Book Plunge: Classic Christian Thinkers

What do I think of Ken Samples’s book published by RTB Press? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

For some people, to think of a Christian thinker sounds like a contradiction in terms. Sadly, some of those people are also Christians. After all, aren’t Christians supposed to be people of faith? This assumes that faith is something anti-intellectual when it isn’t. Our Christianity has a rich heritage of great thinkers and we should embrace them.

It would be too much to list all the great Christian thinkers, but in this book, Ken Samples has chosen to give nine. Each chapter covers one thinker and is a brief portrait of their life and how they contributed to apologetics and philosophy. He also lists the best books to read by these thinkers and works to go to to understand their life and impact all the more.

He also goes across traditions for this. There are people in this list that Protestants, Catholics, and Orthodox are likely to admire. Perhaps not all of them, but anyone from any of these traditions will find someone they can support. So who are the people he covers?

He starts with Irenaeus and then Athanasius. Next in line are the big free of Augustine, Anselm, and Aquinas. A lot of people in Catholic and Orthodox circles might not be happy with Martin Luther and John Calvin next, but each were great thinkers who have shaped the Christian world. After those is Blaise Pascal and then to top it all of is a great mind who has found support from all three branches and that is C.S. Lewis.

Samples’s book is also easy to read and understand. The reader will walk away with a greater appreciation of who the person is. Also, any reader can just read each chapter on its own if you want to get a brief overview of a certain figure in church history.

The book is also good for group discussions. This is a book that small groups could get together and read about the life of one thinker and then discuss the impact of that thinker with the discussion questions. I am sure Samples would love to see this happen and I know that I definitely would.

The book is also really trying to be more ecumenical than one might think. Martin Luther will not be the favorite of Catholics and Protestants, but Samples does not go after Catholics or Orthodox in the chapter. He also gives us the interesting idea that it could be that more works have been written about Martin Luther than about any other figure in history apart from Jesus Christ.

The real goal of the success of this book will be seen in one way. That will be in how many people go to these great writers themselves and at least read some of their works. Samples would be disappointed to know readers used his book to learn about the thinkers without going to the thinkers himself. As Lewis said, “Read Plato. Not books about Plato.”

I encourage anyone interesting in Christian thinking to read this book. Those interested in church history should read it as well. Remember to use it as a stepping stone though to get to the other books that Samples would say are far more important.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: The Sexual State

What do I think of Jennifer Roback Morse’s book published by TAN Books? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I want to thank Dr. J, as she prefers to be called, for sending me a review copy of this book. Dr. J’s book is about the sexual revolution and the damage that it has done. The book is definitely written from a Catholic perspective, but Protestant readers like myself will still benefit from it.

Dr. J starts with talking about many of the victims of the sexual revolution that have been silent. These are people who have been hurt by the tearing apart of the family, including the divorce culture. This isn’t to say that divorce should absolutely never happen, but when divorce is way too easy, it has led to people with their own fallen natures seeking to end a marriage easily. Even when Allie and I were still in our seventh year of marriage I was told by some people we had a “long marriage.” Very sad.

Dr. J contends also that all of this required the necessary involvement of the state. The government has been pushing much of this, which is definitely the case when we realize that Planned Parenthood is government funded. Many of our elites also have a great interest in the sexual revolution. Think about how many people got ousted in Hollywood and media by the MeToo movement.

Dr. J sees this built on three pillars. The first is the contraceptive ideology. This is the one that tries to separate sex and babies. As a Protestant, I didn’t agree with this one as much as the others. After all, even devout Catholics practice Natural Family Planning to be able to have sex without having babies.

There’s also the case of situations where the motive is entirely right to avoid childbirth. I know someone once whose wife had a serious bone condition. If she got pregnant, she could die. They have measures taken to make sure this doesn’t happen. Is that wrong? I don’t think so.

For this, I largely think it depends on the circumstances. I would definitely agree that anyone wanting to use contraception in order to have easy sex outside of marriage is in the wrong, but notice that in this case, it is the activity itself of sex outside of marriage that is wrong. Were we to live in a culture where sex was kept within the bounds of marriage, I don’t think this would be as much of a problem.

Of course, I definitely agree that abortion is an evil. The only possible exception could be if it is required to save the life of the mother and the baby would die anyway. Abortion is one of the greatest evils of our time and I find it repulsive to think that even many so-called faith leaders are accepting it.

From there, we move on to the divorce ideology. This one destroys the permanence of marriage. Again, there are times I think everyone agrees that divorce is a sad necessity, such as a highly abusive relationship, but even then, it is a tragedy because it means someone broke their promise before God and men.

On the other hand, I do know of some women who favor no-fault divorce because it allowed them to get away from abusive husbands where if things had gone wrong, they would have stayed in that situation and been punished by the husband. I am not a legal scholar at all, so I can’t answer what can and can’t be done, but I would definitely agree that divorce is too often done and too many couples go into marriage saying that if things don’t work, they can get a divorce.

