6/27/12

Real Marriage- The Truth About Sex, Friendship, and Life Together: A Review

By: Jonathan Harris

I just got finished listening to the audiobook version of Real Marriage by Mark and Peggy Driscoll. Overall, I think there are some good things to be gleaned, but I would not recommend this book, especially to singles. It's much too sexually explicit, and resorts to some rather sketchy handling of Song of Solomon to support certain sexual acts.

Part 1: Marriage
was good and helpful I think, especially its description of a married couple as "best friends" and what that looks like. The one caveat I have is that Mark Driscoll seems to think that God told him to marry his wife when they were both living in sin. Huh? There's a small amount of mystical "God told me," stuff that doesn't seem to comport well with Scripture. Part 2: Sex, was not very helpful, and I think it missed the point of what sex is actually created for. The chapter on porn was good, and there were, intertwined, many good principles, but weeding through the weeds to find the flowers can be a waste of time. Part 3: The Last Day, was ok. It was practical, but very "self-helpy."

I've left the real Biblical critiques to Tim Challies and John MacArthur, I can't say it any better than them, so please check out their blogs if you have questions about this work.

6/25/12

Thy Word is Truth

Why Christians Believe the Bible and Non-Christians Don't
By: Jonathan Harris  
 
The following is a audio presentation regarding the questions, "Is God's Word really true?" "Why do Christians believe it?" "Why don't Non-Christians?" "How do Christians interact with Non-Christians who don't?"

6/13/12

He Is There and He Is Not Silent: A Review

By: Jonathan Harris

Francis Schaeffer, one of my personal favorite thinkers, shows that the only acceptable option for modern man looking for meaning is to adopt biblical Christianity. Unlike Van Til or Bahnsen, Shaeffer doesn't make the reader aware that his starting point is the biblical God in order to prove the biblical God. However, neither can he be considered a classical or evidential apologist. Schaeffer's tactic is to take man's starting points, bring them to their logical conclusions, and show why such philosophies that come out of them are unlivable. He focuses especially on logical positivism and linguistic analysis in the area of epistemology, but makes sure to rule out every alternative possibility in the realm of metaphysics and morality as well. Though some might find Schaeffer's wording hard to understand, I believe, for the serious apologist---especially one who wants to understand presuppositional apologetics---it is helpful to hear an alternative vocabulary for the same concepts. This will offer the defender a wider breadth of words by which to explain his position to the nonbeliever, and it will serve to enhance the concepts the defender already holds. For example, Schaeffer's use of the word "base," is equivalent to Bahnsen's use of the word "presupposition." I probably would not offer this work up to someone new to apologetics, and/or untrained any kind of philosophical thinking. But for those who want to hear the transcendental argument explained from a different angle, you can't beat this book.

Warning: For those thoroughly trained in presuppositional apologetics, this book may seem a bit on the autonomous side sometimes. It may seem that Schaeffer is appealing to man's reason and his knowledge of the world, and indeed he is, but to Schaeffer I believe he is doing so with the understanding that man has a God-given intellect preloaded with the understanding that God exists. As he repeatedly says, God has made man to live in this world and given him instruments for functionality consistent with this world.

Sex is Not Ultimate

Why Our Society is Hyper-Sexualized
By: Jonathan Harris

In Tim Challies book Sexual Detox, the author states, "Sex is not ultimate. If your only influence was popular culture you might never realize this. . ." While this should perhaps be a painfully obvious observation, especially to a Christian, It struck me as something profound. I know Francis Schaeffer made the point in How Shall We Then Live that the Roman empire, heading towards its final demise, idolized the pornographic in conjunction with the violence of the arena (not that Rome was a bastion of morality before). You can see this clearly in the art being produced at the time. Not only was the quality of workmanship decreasing, but the subject matter became more and more overtly sexual. We can see the parallels in our own day and age. Western Civilization, and history itself, seem to have circular patterns.

