Professional Sexual Ethics

Darryl W. Stephens and Patricia Beattie Jung, eds. Professional Sexual Ethics: A Holistic Ministry Approach. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2013.

Sexual health is an essential part of maintaining professional relationships in ministry. Focusing on implications for the practice of ministry, this book engages all dimensions of theological education and academic disciplines. Each chapter includes an analysis of common ministry situations, discussion questions, practical guidelines, and resources for further study. The volume is ideal for use in courses on professional ethics for ministry, advanced leadership training, and continuing education for clergy.

Contributors include Kate M. Ott, Stanley Hauerwas, Christina L. H. Traina, Rosemary Radford Ruether, John C. Holbert, Susan A. Ross, Miguel A. De La Torre, Joretta Marshall, Robert C. Dykstra, Boyung Lee, F. Douglas Powe, Steven Charleston, John S. McClure, Don E. Saliers, Jeanne Hoeft, Joyce Ann Mercer, Adam Hamilton, Youtha Hardman-Cromwell, and Bonnie J. Miller-McLemore.


“Jung and Stephens have tackled one of the most thorny problems among church leaders, how to develop a positive theology of sexuality within the ethical boundaries of professional leadership. Sex and power are intertwined in complex ways. This volume draws on the insight of wise elders and young scholars to shine a light in this wilderness. Every seminary and judicatory should study this book and redesign their approach to boundary training and self-care for church leaders.”
—James Newton Poling
Garrett-Evangelical Theological School

“This comprehensive volume of tough questions and instructive insights is a ‘must-have’ for all serious teachers, students, and practitioners of Christian sexual ethics in the church. The authors not only attend to practical dilemmas that arise within everyday situations of ministerial leadership but also offer a holistic approach to sexuality as one aspect of the complex humanity of church leaders.”
—Traci C. West
Drew Theological School
“Having gathered some of the finest scholars of our day, Jung and Stephens offer conversations rather than rules. Reading it, one has the sense of sitting in on a scholarly parlor gathering among the best, talking intimately about intimacy.”
—Karen McClintock
Southern Oregon University


Review by Delores L. Christie, Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics 36, no. 1 (2016): 217–18.

Review by Mary Gaebler, July/August 2014, Journal of Lutheran Ethics, Volume 14, Issue 7.

Review by Craig L. Nessan, Currents in Theology and Mission 43:4 (October 2016), p. 39.

Review by Marvin M. Ellison, October 27, 2015 in Marginalia.

Related Publications

Teaching Sexuality and Religion in Higher Education: Embodied Learning, Trauma Sensitive Pedagogy, and Perspective Transformation. Routledge Research in Religion and Education. Co-edited with Kate Ott. New York: Routledge.

Darryl W. Stephens and Patricia Beattie Jung, “A Comprehensive, Holistic, and Integrated Approach to Professional Sexual Ethics in Theological Education,” Theological Education 50:1 (2015): 53–68.

Darryl W. Stephens, “Teaching Professional Sexual Ethics Across the Seminary Curriculum,” Religious Education 108:2 (2013): 193–209.

———, “‘Sex and the Church’: Sexuality, Misconduct, and Education in Methodism,” American Journal of Sexuality Education 6:1 (2011): 32–43.

———, “Criminalizing Misconduct.” In When Pastors Prey: Overcoming Clergy Sexual Abuse of Women, edited by Valli Boobal Batchelor, 150–3. Geneva: World Council of Churches, 2013.