In his short book Thinking Biblically About Sex, Steve Emery-Wright offers a fresh and challenging perspective on sex and how the church engages with this hot topic through the Bible’s lens. Emery-Wright presents a theological foundation for a positive curriculum on sexuality. As an affirmation of God’s design and gift for humanity in sex and relationships as reflected throughout the Bible, this will help me to critically engage with my group of young people in light of the culture of sex that surrounds us today.
The book is divided into five sections after the Introduction, beginning with a helpful summary of the ‘Cultural Messages’ of sex. He highlights the reality of pornography and how it affects both men and women, and also the sobering facts of teenage sexual activity. The challenge is set out early on when Emery-Wright asks: “in the face of our cultural context, what is the church doing?”
The next two chapters make a brief sweep from Genesis to Jesus to Paul, arguing that the Scriptures embrace sex ‘as a wonderful gift from God’ (p.8). He unpacks the idea of humans being made in God’s image, purporting that as sexual beings, humankind somehow reflects the nature of God. Emery-Wright wants to get across that both genders, male and female, reflect something of the image of God, including the relationship between one another. Based upon Genesis 2, Emery-Wright affirms that sexual union is subsequent only to a permanent, secure and mutually supportive relationship (p.10). He also briefly highlights how Jesus and the early church based their ‘high view of marriage’ in creation theology as well.
This short book is a must-read for youth workers and church workers alike, because of how extremely relevant the all-pervasive topic of sex is in our culture today. If we don’t know how to talk about sex in relation to what the Scriptures say and what the culture says, we’re in trouble! As a youth worker I am so thankful to have this book as a tool in my belt, because it provides a theological foundation for God’s ‘yes’ (as Emery-Wright calls it) to sexuality, and gives helpful, biblically thought-through ways of addressing the myriad of different issues surrounding sexuality.
Whitney Adshead is a (Texan) American living in the UK, married to a really handsome and wonderful Brit, working as a youth worker at Buckskin Evangelical Church in Basingstoke, passionate about seeing lives transformed by the grace and truth of Christ.