Sadly, this can also lead to people assuming that moving in together before marriage to test out a relationship will work. In reality, this is something that increases your odds of divorce and puts you in a more dangerous situation and allows men and women to treat each other as test subjects. It’s especially bad for the woman. After all, the man gets all the rewards he wants, namely free sex, and he doesn’t even have to commit to the woman!

Finally, there’s the gender ideology. It first started with the goal to remove the gender requirement for marriage, but now it seeks to eliminate gender altogether. If we looked at how the feminist movement went down the path, it’s quite a development.

The first step was saying that women are equal to men. This wasn’t in an ontological sense but saying women can vote, drive cars, own property, hold a job, etc. Most of us today would have no problem with this perspective.

The second was saying that women are superior to men. This has led to men often being just sperm donors and having it be easy to cry out rape at any event. Women have tried to show they don’t need a man in anything. I often thought Hillary Clinton’s campaign in 2016 could have just been “Vote for me because I’m a woman!”

But then the third step went somewhere most feminists didn’t expect and some have argued against. Now, thanks to the transgender movement, women are men. This has also led to some amusement from many of us men. Now men are able to compete in women’s’ sports. When they win, now men are no longer just superior at being men, but at being women apparently. Of course, there’s no risk also that many young men won’t use the new laws on transgenderism to be allowed to shower with the girls. Nope. After all, we’ve learned men have no interest in looking at female bodies.

Each of these chapters is followed with the Catholic response. Again, Protestants can get something out of this. I don’t agree with the Catholic Church on many issues, but they do some of the best work in moral philosophy today.

A final section also has Dr. J talking about the gift of grace and such. This is also how she ended her book Smart Sex and Dr. J I think is truly at her best when writing about the gift. She does not write as a highly sophisticated theologian or Biblical exegete. I would contend it is the simplicity of how she writes that makes it special and many of us who are Protestant Christians can stand up and cheer at this point.

While many people will have different levels of commitment, I think most of us in the Christian camp will agree the sexual revolution has been a disaster. If we could return to saving sex for the person you are married to it would help us out so much. (Just think of how much we would not have to spend in researching and treating STDs) No laws will ever give us utopia as long as we are fallen human beings, but we can say that some ideas make it worse, and that includes the sexual revolution.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Deeper Waters Podcast 4/13/2019: Jonathan Greer

What’s coming up? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Those who do not learn from history are often condemned to repeat it. At the very least, they are condemned to misrepresent it. In our day and age, it’s incredibly easy for internet atheists to proclaim themselves experts on the Old Testament because they can read it.

Sadly, Christians can do the same thing. It’s easy to just lift up a text from somewhere and treat it as a prooftext. It’s easy to confuse law and gospel and the relation between the two. Even worse, it’s easy to make a Gospel presentation where you have the fall of Adam and Eve take place and then jump straight to the story of Jesus because, you know, the history of Israel really has absolutely nothing to do with Christianity. Right?

The Old Testament is a difficult work to understand because it takes place in a time and a culture that is so foreign to what we live in. When they wrote the text, they assumed that the culture was understood by the readers. For us, it isn’t. We don’t know many of the places and many of the terms or the language or the culture.

In order to better understand the culture then, we need the work of those scholars who have invested in the culture. Fortunately, there are several of them who are also committed to Jesus. Even better, many of them have worked together in a volume that has been compiled by three such scholars to help us. The work is Behind The Scenes of the Old Testament and one of those editors is joining us tomorrow and his name is Jonathan Greer.

So who is he?

According to his bio:

Jonathan S. Greer is Associate Professor of Old Testament and Director of the Hesse Memorial Archaeological Laboratory at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary, Cornerstone University. He holds M.A. degrees in Old Testament and Biblical Languages from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and a Ph.D. from The Pennsylvania State University where he focused on Hebrew Bible, ancient Near Eastern studies, and archaeology. He is also the Associate Director of archaeological excavations at Tel Dan, Israel, and has published a number of works on the relationship of the Bible to the ancient world.

We will be discussing the way the Old Testament world was and why it matters to us. We too often understand the Old Testament just through the lens of the New Testament instead of understanding the Old Testament on its own entirely. We need to approach the work on its own. The book covers so many of the minor details of life in the Ancient Near East, far too many to cover in even two hours. This is how massive the world is and hopefully, you will get a better understanding of it.

I hope you’ll be looking forward to the next new episode. We’re working on others. We have had some issues, but they are being worked on. Please also go on iTunes and leave a positive review of the Deeper Waters Podcast.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: Faithful, A Theology Of Sex

What do I think of Beth Felker Jones’s book published by Zondervan? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

This book was recently for sale on Kindle and I decided to get it since as a married man, sex and theology are both great areas of interest for me. Jones’s book is short, but it is profound. There’s a lot of good material in here.

