(Review) Making All Things New: Restoring Joy to the Sexually Broken by David Powlison

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Publisher and Publication Date: Crossway. August 31, 2017.
Genre: Christian nonfiction, sexuality, abuse.
Pages: 128.
Source: Free ebook copy from Crossway.
Rating: Very good.

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David Powlison (MDiv, Westminster Theological Seminary) is a teacher, a counselor, and the executive director of the Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation. He is also the senior editor of the Journal of Biblical Counseling and the author of Seeing with New Eyes, Good & Angry, and Speaking Truth in Love.

Summary:

Contents:
Introduction
1. Getting Oriented
2. Making Renewal Personal
3. Renewing All That Darkens Sex
4. Renewal Is Lifelong
5. Renewal Is a Wider Battle
6. Renewal Is a Deeper Battle
7. Renewal Brings an Increasingly Subtle Struggle
8. Remembering the Goal of Renewal
9. Getting Down to Today’s Skirmish in the Great War
Notes
General Index
Scripture Index

In order to renew anything, we must have a vision for what it is intended to be, for what’s gone wrong, and for how to bring about transformation.

David Powlison addresses both men and women in regards to several issues. For example, victims and those who are predators; people who struggle with sexual impulses outside a marriage; people who view sex as an identity. In addition, patterns and motivation, self-condemnation, sanctification, and transformation and growth are all examined.
In 128 pages, Powlison covers a wide field of subtopics under the main topic of sexuality.

My Thoughts:
After reading Making All Things New, what resonates with me is Powlison does not promise we will be perfected in this life. Recovery and sanctification is a process, because we will not see complete healing on this earth. I dislike nonfiction books that make promises that cannot be attained. This life is a struggle. It is messy. On the other hand, we cannot give up and give in to temptation. In the last chapter, Powlison teaches several things that can help. My favorite suggestion,

Put trouble and God together by talking it out.

Talk to God about problems. This seems like such an easy statement to grasp, but for many people it is ignored.

I started this section of the review with the ending applications of the book. My point was to make sure the readers understood the book holds helpful truths to understand and apply.

An opening question in chapter 2 is a bold question: “Where do you struggle with sex?” This type of question is on point with the rest of the book. Making All Things New is a graphic topic many Christians won’t analyze. I’ve not heard a sermon or Bible study on this topic. It is rare for me to hear a sermon on marriage, but if I do, in the mix of the sermon will be a lesson about the beauty of sex in a marriage. Among my gal pals, sex problems are spoken about with embarrassment and shame. Ridicule, gossip, and judgement are given to those who betray a marriage, reveal a secret about sexual abuse, or those who admit they are gay or lesbian. I’ve learned listening is the best response to give another person. Listening is truly a gift to another.

Further reflections on what I love about this book:
1. Powlison addresses the reader with ease and a personal approach. He is comfortable and this makes me comfortable. He is quick to make points. He uses a few illustrations or examples of people to further explain ideas.
2. Quotes I love.
From chapter 4:

First, sanctification is a direction you are heading. Second, repentance is a lifestyle you are living.

This life is not righteous, but growth in righteousness; it is not health, but healing; not being, but becoming; not rest, but exercise; we are not yet what we shall be, but we are growing toward it; the process is not yet finished, but it is going on; this is not the end but it is the road; all does not yet gleam in glory, but all is being purified. Martin Luther.

From chapter 7.

The more obviously destructive sins and sufferings can actually be easier to deal with. The subtler sins can be more stubborn, pervasive, sneaky, and delusive.

3. A few things I learned that I’d not considered before:

A. People act out sexually for a variety of reasons. For example, to feel loved or approved. Another reason is anger.

Sexual acting out can be a way to express anger.

B. The aftermath of an abuse victim. How they see themselves as a victim.

There is an eternity of difference between ‘I am a survivor’ and ‘I am beloved of Jesus and am finding refuge and hope in the Lord of life.’

Making All Things New is a brief overview of sexual sin. It does not cover extensively victims of sexual abuse. I feel the book is addressed more to those who struggle with sexual sin and not a book for those who are seeking information for victims of sexual abuse. I am a victim of sexual abuse. This book has been helpful but not extensive. Making All Things New is a tool for readers-it is a beginning point.

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