Over the last few years there have been tons and tons of books written on the topic of sexuality from a Christian perspective. It’s a topic that I’ve read a lot about, but not one that I necessarily post about a lot. One of the reasons that I don’t post often about is that sexuality is a point of controversy and contention, and my goal for this blog is not to stir up controversy. Another reason that I don’t post about it a lot is because I am no expert and, in my opinion, there are maybe too many books on the topic right now. The problem that many Christians are in danger of is elevating sexual sin above every other sin and treating it as unforgivable. However, more to come on that soon. For the moment I would like to review two books for you that I recently received from The Good Book Company on this topic of sex.
When it comes to the topic of sex and sexuality people can often have the mindset of ‘my body, by business’ and ask the very good question ‘Why does God care?’
I am so thankful for Sam and his ministry and for this wee book which answers that very question. The answer that Sam gives in the book is this…
“God cares about who we sleep with because he cares deeply about the people who are doing the sleeping. He cares because sex was his idea, not ours. He cares because misusing sex can cause profound hurt and damage. He cares because he regards us as worthy of his care.”
But why is sex such an important topic to so many people? We live in a world that promotes sexual ‘freedom’ and argues with, almost hates, anyone who holds to a different position. Allberry says…
“If #MeToo has shown us anything, it is that our sexuality matters profoundly.”
One of the things that I really liked about this book is that it speaks about sex in general. Other books have focused in on homosexuality, or on same-sex attraction, sex before marriage and so on, but this book speaks broadly enough to touch, meaningfully and helpfully, on a range of issues pertaining to sex. This book is not a stick, it’s not written in a teach ‘how could you have done that?!?!’ kind of way. Sam writes from a pastoral heart and a genuine concern for people to see the beauty of sex within the blueprint that God created it for.
I could go on and on with quotes and insights from this book, but I’d be spoiling it for you. Why not just buy yourself a copy here and see what you think?
Maybe you’re wrestling with sexual sin, we all are because we are all sexual sinners. Maybe you’re beating yourself up about past experiences and mistakes.
Maybe you’re looking into the topic of sex because you’re trying to understand what all the fuss is about. Whatever your situation, I highly recommend you get this book because it gets your head into the Bible, into the words of Jesus and into the good original plan and design for sex.
Sam Allberry studied theology at Wycliffe Hall in Oxford and has served on staff at St Ebbe’s Church, Oxford, and St Mary’s, Maidenhead. He is now part of the team at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries and also works as UK Editor for The Gospel Coalition. A popular conference speaker, Sam has written several books, including James For You, Is God Anti-Gay, and Lifted. Hobbies include reading, watching The West Wing and anything to do with South-East Asia.
Can a person who is attracted to their own sex live out their Christian faith? This is a question that is on many people’s minds. It touches on topics like obedience, submission, romance, feelings, truth, reality, identity and attraction. This is one of many books written on the topic of same-sex attraction (SSA), a very relevant topic that many Christians and churches are having to think through. But we should have been thinking about it years ago!
This book is the testimony of Rachel Gilson. It tells the story of how she was in same-sex relationships, how she came to Jesus and how she wrestled with her feelings and the topics of sexuality and identity. Gilson says that when she was first thinking through Christianity and the Bible she met a couple (a female couple) who believed that homosexuality and Christianity were not irreconcilable. Gilson explains that whilst she read the material they had given her it seemed logical, however, when she read the Bible it didn’t add up. Here’s what she says…
“They assured me that the conflict between Christianity and same-sex romance was based on a traditional misunderstanding and sent me away with a packet of information that would set the biblical record straight. I took it eagerly. As I read, its logic seemed natural, and I was ready to consent. However, when I looked up the Bible verses discussed, it didn’t square. The interpretations looked like a misreading of what was plain in the Bible text: that same-gender sexual contact was forbidden by God.”
The book tells Rachel’s story and I am thankful for that, she writes in a winsome way and there are many helpful insights to be found in these pages. Gilson touches on topics of friendship, singleness, marriage, and much more, for that I am thankful. But, I will say that I’m not convinced that this is the best book on the topic of SSA. However, I do think that there will be people for whom this book is a big help, and am thankful that Rachel wrote down her story. I was also a bit thrown by some of the formatting of the book; some quotes were in bold and centred on a page, often in the middle of a paragraph or even in the middle of a sentence.
Rachel Gilson serves on the leadership team of Theological Development and Culture with Cru. Her writing has appeared in Christianity Today and for Desiring God and The Gospel Coalition, and she regularly speaks at churches and on college campuses. Rachel is wrapping up her Master of Divinity from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and lives in the Boston area with her husband and daughter.