One thing she says at the start is that all of us should be theologians. In reality, we all are. The question is not if we will be theologians, but what kind of theologians will we be?

When she gets to the topic of sex, she asks what if it is not about us so much as it is about God and His intentions for creation. We don’t connect it with reality the way we should. As a married man, my having sex says something about the way I see God and reality. My friends who are single abstain (Or they should) which also shows how they view sex and reality.

Jones also says to imagine what if we said about food what we said about sex. “Eating has nothing to do with your health.” “Nothing you eat can hurt you.” “Food should always make you happy. Pleasure is the only purpose in eating.” It’s a wonderful analogy.

This also connects to the idea that sex matters to God because bodies matter and Christianity is a religion of the body. People will sometimes say what you do with your genitals is your business, but then change the rules when it comes to rape. If we say bodily actions matter from the get-go, we have no problem.

Sex in marriage is not a sin whatsoever, which some people in the Corinthian church would have thought. If anything, Paul says not only is it not a sin in marriage, it is a sin for couples to deprive one another of sex unless its by mutual consent and then only for a short time. Paul would not have had any patience for the idea of being married and purposefully abstaining from sex as if it’s the unforgivable sin.

Sex is really a gift. How many of us would like to be in the situation in the garden where the man and woman were both naked and felt no shame? Sex is a real gift from God and it is a good gift.

Part of the reason we see sex go wrong is because we don’t understand the body. Pornography is a symptom of this, but so also can many romance movies be. Porn can often give guys an unrealistic idea about how women should be, but romance movies and books can often give women an unrealistic idea of how men should behave.

Sex should be reserved for marriage and has the characteristics of fidelity, faithfulness, and an analogy of the relationship between God and His people. Sex properly understood in marriage is not for the self. It is for the other person seeking to please the other and express love to the other.

One line I really enjoyed in the book was about how sex is private, but there is something public as well. When you look around for instance, any person you see you know is there because of sex. (Barring some exceptions from IVF these days.) When we get married, part of what we say is “See this person up here? I’m having sex with them tonight.”

If there was something more I would like to see in this book, it would be more about sex itself. What is the symbolism in sex? A lot of the material is about ethics and the good of the body, but I would like future editions of this book to include more on the act itself. Overall though, I found this book quite helpful and encourage others to read it.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: The Married Guy’s Guide To Great Sex

What do I think of Penner and Penner’s book published by Focus on the Family? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Some people might be shocked to find out that a book with this title is written by two Christians. Others might be even more shocked to find out it’s published by Focus on the Family. Yet it has to be asked why should anyone be shocked. Our holy book as Christians contains the Song of Songs, a very sexual text indeed, and our God is the God who made the whole system of sex.

So now let’s get down to the details. This book is written for men and presumably, men in a Christian marriage. The book starts off with dealing with one of the great myths about men and marriage and sex. It is a great myth that most every guy will want to deny, but any married man will know is true.

We men are not sexperts.

Okay? Unless you’ve spent a lot if time in studying this area, you’re really not. We as men think that we have to automatically know everything about sex. We don’t. We grow up and get amazed by the women around us and our culture tells us that men are the people who know how to love a lady and that includes sexually.

Most of us who are married know that movies and TV shows are a sham in how they present sex. The man and the woman get together and it all just flows naturally. (Most men also know it’s a joke to think the woman is just as eager for the sex as the man is constantly.) You never see a movie or a TV show, at least I haven’t, where they say “We should put down a towel first.” You don’t see scenes of reaching for the lubricant. In movies, everything seems to flow perfectly and easily. That’s Hollywood fake sex. It’s not real sex.

So once we get past that idea, we can get to the work of learning about what it is we’re supposed to do. The Penners work on what kind of lover a man is. A great mistake that can be easily made is asking your wife how she likes a certain touch or activity. Stop it. It turns you into a spectator and makes you focus on a performance instead of an activity. If you talk, talk about what you yourself are feeling in touching and experiencing your wife and she will take the praise and enjoy it.

Ultimately, men need to let the woman lead. She is the star of the show. We’re just the supporting actors. Let her guide and don’t rush things which will make it even better because then, it’s not what you’re wanting but what she’s wanting. The women in our lives already know we want them. Let us show them how they want us to want them.

Remember also, your goal is to give her a good time. Give her a good experience and you will have a good experience. If you don’t think so, then you are just doing things wrong. By the way, ladies reading this. Want to make your husband really happy? Let him know if he does a really good job in the bedroom. (Or whatever room you happen to be in)

Also guys, remember sex doesn’t just take place in that room. Sex is an all-day thing. No. Not the way you’re thinking. It’s in romancing your wife constantly. If I go to the grocery store and Allie is just waiting in the parking lot while I shop, I’m busy sending her text messages and love songs on YouTube. Too many guys come home, show no affection to their wives, ask for dinner and a TV remote, and then expect their wives to be ready for a romantic evening.

Not happening.

