Monday, July 1, 2013

"Sacred Sex" by Tony Evans: A Review

Sex is hot topic today and many Christians seems pulled between the culture which has turned it into a god and religion which has turned it into a necessary evil. The gospel, on the other hand, presents sex in a much different, and better, light. Sex is a gift meant to be enjoyed between a married man and woman. Such an understanding of sex, though commonly derided by the lustful culture, is best for the individual, couples, families, and society. In his short book, Sacred Sex, pastor Tony Evans lays out a defense of what Scripture says about sex and why its vision is best.

The book is broken into three chapters. The first chapters plays on main verb that describes the first moment of sexual intimacy in Scripture. There in Genesis 3, Scripture says that Adam knew (yada in the Hebrew) his wife Eve. Sex is more than physical, it is emotion, mental, and spiritual. Evans writes, [S]exual intimacy involves far more than merely two bodies experiencing contact and exchanging fluids. If it were all that was required for intimacy to occur, then prostitutes would be the most intimate people in the world (9). There is another way of putting this. If sex is just physical and nothing else, then please explain the lifelong heartache of the rape victim or the young child molested. Our culture, then, has cheapened sex and cheapened those who engage in it.

From there he moves to discuss sexual purity. One section in particular is worth highlighting. Here he discusses the desire among many, especially men, to simply get rid of their strong sexual desire. Evans writes:

Sex is a legitimate and lawful passion given to us by God. So if you are struggling sexually, you don't pray that God will take away your sexual passion. You are then asking not to be human. What you pray is that you not be mastered by your legitimate and lawful sexual passion so that the expression of it becomes your obsession no matter what God's rules say. Sex is part of your God-given DNA, but it was never designed to be your master. (35)

Exactly.

The third and final chapter is, I believe, the best. A big part of the chapter plays on Paul's language in 1 Corinthians 7 that the woman's body is the man's and the man's body is the woman's. Thus it is the duty of each to serve the other. Evans gets very practical here and begins with the husbands. He essentially calls for men to serve their wives by meeting their needs first. He rightly says that sex begins, not at night before going to bed, but in the morning, during breakfast, during the day, while your out, etc. That is to say that men are to always be pursuing their wives, not simply waiting to engage in sexual intimacy. Sex, again, is more than an act. Thus men ought to continue to date their wives, love their wives, meet her emotional needs, and then reap the rewards. This also means for women to serve their husbands. Love goes both ways.

Overall, this is a helpful book in many ways, but not the best book on the subject. I was a little disappointed, not with its brevity but with how little of the gospel there is. Though he explains how the sexual sinner can reclaim their purity again (a great section at the end of the book), there is little gospel here. Sex is the climax of marriage which is a picture of the gospel. Sex is more than pleasure, procreation, and knowledge. It is also oneness, comfort, and a reminder of the gospel. The gospel puts sex on a level the culture has tore it down from. The culture worships sex all the while robs it of its true beauty.

So though the book is helpful in  many ways, it certainly is not the best book on the subject. Evans doesn't answer some of the common questions we must answer now. What about homosexuality? What about boundaries within marriage? How ought the church address these issues publicly or from the pulpit? What about contraception? Simple books that offer a basic introduction on biblical sexuality aren't good enough anymore. We are quickly becoming Sodom, Gomorrah, and Corinth.


This book was provided by Moody Press free of charge for the purpose of this review.


For more:
"How Should Christians Vote?" by Tony Evans: A Review
A Must Read: Searching For God & Settling For Sex
"Surfing For God" by Michael John Cusick: A Review
"Vote Like Your Lady Parts Depend on It": The Duhumanization of Women
An Exaggerated Feminine Type: Uncle Screwtape on Beauty
A Must Read: What If It Were Your Daughter?
The Great Recession or the Recession That Made Us Great?: Pornography and the Frugality of Lust
Pornography for the Blind: Our Continuing Fantasy With What Is Not Real
It Takes One to Know One: Large Families and Smug Fecundity
"Real Marriage" by Mark & Grace Driscoll 
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