BOOK REVIEW: Love Thy Body by Nancy Pearcey

Twenty-twenty marks the year I finally met my long-time quest to read 52 books in a single year which is the equivalent of one per week. I met my goal concluding the year with a most excellent read – Love Thy Body by worldview apologist, Nancy Pearcey. I have had her book sitting expectantly upon my shelf for many months and while it was well worth the wait, I wish I had read it post-haste.

Worldview – Theology of the Body

Pearcey provides the worldview theology of the body with stunning clarity. In so doing, she thoroughly covers the dignity of life from conception to death. She reveals the worldview behind the personhood theory, the hook up culture, marriage, divorce, homosexuality, transgenderism, eugenics, euthanasia and so much more. Love Thy Body is not an expose of the sins of the world, but a worldview analysis of the bankrupt two-story philosophy which has so infected the world (and the church) that these travesties of sin run rampant in our society. It is an apologetic for the body, for life, for righteousness and for the merits of a biblical worldview. Pearcy writes with compassion for those suffering from disjointed lives due to worldview lies which pervade our culture as liberating ideas. The brokenness that results from living outside of biblical theology is heart wrenching. The pain continues for generations, but the good news is that there is hope in Jesus. Changing the way we think thereby practicing repentance can restore the years the locus has consumed.

Pearcey provides the worldview theology of the body with stunning clarity.

Karla Perry

Pearcey issues a clarion call for building our lives and nation upon a biblical worldview. In response to the prevalent philosophy of our day that biology (human body) and personhood (soul – self) are two different and, at times, incompatible entities, she writes, “The biblical worldview is holistic. It recognizes that body and soul are complementary, forming an integrated psycho-physical unity. Everyone who is human is also a person. We are embodied persons. The Christian ethic is based on a rich, multidimensional view that says people have moral worth on all level, physically and spiritually” (Pearcey 48).

Understanding the World’s Thinking

If we do not understand the world’s philosophy on personhood theory, we cannot accurately argue for the life of the unborn because we will be arguing against old ideas instead of new ones. The tables have turned to where biological arguments of when a human begins are no longer the predominate worldview defense for and against abortion. Those who are for abortion are no longer denying that a human life begins at conception, they now deny that that biological human is not a person until birth and sometimes even that marker is disputed. Proponents of abortion are leaving behind scientific arguments for philosophical arguments that support the end results. But these arguments transcend the abortion debate and effect our society in the transgender debate, homosexuality, and more.

I love how Pearcey argues that “As the Western world sinks back into pre-Christian morality, followers of Jesus must once again become countercultural” (Pearcey 72). The more we live out biblical morality the more we show the world a way forward that supports the integrity of life. We can demonstrate marriage, mothering, fathering, care for the elderly, and respect for both male and female sexed persons. The Christian life, being counter cultural, will once again be an attractive apologetic for coming to Jesus.

“As the Western world sinks back into pre-Christian morality, followers of Jesus must once again become countercultural”

nancy Pearcey, Love Thy body

Writing Love Thy Body would not have been an easy feat as secular worldviews can be quite convoluted and difficult to make sense of and yet to work to understand the prevailing thought forms is necessary to provide an answer that is respectful of the questioner. Answers that do not respect the questions and questioners fall on deaf ears. Pearcey does this well. She explains, “But secular worldviews do not come neatly labeled so we can easily recognize them. Instead, they mutate into forms that we hardly recognize, becoming part of the very air we breathe. The most powerful worldviews are those that we absorb without knowing it. They are some ideas nobody talks about—the assumptions we pick up almost by osmosis” (Pearcey 135). This is precisely why we need books such as these. We need to have what is hidden revealed so that we do not fall into these traps of errant thinking.

The Need for Discipleship

Sadly, as Francis Schaeffer once opined the philosophies of the world quickly become the thinking of the Church. This happens when the Church does not disciple on such matters that the world excels in teaching. The world has no qualms about weaving worldview into all areas of society. This is how the world disciples through osmosis. They are doing our job with the wrong worldview. We can disciple the same way, and yet we often do not have the worldview necessary for discipleship outside of sacred space and sometimes not even inside it. Failing to disciple we leave the world and the church at the mercy of these dismal philosophies.

A New Eugenics

Pearcey’s book touches on the new technological advances in science and engineering where we are revisiting eugenics in our age. That Hideous Strength becomes relevant once again as C. S. Lewis envisioned the dangers of the eugenics philosophy of his day played out in a sci-fi novel which was in fact a creative worldview masterpiece based on his work The Abolition of Man. Just this year, renowned Christian apologist John Lennox, released the book 2084 where he delves into the worldview concerning the advances of AI in the coming years. If we do not have a biblical worldview of the body, we will be absorbing a worldview of the creators of AI as fictionalized in the film, I, Robot. My reading this year aptly, albeit somewhat spontaneously, included That Hideous Strength, The Abolition of Man, 2084, and Love Thy Body.

