Friday, July 27, 2007

"Evangelical" youth shame Christ's name, reportedly

According to this article in the Washington Post, the percentage of evangelical teens who honor God in the sexual arena doesn't differ much from "mainline" Protestants.

Now, many things about the article are not crystal-clear to me: how the major terms are defined, how the test was conducted, and so forth. Take this statement: "Twelve percent of churchgoing evangelicals have children out of wedlock, compared with 33 percent of all mothers." Does that include those who sin against God by having sex and conceiving out of wedlock, but marry before birth?

Plus, well, it's the Washington Post. So it starts out with credibility issues.

At any rate, a few things do seem to stand out.

The term "evangelical" continues to mean less and less. "Evangelical" used to mean an affirmation of the Gospel, which included embracing the full authority of Christ's voice as heard in Scripture alone. Obviously, remaining sexually chaste until a marriage recognized by Divine institutions (church, state, family) is part of the praxis of that faith.

It should be that the sexual mores of professors of that faith should stand in stark contrast to their worldling friends and neighbors. The sexual drive is very strong. Without transcendent morality, there is no reason not to find a way to indulge it freely.

The converse however is also true: with the transcendent morality of the Bible, there is every reason to embrace God's better plan of purity.

You see, this is always where the truth of our hearts shows itself: in what we do when God's will crosses ours. For instance, God urges us to eat and enjoy from His good creation (1 Timothy 4:3). When I gladly indulge my natural appetite, it is no great indication of my faith to do so.

However, when God crosses one of my drives — when He says (in effect) "The sexual drive I have given you is a good drive, and you should enjoy it...within, and only within, the bonds of marriage. All other is repulsive to Me. And since you are to love Me above all, that has to matter to you" — that comprises a test. If I have the opportunity to indulge that drive, and refuse to do so only because I honor God, I show a genuine reverence for the Word and name of God (James 2:18b).

So sociologists should see a stark difference between the morality of the general public, or the liberal Protestant public, and that of genuine evangelicals. But they evidently do not.

And BTW, lest anyone think to tell me "Oh well, sex is the strongest drive, you really can't expect even Christian teens to control it," I have a three-part reply:
  1. No, it really isn't.
  2. Unless these same teens freely defecate and urinate, in public, and every time the urge strikes them, yes, I can expect them to control that lesser drive.
  3. But what I expect doesn't really matter. What God expects is what matters, and what He expects is clear (1 Corinthians 6:18; Hebrews 13:4).
Yes, sin is sin, and sin can be forgiven -- thank God, or I'd have no hope.

But sin also matters. The Cross is not God's way of saying, "Your sin is OK." It is God's way of saying, "Sin is unspeakably horrid, Hell-worthy. Nothing can deal with it except the most extreme measures."

To commit this particular sin, an evangelical kid raised in an evangelical family has to rebel against God on so many levels. His deliberate act states that God's omniscience is inconsequential to him, God's holiness doesn't matter to him, holding the holiness of God's name doesn't matter to him. The soul and conscience of the girl he's using is trivial to him. Honoring his mother and father are down the toilet. The institution of marriage is a formality to him — all Divine institutions (God's speed bumps) are beneath him. He doesn't care whether he's setting an example for his future children. He doesn't care whether he makes a little bastard, giving an innocent bystander child a rough and shameful start to life.

And what of the blood of Christ, shed to deliver him from the guilt, power and service of sin? How is he portraying its preciousness?

It is no trivial matter.

Evidently the word hasn't gotten out to the "evangelical" youths in this study.



James Kubecki said...

"Twelve percent of churchgoing evangelicals have children out of wedlock..."

Also, does that include children born out of wedlock BEFORE the parent(s) were saved? That in itself would be an interesting breakdown, not to mention a powerful testimony to God's mercy and grace.

The thing the mainstream media (and many Christians) fail to understand a lot of the time is that every Christian church is made up of (forgiven) sinners...

Jared said...

How true this is. I have a relative who works as an educator in a Southern Baptist Church School and I am always amazed and alarmed at the attitude that most students, and oddly enough, their parents, hold toward matters of sexuality. It seems there is not much left that is taboo or sinful among this generation.

Another scary fact is that most of their Bible teachers, and I would argue, most of the "hip" youth ministers they flock to, are relying heavily on the "we can't enforce rules or name sin because the kids will not listen to us" style of teaching. Mercy and forgiveness and helping the less fortunate are proclaimed often, but to tred into the waters of holiness and obedience is apparently a turn off that must be avoided.

Many like to justify this as "just the way it is" in the world now. But aren't we called to be separate?

Thank you for this post, Dan.

David A. Carlson said...

Any newspaper getting religion coverage right - pheh. Not too likely

Having said that, I appreciate you putting the onus on the boy. Having both son and daughters, it is easier to think of this as a "daughter" issue. But, as you rightly have pointed out, the boy is deliberately sinning against God.

A side question - why do we buy chastity rings for our daughters and not our sons?

DJP said...

We bought and gave our son a chastity ring.

Kim said...

I can't remember where I heard it, but someone once said that a young boy ought to know going into a relationship that it is his responsibility to ensure the purity of his young lady, not the other way around. It is a natural extension, then of a father ensuring the purity of his future daughters.

Both boys and girls need to be aware of the way physical relationship can spiral out of control. That's why time alone with each other should be limited, and why we parents need to be involved in the relationships of our kids.

Our associate pastor's son went of on a tangent in his early twenties, had a sexual liaison when he was just out of college, and married the girl. She left him; she left him with the child, and they divorced. He's finally returning to the Lord, with his son in tow and is engaged to a godly woman. His parents say that the struggle was worth the place where there son is now, but I am sure it was not easy at the time.

David A. Carlson said...

Dan, your smarter than I. And most of us, I think. I did not.

Could I ask when you did it (what was his age)? What was his response?

MStateDawg said...


Thank you for your post on this. This is a growing problem in churches, especially with youth ministers that try to be "hip" as one previous commenter says.

If the church doesn't come out and condemn premarital sex, who will? Should we trust Hollywood or D.C. to do it? God forbid.

Plus, I also think that chastity rings are a GREAT thing to do. Also declaring publicly, like with the "True Love Waits" campaign a few years ago (I participated I'm glad to say), are another tool to keep youths accountable not only to their parents, but themselves and their friends around them.

God bless you, Dan. Keep up the good fight.

Even So... said...

Hey Dan, good stuff…sorry to troll, but if you get some time check out

this related piece

and tell me what you think…

lawrence said...

good post my man.