Drinking Deeply

Friday, June 17, 2005 at 12:31 AM

Book Review: Sex and the Supremacy of Christ

Sex and the Supremacy of Christ is a series of chapters/articles collected together into one book edited by John Piper and Justin Taylor.

It covers a series of topics ranging from sex, marriage, singleness, homosexuality, sin and closes with a delightful read about Martin Luther and his marriage and the Puritans' view of sex and marriage.

Overall it was a joy to read. I personally was very impressed with how open, frank, honest, and above all, biblical the different topics were. Some of the chapters were eye opening in how much the world's perceptions on sex had twisted my own views. This book was able to dig past the perceived shame of talking about sex and put sex into the position where it belongs: a gift given by God for His glory.

A couple things I felt were particularly convicting and helpful:

1) The chapter on homosexuality. Too often homosexuals are stigmatize, especially by Christians. The response that I've seen by so many people is to proclaim "love the sinner hate the sin" and somehow that solves all the problems. The truth is for me it didn't. There still is that very uncomfortable feeling that something I'm doing or saying is seriously wrong when I react, but I had no idea how else to do so. The chapter by Albert Mohler Jr. was particularly insightful towards that regard. Hopefully as I continue to think about and reflect upon that chapter I am able to gain a firmer grasp of a biblical love for my neighbors, homosexuals in particular.

2) The chapter on singleness and struggling through it by Carolyn McCulley. While the chapter was geared towards women I found that the advice was useful and helpful for me as well in my own personal struggles about singleness and finding a place where I can be content with where God has placed me.

3) The chapter right before the previous one about being a Christian husband. Slightly lower on my list because I'm currently not a husband and thus the singleness I was able to relate to on a much better level, but the chapter was still a very convicting read, inspiring me to seek to be a Godly man, one that would strive for those ideals and be eager to approach a marriage as a servant to (potentially) my wife. (what a long run on sentence!)

Finally the chapters about Martin Luther's courtship and marriage as well as the Puritan view of marriage and sex were just a sheer delight to read. I found myself reading them both in one sitting just because I was so impressed and struck with how much it seemed like they were able to put marriage in a God glorifying position and how much I wished that I could one day live up to that. Wow... Simply wow.

A couple of things of note that I wondered about while reading:

1) It seemed like Scott Croft really liked Joshua Harris' idea about courtship and proposes that idea as the biblical model. I'm not entirely sure that that view is correct. There doesn't seem to be any biblical support for a correct "method." In fact there's a lot of support for methods all over the place and not any idea of "courtship" as seems to be defined by Scott Croft (who gets it from Joshua Harris).

2) Interestingly enough, Joshua Harris seems to be quoted fairly often, which was just rather surprising to me because when I first read his book, I Kissed Dating Goodbye, I was surprised at how a book geared towards Christian relationships could be so scant on Scripture. It seemed like he had a lot of good things to say, but I didn't know if what he was saying was entirely consistent with Scripture. But since he's quoted so much I think I now need to read his other books (Boy Meets Girl and Not Even A Hint). Maybe he's undergone major revision to his style and system of thought.

3) John Piper seems to view sex as pointing to God, as a way to know Christ more fully, somehow sex is like God. It seems like a decent point and I can see how it could be acceptable, but it feels like a stretch especially viewing sex as the seal on our covenant of our bodies which is reflective of God's covenant with His people sealed in Baptism. With that view it seems like sex is good because God has created it and given it to us to do for His glory. Does having more sex help one know God better? ... I am unclear on that, especially with my reading of Vincent Cheung where he posits that no experience can teach us anything, only direct revelation by God. It seems like a biblical view of and knowledge of sex does point to God, but sex on it's own cannot.

All in all, the book is an excellent read, I would say for anyone. It has something to say to anyone: male, female, young, old, single, dating. It all returns to the cross, to the glory of God and the book is unashamed in proclaiming the power of the Gospel in all things, even in our sex. A very enjoyable and convicting read. There is a little bit I am unclear on, but this is an excellent pointer to the voice of Scripture on the topic of Sex, something that society desperately needs guidance in today.

If you'd like to read more reviews, the Diet of Bookworms has a collection of reviews here.

Additionally more reviews are being linked on Justin Taylor's site here. Search his posts for "Sex" or something. He posts reviews in blocks.

My recommendation: Own it

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Blogger Scott said...

I think you've misunderstood Pipers point. He said sexuality was designed so that God could use it to illustrate his covanent relationship with the church. Not that the experience of sex helps us know God more, although it is what God used to illustrate a theological truth.
The use of sexuality to reveal God is in God's direct revelation in the scriptures.  

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Mickey,

With regard to your comment about there not being "one method" found in the Scriptures, I have a book coming out in September which you might find interesting--the book itself contains dialogue on this matter, and I hope it can move us forward as Christians:

http://www.geocities.com/fivepaths

Alex Chediak  

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