The Definitive Book on Biblical Sexuality (Book Review)

Yuan, Christopher. Holy Sexuality and the Gospel: Sex, Desire, and Relationships Shaped by God’s Glory. Multnomah, Colorado Springs, CO. 2018. 256 pages.

The recent response Lauren Daigle gave in an interview and the ensuing response from a number of her fans serve as a reminder that on the topic of sexuality we need a call to firm conviction and a commitment to faithful compassion. If we are faced with the question Lauren Daigle was asked, how can we respond in a way that does not breed confusion and does not compromise what we believe? The answer is by taking heed the words of Christopher Yuan in his new book, Holy Sexuality and the Gospel: Sex, Desire, and Relationships Shaped by God’s Glory.

Speaking from his own personal experiences and struggles and with his knowledge of Scripture, Christopher Yuan provides a biblical framework for understanding sexuality. He goes beyond the talk of homosexuality and heterosexuality to show Scripture calls Christians to the standard of holy sexuality. The themes in the book provide the foundation for this framework as it is repeated that all this must start with theology, knowing the person and work of God. Once people have rightly understood God, they will rightly understand themselves. It is from there, Yuan highlights humanity needs to understand sexuality with the framework of the doctrine of the image of God and the doctrine of sin. Holy sexuality calls homosexuality sin while not viewing heterosexuality as the ultimate solution. The solution of holy sexuality calls for both married couples and singles to hold firm to God’s Word and to faithfully live out what His Word says, as the study guide questions at the end of the book reiterate.

Clear and Compassionate

The comprehensive definition of holy sexuality brings biblical clarity to the discussion of sexuality in our churches and among the culture in a time where we need it. Viewing heterosexuality as the goal or solution misses the mark. Holy sexuality is the aim because it addresses how both the single person and the married couple live out their sexuality according to Scripture with holiness as the goal. They need to understand their identity is not defined by their sexuality but by their Savior. For those who struggle with same-sex attraction and sinful sexual desires, they need clarity on what desires are and counsel on how to deal with them. While there is some complexity in the discussion on desires, readers will find both in Holy Sexuality and the Gospel. It gives a theology of marriage and singleness that is biblically faithful and assuredly compassionate.

The book also considers the idea of spiritual friendship, put forth by Wesley Hill and others, for those who struggle with their sexuality. Yuan commends the intention of helping people remain faithful to Scripture while struggling with their sexuality, but he does not shy from speaking the truth of why spiritual friendship is not the primary context for help in this battle. Yuan convincingly shows throughout the book the proper context for dealing with all of this is the local church. It is the local church God has created and designed for people to grow in holiness and face battles together.

The value of this work, though, is not only hearing the clear call to holiness but heeding the compassionate counsel Yuan offers. From the start of the book, the importance of the authority and inerrancy of the Bible is in view. Sound counsel necessitates a correct interpretation of Scripture. As a result, the book examines proper hermeneutics and exposes problematic hermeneutics. Before Dr. Yuan sets out to share the compassionate counsel he does in chapters 17–19, he interacts with the hermeneutics of Matthew Vines in chapter 16 to show how Vines, who purports homosexuality as biblically legitimate, wrongly handles Scripture. With proper hermeneutics in place, Yuan gives practical ways believers can show compassion while remaining committed to biblical conviction. In the midst of what could breed confusion, Yuan is clear and compassionate in caring for and counseling others on this issue.

Definitive

Holy Sexuality and the Gospel: Sex, Desire, and Relationships by God’s Grand Story by Christopher Yuan is the definitive book for Christians on sexuality. The book puts forth a biblical framework for understanding how God’s grand story shapes our understanding of sexuality and how the gospel transforms how we live out our sexuality. With twenty chapters of material to cover, grouping chapters into different sections may have helped the reader in seeing the biblical framework more clearly. Still, the content in each chapter is clear. Some theological works lean heavy on biblical conviction while offering no counsel on compassion while other works neglect biblical conviction to solely focus on compassion. Holy Sexuality and the Gospel keeps from falling into either ditch and sets itself up as the defining book for biblical sexuality. Its definition for holy sexuality lays the foundation for the whole book and is what causes it to stand out from any other book on the subject. Whether you are single or married, whether you struggle with your sexuality or you don’t, you will benefit from the biblical conviction and biblical counsel Christopher Yuan shares. Holy Sexuality and the Gospel is a gift to all Christians who desire to pursue holiness in their sexuality and who care for those who may struggle with theirs. Get your copy today!

I received this book for free from WalterBrook & Multnomah as a member of their launch team program for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own and are my honest review of the book.

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