About Jesus   Steve Sweetman

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It seems to me that the term "sexual preference" has been replaced by the term "sexual orientation".  I believe the reason for this is that culturally speaking, we no longer believe our sexual expression is a preference or a choice.  It's now an orientation based on "who we are", not on "what we choose".  It's called "personhood".  We are who we are and we can't change that, meaning, we can't change our sexual orientation.


If "what we do" is determined by "who we are", then "what we do" shouldn't be criticized because we can't help "what we do", or so they say.  We just do what comes natural.  If "what we do" was merely a matter of our choice, we could change our choice. We can't changed who we are, and again, so they say.  The problem with this thinking is that there are all sorts of things people do based on who they are that society still says is wrong.  Who decides what is wrong and what is right.


Replacing "preference" with "orientation" changes the whole debate concerning sexuality.  "Personhood" is used to support the gay rights debate, but ironically, it's not used in support of the pro abortion debate.  In the gay rights debate, the sooner one becomes a person the better.  In the pro abortion debate, the later one becomes a person the better.  I believe we become "who we are", or, a person, at conception.  All of who we are is found in the union of one egg cell with one sperm cell.  


Our society permits us, and even encourages us these days, to critique, question, and comment on one's actions.  Society frowns on us commenting on one's "personhood".  That's why Christians are criticized when they stand up for Biblical values concerning sexuality.  We're perceived as questioning who a person is, not just what a person does.  As Christians, we must be educated and understand what the Bible says about "personhood" as we live in this present social climate. 


The Bible teaches that our "personhood", created in God's likeness and image, has fallen into a state of depravity.  "Who we are" is sinful, and I believe, sinful from conception.  I understand the theological debate over when we become sinners, but I believe David said it right in Psalm 51:5.  He said, "surely I have been a sinner from birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me". (NIV)   I believe the same applies to all humans.  If that isn't conclusive enough for you, a close study of the first 7 chapters of the book of Romans should clarify this for you.  "Who we are" does determine "what we do". Therefore, "what we do is sinful" because "who we are" is sinful.      


Despite all I've said, I believe "who we are", our "personhood", can undergo modification.  For Christians, our "personhood" changed when we gave ourselves to the Lord Jesus Christ.  The Holy Spirit entered into us and as the apostle Paul said, we actually became brand new creations. (2 Corinthians 5:17 and Galatians 6:15)  We're no longer who we once were.  Our "personhood" has changed.  Jesus confirmed this when He spoke of being "born again" into the world of the Holy Spirit. (John 3:1 - 5)  As real as our physical birth was, our spiritual birth is just as real. 


Being a Christian is not simply a matter of adopting a Biblical belief system.  It's not a matter of  simply acknowledging the existence of an historical Jesus, or even a risen Jesus.  Being a Christian is becoming a new creation.  It's a new state of being.  Our "personhood" changes.  "Who we are" changes.    


Understanding the concept of "personhood" from both a worldly and Biblical standpoint is fundamental in the present social debates.  Christians are experiencing conflict over this very issue these days.  It is thus important for us to both understand and be able to articulate "personhood" in Biblical terms. 


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