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Handle With Care!
A Booklet on Reformed Sexuality for Young People
Dr. Julian Kennedy
This book is dedicated to my dear wife of over thirty years, Marianna, and all the Reformed ministers from whom I have learned and gleaned over the last twenty years.
PART ONE: What God Says
Chapter 1: Dynamite!—Handle With Care
Chapter 2: Battle for the Mind—Impure Thoughts
—Technology and Purity
Chapter 3: Why Wait?
Chapter 4: Homosexuality
Chapter 5: Two Become One
Chapter 6: The Proper Basis and Purpose of Marriage
—Companionship and Intimacy
—Building a Home and Sexual Satisfaction
Chapter 7: Singleness
—Single Life is Honorable
—Devotion to the Lord
—Esteem for the Single
—The One Condition
—The Unwilling Single
PART TWO: The Facts of Life
Chapter 8: How Does Sex Start?
Chapter 9: Men versus Women—What’s the Difference?
Chapter 10: Boy Meets Girl
Chapter 11: Friendships
PART THREE: Finding the Right Mate
Chapter 12: The Meaning of Love
—A “Crush” or True Love?
Chapter 13: Finding Your Help Meet
Chapter 14: For Girls Only
Chapter 15: Courtship, Dating and Right Relationships
—Effects of Premarital Sex
—He’s Called Us to Holiness
Chapter 16: The Wedding is Soon
Chapter 17: Family Planning
Appendix: The Reformed Faith
—The “Five Solas”
—The “Three Forms of Unity”
About the author
A Reformed Christian, who is also a medical doctor, gives frank, clear, practical, and biblically based instruction concerning sex. The instruction treats of the basic, physical aspects of sex, the sexual organs, and the sexual act. The book views sex as a good aspect of God the Creator’s good creation of humans as male and female. The purpose of sex, as determined by God, according to Holy Scripture, is the profound, pleasurable intimacy of marriage—the marriage of a male and a female.
From this perspective, the author warns, again frankly, against various abuses of God’s good gift of sex, by both the unmarried and the married.
Among the valuable usages of the book certainly will be the use of it by Christian parents in the education of their children concerning sex and the use of it by young people to learn the truth about their body and its sexual desires and behavior.
Thoroughly practical, giving vitally important guidance regarding an aspect of life shamelessly, wickedly, and destructively exploited by the ungodly world and all too often veiled in embarrassed silence in the church, the book derives the prescribed practice of sex from the fundamental truths of the triune God, His covenant in Christ, and Christian marriage.
Scripture is characterized by frankness and openness about sex—so must the churches. May this booklet lead its readers into the joy of lifelong Christian marriage—always God’s best and original plan!
Prof. David J. Engelsma
Contributors include Professor David J Engelsma for the Foreword and portion on singleness. Rev. Ronald Van Overloop and Rev. Ronald Hanko on dating, Professor Herman Hanko on contraception, Rev. Rodney Kleyn on pornography, and Pastor Garrett Kell on pre-marital sex. Thanks also to David Hutchings and Michelle Lou Hing for their proof-reading.
“In the beginning God created” are the first words in the Bible. Powerful words. Words that brought the universe into being at the beginning of time. Then later God said to the first human pair, “Be fruitful and multiply.” Man was told to be a co-creator with God. Man was given power. Human sexuality is powerful, but like all power, it can be used for good or evil purposes. It can bless or it can curse. It’s like dynamite. It can demolish a derelict building or cause innocent casualties through the wickedness of a suicide bomber. It’s also akin to fire, helpful when contained but destructive when out of control!
How misled young people are today about this sublime gift of God. As Joyce Huggett says, “The ability to be fascinated by the curves and personality of the opposite sex was built-in by God way back in Genesis.” And I might add, so was everything else—from the brain hormones that cause puberty and periods, to the male penile hydraulic system required to consummate the union of one man and one woman!
