Baptists, Lutherans, Catholics, and Jews

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FROM: Report of Committee on Baptist Faith and Message--June 9, 1998

In marriage, two people physically become one flesh (Gen. 2:24); two families are socially grafted together; and the husband and wife portray spiritually the relationship between Christ and the Church (Eph. 5:23-27). The union is designed to offer a channel for the mutual satisfaction of sexual desires, and to present the best setting for conceiving and nurturing the next generation.... The husband's loving, humble headship has often been replaced with domination or passivity. The wife's voluntary and willing submission has often been exchanged for usurpation or servility. Redemption in Christ would call for husbands to forsake harsh or selfish leadership and to extend loving care to their wives (1 Pet. 3:7) and for wives to forsake resistance to the authority of their respective husbands and to practice willing, joyful submission to that leadership (1 Pet. 3:1-2).

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FROM: Sexuality: Some Common Convictions (as adopted by the Church Council of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, November 9, 1996)

Human sexuality was created good for the purposes of expressing love and generating life, for mutual companionship and pleasure. Yet it has been marred by sin, which alienates us from God and others. This results in expressions of sexuality that harm persons and communities.

As sexual beings, we are called to a life of responsible freedom in God's new creation, while still struggling with how our sexuality is captive to sin. For Christians, the human body is a "temple of the Holy Spirit" (1 Cor. 6:19-20). Living in the power of the Spirit, we are called to avoid behaviors that harm or devalue ourselves and others, such as immoral sexual behavior (1 Cor. 5:9-11; Gal. 5:19-21).

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FROM: The Catechism of the Catholic Church

2360 Sexuality is ordered to the conjugal love of man and woman. In marriage the physical intimacy of the spouses becomes a sign and pledge of spiritual communion. Marriage bonds between baptized persons are sanctified by the sacrament.

2361 "Sexuality, by means of which man and woman give themselves to one another through the acts which are proper and exclusive to spouses, is not something simply biological, but concerns the innermost being of the human person as such. It is realized in a truly human way only if it is an integral part of the love by which a man and woman commit themselves totally to one another until death."[142]

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FROM: The Report of the Ad Hoc Committee on Human Sexuality

Jewish religious values are predicated upon the unity of God and the integrity of the world and its inhabitants as Divine creations. ...Sexuality and sexual expression are integral and powerful elements in the potential wholeness of human beings. Our tradition commands us to sanctify the basic elements of the human being through values that express the Divine in every person and in every relationship. Each Jew should seek to conduct his/her sexual life in a manner that elicits the intrinsic holiness within the person and the relationship:

B'tzelem Elohim ("in the image of God"). We affirm that consensuality and mutuality are among the values necessary to validate a sexual relationship as spiritual and ethical and therefore "in the image of God."

Simcha ("joy")." Human sexuality, as a powerful force in our lives, has the potential for physical closeness and pleasure, emotional intimacy and communication. The experience of sexual pleasure and orgasm, both in relationships and individually, can greatly delight women and men. Our tradition teaches that procreation is not the sole purpose of sexual intimacy; it not only recognizes but rejoices in the gratification which our sexuality can bring to us....As an expression of love, the physical release and relaxation, the enjoyment of sensuality and playfulness, which responsible sexual activity can provide is encouraged by our Jewish tradition.

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