Monday, April 3, 2017

"Sexual Morality in a Christless World" by Matthew Rueger: A Review

Rome's leaders set a tone of sexual permissiveness and self-gratification that created an atmosphere of extreme hostility toward Christian notions of sexual chastity and self-emptying love. Social hostility did not dissuade the early Christians from making their case for sexual morality; it should not frustrate the Christian message in our day either. (38)

Within evangelical circles, it is believed the sexual revolution is its greatest threat. It not only seduces our neighbors with lies it is also a physical threat to the Church herself. The sexual morality of orthodoxy flies in the face of sexual anarchy and its cheerleaders often respond with hostility in the form of verbal threats ("you bigots!") and legal action.

As a result, there has been a plethora of books guiding Christians through the sexual rabbit hole we now live in. For modern believers, this is new waters. Navigating said waters require great wisdom and care. One of the most helpful and informative books I have come across is Matthew Rueger's Sexual Morality in a Christless World.

Rueger's thesis is a simple one: we are not navigating new waters but returning to an old one. The author begins by exploring the world of the New Testament: Rome. In my estimation, this first chapter alone is worth the investment of the book. The reader is introduced to Roman sexual morality and how they viewed women, sexuality, homosexuality, prostitution, pederasty, etc. It is shocking to say the least. The Romans were sexually depraved and from the picture painted by Rueger, sex was central to the Roman experience in their male dominated world.

In introducing this material, the author wants the reader to understand two things. First, sexual anarchy always victimizes women. Today is no different in spite of what radical feminists try to proclaim. The women of Rome were not liberated souls but victims of the sexual predators of their society. Secondly, Christianity thrived in this society. Both Corinth and Rome, arguably two of the worse cities in the Roman world, were home to a growing church. Both had their struggles, especially Corinth, but Christianity was a voice of liberty to the people there. This is a message we need to remember today.

From there, the author walks us through the worldview of Judaism in the first century and how it compares to Christianity. He then explores biblical sexuality by highlighting key biblical text and answering common objections of Christianity morality. All of these chapters are introductory in nature but are valuable nonetheless.

Overall, this is an excellent work on a difficult subject. The information provided here is important and I would encourage every Christian leader to be armed with it.
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