Sex within marriage is honorable and the marriage bed undefiled. So states God in Hebrews 13:4. Along with the rest of creation sex was declared ‘good’ by God. Jesus and Paul both affirmed it as part of God’s abundant provision for man’s well-being and also a reflection of His being and work in saving mankind in which He took a bride for His only begotten Son. It is noteworthy that Satan directed his first attack on the union of man and woman. Keep this in mind when we look at all the sexual sins and perversions.
Few parents, teachers or ministers instruct their children. The result is that young folk get perverted views from careless friends and the media.
This booklet aims to explain the truth about sex, love and marriage from the view of the Reformed* Faith of Scripture. God alone, who instituted the first marriage, can tell us what love really is and how sex in marriage can be used for the greatest benefit. Much will be said in this booklet that contradicts the popular notions about sex that are portrayed in the glossy popular magazines, newspapers and on TV soaps, in films, or in novels of today, where people hop in and out of bed and of marriages, with sad and destructive consequences to themselves and any children involved. God knows that building a lasting relationship on the rock of scriptural truth will mean it will stand in the storms of life. Prevention is better than cure, so practice godly courtship and marriage and save yourself from much heartache and many problems. The statistics on cohabitation, fornication, divorce, adultery, teenage pregnancy and homosexuality even among professing believers show how God’s instructions are being ignored and it is my prayer that this booklet will help many to find God’s best in love, marriage and sex.
God knows that our deepest fulfilment is the permanent relationship of one man, one woman, “forsaking all other,” built on the foundations of self-giving love, trust and mutual respect. This is marriage according to the “maker’s instructions.”
Here is what Lord’s Day 41 of the Heidelberg Catechism says about the seventh commandment—“thou shalt not commit adultery”:
- 108. What doth the seventh commandment teach us?
- That all uncleanness is accursed of God; and that therefore we must with all our hearts detest the same, and live chastely and temperately, whether in holy wedlock or in single life.
- 109. Doth God forbid in this commandment only adultery and such like gross sins?
- Since both our body and soul are temples of the Holy Ghost, he commands us to preserve them pure and holy; therefore he forbids all unchaste actions, gestures, words, thoughts, desires and whatever can entice men thereto.
A Note on “Reformed”:
I belong to a Reformed church and the quotation above is from a Reformed creed, the Heidelberg Catechism. A truly Reformed church believes in the great truths of Scripture that were rediscovered, taught and implemented during the sixteenth century reformation of the church. I believe these truths are apostolic and thoroughly Biblical and form the only sound framework for understanding God and all God’s dealings with mankind. (See Appendix).
The creeds are summaries of Reformed doctrine held by many churches as their confessional standards. They can be viewed at my church website (http://www.cprf.co.uk) under “Faith.”
What God Says
Dynamite!—Handle With Care
One of the most powerful instincts we have is the sexual drive. It has the potential to bless, or bring misery if abused. It can be used for good or evil. There’s nothing wrong with dynamite or sex, it just depends how it is used. If sex is accepted as a gift from God and used under His control, it will be the means of arguably man’s highest earthly satisfaction. If the gift is abused, it may lead to the lowest depths of degradation. Like fire, it is a wonderful servant but a bad master. The desire for sexual fulfilment is as normal as hunger or tiredness, but God who created these inbuilt needs also tells us how to satisfy them. David Engelsma writing in the 1991 Protestant Reformed Theological Journal says “Scripture is characterized by frankness and openness about sex—so must the churches”.
Sex, as created by God, was pronounced “good.” Since the fall of man, his view of sex has become warped and he has become a slave of sexual desire. As soon as the first pair sinned they were aware of their sexuality and ashamed of their nakedness—and, of course, their sin. The world’s view of sex today is that of a commodity, an animal pleasure to be satisfied as often and with whomsoever you desire, and never mind the consequences. As Christians, we have to oppose this view, believe God commands us to please Him with our bodies (I Cor. 6:15-20) and offer them up to Him as a living sacrifice and continuous act of worship (Rom. 12:1).
Our bodies are not the cause of sin. Jesus had a body that He kept sinless. The root of sin is in our hearts (Mark 7:21-23). Freedom from these slavish lusts comes with a new heart (Ezek. 11:19). We don’t have to pray that God will take away our sexual desires. He allows us to be tempted so that we can be made stronger and purer as the result of right moral choices and defeat sin.
