Saturday, September 19, 2015

Christian Nonfiction Review: Redeming Pleasure by Jeremy Jernigan

Most Christian conservatives will not like Jeremy Jernigan's "Redeeming Pleasure" - not so much because of the overall concept (which is very agreeable), but because of the often unorthodox details.

So... FIRST the overall concept that the majority of Christians will understand: Pleasure is not evil. God created pleasure to be enjoyed. But that also means He created limits and boundaries to allow for the best of pleasure. Jernigan covers everything from sex, alcohol and drugs to parenting, community and entertainment.

SECOND the unorthodox details, which I tend to personally disagree with: Jernigan is a Pacificst. His chapter on community vs. competition went off on a tangent against guns here, and most of the content in said chapter seemed off-topic. It also made unrealistic comparisons between a murderer and a crazed family member. Jernigan believes in annihilation for the unsaved at judgment. He also implies that Jesus can save without the person in question actually fully accepting Him. Jernigan's view on homosexuality comes across as accepting and wishy-washy at best - stating that God can bless and accommodate same-sex relationships. Sin, as presented in "Redeeming Pleasure," is difficult to define and possibly relativistic. We all know that the Old Testament law no longer binds us as believers, but Jernigan seems to take this a step further and imply that the moral laws of the Old Testament are not applicable to today. Jernigan's definition of "right" as what God designed for the most pleasure is narrow and incomplete. His argument that morality in entertainment is fairly relativistic makes sense, but also seems incomplete. After all, sex and violence on screen may not affect me, but that does not make it right. I mean, even porn can be seen as entertainment - and this same author just wrote about the harms of emotional porn! Of course, I could be misunderstanding the author on many of these issues, but that is exactly my point - that Jernigan is not always clear and complete in his arguments. The prevailing feel I got from the book was that you can abuse pleasure and God will still accommodate you, or you can do pleasure the way God created it to be and live your happiest life. And there are several smaller details (i.e. the author's Arminian stance) that I took issue with in which Jernigan's arguments obviously - at least to me - had major problems.

I'll conclude by noting that Jernigan does use multiple stories, analogies and Scripture selections (albeit I would say not always rightly used) to support his points. His writing style and overall narrative are very enjoyable. And, hey, we all need to read what the other side has to say every so often, so even those who disagree with the details will find something worth reading here. And I did actually take on thing away - that it's okay to love a person for what they give you - to love God for what He gives you, because we were created to enjoy God and His creations.

*Disclaimer: I received this book for free in exchange for my honest review.

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