“You cannot define the human person without reference to the intelligent mind of God. That is, there is no purely ‘bottom-up,’ physicalist, reductionist explanation of what a person is.”

John Lennox, 2084
Noteworthy Christian Worldview Thinkers

Last year my husband and I had in our friend Vishal Mangalwadi to speak to a group of leaders in our region. Vishal’s talk spoke to this very issue of confusing man with machine. Only revealed truth informs us as to what is a man and what is a woman. Only biblical revelation provides a worldview that gives people dignity, equality, and human rights. I remember listing to Eric Metaxas interview Os Guinness and Metaxas asked Os if we did not have the biblical worldview to ground human rights, liberty, etc. where else could it be grounded? Os responded it cannot be! There is no other basis. There would be no Declaration of Independence or Constitution without the theology born out of The Reformation that applied biblical theology to government and nations.

“You will not find a grounding for freedom except in the Bible. That is a stunning thing to say, but it is true. Westerners take freedom for granted.”

Os Guinness

The crux of the matter, argues Pearcey, is that we have lost the creation affirming worldview gained in the Reformation. “One of the most revolutionary themes of the Reformation was its rejection of the sacred/secular split and its affirmation of the sacredness of the created world” (Pearcey 144). I see this sacred secular split played out in the church on a regular basis. In fact, I assume almost anyone I am speaking with operates in this split and I am seldom pleasantly surprised. The thinkers we must read thoroughly to restore us to an integrated holistic theology are Francis Schaefer, Os Guinness, Nancy Pearcey, and Vishal Mangalwadi to name a prominent few. The later three were at one-point students of Francis Schaefer who worked tirelessly to restore integration to evangelical Christianity.

Concluding Remarks

Love Thy Body is a great achievement of integrating biblical applied theology for the body which extrapolates into a myriad of related subjects which are highly contentious in our world today. Pearcey demonstrates how these issues are pre-political and are not to be given to the State to determine as the State’s role is to protect our God given rights. When we remove God from the equation, the State becomes a god. No one wants to live in a nation where the State is operating with god-like authority especially one with arbitrary morality bending to the whim of a fluid feeling oriented culture.

I would love to have interspersed this review with all the quotes I recorded as I read to take you argument by argument through the book. But while this book will forever impact my worldview teachings, I want to let you take your own journey with Nancy Pearcey through Love Thy Body reading every powerful sentence so that you are well equipped with this solid theology. This is a revolutionary worldview equipping book. As a worldview revitalizer, I cannot recommend this book enough. Order your copy today.

“And suddenly all that Britain which had been so long familiar to him as a scholar rose up like a solid thing. He could see it all. Little dwindling cities where the light of Rome still rested – little Christian sites, Camalodunum, Kaerleon, Glastonbury – a church, a villa or two, a huddle of houses, an earthwork. And then, beginning scarcely a stone’s-throw beyond the gates, the wet, tangled, endless woods, silted with the accumulated decay of autumns that had been dropping leaves since before Britain was an island; wolves slinking, beavers building, wide shallow marshes, dim horns and drummings, eyes in the thickets, eyes of men not only Pre-Roman but Pre-British, ancient creatures, unhappy and dispossessed, who became the elves and ogres and wood-wooses of the later tradition. But worse than the forests, the clearings. Little strongholds with unheard-of kings. Little colleges and covines of Druids. Houses whose mortar had been ritually mixed with babies’ blood.”

C.S. Lewis, That Hideous Strength

To reform a nation, you need to know what makes a nation truly great. Understanding America’s beginnings creates a pathway forward for all nations. From America’s first President, to the birth of capitalism, to the shaping of its institutions, Karla Perry shows the reader what makes nations flourish.

“Karla has important insights into some of the critical issues of our times. She has the ability to articulate them in an interesting and engaging way that is also practical.”
Rick Joyner, Founder and President, MorningStar Ministries

“An enemy is not needed to destroy a great civilization. It can self-destruct by forgetting the ideas that made its language, literature, family, education, politics, economy, laws and judiciary great. Many feel the need to re-form America that no longer knows what is love, marriage, divorce, male and female, family or nation. In this powerful premier, Karla Perry explains what made America great in the first place and how it can again become a blessing to its citizens and a light to the world.”

Dr. Vishal Mangalwadi, Author of The Book That Made Your World

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