St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary,
South Canaan, Pennsylvania,
announces the bi-weekly posting on the Seminary’s web site of
papers presented at a conference held at St. Tikhon’s Seminary November 7 - 9, 2019:
Speaking the Truth in Love:
Addressing Sexuality and the Human Being
Where will these papers be posted? http://stots.edu/truthinlove
Why did St. Tikhon’s Seminary hold this Conference on this theme?
This conference was held at St. Tikhon’s on this theme, because we wished to reaffirm the glory, beauty, sanctity, wonder, and dignity of striving to live in purity of mind and body in Christ, with and in the grace of the Holy Spirit.
We believe that such a fresh proclamation is always necessary, especially in our own time in view of the current widespread, very harmful confusion in our society about human personhood and sexuality. And now, this proclamation is even more necessary, since some members of our own Orthodox Church, including even some clergy and scholars, apparently are yielding, at least to some degree, to the prevailing spirit of our age that says there’s nothing wrong, harmful, sinful, or disruptive to spiritual life, about indulging in nearly any form of sexual relations outside traditional marriage. And there are even a few within our Church who seem to be yielding to the contemporary fascination with gender fluidity and transgenderism, both of which encourage rejection of the basic, God-given reality embedded in humanity whereby every human being is clearly born either as male or female (except in extremely rare cases).
We, the faculty, staff, and students at St. Tikhon’s Seminary, led by our beloved rector, Archbishop Michael, deeply believe that it’s our sacred, God-given responsibility to meet the challenge of the so-called Sexual Revolution, plus now the challenge of so-called gender fluidity, by proclaiming and explaining anew the life-giving teachings about what it truly means to be either a male or a female human being, made in the image of God. These teachings, which our Holy Church has always proclaimed and lived by, include, as we know, Christ’s holy, life-giving, grace-bearing commandments for us to live in sexual purity. As St. Paul declares:
For this is the will of GOD for you, even your sanctification; and hence, that you should abstain from fornication, that every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honor—not in the lust of concupiscence, even as those who do not know GOD—and that no one should go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter. For the LORD is the avenger of all such people, as we also have forewarned you and testified to you. For GOD has not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness (1 Thessalonians 4:3-7).
With our LORD’s help, we aimed during this conference to bring forth many of the theological and practical reasons why sexual purity—meaning chastity/virginity before marriage and faithfulness to one’s spouse within marriage—is the healthiest and safest way to live, in addition to the fact that it alone is the God-pleasing way to express the gift of our sexuality with which Christ has graced every one of us.
So for this conference, we gathered over a dozen excellent speakers, beginning with Archbishop Michael, who shared theological and practical wisdom about various aspects of our Church’s life-giving teachings on human anthropology, especially regarding sexual purity.
Why is St. Tikhon’s presenting these papers at this time through posting them on-line?
Our hope and prayer are that the talks from this conference will reach the widest possible audience, which we believe will occur if they are made available on-line on the St. Tikhon’s Seminary web site. Please, everyone, feel free to copy and send the link for any and all of the papers, as they are posted week by week.
May these articles help us all grow even more closely together in a common vision for the glory of human personhood and sexual purity. And further, through them may we gain a more thorough knowledge of very practical ways to help our people, especially our youth, to understand and live this rich and wholesome way of life—the way of living which is the most conducive to promoting our emotional, physical, and spiritual health through helping us grow closer to our beloved Creator and Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Our first posting will be a general introduction to the papers, written by our beloved Dean of the Seminary, Fr. John Parker. This General Introduction will be posted today, Monday, November 14, 2022. Dr. Harry Boosalis' paper, "An Orthodox Understanding of the Human Body," will be published on November 21.
Dr. David C. Ford, PhD, Coordinating Editor
Professor of Church History
St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary
South Canaan, PA