Sparked by American Family Studios' (AFS) In His Image documentary, I’ve read a lot over the past year, watched a lot of videos, and scanned countless online articles that address the sexuality issues swirling through our chaotic culture with claims that Christian morality has no place in 2021.
Around the office, we’re often surprised by how illogical and even dangerous the whole sexual license clamor is. It’s an activist front that shrieks, “Follow the science!” on other culture and social issues. But its demand for no-restraint sexual freedom leads to or contributes to promiscuity, more STDs, confused LGBTQ adherents, more divorces, child abuse, fatherless children, family violence, and more.
Below I have combined two short features from recent issues of AFA Journal (afajournal.org). First are a few observations by AFA staff members, then a highly insightful short Q&A series of biblical truths spelled out by Dr. Robert Gagnon, professor of theology at Houston Baptist University. Gagnon is among the scholars who appear on IHI to validate the application of biblical ethics to sexual integrity.
AFA staff insights
Isn’t it ironic,” mused AFA vice president Ed Vitagliano, “that LGBTQ activists would choose the rainbow, one of God’s most stunning symbols, to represent their total rejection of His plan for sexuality?”
“Yes, God owns the rainbow,” agreed Austin Brooks, AFS director of “It symbolizes one of God’s covenant promises to His people – that He would never flood the earth again as He did with Noah.”
Brooks and his AFA team experienced a heightened awareness of that irony as they wrote, produced, and released the AFA milestone documentary In His Image: Delighting in God’s Plan for Gender and Sexuality (IHI).
Since its release last October, IHI has generated a volume of feedback unlike any other AFA resource in years past. Of course, a few have been negative. Some have posted hateful and hostile remarks on social media, and Big Tech has reacted predictably, e.g., Amazon Prime refused to carry IHI on its platform.
However, the anticipated negative outcries pale in comparison to the positive responses.
Viewer, ministry responses
“[W]e’ve been blessed to hear from victims of the gay and transgender community,” said Kendra White, writer and producer of IHI. “In fact, I’ve established a dialogue with a couple of women who were living in a lesbian partnership, and they’ve separated and are seeking to find their way back to God’s design for their lives.”
A pastor responded with gratitude saying his heart had been softened toward those trapped in sexual bondage, and he is resolved to be more intentional in sharing the gospel with grace and truth.
White has also experienced various connections to other ministries in which leaders see promising ways they can minister with AFS on the same subjects. For example, the Christian Medical and Dental Associations recently released Bridging the Gap, a curriculum series for use in churches, small groups, or personal study on various moral issues of the day.
“Their two units on gender and sexuality are fantastic!” said White.
In addition, White found common ground with the Legacy Institute (LI), a ministry that advocates a scriptural view of sexuality, declaring that male or female alone is the gender that reflects God’s image in every person’s sexual wholeness.
Carrie Abbott – teacher, author, and founder of LI – told White, “We want to help get IHI into the hands of pastors.”
Dr. Michelle Cretella, a pediatrician featured on IHI, suggested White get in touch with Audrey Werner, a nurse and mom who had experience teaching sex ed in U.S. schools and grew alarmed at its dangers.
“What we are teaching isn’t helping,” Werner told White. “It’s making it worse!” Werner is dean of the Life Issues Department at Master’s International University of Divinity.
A theologian’s responses
“[W]hat we’re talking about here,” said Dr. Robert Gagnon, “is the foundation of all sexual ethics for the church. Jesus defined what is normative for the Christian faith in regards to sexual purity matters.”
“Dr. Gagnon’s book The Bible and Homosexual Practice is the unanswered text on this subject,” said M.D. Perkins, producer of IHI. “No one has been able to refute it.”
White interviewed Gagnon for the film. Below are a few excerpts from the interview.
Kendra White: How do gay-affirming Christians that you debate develop their theology on this subject?
Robert Gagnon: Virtually all persons who promote same-sex relations or transgenderism do so for reasons other than what Scripture says. The reason is obvious – there’s really nothing in Scripture that supports such a position.
KW: Is there a common denominator among them?
RG: Typically, people who promote homosexual unions in the church do so because they’ve had an experience. … [M]ore often than not, it’s a family member or another loved one.
KW: You talk about an inverted revisionist scale. What is that?
RG: Typically, the church defines how it ought to think and behave based on Scripture first, then reason … and science. Then last of all experience.
What’s happened is that the scale has been inverted so that at the top instead of Scripture, we have put experience, as though it were self-interpreting. [Experience is] followed by distorted views of science and philosophical reasoning, and Scripture is in
KW: Why are people today so quick to ignore church history?
RG: Many people today believe that we have this radical “new knowledge” that Christians of previous generations had absolutely no awareness of. It is a sort of elitist view of the Christian faith.
[Yet] for 2,000 years – if we take it to the Old Testament, we can add several millennia to that – the people of God have had a consistent view about a male-female foundation for marriage.
KW: Are all sins equal?
RG: No. A lot of Christians, even those who are on the right page on the issue of homosexual unions and transgenderism, will fall prey to the argument that all sins are equal. The reason people on the religious Left promote that view is [to try to misdirect the debate]. They will then pinpoint some sins that we regard as relatively minor, for example, gluttony.
KW: How do you respond to that?
RG: It’s quite clear for anybody – any Jew and any Christian who accepts the Old Testament as the authoritative Word of God – that God is opposed to homosexual practice.
What Jesus did is take that male-female requirement for all sexual relations, which means for marriage. He then drew from that the standard of male-female monogamy. The logic, Jesus says … is that there ought to be only two people in the sexual union: that man and that woman, and that’s it.
▶ The Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics (christianbook.com).
▶ The Bible and Homosexuality with Dr. Robert Gagnon, a two-DVD address from AFS.