Second Reformed Church

Monday, January 02, 2017

Review: "Sensitive Preaching to the Sexually Hurting"

Sensitive Preaching to the Sexually Hurting by Dr. Sam Serio is a sadly necessary type of book, as he notes that 60 to 80% of our congregations have been effected – in some way – by sexual pain or sin (14).
The purpose of his book is to
“equip you to better communicate the Word of God – by becoming far more competent and compassionate toward those who have experienced sexual hurt, and to those who have inflicted sexual hurt” (201).
Serio argues that in preaching on sexual issues, it is best not to use explicit or inflammatory words, as they might wound the listener; he gives a list of euphemisms that can describe what is happening (50).
In chapters five through eleven, he looks at one type of sexual hurting in each.  He discusses the statistics about these hurts and how one who experienced them may be feeling/responding to it.  Then he offers several passages from the Bible and explanations about how best to preach them to the benefit of the sexually hurting.
In the final chapter, he presents fourteen challenges to the church concerning how ewe might better minister to the sexually hurting – including the hiring of a full-time biblical counselor on staff (191).
Serio’s book is painful to read in the truth that is reflects, but I agree it is necessary – many more are hurting than one would think or know, unless one becomes a confidant or someone is brave enough to seek out counseling.
I do not agree with him that the pastor should come out from behind the pulpit (26).  The pulpit acts, in my understanding, to block the minister and focus the hearer on the Word of God.  While I agree that someone being out and “approachable” is a good thing, it seems to me that this would be better seen in a counseling situation, than in preaching – they are different things.
Also, I was perplexed about how some of the passages he uses as examples actually address the issues he puts forth.
And, as someone who tends to preach lectio continua, unless I am guided by the Spirit to address a certain issue, I preach whatever is next.
This is a very difficult subject and Dr, Serio has provided much wise guidance.  Still, I would caution care and investigate the option of having a biblical counselor on staff.
[This review appears on my blog and on  I received this book free in exchange for an honest review.]

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