Go to almost any church in America and sit for an entire year of Sunday morning services. Odds are great that you will not hear the subjects of sex, sexual purity, or sexual morality mentioned. If by some chance a pastor has the cojones to talk about sex at all, most often it will be couched in code using the words “intimacy” or “marital relations”. Most churches don’t teach it, preach it or talk about it because they are afraid to offend someone with the word s-e-x and The Church is a mess today because of it.
Make no mistake about it, the group of people we are failing the most in all this is our youth. Young men and women from a very early age are inundated by millions of sexual messages from our media and culture, yet The Church remains silent and says nothing to combat the plague. Fornication, cohabitation, STDs, pornography use, and out of wedlock births are all occurring in churches at nearly the same rate as the un-churched world. Isn’t that just great?!
It seems to me most people think that remaining sexually pure, remaining abstinent is “the ideal”, a really great thing if you can manage to pull it off, but certainly not required. A lot of Christians say that young people should not have sex outside of marriage, but they also say that remaining pure isn’t realistic; kids are going to have sex no matter what.
Look, I get it and I am not condemning or hating anyone. For thousands of years people have been having sex outside the bounds of marriage, but there have always been consequences. Many of us have done life wrong—especially if you came to faith later in life. But the word of God is very clear and just because we, as humans, make mistakes and struggle with following His commands, doesn’t mean that the commands don’t hold, or that they don’t mean anything. God’s Plan A is the best path, the standard, and anything that deviates from that will have repercussions.
Part of the problem is that the Christian culture has bought into the same line of thinking that permeates the world’s thinking: We have to follow our urges. We are filled with instincts that can’t be controlled and when we feel the desires, we can’t help it, we have to have sex!
Young men and women can control themselves, they must. We all must learn to say no at sometime in our lives…better to learn it early on and save yourself years of heartache and trouble. (See my previous post Learning to Say No!) Parents and other adults often say, “Young people shouldn’t have sex but they can’t help it. Sex is going to happen anyway, you can’t stop it.”
Seriously people, the act of sex doesn’t “just happen”. It’s not like whoops…I was walking to the mailbox and my clothes just fell off and this chick came along and I accidentally fell on top of her and it just happened. You can stop it! Young men and women of faith have to say NO to sex. I don’t care what load of bunk the pagan culture dishes out. As Christians, we have to learn to keep our pants on. It’s not like it’s some impossibly difficult act, or an unattainable goal; it’s not the equivalent of climbing Mt. Everest or finding the cure for cancer!
This is a line of reasoning that I categorically reject! It’s horse manure and nothing more than a dumbing down of morality that The Church itself has fallen into. We are not animals, we can control ourselves and we don’t have to fornicate! Now if people would be honest and say that they don’t want to control themselves, they don’t want to say no, I understand it. But do not say that you can’t. On this point, I will never concede.
So while the majority of people would say that sexual purity is a good thing, they also think that it’s not attainable, therefore, the best that most churches do, the best answer they have for young people is a three-prong approach: promise rings, abstinence lectures, and allowances for masturbation and “non-sex”. Let me explain.
First of all, because Christians believe virginity is a good ideal to aim for, they put in place chastity balls—parties/dances marking and celebrating a commitment to stay chaste—purity rings, and abstinence classes and pledges. Now, do not misunderstand…I think all of these are great things, but studies have shown, not surprisingly, that they fail. There are legitimate reasons why they do, (Read Why Abstinence Pledges Fail.) but by and large the biggest reason so many well-intentioned young men and women don’t live up to those aspirations is simply because they have to try to remain pure for years and years and years.
The Church, like our broken culture, has bought into and taught to young people the lie that you can’t get married young. You need to wait until you are finished with college, wait until you have enough money, wait and wait and wait and wait. And because you have to wait so long, we will make some concessions for you. Masturbation is an okay compromise and so is fooling around, grabbing, groping, engaging in oral sex, heavy petting, “outercourse” and the like, because it’s not “real sex” and you have to do something or you’ll die.
This is hogwash! We are not supposed to be of this world, not supposed to be following their ways. The Bible gives us the right answer, and it’s not purity rings and oral sex or masturbation while you are waiting. We will look at what that is in the next post!