The Sexual Revolution's Silencing of the Body and The Church's Call to Let the Body Speak

The Sexual Revolution's Silencing of the Body and The Church's Call to Let the Body Speak

The Fruits of the Sexual Revolution

The fruits of the sexual revolution surround us. Non-married cohabitation and no-fault divorce are ubiquitous (and nearly unquestioned despite their ruinous effect on marriage and the family). Homosexual behavior, same-sex unions, and transgender ideology are celebrated in media (as anyone who watched the Olympics witnessed) and normalized in education curriculum (as evidenced by the influence of SEICUS on American sex education curriculum and the widespread use of “The Gender Unicorn” in school districts throughout the U.S.),[1] and endorsed in law (Obergefell being but the tip of the iceberg as legislatures and courts across the country open restrooms and sports to gender identity and business owners are penalized for declining to marry their craft and voice to immorality).
Sadly, large segments of the American church are celebrating these fruits (the ELCA is hosting LGBT youth camps, blessing same-sex marriages, and hosting a “renaming service” to celebrate the gender transition of one of its pastors).
Porn culture pervades our lives as children now have uninhibited access to it through their smart phones (and they are accessing it) and studies continue to reveal how these images ruinously rewire the brain and shatter children’s expectations for relationships and their ability to relate appropriately. 50 million babies are dead as the right to choose continues to be extolled and the government continues to subsidize the slaughter under the banner of “reproductive rights.” The CDC estimates that sexually transmitted infections affect 20 million people every year in America (with chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis sharply on the rise), costing us nearly $16 billion annually!
Children raised in fatherless homes continue to impact communities with study after study detailing its deleterious effects: increased behavioral, emotional, and health related problems, increased risk for crime, depression, suicide, poverty, unmarried pregnancy, struggles in school, and drug and alcohol abuse. 
And contraception has not delivered on its promise to liberate women. Instead, it has facilitated a hook-up culture and contributed to women’s objectification and availability for supposedly consequence free sex. All told, the sexual revolution has left us in a world of sex without strings and relationships without rings.
But these fruits are easy to spot. The roots are much harder to identify. If you dig down deep enough, though, you’ll discover this disconcerting truth undergirding the sexual revolution: the silencing of the body and the rejection of creation. The sexual revolution has robbed the body and the creation of their moral voice.
Appreciating Teleology
There was a time when people viewed the body as informative for identity and morality, when mankind’s created nature as male and female was understood to inform identity (both individual and familial) and sexual morality. In other words, people saw the sexual complementarity of male and female and understood that they were designed (especially sexually) for each other. Out of this fact of creation grew marriage and the family (God intentionally connected them).
This came from the Christian worldview that taught that God, as the Creator, had hardwired purpose into His creation. In academic speak, this has been called a teleological view of the cosmos (from the Greek word telos meaning end, goal, or purpose). So, the cosmos is not founded on chaos (as modern evolutionists insist), but on the order programmed in it by the mind of God (order scientists continue to discover and before which they repeatedly stand in awe).
So male and female are complementary biological sexes clearly designed for each other. Through their sexual union, a man and a woman (as husband and wife) unite in an exclusive, monogamous, life-long union aimed toward procreation and the family. Our bodies teach us this. God’s creation instructs us. And these are good. St. Paul said as much in Romans 1 when he wrote about the order of creation revealing the will of the Creator.
The Sexual Revolution Reject Teleology
The sexual revolution rejects this, claiming creation is irrelevant, that the body is irrelevant to ethics and identity. This is a profoundly disrespectful and low view of the body and an outright rejection of the teleological view of the cosmos. It not only reduces the body to a mere pleasure bot, but it gives the desires of the human heart the power to determine identity (both individual and familial) and sexual morality. The body is irrelevant; it has not telos, no God-given design or purpose. Creation, specifically, the will of the Creator revealed in His creation, is rejected. Human desires are crowned king.
This is catastrophic. The Creator is rejected; human desires are affirmed. But it was Jesus Himself who warned us against the desires of the human heart: “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander” (Matthew 15:19). To turn the reigns of identity and morality over to these is catastrophic indeed (refer back to the opening paragraphs!).
The world would have us, in the name of love, affirm people’s sexual orientation and gender identity even if they are not in line with their body. But this is not loving. Love does not require us to reject creation or to demote the body to irrelevance. And love does not force people to live fragmented lives in which their desires and perceived identity are at war with the biological reality of their bodies (nor does it support surgically altering a body to align with feelings).[2] Love helps people appreciate their God-given body and hear creation speak of God’s will for His creation. Love helps people align their lives with what God calls good.
A True Story
Consider a real life example: Sean Doherty is sexually attracted to men.[3] He writes, “I determined that the only course open to me was to remain celibate. I accepted the biblical teaching that God had created marriage for a man and a woman, and because I was gay, my only ethical option was to embrace a life of being single.” He then offers, “As a man, God’s original intention for me in creation was to be able to relate sexually to a woman.” Notice how he accepted creation. He continues, “I came to think that in fact my feelings were what were relatively superficial, in comparison to my physical identity.” Note how he grounded his identity in his body and rightly saw his feelings as potentially misleading.
Once he gave the biological reality of his body its full weight, he was able to ground his identity in his created nature. “Without denying or ignoring my sexual feelings, I stopped regarding them as being who I was, sexually, and started regarding my physical body as who I was… Rather than trying to change my feelings so that I could change my label, I changed my label and my feelings started to follow suit.”
Mr. Doherty goes on to explain how “liberating and helpful” it was to realize that “my sexual identity as a man was already fixed and secure – because sexuality (in the sense of the sexual differences between men and women) is a gift of God to humanity in creation.” By appreciating and accepting the biological identity given to him by God, Mr. Doherty was able to see his identity as a man as a good thing. He was able to appreciate the telos (the design) of his body, as being complementary to a woman, as a good thing. 
Mr. Doherty found himself tempted by one of the fruits of the sexual revolution, but thanks to the faithful and consistent teaching of the church, he was able to see its poisoned roots and refuse the fruit. By turning instead to the good roots in God’s creation, he was able to ground his identity in his body and to align his life with what God called good, and thereby enjoy the good fruits of God.
The Church’s Call
The church is often painted as simply being against the sexual revolution and its fruits, and while we are against these (because they hurt people and do damage to what God calls good), we are first for the good of God. We are for creation. We are for the body. We believe these are good creations of God that inform what it means to a person, a married couple, and a family. Identity and morality are rooted in creation, in God’s creation. And when we appreciate these roots, we will enjoy their fruits.
Our call, then, as the church is really quite simple: let the body speak. – Pastor Conner

[1] SEICUS (Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States), which influences virtually all U.S. sex education curriculum makes this pronouncement: “Gender identity refers to a person’s internal sense of being male, female, or a combination of these” and “people’s understanding of their gender may change over the course of their lifetimes.”  The Gender Unicorn is designed for young children to teach them that gender is not connected to biological sex and that the body doesn’t inform sexual behavior.

[2] It is no more loving to affirm a person who identifies as transgender in his or her desire to surgically alter his or her body to align with his or her feelings than it is to affirm a person who identifies as transabled in his desire to surgically alter his body (through amputation or severing the spinal cord or optic nerve) to align with his desires. The problem isn’t with the body; the problem is in the beliefs and desires of the mind and heart, which Scripture teaches are fallen.

[3] Nancy Pearcey shares this account in her fantastic book Love Thy Body, a must-read for anyone wishing to understand the biblical worldview on matters pertaining to human sexuality and how it provides a beautiful alternative to the ways of the world. 

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