What do I think of Sean McDowell’s book published by B&H Books? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
“All you need is love.
All you need is love.
All you need is love, love.
Love is all you need.”
So said those great philosophers decades ago, the Beatles. So says modern culture today. Many girls grow up with a dream of that Prince Charming who will come up and sweep them off their feet and take them away to a life of bliss. Many guys tend to think more physically and think about getting married and having constant sex with their wives. Both sexes have legitimate desires.
Yet love is one of the most confused topics in our culture today and this is what Sean McDowell is writing about. His writing is aimed mainly at teenagers. Thus, it’s really easy for anyone to understand. The chapters are short and you could read on just one chapter of your choice at a time if you wanted to. Each chapter also ends with a question that McDowell answers.
It’s clear in this that he’s spoken to a lot of teenagers and knows what is on their minds. That’s great and needed. He is also not legalistic. Nothing in this book remotely gets close to the idea that sex is some dirty and taboo subject. (And yes, there does seem to be a connection in the book and in our culture between sex and love)
McDowell works to set up the idea that sex is God’s idea and gives us a theological basis for how to think about sex. This is absolutely essential I think as too many people, including Christians, do not have a worldview place for sex. Sometimes it can seem like a happy accident, but I honestly cannot fathom how someone can have sex and think of it as just an accident of the universe.
McDowell encourages students to look at the sexual ethic of Jesus found in Scripture and practice purity. However, if someone does mess up, he’s there with grace as well and to show that God has grace for you. He also says if you are abused, it is not your fault, which is 100% true. There are also chapters on hot button issues like homosexuality and transgenderism.
So anything I would change? Yes. I think more needs to be said on some topics.
For one thing, Sean McDowell’s Dad, Josh McDowell, has said that pornography is the greatest threat the Christian faith has ever faced. Even if that’s not true, and I think it certainly could be, it is a great threat that we face. Unfortunately, I don’t think there’s enough time spent on that topic. I would have at least a few chapters devoted to it.
By the way, pornography is not just a guy’s problem. It has largely appealed to men, but it is becoming more and more appealing to women and many women have no place they think they can go to talk about it. Too often when guys get together to discuss their struggles, sex is all they talk about. For the women, it’s the opposite as sex can be rarely talked about.
With that comes another issue that needs to be discussed and that is sexting. Even if a woman isn’t engaged in pornography, she is affected by it. Too often, boyfriends are just assumed to be watching porn and women think they have to compete with that. If so, then a woman is more prone to send pictures of herself completely topless to guys. Women can feel more pressured to go further thinking it is necessary to keep a guy.
This should also touch on social media. Nowadays, when kids get home, they have sexual pressure on the internet as well. Think about the story of Amanda Todd. It’s so prevalent out there that I just typed in three words to remember her last name. Amanda, flashing, suicide. Ten hits on the first page all about her and the last one was something about the most beautiful suicide girls of all time. Yeah. Lovely stuff.
So anyway, this girl is apparently on a video chat one day and a guy convinces her to lift up her shirt so her breasts can be seen. She does and the image is stored forever and the guy ends up stalking her. He threatens to share the picture everywhere and even uses it as his Facebook page image and he regularly created new accounts to stalk Todd. Before she was even 18, Todd had hung herself.
The pressure is real.
I think in light of events like this, definitely more needs to be said about social media and sex. If someone like Ravi Zacharias isn’t even safe from doing sexting, we definitely need to say more about it. Too many kids are playing with sex not knowing the powerhouse that it really is. Movies and sitcoms and other shows often show a lot of the pleasures without any of the side-effects which can be physical, psychological, emotional, and I would add in spiritual.
So thus, McDowell’s book is great as is, but I want to see more added on to it. Perhaps if he releases a future edition, he can include more on these topics. Our young people are entering territory that is completely new and they need guidance.
(And I affirm the virgin birth)