Definitely included is to get rid of any pornography. Pornography will not enhance your marriage. Any benefits that are gained will be short-term. The long-term costs are far more serious.

Overall, the Penners would want you to remember that this is God’s gift for you. Sex should be enjoyable, but it will take work. You’re not naturally a sexpert, but you can learn.

And ladies, there’s a chapter at the end for you. This is a little not and guys can be benefitted by reading it. If you ladies want to read this book with your husbands, go ahead. You can say what you agree with and don’t agree with and if you desire, put it into practice, perhaps immediately.

This is a good book for married guys to read and not too long to read. The chapters are short and the lessons are easily learned. It could also be a good book for guys about to get married so they can learn what mistakes to not make ahead of time.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: Loving Him Well

What do I think of Gary Thomas’s book published by Zondervan? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Sometimes when you read marriage books, it’s good to read books written for the opposite sex. You can actually learn about yourself by doing that. Gary Thomas’s book in this category is not an exception, though I would encourage men also to read Cherish, which I have reviewed here, to learn about cherishing wives, and wives can learn how to cherish husbands.

Thomas writes starting off that marriage does not define a woman. The image of God does. Marriage is great and you should want to be loved by your husband and have a great marriage, but if you’re not, that doesn’t change your worth and value as a human being. That’s a really good message to those of us who are husbands who don’t always do the best as well!

He also tells women that if they want to influence their husbands (You can’t change him. You can only influence him.), they must be connected to God first. The relationship with Him is always primary. If a husband puts a wife above God or a wife puts her husband above God, it will only damage the marriage.

Thomas also shares in the book the main saying behind his Sacred Marriage. What if God didn’t create marriage to make us happy, but to make us holy? It’s too easy to look at the relationship and say you’re not happy anymore so it’s time to get out. Thomas encourages women to fill their heads with Scripture and be just as eager to be supportive wives of their husbands as they were on day one.

Thomas also shares a statistic that should surprise many wives. In a survey done, husbands said they love their wives more than their wives love them. While we can consider many men might exaggerate in a survey and how the question was asked, many men I know could say the same kind of thing. Husbands can often feel like we don’t matter.

Thomas encourages wives to realize as James 3 says, that we all stumble in many ways. No husband is perfect, and I fully confess that that includes me. Have grace for him. You are not going to find a husband who is perfect in every way. He’s going to make mistakes.

It could be tempting to look at his weaknesses and compare them to someone else’s strengths. This would be unfair to him. It undermines your husband’s strengths and the other man’s weaknesses. Let your husband be himself and have grace when he falls.

Also, we want you to be happy when you see us, as Thomas says. Thomas tells about a bus driver who the people are so happy when he shows up and they can finally get to their destination. The driver says in his account that he wishes his wife would look at him with such joy when he got home.

This gets us to Thomas’s first rule. Stop taking your husband for granted. Yes. We husbands can do this too. Marry the girl and then sit on the couch watching TV and don’t romance them. Yes. And you know what many husbands also say? Their wives could hardly keep their hands off of them when they were dating and they were fully excited about them, but after that ring comes on, they lose interest. Keep in mind, neither side is right in treating the other like that. Both of them changed. Thomas encourages women to love, accept, and honor their imperfect husband.

Btw, a little caveat here. In all of this, Thomas says he is assuming you are married to a good man who is really trying hard to please you. He is not talking about someone who is abusive to you or someone who is watching pornography and being unrepentant.

Thomas also says guys rise to praise. You build a man up by praising him. You tear him down by criticizing him. This isn’t just husbands and wives. This is also mothers and sons and other relationships between males and females.

Wives can also often stew privately with themselves asking why their men don’t do XYZ. Why don’t we? Simple. We don’t know what to do. Romance does not come naturally to a man and too many women have the Disney Princess or fairy tale fantasy of their guy being perfect. He’s not. We men just don’t know what do and we honestly hate that. Women. Please stop trying to hint to us what you want. Just tell us directly.

Sheila Wray Gregoire has written as an example on ten ways to indicate to your husband he’s going to be getting lucky this evening. The tenth way is to just say it. This way works the best. As an example of how hints don’t work, my own wife has told me about times when she’s been in the mood and I missed it and….

*Steps away from writing to go and mourn*

Okay. Where was I? Oh. Yeah. Don’t hint.

Thomas does say it’s a myth that the more your husband loves you, the more he’ll be able to read your mind. It’s a very sweet myth. It’s also total nonsense. It just doesn’t work.

Thomas also says husbands work hard to please their wives because we respond to praise and our wives adore us. Be disappointed around us and let down and we lose motivation. If we think we’re not impressing you, it kills our motivation to try. Should we try anyway? Yes. Still, women can make it far easier on their husbands.

