No amount of rules, software filters, or accountability talks can bring the healing we need.
The war against sexual immorality—which begins in our minds and hearts—cannot be won by trying harder to modify our behavior. This will always leave us feeling defeated and discouraged. But we can win victory by knowing our identity in Christ. We gain clarity and power through the Holy Spirit to overcome sexual temptation as we truly grasp the gospel—what God has done for us and in us. And it's necessary to have the gospel regularly preached to us and to regularly preach the gospel to ourselves in order to experience consistent victory.
In Hope and Holiness, author John Fonville shows that the gospel, not practical steps or more self-discipline, is God's provision for the power to live a life of sexual purity. And it is available to every Christian. With a shepherding heart and theological acumen, Fonville answers essential questions for all who desire to honor God with their minds, hearts, and bodies: Who are we? What is the body? and Who is God? Fonville sets us on a desperately needed joyful path of renewed strength and faith-filled purity.
"I have desperately searched for the 'gospel' approach to Christianity that John Fonville writes about in Hope and Holiness. John brings his breadth of theological learning and his conviction about the power of the Holy Spirit to the timely topic of sexual holiness. Using 1 Corinthians 6 as his starting point, he unpacks a way for sexual purity that challenges the old 'do more' and 'try harder' approaches. This book contains the most liberating message the world has ever heard—that God wants 'us' before He wants our behavior, and when He has us, our changed hearts respond with love and obedience. I don't know of another book that addresses sexual purity with such clarity and Christ-centered convictions. I believe God will use this book to bring hope and healing to performance-weary Christians who need to know and grow in the constancy of God's love."
Director, Center for Reformation Anglicanism
"What does it take to have real victory over sexual sin? Here John Fonville calls out the church's flailing attempts to help those ravaged by pornography and other destructive habits—and lights a path toward true transformation through the power of God."
#1 New York Times bestselling author and host of the nationally syndicated Eric Metaxas Radio Show
"This important book tackles what is perhaps the greatest enemy facing Christians today. Sexual sin is nothing new, but the epidemic of pornography and its consequences have devastated the church and ruined the lives and ministries of pastors from every denomination. John Fonville knows that there is no miracle cure for this disease, but he develops a strategy for combating it that is firmly grounded in biblical principles and practical application. It is a manual of self-discipline rooted in submission to the Word of God and a close relationship with Jesus Christ, and very much needed by everyone active in church life today."
Research professor of divinity, Beeson Divinity School
"We live in a culture that calls good evil and evil good (Isa. 5:18–24). Truth has stumbled in the streets and those who hold to it make themselves a prey (Isa. 59:12–14). Could it be why America is self-destructing and inviting the just judgment of God? John's shepherding heart and biblical approach to the rampant problem of immorality and the distortion of biblical morality lays the foundation that will help the reader practically and personally experience the power of the gospel over sin. Don't just read what John writes in Hope and Holiness—study it with an open Bible. Mark the text. Watch how God sends His Word to heal us and deliver us from all our destructions (Ps. 107:20)."
Cofounder, Brand Ambassador, Precept; author, The Truth about Sex
"There is no more thorny issue for the contemporary Christian disciple than that of sexual sin and temptation. With pastoral insight and theological acuity, John Fonville shows us that it is the gospel itself that is the sweetest remedy for our hurts—the power of God to save us and to sanctify us. The tender counsel of this book will be a mercy both to Christians and those who seek to shepherd them."
—Michael P. Jensen
Rector, St Mark's Anglican Church, Darling Point, Sydney
"The topic of sexual purity is increasingly relevant. Many books attempt to defend a biblical sexual ethic by emphasizing God's law and man's need to obey. Others abandon culturally 'outdated' beliefs such as monogamy and 'saving yourself' for marriage in favor of acceptance and cheap grace. Christians are often caught between rules without grace and grace without rules. John Fonville brings us back to the gospel in response to both extremes. The gospel calls us to God-honoring behavior and empowers us to obey. Because we have been set free from the power of sin, we are free to struggle against our sin. Knowing we are forgiven, we can cast off shame and learn to live in light of who we are in Christ. I look forward to seeing how God blesses His church through this book."
