The Unraveling of the Sexual Revolution

We are at a cultural tipping point in terms of powerful people being held accountable for sexual misconduct. Few people could have imagined, just a few months ago, that so many politicians, reporters, actors, and other influential peoplewould lose their jobs and be publicly shamed over allegations of inappropriate sexual behavior.

The question in the back of the minds of many people continues to be—Who is next? I can’t imagine how traumatic it would be for a powerful person right now, who has committed sexual indiscretion, to live with the reality that his secrets may be soon revealed. Can you imagine the fear and regret?

Last week, filmmaker Morgan Spurlock (of Super Size Me fame) tweeted, “I am part of the problem.” It linked to a nearly 1,000-word confessional that includes these words: “I don’t sit by and wonder ‘Who will be next?’ I wonder, ‘When will they come for me?’”

Spurlock admits to perpetual sexual infidelity, verbal sexual harassment of a former female employee, and a sexual experience with a girl who believed he raped her. He seems to own his shortcomings and commit to doing better. Good for him. Yet how many others feel like Spurlock, but simply don’t have the courage to write such a confessional and to get help? How many are secretly plagued with fear and guilt? Only time will tell.

The Narrative of the Sexual Revolution

The persistent narrative of the sexual revolution since the 1960s has been that biblical sexuality is repressive and harmful. Sexual “liberation,” according to this view, is what gives life true fulfillment. In fact, an article in the science section of the New York Times argued that guilt is brought on by the conservative view of sex.

But this narrative has it exactly backwards. Sex is not merely a recreational activity for pleasure, but is also a profoundly intimate experience between two people that brings life into the world. It is sacred, beautiful, and meant to be experienced in the lifelong union of one man and one woman (Genesis 1:27-28; 2:24). Following this formula does not bring repression or guilt—it brings freedom. It brings freedom from disease, freedom from comparison, freedom from worry, and the freedom of a clear conscience.

Here is how my father and I put it in the introduction for the updated Evidence that Demands a Verdict:

Does God’s view of sex really bring harm to people? Let us ask some simple questions: What would the world be like if everyone followed the biblical plan for sex, engaging in sexual activity in a committed, lifelong relationship with someone of the opposite sex? Would there be more suffering? Or would there be less? Would we have more intact marriages, or more broken homes? Would there be more fatherless homes, or more involved fathers? Would STDs, teen pregnancies, and abortions increase or decrease?

The answers to these questions are obvious.

There are undoubtedly dozens (or more) other people, like Spurlock, who are living in fear and guilt. Will their careers be ruined? Will their reputations be permanently damaged?

True Freedom

Here is one thing I know with confidence: The ideas of the sexual revolution cannot offer real freedom. They ultimately bring guilt, harm, and fear. We are seeing the ideas of the sexual revolution (that sex is merely a physical act without deeper meaning) unravel before our eyes. Sex does matter. And we know it.

My hope is that the recent charges of sexual misconduct, as tragic as they are, will open the eyes of people to see that the sexual revolution is bankrupt.

True freedom is not found through sexual “liberation,” but through healthy boundaries. True freedom is found through recognizing human dignity. True freedom is found in living according to our design. As countercultural as it is, true freedom can only be found through embracing the biblical view of relationships, sex, and marriage.

Sean McDowell is a gifted communicator with a passion for equipping the church, and in particular young people, to make the case for the Christian faith. He connects with audiences in a tangible way through humor and stories while imparting hard evidence and logical support for viewing all areas of life through a biblical worldview. Sean is an associate professor in the Christian Apologetics program at Biola University. He is the Resident Scholar for Summit California. Sean still teaches one high school Bible class, which helps him have exceptional insight into the prevailing culture so he can impart his observations poignantly to fellow educators, pastors and parents alike. In 2008, he received the Educator of the Year award for San Juan Capistrano, Calif. The Association of Christian Schools International awarded Exemplary Status to his apologetics training. Sean is listed among the top 100 apologists. He graduated summa cum laude from Talbot School of Theology with a master’s degree in theology and another in philosophy. He earned a Ph.D. in Apologetics and Worldview Studies in 2014 from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Traveling throughout the U.S. and abroad, Sean speaks at camps, churches, schools, universities and conferences. He has spoken for organizations including Focus on the Family, the Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview, Backyard Skeptics, Cru, Youth Specialties, Hume Lake Christian Camps, Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the Association of Christian Schools International. Sean has also appeared as a guest on radio shows such as Family Life Today, Point of View, Stand to Reason, Common Sense Atheism and the Hugh Hewitt Show. Sean has been quoted in many publications, including the New York Times. Sean is the author, co-author or editor of over 18 books including The Fate of the Apostles (Routledge, 2015); A New Kind of Apologist (Harvest House, 2016); The Beauty of Intolerance (Barbour, 2016); Same-Sex Marriage: A Thoughtful Approach to God’s Design for Marriage, with John Stonestreet (Baker, 2014); Is God Just a Human Invention? with Jonathan Morrow; and Understanding Intelligent Design, with William A. Dembski. Sean has also written multiple books with his father, Josh McDowell, including The Unshakable Truth, More Than A Carpenter and an update for Evidence that Demands a Verdict (2017). Sean is the general editor for The Apologetics Study Bible for Students. He has also written for YouthWorker Journal, Decision Magazine and the Christian Research Journal. Follow the dialogue with Sean as he blogs regularly at In April 2000, Sean married his high school sweetheart, Stephanie. They have three children and live in San Juan Capistrano. Sean played college basketball at Biola and was captain his senior year on a team that went 30-7.


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