Atlanta pastor Aaron Menikoff has some wise thoughts over at the 9Marks blog on a topic that many of us want to handle well but have little wisdom about:
“I would be quite happy to preach about the purpose of sex in a Sunday morning service. When I say “happy,” I should add that it would be a privilege to address that because Scripture addresses it. Also, specific sexual sins can and should be addressed (thinking about your Proverbs sermons). I recently went to a meeting about fighting sex-trafficking in Atlanta. From the stats I was given, there is more sex-trafficking going on in Atlanta than in any other U.S. city. One detective said it was not uncommon to find “johns” with car seats in their cars–in other words these were everyday dads indulging their sinful desires! A question was asked, “How can we fix this problem?” My first thought was that the Lord has called me a responsibility to shepherd a particular flock. At the very least, I can preach for the sexual purity of those within my congregation and equip us to resist temptation.
My point: There is no easy answer on how frank to be in the pulpit. I think wisdom would dictate sensitivity to children and even to the weaker brother. However, that the topic must be addressed, frankly and graphically in the context of church life is clear.”
As I’ve said, many of us want to be able to preach helpfully about sex, but it’s difficult to know how to do so without offending folks or leading them to stumble. Today’s sex-saturated culture, however, necessitates that we confront this topic. As Menikoff says, pastors will differ on how exactly to handle this matter; indeed, different settings and locations require that pastors do so. Yet this should not mean that we shy away from hard topics. People today prize honesty and directness, and church members need to have the church, not MTV, shape the way they view sex.