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Review of Rosaria Butterfield: Five Lies of Our Anti-Christian Age

June 18, 2024
By Allie Beth Stuckey

Editor’s Note: The following book review appears in the Spring 2024 issue of Eikon.

Rosaria Butterfield, Five Lies of Our Anti-Christian Age. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2023. 

I struggled with an eating disorder in college. I told myself it was just a stage, that I could stop the vicious cycle anytime I wanted. But I was wrong. It took the grace of God working through the forthrightness of a biblical counselor for me to stop. 

“This will kill you,” she told me at the start of one of our sessions. She then led me through the scientific facts and Scriptural truths to support her dire warning. I knew she was right, and I didn’t want to die at twenty-two. So I quit. 

I often wonder where I would be if she had not been honest with me that day. She knew I would be offended. She understood there was a risk I would walk out in anger. But she cared enough to tell me what I did not want to hear. She had done enough of validating my feelings and listening to my pain. It was time for her to say things plainly. In doing so, she potentially saved my life. 

We live in an age when pointing out the repercussions of bad behavior is verboten. In fact, even saying that some behavior is objectively wrong is often deemed judgmental or cruel. The mainstream view is that hurting someone’s feelings is worse than whatever the consequences of their actions may be. 

But our comfort has a cost: lives are at risk when we choose cowardice over courage. 

In theory, Christians know this. “The wages of sin is death,” Romans 6:23 warns. Yet our actions often fail to reflect our purported theology, particularly when it comes to calling out the sexual sins that have been embraced wholesale by American culture. Homosexuality, transgenderism, the subversion of gender roles, and promiscuity are all manifestations of depravity even Christians are reticent to condemn for fear of appearing unloving.

But if we really believed what we say we do — that sin brings death and God’s ways bring life and goodness — then we would stand firm against the lies of our age, warning in love anyone who will listen: “This will kill you.” 

In Five Lies of our Anti-Christian Age, Rosaria Butterfield fills the role of both a trusted counselor and pleading prophet, lovingly yet insistently urging Christians and unbelievers alike to wake up to the dire situation in which America’s sexual and gender-based idolatry has placed us:

[T]he world is in chaos, and the church is divided because we have failed to obey God and value his plan for how men and women should live,” Butterfield writes. Christians have been deluded into believing that we could reject God’s definitions of and callings for men and women “and somehow reap God’s blessing.” That’s impossible, she argues, since the sexes and God’s plan for them is “central — not peripheral — to the gospel (6). 

Butterfield compares America to the Tower of Babel: a state of utter disarray wrought by those who have decided they know better than God. We have not only embraced Satanic lies regarding morality, sexuality, and identity, we have also codified them. To our shame, our nation has normalized, glamorized, and institutionalized behaviors and unions which God has deemed spiritually deadly and physically harmful (Rom. 1:18–32), and too many Christians have stood by as the sexual revolution has run roughshod through our culture.

This happened because society — much of the church included — has imbibed these five lies: 

  1. Homosexuality is normal.
  2. Being a spiritual person is kinder than being a biblical person.
  3. Feminism is good for the world and the church.
  4. Transgenderism is normal.
  5. Modesty is an outdated burden that serves male dominance and holds women back.

Confronting each myth, Butterfield cuts to the root, explaining the ideology and idolatry within the theories of intersectionality, psychology, feminism, and evolution and how they have duped believers and non-believers alike into accepting and celebrating sexual immorality and gender deception.

In our postmodern age, the mainstream view is that it is perfectly acceptable for a person to “reject truth, not because it’s false, but because it hurts,” Butterfield asserts (58). Butterfield understands the persuasive power of one’s feelings, because her own conversion to Christianity required a slow and painful repudiation of whom she deeply felt she was.

Decades ago, Butterfield was a lesbian, feminist professor at Syracuse University, teaching queer theory and advocating for gay rights. God used the persistent evangelism of a neighbor to win her to Christ. After she was convinced of the truth of the Scriptures, she wrestled with the desire to reconcile her homosexuality with her new Christian identity. Ultimately, God’s Word won.

“God used the offense of God’s Word for the good of my soul,” Butterfield writes (47). She learned the difficult lesson that just because something is offensive does not mean it is untrue, and because it is true, it must be accepted, even if it offends us. Like antiseptic in a wound, the truth that stings can bring necessary healing.

Butterfield’s vulnerability has been a hallmark of each of her books, but in Five Lies of an Anti-Christian Age, she demonstrates unique humility by openly repenting of the role she’s played as a Christian writer in helping solidify the lies she is now warning against. 

Butterfield confesses to employing language that affirmed worldly ways of thinking about sexuality, gender, sin, and repentance: she used the preferred pronouns of trans-identifying people, condemning change-allowing therapy (known pejoratively as “conversion therapy”) as a name-it-and-claim-it “heresy,” and using secular terms like “homophobia.” Her word choice was motivated by compassion for the lost LGBTQ-identifying person, but she allowed her empathy to supersede God’s Word, and in doing so she failed to biblically love the very people she sought to help. 

In Five Lies, Butterfield not only arms readers with wisdom, she also provides an example. Her tactics are equipment; her testimony is encouragement. For Christians who fear being categorized as hateful when shining a light on the deadliness of sin, Butterfield demonstrates how to be uncompromising yet gentle, clear yet compassionate. Ultimately, Butterfield makes the case for obeying the Lord, even at the expense of the approval of others.

Butterfield effectively urges Christians to reject the false idea that love means avoiding hurt feelings at all costs. Love is not synonymous with empathy and affirmation. Love is being willing to say to a person: your sin is killing you. 

If Christ followers truly believe that, they will don the courage necessary to speak life and truth to a deceived world. Consequently, they can bring order to Babel and serve as a refuge for victims of our nation’s cultural chaos. This has always been the call of the Christian, and it remains so today. Lives — and souls — depend upon it. 


Allie Beth Stuckey is host of the Relatable podcast where she analyzes culture, news and politics from a biblical perspective.

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