Here is a fairly disturbing article explaining that fewer Christians are actually saving sex for marriage. In some cases, it looks like evangelical Christians and those who don’t profess Jesus at all, often have a similar sexual ethic. And it is reminiscent of the Nike command: “Just do it.”
Several reasons are given for the numbers of young adults engaging in pre-marital sex nowadays. From the “everyone else is doing it,” to the oversexualized culture we live in. However the article concludes with one major reason.
In order to be faithful to the scriptures AND gracious with those dealing with this struggle, we do need to lay all cards on the table and be honest with some new difficulties present in our world.
The article ends with a few questions and no answers.
So what should a Christian parent or youth pastor do? How do they convince more young Christians to wait until marriage, or should they stop even trying?
Let me simply continue the discussion-not attempting to “solve” the problem (that won’t happen till Jesus returns) but try to honestly reflect on this difficult trend.
Honesty with the difficulty, without being quixotic
People do get married later these days. It is true. Therefore that can present some problems. Obviously. I think we need to recognize and be honest that the struggle is going to be hard. Will it be harder than in previous times? I think in some ways, yes. Simple math tells us that. 13-15 is different than 26.
Nevertheless, if you say, “well people got married earlier then,” it doesn’t change the situation. Sex did not ever come with “no strings attached” but within the confines of the committed covenantal relationship. No matter what age it is regularly experienced, sex always comes with “strings.” For Christians, those “strings” are called a covenant.
But do 13-15 year olds really want to get married? Are they ready for jobs, to be responsible for family? They can’t even drive yet. We can lament the age difference, but even with hormones raging, do guys and gals really want to get married in their teens?
Still, you can argue the command to wait until marriage may in some ways be more difficult today, but that doesn’t nullify the command-or the reason for the command. And, some commands were probably harder then than they are now. Whether you like Obama or not, he’s a lot easier to honor than Nero, or Trajan, or any other awful emperor that Romans 13 refers to.
There wasn’t some golden age to live in, where sexuality was something easy to live out. It certainly wasn’t that way with the bible. We need to recognize that it may be harder in some ways to live chastely before marriage now, but in some ways it could have been just as hard then.
Is our Culture worse?
The culture of Jesus’ times was no less sexualized than today. I’ve seen the artwork on pottery when on foreign study in Italy; it’s literally pornographic. I saw a mural in Pompeii where a lad was weighing his oversized penis. Seriously. Sex was all around them, just as it is all around us.
Biblical commands have always been counter-cultural. They continue to be today. We still have to affirm God’s good design for sexuality. And we still have to affirm God’s sufficient grace for our forgiveness (when we fail or have failed) and for our sanctification. I’ll try to get to some more thoughts on the latter later.