A Review Of Denny Burk, “What Is The Meaning Of Sex?” Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2013. 262 Pp. $17.99. -- By: David W. Jones

Journal: Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood
Volume: JBMW 19:1 (Spring 2014)
Article: A Review Of Denny Burk, “What Is The Meaning Of Sex?” Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2013. 262 Pp. $17.99.
Author: David W. Jones


A Review Of Denny Burk, “What Is The Meaning Of Sex?” Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2013. 262 Pp. $17.99.

David W. Jones

Associate Professor of Christian Ethics
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
Wake Forest, North Carolina

A number of years ago I had the opportunity to hear the Christian philosopher Peter Kreeft speak on the topic, “Will there be sex in heaven?” Judging by audience reaction at the lecture, Kreeft’s talk was disappointing to most who attended, for the title of his talk was a bit of a gimmick—that is, his topic was not sexual intercourse, but sexual gender. When I received a copy of Denny Burk’s new book, What is the Meaning of Sex?, my mind went back to Kreeft’s lecture, as I wondered if Burk’s book was about intercourse or about gender. As it turns out, this volume is about intercourse, gender, and much, much more.

Denny Burk is well known to many readers of this journal, as he currently serves as the editor of The Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. Additionally, Burk is professor of biblical studies at Boyce College, and associate pastor of Kenwood Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky. Burk’s extensive speaking and previous writings on gender, marriage, parenting, and sexuality make him well qualified to write a book on the meaning of sex.

The general purpose of this book is easily inferred from its title—that is, Burk writes to answer the question, What is the Meaning of Sex? However, more specifically, in Burk’s own words, “This book is an attempt to show from the Bible what the meaning of sex is and thereby how we ought to order our sexual lives under God” (12). The answer to the question of the meaning of sex that Burk provides—indeed, it resounds like a mantra throughout his entire book—is that sex exists to glorify God. In saying this, Burk is speaking both about sex in the sense of intercourse, as well as gender. In fact, intercourse and gender are really not separate fields of study, as what an individual believes about one will necessarily impact the other, along with a host of other related topics. This is what Burk means when he writes that this book aims to show “how we ought to order our sexual lives under God.”

Structurally, What is the Meaning of Sex? consists of eight chapters. The range of issues Burk manages to cover is impressive, including abortion, adultery, birth control, celibacy, divorce, homosexuality, incest, marriage, masturbation, polygamy, sex toys, and singleness, among many others. Chapter 1 is foundational in nature as it focuses on glorifying God in one’s body through a study of 1 Corinthians 6:12-20. The focus of chapter 2 is hermeneutics,...

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