Series: Oxford Apologetics #4
Published by The Good Book Company on February 2020
Genres: Non-Fiction, Christian Life
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A biblical perspective on what sex is designed to be, to mean and to do for us.
Christians are increasingly seen as outdated, restrictive and judgmental when it comes to sex before marriage, cohabitation, homosexuality, gender identity, or transgender rights. In fact for many people, this issue is one of the biggest barriers for them considering Christianity.
Sam Allberry, author of many books including Is God Anti-Gay? sets out God’s good design for the expression of human sexuality, showing that God himself is love and that only he can satisfy our deepest desires.
It is a great reminder of the Bible’s positive blueprint for love, sex, and marriage and ideal for giving away to people who may see this as a stumbling block for belief.
Why does God care who I sleep with?
It’s a valid question. There are so many other big issues—war, poverty, famine, environmental disasters—why does God care so strongly about this personal and seemingly insignificant (on a global scale) issue?
Sam Allberry begins his short book with two prominent cultural examples—the #MeToo movement and the exposing of sexual abuse/coverup within USA Gymnastics. The point is that, even in the secular world, there is great concern about appropriate sexuality.
Unfortunately—despite the rest of the good the book does—that implicit identification of consensual premarital, polyamorous, or same-sex sexual behavior with non-consensual sexual behavior isn’t a good introduction and colors the rest of what Allberry has to say. I don’t see that as being his intent, but it sets the wrong tone for an inclusive, honest, and kind conversation.
From a theological perspective, Allberry manages to be succinct, yet comprehensive. He gives a good, foundational overview but never really discusses challenges to that perspective. Overall, while this is a good book for those who already know the answer to the question in the title, I don’t know that those honestly seeking answers will find it compelling. It’s a clearly written, concise exposition of evangelical Christian sexual ethics.
The central theme—that one’s sexuality is to be brought into obedience with God’s will—is presented as the end-all, be-all conclusion of the matter. That can be a difficult proposition, particularly when the book does not deal with any alternative interpretations. It seems to be written for those who already have a conviction regarding their sexual behaviors but want or need to flesh out their theological reasoning for such.
That’s not inherently bad. Maybe I simply had the wrong expectations in wanting more. This is an exposition or explanation of Christian sexual ethics, but it is not necessarily written to be persuasive or to discuss the variety of opinion and discussion within Christianity. What it does, it does well. I just question whether or not it does enough.