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  1. What makes it sinful is context. People are tempted because they have God-created human bodies that are meant to have sex, regardless of how evil the culture is. I’m really frustrated by some of these comments that denounce the sin – and the people – their fellow brothers and sisters, but show a remarkable lack of compassion for a temptation that is naturally going to be there and always going to be a struggle for someone trying to maintain purity (if you can’t pray away the gay, you can’t pray away the straight either).
    If you can put quotes around the word Christian to describe these people, can I put quotes around the word Christian to describe people who choose to throw stones with no compassion, who choose not to pray for their fellow believers because their struggles aren’t family based? It seems to me that if you can’t bother to pray for someone or walk with that person through their temptations, you have no ground to stand in judgment of their behavior, right or wrong. The lack of compassion, support and friendship for singles is a problem in the church and perhaps those statistics reflect the problem within the church as much as the problem outside of it.

    • Totally agree Guest. Often the Holier than thou Christians use their judgementalism in the name of Christ to buffett their own hurting egos and truly do not know the love of Christ. For Christ did not come to save the well but to save and heal the sick.

  2. Walter Manning May 6, 2014 at 10:29 am

    If such “Christians” would spend more time in the Word of God, they wouldn’t be spending time in bed with someone who’s not their spouse. True knowledge and understanding of Scripture is an outcome of a relationship of intimacy with Jesus. It is tragic, indeed, that many in the Church have exchanged a relationship of purity with Jesus for one of moral degradation with the world.

  3. Justin Steckbauer April 30, 2014 at 10:52 am

    This is absolutely the case in the dating world for Christians. It’s sad. It’s scary. And I confess in my first year of being a Christian I fell to the temptation. But you know what was different, was I felt absolutely awful about it and repented, and decided to wait until marriage. The power of our culture is incredible in the USA. And sex is a weak spot for every human, most probably because we see it everyday, television, internet, constant papercuts on our defenses against temptation. So it’s insanely difficult. I really have to dig in to resist, and I’m a seminary student, pray three times a day, bible study twice a week, etc. And not to mention, it’s not the 70s, 80s, or even the 90s anymore guys. On any given day in this “christian nation” you could go out, and 9 out of 10 people you meet would be willing to have sex on the first date, and 10 out 10 before marriage. It’s just the culture we’re in and we have to powerfully resist, and that takes incredible devotion and love for God, which we don’t have here. In small pockets maybe. But not nationwide.

  4. The problem with this sort of articles is the lack of simple but rational considerations. Even about religion. If pastors do not understand that a 2000 year old book cannot be a perfect guide for modern times (notwithstanding its contained wisdom inherited from wise people in the past) then they will never get this right, ever. Jesus didn’t seem to speak with even one word about things like homosexuality (in spite of it being widespread in the Empire), and he didn’t speak a lot about marriage either – but even so, his words on such cultural phenomena were embedded in the cultural habits of his days, and some of these habits (including religious habits) he was daring enough to put upside down.

    Jesus may not have attempted to go “full steam” in terms of innovation (and quite frankly, he also didn’t live in the year 2014 – for gods sake lets grow up and think in realistic ways) – but to me it seems quite fair to say a lot is being said by Jesus’ silence on homosexuality and – in the case of John 8:1-11 for instance – his silence on the accused state of the adulteress, in which the religious leaders seemingly saw little more than an object only worth being hit by stones, thrown by the established “moral leaders” of those days.

    But if the religious leaders of our days still can’t even be considerate about those things, how would they be offering decent moral opinion on our own youngsters and adults today – if they keep saying things that are not of our time anymore – like talking about “an identity rooted in Christ should manifest itself in intelligent and hope-filled sexual restraint based on God’s promises”? Now don’t think because I’m atheist I can’t be reasonable. When I was a Christian (until around 2011) I thought pretty much the same as I do today. There are intelligent people in all religions, I have no problem seeing this. But “sexual restraint” is not something all people do because they rely on “God’s promises” in a 2000 years old book which was, by the way, written by ‘the Jews (except for Luke and Acts) and today used by Christian pastors who often have no clue how Jewish these books really are – they often explain everything in terms of some sort of ‘bible literalism’ which would make all the ancient Jews/Hebrews turn in their graves.

