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New books sound alarm on sexuality & family issues

WAKE FOREST, N.C. (BP)–As issues about human sexuality and the definition of family continue to make headlines in the United States, three Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary professors have published books calling believers to take strong, biblically defined stands on these important topics.

New Testament scholar Andreas Kostenberger was assisted by ethicist David Jones in writing “God, Marriage and Family,” while Daniel Heimbach, an ethics professor, has written “True Sexual Morality: Recovering Biblical Standards for a Culture in Crisis.” Crossway Books is the publisher of the books by the scholars at Southeastern’s Wake Forest, N.C., campus.

Kostenberger noted that one of the book’s goals is to help all believers understand the integral connection between the “why” and “how-to” of marriage.

“God wants us to understand His will for marriage and the family rather than merely conform to an external pattern of traditional marriage,” Kostenberger said. “Too often Christian counseling only deals with symptoms, such as poor communication skills or failure to meet the needs of one’s spouse, without engaging the biblical teaching on marriage and the family in its totality. In our book, we have a practical focus, but we seek to ground Christian marriages and families in the Bible’s teaching rather than take our cue from culture, tradition or people’s personal preferences.”

Heimbach said he felt led by God to speak out against the world’s corrupt view of sexuality and to awaken Christians to the moral ramifications of that corruption.

His True Sexual Morality is the product of a six-year quest to research a movement that he said has overtaken America and threatens to erase the image of God from society.

“Our culture … is being flooded with a deluge of sexual chaos threatening either to completely redefine the faith or to leave it irreconcilably divided, perhaps until Christ returns,” Heimbach said.

His hope is that his studies in sexual morality and its counterfeit views will help Christians and non-Christians come to a better understanding of God’s view of human sexuality — and only with God’s view will the world function within realms of morality.

Heimbach’s book takes a different approach than others written on the topic by not only presenting the causes of the problem but also by seeking to equip the reader with the discernment and understanding necessary to prepare an effective defense.

“I hope Christian readers will come away not only more aware but also much better equipped to really engage a lost culture with the truth of Scripture and the saving message of Jesus Christ,” he said.

Heimbach has plans to produce two more books based on his research.

Jones, in assisting Kostenberger with God, Marriage and Family, said, “While our goal in writing [the book] is ultimately to facilitate the development of a biblical view of marriage and family [among Christians], we were also motivated by the need simply to demonstrate to the culture the severity of the moral decay of these institutions. While most people are willing to admit that there is a small hole in the ship, part of our message is to say that the ship is in danger of going down unless something is done to correct the problem.”

Kostenberger noted that the current attack on biblical values regarding marriage, family and sexuality is not simply a cultural phenomenon but a strategic attack by the enemy himself.

“None other than Satan, who rebels against the Creator and His created order for human beings, is ultimately behind the world’s confusion about marriage and the family, which is why our book includes a lengthy section on marriage, the family, and spiritual warfare,” Kostenberger said. “For the most part, married couples and families are not lacking in good intentions; it is their lack of proper engagement in spiritual warfare that causes marriages to break apart and families to disintegrate.”

Kostenberger also noted that God, Marriage and Family was written partly to fill the need for a comprehensive treatment of all of the ethical issues that surround marriage and family ethics, such as divorce and remarriage, homosexuality and birth control. This way, college and seminary professors have a resource to which they can turn when needing a textbook on these topics.

Another Southeastern professor, ethicist Mark Liederbach, contributed sections to God, Marriage and Family on thorny issues like birth control and artificial reproductive technologies.

Many noted evangelical thinkers have lauded both volumes for their value in addressing these important topics.

“The special value of this book lies in its pervasive exposition of Scripture,” John Piper, pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minn., said about God, Marriage and Family. “We are adrift in a sea of speculation without this. I am thankful for the book.”

In praising True Sexual Morality, Richard Land, president of the SBC’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, noted that the book “is an uncompromising explanation of the Bible’s clear teaching on God’s design for our sexuality. It will be an enormously effective weapon against the pagan sexuality emerging in our culture.”

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