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Book Review: Desire and Deceit: The Real Cost of the New Sexual Tolerance by R. Albert Mohler Jr.

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Christians everywhere are surrounded by an ever increasing level of sexual permissiveness in our post-modern society. With pluralism, moral relativism, and subjective truth as the philosophical crown jewels in the modern Western worldview, even mainstream churches are being swept away by the floods of sexual tolerance. With homosexual pastors preaching from the pulpit, same-sex marriages gaining ground, and pornography running rife throughout the church, R. Albert Mohler Jr. takes a solid stand on the word of God as the standard for all relationships and behaviour.

Presenting an overview of the infiltration of sexual tolerance throughout society, Mohler is a trustworthy guide through the treacherous landscape of false doctrine, cultural implications, effects on manhood and the family, etc. in Desire and Deceit. Mohler fills the pages of this brief, yet vitally relevant volume with lucid, thought-provoking prose that pulls no punches. In a world filled with compromise, Mohler is anything but, clinging to God’s word as the only standard for human sexuality

Mohler contrasts the modern, secular viewpoints of lust and homosexuality with the orthodox Christian response to ungodly arguments. As a fairly new believer I was always confused by the growing acceptance of homosexuality within the church when the Bible seems so clear on the topic. Mohler’s examination of the growth of the modern homosexual movement, and the flawed theology this movement is based upon are laid out in order that Christians may be equipped to deal with these questions as they walk in the world daily.

Though Mohler cuts to the chase and isn’t afraid to step on toes, these rebuttals of today’s free-for-all stance on sexuality are far from being condemning. He continually points readers towards Christ, and makes clear the fact that we are all of us sinners — the sins of the heart no less damning than those of the loins. With this clearly in mind, it becomes clear that Mohler’s perspective is balanced, free from legalistic overtones, and filled with grace. He seeks not to vilify those leading sexual lifestyles in contrast to God’s design, but rather to inform Christians of the dangers, and cultural ramifications inherent in accepting the all too common moral stance, “Do whatever you like, as long as no one gets hurt.” All of us are desperately in need of Jesus; one sin isn’t more hell-worthy than another; and, with this in mind, Mohler’s readers are lead into a compassionate desire to pray for those suffering in bondage.

Statements such as the following reveal Mohler’s balanced and theologically accurate view on the subject of homosexuality (to which he devotes much of his treatise.)

“Salvation and repentance must be preached to homosexuals –- and to heterosexuals as well. East of Eden, not one of us has come before God as sexually pure and whole, even if we have never committed an illicit sexual act. Our ministry to homosexuals is not as the sinless ministering to sinners, but as fellow sinners who bear testimony to the reality of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.”

Presented as a compact hardcover, I read through Desire and Deceit rapidly. It provides a concise exploration of modern sexual mores and their Christian rebuttal while remaining charmingly readable. Mohler has been accused of writing in a scholarly voice, but I found his thoughtful reasoning charming. I won’t be adding ‘polymorphous perversity’ to my daily vocabulary anytime soon, but I found his work forthright and delightful to read.

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About Jennifer Bogart