    Of course there are good reasons for abstinence. But if people don’t follow these reasons, there are “other reasons” why they do this, and to explain these reasons would be a good and important field of study – but certainly not simply the subject for pastors to apply “God’s promises” as its major factor of concern. The words “sexual atheist” are in my opinion quite ridiculous. I’m not saying it’s bad. I mean, I could call myself an “atheist for Jesus” if you want – I have no problem with seeming paradoxes. But “sexual atheist” has this idea attached to it, that only atheists could decide not to believe the Bible in exactly the way a Christian pastor wants us to believe it. And I think this is a preposterous assumption. Christians can make much more sense than just following a “bible-literalistic” point of view. I know many who do. And they are good people.

    So this article is not really offering a view that I would be eager to support.

    • Thanks for this, jcmmanuel

    • Interesting jcmmanuel that you, as a former Christian now Atheist, find the need to come to a Christian website to espouse your own viewpoint. I pray the Hound of Heaven continues to hound you with his love! May God give you the peace and serenity your soul and mind so eagerly desires.

  5. Pastor Luck is probably correct about “sexual atheism” and issue relating to the lordship of Christ over all facets of life. I will not argue the point, as he is more qualified than I to make that assessment. That said, Pastor Luck has misread the Spark Network report (i.e. the parent company of Christian Mingle). Direct quote showing that the stats do not demonstrate what Pastor Luck says they do:

    “A total of 2,647 respondents participated in the survey, with Jewish online dating respondents being oversampled [n.b. Jewish online dating respondents comprised 45% of total respondents]. The respondents consisted of 527 non-online daters, which were recruited through an online database, and 2,120 online daters, which were recruited through a national online panel (1,011) and from the JDate database (1,109). Results from the total sample can be interpreted to be accurate with a ±3% confidence interval.”

    The confusion or willing ignorance of many self-identified Christians in areas of sexual ethics is likely rampant, but the cited report is not valid evidence of that conclusion.

  6. Thetruthwillsetyoufree April 20, 2014 at 7:19 am

    Great post Kenny, I remember two years before I met my wife I pray to God and let him know I was tired of fornicating. I pray from the debts of my heart and he took away the desire of wanting to have sex. I think what most people are forgetting is that God can do all things. http://www.fivefold.us

  7. Angela Hemphill Hogan April 15, 2014 at 5:58 pm

    I can only believe by their own testimony that those who openly advocate sleeping together before marriage are not true believers. I guarantee there are problems elsewhere as they clearly have no shame about “doing (their) Christianity ‘cafeteria style.'” I am so grateful for my wonderful husband who was so absolutely clear with me right from the beginning about not having sex before marriage. (We met on eharmony). Of course, I was in agreement, but both people have to be completely committed to this for it to work, especially when you are very much in love. I can honestly say that it was totally worth it and our love life is fantastic, free, and yes, very compatible. I cannot imagine that any couple devoted and in love with one another in a trusting, respectful marriage would be sexually incompatible in ways that could not be figured out to both of their satisfaction. Not saying this doesn’t happen, and they may need some Christian counsel, but it is workable because they love and want to please each other. Jim said he was shocked that 2 other girls he met through eharmony said they were Christians but when he asked them about sex before marriage, they thought it was a good idea. They were dropped like a hot potato, needless to say, as they should have been (to their loss and my gain). =)

