With a title like Divine Sex, you know you are in for an interesting read. When my wife saw my stack of books for this semester I had this book on the top of the stack, unintentionally, and she was confused. She asked me if I was still in a leadership program, I assured her I was. She was curious how this book would fit into the program as was I. (she was not offended by the book, just curious). If there was a quote from the beginning of this book which helped me focus on why this is a necessary book it was this, “We were seeing a disconnect between people’s spiritual worlds and their Friday-and Saturday-night lives. They seemed to be getting their view of God from the church and their view of sex and relationships from popular culture.  So, what is the root cause of this conundrum? Judging from the articles available on a simple Google search, the moral failures of pastors is pervasive. According to a 2008 survey (updated 2016) by the Francis A. Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership and Development 30-38% of pastors are either in the process of divorce or have had an extra-marital affair.  These are distressing statistics. It is no wonder that the congregation would take their cue from the world if pastors are failing.
Grant asks this question, “What is it about our cultural moment that makes the Christian vision of sexuality seem naive and unrealistic at best and downright repressive at worst, even to many young Christians? Why does the church’s view of sexuality, with all it ‘rules’ and ‘restrictions’ fail to resonate with so many contemporary believers.”  Grant goes on to argue that the culture is seemingly informing the church’s culture, by “teaching…scripture without giving due attention to the influence of cultural context…succumbs to the modern illusion that we can choose our own reality free from external influences.”  The argument being we choose to be spiritual or not, we choose to live a life that we want to so why should our sexuality be any different? This is similar to the argument I am making in my dissertation work, that congregations choose a “me first” attitude when “doing” church instead of a focus on others. We can even look like we are focussing on others by our outreach programs, feeding, diaper ministry, mission trips, but try changing the culture to one of true discipleship and watch the sparks fly. The funny thing is, and Grant posits on this, is that it is not an overnight happening. This focus on self as opposed to focus on God and true Christian life is a product of our society. Just like Western Civilization did not, overnight, become focussed on self neither did the church. It is sort of like the creep that seems unavoidable, it sneaks up on a church and before they know it, the discussions on what carpet or how to decorate the church become the business of the church rather than reaching a dark world with the light of Christ. While some may argue that this is purely spiritual warfare, I would argue that along side said warfare and maybe just as strong in its influence is our own sinful nature. I want to be comfortable, I want everyone to affirm me and my decisions on how I live my life. If we tell someone something is not right according to God’s standard in scripture we are the bad guys. Sex life is no different, Grant argues throughout that instead of glorifying God in our sex life, it is all about what I want and how I feel. “Modern authenticity encourages us to create our own beliefs and morality, the only rule being that they must resonate with who we feel we really are. The worst thing we can do is to conform to some moral code that is imposed on us from outside” We have all seen this argument when it pertains to sex, “Don’t try to put your morals on me”. When I read this line from Grant it resonated with me. Don’t try to change my church, don’t try to change how I feel about who I am. The problem is, Christ does change us, Christ makes us a new creation. We are not to be like Israel at the end of Joshua, “In those days, there was no king in Israel, every man did what was right in his own eyes” Judges 21:25 (ESV). We are called to something greater than self gratification or our feelings, we are called to be a reflection of Christ in our entire life, including our sex life.
This is not a call for a Puritanical purity to be imposed on all of society. I understand that society will do what society wants to do. Regardless, as Christians we are called to be different in this world.
I found it interesting in reviews of this book that the first part was lauded for it’s research and reliance of Taylor’s text, but panned as not as good in the second section. Dustin Resch argues “Unfortunately, the second part of the book, in which Grant sets out his pastoral direction for combating the sheer force of the prevailing cultural formation of things sexual, is largely pedestrian.”  He goes on to argue that Grant “appears simply to adopt without defense a conservative Protestant line on sexuality” While he can argue this, I see Grant as arguing from his convictions, the first part of the book is academically informed, while the second section is from his convictions as a minister. This happens all to often, an argument is dismissed because of the influences of the arguers point of view, I wish Christians could have a discourse about tricky subjects without lowering the argument to your conservative or your liberal, lets sit down and discuss, we may not end up agreeing, but at least we can rest in Christ as both our rocks.
 Grant, Jonathan. Divine Sex: A Compelling Vision for Christian Relationships in a Hypersexualized Age. Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos Press, a Division of Baker Publishing Group, 2015. 18.
 Krejcir, Dr. Richard J. “Francis Schaeffer Statistics on Pastors.” Into Thy Word. Teaching People How to Study the Bible. 2016. Accessed March 08, 2019. http://www.intothyword.org/apps/articles/default.asp?articleid=36562&columnid=3958.
 Grant, Jonathan. Divine Sex: A Compelling Vision for Christian Relationships in a Hypersexualized Age. Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos Press, a Division of Baker Publishing Group, 2015. 20.
 Ibid. 23.
 Ibid. 30.
 Resch, Dustin. “Divine Sex: A Compelling Vision for Christian Relationships in a Hypersexualized Age.” Anglican Theological Review 98, no. 2 (2016): 405-06,408.