Progressively Regressive Sexuality

A Return to Pagan Morality

Editor’s note: With the BreakPoint staff off for the holidays, we are re-airing some of the most talked about commentaries of the year.

Sexual progressives claim to be ushering in a “brave new world” of freedom. But their “new” morality is as old as the hills.

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Eric Metaxas

How often have you heard sexual progressives claim that those of us who hold to traditional sexual morality and marriage are “on the wrong side of history?”

But as one new book points out, it’s the proponents of the sexual revolution who are embracing a sexual morality that history left behind millennia ago—in the dusty ruins of the Roman Forum.

Yes, today Western civilization is undergoing a dramatic cultural shift. In just a few short years our society has fundamentally altered the meaning of marriage, embraced the notion that men can become women, and is now promoting the idea that grown men should be welcome to share a bathroom with women and young girls. Not unexpectedly, we’re also seeing movement toward the normalization of polygamy, pedophilia, and incest.

It’s precisely in times like this that we need some historical perspective. Which is why Lutheran pastor Matthew Rueger’s new book, “Sexual Morality in a Christless World,” is a timely godsend. In it, Rueger shows how Christian sexual morality rocked the pagan world of ancient Rome. The notions of self-giving love, sexual chastity, and marital fidelity were foreign, even shocking to the people of that time.

Citing existing scholarship, Rueger details the Roman sexual worldview that prevailed for hundreds of years. Women and children were viewed as sexual objects; slaves—male and female--could expect to be raped; there was widespread prostitution; and predatory homosexuality was common. Christian sexual morality might have been seen as repressive by the licentious, but it was a gift from God for their victims.

Rueger writes that “Claims in our day of being progressive and moving forward by accepting the ‘new prevailing views on sexuality and same-sex marriage' are horribly misinformed … Contemporary views about sexuality are simply a revival of an older and much less loving view of the world.”

daily_commentary_12_26_16But they are also a revival of an older and impoverished view of human beings. Imagine the reaction of a pagan Roman slave girl who learned for the first time that she had value—not monetary value as a piece of goods to be enjoyed or discarded by her owner—but eternal value because she was made in the very image of God.

Or imagine the pang of conscience felt by an unfaithful Roman husband when he learned that God became incarnate, and took on human flesh, and that how he treated his own body and the bodies of others mattered to God. Mattered immensely.

Folks, we can’t look away and ignore this unholy revival of pagan sexuality and its cheapened view of human beings. But we also can’t wring our hands in fear or throw them up in defeat. As Rueger points out, Christ and His Church radically transformed a far more sexually cruel and chaotic world than ours.

Look to those ancient believers who went before us: Rather than succumbing to or accommodating the spirit of the age, new converts in the early Church came to understand, as Rueger writes, that “Christian morality is based on Christ’s all-encompassing purity and self-emptying love…Christians could no longer live as the Greeks or Romans. Their worldview and self-view was distinctly different. They were now one with Christ in heart and soul.”

Now, their distinctiveness, as Rueger writes, “would not spare them from suffering; it would invite suffering.” It’s pretty clear now that the same holds true for us. Will we bend the knee to this revived pagan sexuality, or will we hold out to a needy world the freedom of God’s plan for human sexuality?

To get your copy of Matthew Rueger’s “Sexual Morality in a Christless World,” simply come to our online bookstore at BreakPoint.org.

(This column originally aired September 8, 2016.)


Further Reading and Information
Progressively Regressive Sexuality: A Return to Pagan Morality

The Christian worldview brought a revolution to the Roman culture of sexual licentiousness. There's certainly no reason to revisit that page in history, so as Eric said, let's demonstrate to our own culture God's beneficial plan for human sexuality. For further reading, click on the link below to get a copy of Matthew Rueger's book "Sexual Morality in a Christless World."

Available at the online bookstore

Sexual Morality in a Christless World
Matthew Rueger | Concordia Publishing House | June 2016

Other Resources

Sex After Christianity
Rod Dreher | The American Conservative | April 11, 2013

Judaism's Sexual Revolution: Why Judaism Rejected Homosexuality
Chuck Colson | BreakPoint.org | October 10, 2014


Abusing women and children is always wrong. Prostituition is not a victimless crime, the women are often trafficed and coerced. On the other hand, if we want religous freedom, we have to give religous freedom even when we don't agree. If two consenting adults want to "marry" we should support the government allowing them to practice thier beliefs as we practice ours. We always need to vote to maintain protections for victims of violence and abuse, and this is where without the Biblical definitions it gets harder, but with religous freedom, we can't say "because it is in the Bible", we have to define it explicitly. Polygamy (a harem) is too often a way for powerful men to have more sex by controlling or dominating women. We can not allow polygamy, prostitution, trafficing, and child abuse. We should also pass laws that prevent compelled participation, including decorating a wedding cake for same sex couples. And we need to pray for revival, because only God can fix this, and in His time, He will.
As I read this article it occurred to me that not only are many in America moving to pan-sexuality but that certain cultures already practice this. In some forms of Islam men are allowed to rape their wives, take pleasure wives and unmarried men are allowed, on certain days to have sex with who or whatever they can catch other than male animals. Many in that same culture use rape as a punishment of a family. Look at what countries without Jesus do to their women and you will know where we are going if we do not have a revival in this nation.