  8. You all should know that I’m an ‘old lady’ and ‘old married’. Also had sex before we married and before we were saved. Yes, my kids know this. And this is what I tell them as Christians: You will regret it one day if you have sex before you marry the one God has chosen for you. Simplistic? Yes, but thank heavens, since we are very simple-minded people. I mean, face it, the only reason we want to have sex before marriage is that it FEELS GOOD! There is no ‘reason’ for sexual activity outside of marriage other than that one, and it is a very simple, base reason. It’s a strong, strong feeling (that’s something I’m going to ask about when I have my face time with God) There are a few other things we have taught our kids. 1)Sex is good, but sex with just anyone defeats the purpose of sex as God designed it; that’s what makes this kind of sex ‘bad’ 2)Sex is NOT a dirty word 3)Yes, you may have to suffer, in various ways, for remaining pure. It hurts, I know. You feel left out, stupid, naive, etc, etc. Suffering is part of life; ask someone with a serious illness. I don’t understand it, but I have learned to trust God with suffering (well, not always! Still working on this one! It’s harder than abstinence!) 4)Just because I want something, does not mean that it is best for me. True of all humans. 5)You do not lose your salvation by ‘messing up’ and having sex. God holds us much tighter than that! Purity, while important to us and to God, is not the determining factor in salvation.
    We have to have a standard. If the Bible is not my standard, I have NOTHING. So, by faith, I choose the Bible. Interpretation issues aside (I don’t have a lifetime to study Greek and Hebrew and re-translate the whole thing) I just know that my own ‘right’ would lead me away from God. How would I know that? Been there, done that.
    I’m sorry it is so hard. Remaining true to what God has asked is hard sometimes. I am sorry, but I promise, it will be worth it.

  9. It boils down to questions: What does Christianity have to offer to this world? Religion or God? Religion or Christ? Ceremony of relationship with God? A religion by a/the Book/book or a internal religion/relationship with God? Is there Christianity at all? (With 1000’s of denominations haggling over THEIR truth(s). etc., etc………. :(

  10. The comments below quickly make the author’s point. Why do “Christians” not believe Christ knows what is best for them. “If you love me you will keep my commandments” We can hear the echos from the garden…”you will not surely die” Sexual purity is for us.. for our health and well being.

  11. Such a good article!
    As a black woman
    As a 28 year old black woman
    As a 28 year old black woman living in the united states
    As a 28 year old black woman living in the United States as a virgin

    Sometimes it feels like I am foreign exchange student living in your own country in a minority driven by sex.

    The struggle is legit.

  12. “And nothing, from any frame of reference, is more personal and more moral than our choices regarding sexual expression.”
    Right. Because Jesus never said anything about laying up possessions or feeding and clothing the poor. Forgiving our enemies, restraining our anger — way down the list of concerns. It was pretty much all about sex for him.

  13. Even 30 years ago it was not the non-Christian woman at my secular university who made sexual advances towards me. It was women from the major parachurch college fellowship I was involved in who did.

  14. You might have more luck “engaging the culture” if you admit to the fact that many of these people may have chosen not to remain abstinent for well thought out reasons. Not to say that you have to agree with those reasons, but painting every one of those people with the broad stroke of “hedonistic bible-ignorers” who made such an important decision flippantly is naive at best, and unquestionably condescending.

  15. Good for them! As a former Christian, seminary grad and minister who practiced abstinence for well over a decade, I am SOOOO glad I AM OUT! SO, Here’s a bit that most ministers won’t tell you: this issue isn’t NEARLY as black and white and they want to say. Doubt it? Well, read the greek! Most greek scholars will tell you that translations such as fornication and sexual immorality are horrible translations! Study the context, culture. Don’t just believe something because ministers says it is “truth”! I taught for sexual purity! Oh, and those ministers are every bit as FALLIBLE as you are and as the Bible they are teaching from. I could on… but, don’t relegate your faith and YOUR LIFE to the words preached by fallible humans that are just regurgitating what they were taught! That is between you and God and no one can tell you whether you are Christian or not as much as they want to think they can, lol. Peace!

    • I have also been to seminary, and studied the greek, and still believe it. Gloss over what you will, I think Jesus is rather straight forward in Matthew 5:28, 32. Sin is still sin, despite our desire to call it by a different name.

