Nadia Bolz-Weber’s call for Sexual Reformation: do we need to hear it?

Sep 4, 2019 by

by David Baker, Christian Today:

Who is Nadia Bolz-Weber? Is she a sexual prophet with a crucial message for our time? Should we listen?

For anyone who has not heard of her, NBW (as it is quicker to call her) is an American priest in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Her recent book ‘Shameless’ calls for nothing less than a ‘sexual reformation’ and she has just spoken in Southwark Cathedral and also at Greenbelt, the arts festival.

Part of her appeal is that she looks appealingly different and refreshing. There’s something in our collective subconscious which instinctively assumes that a genuine prophet – even if not wearing camel hair and eating locusts – will look a bit ‘alternative’. Those of us who are middle-aged men with glasses (for example) have a harder time tapping into that subtle expectation. But, as Scripture constantly tells us, appearances can be deceptive – however any of us look.

Another part of her appeal is that her message seems to fill a slot in the zeitgeist. The 1960s sexual revolution is in trouble. The #MeToo movement and various scandals have called its central promises into question. But at the same time, the Christian ‘purity culture’ is seen as discredited, not least following the news that one of its leading US advocates, Joshua Harris, has lost his faith. Combine both those things, and the time is ripe for a strong woman with a backstory of personal pain to articulate something new and appealing. But, again, Scripture tells us to be discerning.

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