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A Theology of Sexuality and its Abuse: Creation, Evil, and the Relational Ecosystem, Part 2, by Andrew J. Schmutzer

Speaking out is important, but so is writing down. Locally, we need leaders in the faith communities to draw up comprehensive policies against sexual abuse—for the healing of this generation and the protection of the next. It is hoped that our analysis fosters a redemptive grief for the abused who need the informed understanding of their Christian brothers and sisters in order to heal—their spiritual family. At one level, I look for a day when collective restitution, in a sacramental declaration, can be made on an inter-faith and international scale.

We also considered the profound “fall-out” of sexual abuse, largely by noting the dynamic nature of the relational ecosystem. Victims, infant and elderly; the sexually broken among the abused and abuser—all share the dignity of the image of God that connects us to all realms of God’s creation. This not only shapes the spectrum of relational trauma, it also highlights the relational contexts of healing. Creation theology shows us the male-female prerequisite for sexuality, affirmed throughout Scripture. Theologically, personhood is found in royal community for an ethical mission, making sexual abuse—the plundering of a fellow-image bearer—an inverted mission capable of intergenerational pollution. In the ministry of healing the sexually abused, it is vital to affirm the embodied realities of life, rather than isolating the nature of the image in the interiority of the person.

Those seeking to help the sexually violated must face the colonizing effects of sin that surround abusive relationships. “Sin-as-act” must also be viewed within the larger “neighborhood” of evil. This is the trans-generational nature of sexual abuse that must be addressed by pastor, counselor, and community alike. The vandalism of community shalom often results from the antecedent effects of sin. This needs more open and honest address in believing communities. Christian leaders must understand sin’s afterlife, the polluting effects of abuse to sexuality. The way abuse disorients the survivor’s relationship to God is devastating. This needs more holistic address from therapists and pastors. The community of the redeemed can truly be the healing family for the sexually broken. The moral order among God’s citizens is to be a foretaste of mystery restored.

PR

Coming up in the Winter 2014 issue:

A new chapter from Part Three: “Addressing Sexual Abuse through Pastoral Care” excerpted from the book, The Long Journey Home: Understanding and Ministering to the Sexually Abused, edited by Andrew J. Schmutzer. Nancy Nason-Clark and Stephen McMullin, “A Charge for Church Leadership: Speaking Out Against Sexual Abuse and Ministering to Survivors.”
 
A Charge for Church Leadership—Part 1 A Charge for Church Leadership—Part 2

 

Interviews with Andrew Schmutzer about The Long Journey Home: Understanding and Ministering to the Sexually Abused and his chapter, “A Theology of Sexuality and its Abuse: Creation, Evil, and the Relational Ecosystem” as appearing in Pneuma Review.

 
Interview 1 Interview 2 Interview 3

 
 

This chapter is from Andrew J. Schmutzer, ed., The Long Journey Home: Understanding and Ministering to the Sexually Abused (Eugene, OR: Resource Publications, 2011). Used by permission of Wipf and Stock Publishers. www.wipfandstock.com

Footnotes and select glossary appear in the full digital issue of Pneuma Review Fall 2013 and in the book from which this excerpt is derived.

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Category: Fall 2013, Ministry, Pneuma Review

About the Author: Andrew J. Schmutzer, Ph.D., is a Professor of Biblical Studies at Moody Bible Institute (Chicago, IL). He regularly writes and speaks about sexual abuse from a theological perspective, to help equip churches to care for the abused in their midst. Andrew is the editor of the collaborative book, The Long Journey Home: Understanding and Ministering to the Sexually Abused (Wipf & Stock, 2011), a contributor to numerous books including Finding Our Way Through the Traffick: Exploring the Complexities of a Christian Response to Sexual Exploitation and Sex Trafficking (Regnum Books, 2017), The Moody Handbook of Preaching (Moody, 2008), Naming Our Abuse: God's Pathways to Healing for Male Sexual Abuse Survivors (Kregel, 2016), Between Pain and Grace: A Biblical Theology of Suffering (Moody, 2016), and Genesis: See Our Story Begin (NLT Study Series). He is one of the editors of The Psalms: Language for All Seasons of the Soul (Moody, 2013), and author of Be Fruitful and Multiply: A Crux of Thematic Repetition in Genesis 1-11 (Wipf & Stock, 2009). He can be reached at aschmutz@moody.edu.

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