Beauty, Order, and Mystery
Humans are sexual creatures.
Our sexuality can be a beautiful and mysterious expression of what it means to be human. But it can also become distorted and sinful.
Perhaps no issue is as urgent for the church today, or confronts it with as many questions, as human sexuality: What does it mean to fulfill God’s will through our sexuality? To what extent should our sexuality define who we are? How can we navigate cultural trends around sexuality while being faithful to Scripture?
The Center for Pastor Theologians (CPT) seeks to assist pastors in the study and production of biblical and theological scholarship for the theological renewal of the church and the ecclesial renewal of theology. Based on the 2016 annual CPT conference, this volume brings together the reflections of church leaders and academic theologians who seek to answer the urgent questions concerning human sexuality. Contributors engage with Scripture, draw on examples from church history, and delve into current issues in contemporary culture, including embodiment, marriage, homosexuality, pornography, transgenderism, and gender dysphoria.
Beauty, Order, and Mystery tackles difficult questions with discernment in order to offer a theological vision of faithful human sexuality for the church.
Based on annual CPT conferences, the volumes in the Center for Pastor Theologians series bring together the reflections of pastors and theologians who desire to make ongoing contributions to the wider scholarly community for the renewal of both theology and the church.
"Pastors minister; theologians seek—and minister—understanding. Ministering understanding of how the Bible addresses real-world issues is the great privilege and responsibility of the pastor theologian. Gerald Hiestand and Todd Wilson have put together a whole ministry team that ministers understanding worth its weight in gold on one of the most socially complicated, politically fraught, yet existentially unavoidable issues of our day or any: human sexuality. In an age where the male/female duality is in danger of becoming extinct, these essays serve as salient reminders of the beauty and mystery of God's created order: 'Male and female he created them' (Gen 1:27)."
"For Gerald Hiestand and Todd Wilson, the ideal of the pastor-scholar is not merely theoretical but intensely practical. The example they set through their Center for Pastor Theologians is an invitation to practice ecclesial theology. So is their new volume of thoughtful essays on God's beautiful, well-ordered, and yet mysterious purposes for human sexuality—a book that demonstrates the value and relevance of having a community of wise scholars 'do' theology in the service of the church."
"There's a public conversation about human sexuality happening nearly everywhere today, but this book helpfully locates it right at the intersection of the pastoral and the theological. Beauty, Order, and Mystery provides a remarkably easy introduction to a vexed set of issues because the chapters are approachable and accessible even as they display deep reflection and up-to-date learning. In this particular multitude of counselors there is much wisdom."
"On the whole, this is a very helpful book, and I found fresh insight in virtually every chapter. It deserves to be on the shelf of every pastor. I look forward to more volumes of this standard coming from the Center."
Introduction: The Need for a Christian Vision of Human Sexuality (Todd Wilson and Gerald Hiestand)
Part I: A Theological Vision for Sexuality
1. Mere Sexuality (Todd Wilson)
2. Embodied from Creation Through Redemption: Placing Gender and Sexuality in Theological Context (Beth Felker Jones)
3. How Should Gay Christians Love? (Wesley Hill)
4. Sexuality and the Church: How Pastoral Ministry Shapes a Theology of Sexuality (Jeremy Treat)
5. Continuing the Task (Richard Mouw)
Part II: The Beauty and Brokenness of Sexuality
6. Cutting the Fruit While Watering the Root: Selfies, Sexuality, and the Sensibilities of the American Church (Daniel J. Brendsel)
7. The Transgender Test: Confronting Challenges to Biblical Christianity (Denny Burk)
8. Put Pain Like That Beyond My Power: A Christocentric Theodicy with Respect to the Inequality of Male and Female Power (Gerald Hiestand)
9. Bent Sexuality and the Pastor (Joel Willitts)
10. The Wounded It Heals: Gender Dysphoria and the Resurrection of the Body (Matthew Mason)
Part III: Biblical and Historical Reflections on Gender and Sexuality
11. Imaging Glory: 1 Corinthians 11, Gender, and Bodies at Worship (Amy Peeler)
12. Thomas Aquinas on Sexual Ethics (Matthew Levering)
13. One Soul in Two Bodies: Icons of Sergius and Bacchus Then and Now (Matthew Milliner)
14. What Makes Sex Beautiful? Marriage, Aesthetics, and the Image of God in Genesis 1–2 and Revelation 21–22 (Matt O’Reilly)