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Beauty, Order, and Mystery
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Beauty, Order, and Mystery

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IVP Academic 2017

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Our sexuality can be a beautiful and mysterious expression of what it means to be human. But it can also become distorted and sinful. Perhaps no issue is as urgent for the church today, or confronts it with as many questions, as human sexuality: What does it mean to fulfill God’s will through our sexuality? To what extent should our sexuality define who we are? How can we navigate cultural trends around sexuality while being faithful to Scripture?

The Center for Pastor Theologians (CPT) seeks to assist pastors in the study and production of biblical and theological scholarship for the theological renewal of the church and the ecclesial renewal of theology. Based on the 2016 annual CPT conference, this volume brings together the reflections of church leaders and academic theologians who seek to answer the urgent questions concerning human sexuality. Contributors engage with Scripture, draw on examples from church history, and delve into current issues in contemporary culture, including embodiment, marriage, homosexuality, pornography, transgenderism, and gender dysphoria. Beauty, Order, and Mystery tackles difficult questions with discernment in order to offer a theological vision of faithful human sexuality for the church.

In the Logos edition, this volume is enhanced by amazing functionality. Important terms link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources in your digital library. Perform powerful searches to find exactly what you’re looking for. Take the discussion with you using tablet and mobile apps. With Logos Bible Software, the most efficient and comprehensive research tools are in one place, so you get the most out of your study.

Key Features

  • Provides thoughtful and nuanced essays on difficult contemporary topics
  • Experienced insight and advice for pastors and laypeople
  • Includes a wide selection contributions from experienced scholars and pastors


  • Part One: A Theological Vision for Sexuality
    • Mere Sexuality by Todd Wilson
    • Embodied from Creation Through Redemption: Placing Gender and Sexuality in Theological Context by Beth Felker Jones
    • How Should Gay Christians Love? by Wesley Hill
    • Sexuality and the Church: How Pastoral Ministry Shapes a Theology of Sexuality by Jeremy Treat
    • Continuing the Task by Richard Mouw
  • Part Two: The Beauty and Brokenness of Sexuality
    • Cutting the Fruit While Watering the Root: Selfies, Sexuality, and the Sensibilities of the American Church by Daniel J. Brendsel
    • The Transgender Test by Denny Burk
    • Put Pain like That Beyond My Power: a Christocentric Theodicy with Respect to the Inequality of Male and Female Power by Gerald Hiestand
    • Bent Sexuality and the Pastor by Joel Willitts
    • The Wounded It Heals: Gender Dysphoria and the Resurrection of the Bible by Matthew Mason
  • Part Three: Biblical and Historical Reflections on Gender and Sexuality
    • Imaging Glory: 1 Corinthians 11, Gender, and Bodies at Worship by Amy Peeler
    • Thomas Aquinas on Sexual Ethics by Matthew Levering
    • One Soul in Two Bodies: Icons of Sergius and Bacchus Then and Now by Matthew J. Milliner
    • What Makes Sex Beautiful? Marriage, Aesthetics, and the Image of God in Genesis 1-2 and Revelation 21-22 by Matt O'Reilly

Praise for the Print Edition

“Pastors minister; theologians seek—and minister—understanding. Ministering understanding of how the Bible addresses real-world issues is the great privilege and responsibility of the pastor theologian. Gerald Hiestand and Todd Wilson have put together a whole ministry team that ministers understanding worth its weight in gold on one of the most socially complicated, politically fraught, yet existentially unavoidable issues of our day or any: human sexuality. In an age where the male/female duality is in danger of becoming extinct, these essays serve as salient reminders of the beauty and mystery of God’s created order: ‘Male and female he created them’ (Gen 1:27).

—Kevin J. Vanhoozer, research professor of systematic theology, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

For Gerald Hiestand and Todd Wilson, the ideal of the pastor-scholar is not merely theoretical but intensely practical. The example they set through their Center for Pastor Theologians is an invitation to practice ecclesial theology. So is their new volume of thoughtful essays on God’s beautiful, well-ordered, and yet mysterious purposes for human sexuality—a book that demonstrates the value and relevance of having a community of wise scholars ‘do’ theology in the service of the church.

—Philip Ryken, president, Wheaton College

Here’s a public conversation about human sexuality happening nearly everywhere today, but this book helpfully locates it right at the intersection of the pastoral and the theological. Beauty, Order, and Mystery provides a remarkably easy introduction to a vexed set of issues because the chapters are approachable and accessible even as they display deep reflection and up-to-date learning. In this particular multitude of counselors there is much wisdom.

—Fred Sanders, Torrey Honors Institute, Biola University

Product Details

About the Editors

Gerald L. Hiestand (PhD candidate, University of Reading) is the senior associate pastor at Calvary Memorial Church in Oak Park, Illinois, and the cofounder and director of the Center for Pastor Theologians. He is the coauthor of The Pastor Theologian: Resurrecting an Ancient Vision and the coeditor of Becoming a Pastor Theologian.

Todd Wilson (PhD, Cambridge University) is senior pastor of Calvary Memorial Church in Oak Park, Illinois, and the cofounder and chairman of the Center for Pastor Theologians. He is the author of Real Christian: Bearing the Marks of Authentic Faith and Galatians: Gospel-Rooted Living, the coauthor of The Pastor Theologian: Resurrecting an Ancient Vision and Pastors in the Classics, and the coeditor of Becoming a Pastor Theologian.

Sample Pages from the Print Edition