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Divine Sex: Liberating Sex from Religious Tradition Paperback – July 6, 2006
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About the Author
The author is a Seminary graduate (B.Th.), licensed and ordained to the Pastorate by three Christian organizations, and a full time minister in the Christian Church for 36 years. His first 18 years of ministry were with the Church of Christ. Since 1984 he has ministered in both "mainline" Evangelical churches and independent Charismatic churches. He recently retired to devote his time to writing.
The author and his wife have been married 39 years, raising three daughters and enjoying 10 grandchildren. They both have devoted themselves all their married life to religious work and promotion of the gospel of Christ.
For 36 years the author employed the modern tools of scholarly Biblical research, to an expository (contextual, verse by verse explanation) approach to both Bible study and preaching. Such study produced frequent discovery that the Bible does not say what he had been trained to believe about many things. In fact, he discovered quite frequently the Bible says the very opposite of what he had been taught. This was especially true regarding the subject of sex. Many modern sexual taboos are founded not on actual Biblical statements but rather, on human opinion and church tradition. The result of his study on human sexuality was so liberating for him and his wife, and for the few with whom he had the opportunity to share his findings, that he decided the information must be published. Hence this book.
The author says, "I believe that the average Christian will welcome this book. Not because they are sex-crazed perverts-in-waiting, but because they are honest people who share in common a natural, God-given passion for sex that has been choked off by centuries of ill-founded church traditions. They will know the truth of this book as it bears witness with their spirit."
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As a man who has spent many years in the church, I've been a victim of church dogma regarding sex as much as any other Christian man. Our misunderstanding of the Bible, and our consequent misinterpretation of the Bible in light of our own social norms has created a brutal environment for any Christian with a normal sex drive. That's why I am so happy to have read the many arguments presented by the author of this book. He truly does a rigorous examination of the Scriptures dealing with how Christian should approach sex. There can be no doubt that he is very scholarly and very earnest in everything he says.
His basic argument is that all types of sexual behavior are clean for Christians. The exceptions are rape, incest, and bestiality. He uses mostly the Old Testament to argue this point, and he does so very effectively. I was truly shocked to find myself agreeing with him as I realized how many of my supposedly “biblical” personal convictions about sex simply were wrong. After all, I had spent many, many years believing the church teaching on sex and suffering greatly as a result. Needless to say, this book came as a truly liberating revelation for me and has deeply enriched my life. So why only four stars?
There are a few small areas where the author basically makes a left turn. He subscribes to the Calvinist notion that there are three types of Old Testament laws: ritual, moral, and judicial. Yes, there are other Christians who believe this too, but it is simply not found anywhere in the Bible. In fact, the New Testament writers seem to go out of their way to convey the idea that Old Testament Law is a package deal with no categories in it. For example, “For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” James 2:10. Given the authors dogged insistence on staying true to the Bible, I'm rather surprised that he is willing to categorize Old Testament laws in this way. Then, he goes on to explain that the moral laws of the Old Testament must still be kept by Christians! In fact he literally says, "We must observe God's laws!" I could hardly believe it when I read that sentence. Sorry, the apostle Paul made it abundantly clear throughout the New Testament that we are not under God's law. Neither Paul nor anyone in the New Testament ever tried to argue that we are still under moral Old Testament laws, but not the rest of them. So I was a bit disappointed with the author on this point.
Another problem is the author’s frequent repetition of the point he's already made. He goes on, and on, and on repeating the same wonderful truth that he's already explained previously in the book. The same points are made over and over and over and over, reworded in every conceivable way, ad nauseum. In one regard, this is a good thing. After all, these are truths that we need to hear over and over because we've spent so much of our lives hearing the wrong information about correct sexual behavior as a Christian. But the author overdoes it. I hate to say it, but he simply belabors the point far too much.
The final issue I have with the book concerns homosexuality. I'm still conflicted myself about how God feels about homosexuality. And the author doesn't really help, since he never really gives an argument for or against homosexuality. Instead he says, 'for a complete treatment of homosexuality, buy my other book "God is not a homophobe".' Huh? Hey, sexuality is why I bought THIS book. To make matters worse, he spends much of the book defending homosexuality without ever going into a detailed explanation of why he feels this way. After all, he wants you to buy his other book on homosexuality.
To be fair I've spent more words here criticizing the book then complementing it, and that's not right because this is a very, ver important book for every Christian to read. I've been a Christian for many years yet I was never able to draw these conclusions that the author correctly extracted of the books of the Bible.
If you have ever felt defeated as a Christian in the area of sexuality -- like I did -- then this book is for you. It was for freedom's sake that Christ set us free. The Lord does not want us bound by the legalism of church dogma any longer. He wants to free you and liberate you with the truth so you can enjoy this life, a life of love and service to him.