sex and the Gospel

There’s a great conversation going on at Tim Stevens’ blog. It’s a response to the comments he’s been receiving about our upcoming Sex for Sale series. The question is simple: what is the Gospel?

People are quoting Paul’s letters from the Bible, but no one seems to be quoting Jesus, which explains some of the comments Tim is receiving.

If you only read Paul’s letters, then I guess I can see where you might think the Gospel is nothing more than the story of God’s wrath against sin and what Jesus did to save us from that wrath. (I think Paul himself attests to something way more holistic than that, but I’m trying to give the benefit of the doubt.) If you believe that’s the whole story, then I suppose you’d be ticked at GCC for talking about sex.

But suppose you read the words of Jesus where he talks about the good news of the Kingdom of God. (Gospel comes from an old English rendering of ‘good news’.) Then you’d have to ask yourself what this kingdom is if you’re going to discover the Gospel. You would start exploring everything there is to understand about the world God intended – the world God means to restore. You’d watch to see how Jesus manifests this Kingdom, and you’d see him talk frankly with a Samaritan woman about her sex life (a double faux pas. Jesus shouldn’t be talking to women or Samaritans like this. Scandalous!).

Watch what the book of Matthew says as it introduces the story of Jesus:

(an angel speaking) “You are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

He will save his people from their sins. Not just their guilt, but their sins. Not just their future punishment, but their present-day brokenness, too. This word sin in the New Testament is bigger than rule infractions and their eternal consequences. It’s about missing the mark. It’s about God having a dream for humanity that we fell short of, and it’s about Jesus inviting us back into that dream. Our sexuality has a place in the dream. ‘Preaching the Gospel’ means we HAVE to talk about sex, money, food, art, language, beauty, the environment, relationships, intellect, emotions, bodies, and souls.

People who incessantly quote a couple of passages from Paul about something they call substitutionary atonement aren’t wrong. I think it’s just incomplete.

What do you think