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MERE SEXUALITY: REDISCOVERING THE CHRISTIAN VISION OF SEXUALITY. Todd Wilson. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2017, Pb, pp. 187, $16.99. ISBN 978-0-310- 53535-5. Reviewed by Rod Bassett (Roberts Wesleyan College/Rochester, NY).

The title of the book is clearly a knock-off of the title of the classic apologetic by C. S. Lewis. As a Lewis fan, perhaps that was why I was drawn to the book. With Wilson's book, the meaning of sexuality is appropriately broad (it is not just a book about genitals). However, like the Lewis book, the term "mere" is designed to narrow the discussion to a basic or essential Christian view. Or, to put it another way, the book is limited to an historic view of sexuality that has generally been accepted across many centuries. The book is anchored in God's intent for human beings when God created us sexual beings. So, the book is devoted to a view of sexuality that is primarily connected to Genesis 1 and 2 and the life of Jesus Christ.

The book begins by acknowledging the changes that have recently swept through the Western Christian Church in the arena of sexuality. Wilson points out that change in moral intuition and a shifting of views on Biblical authority have contributed to these changing perspectives, perhaps most clearly, in Christian thinking about homosexuality. Wilson's preference is not to consider these changes in the context of the "clobber passages" but, rather, the intent of God for our sexuality.

The first chapter is a summary of what Wilson means by "mere sexuality" and why this construct matters. The second chapter takes a close look at the sexuality of Jesus Christ. That chapter is a wonderful affirmation that Jesus Christ was fully human. Chapter 3 considers how our sexuality undergirds our personal identity. Chapters 4 and 5 take on the meaning of marriage and the purpose of sex. Thus, sex is "not just sex." Sexual intimacy in fact becomes that, intimate (a union of body, mind, and heart). Chapter 6 addresses the issue of same-sex attraction. Within this chapter, the face for Wilson's views on same-sex attraction becomes that of his friend Wesley Hill (who openly identifies as a gay man who believes that being faithful to Jesus Christ includes a "no" to sex and a "yes" to relationship). In Chapter 7, Wilson juxtaposes the constructs of sexuality and patience. The final Chapter involves Wilson arguing that the position of the Church needs to involve hope, joy, and tears.

The book is written in a winsome style. The pastoral heart of the author shows throughout the book. Perhaps I am too much of a psychologist, since I have a clear preference for in-text citation rather than the footnote system used in this book. However, I found myself drawn to an affirming view of sexuality, which focuses on God's intent for our sexuality, rather than a focus upon what has gone bad (the sexual sin passages). You may or may not agree with the conclusions of the author, but this is certainly a book worth considering. The author has a comfortable and easy writing style. The book also makes a serious effort to balance love and holiness (not an easy endeavor). Thus, I recommend the book.

Rodney L . Bassett, Editor

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Author:Bassett, Rodney L.
Publication:Journal of Psychology and Christianity
Date:Mar 22, 2019

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