Christian Sexual Ethics and Human Trafficking
Imprint: Cascade Books
Henry Walter Spaulding III is an adjunct professor of Christian ethics at Ashland University, Ashland Theological Seminary, and George Fox University. He is the author of The Just and Loving Gaze of God with Us: Paul's Apocalyptic Political Theology (Cascade, 2019).
"This book is a gem! With amazing intellectual erudition, practical insight, and wisdom, Henry Spaulding has shown himself to be one of our most able young theologians and ethicists. Iconoclastic Sex is timely, important, and deeply insightful."
--Andrew Root, professor of youth and family ministry, Luther Seminary
"While Christian sexual ethics has occupied the attention of many Christian ethicists, the moral issue of human sex trafficking only recently has begun to be addressed by theologians. With Iconoclastic Sex, Henry Spaulding offers an imaginative and creative treatment of not only trafficking but sexual ethics itself. His genuine concern for the lived experiences of vulnerable persons is evident throughout its pages. I hope this book is read widely and stimulates further thought and action."
--Tobias Winright, professor of moral theology, St. Patrick's Pontifical University
"Henry Spaulding's argument that sex is the same for both trafficking and purity culture is shockingly convincing. He sensitively and creatively shows the profound harm inflicted by rigid 'code ethics' while presenting an alternative that is at once moving, empowering, and life-giving."
--Craig Hovey, professor of religion, Ashland University
"Tearing down cherished beliefs about purity, Henry Spaulding sets forth an unusual but compelling sexual ethic. Read this book and you will weep for what is lost and hope for what can yet be found. It is a fully human book, and no greater endorsement than that can be given."
--D. Stephen Long, professor of ethics, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University
"There is an assumption at work in much of the anti-trafficking movement that our faith has adequately prepared us to engage in work with and in service of the sexually exploited and vulnerable. That assumption has led to a host of unintended consequences and has undermined much of our efforts. In Iconoclastic Sex, Henry Spaulding lays out a profound and transformative sexual ethic that is desperately needed for this work. I highly and passionately recommend it as a resource for the church."
--Greg Arthur, co-director, Free The Girls
"Examining the failings of evangelical sexual ethics in light of sex trafficking is a bold and urgent need. Henry Spaulding reframes ethics appropriate to how purity codes map unhealthy patterns onto women and open further damage for survivors of trafficking. Through participation in God's reconciliation and entry into Christ's love, he opens new possibilities for mutuality and flourishing through practices of testimony and witness, as well as covenant, in Christian community."
--Nell Becker Sweeden, associate professor of Christian theology, Nazarene Theological Seminary
"A strikingly original treatment of sexual ethics which uses as its points of departure what the author rather shockingly describes as the interrelated problems of sex trafficking and purity culture. The book engages and is haunted by dominant evangelicalism's failures while retrieving and creating a richer, distinctively Christian theological vision. Those who understand this book will be either outraged or appreciative. Count me in the latter camp."
--David P. Gushee, distinguished university professor of Christian ethics, Mercer University