What others are saying
An intelligent and scholarly work, firmly anchored in history and research. This project takes us on a deep dive into many of the theoretical underpinnings of modern-day concepts that influence our society. I appreciate the way Michael Kuiper has dared to address what others have been too timid to tackle. The reader is challenged to a deeper level of contemplation throughout the book, as differing views about traditional roles and religious concepts are examined. In the final chapter, the author provides a beautifully detailed multicultural lens to give us a fresh set of eyes to look beyond what we may have thought religion to be and to see what we may have totally missed in the midst of our struggles.
Joan W. Ellason, PhD, LPC
Well written and extremely well researched... As a clinician and theologian, I am grateful to Dr. Kuiper for writing this courageous work to help enlighten, first the church, and hopefully the larger community of the wrong path post modernism and libertarian attitudes and actions have taken us. My hope is that the reader will remain truly open minded as she or he reads…it will certainly challenge thinking for the better.”
Dr. Stan DeKoven, President, Visions International University and author, Marriage and Family Life: A Christian Perspective and Journey to Wholeness
A Review of Sex & Society: God’s Design, Tradition & the Pursuit of Happiness, by J. Michael Kuiper
You don’t have to be a practicing therapist to see that our culture’s ever-increasing investment in “free” sex has had the ironic effect of delivering ever-diminishing returns in terms of what we want sex to give us—love, belonging, emotional bonding, even ecstasy. In Sex & Society: God’s Design, Tradition & the Pursuit of Happiness, Michael Kuiper, a clinical psychologist in private practice, makes sense of this apparent paradox and offers wisdom to help us better understand created sexuality and make the most of its dynamics for the good of all.
Created on Purpose, Male & Female
Like Maria von Trapp, he starts at the very beginning—the Genesis creation account, where God, out of the overflow of his own love, created Adam and Eve in his likeness, with the capacity to themselves overflow with creative love. He gave them a world to enjoy, fill, and cultivate, but when they violated the sole limit on their freedom, their love for each other took a back seat to self-concern.
They did not lose his likeness or their joint commission to fill and subdue the earth, but the revolt would henceforth affect every aspect of carrying it out. Self-conscious in a new and frightfully discomforting way—aware of wrong within, of inadequacy, of missing the mark—they became subject to shame. Psychic energy that was meant to fuel creative love would now be spent managing conflict, as they alternately accused one another and attempted to justify their own thoughts and actions.
While they—and we their descendants—are clearly individuals, we were never designed to live for self-driven or self-contained ends. The two sexes have been supplied with different capacities, and are susceptible to different vulnerabilities, such that only together can creative love and mutual fulfillment be accomplished.
The Mystery of Co-humanity
Adam called Eve the “Mother of All the Living.” Women are literally life-bearers, and in the early stages of life are, like God, critical life-givers and life-shapers. A woman’s life-giving work flows from self-giving love, which includes giving of her own body. “What seems to go largely unrecognized in a culture saturated with equity indignation,” writes Kuiper, “is that the maternal bond to children represents power. This is the massive power to shape the core of a person for an entire life.”
A man, too, Kuiper says, will find himself as he loses himself in loving and serving others, but how he has been equipped for carrying this out is not as structurally obvious. Adam’s first project was to name all the animals. Like God, he was to move and speak into the void, exercising authority over the domain with which he’d been entrusted. A man possesses greater brute strength, a different kind of power, but one of his vulnerabilities is that, on a deep level, he needs woman to affirm him.
A woman’s affirmation awakens his masculinity. His masculinity, in turn, frees her to love more fully, because with him she is safe. The complementarity can become a symbiotic feedback loop of creative love fueling mutual maturation and fulfillment.
Sexual Being & Wellness
These are just a few of the insights Kuiper draws out. Sex & Society is not about gender roles, but about sexual ontology—or sexual “being-ness”—as a created reality that we ignore, not just to our own detriment, but also to the peril of whole civilizations. Tampering with long-held traditions has exacted a devastating toll on the modern West. Kuiper’s analysis gets to the root of why and closes on a hopeful note with suggestions for engaging our sexually wounded and wayward culture with divine wisdom.
This article originally appeared in Salvo, Issue #63, Winter 2022Copyright © 2022 Salvo | www.salvomag.comhttps://salvomag.com/article/salvo63/recovering-sexual-goods
Applying rigorous critical thinking and psychological research, Dr. Kuiper offers a timely and authoritative expose of the sexual ideologies undermining our civilization. In contrast, he presents a powerful apologetic for historic sexual traditions and biblical values. A must read for concerned students, professors, pastors and other thought leaders.
Rev. David Branson, PhD, author, More Love: How to Experience More of the God who Loves You
Michael has brilliantly documented the various currents driving the cultural chaos and insanity of our day. His analysis points the reader back to the foundational design which reflects the Designer and has served mankind so well. This inspiring book reminds the reader of what is timeless, true and worth championing, even against a cancel culture unwilling to hear. Michael has presented an invaluable gift to those longing to understand this cultural moment.
Steve Martens, MDiv, former missionary
While Vice-President for Student Development at a small private college, I and my student development staff interacted with students who either had questions about or were struggling with gender issues. Kuiper’s book, written at a level suitable for the upper division college student, graduate or post-graduate reader, gives answers to my staff and those students as to the meaning and application of the terms “God’s design” and “God’s order.”
In his, Idols for Destruction, Herbert Schlossberg identifies the attitude that says, “modern thought is the best thought.” The result is an arrogance toward any traditional views held by previous generations. In Sex and Society, Kuiper exposes the consequences of such an attitude in a society wanting a new sexual order. Using an abundance of evidence from well-known researchers, both past and present, he unmasks the law of diminishing returns in a society that is rejecting the historically and biblically accepted view of gender. Drawing from theological, biological, and philosophical constructs, he presents a case for embracing a sexual order grounded in a sacred order.
This is a thought-provoking book that is not a quick read. But it is a well-documented and well-presented book that forces both the progressives and the traditionalists among us to understand the implications of their positions while, at the same time, vigorously recommending that the road to a “flourishing culture” is marked with divine reference points.
If you are looking for a book that answers the questions, “How did our society’s sexual values and behavior get to where we are?” and “How, as Christ-followers, can we support and defend a position on sexual and gender morality that is being attacked?” I recommend Sex and Society: God's Design, Tradition, and the Pursuit of Happiness.
Dr. Rich Brown is a retired college professor, Dean, and Vice President; author, Extended Stays: A Closer Look at Longer Pastorates
I appreciate Michael’s courage to write a book on such a relevant and controversial topic. And even more than that, to do it in such a wonderfully articulate, scientifically accurate and biblically sound way.
Shawn Van De Mark, Senior Pastor, Trinity Alliance Church
Impressive scholarship and sound reasoning. A truly must read for every seminary student and every graduate student in psychology in Christian universities in America!
Steve Weathersbee, LMFT, seminary grad and former missionary
Chapter Six made me want to have another baby!
A "trad wife"