  16. Hi, I’m 23 years old, getting married this coming summer. Thankfully, I have the ability to say I am pure. The question might arise of, how do I know that my fiance and I are sexually compatible, and do I know that if we aren’t that we are gonna stay married? I’ll be honest the question of this sexual compatibility stuff is fluff and nonsense. I’m not saying I’ve never been tempted, temptation is there and comes in many forms. But, is not our God sovereign? Does he not turn the heart of the king which ever way he desires (says so in Proverbs). Has he not guided and directed so many people before us, as we can read in the Bible? If he clothes the lilies of the field and he cares even if the littlest of sparrows falls from its nest, don’t you think he will guide and direct us to someone who will complete us in every way, including sexually?
    I’ll tell you this, I’m so glad that my fiance and I are waiting. Besides, even if you are engaged to someone it could potentially fall out, not that you should expect it to, but you’ve got to guard yourself for every eventuality. I know, that my husband will be the first and only man I’m with in that sense, and not only does that honor him, but I know it honors God. What greater gift could you give the person you love? After all, isn’t that what love is? It’s not an emotion, it’s not a feeling, although feeling do accompany it, it is the decision to place someone else above yourself. And guess who is our greatest example of love? That’s right. Christ. Dying on the cross for our sins that we do not have to perish in a lake of fire, but can have fellowship forever with him. If you haven’t given your life to God, and you haven’t accepted His wonderful gift of salvation, no wonder you look at relationships and sex through the reasoning of the World. Because without Him and His strength, face it people, we live in a sex saturated culture and its is next to impossible to stay pure until marriage without God directing and guiding us.
    Debate ensues when people know what is right but try to justify the wrong anyway, thus becoming conflicted, and warring within themselves. No one said the Christian life was easy, but all know that we are to “be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is the good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.”

  17. I’ve thought about this topic a lot over the last 5-6 years, both before and after getting married (I’m 25). I feel like there are several factors that play into single Christians’ attitudes toward dating, sexuality, and faith.

    Many of the factors are leftovers from youth group: Churches just never helped kids fully understand what godly sexuality is all about. Teaching about sexuality has been too simple, e.g. “just wait for your spouse and God will bless your sex and marriage” and yet no one (in church leadership) really goes into detail about what that means. Most of the time, good sex outside marriage appears just as satisfying as within marriage. This becomes especially noticeable for Christians in their 20’s. While adolescents, Christian kids see their non-Christian friends experience a lot of drama and pain surrounding sex, but once people become adults, they are comfortable with their sexuality and they know their sexual preferences. Thus, Christian 20-somethings see this and wonder, “what is this great and pleasurable thing I’m missing out on?”

    At the end of the day, for a single Christian adult, some times there just isn’t a good enough reason to say “no”, especially when the future spouse is not, and may never be, in the picture at the moment. Yet of course, this is not an excuse to be undisciplined.

    One criticism I have of this article and of Evangelical Christianity’s approach to sexuality is that it’s filled with negative rhetoric (i.e. suggesting that sex is inherently bad or wrong) that hasn’t changed for decades in the American Church. If I could summarize this article in one sentence, it would be this: “Young Christian singles are undisciplined and being sinful in their sexual behavior because they’re selfish and prideful, and we need to do something about it!” I think this article fails to address some of the deeper reasons why Christians have premarital sex, and even fails to acknowledge that sex was created by God to be a good and very pleasurable thing. What ultimately needs to happen is that the conversation needs to start with this statement: Sex is Good. We need to say sex is good because, well, it is. God created it as a good thing. If we don’t begin with that, and we start with Sex is Bad, then we’ve already isolated sexuality from God. Now, is it any wonder that, to quote the article, “A person who at once believes in a wise, sovereign and loving God who created them and all things, can also believe simultaneously He should not, cannot or will not inform their thinking or living sexually”?

    • FYI one of the best books I’ve ever read on sexuality and Christianity is Wired for Intimacy by William M. Struthers. Nearly all Christian books on sex are terrible and ought to be burned, but this one is great. Written by a Ph.D in neuropsychology, he really understands people AND science AND Christian faith.

  18. w w w . d e m y x . c o m

  19. recently the Lord sent a prophet to me to say that He was going to send me another mate, mine having passed away. I am not now, nor will I ever be engaging in a so called “Christian dating site. I am patiently waiting for the Lord’s will to be done. As I wait I am preparing myself to be the spiritual man that that woman would want. I think that if a couple are drawn together by God I tis more important that they are matched SPIRITUALLY rather that sexually. When your spirits are linked, the sex will be GREAT, After all, without the love of God in you, how will you love another?

  20. how about we all just agree on full blown atheism and quit believing in fairy tales huh?

