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Sex, Dating, and Relationships: A Fresh Approach Paperback – February 29, 2012

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Editorial Reviews


“This is a straightforward, yet provocative little book. You’ll find a lot of practical, sane, biblical wisdom that will explode a number of our cultural assumptions about dating. If you are single or care about someone who is, you really should read this book. The result may just be a simpler, more God-honoring approach to dating than you thought possible.”
Kevin DeYoung, Senior Pastor, University Reformed Church, East Lansing, Michigan

“In a world of cyber relationships—fueled by Facebook, texts, and tweets—the issues surrounding sex, dating, and relationships have become increasingly complex and challenging for teens, their friends, and their parents. This cutting-edge treatment of the rapidly changing scene is a must read for parents, students, counselors, and pastors. A big thanks to Gerald and Jay for helping us think sanely through this head-scratching cultural shift from a realistic and theologically astute perspective.”
Joseph M. Stowell, President, Cornerstone University, Grand Rapids, Michigan

“Jay and Gerald have written a provocative book on one of the most pressing issues of our generation—sexual purity. As the authors show, few things necessitate getting to the core of the gospel like our soul’s craving for sexual fulfillment. We cannot think too carefully about what our heavenly Father has said. Even where I reach different conclusions from the authors, I am grateful for another investigation of the biblical data.”
J. D. Greear, Lead Pastor, The Summit Church, Durham, North Carolina; author, Jesus, Continued...Why the Spirit Inside You Is Better than Jesus Beside You

“What a gift this book is to single men and women. Here, in brief space, is clear and closely reasoned advice that is über-biblical and Christ-centered. It flows with life-giving grace. Sex, Dating, and Relationships will be a landmark read for many in this generation.”
R. Kent Hughes, Senior Pastor Emeritus, College Church, Wheaton, Illinois

“Simplicity is the strength of this fresh approach to sex, dating, and relationships. If at first you chafe at the idea of ‘dating friendships,’ consider whether any alternative can bring greater glory to God, account for the biblical evidence, and guard against unnecessary heartache.”
Collin Hansen, Editorial Director, The Gospel Coalition; author, Blind Spots

“Hiestand and Thomas don’t kiss dating goodbye; what fun would that be? Instead, dating is revealed for what it is, which might disturb you. The greatest strength of this book is the contribution the authors make toward thinking biblically about something not in the Bible, which isn’t so easy to do. So it is possible that some might agree with their premises and the trajectory of their arguments, yet differ on some of the specific conclusions. But all will be challenged and blessed by their wise contributions to this vitally important issue.”
Richard W. Hove, Campus Crusade for Christ, Duke University

“How refreshing! Gerald and Jay have written a biblically based, gospel-oriented book on sex, dating, and relationships—full of genuine, down-to-earth, practical instruction. This is exactly what Christians need to counteract the worldly attitudes and actions so prevalent in our churches today. It is imperative to think through these issues, and this is the best book I have read for doing so. Dating relationships are so fraught with danger that no Christian should embark on that journey without a guide. I strongly recommend this book as just such a guide.”
Jim Samra, Senior Pastor, Calvary Church, Grand Rapids, Michigan; author, The Gift of Church and God Told Me

“Christ-centered reflection on sex, dating, and relationships has been a long time coming; thankfully, it has finally arrived. This volume is a must-read for anyone doing ministry among humans.”
Chris Castaldo, Director, Ministry of Gospel Renewal, Wheaton College; author, Talking with Catholics about the Gospel

“Gerald and Jay provide solid wisdom for emerging adults and parents on an issue of extreme importance in our day. Young adults who wish to follow Jesus wholeheartedly are faced daily with an onslaught of sexual temptation. What’s more, they are largely ill-equipped to negotiate the sex-saturated culture in which they live. I believe that the teaching in this book, if lived out, will lead to a godly marriage of passion and purity.”
Joel Willitts, Associate Professor of Biblical and Theological Studies, North Park University; College Pastor, Christ Community Church, St. Charles, Illinois

About the Author

Gerald Hiestand is Senior Associate Pastor of Calvary Memorial Church, Illinois, as well as Executive Director of the Society for the Advancement of Ecclesial Theology. He is the author of a number of scholarly papers.

Jay Thomas (MDiv, Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary) is Lead Pastor of Chapel Hill Bible Church in Chapel Hill, NC. He was previously College Pastor at College Church in Wheaton, IL.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Crossway (February 29, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1433527111
  • ISBN-13: 978-1433527111
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.2 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #117,950 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I've now read multiple books on dating, and each of them has had its strengths*, but they all generally talked about similar things: biblical manhood and womanhood, and intentional relationships in consideration of marriage.