He also tells about Laura Doyle who wrote The Surrendered Wife. Doyle went and asked husbands what they wanted from their wives. She figured her husband wanted the same things then. What did she do? Stopped nagging, cut out complaints and criticisms, let him lead in major decisions, and here comes the really controversial one, sex whenever he wanted it. Believe it or not, she got a fabulous husband out of the deal! Does it always work that way? No. Is it more likely that things will work that way? Yes.

Thomas also encourages women to not talk to their husbands the way they talk to their mother, sisters, girl friends, etc. If you want him to turn off the TV and just talk, good luck. At the end of the day, men can often want to turn their minds off. (Not an ironclad rule. I can do some great work at night, but usually if I’m watching TV, I don’t want serious discussion then.)

Bottom line here. Your husband won’t think or act like a woman. Don’t expect him to. Ironically, I also think we husbands tend to expect our wives to think and act like men. (Hey. Sex is free fun and bonding and we both like it, so why wouldn’t she want to? She doesn’t? Well, I guess she doesn’t really care about me. It really is amazing to read advice for wives and realize we husbands have our own counterparts.)

Thomas also says men don’t like to talk about painful feelings and emotions. Women like to work them out. Men don’t because the discussion themselves actually hurts them. They need time to process things. If you see your husband in pain over an emotion, just listen for the time being and give him a few hours to process things. Push and he will just react negatively. Why do men stonewall and such then? It’s self-defense. We avoid the talk because it is painful.

It’s also said that men when asked what they want, after sex and affirmation, said they want to have fun without feeling guilty. If a man asks for excessive time out, that’s one thing, but if he just wants one night a week to go hang out with the guys or just wants to watch a football game or play a video game some, let him. Don’t guilt him. I have actually said something I like is when my wife watches me plays video games and is supportive.

Sometime ago we had a friend over and he was working on my wife’s bass so I decided to play some Mega Man 11. Unfortunately, I kept having a hard time on a level and my wife loved to point it out. She asked why I was getting upset and my friend, a single guy, said, “Because you’re hurting his manhood.” Does that sound silly? Perhaps, but it’s also true. The message a man gets is “You’re incapable.” Men hate that message.

Thomas also has some sections on common concerns. The first is a husband who is angry. Now every husband has some anger and not all anger is wrong. Insult my wife on Facebook and watch that anger come out of me. When we do get angry with our wives, including me, we regret it. We’re ashamed. Help us out of that and you do a tremendous service.

One situation described is one my wife and I dealt with. My wife likes to go out to eat. I don’t care for it. Then sometime recently, my wife said “I like to do that because it’s something we do together.” That changes it. For me, I am not a food person and it’s kind of a necessary evil. My Princess had thought I saw this the same way. I don’t. Now that gives us something to work on. The example given in the book is shopping. A guy will normally not want to just go shopping, especially if he likes to make sure the money is secure. Instead, tell him you want to go out just because you want to be with him and you don’t have to buy anything. He’ll be much more open.

Thomas also says to properly challenge. Stand up to your husband not in disrespect, but in respect. “Honey. You’re better than this.  You’re hurting yourself and us. Be the man I want you to be here.” That will work so much better.

What about helping your husband become more involved at home? How many guys seem married to their work. Here’s one tip that comes to my mind immediately. Men tend to go where the respect is. If he thinks work gives him more respect than you, well guess where he will more often go. Again, that doesn’t make it right, but it does explain it. The same happens with hobbies. If a man feels a greater sense of accomplishment beating a boss on Final Fantasy than he gets with his wife, guess where he will more likely go to.

In this case, the wife changed herself and learned to be supportive and asked the husband what he wanted. One simple request was to prepare meals the kids like. Why? He wanted to come home to a peaceful home. The wife would just insist the kids eat what she gave them and that caused friction. A husband wants to come home to peace and not to more friction.

The wife also worked on being in a good mood around her husband. He also wanted her to be more fun. Go on fishing and hunting trips with him. I remember one story being told elsewhere about a guy who wanted his wife to join him on a hunting trip. They sat all day in one spot waiting for ducks to come. Nothing happened. Nothing. The wife considered it a waste. On the way back, the husband remarked how awesome it was. Why? They were doing something together he enjoyed and she wasn’t complaining. And no wives, they weren’t there having sex when the ducks weren’t coming. You can do things with your husband he will enjoy and appreciate besides sex.

All of this also came from a new commitment to Christ by the wife. What happened? Her husband wanted to come home. A husband will also change for a wife who shows commitment to him. If he thinks her commitment is growing lax, his tendency is to change his as well. Men want to know their wives will be with them in everything. If they don’t think that, it’s like a betrayal to them.

Also, if a man loves a woman and he realizes his actions hurt her, it causes him pain. Recently, a therapist told me that Allie and I weren’t emotionally connecting. It was hurting Allie. Allie told me the same thing when I asked her. I can assure you there was deep repentance for me. The last thing a good husband wants to do is to hurt his wife.