  21. I remember when Marie and I were attending per-marital counseling at Saddleback Church that while we never “went their” the temptation was overwhelming. Our premarital counselor as a required part of the counseling gave us a DVD of Doug Fields, a Pastor at Saddleback Church, speaking on the topic of sex before marriage. I remember this quote that shocked me, “95+% of couples who come in for marital issues after the wedding, were involved sexually before marriage regardless of the issue at hand”. Right then and their, as painful as it was to withdraw where we could go sexually before marriage, we became sexual accountability partners…. I will be forever grateful to her for that….

    • that’s statistic is moot considering most people have sex before marriage unless they are brainwashed baptists before the age of 10 (and even that doesn’t always work)

      • Francesca Tavares April 12, 2014 at 5:22 pm

        secular studies also show that those who wait until after marriage to have sex have more fulfilling sex lives. Also, do you think that the fact that most people have sex before marriage nowadays is linked to fact that more people are getting divorced nowadays?

    • rofaith, Of course, that most likely refers to people who slept around, not people who were each others’ one an only.. My husband and I made love to each other before we were married. He is my one and only partner and I am his one and only partner. We have been married for over 35 years, happily and still enjoy each other intimately. I read those studies, the problem lies in that people who have had sex with others tend to compare their partners they have had with the one they married which leads to discontent and then on to other problems. if you and your dear Marie had made love before marriage, I am sure you would not e in that 95% statistic, because you would be one and only. There is a difference between making love and having sex…and I am sure I don’t have too tell you what that difference is. If I do then you have other issues…

  22. No_More_Free_Handouts April 11, 2014 at 7:26 am

    Every generation is a product of their own culture, and as such, their education. In generations past, the Bible and its stance on “issues” wasn’t up for interpretation. The Church’s stance and the Church’s interpretation was what was taught and failure to follow that stance was just cause for judgmental ridicule if not political or socially acceptable punishment above & beyond the natural outcome of the sin itself. The past 40 years of social & cultural change, however, has been different. Scientific Sexual education has taken the place of the Church’s “Don’t Do That Or You Will Burn In Hell” approach to abstinence, and cultural & social liberties brought on by sciences advancements in birth control & treatment of diseases has freed people to be more open minded about their sexuality. The problem is that the church still picks their battles and is inconsistent in their message. For starters, the Church neither fully rejects homosexuality on scriptural grounds nor does it fully embrace homosexuality on cultural grounds. The church can’t make up its mind and has a foot in both camps (“Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin” but out of the corner of their mouth says, “The Bible condemns it!”). Young Christians don’t tolerate that kind of lukewarm mentality and even site scripture saying, “… if you are lukewarm… I’ll spit you out of my mouth”. Young Christians are also highly educated in science and they understand that having premarital sex isn’t going to bring down the wrath of God in a lightening bolt nor will their soul be condemned (God is a Loving, Forgiving God, right?) So what reason do they have not to embrace their sexuality? Christian Judgmental finger-wagging? Sorry, that’s so 1980’s. No Millennial Child is going to stand for someone wagging their finger at them and tapping their foot while they preach about the virtues of virginity … because they all know their Parents didn’t wait for Marriage either (and if they said they did, they’re either lying or lived in a bubble of unnatural sexual repression). The Old Testament, while a good source of wisdom, is NOT the Law of God. New Testament scripture tells that the old law is gone and Jesus’ law is the law – a law of Freedom from repressive Jewish standards that no longer apply (gotta love Bacon!). Anyone who suggests that the Bible is a word-for-word textual equivalent to the Speech of God needs only to compare the science and religion debates to know that scripture is up for interpretation … and to that point … every Christian Youth will challenge that interpretation (Does the Bible Mean What It Says?). Some young people get pregnant at young ages & choose to marry and go on to live the happiest lives I’ve ever seen. They are the poster children for successful marriage and, once word gets out that they got pregnant at 17 yrs old, the shame of the stigma is GONE for young people who hear the story. The issue is : THE STIGMA (Judgmental Christians). Are you able to see the Congressman who had an affair as a human being with feelings for someone other than his wife as a Christian or as an “adulterer!”? Instead of being judgmental, we should allow people to follow their hearts and desires and allow the natural course of human events to unfold. The young couple who got pregnant at 17 are happy now in their 40’s with a large family, right? The former pastor who fell in love with his secretary ultimately married her and lives happily with her instead of being stuck in a loveless marriage. When you follow your human instincts, you’re not dishonoring God … you’re honoring your humanness. You’re not “test driving a future spouse”, you’re honoring that person with yourself in an intimate way that is beautiful. The only thing wrong with Christians and their sexuality is how people judge them about it … which, quite frankly, isn’t anyone’s business except the two people involved.

