A Theology Of Sexual Abuse: A Reflection On Creation And Devastation -- By: Andrew J. Schmutzer

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 51:4 (Dec 2008)
Article: A Theology Of Sexual Abuse: A Reflection On Creation And Devastation
Author: Andrew J. Schmutzer

A Theology Of Sexual Abuse: A Reflection On Creation And Devastation

Andrew J. Schmutzer*

* Andrew Schmutzer is professor of Old Testament at Moody Bible Institute, 820 N. LaSalle Blvd., Chicago, IL 60610.

I. Introduction: Not All Wounded Are Coming Home

The Creator’s original intention for human beings that combined royal, priestly, and shepherding notions can, paradoxically, appear all the more vibrant when we contemplate its demise. Buried in the profound wreckage of sexual abuse lie the vestiges of a majestic plan that dignifies humankind. But a foundational element of paradise—sexual innocence in community— has been spoiled by, among other things, the treachery of sexual abuse.

Reflecting on the Creator’s intentions can help shed light on the crushing effects of sexual abuse. To ignore the sexually broken among us is to reject the ethics of biblical community, a breakdown the abused have already endured. Moreover, turning a blind eye to sexual abuse also sanctions dualisms (body/spirit) and disconnects (sexuality, evil). Yet for a growing number, these are more than philosophical ideas; the abused have lived in these distortions.

Sexual abuse and the propensity to abuse is a larger black plague that spiritual conversion does not stamp out. It is alive in your city and in your church. The abused are the “shrieking silent,” the “exit-watchers.” One has to know what to listen and watch for, but they are there. But a surprising number of adult victims have already abandoned the Church—they have their reasons.

II. Goals And Assertions: Acknowledging The Wound

This study is one voice at the table in a much-needed dialogue. The goals are to further educate Christian leaders by normalizing the crisis of sexual abuse, create an understanding that promotes healing for the abused, and foster biblical-theological reflection among biblical educators, pastors, and church leadership, by deepening our insight into foundational creation texts with an eye to sexual abuse. These are texts pertaining to the image of God (Gen 1:26; 9:6), the creation mandate (Gen 1:28; Ps 8:5–8), and human sexuality (Gen 1:27; 2:23–24).

It is hard to improve on Patrick D. Miller’s insightful description of a constructive theological investigation: “the biblical theologian is after an

understanding of God and the ...

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