God Loves Sex: An Honest Conversation about Sexual Desire and Holiness - eBook  -     By: Dan B. Allender, Tremper Longman III
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God Loves Sex: An Honest Conversation about Sexual Desire and Holiness - eBook

Baker Books / 2014 / ePub

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Product Information

Format: DRM Protected ePub
Vendor: Baker Books
Publication Date: 2014
ISBN: 9781441221087
ISBN-13: 9781441221087

Publisher's Description

We live in a sexually mad world where God's gift of sex has been distorted through pornography, promiscuity, prostitution, abuse, trafficking, and rape. The church's position on sexual matters has been made clear throughout history: all sexual activity outside the boundaries of Christian marriage is sin. But rarely has the church honestly addressed the true needs of Christians who are struggling with sexual desires they believe to be counter to the Bible. So we hide our struggles and pretend to live above the erotic fray, or else we cozy up to the culture's redefinition of which sins are acceptable. But what does the Bible really say about sexual desire and sexual intimacy?

God Loves Sex
offers a truly liberating, godly view of holy sensuality by recovering the clear meaning of the Song of Songs as God-sanctioned eroticism. Then it uses that lens to answer questions posed by a fictional new Christian struggling with expectations of sexual purity. It asks provocative questions, such as What does it mean to be both holy and filled with rich sexual desire? and How can our sexual struggles take us deeper into the purposes of God?

Pairing psychological insight with sound biblical scholarship, Allender and Longman bring it all out into the open, allowing Christians of any age and any marital status to discover sex the way God meant it to be.

Author Bio

Dan B. Allender (MDiv, Westminster Theological Seminary; PhD, Michigan State University) is professor of counseling psychology and is former president of Mars Hill Graduate School in Seattle, Washington. He travels and speaks extensively on sexual-abuse recovery, love and forgiveness, worship and other related topics. Allender is the author of nine books, including The Wounded Heart, which has sold over 400,000 copies.

Tremper Longman III
(PhD, Yale University) is the Robert H. Gundry Professor of Biblical Studies at Westmont College in California. He has authored, coauthored, or edited numerous books, including An Introduction to the Old Testament, How to Read Proverbs, The Baker Illustrated Bible Dictionary, and commentaries on Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Jeremiah and Lamentations, and Daniel.

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  1. Age: 35-44
    Gender: male
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    A worthwhile read.....but not for the squeamish!
    January 7, 2015
    Jon Gibson
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: male
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Surveying the landscape of the Bible, there are plenty of books that make sense within the canon of Scripture. The Gospels. The historical books. The books of the law. The epistles. Theres not a lot of wondering when it comes to figuring out why and where those books fit into the greater narrative of Scripture.

    At the same time, there are some books that might leave people scratching their heads. Jonah, while it speaks of Gods mercy and grace, ends on an abrupt note without the reader knowing Jonahs final decision. The book of Ruth gives us a picture of the kinsman redeemer, pointing towards the One who would eventually come to bring restoration to the relationship between God and humanity. Esther tells the story of Gods provision and protection for his people.

    No book has caused more head scratching (in my opinion) than the book of Song of Solomon or Song of Songs. Its a compilation of love poems between a husband and wife. Over the years, there have been multiple approaches towards its interpretation, the greatest two being that it is to be taken as an allegory, a picture of Gods relationship with us, his bride, and that it is to be taken as it is written, a collection of erotic, passionate, and explicit love poems that give us a picture of how God sees the marriage relationship and what he thinks about sex. Into that second interpretation, Dan Allender and Tremper Longman enter their analysis in their book, God Loves Sex.

    Right off the bat, you have to know what youre getting into when you read this book. Any familiarity with Dan Allender will let a person know that this wont be your mamas (or grandmamas) interpretation of Song of Solomon. Sure, there is a provocative nature to the title of the book, but thats not where the provocation ends, it continues inside. The combination of the Longman the theologian and Allender the counselor make this book a book that should not be entered into lightly and certainly not to be entered into by the squeamish and prudish.

    Allender and Longman pull no punches in addressing sex, our sexual identities, the formation of those identities, and what hand God has in all of it. The book is put together in both a narrative approach, following the fictitious journal entries of a new believer who attends a Bible study on Song of Solomon, as well as a descriptive approach, with the authors expositing the various poems found within the context of Song of Songs. The authors address the fact that sex was among the whole of creation that was impacted by the Fall. God loves sex and his enemy hates it and wants to do everything possible to distort it and use it for something other than for what it was created to be: pleasurable within the confines of marriage.

    While the book is not very long (unlike the Bible book it analyzes), there is plenty of not only provocative, but beneficial material here as well. As the authors state, their primary goal and conviction with this book is to explore the fact that, sex is a window into the heart of God, pure and simple, even though our experience of sexuality is usually complex and tinged with the debris of the fall. The avoidance of conversations and discussions on the topic of sex within the church have actually been detrimental to the sexual formation of its members. Allender and Longman seek to take a deeper look into Gods thoughts about sex based upon what we read in the book of Song of Solomon.

    Like I said, this book is not for the squeamish or prudish. If you have a hard time talking about the male and female genitals by name rather than coming up with slang or childish terms, this book will easily make you uncomfortable. While Allender and Longman dont address everything sexual in this book (how could they when its only 155 pages long?), they do a good job evoking thoughts and potentially sparking discussion on issues that have remained in dark closets for too long.

    The authors tackle questions that many Christians have probably struggled with: how far is too far when you arent married, what about masturbation, what about a sexual past that has been distorted. These questions and more are addressed either directly by the authors or through the narrative story that they create within the book to introduce characters who have every day and real struggles.

    If you have struggled with sexual identity or sexual desires, this book is a worthwhile read. If you have been curious about the place that Song of Solomon has within the overall canon of Scripture, this book is a worthwhile read. If you have been raised to think that sex, pleasure, and desire are bad or evil, this book is a worthwhile read. If you have wondered what God thinks about sex, this book is a worthwhile read. The book is best read with an open mind and a willingness to glean something new and different. Reading this book with a specific expectation of interpretation of Song of Solomon is a mistake.

    Married, single, divorced, remarried, celibate, promiscuous, wherever you find yourself, this book is a worthy read. The narratives within the book are written from the point of view of someone whose sexual experience has been far from what evangelicals would call God honoring, but thats what makes it so relevant. Its an opportunity to put judgment and preconceived notions aside and simply look at a book that has caused heads to be scratched throughout the centuries. Dont be afraid to pick it up and give it a try.

    (This review is based upon a copy of this book which was provided free of charge from Baker Books. These opinions are my own; I was not required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated for this review.)

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