RECOMMENDED BOOKS

Here are our top recommended books on the topics of singleness, sexuality, marriage, friendship and more.  If you have other book suggestions which you'd like to recommend we consider adding, please contact us with the details.

7 MYTHS ABOUT SINGLENESS

Sam Allberry

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While singleness is often widely misunderstood by many in the church today and often viewed in negative terms, the Bible speaks about it very differently. This book sets forth a positive vision of singleness by responding to 7 common misconceptions, such as the notion that singleness is too hard, requires a special spiritual gift, is a hindrance to ministry, or is a waste of sexuality. Addressed to the church as a whole and written by a single pastor, 7 Myths about Singleness will help readers better understand, support, and empower the singles around them to contribute to the flourishing of the church as a whole

BREAKING THE MARRIAGE IDOL: Reconstructing Our Cultural and Spiritual Norms

Kutter Callaway

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Should all Christians be married?Although we might quickly respond "no," our cultural stories and norms—including those in the church—often communicate "yes."Theologian and husband Kutter Callaway considers why marriage, which is a blessing from God, shouldn't be expected or required of all Christians. Through an examination of Scripture, cultural analysis, and personal accounts, he reflects on how our narratives have limited our understanding of marriage and obscured our view of the life-giving and kingdom-serving roles of single people in the church.In doing so, Callaway helps the church craft a new story that transforms the way we look at marriage and affirms the contributions of all to the body of Christ.

FAMILIES AT THE CROSSROADS: Beyond Tradition & Modern Options

Rodney Clapp

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"Scant decades ago most Westerners agreed that . . . Lifelong monogamy was ideal . . . Mothers should stay home with children . . . premarital sex was to be discouraged . . . Heterosexuality was the unquestioned norm . . . popular culture should not corrupt children. Today not a single one of these expectations is uncontroversial." So writes Rodney Clapp in assessing the status of the family in postmodern Western society. In response many evangelicals have been quick to defend the so-called traditional family, assuming that it exemplifies the biblical model. Clapp challenges that assumption, arguing that the "traditional" family is a reflection more of the nineteenth-century middle-class family than of any family one can find in Scripture. At the same time, he recognizes that many modern and postmodern options are not acceptable to Christians. Returning to the biblical story afresh to see what it might say to us in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, Clapp articulates a challenge to both sides of a critical debate.

IS GOD ANTI-GAY?

Sam Allberry

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It's the hot topic of the moment. Christians, the church and the Bible seem to be out of step with modern attitudes towards homosexuality. And there is growing hostility towards those who hold a different view. So is God homophobic? And what do we say, and how do we relate to to both Christians and non Christians who experience same-sex attraction.

LOVES ME, LOVES ME NOT: Ethics of Unrequited Love

Laura A. Smit

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It hurts when the one you love doesn't love you back. It's hard to be the object of someone's desires when you just don't feel the same way. How should Christians deal with these situations? There are hundreds of books describing how to build lasting relationships or how to lead a chaste life as a single person. There are very few books, however, describing how to deal with unrequited love. With Loves Me, Loves Me Not, Laura Smit fills this void. Smit tackles this universal human experience with intelligence, sympathy, and wit.

MARRIAGE: Sex in the Service of God

Christopher Ash

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What is marriage? What did God intend when he gave us marriage? Christopher Ash argues that our modern idolization of the sexual relationship contains within itself the seeds of its own destruction. To begin to rebuild a biblical confidence in marriage, we need to understand that the primary blessing and purpose of marriage is not sexual intimacy, but rather serving God in partnership. This in turn leads to the blessings of love, friendship, children, and order in society, and will help us to rediscover that faithfulness which is the heart of marriage. One of those precious rarities - a major piece of biblical scholarship which addresses an issue in todays headlines directly and warmly. One to own, not to borrow.