Author of Beyond Authority and Submission: Women and Men in Marriage, Church, and Society
"Why do Christians struggle with sexual immorality? What is the Christian's pathway to living a life of purity? Does God expect of us something that is impossible? Author John Fonville answers these questions and others in Hope and Holiness. I highly recommend this book to anyone who seeks to honor God by living a life of purity."
Author of The 5 Love Languages
"John Fonville boldly speaks of sexual immorality, indicating a divine standard for human sexual conduct, but at the same time he calls for grace in dealing with sexual immorality within the church and a grace-informed disposition toward sexually immoral unbelievers that calls us to see them as equal image-bearers of God who are our neighbors and whom we are required to love. Fonville is faithful in upholding the sanctity of both law and gospel in a most critical aspect of the human experience. I highly recommend this work."
—Kenneth R. Jones
Pastor, Glendale Baptist Church, Miami, FL
"John Fonville's book, Hope and Holiness, is a seminal and important book. The church in the West is being weakened and undermined, seemingly unable to resist the onslaught of sexual permissiveness. Many remedies have been tried and, more often than not, failed. Fonville argues that many of the so-called therapies 'tear down' rather than 'build up' as they promote confidence in the self rather than in Christ. What is needed is a deeper grasp of the gospel, which alone has the power to engender holiness. Essentially an exposition of 1 Corinthians 6, Fonville's book points us to the way in which a deeper grasp of the gospel is our only hope in a culture that has given itself over to unanchored sexual desire. I read this book with increasing excitement and hope and came away refreshed. I recommend it unreservedly."
Vicar, St John's Knutsford and Toft, Diocese of Chester, England
"When the world is more and more aggressively seeking to pressure Christians to conform their teaching, morals, and behavior to its godless standards, the importance of carefully argued cases for the maintenance of biblical values has never been greater. When so many church leaders and teachers are proclaiming the necessity for Christians to follow the world's lead in the downward rush to sexual and moral impurity, we need to revisit Paul's injunction that we should not be conformed to the world but be transformed by the renewal of our minds (Rom. 12:2). When the faculty members of far too many theological colleges seem to be dedicated to teaching their students godless reasons why they should not believe the Bible, we need to spare no effort to proclaim the glories of the Christ, who is the central content of the Bible. John Fonville's study, focusing mainly on the teaching of Paul in his first epistle to the Corinthians, is a timely response to secular society's growing rejection of God's revealed will regarding sexual behavior, gender identity, and marriage. This is a timely reminder of the clear biblical teaching about the implications of the gospel for the way we regard and use our bodies."
Former lecturer in Old Testament, Biblical Theology, and Hermeneutics at Moore Theological College, Sydney
"I congratulate my friend John Fonville on this outstanding and much-needed book. The reader is taken on a journey to appreciate how the apostle Paul's gospel ministry to the Corinthian church in the first-century AD is just as relevant for us today as it was for them then. This book will empower many in sexual purity by redirecting the disempowered away from a toothless principle-driven approach to the engine room of Christ, the gospel, and resulting life by the Spirit. I highly recommend this work."
Pastor of Liberty Church, Mid-Ulster (Northern Ireland)
"With conviction and clarity, John Fonville walks his readers through Paul's repeated question to the Corinthians, 'Do you not know?' and shows how only the gospel—God's gracious act of salvation through His Son Jesus Christ—can free us from sexual immorality."
President of the US chapter of the Evangelical Fellowship in the Anglican Communion
"In the sensitive subject of Christian sexuality, John Fonville leads us back to the fountains of faith. With the book of 1 Corinthians and basic principles of the Reformation, John Fonville shows hope for the sexually hopeless."
Pastor at the St. Mary's Lutheran City church of Wittenberg, the mother church of the Reformation
"How can Christians find, keep, and enjoy sexual purity in a sex-crazed culture (first-century Corinth or twenty-first-century America)? Steps, programs, regret, fear of discovery, and willpower may apply brakes that slow the heart's momentum toward shameful fantasies and deeds. But they cannot break the tyranny of lust. Paul showed the Christians of Corinth that only the grace of God in Christ—redeeming, forgiving, transforming grace—can actually break the power of reigning sin and set its captives free. John Fonville's Hope and Holiness opens up for us, clearly, deeply, and movingly, the apostle's good news of liberty in Jesus. As the testimonies throughout affirm, believers who hav