This is the first of a two part teaching on human sexuality. Audio file below.
When it comes to the topic of human sexuality, teaching in the church seems to pendulum swing between biology and function. Some suggest that the only essential created difference between a man and a woman is the woman’s ability to bear children. Others emphasize the role-relationships between men and women as the only Biblical answer to questions regarding the male/female distinction. And still, others offer no legitimate answers to questions such as:
Are the created differences between men and women only biological and functional, or is there more to our sexuality?
What is the difference between function and essence anyhow?
Are the differences between men and women just socially constructed?
Do the differences between men and women go any deeper than ‘skin deep’?
Is a woman a woman at a ‘soul level’? Are our daughters? Our female friends? our sisters? Our mothers?
What about men? Are they men in an emotional/psychological/spiritual way – or just biologically? Our husbands? Sons? Brothers? Our Dads?
Finally, can we even teach the next generation what it means to be a man or a woman if our understanding of human sexuality begins with how to make a baby and ends with a discussion about submission and headship?
In this teaching, I address all of these questions regarding human sexuality. This teaching is foundational to our next session ‘Applications of a Sanctified Sexuality.’ It is in that study that we will consider what practical holiness looks like in redeemed female image-bearers, as opposed to what practical holiness looks like in our male counterparts.
*I am a complementarian. However, our leadership team and our monthly meetings consist of women that hold to a wide range of beliefs regarding the male/female distinction and what the ordained applications of that distinction are. One-voice is a ministry that hopes to build women up in the fundamental truths believed by all believers and respect the authoritative teaching of the local church regarding all secondary matters of the faith. Therefore, our study will not address the role-relationship between men and women in the local church or home.
Why have the women of one voice formed this ministry?
Why did we invite women from our area to this meeting?
Why have we invested our prayers, time, money, and energy in creating the second Saturday morning meeting?
The attached PDF is the manuscript of the first Saturday Morning Meeting that we had in September 2018. The answers to these questions and more are explained here. In it I explained what one voice is, where the Saturday Morning Meeting came from, and what we hope to accomplish through this one voice ministry.
The last section of the session manuscript includes a ‘teaching’ on our theme verses, Romans 15:5-6. From reading this, you will have an idea of the type of teaching that is part of each of our Saturday morning meetings.
“Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.” The Apostle John*
Hi, my name is Beth Hogan. I am a New Englander – born and raised on the South Shore of Boston, Massachusetts. I am like most other New Englanders – I give directions based on proximity to the nearest coffee shop, I drive faster than I probably should, and I love the wet-cold feel of a northeasterly wind coming off the Atlantic on a stormy day. I came to know Christ 24 years ago in basic training as a recruit in the United States Army Reserve.
Before leaving for basic training, I had been given a pocket New Testament that I carried with me and read throughout the early weeks of my training. One day, I read something that would change me forever. I read, “…God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). As I read that verse, I thought to myself, “Well, Iʹm a sinner, that must mean that Christ died for me.” It was at that moment that I realized that Jesus Christ had died specifically for me so that I could be forgiven and reconciled to God. There I was standing all alone in a training field in Fort Jackson, South Carolina, and I came to saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
After basic and technical training, I went home, found a solid Bible believing church, and met Daniel Hogan – the man who was bold enough to give me a Claddagh Ring and tell me that he loved me on our first date (he had only known me for two weeks). We were married less than six months later, and that was 22 years ago this month. We have five of the most amazing, wonderful, beautiful, beloved children in this world: Abigail Grace (19), Rebekah Mercy (17), Samuel Justice (17), John Righteousness (15), and Elijah Peace (14). We love to laugh together, walk together, pray together, read books and share quotes with each other, and just be with one another whenever we can.
When I was 23 years old, my husband went into full-time pastoral ministry, and I set about nurturing the children and caring for our home. Those years were the best of times and the worst of times. They were the best of times in that I loved being with my babies (and they really were all babies together – I had five children in less than five years, talk about going MAC-10 with your hair on fire!) But, as I shared, those years were the worst of times in some ways. For I found being naturally introverted and having not come from a Christian background made serving as a pastor’s wife very difficult for me. In those years, I didn’t understand that God uses weak people – people insufficient for the task to do His work so that He gets all the glory! (1 Corinthians 2 Corinthians 2:16, 12:9-10).
That is not to say that those years were bereft of any fruitful joyful ministry. Dan and I have always enjoyed ministering together: hospitality, small group discipleship, and street evangelism have been some of the ministry endeavors we have most enjoyed doing together. One year, my husband planned a ministry trip for our family. We went to Ocean City, NJ, to do a full week of street evangelism. On our way down to the shore, the transmission in our car blew, so we rolled off the highway into the nearest car-rental location that we could find. Little did we know that the Lord had a faith-building blessing in store for us! Working behind the desk of the local rental center was a retired pastor, who paid for a full week’s vehicle rental for our family – so that we could still do our week of evangelism together. He also paid to have our car towed and loaded us up with books and other blessings for our trip! We were all amazed at the gracious providence of God in that situation!
Learning to boast in my weaknesses, accept my own inability to do ministry, and rest in the hand of providence has freed me to entrust myself to the all-sufficient power of God to work in and through me according to His good will (2 Corinthians 11:30; 2 Cor. 9:8; Philippians 2:12-13). For me, His will has included counselling women with Women at Risk International, in the prison system, and, occasionally, alongside my husband in marriage counselling. It has also included event planning and ministry coordination efforts, writing and teaching Bible Studies, and speaking at women’s ministry events and retreats. I am trusting that the Lord will use the one voice ministry to strengthen women and their relationships with one another in the truth, freedom, and love that is theirs in Christ.