Robert A. J. Gagnon

in The Oxford Handbook of Evangelical Theology

Published in print December 2010 | ISBN: 9780195369441
Published online January 2011 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks



The belief that “sex matters” has always been a defining feature of evangelical theology. Indeed, a typical complaint about evangelicals on the part of the “liberal” or left wing of the church is that evangelicals are obsessed with sex. The evangelical attention to sexual concerns at times has had its drawbacks. One thinks particularly of instances where women's voices have been suppressed, sexual offenders have been treated with excessive harshness, and sexual pleasure even within the context of marriage has been eschewed. Jesus gave the church at least six important principles from which to formulate a proper ethic of sexuality, principles that the apostle Paul faithfully followed: a creation-based sexual ethic overriding mosaic permissiveness for men and inequity toward women; adding a strong interior component to sexual ethics; sexual ethics as a life-and-death matter; a heightened ethical demand coupled with a loving and forgiving outreach to violators; the ends of marriage; and the penultimate significance of sexual intercourse and marriage. This article also examines the issue of homosexuality in sexual ethics.

Keywords: Jesus; sexual ethics; homosexuality; marriage; sexual intercourse; evangelical theology; left wing; sexuality; creation; women

Article.  7681 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Philosophy of Religion ; Christianity

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