Prostitutes and Polygamists

Prostitutes and Polygamists on Sale

There’s a sale on now of Prostitutes and Polygamists (the book, not the people).

The eBook version of Prostitutes and Polygamists is on sale for only $3.99 (a 60% discount).  The sale lasts until the end of May 7 (2016), so if you want to pay full-price for the book, you better wait until after May 7 to purchase it.

You may be asking, “Why should I buy this book?”  Here are five questions to help you decide.

1. Are you married? If so, this book is for you. I begin with a discussion of God’s ideal for marriage. Do you know what God’s first command to the humans was?  It was, essentially, “Have a lot of sex!” (my paraphrase of “Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth”; Gen. 1:28).  I should add, this command was meant to be obeyed in the context of a lifelong committed relationship between a man and a woman.

2. Are you single? If so, this book is for you. I conclude with a discussion of “Sex and the Single Savor” (pages 185-196), and how the church can idolize marriage, making singles feel like second class citizens.  “When humans worship the gifts and not the God how gave them, the Bible calls it idolatry. Our culture makes sex into an idol, and the church makes marriage into an idol” (p. 186-187).  Theoretically, I think these first two questions should cover all the options, but you still may not be convinced, so let’s ask a few more questions.

3. Do you think Christians need to talk more about sex? If so, this book is for you. The Bible talks about sex a lot so people that value the Bible a lot should also talk about sex a lot.  “When the church whispers about sex and the culture yells about it, who’s voice is going to be heard?” (p. 19).  At this point the questions become far more serious.

4. Have you or someone you know been a victim or a perpetrator of rape or sexual abuse?  If so, this book is for you.  While I don’t claim expertise about how to help victims or perpetrators of rape or sexual abuse (seek professional help), part of the prescription for healing could involve reading about the stories of sexual abuse in Scripture.  You may be surprised to hear about sexual scandals involving Abraham, Sarah, Lot, Jacob, Judah, Tamar, Moses, and David.

5. Do you wonder about the biblical teaching on homosexuality? If so, this book is for you.  There are other books that go into more depth, but the Bible actually doesn’t go into much depth on this subject. I devote a chapter to the topic and to telling the surprising story of the city of Sodom as God repeatedly shows mercy to the residents of Sodom before the eventual judgment (pages 161-183).

If you think other people might be interested in this sale, please share this post.

If you answered “no” to all five questions, then you definitely should not buy the book.

Interview with Jonathan Merritt

marriage-according-to-the-bible_502913cd3d101_w1500My interview with Jonathan Merritt of Religion News Service about Prostitutes and Polygamists was posted last Friday.  As of today (12 April 2016) it has been shared over 1000 times on Facebook, and tweeted almost a thousand times.

This type of response doesn’t normally happen to things I write, but apparently, it’s meeting a felt need.

If you find it helpful, please share.


Eight Reflections on Urbana 15

Urbana FamilyMy family arrived home at midnight last night after an amazing five days in St. Louis at Urbana 15, a gathering of 16,000 students and leaders who are interested in missions, specifically what God is doing around the globe.

It’s impossible to encapsulate the Urbana experience in a short blog, but here are eight reflections upon our five days in St. Louis.

    1. Urbana is a great place to hear from God.  Through challenging speakers (Christina Cleveland, Francis Chan, David Platt, Patrick Fung, and many more), international worship, and manuscript Bible study, we had many opportunities to hear from God. One of my favorite speakers was Allan Matamoros, a man from Costa Rica whose name means “Muslim killer” and yet he’s given his life to love and minister to Muslims.  Click here for videos of the General Sessions.
    2. Seminars are a blast. My seminar was on God Behaving Badly. Apparently my fears of low-turnout were unfounded, as the 400 chairs filled up quickly, with people forced to stand or sit around the edges of the room. (I think they confused me with David Platt.) They had to shut the doors 5 minutes early. Afterwards, they sold out of both my books.  I loved talking about troubling texts with curious students, and was happy to see Nate and Noah in the audience. Click here for an audio of my seminar (112 minutes).
    3. Manuscript Bible Study is still powerful in big groups. I’m used to doing manuscript study of Scripture in groups of 10-20. However, Shannon led a study of 800 people on four passages from Matthew’s gospel and it was phenomenal. The 16,000 attendees were divided into “small groups” of 200-800. How did the discussion work? Great question. Each study leader had a team of helpers. Shannon had 7 “minions” who facilitated discussion, ran mics around the room, and in my case managed technology and synthesized students’ questions. Noah came to Shannon’s study (Nate went to a different one with Swarthmore friends). The students loved it and kept saying they wanted to study Scripture like this with friends back home.
    4. It’s impossible to control gifted, prophetic speakers. Several times one of the speakers made an unscripted, controversial comment. However, we shouldn’t be surprised when prophetic people state things in insensitive ways. If we make the mistakes the focus, Satan wins. Let’s keep the focus on what God is doing around the world.
    5. The Directors of Missions for IV-USA (Tom Lin) and IV-Canada (Steve Colby) have something in common.  My brother, Rich Lamb helped bring them both on IV staff.  Rich was staff at UC Santa Cruz in the mid-1980’s when Steve Colby was a student, then at Harvard in the late-1980’s and early 1990’s when Tom Lin was a student.  Thanks Rich, for investing in these two quality leaders.
    6. Christians need to pray for the persecuted church. The freedom of religion we in the West take for granted cannot be assumed in many other parts of the world. Over 75% of the world live in areas of religious restriction. At Urbana we heard stories of men and women who, despite persecution and imprisonment, prayed for and loved their persecutors in costly ways. Click here to learn more about Open Doors, a ministry to persecuted Christians.
    7. I’ve missed Urbana. I went to six Urbanas as a student and as a staff (’81, ’84, ’87, ’90, ’93, ’96), but haven’t attended over the past twenty years. During this period, Shannon attended most of the Urbanas because she was on staff with IV, the organization that runs the event, but since I was no longer on staff I stayed home with the boys. This time it was awesome to attend as a family of four.
    8. Driving 900 miles to get home in one day isn’t too bad if you have four drivers. We were eager to see our dog, Tiglath.

Where you at Urbana 15? What did you think?

CT’s Top Articles of 2015

Top 20 CT articles of 2015Christianity Today just posted “The Top 20 Most-Read Articles of 2015.”

Number 14 was “David was a Rapist, Abraham was a Sex Trafficker.” I guess people do want to read about sex in Scripture, or at least hear what God’s word has to say on the subject.

If you’re intrigued, and want to read more on this subject, check out Prostitutes and Polygamists: A Look at Love, Old Testament Style.

Scripture talks about sex.  Many men and women after God’s own heart had serious problems in the area of sex and sexuality, and the Bible doesn’t avoid these subjects, so we shouldn’t either.