Note to Students
We’re excited to make this course available to you. We hope it will develop your faith and strengthen you for the inevitable conflict about sexual identity that you are inheriting.
We also recognize that God has given your parents authority for your instruction, particularly about sexual matters. Because of the nature of the topics involved, we ask that you make sure your parents read the previous step called “Note to Parents.” (You can click the back arrow above to revisit that step.)
You probably have noticed a lot of confusion about sexual identity among young people today. Movies, music, and social media regularly present a buffet of new terms and objectionable material. The continual search for pleasure outside of God’s law may seem good for a time, but it ultimately yields hopelessness. As Proverbs 14:12 declares, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.”
In 2022, college professor Carl Trueman wrote Strange New World: How Thinkers and Activists Redefined Identity and Sparked the Sexual Revolution. His great achievement was putting the sexual chaos around us in perspective—both of history and of Scripture.
In the foreword of the book, Ryan Anderson helpfully summarizes the book’s argument as “an account of how the person became a self, the self became sexualized, and sex became politicized.” We think his is an accurate description, but we wanted to expand the course from this foundation.
There are several things we hope you get from this course:
We want this course to not only teach you about how the world got to be the way it is, but why it is different from God’s design and law. We also want you to develop a Christian worldview of sexual identity so that you can put it to practical use in your daily interactions. Finally, we want you to be armed for the conflicts you will encounter once you enter college, the work force, or begin raising a family of your own.
Here’s how the class actually works.
The class is divided into 10 lessons. It is designed to cover one semester. However, although it can be finished in 10 weeks, some may find they want to go a little more slowly for things to sink in. To that end, you could follow the class over a year and make lessons last for two weeks or more. There is plenty of material to prompt writing and study for that amount of time.
Everything begins with Dr. Trueman’s video lectures. They introduce the concepts explored in more detail in the corresponding book chapter. From there, students There are 11 videos, each of which lasts for about 11 minutes. The idea is that they lay the groundwork for getting the details explored in the rest of the material.
After the lecture, you will read the corresponding chapter in Trueman’s book. For each chapter, we’ve selected representative quotations that capture the main point. These would be useful in family discussion during the course.
Each chapter is followed by a quiz in the course. This gives you a chance to gauge your comprehension of the chapter. You can see the correct responses for any that you miss by clicking “View Questions” once you complete the quiz.
Study questions from the chapter and video come next. The material created by Crossway here is really excellent at developing your ability to apply biblical thinking to the issues of sexual identity. There is no key for these because they are largely open-ended.
The essay questions are a great way to wrap up your learning to share with others. They involve self-reflection, but we’ve outlined possible responses that you can view as a guide.
We’ve sometimes added a reading or video that provides personal background on a particular philosopher or philosophical issue. These will be called “Go Deeper” and will provide additional historical and biographical context for Trueman’s quotations in the book. In some cases, these include everything from complete works to selections found in a philosophy readers. In others, you will read selections from Dr. John Frame’s excellent survey A History of Western Philosophy and Theology.
During the 2024 Spring Semester, we are also adding free facilitation for this course. A member of Compass Classroom staff will host weekly Zoom discussions on the material in this course. It’s a great way to make sure you are tracking with the material, and gives you a chance to discuss with peers under a facilitator. Visit the Philosophy and Worldview group and look for the pinned discussion thread for this new course!
Next, you will be introduced to your instructor.