ONE BY ONE: Welcoming the Singles Into Your Church

Gina Dalfonzo

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In One by One, Gina Dalfonzo explores common misconceptions and stereotypes about singles, including the idea that they must be single because something is wrong with them, and the subtle (and not-so-subtle) ways they are devalued, like when sermons focus overmuch on navigating marital relationships or raising children. She shows how the church of Paul, who commended those who remained single, became the church where singles are too often treated like second class Christians. Then she explores what the church is doing right, what unique services singles can offer the church, and, most importantly, what the church can do to love and support the singles in their midst.

PURPOSEFUL SEXUALITY: A Short Christian Introduction

Ed Shaw

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If you’re a human being, then you’re a sexual being. But what is your sexuality for? That’s a question we often struggle to answer because we find it so hard to talk about our powerful and personal sexual feelings - perhaps especially if we’re Christians. Ed Shaw explores the Bible’s deepest answers to this question in ways that will help everyone to appreciate and enjoy God’s purposeful gift of sexuality – whatever your past history, current situation or sexual orientation might be.

REAL SEX: THE NAKED TRUTH ABOUT CHASTITY

Lauren Winner

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SEX. Splashed across magazine covers, billboards, and computer screens - sex is thrilling, necessary, unavoidable. And everybody's doing it, right? // In Real Sex, Lauren Winner speaks candidly about the difficulty - and the importance - of sexual chastity. With nuance and wit, she talks about her own sexual journey. Never dodging tough terms like "confession" and "sin", she grounds her discussion of chastity first and foremost in scripture. She confronts cultural lies about sex and challenges how we talk about sex in church (newsflash: however wrong it is, premarital sex can feel liberating and enjoyable!)

REAL SEX: The Naked Truth About Chastity

Lauren Winner

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SEX. Splashed across magazine covers, billboards, and computer screens - sex is thrilling, necessary, unavoidable. And everybody's doing it, right? // In Real Sex, Lauren Winner speaks candidly about the difficulty - and the importance - of sexual chastity. With nuance and wit, she talks about her own sexual journey. Never dodging tough terms like "confession" and "sin", she grounds her discussion of chastity first and foremost in scripture. She confronts cultural lies about sex and challenges how we talk about sex in church (newsflash: however wrong it is, premarital sex can feel liberating and enjoyable!)

REDEEMING SINGLENESS: How the Storyline of Scripture Affirms the Single Life

Barry Danylak

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Though marriage is highly esteemed throughout Scripture, the Bible also affirms singleness as an important calling for some Christians. Redeeming Singleness expounds a theology of singleness that shows how the blessings of the covenant are now directly mediated to believers through Christ. Redeeming Singleness offers an in-depth examination of the redemptive history from which biblical singleness emerges. Danylak illustrates the continuity of this affirmation of singleness by showing how the Old Testament creation mandate and the New Testament kingdom mandate must both be understood in light of God’s plan of redemption through spiritual rebirth in Christ.

RETHINKING SEXUALITY: God's Design and Why it Matters

Juli Slattery

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Sexual abuse, sex addiction, gender confusion, brokenness, and shame plague today's world, and people are seeking clarity and hope. By contesting long-held cultural paradigms, this book equips you to see how sexuality is rooted in the broader context of God's heart and His work for us on earth. It provides a framework from which to understand the big picture of sexual challenges and wholeness, and helps you recognize that every sexual question is ultimately a spiritual one. It shifts the paradigm from combating sexual problems to confidently proclaiming and modeling the road to sacred sexuality.
Instead of arguing with the world about what's right and wrong about sexual choices, this practical resource equips you to share the love and grace of Jesus as you encounter the pain of sexual brokenness--your own or someone else's.

SINGLE WOMEN: Challenge to the Church?

Kristin Aune

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Single women make up a quarter of the adult evangelical church population, compared with single men who form only a tenth. These figures have generated much debate, not least because of the problems some face finding Christian partners. So who are today's single Christian women? What issues do they face? What are they saying about the church and their place in it? Based on research with nearly a hundred women, this is the first book to address the situation of these women today. It investigates key issues facing single women, looks at singleness in biblical context and suggests ways for the church to respond.

