Biblical Human Sexuality



Pastor Tony Felich

Adult Sunday School Class for Winter 2021/2022

In every era, the church of Jesus Christ will be challenged by pressures from the world to follow unbiblical patterns of thinking and living. Our age is no different. In recent years, at rapid speed, the fruit of a long philosophical decline away from a Judeo-Christian ethic has ripened. Any semblance of a Biblical understanding of human sexuality has been unraveling before our eyes. The trend in American culture of late has been a downward spiral in to confused sex and gender anarchy.

Churches that seek to honor the Bible’s teaching in the area of human sexuality have been coming under increasing fire. It seems very likely that holding to a Biblical view and practice of human sexuality will be a costly commitment for Christians in the very near future.

Christian churches and schools are coming under an ever-increasing pressure to comply with the world’s perverted view and practice of human sexuality. No church, school, or denomination will be left untouched by the pressure that is mounting.

In our own denomination, the Presbyterian Church in America, a historically conservative, confessional church, there has been a brewing debate concerning the issue of human sexuality. Some twenty years ago the advent of so-called “Side B Gay Christianity” or “Gay celibate Christianity” started to appear in various evangelical churches and organizations. This view acknowledges the Bible’s teaching that marriage is between one man and one woman and against homosexual practice, however it purports a Christian may be unchangeably homosexual in their orientation. Side A says a Christian can be gay and not celibate. The Side B position, advocated by some in the PCA, says a Christian can be gay, but they should remain celibate. Rosaria Butterfield has summarized the issue well – “Side A and Side B both support the idea that sexual orientation is an accurate category of personhood, and therefore they both are outside the bounds of biblical teaching.”

Sexual orientation is not an accurate category for personhood. Furthermore, for the Christian, he or she is a person “In Christ”. Our primary identity, as believers, is in Christ. Our personhood is in God’s image and when we are redeemed, we become “a new creation” in Christ.

Homosexual desire is a sinful passion and Christians should not identify themselves with it. This holds for any of the sinful passions and actions outlined by Scripture. A true Christian may struggle with lying, gluttony, stealing, materialism, same-sex attraction, or other kinds of sensual lust, but they should never identify themselves by these sins. Our personhood is not defined by the sins we struggle with. Furthermore, in the life of the believer, any one of the sins we struggle with become conquerable in Christ, by the transforming power of the Holy Spirit. We may battle a sin our whole earthly life, but God promises a relative amount of victory in this life. There are steps forward and steps back, but we are engaged in a struggle against our sinful passions. We are called to mortify sinful passions, not label ourselves by them. Side B advocates attempt to put homosexual desire in a different category from the other sinful desires identified by Scripture. This is not only unbiblical, but it also minimizes the power of the gospel, the Holy Spirit’s work of sanctification, and it sets people up for an even greater fall into sin. Once again, Butterfield says it well – “We must maintain that we who repent and believe stand in robes of righteousness as beloved sons and daughters of God, even as we do daily battle with any an all-sexual lust and unbiblical desire that claims our affections. We are not our sin, and we ought never to let it define us”.

To be clear, at present there is a relatively small minority in the PCA advocating for the Side B view, however, it has caused some division. Because of this controversy, in 2019 the PCA General Assembly commissioned a team of elders to provide the denomination with a contemporary treatment of the Bible’s teaching on human sexuality. The result was a superb report that was commended as “Biblically faithful” by the overwhelming majority of delegates present at the 2021 PCA General Assembly in St. Louis.

In addition to the acceptance of the report on human sexuality, the 2021 General Assembly also passed two overtures that would bolster language in our Book of Church Order concerning ordination requirements for elders. These overtures seek to disqualify elders who practice or advocate the Side B position. The overtures passed easily at General Assembly, however, to pass into ecclesiastical law, they must receive 2/3 of the 88 presbyteries affirmative vote. The final vote tally should be known by February, and unfortunately, it might be close. It only takes 29 presbyteries to vote against the overtures for them to fail. This does not necessarily mean “no” votes are in favor of Side B, as some think such overtures are unnecessary because of our well-defined confessional standards. Nevertheless, not passing these overtures at very least sends a confusing message.

Redeemer’s Session stands uniformly for the clear anthropology laid out in Genesis 1-3 and is maintained consistently throughout Scripture. Redeemer’s Session opposes the Side B view and practice. Our presbytery (Heartland) passed the aforementioned overtures almost unanimously at our November meeting.

All Christian denominations, churches, and schools in the U.S. will have to deal with this issue. There is no escaping the taking of a public position as it relates to matters of human sexuality and gender.

Because of the times in which we live and the matters that are confronting us, your elders collectively agreed this topic is very important for the whole congregation to be knowledgeable concerning. During the winter quarter, there will be one Sunday school class for high school students and adults. The class will teach through the aforementioned PCA study committee report on human sexuality. The report is thorough, yet very easy to understand. It has twelve statements on Biblical human sexuality that I will teach through. The weekly class format will be 30 minutes of lecture followed by 10 minutes of questions from the audience. Please pray for the teaching of this class, Redeemer’s growth in God’s grace and truth, our denomination, and all churches of Jesus Christ that seek to be Biblically faithful in the increasingly trying days.

Colossians 2:8  See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. 

In the Lamb,
Pastor Tony Felich

12/5/21: Marriage

12/12/21: Image of God

12/19/21: Original Sin

12/26/21: Desire

1/2/22: Concupiscence

1/9/22: Temptation

1/16/22: Sanctification

1/23/22: Impeccability

2/6/22: Identity

2/13/22: Language

2/20/22: Friendship

2/27/22: Repentance and Hope

Editors note: The last several minutes have some audio distortion that we were unable to fix.

PCA study committee report