When it comes to sexuality, there’s an ever-growing gulf between the way Christians think and the way secular people think. Biblical and cultural perspectives clash, not just on who gets to have sex and when, but on what sex is for, what it means, what it essentially is. Clearly, that poses challenges for the tasks of apologetics and evangelism. But it also frustrates efforts at Christian discipleship and formation.
Simply by living in the modern West, followers of Jesus cannot help imbibing the assumptions, practices, and stories of a culture centered on the pursuit and fulfillment of individual desires. As a result, our efforts at purity and restraint—pledges, rings, annual sex talks, True Love Waits campaigns—are like fighting tanks with peashooters. We need a more comprehensive and compelling vision of sex.
So argues Jonathan Grant, an Anglican pastor in New Zealand, in his book Divine Sex: A Compelling Vision for Christian Relationships in a Hypersexualized Age (Brazos). His basic point is that instructions, exhortations, and doctrines are vitally important but go only so far. Instead, we need to thoroughly reimagine our popular narrative of sexual liberation, with all its implied commitments, desires, and practices.
In Part I, Grant explains why the modern world sees sex the way it does: as an expression of the self, an act of freedom, a consumer choice, and a fundamentally natural (rather than transcendent) activity. Then, in Part II, he offers his response: “a new course for Christian formation,” requiring a new way of thinking about the future, human desires, our shared story, and everyday practices.
How We Got Here
Divine Sex is heavily indebted to the language and approach ...1