Published May 12, 2022
At what point does a commitment to the anarchic sexual morality of our contemporary world disqualify one from being regarded as a Christian? That question is raised in an acute form by a recent article for Sojourners that reviews Christine Emba’s recent book, Rethinking Sex: A Provocation. The reviewer, describing herself as “a dirtbag Christian and a polyamorous writer,” finds Emba’s call for a more traditional approach to sexual morality than what’s offered by the sexual revolution unconvincing. In doing so, she rather blows the cover on the twisted direction Sojourners is now heading.
Emba is fascinating. A columnist for The Washington Post, she is no conservative. Still, she has come to realize that the culture of modern sex is failing because of the reduction of sexual morality to the bare notion of consent. The burden of her argument is that this culture of consent has trivialized sex, trivialized our bodies, and trivialized our relationships. It is, in fact, a culture of unreality, doomed to end in the social disaster we see all around us, marked by loneliness, anxiety, and dysfunction.
Carl R. Trueman taught on the faculties of the Universities of Nottingham and Aberdeen before moving to the United States in 2001 to teach at Westminster Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania. In 2017-18 he was the William E. Simon Visiting Fellow in Religion and Public Life in the James Madison Program at Princeton University. Since 2018, he has served as a professor at Grove City College. He is also a fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center and a contributing editor at First Things. Trueman’s latest book is the bestselling The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self. He is married with two adult children and is ordained in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church.