The third scenario is about pornography. Many men out there do not have this struggle, such as myself, but most all husband struggle with sex in some way. One simple statement made at the start is we are hooked and helpless in the face of female beauty. If I’m sitting on the couch minding my own business reading a book or watching TV, my wife can say “I’m going to get a shower” and my ears perk up immediately. If there is any beauty I will do most anything to pursue, it is my wife’s.

If you are a wife who has a husband who takes sexual integrity seriously, strives to avoid porn and compromising situations, and is faithful, be grateful. Don’t take him for granted. He really is trying and he may seem like a sex pervert still, but that part of his brain is really larger than yours and so it comes to his mind much much more often.

He also stresses that if a wife wants more of an emotional connection, she MUST supply the sexual. This is not an option. A man finds it hard to focus in many other areas if his sexual needs aren’t being met. It’s like cutting him off from his energy source and expecting him to perform still.

There are other benefits. Sex is a number one time that men release that oxytocin in their bodies, which is the bonding chemical. It will also make him see you more attractive and other women less attractive. Sexual coasting in a relationship and ignoring this part will ALWAYS damage the relationship. Shut a man down sexually and he will have a hard time being emotionally close to you.

Also, this is not just a physical need for a man. It may feel that way to a wife, but to him, it’s emotional and even spiritual. A man being told no to sex is not being told no to sex in his mind, but no to him as a person. He is rejected as a person every time. In our minds, our wives are irresistible and we would jump at most any chance to have sex. When we are told no, our minds tell us we’re not seen the same way. Wives. If you want your husbands to treat you differently, and they should want that on your own, do your part. Make sex a priority. For your husband, if sex is not a priority, HE is not a priority.

Also with this, do this with joy. A man doesn’t want pity sex. His pride can work in your favor. If you can work and enjoy the act, your husband will be delighted to see your pleasure and think to himself, “I did that.” If you’re exhausted and smiling, that is a huge boost to our honor. Just try and see if this makes a difference. A husband wants to be sexually satisfied, but he also wants to sexually satisfy his wife.

To go back to Sheila Wray Gregoire, she actually says that sex wards off many illnesses, including mental illnesses and cancers, can help relieve stress, and can help women sleep better. The question is not, “Do I owe my husband sex?” It’s “If God created something this great, why would I want to miss out on it?”

Thomas asks a question of wives. “How much are you helping your husband walk in sexual holiness?” If you are shutting him down regularly and blocking him off and not enjoying him, it is a battle for him. Do otherwise, and you will reap great rewards.

Pornography interferes with this and should never be an option. A wife needs to be graceful but firm. Realize that this is a struggle for your husband, but make it clear he can’t have both. This could be a rare case where sexual abstinence could be good. If your husband is watching porn, you fear he will be thinking of that actress instead of you and you won’t have it. You want to be the only woman on his mind.

And husbands, please understand this. Wives are devastated when they find out that you’ve been watching porn. They start questioning their sexual desirability and ability and then their own identities as women. If you are watching this stuff, please stop now. Even if you are single, please stop now. If you marry, it will be that much harder on her. If you are not, porn is still a dishonorable activity that dishonors all women.

Remember this can be a battle for men because we are visually oriented and just the sight of our wives’ bodies and we’re ready to go. If I walk into the bedroom sometime and my wife is changing and I didn’t realize it, I just stand transfixed for some time normally. I can totally forget why I came in there to begin with. It’s just like that. I am in awe of the most beautiful sight I have ever seen.

Thomas also says that if you are married, part of your responsibilities as a wife is regular sex. You don’t get married and then say you’re going to choose celibacy. That would be like your husband marrying you and then saying “I’m going to cut out all this romance stuff. I don’t need it and it doesn’t do anything for me.”

The next problem dealt with is an internet affair. The solution to this is similar to the porn situation. Take interest in what your husband is taking interest in and be there for him. People go after other relationships because they’re not getting what they want elsewhere. It’s not justified still, but we can make it easier. Never put your spouse on the shelf and leave them feeling ignored. Wives can make their husbands feel sexually ignored and husbands can make their wives feel emotionally ignored. Growint together is by degrees. So is growing apart.

The final scenario is a husband who is an unbeliever. In this case, the wife realized she was often needed and many husbands just aren’t emotionally expressive. The wife had to be patient and couldn’t do what I call Mission Impossible Christianity where she had to get her husband to Jesus then and there. Give him time. Amusingly, she once hated his obsession with fly-fishing until she went with him one time. Now she thoroughly enjoys it. Also, your husband can never meet all your needs, just like no wife can meet all of her husband’s needs. Go to God first.

This is an excellent book, but I do wish one thing had been added. That would be a message to wives about female beauty. So many wives can beat themselves up so much over how they look and we men are just standing there thinking “What are you talking about?” Wives. Please do not criticize your appearance. We adore how you look regardless of what you think. Just trust us with that. Try the risk. See if you share yourselves with us regularly what happens.

