Sexual Identity: Community and Church Issues, Sexual Identity & Fear

Jesus confronts doubts even while giving (believers) a counter-cultural commission

“In my own conversations with Christians, there is perhaps even greater alarm over the agenda of sexual liberation and gender identity movements.  The questions I am asked most often about Christian higher education are ones related to threats posed by government bathroom policies or anti-discrimination regulations overriding our traditional commitments to Christian views of gender and sexuality.”

 

Just this week, an article appeared in Bloomberg News with a provocative title: “It’s Official: This Election is Driving Americans Nuts.”[1]  The article goes on to describe a recent study undertaken by the American Psychological Society about the major causes of fear in American citizens.  Normally, these stresses include financial burdens and work-related obligations and concerns.  But this year, for a significant number of people, the primary cause of stress is presidential politics.

While the presidential election has created great stress, in my own conversations with Christians, there is perhaps even greater alarm over the agenda of sexual liberation and gender identity movements.  The questions I am asked most often about Christian higher education are ones related to threats posed by government bathroom policies or anti-discrimination regulations overriding our traditional commitments to Christian views of gender and sexuality.  None of these concerns should be minimized, and all of them raise important questions which require both courage and wisdom to answer.

And yet we also need to remind ourselves of the great promises of scripture. When Jesus gives his great commission to the disciples, he addresses them as those who were both worshipping him and doubting (Matthew 28:17).[2]  This fear and doubt was nothing new for them, and the fact that it was combined with authentic worship should be a kind of encouragement to us.

Jesus confronts these doubts even while giving them a counter-cultural commission.  We know the commission well – making disciples of all nations, baptizing and teaching all that Jesus commanded – but perhaps we need to be reminded of how Jesus begins and ends this commission.

He begins, of course, by reminding them of his total authority over heaven and earth, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”  This claim, while comprehensive, was really nothing new in Matthew’s gospel.  In Matthew 7, Matthew shows us Jesus teaching, and those who heard him remarked at his unmatched authority as a teacher.  Perhaps more significantly, in Matthew 9,Jesus claims to have the authority of the “Son of Man,” that conquering Messianic warrior pictured in Daniel 7.  Even more astonishingly, Jesus demonstrated his own authority to forgive sins.  C.S. Lewis is especially memorable on this point.

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