Kentucky Conference Addresses “Biblical Sexuality In the Black Church”

Louisville pastor Joel Bowman, organizer of the "Biblical Sexuality in the Black Church” symposium, addresses the Sept. 19 gathering. Photo by Myriah Snyder
Louisville pastor Joel Bowman, organizer of the “Biblical Sexuality in the Black Church” symposium, addresses the Sept. 19 gathering. Photo by Myriah Snyder

“The sexual revolution in the black church” was among the topics addressed at a Louisville, Ky., symposium on “Biblical Sexuality in the Black Church.”

More than 400 people gathered for the Sept. 19 sessions at Forest Baptist Church, where several Southern Baptists made presentations. Among them were symposium organizer Joel Bowman, pastor of Temple of Faith Baptist Church in Louisville, and Curtis Woods, the Kentucky Baptist Convention’s associate executive director for convention relations.

“The overarching purpose [of the symposium] is to equip African American pastors and churches with information about a biblical worldview pertaining to sexuality and how to communicate the same to the congregations that we serve,” Bowman said, calling the event a “historical moment in the African American church in Louisville.”

Bowman, founder of African Americans for Biblical Authority, said it has been a “passion of mine to communicate very specifically and poignantly about sex and sexuality because I think the church has been woefully negligent in that regard.”

He added, “I have observed over time a very disturbing trend amongst very powerful and influential Christian leaders to compromise the truth of God’s Word. I think a lot of the fallacious teaching we’re hearing about sex, and most notably homosexuality, is rooted in preachers, pastors and church leaders not respecting what the Bible is.”

Christians must not “use the Bible to say what we want it to say,” Bowman said. “God never intended the Scriptures to do that.”

Though the conference focused on biblical sexual morality in an African American church context, conference organizers did not intend to “pathologize the black church as though it were morally insufficient,” Bowman said. “In all fairness to the historically black church, this is a universal problem.”

Woods’ presentation addressed “the sexual revolution in the black church” from a theological and historical perspective.

“The problem is, beloved, that our people have set their affections on the things below,” Woods said. “And once your affections are set on the things below, and you’re not consistently looking up, then what you will discover is that everything around you will become misconstrued.”

He continued, “If we do not understand how God is working in human history to bring all things together summed up in the Son, then you will approach the issue of human sexuality first from the horizontal perspective as opposed to a vertical perspective.”

The adjective “biblical” is an important preface to the term “sexuality,” Woods said, “because once the Bible is closed, then all bets are off concerning having the right idea about sexuality.”

Woods acknowledged “brokenness” in African American culture related to sexuality and said at least some of it is related to the “ugly past” of slavery.

African American churches historically have confronted such brokenness with the truth of Scripture, Woods said. However, “now all of the sudden, we close our Bibles and allow civil authorities to help us to define how we understand sexuality.

“May it never be that we allow culture above Christ,” Woods concluded.

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SOURCE: Baptist Press – Myriah Snyder

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