I do encourage wives to get this to learn about loving their husbands, but husbands like myself can benefit from it too. I found out many things about the way that I think. It seems that a good rule is most anything that Gary Thomas writes about marriage is good and this is no exception.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: Christianity At The Religious Round Table

What do I think of Timothy Tennent’s book published by Baker Academic? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

In the past, a Christian growing up would likely never encounter a Hindu, a Buddhist, or a Muslim, at least in a place like America. Now, you encounter them in a wide number of places. A church my wife and I attend has a ministry to Indian people in the area. Many Hollywood celebrities practice Buddhism. Oprah Winfrey regularly shares Eastern thought on her broadcasts. Islam seems to always be in the news and 9/11 has a permanent memory with many of us.

Even if a Christian lives out somewhere in the boondocks surrounded by Christians, if they get on the internet, they will encounter other worldviews. Nowadays, learning about other worldviews for a Christian is not just an option. It is mandatory.

Fortunately, Timothy Tennent has written a book where he does interact with other worldviews from the perspective of one who has spent some time in serious study of those worldviews. Tennent gives a brief explanation of major ideas in Hindu, Buddhist, and Islamic thought. Then he has a dialogue with holders of those worldviews and lets us see how the interaction is to take place.

He also has three bonus sections at the end that aren’t dialogue, but do look at how one interacts with other religions and how some have done it in history. Anyone interested in interacting with this kind of thought needs to go through this area as well. There is also a section beforehand on different views of exclusivism and inclusivism so Christians can see where they fall on the spectrum.

The information in the book is certainly excellent. Be warned that when many of us read sections on Hinduism and Buddhism, self included, it is easy to get lost. This is because you really do get to see how different Eastern thought is from the way that we generally think and the terminology is terminology that we are not familiar with. I don’t think this is the fault of Tennent at all when it’s sometimes hard to follow. I think it’s just that we’re so far away from the system that we don’t know how to process it.

Some people might be surprised that the information on Islam doesn’t cover terrorism. The book was published after 9/11, but I suspect Tennent wanted to focus more on the doctrinal issues than that. That could be a good topic of further dialogue in the future if one is interested.

If anything would be changed, I would have liked to have seen some names attached to the participants in the dialogue and perhaps rather than just long pieces, have more immediate give and take like a conversation. Names would have made the dialogue seem more personable. Perhaps we should have some sections of longer parts and some of shorter parts. For shorter parts, I think of the writings of Peter Kreeft he has, such as those with Socrates.

Still, if you want some good information on these beliefs, this book is an excellent place to go. You will walk away with a better understanding of these worldviews. Again, you have to have this knowledge if you want to be effective today.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: The Meal Jesus Gave Us

What do I think of N.T. Wright’s book published by Westminster John Knox Press? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

N.T. Wright has always been a favorite writer of mine and when I found for sale on Kindle a book he wrote on the Lord’s Supper, I had to get it. This has been an object of study for me lately. I do tend to hold to more of a symbolic remembrance view. My ultimate position is that it doesn’t matter for discipleship which view it is. Jesus said to come to the table and that’s it.

Wright begins his book by going back in time to the Exodus and the Passover meal there. From there, we go to about 200 B.C. where a Jewish family is celebrating and acting as if they were there for the Exodus. This is then tied into the Lord’s Supper.

We then go into much more of the history. I do wish some more had been said about the Church Fathers, but Wright mainly wants to focus on the meaning of the meal. For him, the meaning of the meal is to remind us of what Jesus did and to tie all of time together as it were. We take a past event, the crucifixion of Jesus followed by His resurrection, and then we look forward to His future return and our resurrection, and we celebrate both of those in the present moment.

We also come to celebrate our unity together as a body. We are all Christians and we are all thinking about Jesus and what He did for us. We are all becoming aware of our sins and how we need to live better for the cause of Christ and how He is the Lord of us. We are thinking about just as Israel was delivered from slavery under Pharaoh, so it is that we are delivered from slavery under sin.

When he does look at the Reformation, he does get to the debate between Luther and Zwingli and he brings out some interesting facts, such as the young scholar standing in the background of their discussion who knew Aramaic and knew both of them were getting it wrong. Had something happened that Luther and Zwingli could have worked together, history could have turned out very differently. Alas, it did not.

One final point he brings out is one that I have come to appreciate more and more. The table ought not to be a place of exclusion. It’s my conclusion that the only requirement for coming to the table should be that you are a Christian. The table is a place of unity and we should recognize our unity. If you are going to spend eternity with someone and are going to be at the wedding supper of the lamb with them, shouldn’t you be willing to come to the table with them?

Wright’s book is a good and short read as most of the chapters you can read in ten minutes. Wright writes in such a way that draws you in and really gets you thinking about the meal and yet he has a profound depth to him. I highly recommend this for those wanting to understand the Lord’s Supper.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: Religious Epistemology

What do I think of Tyler McNabb’s book published by Cambridge University Press? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Epistemology, the study of knowledge, is an interesting field, but it will seem contradictory to many internet atheists out there to have such a thing as religious epistemology. You can have knowledge of religious truths? How can we know anything at all if all religion is nonsense?

