The Book Corner
Eros Defiled (The Christian and Sexual Sin). By John White. Inter-Varsity Press: Downers Grove, Ill., 1977. 169 pp. $3.95.
In his earlier days John White worked in Latin America with students. Currently he is a counsellor and associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Manitoba. The book is written from a wide background of clinical experience with emotionally troubled people, many with severe problems because of unhappy sexual experiences.
Dr. White is knowledgeable in psychiatry and familiar with the various theories and methods of treatment. But he is critical in a constructive way, evaluating and excising that which is contrary to Scripture. His mind is conditioned by the Word of God. He is convinced that every departure from Biblical norms will yield a bitter harvest of unhappiness.
Marriage is the only framework for true sexual happiness:
It makes sense then that sexual relations be confined to marriage. For acceptance and mutual disclosure are not the activities of a moment but the delicate fabric of a lifetime’s working. To assure their development they need the sturdy framework of sworn commitment buttressed by social laws (p. 19).
Human responsibility is stressed. We choose to do what we do and must bear the consequences.
But in explaining human behaviour we must beware of assuming that adultery is as inevitable as the breaking of china on cement given certain conditions. A point, it is true, may be reached when we lose control of our behaviour, but that point is not reached before we have placed ourselves there. We are all responsible for what we do. We are not machines (p. 86).
We live in a day of increasing sexual experimentation. Not only are premarital sex and adultery common, but various kinds of perversion, unnatural acts of sex. Dr. White is frank in mentioning these and some who have been more sheltered may be offended by things he has written. The development of homosexuality in an individual is described and the resultant misery and loneliness. Dr. White, however, does not write in a harsh, judgmental way but with tremendous compassion. There is hope for the sexually troubled. And their number is legion in our age.
He pleads for compassion.
I felt no anger. Only a yearning possessed me, a yearning that cried to God over the misery of people who call themselves gay. I know some of them personally. I know their heartaches, their loneliness, their miseries, and their plan. I also know God loves them (p. 127).
He concludes with a plea for the church to engage in a ministry of discipline and healing among the sexually troubled.
Where are the thousands of needed counsellors for people who are drowning in the sorrows of their own sin or who ache with the loneliness of their alienation from true fellowship? Where, too, are the men with courage to cut boldly into the body of Christ to remove a moral cancer? (p. 161).
The church must deal with sexual sin but the goal is not ostracism or rejection of the sinner but healing and reconciliation. This book should awaken God’s people to the need for such a healing ministry. If you are concerned for people, this book will help you.
—Donald L. Norbie