But regeneration by God through His Spirit, is vital to give us new birth and the power to overcome sin and live a holy life. Are you born again? Do you have the witness in your spirit that you are a child of God? If not, seek the Lord in His word, the Bible. Read it and listen to it preached. Find a true Reformed church or website (e.g., http://www.cprf.co.uk). Speak to a Reformed believing friend. Seek and you will find.
 Engelsma, PRTJ 1991, p12.
The Reformed Faith
The Five Solas
This means that we maintain the biblical and apostolic gospel recovered in the sixteenth-century Protestant Reformation which is summarized in five famous “alones.” The sixty-six books of the Bible are inspired Scripture alone and are the Word of God, the only infallible guide for faith and life (II Tim 3:16-17). The Bible reveals that all our salvation is in Christ alone, as the only redeemer, mediator and head of the church (I Tim 2:5). The Lord Jesus delivers His people from the guilt, power and pollution of sin by Grace alone, without our having to work for it (Eph 2:8-9). Salvation is received, known and enjoyed by Faith alone, only by believing in Christ crucified and risen according to the gospel (John 6:47). The truths of Scripture alone, Christ alone, grace alone and faith alone serve the Glory of God alone. This is what the church must proclaim and promote: the honor and glory of the Triune God revealed in Jesus Christ (Is 43:21)!
The T.U.L.I.P. abbreviation summarizes the points of Calvinism (explanation below)
Preservation of the saints.
We stand with that branch of the Reformation particularly associated with John Calvin and the doctrines of God’s sovereign grace. We believe that fallen man is totally depraved and completely unable to deliver himself—or even contribute to his deliverance—from the bondage and misery of sin (Rom. 3:9-20).
But, before the foundation of the world, God, in His great mercy, chose some to salvation in Jesus Christ (Eph. 1:4). In the fullness of time, the Lord Jesus laid down His life on the cross for his elect, suffering for all of the sins of all of his sheep (John 10:11, 15). In due time, through the hearing of the gospel, God grants a new spiritual heart to each of His elect so that they all trust in his son alone (John 1:12-13). Every true elect believer, being kept by the power of the Holy Spirit, perseveres in faith and holiness, and will enter the joy of the Lord in the world to come either at death or the second coming of Christ (I Pet 1:3-5).
The Three Forms of Unity
These are statements of faith from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries which Reformed churches believe are an accurate summary of Biblical doctrine and how it ought to be applied.
The Heidleberg Catechism
The Belgic Confession
The Canons of Dordt.
See my church website www.cprf.co.uk under ‘Faith’.
Thanks for taking time to read this. I hope that you have profited from reading this booklet. You can write to me if you have any questions, criticisms or improvements and I shall try to answer but if you have not already, seek the faithful preaching of the word on Sundays in a true Reformed church.
Marks of a true church. http://www.cprf.co.uk/pamphlets/markstruechurch.htm#.UxjziD9FAic
About the Author:
Wedding Day October 25th 1985
Recent family snap
Summary: God’s good gift of sexuality and how to use it for His glory and our good has been corrupted since the creation of the world. Sex between unmarried (fornication), adultery including divorce and remarriage and homosexuality are accepted as normal in modern society and, young people, even Christian young people, are being influenced by this Satanic lie that “if it feels good ─ do it!” This booklet is sent out with the prayer that it will save many young people from heartache and the curse that these serious sexual sins will bring on them. There is the good way, the Biblical or Reformed way for living chastely as a single, finding and courting a mate and marrying and staying faithful to that mate. This booklet has been a long time since inception to publication! First conceived thirty years ago a very few copies of an older version were produced by Covenant Evangelical Reformed Church young people in Singapore in 2011. The original has been substantially expanded by quotations from Protestant Reformed Church ministers.
Thank you for the booklet. I’ve already read half of it. That was extremely useful for me, I wish I had read it four years ago! Thank you again.
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