Sex and global evangelism?
Recently, I was talking to a friend about the ongoing challenge ministries have in raising money. She also runs a non-profit organization and knows these difficulties well. As we talked, she thought of one donor she knew whose emphasis is on global evangelism. Trying to connect us, she asked, “Do you think your work on sexual brokenness is a doorway to evangelism?”
This is a great question and my answer is a resounding “YES.” The more I do this work, the more clearly I see how our bodies and souls are intricately linked. We are spiritual, sexual and relational beings down to our very core. We read in Genesis that God created us in His image and likeness, “male and female He created them.” The progressive world is desperate to eliminate the unique and complementary qualities of men and women, but Christians teach that these serve as signs pointing us to the love of God.
The answer is found in that Creation passage in which we learn that God created men and women in His image and likeness. While we can’t reason our way back to God based on human experience, we do see consistency between the mutual love of a man and women and that expressed by God throughout the Bible. We first notice this in the very nature of God Himself. We profess our faith in the one God who eternally exists in three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The Father is not the Son is not the Holy Spirit.
These Trinitarian Persons are intimately linked to one another in love and essence and yet are distinct, each keeping His own qualities. For humans, the unity in diversity is best captured by Jesus when he explains the foundational relationship between men and women in Matthew 19: “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. So they are no longer two but one flesh.”
The man and woman are still distinct persons, but within the intimate communion of marriage, they are also something greater than they are alone. Further, in the intimate marital embrace, they are able to receive the blessing of fertility, which brings forth new life. This also is a characteristic of God’s creating and redeeming love.
This isn’t just my take. The Bible consistently puts forward marital love as a picture or a sign of God’s love for His people. Throughout the Old Testament God calls Himself the Bridegroom and Israel His wandering bride. Jesus also refers to himself as the bridegroom several times in the Gospels. The Apostle John gives us a glimpse of the splendor at the end of all time, which is a wedding feast between Christ and His bride, the Church.
If you’ll notice, all this talk about men and women, marriage and sexuality, wasn’t so much about actions as it was about identity. To be male or female and made in the image and likeness of God is to realize the deepest truth of who we are. How we act in life always flows from who we are, or, perhaps more accurately, who we believe ourselves to be.
Going back to the original question, our culture’s unreasonable move to a genderless society will have tragic spiritual implications. Apart from the public safety aspects of joint bathrooms and shower rooms, our dismantling of male-female marriage as an elevated cultural norm brings with it the destruction of one of the most significant earthly signs pointing us to the love of God.
The goal of evangelism is the proclamation of the redemption found only in Jesus Christ and his work that restores us to right relationship with God and others. If you have a heart for global or local missions, you could hardly do more important work than to remind people of their God-given identity as a man or woman in Christ. And, as we survey the culture around us, we know the truth of Jesus’ words in Matthew 9:37-38, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”