The Gospel of Sex: Dating, Relating, and Mating is one of the clearest, most balanced, and practical books on the subject of dating, sex, and relationships.
Author Dustin Hall does a masterful job of applying just the right balance between common sense and logic to the often difficult topic of sex, dating, and relationships. He then follows up with a well-reasoned plea that is solidly biblical but not guilt-inducing.
In his introduction, he is straightforward and unapologetic about why he wrote the book: “Christianity as a whole has been hitting and missing on this topic for far too long. And it’s getting much worse, as we’ll discover together in this book. But that’s why I’m writing—it is time for believers to make a stand and present the lifestyle that Christ wants all of us to live, including young people like you” (7). Hall couches his core message of abstinence in two core ideas:
- A teen’s abstinence should be based on a simple but profound response of obedience, which comes from thankfulness and gratefulness for God’s gift of salvation toward them.
- A teen’s abstinence should be based on the logical premise that sex before or after marriage (with anyone other than their spouse) is simply not in their own best interest (nor in others’ best interest). It only serves to complicate their lives and the lives of others in compounded and unimaginable ways. To put it in terms that a teenager can understand: “If you choose to have sex now, you won’t be able to live your best life now!”
Hall does a masterful job of writing with a successful and effective recipe that mixes Bible verses, relevant quotes, and actual teen vignettes narratives. He also has a unique and wonderful way of weaving everything together in a lively and quick-paced writing style. Hall describes and explains very difficult topics, such as the emotional consequences of premarital sex, the brain chemistry changes involved in sexual activity, and associated clinical research. But what I appreciate most about his writing style is that he then takes the next [needed and crucial] step and effectively “connects the dots,” so to speak, for the reader and applies what he is writing about to how it will affect (either positively or negatively) the reader.
Last, the chapters are clean, direct, and short. Hall does not shy away from both describing and discussing sexually transmitted diseases—along with statistics (something I rarely see in a Christian book on this topic)—and talking directly to the parents of teens!
I wish Pastor Hall would have included more true-life testimonials and stories of youth who made both good and bad decisions related to this topic—and of what the consequences were. Testimonials—especially for teenagers—are a powerful and effective teaching tool.
However, overall, this is an amazing, well-researched, and well-written book. As both a trained and certified sex educator and mental health counselor, I will require this book to be read by all my teen clients—and their parents!
The author discusses real issues in a straightforward but compassionate way. The book covers goals, being the light, love, sexually transmitted diseases, sexual bonding, lies, starting over, sex and marriage, straight talk, and straight talk to parents.
I highly recommend this book and look forward to further books from the author.