Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Review: Clean by Douglas Weiss

Clean provides you with biblical, practical, dependable weapons for seizing and maintaining a clean life for yourself and those you love. You will even be equipped to reach out to your brothers-in-arms and teach them to walk with you in cleanness. 

“If the Devil wants war, bring it on!” says Dr. Weiss. Join the battle! Your sexual life is worth fighting for!

Dr. Douglas Weiss's book Clean, subtitled "A Proven Plan for Men Committed to Sexual Integrity" is a highly practical manual for Christian men who desire to break free or help others break free from sexual addiction of all forms. There's plenty of important information here for disciples, pastors, church leaders, wives, families, and brothers in Christ who seek to root out and destroy sexual addiction in their own lives and the lives of others. Clean is well-written, uncompromising, but unusually encouraging and hopeful as it presents practical steps for men to find freedom in their lives.

Dr. Weiss's approach remains biblical but is often informed by psychology. The strength of the book lies in the author's ability to approach the issue of sexual addiction as both a Christian counselor and as an evangelistic minister. The powerful commitment to clean living, accountability and public confession partnered with the practical component will be compelling for many searching for answers, and while the book never compromises on issues such as pornography, inappropriate relationships, and masturbation, it remains overwhelmingly positive and encouraging, repeatedly emphasizing the hope of freedom, which is vital for this kind of book.

The emphasis on psychology and practical methodology presents both informative and unique nuggets of truth as well as some potentially harmful ideas. Dr. Weiss is clearly an advocate of the most basic behavioral modification. Much like Pavlov's dog, he believes that addicts can and should condition their physical brains and bodies by punishing themselves when they transgress in the area of lust. This includes, "Eat a raw onion, Run two miles (if you're not in shape), Eat Ben and Jerry's at 10:00 p.m. (if you are in shape), Leg lunges for half a mile or one mile." He also advocates the method of snapping a rubber band on your wrist each time you have a lustful thought.  I believe these behavior modification techniques are potentially harmful and unbiblical. Jesus did emphasize doing whatever necessary to end sin in your life (Matt 5:29-30), and I empathize with those who want something practical they can do and believe in to end their sin apart from repentance and confession. Some may indeed be helped by these techniques, but an emphasis on this kind of behavior modification can be harmful and distracts from the life-giving power of the Spirit within. I can't imagine Jesus or the disciples teaching disciples to snap themselves with a rubber band or beat themselves when they mentally transgressed.

In spite of my strong reservations regarding Dr. Weiss's methodology of behavioral conditioning and never-ending accountability, there is life-giving power in this book and the core is here to set every man free and lead a revival of purity within the church. As with most books on sanctification I've read, I wish more was said about identity in Christ, the practical power of the Holy Spirit, and the ability to live above temptation by taking every thought captive. My dissatisfaction does not mean that this isn't a good book that will help many. I am glad that I read it and some of Dr. Weiss's revelations were new and important to me. While I would recommend Winning the Battle Within by Neil Anderson and At the Altar of Sexual Idolatry by Steve Gallagher before Clean, it is an important book on a much needed topic.

My thanks to Thomas Nelson for providing a complimentary review copy. I have provided an honest review.

924221: Winning the Battle Within: Realistic Steps to  Overcoming Sexual Strongholds Winning the Battle Within: Realistic Steps to Overcoming Sexual Strongholds
By Neil T. Anderson / Harvest House Publishers

204687: Clean: A Proven Plan for Men Committed to Sexual Integrity Clean: A Proven Plan for Men Committed to Sexual Integrity
By Doug Weiss / Thomas Nelson
0220200: At the Altar of Sexual Idolatry, 20th Anniversary Edition At the Altar of Sexual Idolatry, 20th Anniversary Edition
By Steve Gallagher / Pure Life Ministries

1 comment:

  1. Hi Jonathan,

    Just read your review of the book Clean by Doug Weiss.

    I appreciate Doug's perspective as a solid presentation of the traditional Christian views on this subject but ultimately I found this kind of advice ineffective and misguided.

    I'd welcome you to review my book 5 Keys To Successfully Beat Porn Addiction For Christians found on

    I would be happy to interact with you or appear on any Christian podcasts you might be able to refer me to as well to open a discussion on what the Bible says on all this.

    Thanks for your work! :-)

    Kel Good