What kept Rome from manifesting completely its sexual perversion preceding its fall was the concept of Roman honor---the idea that the greatest achievement for the Roman citizen was the pleasure of the gods and the glory of Rome. However mistaken this notion may be, it kept pornography (as well as unnecessary violence, the two being inextricably linked), from becoming the "ultimate" (i.e. the greatest source of satisfaction, the ideal to strive for, the goal and purpose of life).

For the modern Western World the situation is slightly different, but similar. For the areas affected by the Protestant Reformation, the ultimate was the glory of God. Man's purpose in life was to fulfill his dominion mandate by subduing the earth by being the best steward of what God had entrusted to him. This gave man purpose, and gave God glory, the both drawing mutual pleasure from the situation. Sex gained its meaning from this overarching purpose. Sex taught man what a relationship with God was like, it gave man an opportunity to experience mutual pleasure with another being entrusted to him, and it sometimes initiated the development of more humans for the process to continue.

What's happened in the last one hundred years (with a head turning spiral in the last fifty), is sex has lost its purpose. It no longer exists in the context of pursuing a greater relationship with God in the enjoyment of His gift and the understanding of His relationship to us. It's not a means to an end, but an end in and of itself. Thus, sexual experience is the ultimate. It is the greatest. It the most fulfilling (however temporary). It is god.

For Rome the transition came when the gods were viewed as a farce and the honor of Rome a joke. For America the transition has come as a result of the philosophy of evolution (or to be more accurate: naturalism). In a world of mechanistic processes, man has no outlet for his God-given pursuit of spirituality. Looking to one another (relationships, sex, etc.) and internally (drugs, alcohol, porn etc.) man is desperately trying to grasp something transcendent, and the closest thing to a heavenly experience one can find in the physical world as complex animals happens to be the sexual encounter; and with no limits or bounds it gives the allusion of complete autonomous freedom.

My prediction is this: Modern man, though a sexual creature, will not be able to sustain sex as his ultimate for very much longer. He will find that, disconnected from its real purpose, sex will only leave him dissatisfied and he will search for something outside of pleasure for meaning in this world. I believe the New Age movement and the corresponding rise of Postmodernism are already showing this on an individual level. The most promiscuous among us have kill themselves, coming to a bitter end when their bad trip or sexual encounter leave them unsatisfied. They made their own rules and destroyed truth (to them the mechanistic machine), but replaced it with their own experience leaving them lonely and isolated in the world. Man will eventually replace their sex god with something that seems to be more transcendent in order to give meaning to their sexual drive. Will it be a thoroughly worked out eastern system, Islam, or will we go back to our Christian roots and put it where it should have been all along? Only time will tell, but Christians need to treat sex as what it truly is. It is not something to take lightly and joke around about because it is better than that. It is more magnificent, more holy, more amazing, more reflective of who our Creator is. Neither should we refuse to discuss it and pretend that it's dirty. That demeans it, and to reject the gift is to reject the giver.

How will understanding the place of sex change the way you view and discuss it? How will putting it in its rightful place change your personal habits concerning it? How will viewing God as the ultimate change other habits in your life/

6/5/12

Sexual Detox: A Review

Porn Vs. Sex
By: Jonathan Harris

Because of the subversive, pervasive, and accessible nature of internet pornography, pastor Tim Challies wrote Sexual Detox to men both young and old, married and single, in an effort to persuade and guide them into a rejection of pornography and masturbation and an acceptance of a much better alternative. Challies writes:

Many young men need a kind of sexual detox before they are equipped to be the kind of pure, loving, attentive, sacrificial husbands that God calls them to be. In this series of articles I hope to help young men reorient their understanding of sex, both in the big picture and in the act itself, according to God’s plan for this great gift.


Challies work is not what one might expect. There are no elaborate strategies or twelve step programs given---only a theology of sex designed to cause the reader to accept and believe the true reason for sexual intimacy. It is one thing to know a particular action is wrong, but quite another to believe that it is more beneficial to stop choosing to do it. It is is this basic underlying belief, which all pornography addicted individuals succumb to, that Challies addresses. I would recommend this book to all Christian males especially. It's short, basic, and simple. . . just the thing most guys need to get them thinking.

Here's the ebook version: Sexual Detox
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