Andrea Palpant Dilley on Why We Should Take Pride and Joy in the Biblical View of Human Sexuality

Andrea Palpant Dilley is an associate editor at Christianity Today.


Over the last five years, an increasing number of believers have changed their stance on sexual ethics and slipped from the grounded banks of orthodoxy into the current of the times. Several public figures, in particular, have come out as “affirming” and brought thousands with them. Those of us with a historic, biblical view feel at times defensive or discouraged, and our posture—quite understandably—is one of “holding our ground” against theological erosion.

In the midst of this tumult, we risk losing sight of what the church has to offer: not just a critique of false teaching (although that’s needed) but an alternative model, a bold vision of how orthodoxy enables deep, well-ordered love. As we encourage others to “stay on the bank,” we have the privilege of pointing them toward a picture that reveals God’s purpose for human sexuality.

Although the prohibitions of Scripture look to many like loveless, heartless “don’ts,” these commands grow out of a positive vision of human flourishing. Ask almost any same-sex attracted, abstinent Christian and they’ll tell you this vision requires imagination, sacrifice, and even suffering. But they’ll also tell you that it comes with freedom—not the freedom of libertinism but the freedom of aligning with the divine design for human intimacy. We publish their testimonies year after year because we believe their lives manifest the hardwon goodness of following God’s Word.

Church history offers another witness. For over 2,000 years, the church has been teaching a robust biblical anthropology, and we take seriously the cumulative weight of that teaching. The Holy Spirit, too, adds to the image. Some who’ve recently embraced a progressive view claim to have heard the Spirit’s prompting, but we believe his call never contradicts biblical truth.

The words of Scripture are also corroborated by other forms of extra-biblical evidence. For example, the oft-debated findings of sociology and psychology suggest that transgender and same-sex lifestyles are associated with diminished physical, social, and emotional health. By contrast, when a man and woman marry, their union reflects God’s intended purpose for sexual and relational compatibility. It’s not surprising, then, that conservative Protestant churchgoers show higher rates of marital health and happiness. Marriage at its best mirrors the created order.

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Source: Christianity Today