Strange New World & The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self by Carl Trueman | Book Recommendation

The speed at which the recent sexual and gender identity revolutions have overtaken culture is staggering. How did we get to the point where, for instance, a statement like “I am a man trapped in a woman’s body” can now be spoken and understood, whereas even a generation ago this string of words wouldn’t have been seen as intelligible? Yet now we all know what is meant. What conditions laid the groundwork for such ideas to take hold–and not just take hold, but so quickly?

In 2020 Carl Trueman released his award-winning book, The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self: Cultural Amnesia, Expressive Individualism, and the Road to the Sexual Revolution. And now he has published a shorter and more accessible treatment of this topic, Strange New World: How Thinkers and Activists Redefined Identity and Sparked the Sexual Revolution (March 2022). In these two books, Trueman guides us through both the philosophical trends and societal factors that have moved our modern culture toward this era of “expressive individualism.” He shows us that the sexual revolution and its accompanying identity politics are just the most recent symptoms of these larger shifts in how we’ve come to conceive of human nature.

Contemporary Sexualities & Gender Identities — Discussion Questions

The following is a list of discussion questions composed for a CrossWay Community Church small group, Christ & Culture, for use throughout November and December 2018.


Same-Sex Sexuality:

  • What does the Bible have to say about same-sex sexuality?
    • Is same-sex sexuality sinful?
    • What Biblical or theological questions do we have about this issue?
    • If someone is — as one might say — “born gay,” than how can we condemn their same-sex sexuality as sinful?
  • Can someone be same-sex attracted and Christian?
  • Is same-sex attraction a choice?
  • Is same-sex attraction itself sinful? Why is this distinction (if valid) important?
  • If someone is same-sex attracted and becomes a Christian, what should we expect their discipleship and sanctification to look like? For example, should we expect their same-sex attraction to go away? Why or why not?
  • Should same-sex attracted Christians embrace the label or self-identification of being gay (e.g., “gay Christian”)? Why or why not?
  • How should we evaluate the cultural phenomenon of linking one’s sexuality with one’s identity?
  • Are same-sex attracted individuals, by nature of being same-sex attracted, called to a life of celibacy?
  • What can we do as a church, as believers, to better help those in our midst or those in our community who are same-sex attracted? What has the church previously done well in this matter? Done poorly?
  • Many same-sex attracted Christians who choose a life of singleness can be susceptible to a sense of loneliness. How can we as a church help, encourage, and be more mindful of them?
  • Self-professing Christians disagree on this question — is homosexuality sinful? Is this an area where we can just “agree to disagree” and still maintain unity?
  • How can we help children (our own, or those in our church) navigate this topic in a culture that is increasingly affirming (and with insistence) of same-sex sexualities?
  • What should Christians make of “gay marriage”?
    • Should Christians support or oppose the legalization of gay marriage?
    • Should Christians attend their homosexual friends’ wedding ceremony?
    • Should Christians in certain professions (e.g., bakers, photographers) refuse to provide services for same-sex marriages?
  • How should we counsel someone who is in a homosexual marriage (according to law) and becomes a Christian?
  • How can we winsomely communicate our convictions to non-believers?

Transgenderism & Gender Dysphoria:

  • What should we make of “gender dysphoria”? Is transgenderism a choice, sin, disorder, and/or valid expression of self-understanding?
  • What does the Bible have to say, if anything, about gender dysphoria or transgenderism?
  • How can we help those experiencing gender dysphoria or self-identifying themselves as transgender?
  • Should we accommodate and use individuals’ “preferred pronouns” even if they conflict with their known biological sex?
  • How should we counsel someone who becomes a Christian and previously underwent sex reassignment surgery?