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The Meaning of Sex: Christian Ethics and the Moral Life Paperback – June 1, 2009

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Baker Academic; 5.2.2009 edition (June 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801035716
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801035715
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #205,961 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Good Sex Is Found in the Meaning of Sex

In a culture deeply confused about sex and sexual ethics that often sends conflicting messages--at times promoting an "anything goes" attitude while at other times seeking to impose limits on sexual behavior--and a church that frequently responds with simplistic answers, the real meaning of sex has been largely lost. In this book, Dennis Hollinger counters the confusion, arguing for an inherent, God-given meaning to sex. This meaning provides a framework for a wholistic biblical sexual ethic that adequately addresses contemporary moral issues such as premarital sex, sex within marriage, homosexuality, reproductive technologies, and faithful living in a sex-saturated world.

"Dennis Hollinger addresses the complex issues of sexuality with a rare combination of theological-philosophical expertise, cultural savvy, and pastoral sensitivity. In doing so, he goes beyond general references to 'love and justice' to take seriously the specifics of what the Bible says about this most intimate area of our lives. The Meaning of Sex is a much-needed 'for such a time as this' book."--Richard J. Mouw, Fuller Theological Seminary

"Debates and dialogues about sexual ethics spin in circles unless we clarify 'the meaning of sex.' Indeed, what sets apart a truly Christian sexual ethic is that it is founded on the distinctive meanings of sex and sexuality established by God and revealed in the Scriptures. Hollinger's book articulates these foundations persuasively and then mines them to clarify the most pressing ethical and moral challenges facing the church today."--Stanton L. Jones, Wheaton College; author, Ex-Gays? and God's Design for Sex

"One of the greatest needs today of young and old alike is to rediscover the liberating freedom that accompanies understanding and experiencing sex in all its God-ordained glory. Dennis Hollinger has given us what I believe to be the best contemporary treatment on this timely subject. This is not just a book for ethicists. I'll be recommending it as a must read for all pastors, parents, youth workers, and young adults."--Walt Mueller, The Center for Parent/Youth Understanding

About the Author

Dennis P. Hollinger (Ph.D., Drew University) is president and professor of Christian ethics at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary in South Hamilton, Massachusetts, and is a former pastor. He is the author of numerous articles and the author or series co-editor of several books, including Choosing the Good and Head, Heart, and Hands: Bringing Together Christian Thought, Passion, and Action.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Nicholas Nowalk on December 29, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was not familiar with Hollinger before picking this book up, but I was not disappointed. "The Meaning of Sex" is far and away the best book I have come across presenting and defending the Christian vision of human sexuality and what makes for (alternatively) flourishing or degradation. While a few chapters can be a bit dry (the author is an ethics professor!), be sure to especially read chapters 3 ("The Christian Worldview and Sex") and 4 ("The Purposes of Sex"). Besides consistently advocating the right positions on the issues (i.e. he is biblical and almost always within the mainstream tradition of historical Christian orthodoxy), what is most valuable about Hollinger's study is the narrative, big-picture approach he takes to each and every particular ethical issue. This book looks for the "why", not just the "what", of God's commands and the biblical structuring of sexual ethics. Simply put, Hollinger demonstrates how the Christian vision makes sense of the world we find ourselves in, in the widest, most coherent way possible--and is thus deeply satisfying. Read Hollinger!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By dave on December 22, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
In The Meaning of Sex, Dennis Hollinger attempts to articulate the meaning and purpose of sex based on biblical standards. He says, "Sex is a good gift of God with very specific purposes, and those purposes best find their fulfillment in a very specific context-the marriage of a man and a woman." He argues that we live in a sex-crazed and sexually disoriented culture. Today, there is little consensus on sexual values. A Christian worldview of sex is almost counter culture. In referring to previous generations, the author says, "People engaged in sex outside of the bonds of marriage, but they did so knowing they had broken not just a societal norm, but an ethical norm."

Hollinger tackles some tough issues from a Christian perspective. He is aware not everyone will agree, but he offers a consistent view of the meaning of sex based on his understanding from a biblical worldview.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By D. Blue on April 2, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I purchased this book in advance of the conference where the author spoke. The author had a limited time to cover some of the points of the book. In reading it I found many details of different sex ethics prevalent in the US and in the world. It was very informative and I would recommend it to those that are interested in the current attitudes and policies surrounding the ethics of sex in our current society in the US.

Rev. Doug Blue
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