Christian theologians and communities have long been redefining sexual morality in light of their reflections on scripture, tradition, natural law, reason, and experience. While the New Testament texts offer no systematic treatises on sexual morality, early theologians and church leaders established particular frameworks for sexual ethics that would shape the contours of Christian sexual morality for centuries to come. The sexual ascetics from the second century onward would promote celibacy—some to the point of self-castration to become eunuchs for Christ. Other more permissive church teachers in the fourth and fifth centuries argued that sex had at least one worthy end: the procreation of a child through marital sex. What the ascetics and the advocates of procreation largely shared in common was a concern about the...

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