Book Notes: Hope and Holiness: How the Gospel Enables and Empowers Sexual Purity

This important book tackles what is perhaps the greatest enemy facing Christians today. Sexual sin is nothing new, but the epidemic of pornography and its consequences have devastated the church and ruined the lives and ministries of pastors from every denomination. John Fonville knows that there is no miracle cure for this disease, but he develops a strategy for combating it that is firmly grounded in biblical principles and practical application. It is a manual of self-discipline rooted in submission to the Word of God and a close relationship with Jesus Christ, and very much needed by everyone active in church life today.

Gerald Bray, Research professor of divinity, Beeson Divinity School

When the world is more and more aggressively seeking to pressure Christians to conform their teaching, morals, and behavior to its godless standards, the importance of carefully argued cases for the maintenance of biblical values has never been greater. When so many church leaders and teachers are proclaiming the necessity for Christians to follow the world’s lead in the downward rush to sexual and moral impurity, we need to revisit Paul’s injunction that we should not be conformed to the world but be transformed by the renewal of our minds (Rom. 12:2). When the faculty members of far too many theological colleges seem to be dedicated to teaching their students godless reasons why they should not believe the Bible, we need to spare no effort to proclaim the glories of the Christ, who is the central content of the Bible. John Fonville’s study, focusing mainly on the teaching of Paul in his first epistle to the Corinthians, is a timely response to secular society’s growing rejection of God’s revealed will regarding sexual behavior, gender identity, and marriage. This is a timely reminder of the clear biblical teaching about the implications of the gospel for the way we regard and use our bodies.

Graeme Goldsworthy, Former lecturer in Old Testament, Biblical Theology, and Hermeneutics at Moore Theological College, Sydney

How can Christians find, keep, and enjoy sexual purity in a sex-crazed culture (first-century Corinth or twenty-first-century America)? Steps, programs, regret, fear of discovery, and willpower may apply brakes that slow the heart’s momentum toward shameful fantasies and deeds. But they cannot break the tyranny of lust. Paul showed the Christians of Corinth that only the grace of God in Christ—redeeming, forgiving, transforming grace—can actually break the power of reigning sin and set its captives free. John Fonville’s Hope and Holiness opens up for us, clearly, deeply, and movingly, the apostle’s good news of liberty in Jesus. As the testimonies throughout affirm, believers who have been frustrated and disillusioned by the failures of other strategies will find new, true hope here—in the crucified, risen, ruling Savior and His ever-present Spirit.

Dennis E. Johnson, Professor emeritus of practical theology, Westminster Seminary California

In this lively, engaging, and thoughtful meditation on 1 Corinthians 6, John Fonville charts a map of the gospel-driven sexual life, a life moved by the gospel, shaped by God’s moral law, and lived in union with Christ to whom we belong both body and soul.

R. Scott Clark, Professor of Church History and Historical theology, Westminster Seminary California; President, Heidelberg Reformation Association


    Post authored by:

  • Heidelblog
    Author Image

    The Heidelblog has been in publication since 2007. It is devoted to recovering the Reformed confession and to helping others discover Reformed theology, piety, and practice.

    More by Heidelblog ›

Subscribe to the Heidelblog today!

One comment

  1. Not exactly on topic; but Memorial Presbyterian Church (Greg Johnson, pastor) has called a congregational meeting for this month to leave the PCA. I am immeasurably more optimistic after this move.

Comments are closed.