24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on December 29, 2005
This book is a MUST read. It's quick and you can easily read it in an hour and a half, but it's amazing. Once I opened it up, I couldn't put it down again.
Randy Alcorn starts out by talking about why sexual purity is important and why it matters to you and to me. He then explains Biblical principles for how to fight sexual temptation, including an excellent chapter about being radical in order to fight sexual sins. He concludes with practical guidelines about sexual temptation.
As a believer who is daily struggling with sexual temptation, I really wish someone had told me about this book back when I was in high school or middle school because it would have saved me a ton of grief later on in life. This book should be required reading for every teenager and every young adult. It's freeing, and it's life-changing.
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
This is a great little book on purity. I read it in an hour and couldn't put it down. "The Purity Principle" gets "in your face" on the issue of sexual purity, speaking directly, but not inappropriately about the slippery slope that is sexual sin and practical ways to combat it. The engaging message was so vivid and powerful that I immediately ordered two additional copies so that each of my sons could have their own.
My one reservation about this book is that it does not give enough help and hope to the person who has already seriously fallen and needs help getting on the right track. I am concerned that such a person, rather than seeing the power of a gracious God to restore them, might feel that they are too far gone for a meaningful recovery after reading this book.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on September 11, 2005
What a great book! It is short and to the point about sexual sin. A quick read. It discusses it in a very honest but tasteful manner. It provides plenty of scripture. It convicts the reader regardless of how much sexual sin is in their life (mental or physical) and gives practicle and biblical strategies to either avoid it all together or to combat the sin that the reader might already be ensnared in. This book is good for men AND women, high school age and above! Great resource for pastors and youth pastors to have on hand. This book has given me a realistic perspective and has helped me to understand that where it all starts is with that first thought or that first glance...and that this is where we recognize it as sin and stop the process. Life changing!
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Most Christians would look at this book and think, "Hmm, I'm okay, why would I need a book like this?" If that's your attitude, then perhaps you should take a couple of hours and read this short, but powerful treatment of a critical Christian subject.
Randy Alcorn doesn't just deliver a screaming screed, but a thorough examination of the reasons for purity and the keys for achieving it. Its not a call to prudishness or legalism. He's not laying out a new set of do's and don't.
Instead, Alcorn takes Scripture and firmly weaves together a portrait of purity and why Christians must work so hard to maintain it in their lives.
I wholeheartedly recommend this book to Christians of all ages, expecially those who are serious about getting all they can out of their years on this earth.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on December 29, 2010
Randy Alcorn is a well-known Christian author and speaker. He has written over 30 books which include both fiction and non-fiction. He is the founder and director of Eternal Perspectives Ministries (EPM) through which he has ministered to people in many countries. Prior to founding EPM Alcorn was a pastor for 13 years in the state of Oregon.
Much like the name of his ministry, in "The Purity Principle" (TPP), Alcorn seeks to address sexual purity from an eternal perspective. That is, from a biblical, godly perspective. Alcorn addresses this topic using stories of people who have struggled with sexual purity as well as those who have fallen into sexual deviancy. He addresses these stories of sexual sin and temptation with Scripture while sharing personal stories of his own struggles and temptation with sexual impurity.
TPP does not side steps sexual purity issues, but addresses them head on. It is a book in which the author deals directly with sexual issues including pornography, masturbation, singleness and marital fidelity. While these issues are addressed scripturally, Alcorn's strength is in the practical advice he offers for dealing with sexual temptation in order to avoid sexual sin. Chapters 1 - 5 lay out the real life problems and effects of sexual sin and show the reader how to think about it from God's perspective. Chapter 5 transitions into practical strategies the reader can use to avoid sexual sin which is spelled out in the last half of the book in chapters 6 - 10 with chapter 11 offering a conclusion. Provided below is a chapter by chapter summary followed by brief concluding thoughts on the books strengths and weaknesses.
Chapter one begins with a story of adultery and blame. In this chapter Alcorn takes the reader through various life stories showing how poor choices regarding sex have lead to serious life changing consequences. These life changing consequences involved people from church going families. The examples Alcorn gives show that no one, regardless of background, is above falling into sexual sin. This chapter clearly expresses the seriousness of sexual sin and that there are consequences even though God still offers forgiveness.
