Q&A with author Nancy Eskijian Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Sex and Gender and the Bible, What's Hot and What's Not, According to Scripture
1. What prompted you to write the book, Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Sex and Gender and the Bible? As I said in the introduction of the book, I wanted people to understand God’s heart, His purposes, and His word with regard to marriage, sexuality and gender. These issues are basic to our identity and are foundational to human life. Furthermore, they have a spiritual dimension, “on earth as it is in heaven.” Our embrace of God’s view of marriage, sexuality, and gender are, beyond a doubt, revival issues for this generation. I also wanted to save lives.
2. What kind of reactions have you had to the content of your book? Generally the reactions have been favorable. Both Everything and my previous book, Restoration NOW!, are meant to release the power of the Holy Spirit and communicate the word of God in practical, restorative ways. I want people to experience healing, restoration and growth. I wrote these books to show the path of the cross and resurrection in our daily, transformational walk with the Lord. There are prayers at the end of each book that will assist readers. Both books are principally for the body of Christ, because, I believe, everything must first start in the “house of the Lord,” and we are the light of the world.
3. You use scripture as a guide for your conclusions in Everything. What scriptures do you feel are most misunderstood by those who believe the Bible affirms same sex sexual relations? Overall, I think there is often a rejection of certain scriptures more than a misunderstanding, but let me just speak on one particular scripture. Many people who identify as gay will say that Jesus never talked about homosexuality or same-sex sexual relations. However, Jesus did say that fornication was sinful, (Matthew 15:19), and that covers all sexual relations outside of God’s definition of marriage, whether same sex or opposite sex sexual relations. We must also understand that the marriage covenant is the earthly relationship established for sexual relations as early as the book of Genesis, which was reaffirmed by Jesus Himself. (Genesis 1:26, and Matthew 19:4-6). It is also the earthly model, if you will, of Christ’s relationship to His church, so there is a spiritual and holy significance to it, with regard to gender, sexuality, reproduction, covenant, personal responsibility and other foundational concepts.
4. Talk about your previous book, Restoration NOW!, and how it relates to Everything. As all believers receive soul and spirit restoration that the word of God promises, we can live our lives in God’s order, blessing and covenant, from our very personal sexual lives, to finances, to family, to employment, ministry, or whatever. For all of us in Christ, life has a holy dimension—we are body, soul and spirit under the quickening and empowerment of the Holy Spirit, the headship of Jesus Christ, by the will of the Father. As I have written elsewhere, it is much easier to follow Jesus when one is not in emotional pain (and that deals with all aspects of our lives). We are given the promise that "He bore our grief and carried our sorrows" as described Isaiah 53:4. It is easier to follow Jesus when we are not broken-hearted—Jesus came to heal the brokenhearted as He declared in Luke 4:18; when we are not living out lies (Jesus said that truth makes us free, John 8:32); living under generational curses (Jesus takes the curse of the law, Galatians 3:1); or demonically oppressed (Jesus sets the captives free, Luke 4:18). Again, inner healing and deliverance reduce the fuel for sin, but also release believers to live their lives in God’s order and blessing according to the word of God, for the abundance, purpose, promise and plan God has for our lives. 5. When you hear someone say you can’t “pray the gay away,” how do you respond to that? First, I agree. You can’t just pray the gay away, or be guaranteed an automatic result through therapy, counseling, church, or whatever. However, we have to draw the right conclusion here. The experience of the cross and the resurrection is much deeper than the phrase “praying the gay away” suggests, or praying anything away, for that matter. In short, the life we are all presented is this: Jesus dies, we die; Jesus lives, we live. You can’t just pray that into existence. Transformation of any person is a journey of faith, in which God recreates His children in His image from the ground up starting with the “new birth.” Jesus came to lay an “axe to the root of the trees.” In other words, He wants to rebuild us, dismantling or renewing the old emotional, mental and spiritual life, and building a new life in the image of Christ, not the image of us.
