The Church’s Answer to Immorality – Part One

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!

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7 Responses to “The Church’s Answer to Immorality – Part One”

  1. Sharmayn says:

    I just have to thank God for the Mark Gungors who, like Elijah, have not bowed the knee to the world’s system of logic/beliefs/practices– which are doomed to fail and are so obviously FAILING tremendously! May the peoples of the earth have ears to hear and hearts to heed!
    Thank you for your clear, uncompromising, often comical words of grace AND truth! :)

  2. Fred says:

    Thank God for you, Paul Byerly (The Generous Husband), Julie Sibert (Intimacy in Marriage), Mark Driscoll at Mars Hill, Seattle, and the select band of Christian bloggers who have the guts to deal with the main reason why Christian marriages fail. Keep telling it like it really is. In 31 years as a Christian and 16 years attending church prior to that, I have never once heard a sermon on the place of sex within marriage. Let’s face it, most pastors are terrified to have a sermon on the use of music in church for fear of offending anyone. The church, where it still adheres to Scriptural teaching, has become too ‘nice’and its leaders too fearful too fearful to be any earthly good.

  3. Alishia says:

    I totally agree with Mark Gunger. I came to the Lord at the age of 18. Prior to that, I was sexually active because of my mother’s teachings. We simply didn’t know it was sin. But when my ex-boyfriend opened up the Bible one day in college and taught me that what we were doing was wrong. I stopped. It was my CHOICE, based on a conviction from the Word of God. And at 36 years old, I can say, I still have not fallen from that choice, because God can keep that which is commited unto him. I have had days I wanted to just say, ummmmm, nevermind, Lord I can’t do this. But the Bible says that the flesh is weak when the spirit is so willing. Because my willing spirit asked God to keep me from falling into the sin of fornication, He did. Kudos to you Mark for speaking the truth. God bless your ministry.

  4. Mike Louthan says:

    Great piece! So now what do you do if you have two step-children, not going to church, living with significant others and one expecting in 3 months? Ages 20 (pregnant) and 23. Mom is in the bible every day, goes to church every Sunday, is involved with church groups etc., etc., etc. I as the step father/spouse am incredulous that she does not take the tougher Christian role with her children, rather she takes the peacekeeper role. She engages with them as if none of what they are doing (have done) is immoral. She tells me she has told them how she feels about it all but acts as if she has done all she can do. Here’s the kicker…they are both still somewhat dependent on her(our) money. I espouse to the stand up and be the Christan that Paul was…speakout and persuade change rather than sweep it under the carpet and act as if nothing is wrong. Especial withhold any finacial assistance if immorality “must” exist.

  5. Lucinda says:

    Thank you for writing this article. I think the key to teaching sexual purity is to teach the “why” to it. Why is it important to not have sex before marriage? It isn’t because you might get pregnant, a STD, or some other ‘problem’ that comes from not waiting. It is because marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God. It is the most precious relationship given to a man or woman after their personal relationship with God. Being abstinent before your marriage shows that you are already committed to the person you will marry and committed to God that you will keep you body clean for your body is a temple.

  6. Rachel says:

    I think it’s great that you’re addressing purity, morality, abstinence, etc. It would be even greater if young people — and older unmarried people — heard how AMAZING sex it within the bonds of marriage. That it’s WORTH waiting for.
    The church seems to forget to address that part, too.

  7. Elsie says:

    Hi there!
    Thanks so much for putting it as it should be. Christians should not have sex out of marriage and fornication should not be mentioned amongst us. We have in many ways failed to pass this to our youth and the world over has been busy luring them to sex outside marriage. Those who are not having sex are looked down upon. When I was growing up, virginity was celebrated in our African culture. If cultures can encourage and walk closely with the youth to ensure they stayed pure till marriage, what about those that have been redeemed by the lamb of God?
    We can, by the grace that is availed to us. I wedded at 29 yrs while a virgin, I know of not less than 5 friends who got married in the same state and we plan to form a club to go round schools and talk to young ladies passing on the truth that sets us free. Sex out of marriage has many bad consequences and God intends good for us, let us follow his commands. Praise be to our God forever, amen.

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