Fortifying Christian Laypeople
Christians in America today are crumbling on the issue of sexual ethics.
The modern ideals of freedom, self-fulfillment, romantic love, and tolerance have conspired to overwhelm traditional Christian commitments to monogamy, chastity, and male-female complementarity. These convictions, once universally accepted in principle even if poorly practiced, now seem implausible and unintelligible to most even within evangelical ranks. Many of our churches may still cling to these truths, but with a defensiveness and superficiality that is unconvincing to the next generation, a generation that asks why we’re so obsessed with sex and judging people, and why we should cling to moral norms that feel like arbitrary thou-shalt-nots. Even those who try to to stick to these norms often have the feeling that they are performing some assigned role of masculinity or femininity instead of simply living out their vocation as sexed human beings within the limits proper to that vocation. Few Christians have thought seriously about how our struggles in this area relate to broader technological and economic trends, and require a rethinking of our concepts of justice, freedom, and dominion more generally
What can we do about it?
The challenge of the moment is to restate, from both Scripture and nature, a much more comprehensive case for why we have been created male and female, why this reality is given not constructed, and why the limitations within which our sexuality thrives are intrinsic to our human vocation rather than arbitrarily imposed by a schoolmarmish God. This requires an ability to face in three directions at once:
(1) We need Scriptural reasoning that goes far beyond prooftexts—which can instead see the rich biblical tapestry of what it means to glorify God and flourish as male and female, heirs together of Christ’s kingdom.
(2) We need a new willingness among Protestants to attend to the testimony of what nature teaches, following the lead of Scripture itself and the long Christian tradition in reflecting on the intrinsic meaning of our biological natures, rather than treating it as raw material to be transcended or remade.
(3) We need an attentive focus on how our current confusion is rooted in broader technological, social, and economic trends that render traditional concepts of our sexuality unfamiliar and seemingly arbitrary and oppressive.
The Davenant Institute plans to engage these points forcefully in the coming years, employing Dr. Alastair Roberts, who has been blessed with extraordinary insight and ability to communicate on all three of these fronts. Dr. Roberts has a great deal to offer the American church on this issue, as well as many others.
We plan to hire Dr. Roberts beginning in 2019 to write, lecture, and teach on the foundations of Christian sexual ethics and related questions informing our doctrine of God, human nature, and Scripture. He will produce articles, videos, booklets and short books, teach seminars and intensive courses, and lecture for churches and student groups across the country.
What can you do about it?
We would like to be able to raise $10,000 toward supporting Dr. Roberts’s teaching ministry in the coming year.
- Your gift of $150 enables us to pay Dr. Roberts to write an Ad Fontes article or Davenant Digest.
- Your gift of $250 enables Dr. Roberts to lecture to a church or college group.
- Your gift of $1,000 supports Dr. Roberts for one week of leading an intensive Protestant Wisdom Summer Program.
Please consider giving to this important initiative, and help us prepare the next generation of Christians to stand on a firmer foundation in the face of a crumbling culture.