    • Uhuh. And what about the Congressman’s wife?

    • So many points of response, but I’ll boil it down to this: If the standard for your behavior is to “honor your humanness,” then you are living the life of atheism, not theism. Maybe that is your point, but it is irrelevant to those trying to follow Jesus.

      • athiesm? i’m sure you meant humanism…
        “but it is irrelevant to those trying to follow jesus” you dont say.
        have you ever tried to think independently? to use your senses to gather information from around you? to take the information gathered, test it and come to a conclusion?
        …didn’t think so. i’m sure you would rather read a book written by nomadic tribesman, mass murderers, fishermen and some guy that obviously picked some bad berries that caused him to have major hallucinations (gotta love tryptamines)

        • Sean, I used the word atheism to tie into the title of the article. If you prefer humanism, no worries. Blessings.

  23. Why do Christian pundits continue to perpetuate the idea that sexuality is the MOST important cultural imperative in existence? You talk about it as though This increasing instance of “liberalism” is a sign that our culture is quickly moving past the over-socialized, fear-stricken boundaries to which our evolving culture was once subject. I’d encourage you, Kenny, to stop trying to control instances of sexual communication between people and instead educate them to be literate in relationships, and empower them to make wise decisions in instances of intimacy. Praying and worrying is a manifestation for a lack of trust. A lack of trust is a manifestation of you lack in faith of your own teaching abilities. Teach your congregation that its not disgusting to discuss sex in your church or families. In fact, its healthy to have sex. Its natural. Its fun. Certainly there are consequences that come with it that should be discussed, but the more we repress (see “psychological repression”) biological realities, and equate sex and shame, the more we have instances of mental illness, self-harm and poor images of self.

    And to be fair, do you think God has sanctioned everything we’ve done as mankind? I’d venture to say that you writing this article presupposes that you think highly enough of yourself to be worthy enough to try to lead others through thought. That’s OK, too! Write this article with your opinion, but let’s not hide behind God an pretend like we never give into culturally-constructed temptations. I’m sure God didn’t tell you to buy a car, or buy a certain brand button-down shirt – you yourself have made the conscious choice to carry out these self-pleasing activities and again, that’s OK. We have sustained ourselves as a human race because of self-preserving, biological decisions we have chosen to make, not God deciding everything for us.

    • You’re just looking for the loophole to justify your life….

      • No no no, mdw…please consider and respond to Carlos’ content, instead of dismissing a civil discussion by attributing to him ignoble motives. We’re all musing here, responding to those parts of Luck’s post that resonate most deeply in us.

      • what time said

      • this line of reasoning is what I used as former conservative to repress the doubts I had about the Bible and insecurities I had about my faith! its much easier to judge a viewpoint different than our own than to actually consider it, be challenged by it and let our faith be stronger because of it.

    • Whoa, easy does it, Carlos. I don’t think Christians continue to perpetuate sexuality as the most important cultural imperative. And if they do, they’re certainly far from the only ones in the U.S. guilty of it. Have you observed what people want in their romantic relationships in the 21st century? Have you watched cable TV lately? Sexuality in our overall culture is a big deal. People do it, talk about it, and sell it. It’s such a big deal that we have a president who’s trying to force businesses to provide birth control. I could go on, but that’s not what I’m getting at.

      Look at the URL for this page. It’s pastors.com. Who do you think this article is written for? It ain’t the front page of the New York Times, dude. For all intensive purposes, it’s a blog. If you want to call every blogger a pundit, fine. But, then go and read every blog on the whole internet written by a Christian “pundit” and tell me what percentage of them explicitly or even implicitly suggest that sexuality is the most important cultural imperative.