In Chapter two, Alcorn writes about self-interest. He states that the people in the stories from chapter one thought they were acting out of "their own best self-interests" when following their lusts (15). Alcorn goes on to explain that such actions are actually against one's self-interest in light of being against God's commands and holiness. God desires purity not impurity and His standard is perfect. Throughout this chapter Alcorn expresses his views on obedience and disobedience toward God in the realm of purity. Obedience is measured "not by its virtue, but by its wisdom" (18). The bottom line is that choosing purity is wise while choosing impurity is foolish. Alcorn finishes the chapter with the idea that one is either punished or rewarded based on their pursuit of impurity or purity, respectively.
The next chapter gives a biblical overview of sex. Sex was created by God as a good thing (26) yet when abused may be turn into a great evil (27). Alcorn explains the boundaries of sex as set by God and that God's will is for sexual purity.
In Chapter four, Alcorn explains how Satan is out to get Christians and that Christians are at risk of his attacks. The author gives more examples of Christians who have fallen into temptation. He also shares personal stories of facing temptation. His point is that all are susceptible to sexual sin and that Christians do fall into it. He explains the importance of identifying Satan's lies because "temptations always look good" (37). Alcorn posits that Christians must find fulfillment in Christ rather than sexual temptations.
Chapter five is a transition chapter. Alcorn shares another story about someone who has given into temptation and explains that lust comes from one's own heart. The author provides Scriptural evidence that the origin of lust is internal and not external as the "Pharisees emphasized" (42). Alcorn puts forward that a Christian must guard his or her thoughts to help fight sexual temptation. Christians "need to set mental boundaries" in order to protect purity (43). The author then begins to transition into offering practical daily steps Christians can use to protect themselves against sexual temptation. For example, he suggests making a "covenant with your eyes" (48).
Chapter six offers more practical advice as its title, "Wise Strategies" suggests (50). Alcorn presents several strategies for dealing with sexual temptations. The "most basic strategy" is that one must run from temptation (52). Alcorn gives several Scripture quotes that deal with fleeing from temptation and even suggests anticipating it. A very important approach Alcorn gives is Scripture memorization and prayer. He encourages Christians to "never underestimate Christ" and to live in His victory over sin (60).
Chapter seven opens with an illustration that ends up pointing to a popular box office hit which makes a powerful point of how prevalent and acceptable sex is in everyday life. This particular illustration should make any Christian question what they view on a daily basis. Alcorn sets the stage to explain how the enemy tries to "normalize evil" (61). In order to combat such normalized evil Alcorn charges that Christians need to take Jesus seriously and "think far more radically about sexual purity" (64). The rest of the chapter is spent giving practical suggestions with Scriptural backing of how to avoid sexual temptation from the TV to the computer.
Chapter eight offers principles for singles to stay sexually pure. Alcorn does not seek to be legalistic in providing guidelines, but to be "biblical and wise" (72). He tackles the question of how far Christians should go sexually in a relationship and even explains that dating is not necessary for those who are single. Alcorn ends the chapter providing a helpful 14 point list of dating guidelines for singles.
Chapter nine offers principles for parents and couples to stay sexually pure. Again, Alcorn offers practical advice with Scripture to ground his suggestions. He gives advice on how couples can "cultivate and guard" marriage through relationship evaluation, dating each other, being "fiercely loyal" and more (77-78). Alcorn also writes practically on the issues of attraction and honesty in a marriage. The chapter finishes with advice on raising pure children which is the shortest part of this chapter. He makes an important point that children will learn by the example of their parents' lives and habits including having one standard for children and another for themselves. He concludes with urging parents to be their children's "ultimate sex educators" (82).
The topics in chapter ten are "confession, accountability, and counting the cost" (83). Alcorn brings the reader back to the consequences of sin, but explains that by God's grace one can move on past those sins. He encourages the reader that Christians cannot "win the battle" alone, but they need a "buddy system" (86). Alcorn shares helpful personal stories of accountability and suggests some accountability questions. He concludes the chapter offering his personal list of what committing adultery would cost him while encouraging the reader to make his or her own list.
