Monday, May 09, 2016

BookPastor >> "Divine Sex" (Jonathan Grant)

TITLE: Divine Sex: A Compelling Vision for Christian Relationships in a Hypersexualized Age
AUTHOR: Jonathan Grant
PUBLISHER: Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos Press, 2015, (256 pages).

What comes to mind when we think of the word “sex?” More often than not, we are informed by the culture we live in rather than the gospel. In a hypersexualized age, we are inundated by images from Hollywood and advertisements that depict people as sexual objects. Even the use of language can become so offensive that companies often include a sexual harassment statements in their corporate code of conduct. Sadly, many Christians learn more from the worldly institutions instead of biblical principles. We need a new vision of sex and sexuality based on the Bible. This is where author Jonathan Grant comes in. Calling the area of relationships and sexuality as one of the “biggest challenges” our our time, we need to see the world of sex with two eyes: One human, the other divine.

On the former, Grant probes the reasons why our modern perceptions of sexuality have become so dysfunctional and worldly. Instead of people living out their sexuality out of personal authenticity, tragically, many people have done the reverse by using sex as a way to find themselves. Expressions of sexuality have also been done under the guise of liberal behavior where individual freedoms trumps community needs. In such a climate, modern views of sex are becoming more: 1) Utilitarianistic (using others for self-benefit); 2) Expressivistic (heavy individualism); and 3) Postmodernistic (where exercising freedom is more important than actual freedom). By doing so, we become vulnerable to consumerism, detachment, narcissism, and all kinds of worldliness. Instead of sex as a unique and wholesome human expression, people are using sexuality as a way to find themselves. He is particularly critical of churches that have lost their vision with regard to sexuality and human relationships. As far as Grant is concerned, it is truth that transforms, not expressive sex. For that to happen, we need a new vision of sex that he calls, “Divine sex.” This book is about discussing the following questions:

  • What is it about our cultural moment that has led to such a complex dysfunction in sexual relationships?
  • In what significant ways is our secular context shaping our sexuality?
  • What is the Christian vision of relationships, and how can Christian leaders give that vision power in people’s real lives?
What I really appreciate about this book is how the author helps describe how the world understand sexuality. This is followed by a vision that redeems rather than condemns. He critiques the chastity movement for being too sexualized, and to learn to see it as an “orientation” of self which is “emotional sincerity or integrity.” The vision of divine sex enables us to reconnect our fragmented selves that connects mind and body; that connects the individual to the community; that engages our true selves with God. It is “narrative discipleship” that brings the Christian story to life through Christian Formation. Grant charts out four essential characteristics that comprise the "comprehensive Christian vision for sexuality."
  1. Eschatological: Our sexuality must be seen in context of God's future revelation;
  2. Metaphysical: Our sexuality is linked to both the present reality and the future kingdom to come;
  3. Formational: Our sexuality needs to grow to a mature state;
  4. Missional: Our sexuality expresses God's character that we can witness as whole beings for God.
Sex is very much about who we are rather than what we do. I am thankful that Jonathan Grant has written this book to counter the tsunami of information or misinformation about sexual matters. Grant is a graduate from Regent College and is currently serving at St Paul’s Symonds Street, one of the largest Anglican congregations in Auckland, New Zealand. Rating: 4.75 stars of 5.


This book is provided to me courtesy of Brazos Press and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

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