McNabb’s main focus on this book is to explain what is known as Reformed Epistemology. This involves someone being justified in knowing that God exists even if they don’t necessarily have the best arguments for it. He is not opposed to arguments for God’s existence and it does not mean that God necessarily exists, but it does mean that if one holds to the existence of God, they can be justified even if they don’t have arguments.

I’m not sold entirely on Reformed Epistemology yet, but it is a serious field defended by even philosophical titans like Alvin Plantinga. William Lane Craig is also a fan of this kind of argumentation. If it’s true, it would also be of great benefit to the layman in the pew who will likely never seriously have to engage with internet atheists, but will just want to know if they are really correct in holding that God exists.

Something amusing about reading these kinds of books is all the illustrations that are used to make a point. In philosophy, one can have a powerful imagination and it works to one’s benefit. Where else are you going to read accounts about swamp men rising up to clone someone or about boys being kidnapped and taken to other planets all to make some justification for a point?

All of this leads to the other point of Reformed Epistemology. If theism is true, and Christian theism is included, then our brains are in essence designed in such a way to find out that God exists. We can contrast this to a position whereby if naturalism is true, our brains are the result of a cosmic accident. This could get us into Plantinga’s Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism. Note that none of this requires arguing against evolution. It only requires that you argue against naturalism.

Yet this does not mean that natural theology is of no benefit. There is a way you can get from Reformed Epistemology to natural theology. After all, even if you can be justified in believing that God exists without explicit argument, that doesn’t mean you don’t want to reach the other people out there who don’t share that belief in the existence of God. This is another great reason to have good arguments so you can be better prepared to reach those who need to know the reality of God.

One final benefit. This book is short. As far as content goes minus endnotes and references and such, it’s less than 50 pages. You can get a good and quick guide from a well-respected publisher and know something about the issue in a single evening. Check it out.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: The Lost World of the Torah

What do I think about Walton and Walton’s book published by IVP? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Several years ago, Weird Al came out with a song called “Everything You Know Is Wrong.” One could say that if the Waltons are right, everything you know about the Law is wrong. The Waltons come with a new way of reading the Torah that is not without controversy, but those who disagree will still have something to think about.

The book starts the usual way with the idea that Torah is an ancient document. This seems like something so simple and obvious, but it is easily missed. Too many times, we take the text and then thrust it into our modern context and assume the writers of the Old Testament were writing from the same cultural context that we are.

What is important in understanding any ancient work is not just what is said, but the world in which it is said. The background knowledge of the text makes all the difference. There are some things my wife and I can say to each other that will make each of us laugh that you are not likely to understand as an outsider. The reason is the simple word or words bring out memories that are funny based on our background knowledge.

Getting into the meat of the matter, the first major section is that the law codes are not legislation. If we took just one law in America in all of its fullness, it could very well be longer than the Torah itself. We cover every possible rule and scenario we can think of. Not so in the ancient world. It was more guidelines there. It could be seen as wisdom literature. One scenario I was surprised was not mentioned at this point was Solomon. Solomon wanted to know how to rule over the people. He never figured, “I have the Law so I have everything that I need.” No. He asked for wisdom and in his famous scenario of the two prostitutes and the baby, that wisdom won the day.

The next is that other cultures had rituals serving to meet the needs of the gods. The gods needed food and everything else and man was meant to supply them in exchange for blessings from the gods. Not so with YHWH who needed nothing. Israel was chosen for entirely different reasons.

Instead, Israel was chosen and rituals were done to maintain covenant order, which is the next major point. We should read the Law as a covenant. In this, the recipients of the covenant would swear loyalty to the sovereign and in exchange, the sovereign would give them blessings. Covenant is so huge in understanding the Law that we will go wrong if we do not see it that way. If we see it as just a random set of rules to be followed, we miss the point.

From there, we get to the ongoing usage. For one thing, the New Testament quotations of the Law do not show how it was necessarily understood by its first recipients. The purpose of the Law was also not to provide salvation. It also should not be divided into different kinds of law such as ceremonial and cultic. Most challenging today perhaps is that we should not go and get prooftexts to settle moral disputes today. We should read it as it was written.

There is also a very helpful section at the end dealing with the Ten Commandments. It’s a quite thorough look that can actually deal with many atheistic statements about the Ten Commandments one encounters today. The Waltons show how the Ten Commandments fit into a covenant system.

I thought it would have been helpful to have more examples of how the Torah should be read. Perhaps take a section and show how we read it today and then give an explanation from there on how they would have understood it. There is much in the book that will be debated and I can’t say I’m entirely sold on it yet, but there is certainly a lot of food for thought to consider.

In Christ,
Nick Peters