As most of you know, my wife Lisa had major surgery earlier this week. I am pleased to report that she is recovering nicely! We are so grateful for all the prayers and support from all of you.
I am sorry for the blog absence so I wanted to share the foreword I wrote for Juli Slattery’s new book, Rethinking Sexuality.
“One day, it dawned on me. We have been sexually discipled by the world.”
As a pastor in the nation’s fourth largest city, and as one who has worked with numerous premarital couples, I couldn’t agree more with Dr. Juli Slattery’s comments. Indeed, any honest observer must realize that there seems to be a concerted effort in most forms of entertainment and the media to promote an image and purpose of sexuality radically at odds with biblical teaching and historic Christian practice.
Juli’s awakening to this ethical challenge has become our gain as she has, in response, written a very courageous book about the need to pioneer an important new work under the bold moniker “sexual discipleship.” “Although sexuality presents an enormous challenge to Christians and to the world at large,” she writes, “it is not a problem to be solved but a territory to be reclaimed.”
You may recall that as Gentiles mixed with Jews in the first century, the early church had to decide which ethical issues were most important for Jew and Gentile alike to follow. These issues had to span cultural differences as the Gospel was created to be a worldwide influence. Accordingly, the apostles stripped ethical obligations down to only a very few commands. Here’s what they came up with: “abstain from the things polluted by idols, and from sexual immorality, and from what has been strangled, and from blood” (Acts 15:20).
About the only one of those points most relevant today is sexual immorality, and yet this is precisely the arena in which Christians seem to be more muddled, more confused, more at odds with each other and frankly, so much in the throes of disobedience. Which means “sexual discipleship” isn’t a peripheral “controversy.” It goes to the very heart and birth of our faith and beliefs. If we veer off course, sexually speaking, we will not be the unique people God has called us to be.
Dr. Juli Slattery is exactly the right person to lead the way in reclaiming this land. She seems to me uniquely gifted by God to write this book and to champion this cause. Her compassion and empathy cover each page. She is a living embodiment of the “grace and truth” principle she espouses—bold and unstinting with truth, yet quick and generous with grace and understanding.
As you’ll read in this book, Philip Yancey once said, “I know of no greater failure among Christians than in presenting a persuasive approach to sexuality.” Thank God for calling and equipping Dr. Juli Slattery to re-stake a claim so essential to who we are and to what we believe as the Christ-following people of God.
Dr. Juli Slattery is a clinical psychologist, author, speaker and the president/co-founder of Authentic Intimacy. Juli earned her college degree at Wheaton College, an MA in psychology from Biola University, an MS and a Doctorate degree in Clinical Psychology from Florida Institute of Technology.
From 2008-2012, Dr. Slattery served at Focus on the Family writing, teaching, and co-hosting the Daly Focus on the Family broadcast. In 2012, she left Focus on the Family to start Authentic Intimacy, a ministry devoted to reclaiming God’s design for intimacy. www.authenticintimacy.com
Juli is the author of ten books, the host of the weekly podcast “Java with Juli” and a member of the board of trustees for Moody Bible Institute. Juli and her husband Mike are the parents of 3 sons; they live in Akron, Ohio.