West has been delivering lectures since 1997, mostly on topics such as Christian anthropology, the Creed, morality, sacraments, marriage, sexuality, and family life. He has also spoken on national radio and on television. He is one of the main educators in the Theology of the Body Institute, which offers graduate level courses and other training programs on the Theology of the Body.
He and his wife Wendy reside in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania (USA), and have five children.
Christopher received a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology in 1992 from the University of Maryland. In 1996 he was certified as an Instructor of Marriage Preparation from the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. In 1997, he obtained a Master of Theological Studies at the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family at The Catholic University of America, and became a Certified Catechist by the Archdiocese of Denver Catechetical School.
Theologian David L. Schindler charged that West promotes a “pansexualist tendency” that ties all important human and supernatural activity back to sex without making necessary distinctions.
Moral theologian Dr. Janet Smith defended West, saying his work is "completely sound" and that she found Schindler's response "puzzling." Smith, in her response to Schindler's critique, says that Schindler "provides a list of his objections to West’s theology without citing one text to substantiate his charges...As it stands, I do not find that his concerns correspond with what I have read in West’s work or heard in his lectures."
Dr. Alice von Hildebrand, widow of the late Catholic theologian Dietrich von Hildebrand, has said West's approach has become too self-assured. She criticized his presentations as irreverent and insensitive to the “tremendous dangers” of concupiscence.
Theologian Michael Waldstein, who wrote the definitive translation of The Theology of the Body, addressed Schindler’s remarks in an essay published on InsideCatholic.com.Waldstein said that Schindler’s essay was a “blanket negative statement” that made “sweeping accusations” against a position he did not recognize as West’s.
Dawn Eden, author of the book The Thrill of the Chaste, published her examination of West’s presentation of John Paul II’s teachings in her master's thesis. Eden commends West's speaking and writing skills, but takes issue with some points of theology that West uses in his ministry.
Justin Cardinal Rigali, Archbishop of Philadelphia, and Kevin Rhoades, Bishop of Harrisburg, issued a joint statement in support of West's work.
"We are convinced that John Paul II's Theology of the Body is a treasure for the Church, indeed a gift of the Holy Spirit for our time. Yet, its scholarly language needs to be 'translated' into more accessible categories if the average person is to benefit from it. To do this is the specific mission of the Theology of the Body Institute, and we believe that Christopher West, the Institute's popular lecturer and spokesman, has been given a particular charism to carry out this mission. With great skill as a presenter, with keen insight as a thinker, and with profound reverence for the mystery of human sexuality, he has been able to reach thousands in our sexually wounded culture with the Gospel of salvation in Christ."
West also responded to many of the critiques, acknowledging that "so long as we are on earth, we will always have to battle with concupiscence" and conceding "In some of my earliest lectures and tapes, I confess that I did not emphasize this important point clearly enough." However, he continues with the rhetorical question, taken from Veritatis Splendor 103, "Of which man are we speaking?" and discusses the teaching of John Paul II that "[Christ] has given us the possibility of realizing the entire truth of our being; he has set our freedom free from the domination of concupiscence."