27 June 2005

Sex and the Supremacy of Christ - a review

Justin Taylor recently (longer ago than I'd like to admit) asked for bloggers to review Sex and the Supremacy of Christ and post their reviews on their respective blogs. Many other bloggers have finished their task long ago - I must be bringing up the tail end of the group!! Somebody has to be last. Anyway, my review follows:

Sex and the Supremacy of Christ was edited by John Piper and Justin Taylor and copyrighted in 2005. It has 11 chapters written by 12 contributers, 10 men and 2 women.

As a pastor, I am continually looking for good books to recommend to different people. This is one book I plan on using regularly in talking with anyone who might be vaguely interested in the topic. I suppose that anyone who is an adult, or is rapidly becoming one would benefit from this book. It is well written, very understandable, and adults who are Christ followers will benefit greatly by reading and following its suggestions.

It covers the following topics in major sections – God and Sex, Sex and Sin, Men and Sex, Women and Sex, and History and Sex.

The Introduction presents an important concept that sex is a subset of “all things.” When thought of in this vein, the Bible has much to say about sex. On page 17 Justin Taylor quotes Ben Patterson from Chapter 3 “Sex is good because the God who created sex is good. And God is glorified greatly when we receive his gift with thanksgiving and enjoy it the way he meant for it to be enjoyed.” Sheds a very different light on sex than most of us grew up seeing.

In the section God and Sex, John Piper lays out, both positively and negatively, two foundational concepts, then expounds on each (page 26):

1.Positively stated: Sexuality is designed by God as a way to know God in Christ more fully.

Negatively stated: all misuses of our sexuality distort the true knowledge of Christ.

2.Positively stated: Knowing God in Christ more fully is designed as a way of guarding and guiding our sexuality.

Negatively stated: all misuses of our sexuality derive from not having the true knowledge of Christ.

The entirety of the book serves to explain these two concepts more fully and gives each one detailed treatment.

Ben Patterson's contribution in Chapter 3 begins with a theological view of the Goodness of Sex and the Glory of God. He develops his points fully then closes the chapter with a story that many Dads can relate to only too well before praising God for his wife.

Part 2 deals with the topic Sex and Sin. The first chapter is a very well written, indepth view of Restoration of the sexually broken. It is the longest chapter in the book, and rightfully so – it has a lot of good advice for those of us who are broken. This chapter, written by David Powlison, is worth the price of the book alone.

Al Mohler writes the next chapter presenting a fresh, compassionate view of our role as Christians in the lives of people who view themselves as homosexual. It is thoroughly biblically based and culturally relevant.

The third section, Men and Sex consists of two chapters, one addressing single men and married men in the second. The first chapter is very direct and does not pull any punches with respect to what single men should and shouldn't be doing, how they should be treating women, and who they should be becoming before marriage. It presents a compelling argument for courting rather than the current cultural view and practice of dating prior to marriage. The opening sentence of the first section of the chapter sums up the rest of the chapter - “The first thing to say about sex and the single man is, there should be none!” (page 133).

The next chapter is devoted to married men and a discussion of the Song of Solomon. C.J. Mahaney presents his main idea, which he urges us married guys not to forget - “In order for romance to deepen, you must touch the heart and mind of your wife before you touch her body.” He goes on to give a variety of practical suggestions on how to carry out this idea in real life.

The fourth section is addressed to Women and Sex. I am uniquely unqualified to address the adequacy of this section. I have a wife and 4 daughters (thats right – 5 women in my house) and I still don't know how they are put together. I've asked my wife to read this section and give her two cents worth at some point.

The final section deals with History and Sex, beginning with Luther and the development of his views concerning sex. As a monk, sex was not a major activity in his life. After his conversion and subsequent change in church addresses, his views on sexuality take a drastic turn. He eventually gets married and greatly enjoys the benefits of marriage!

The ending chapter gives an overview of views the Puritans took toward sex. Puritans weren't very “puritanical” (as the word is used today) about sex after all.

If you are interested in sex - read this book! You will not think about sex the same after this experience. I know my thinking has changed for the better as a result.

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