Chapter eleven is the concluding chapter in which Alcorn explains that sexual purity is a battle that Christians can win. This short chapter encourages the reader to seek a life of purity because it is a life that is pleasing to God. A life pleasing to God will allow one to experience God's "blessing and rewards" both presently and eternally (93).
For a book that is just shy of 100 pages TPP offers quite a bit of practical advice on being aware of and avoiding sexual temptation. The book's strength lies within the practical applications it offers. What is disappointing about TPP is that it seems to assume the gospel. For example, the gospel is only mentioned once by name. Grace is mentioned several times, but Alcorn does not really explain what it means to do something `by God's grace'. When writing about God rewarding those who make right choices towards purity, the rewards are never clearly defined. For those less mature it may be good to work through TPP with a mentor to prevent a slide toward moralism overshadowing the gospel. For the mature Christian who understands that the gospel is behind Alcorn's advice this book can be very helpful for fighting sexual sin. It is with this concern in mind that I recommend TPP for its practical applications of fighting sexual sin and seeking purity.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
I do a LOT of reading, and this book is second only to the Bible in the way it deals clearly and succinctly with the subject of sexual purity. This title is a good one to keep handy, especially for men, in this day-and-age of slipping sexual morality. Alcorn addresses Biblical sexual conduct (and lack of it) in a frank yet tasteful manner. This book is an excellent investment towards the reader achieving and maintaining sexual purity. It's definitely a keeper!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on November 25, 2007
A 90 page book that pulls no punches. It asks the tough questions and asks us to look at our life and our sexual purity. From the male perspective no matter if you are young or old, single, dating, married, divorced or whatever. In a way it is a quick read but at least for me... made me think alot about the little things that I let slide or try to rationalize so in that I don't have to deal with those situations or issues. I would highly recomed this book to any guy wondering how and or wants to stay sexually pure.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A powerful little book, The Purity Principle addresses the issue that seems to take so many Christian men out of the race - lust. Alcorn addresses the issue at its root - a battle for the mind. In fact, the purity principle itself is simply stated: Purity is always smart; impurity is always stupid!
Alcorn makes the argument that if Christians thought differently, they would act differently - the problem is with our thinking - we haven't given our minds over to the Lordship of Christ because we want to maintain control of that area of our lives. But, Alcorn warns, we must be careful because the lure of sex is so powerful, not many can resist its tempting call on their own absent the power of God. Learning to control yourself is more an exercise of understand who really controls your decisions - and if you are a follower of Christ, then you need to learn that your body is not your own, that you've been bought with a price. The process of renewing our minds, then, is a daily practice for believers - to sanctify our minds, set it apart for the Lord's service, filled with God's Word - that is a mind that is armed and prepared for the attacks of this world!
Alcorn also goes on to state that "it's always easier to avoid temptation than to resist it." He gives several practical suggestions for avoiding those various temptations - including the Internet and TV. This chapter is interesting - while I agree in principle, one has to balance the concept that the battle truly is in the mind and that the believer needs to be able to remain in the world for the glory of God, but yet not be of the world taken captive by its vain philosophies. So, to those who say that you can't be on the Internet or watch TV, I may in fact disagree - within appropriate boundaries, of course.
The Purity Principle is a good read, short and simple in its delivery, but still a very good read.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on October 2, 2012
This is a short book, but to the point. The 1st time I read this book it had a dramactic effect on my life. I have probably read it about 10 times(that's one advantage of it being short!). The one thing I really liked about this book, compared to another book that I really like, is that it doesn't over think every temptation by saying we have to have the right motives in overcoming it. You just do whatever it takes to get away from the temptation, even if its not super spiritual (like run). I found the book very practical and also had a lot of common sense. Sexual sins must be avoided at all costs because they are so enslaving. It's one of the few sins that you can get a "high" from, just from the confines of your thoughts. Great book, and inspiring in the battle for purity.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on March 21, 2012
I am getting married in June, and wanted to read something to help me stay focused on being pure with my future bride. This book is so helpful! Alcorn has helpful illustrations and stories from his extensive experience counseling people on purity. I especially found his emphasis on "talk not touch, conversation not contact" helpful. This isn't a large book, but it is full of helpful counsel and practical ways to stay pure.
This is a good book for everyone interested in purity to read!