God created the genders. He made mankind male and female. Barring health issues, the sexual relationship between a husband and wife is part of the breath of a good marriage. Yet, our culture has turned this potential intimacy into a dirty smog through the corruption of sexual relationships. This has led to the suffocation of an understanding of the honor of Biblical relationships.
In this volume, various authors address individuals and couples in light of Scripture’s teaching on the sexual relationship. The volume is divided into five parts: “God and Sex”; “Sin and Sex”; “Men and Sex”; “Women and Sex”; and “History and Sex.” Chapters in each section remain faithful to sectional themes and scriptural truths. John Piper contributes two chapters to the opening section. According to Scripture, sex was created by God and is good. Yet, it is not life’s chief thrill. One’s saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and seeking to honor Christ’s supremacy in all things is the Christian’s ultimate joy. Living accordingly puts sex in its proper place and sets the stage for better sex. As one grows in his understanding of Christ’s supremacy, one is better able to fight deceitful and deadly passions that can deluge us daily.
Although all chapters and authors cannot be reviewed herein, I will mention some that show the Scripture-centeredness of this work.
A number of authors point readers to the Song of Solomon. The contributors agree that the primary theme of the Song of Solomon is the husband and wife’s sexual relationship. This sexual relationship is for joy and pleasure and not solely for procreation, as important as that is. Thus, couples can see through the conversation of the male and female the importance of the sex act, and beyond that to communication and the mutual encouragement of one another through compliments, etc.
Albert Mohler, Jr., devotes a chapter to the particular needs of the sexually broken. This includes those who have been abused or used sexually, as well as those who have gratified their desires wrongfully. This includes men viewing pornography and women fantasizing through soap operas or romance novels. Mohler provides practical counsel regarding dealing with guilt and repeated repentance. He notes that often other sins such as self-pity and anger provide an open door for lust. The reader is called to examine other areas of his life rather than solely focus on the awfulness of his sexual sin. Mohler, also, contributes a helpful chapter on how Christians should think and respond to a discussion of homosexual marriage. He shows how such a conversation opens the door for an explanation of marriage as Biblically ordained by God.
Separate sections address men and women, and within the sections are chapters devoted to those who are single and those married. Many will find the chapters devoted to the opposite sex helpful in gaining a better understanding of how the spouse thinks. As should be expected, the chapters addressed to women are written by two women: Carolyn McCulley, who is single, and Carolyn Mahaney, who is married. The remaining chapters in the book are authored by men.
The final section is devoted to Martin Luther’s marriage to his wife, Kate, and the impact their marriage had on his Christian thinking. The Puritans’ view of marriage is examined in a concluding chapter, and authors Justin Taylor and Mark Dever provide apt quotations from various sources to make their points.
The breadth of subjects covered in this work heightens its usefulness. All the authors treat the subject of sex as beautiful, good, and being for God’s glory. Sex is not spoken against in Scripture except when it is misused and is man-centered. The authors write as one in addressing current problems that have arisen from a culture bent on using sex selfishly and perversely. The authors bid us heed scriptural teaching and constantly point us to Christ, who created sex good and who died to save sinners (and, of course, to remove the guilt of the repentant). This book lifts our gaze beyond ourselves to the triune God. This is an excellent, necessary book for our day.
- Byron Snapp
Byron Snapp is a graduate of King College (B.A.) and Reformed Theological Seminary (M.Div.). He was Associate Pastor at Calvary Reformed Presbyterian Church, Hampton, Virginia, from 1994 until his retirement in December 2014. He is a native of Marion, Virginia. He has had pastorates in Leakesville, Mississippi, and Gaffney, South Carolina. He served as Assistant Pastor in Cedar Bluff, Virginia prior to his ministry at Calvary Reformed. He has served as editor of the Presbyterian Witness and was a contributor to A Comprehensive Faith and Election Day Sermons. He is currently a member of Westminster Presbytery in the PCA. He and his wife Janey have 3 children and several grandchildren.