BOOK REVIEW: Love Thy Body (Nancy Pearcey)
by Michael J. Penfold
The 21st Century has seen a revolution in the West’s view of life and sexuality, overturning thousands of years of settled and trusted moral norms and replacing them with an ‘anything goes’ culture of amoral attitudes to the body.
Love Thy Body by Nancy Pearcey is a 335 page book (Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, MI, 2018) that counters, chapter by chapter, the “new morality”, getting back to basic Bible truth and exposing the evils of abortion, euthanasia, the ‘hook-up culture’, homosexuality and the transgender movement.
Pearcey starts by laying out a Biblical view of the body. She exposes the lie of our culture’s separation of ‘person’ from ‘body’ and runs that false dichotomy through all the topics, thus exposing the false foundation upon which this devastating revolution is based.
Pearcey’s final chapter, The Goddess of Choice is Dead – From Social Contract to Social Meltdown, in which she exposes the erroneous ideas of Thomas Hobbes, John Locke and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, is alone worth the price of the book. Most Westerners believe these men’s ‘social contract theory’ – which shapes their entire life – without ever having heard of them.
From the flyleaf:
Why the call to Love Thy Body? To counter a pervasive hostility toward the body and biology that drives today’s headline stories:
Transgenderism: Activists detach gender from biology. Kids down to kindergarten are being taught their body is irrelevant to their authentic self. Is this affirming – or does it demean the body?
Homosexuality: Advocates disconnect sexuality from biological identity as male or female. Is this liberating – or does it denigrate biology?
Abortion: Supporters say the fetus is not a person, though it is biologically human. Does this mean equality for women – or does it threaten the intrinsic value of all humans?
Euthanasia: Those who lack certain cognitive abilities are said to be human but not persons. Is this compassionate – or does it ultimately put everyone at risk?
In Love Thy Body, bestselling author Nancy Pearcey goes beyond politically correct slogans with a riveting exposé of the dehumanizing worldview that shapes current watershed moral issues.
Pearcey then turns the tables on media boilerplate that misportrays Christianity as harsh or hateful. A former agnostic, she makes a surprising and persuasive case that Christianity is holistic, sustaining the dignity of the body and biology.
Throughout she entrances readers with compassionate stories of people wrestling with hard questions in their own lives – their pain, their struggles, their triumphs.
“Liberal secularist ideology rests on a mistake, and Nancy Pearcey in her terrific new book puts her finger right on it. In embracing abortion, euthanasia, homosexual conduct and relationships, transgenderism, and the like, liberal secularism…is philosophically as well as theologically untenable.” – Robert P. George, Princeton University
“Writing with both deep compassion and clear thinking, Nancy Pearcey helps us to better understand the worldview that lies behind the huge cultural shifts we have recently experienced in the West…Pearcey is a wonderful guide.” – Sam Allberry, author
“Nancy Pearcey models on every page how to understand secular worldviews. . . . Love Thy Body is a must-read book.” – Rosaria Butterfield, former professor, Syracuse University; author, The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert
“An astute but accessible analysis of the intellectual roots of the most important moral ills facing us today: abortion, euthanasia, and redefining the family.”–Richard Weikart, California State University, Stanislaus
“Unmasks the far-reaching practical consequences of mind-body dualism better than anyone I have ever seen.” – Jennifer Roback Morse, founder and president, The Ruth Institute
“Pearcey gets straight to the issue of our day: What makes humans valuable in the first place? You must get this book. Don’t just read it. Master it.” – Scott Klusendorf, president, Life Training Institute
I have read most of Nancy Pearcey’s books and have found them all helpful. Love Thy Body I found particularly useful and am happy to highly recommend it. It will repay careful and repeated perusal. If you are a teacher, a parent, a preacher, an evangelist, an elder or just a Christian trying to understand what the Bible has to say about what is happening in our world, this is the book for you.
(One word of caution to readers. Nancy Pearcey is not a dispensationalist. This colours her suggested diagnosis of what Christians should do to counter the present cultural revolution. Once in Love Thy Body (p. 39), and several other times in her other books, she promotes what she calls the “cultural mandate”. By this she means that Christians should get involved in the arts, and politics, and other areas of life, in order to christianise the culture. However, the Bible teaches that the world system was condemned at the cross (John 12:31) and awaits final judgment at Christ’s return (Acts 17:31). Therefore our task in the mean time is not to disinfect the dunghill of the world’s culture, but to preach the gospel and see individuals saved out of it (Acts 15:14) – to save people off the Titanic, rather than rearrange the chairs on its deck. This idea only takes up a single half page in Pearcey’s book and should not stop readers benefitting from the rest of what is an urgent, helpful and necessary read).