Book Review: The Final Freedom by Douglas Weiss

The Final Freedom by Douglas Weiss has many good psychological observations toward the sexual dominating problems of the human species.  His observations come from years of study and counseling practices.  He does, however, only give lip service to the spiritual transforming power of God and then only as a “greater power,” but not what Scripture describes of what the Lord Jesus Christ can do in a humble and broken person dependent on the Holy Spirit.
I
 was asked to read this book to get my perspective on it.  There is a great deal of truth and objective observations of the problems of people who have rejected God and in the downward spiral (Rom. 1:21-32) and those who have accepted the gift of salvation, but are in the downward spiral (Eph. 4:17-19). He gives many humanistic approaches to gain human strength to defeat sexual immorality, but he falls far short of the life giving power that God outlines in Scripture.

I can’t help but acknowledge the horrendous consequences of sexual immorality, whether solo sex (M, pornography, imaginations) or with others (fornication, adultery, etc.).  Paul makes it very clear, “Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. (1 Cor. 6:18)  Sexual immorality distorts the thinking in tragic ways that may need great diligence to overcome by prayer and fasting and a total commitment to God’s provision for victory over life-dominating sin.  There are many biblical exercises under the power of the Holy Spirit that are needed.  The twelve steps that Weiss relies upon may have helped some people, but while it gives some credit to a greater power, it falls short of the beauty of God’s living and powerful Word in God’s grace and Holy Spirit’s  transformation.

I respect Weiss’ descriptions of sexual immorality and resultant observations.  He is digging far deeper into the problem than most pastors and counselors are willing to dig.  But he also relies upon humanistic solutions, patterns and exercises.  I don’t see him calling sin – sin.  Nor does he give a good gospel presentation.  I respect his words to “his religious friends,” and the problems with Christian leaders who have given superficial, inadequate and unmerciful advice.  I have great compassion for many people who have been hurt by those who portend to represent God, but because of their own lack of spiritual growth and mixed humanistic suggestions and solutions cause harm in the name of the Lord.  We Christian leaders ought to be held accountable for foolishness and giving unbiblical counsel.  I respect that Weiss will stick with a soul struggling with sexual domination over a Christian leader who gives an exhortation and pushes someone on their way.  In many ways, Weiss has likely helped many people.  My grave fear is that by mixing human solutions with Truth, there is a far reaching greater poison that inoculates people from God and makes them less dependent on His work of sanctification.  I do not recommend this book unless someone is on red alert for material of humanistic content.  There are some observations with several practical exercises that if based on Scripture may be helpful to some people. 

There are two corresponding workbooks.  The first is called “A Christian Guide for Sex Addiction Recovery.”  It contains many good suggestions for practical exercises.  However, it also mixes humanistic solutions that many unsuspecting people would not realize are anti-biblical.  The second is “Christian 12 Step Guide for Sex Addiction Recovery.”  This is an exercise workbook of how to adapt Sexual Immorality to the 12 Step program.  I believe there are many practical exercises that can be gained by only using the Bible that would be much more helpful. 

Book Review: Sexual healing: A Biblical Guide to finding freedom from Sexual Sin and Brokenness by David Kyle Foster

Sexual healing: A Biblical Guide to finding freedom from Sexual Sin and Brokenness by David Kyle Foster. There has been a multitude of books on sexual addition, pornography and seeking purity in life. David Foster has added a significant dimension to the discussion in several areas.  His transparency of his own sexual addiction gives him credibility for writing on the subject and for following his suggestions on restoration to pursuing purity with Jesus Christ.  Yet his use of God’s Word is even more important and helpful to a man who wants the transforming power of God’s Spirit from spiritual misery to heavenly holiness.

He lays the Foundation in Part One where he addresses five helpful issues.  The “Foundations for Healing Sexual Brokenness” focuses solely on the Lord Jesus and the inability of anything a person can do on his own to help himself.   His character descriptions of God are helpful as a sexual addict seeks God’s power to be transformed.  Chapter two, “God, My Father,” doesn’t lay blame on earthly fathers, but explains God the Father’s design for how to relate to Him, because of how He relates to us.   It is clear, balanced and inviting.  Chapter three, “Living by Grace Rather Than Performance,” establishes that grace is not a license to sin, but a freedom to live by God’s grace, rather than by rules or performance. Excellent principles amplify the clarity of God’s grace in healing sexual addiction.  Chapter four, “The Divine Intent for Sexuality,” delineates God’s wholesome purposes for sex and how God completes individuals supernaturally.  And Chapter five, “Root sources for Improper Sexual Development,” develops a broad understanding of all the competing influences into a man’s life that can support him or pull him crashing down.

His Part Two examines specific sexual sin areas.  These are good chapters.  The two chapters on homosexuality became old, because the sin, while gaining a strong foothold in society also leaves an odious taste.  I confess I need to be patient and keep growing in understanding this aberrant behavior.  The chapter on the M word approached the selfishness of the act in a way that was very helpful.  Fortunately many writers expose the selfish sin of M, but Foster relates the vivid memory explosions that litter a man’s mind of one who dabbles and becomes addicted to the action.  He also explains well how it can dreadfully harm a marriage, but he gives great hope for the man who will pursue God’s way of freedom to holiness.

David Foster has added a significant dimension to the sexual addiction discussion.  Because of the insidious nature of pornography and sexual immorality, men (and women) need to be led into God’s word through helpful tools like this.  May God grant men freedom from this horrible epidemic.

Sandusky Fiasco

Andrew Schmutzer, professor at Moody Bible Institute, wrote an excellent article on the aftermath of the retired football coach Jerry Sandusky in the EFCA digital monthly update.  Sandusky was convicted of 45 of 48 counts against him in the Penn State sexual abuse fiasco.  It is certainly a time for soul-searching for all of us – again.  I don’t write to add judgment against Sandusky, but I don’t write to make excuses for his wicked actions.

Schmutzer said there were two lessons we should grapple with on this national spotlight.  First, there was a “collective moral failure at Penn State which revealed the danger of motivated blindness.”  It wasn’t just Sandusky, but reporting “up the chain” failed to prevent a school littered with broken lives.  Money blinded the leadership.  Secondly, there is a “problem of disenfranchised grief.” Schmutzer writes,

 

The cultural shame that kept Sandusky’s victims silent for so long, including his own adopted son, also works its poison in the ‘sacred silence’ of our churches.  Faith communities promote the disenfranchised grief of victims when sexual abuse:

·         Is not holistically understood

·         Is not intentionally named

·         Is not publicly mourned

·         Is not educationally framed

·         Is not homiletically engaged.

There are few actions that will leave a darker blot on the life of the church than sexual abuse.  My prayer as I reflect on our policies at Grace is that we never want to get close to allowing an environment where “it could happen.”  I’m thankful for the leadership implementing policies for adult/child teaching and shepherding relationships as well as policies related to male/female appearances of evil.

Let me ask you to assess what we do so that something like this would never be named at Grace.  May we always be a place where all people can feel safe and protected from any predator and that we would practice biblical discipline should any appearance of evil be noted.