So when I picked up this book, I expected more of the same.

I was wrong.

I hadn't expected this book to say things that nobody else was saying.
I hadn't expected this book to become one of my anticipated favorites of the year.
It was far more paradigm-shifting (and brainy) than I expected it to be.
Also, the authors win points for proposing an approach to dating that's both simple and gutsy (that is, gutsy in terms of its counter-culture philosophy). See point 5 below for my summary of the authors' prescribed method of getting a wife.

This book's focus was much narrower than the other books: it wasn't trying to say everything there is to say about romantic relationships; it was mainly trying to change how we approach romantic relationships.


A few things I learned from this book:

1. We need to take the Bible's typology seriously, especially when it comes to Christ and the Church. We also need to take the image of God seriously.

Implication: Christ is faithful to His bride; are you faithful to yours? Do you want to get married just for your own gratification or also to live out the image of God?

2. The Bible addresses three types of human relationships: marriage (sexual relations commanded), family (sexual relations forbidden), and neighbor (sexual relations forbidden).

Implication #1: Dating is an activity, not a category.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By simply1ashley on July 8, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The moment I finished reading this book, I started reading it again. These Pastors have been used well by God to reveal radical, yet simple, truths. My mind was changed, and I knew I would want to be able to share this wisdom with others, so I am happily rereading to be able to do so.

So often we Christians are told to "guard our hearts". Whenever I heard that phrase in the past, I always thought of it as guarding my heart FROM something, not guarding it FOR something. That is exactly the kind of thinking this book causes. Rather than focusing on the negatives of premarital sexual behavior and using fear of heartbreak to motivate readers to seek purity, they remind us about the importance and beauty of sex in God's design. So we are not told to guard our hearts for our protection, or even our benefit really, but to guard our hearts for God, because of God.

Please read this book. It is my belief that by reading this book you will have lost nothing and gained much. It has caused me to strive for purity in entirely new ways, and for entirely new reasons. Yes, I want to honor God, but now I want to honor Him with my whole heart and not just my actions.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Trevor on July 4, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
One reviewer of this book said it was "Surprisingly paradigm-changing" and I couldn't agree more. I'm not the kind of guy who just can't wait for the next dating book to come out...most of them are kind of cheesy for my liking. More than that they all seem to be based off of an "I think" foundation that gives little solid ground for anyone to stand on. This shaky ground of subjectivity on the subject of Christian pre-marriage relationships has left the youth of the church, well the adults too actually, with a convoluted message of holiness within a pre-marriage relationship. The reason why this "dating" book is so good is because it's not primarily about dating...which the bible kinda never really talks about. It's a book on purity, holiness, marriage and ultimately the gospel. I left the book desiring holiness more than before I read it, and I left the book more in love with the gospel and the God who gave it more than before I read it. I love this book for many of the same reasons I love the bible: it challenged me, it encouraged me, and it equipped me. I couldn't recommend this book more. Please buy it and please read it.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By James D. Maxim, Jr. on January 31, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is the best book I have ever read Ion dating and relationships. As a pastor I recommend it to all parents with teenagers and all singles. The authors do a great job of pointing you to scripture and not demanding certain practices. They help you wrestle with the realities of relationships in scripture and encourage you with a Grace-filled goal of purity honoring the marriage bed.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Bill Barto VINE VOICE on June 29, 2012
Format: Paperback
In Sex, Dating, and Relationships: A Fresh Approach, the authors contend that human sexual relationships and the Gospel are "intrinsically linked" in that our sexuality is a "type" or image of the relationship between God and his church. Just as Christ is monogamous and loyal to his bride, the church, we are called to reflect these values in our monogamous and permanent marital relationships. Our relationships with others must reflect the life-changing nature of the gospel: "life has a higher purpose than our autonomous satisfaction."

The authors then describe what they consider to be the biblical standard for sexual relationships: in their assessment, "all premarital sexual activity is outside the bounds of the New Testament ethic." And sexual activity is defined pretty broadly; if one would not engage in the activity with a family member, then it is out of bounds for persons who are dating. The authors helpfully illustrate this teaching by the use of what they call "the God-ordained categories of male-female relationships." Relying upon scripture, the authors note that God commands sexual relations between married people and prohibits it between others; in their assessment, there is no biblically-based category of relationships that allows sexual activity because a couple is dating.

Of course, the entire dating system in contemporary culture is structured quite differently, and the authors spend some time discussing how dating as practiced tends toward sexual activity and operates to the detriment of those hoping for more substantial relationships by placing intimacy before friendship.
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