enabled singles to healthily thrive in a Christian community today.
This is all the more relevant since God’s will is for people to not be in same-sex relationships, which then means that followers of Jesus, who experience same-sex attraction, will most likely remain single.
Society often equates singleness to loneliness. Even in Christian circles, marriage is sometimes called a “gift”, while singlehood is instead referred to as a “calling”. Personally, I am unsure if that is the right message we should be communicating to one another (if at all) – must I be “called” to be single? Can singlehood not be a gift in some circumstances as well?
Let us be a church in which singles feel as much a part of the life of the community, as those who are attached or married.
Holy sexuality, not just heterosexuality
We should be clear that God’s standards on sexuality apply to everyone, and that we are not just pushing heteronormative views on those around us.
Regardless of whether a person is a straight or married person sleeping around, someone engaged in a homosexual relationship, or even someone addicted to lusting after sexual content online – all are guilty of sexual immorality (Matt 5:28, 1 Thess 4:3, 1 Cor 6:18, Eph 5:3). We need to take all sexual sins seriously, confront them and weed them out of our lives and the church.
Consequently, holy sexuality is something we should pursue. Biblically, this means living sexually abstinent if you are single (or dating for that matter); or if you are married, to be faithful to your spouse of the opposite sex.
Vulnerability, truth and growth
We as The Bible Church profess our desire to be an authentic, biblical community (discipling others effectively). If we do have friends or family struggling with issues on sexuality, let us be genuinely interested in them as God’s children first, rather than seeing them as a “problem” to be fixed.
Christian author Timothy Keller writes: “Love without truth is sentimentality; it supports and affirms us but keeps us in denial about our flaws. Truth without love is harshness; it gives us information but in such a way that we cannot really hear it. God’s saving love in Christ, however, is marked by both radical truthfulness about who we are and yet also radical, unconditional commitment to us. The merciful commitment strengthens us to see the truth about ourselves and repent. The conviction and repentance moves us to cling to and rest in God’s mercy and grace.”
Both truth and love are needed as we engage one another on this subject.
At the end of the day, we need to remember that we are all sinful beings who need a saviour, and that saviour is Christ Jesus, in whom our identity lies, and in whom we can be transformed.
To those who are struggling with issues on sexuality and have been hurt by those in the church, we are sorry we have hurt you, and we humbly ask for you to show us grace and guide us on how we can journey with you better.
My prayer is that The Bible Church can be a safe space for holistic and authentic conversations, repentance and growth when it comes to sexuality.