It all depends on our destination as well. If your destination is --this is who I am, how I feel right now, and how can I be a good person and Christian at the same time, because Jesus loves me-- you are not engaged in the walk of the cross. If, on the other hand your destination is “it is no longer I who live but Christ in me” through the surrendering position of “not my will but Thine be done,” then the journey is quite different. The issue is not so much “how are we going change of a particular set of feelings, orientation, or attraction,” but how are we going to move onto higher ground, and follow Jesus. Nevertheless, when any person is set free from generational curses, layers of emotional pain, ungodly beliefs, traumas, and other experiences in one’s history, then following the word of God is much easier. The word is true. But the old nature has to die and our feelings be transformed by the renewing of our minds, to get to resurrection ground. This is very deep process for all believers.
6. What are some of the foundational positions that we need to understand as the body of Christ with regard to marriage and sexuality? The model of marriage is foundational for many truths in the Bible. As I state in my “Declaration on Marriage”:
a. From the beginning of creation, God created male and female, and He physically designed them to be joined together and they reflect His image. He blessed their gender and unity as “one flesh,” forming a new creative order. Similarly when we come to the Lord, we merge with His body spiritually through the Holy Spirit and become a new creation. We are His body, and bride, under the new covenant, taken out of His side as the second Adam.
b. The married couple leaves family of origin to start something new. The Lord sets out a personal governmental order, the family unit, with husband and wife, mother and father, if there are children. The man departs from one home to create another governmental structure with himself and his wife. As believers, we leave an old life to be merged in Christ for a new life under a new headship.
c. As the man cleaves to his wife, neither is to be self-identified any more, but identified with the new family unit. This is an important spiritual point, too, as we enter into Christ, we are no longer just self-identified, but part of Him under the new covenant. Marriage reflects the divine purpose of God to form a new covenantal order.
d. The family unit is where the Lord sets out human sexual order, because it unites God-ordained and God-designed creations, for sexual relations, and to be fruitful and multiply in a divine covenant relationship.
e. Reproductive order: A new creation has occurred (man and woman as one) to give birth in the natural to other new creations (babies), just as Christ is married to His church, (a new creation), and that union expands His family (spiritual babies).
f. God’s stamp of approval is on marriage because it reflects a divine pattern of Christ and His church. So, the union reflects a divine order.
In short, the human covenant of marriage as revealed in scripture expresses a deeper spiritual pattern. “The mystery of marriage is the mystery of Christ and His church.” (Ephesians 5: 32). Moving out of this pattern means moving out of a divine order of covenant and blessing, and really, the very nature and character of God.
7.Why are the issues of gender, sexuality and marriage so important? Following the divine pattern is important in order to bring back the blessing of the Lord to individuals, families, and a nation, in order to restore reverence for God, and restore human hearts, lives, dignity and destinies. I want people to understand that what they do daily has immediate and eternal consequences, and that there is a new and abundant life in Christ. But how do we get there and why do we go there? This book is intended to answer these questions. It is a revival book for the body of Christ to call us back to His ways, His paths and His blessings. Everything You Ever Wanted To Know... is a great tool for churches, providing a pattern for understanding. Every body of believers in the country would gain from this book. God loves us all unconditionally; He proved that at the cross. God is love. But He cannot bless us unconditionally. We have to make the choice to journey with Him and allow His Spirit to heal, deliver and restore us in all areas of life to experience the blessings of following Him.
8. How should the Church as a body respond to gay marriage? I have been a lawyer for many years and I know that human laws change. The United States or any other country or government may decide tomorrow to define marriage in a myriad of ways. However, for those of us who believe in the Word of God, the earthly relationship of marriage is a reflection of a divine pattern and covenant, among other things, for unity, fruitfulness, fulfillment, responsibility, and more. As the Bible says, the mystery of marriage is the mystery of Christ and His church. Ephesians 5:31 - 32 (KJV) In fact all of creation and redemption (God’s act of love to give us a new life through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ) is reflected in the marriage relationship and covenant.This simply cannot be altered by what happens “on earth.” Therefore, we continue to offer grace and truth to the body of Christ and the world from the word of God.