On Saturday, March 3rd from 9-4:30, the Institute of Biblical Counseling and Discipleship (IBCD) will present a biblical counseling training seminar at Grace Bible Church in Escondido, California. The topic is “From Idol to Blessing: How Grace Transforms Our Sexuality.” The speakers will be Jim Newheiser, Tom Maxham, and Caroline Newheiser. More information and registration can be found here.
We wanted to give you a little more background about why we think a seminar on this topic will be beneficial training for Christians to be able to help other Christians.
Why have a seminar about sex?
We have dealt with a lot of cases at IBCD that involve sexual issues. Some couples have been married for decades, but have given up sex years ago. Wives can be disgusted by their husbands. Husbands can feel no attraction to their wives. Newly married couples are having difficulty dealing with their sexual past, and marital intimacy becomes a point of intense conflict. The frequency of sex is a common complaint in marriage counseling. Pornography is rampant, and in most marriages one or more spouses will have to learn what it means to help their partner in this struggle. Homosexuality is a temptation that is becoming more and more prevalent in all sorts of situations. Teenagers are bombarded with these topics. Singles are battling to stay pure. The marriage bed is assaulted at every turn.
At IBCD, we want to equip Christians to be able to enter into one another’s lives with biblical counsel and gospel encouragement. Many Christians, however, are not equipped to deal with these difficult issues. It can be devastating when a person finally opens up and shares that she has a sexual struggle, only to be met with a blank stare and fumbling platitudes. How many people in our churches secretly battle these issues because they are convinced that no one would understand what they are struggling with? Our experience at IBCD says that there are a lot. We want believers to be prepared to lovingly and wisely help one another—especially with such a delicate and personal topic.
Why have another seminar about sex?
It’s true—there is information about sex nearly everywhere. Part of the reason we decided to dedicate a seminar to this topic is because we want to do it in a way that fits with our approach to biblical counseling.
We want to thoroughly explain what the Bible has to say about sexuality. Many Christians are unaware of how much the Bible has to say about the great blessing of sex, the role of sex, and the distortions of sex. Many Christians still have gained far more of their view of sex from the media than they have from the Scriptures.
But we don’t just want to quote a bunch of verses about sex. We want to explore this topic through the lens of the gospel. Christ’s life, death and resurrection have radical implications for how we view our past sexual sins and our present struggles. The redemptive framework of creation, fall, and redemption helps us think through the ways in which this blessing has become an idol, and how God has worked to free us from it.
The life-changing forgiveness and grace poured out on us in the gospel helps us not only deal with the guilt over past failures and struggles, but it propels us into an ability to now see our sexuality as a way in which we can demonstrate grace and love to our spouse, as well as receive it. We want to explore how drinking deep of the satisfying love of Christ enables true change to occur in even the deepest and most personal of sins.
We also want to present all of this in a way that is appropriate for all audiences. Some of the perceived silence of the church on this issue has resulted in a considerable amount of frank, if not crass discussion of the matter among believers. While it is great to be thinking through the issues, the brokenness that people face demands a great sensitivity when speaking of the topic. We want to speak in a way that is clear, accurate, helpful, but does not cause people to struggle more than they already do, or with thoughts they never had before. The biblical record is very clear, but it is also very selective on details. It is done in a way where you know what you need to know, but it does not glorify or entice with its imagery. We hope to model the same approach in our seminar.
Join the Conversation
What difference can a gospel-centered, biblical counseling approach have on how we counsel others regarding sex and sexuality?