SINGLED OUT: Why Celibacy Must Be Reinvented in Today's Church

Christine Colón & Bonnie Field

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Authors Christine Colón and Bonnie Field thought that by a certain age they would each be married. But they watched that age come and go--and still no walks down the aisle. In Singled Out, they reflect on their experience--and that of an increasing number of Christians. Rejecting overly simplistic messages from the church about "waiting for marriage," they explore a deeper understanding of celibacy that affirms singles' decision to be sexually pure, acknowledges their struggles, and recognizes their importance in the church community.

SPIRITUAL FRIENDSHIP

Wesley Hill

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Friendship is a relationship like no other. Unlike the relationships we are born into, we choose our friends. It is also tenuous--we can end a friendship at any time. But should friendship be so free and unconstrained? Although our culture tends to pay more attention to romantic love, marriage, family, and other forms of community, friendship is a genuine love in its own right. This eloquent book reminds us that Scripture and tradition have a high view of friendship. Single Christians, particularly those who are gay and celibate, may find it is a form of love to which they are especially called.

TALKING BACK TO PURITY CULTURE: Rediscovering Faithful Christian Sexuality

Rachel Joy Welcher

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The generation born into evangelical purity culture has grown up, and many have started families of their own. But as time goes on, it's becoming more evident that many still struggle with purity culture's complicated legacy―its idolization of virginity, its mixed messages about modesty and lust, and its promise of a healthy marriage and great sex for those who follow the rules.
In Talking Back to Purity Culture, Rachel Joy Welcher reviews the movement carefully, examining its teachings through the lens of Scripture. Compassionate, faithful, and wise, she charts a path forward for Christians in the ongoing debates about sexuality―one that rejects legalism and license alike, steering us back instead to the good news of Jesus.

THE GOOD LIFE IN THE LAST DAYS: Making Choices When the Time is Short

Mikey Lynch

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Do you feel the tension between living the good life and dying to self? You know Jesus calls you to take up your cross and follow him, sacrificing yourself to serve in his vital gospel mission. But you also know the heart of the gospel message is grace and freedom, and enjoying God’s abundant generosity. Quite possibly you also know the horror stories of some burned out Christians, as well as the frustrating stories of those who just don’t seem at all ‘switched on’ to the mission. In The Good Life in the Last Days Mikey Lynch helps you: zoom in and take a close look at the hard sayings of Jesus and the apostles, zoom out to look at the full counsel of God, discover a joyful wisdom (beyond simplistic clichés) that shows you how to live the good life in the last days.

THE PLAUSIBILITY PROBLEM: The Church and Same Sex Attraction

Ed Shaw

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It's all very well to say that the Bible is clear when it talks about homosexuality. But is it realistic? Isn't it unrealistic and unfair to those who struggle with this issue? Doesn't it condemn them to loneliness, a lack of fulfilment and the loss of basic human satisfactions like sex and marriage? Is what the church teaches a plausible way of life?

THE SINGLE ISSUE

Al Hsu

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Nearly half of today's adult population is unmarried. Most churches, however, emphasise marriage and family in a way that leaves many Christian singles feeling like second-class citizens. Although Jesus himself was single, the single state is often regarded as a problem in itself (rather than as having problems, as marriage does). By contrast, The Single Issue sets out a positive, biblical view that honours singleness as a status equal to marriage. Avoiding trite advice on how to suffer through the single life, it offers practical insights on key concerns such as sex, celibacy and the constructive use of solitude - and points the way to a Christian community in which all members are equally valued.

TRUE FRIENDSHIP

Vaughan Roberts

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In a culture where online communications and communities can be set up in seconds, it is striking that loneliness is still rampant. Even in the church, a place where we might hope for an oasis of love and acceptance, we can find interactions awkward and superficial. It’s for this reason that Vaughan Roberts takes us back to the Bible, and challenges us to consider our need for true friendship. He’s both honest and clear in his approach as he shows us that knowing and being known by God is the hope we need to begin to deal with the sickness of our ‘self–love’ society.