“I, with body and soul, both in life and in death, am not my own, but belong to my faithful savior Jesus Christ.” So begins the The Heidelberg Catechism. Written by Zacharius Ursinus and published in 1563, the Heidelberg Catechism quickly became a manual for Christian living and religious instruction during the Reformation. A catechism focused on helping Christians lay hold of the deepest truths in the best ways was dearly needed during the tumultuous time of the Reformation.
Today’s revolution in theology is not over the doctrine of justification by faith alone, but over sexual identity. Our post-Freudian world maintains without any substantial pushback that sexual identity is the most important truth about a person. Organized under the banner of LGBTQ+, authentic personhood depends on placing yourself under one of these letters or joyfully and without reservation applauding people who do. The American Medical Association tells us that mental health depend on practicing what you desire, and enthusiastically supporting others who do what feels right in their own eyes is a suicide-prevention strategy. The biblical creation mandate seems a quaint ancient narrative with no binding force when in the United States today there are hundreds of pediatric gender clinics and Testosterone is administered to adolescents from Planned Parenthood on a first visit and without parental consent or a therapist’s note.
In contrast to the world’s anthropology, a biblical anthropology understands that after Adam’s transgression (Genesis 3), we, his posterity, have a sin nature that compels each person to love something that God hates. If nothing checks our will, our sinful desires will plunge us headfirst into all manner of spiritual, moral, and sometimes physical danger. No one is exempt from original sin and its consequence. Neither good nor malicious intentions can rewrite God’s call for men and women. Scripture is clear that we are responsible for our inborn as well as our actual sins (Psalm 5:5, Romans 1:18, Deuteronomy 27:15, Hebrews 9:27). Taking responsibility for our own sin is hard and necessary, but because of the way that the world, the flesh, and the devil conspire, it is difficult to know where to start.
And this is where Pastor Christopher Gordon’s The New Reformation Catechism offers to the church such a timely and pastoral guide. I have no doubt that this means of discipleship will give glory to God and be used of the Lord to liberate many who are held captive by sexual sin. Twenty-three years ago, when I was in a lesbian relationship and at the same time reading the Bible, I would have greatly benefitted from The New Reformation Catechism on Human Sexuality. I know that I am not alone in needing this book.
May God bless you richly as you grow in Christian liberty. May this book help you hold fast to the truth and better understand how the full counsel of God speaks to the godly priority of human sexuality. - Rosaria Butterfield