      And next time you criticize a writer by saying “you think highly enough of yourself” blah blah blah, don’t get all self-righteous yourself. Clearly, you aren’t a Christian, and you don’t know squat about being one. If you’re going to troll around the internet, do it on a website (and on a topic) you might actually understand.

  24. As a 53 year old single woman who is still a virgin, I am passionate about the subject of sexual purity. However I have not been completely successful because of the mental compromises and what I have allowed myself to see etc. I feel like it’s so easy for the church to focus on homosexuality as a sin and yet miss the bigger picture in that we are not surrendering our sexuality to God. Whatever our desires are, God calls us to be pure and sadly we as Christians have so lowered our spiritual defenses that we have surrendered to desire rather than God.
    We need more Godly examples like Elizabeth Eliot to speak to the singles of today. When I was in my early thirties, I read a book called Choosing God’s Best by Don Rauniker. It was excellent and convinced me I was too emotionally and spiritually intimate with a young man. We were never physical but the intimacy we did have should have been only between 2 people heading towards marriage. He was angry and didn’t understand when I told him that if we weren’t meant to be married then we were cheating our future spouses and fulfilling spiritual and emotional needs that would keep us from being available for those spouses. I stopped spending time with him and he left our church and was engaged within a year.
    We must have the courage to protect ourselves and those we care for from any kind of intimacy that is meant for marriage unless we are on that path to marriage. And trying someone out is not protecting them or ourselves. Thanks for sharing on a very important subject that is debilitating our growth as believers.

    • Well done, Julie!
      I was 33 years old when I got married and had sex for the first time! It was very difficult remaining a virgin and I’d lost several girlfriends who wanted to “be the one”. Now, I feel my wife loves more and she has often said that it means a great deal to her that she’s the one and only one! Aside from pleasing Christ, which is paramount, there are only a few things in life that you have just “ONE” of. Why wouldn’t you want to save it for marriage.

  25. If it’s true as you write, that “if I am undisciplined sexually before marriage and willing to compromise myconvictions before marriage, a wedding ring will not make me disciplined aftermarriage”—does it mean, by the same token, that if I spend years withholding myself sexually before marriage, a wedding ring will not necessarily turn on my sexual response to my spouse after marriage?

    • Surely you jest Tim … Right?

      • Not jesting, Bruce. Musing. Following not only that bit of logic, but also a lifetime of observation: there are plenty of people who have premaritally slept with others, who have no more difficult a time being faithful to the one they marry. And there are plenty of married people, virginal at their marriages, who are no less inclined than others to sexual dissatisfaction in their marriage.

        I’m not implying a cause-effect connection. Just observing real life.

        • That observation is true – it is not helpful for anyone to pretend that obedience automatically leads to a blessed life. Plenty of biblical examples to teach us that. Remaining chaste until marriage is no guarantee of sexual satisfaction in marriage.

          My wife and I were both virgins on our wedding night, and moving to a sexual relationship was awkward at first, and it took a while for it to be mutually ‘satisfactory’. But surely this is also a common experience for many couples beginning a sexual relationship, whether married or not? Is it any less awkward for two virgins who are dating, or engaged, to begin having sex together? I don’t think so.

          The point about discipline and faithfulness, however, does sound more plausible to me. It’s about the kind of person you want to be and who you become through patterns of behavior. I didn’t (and don’t) want to become the kind of person who disobeys the Bible and is unfaithful to Christ through sexual lassitude.

        • Sure Tim. That’s an accurate observation related to our fallen world predicament. But we should not forget a related point. One person may go on to a faithful lifelong relationship. Yet maybe the few, or the many, that he or she slept with in those earlier days cannot make that adjustment. There is a remarkable inner connection of love possible when two people ”know’ eachother on their first night. It’s a beautiful sacred event which God smiles upon and has great hope for their successful lineage. Those failed relationships that you didnt mention; each one damages a part of their spiritual honor. What could have been, is now impossible.

          • those people have Borderline Personality Disorder and need to be put on meds.
            normal people know how to get over their one night stands.
            it’s a good thing natural selection will work in our favour.

    • So you pick out one response he makes and debate logic yet choose not to note the scriptural point he is trying to make. Interesting. Yes you can poke holes in statements but you can’t debate what God clearly laid out as a command for His people. And if you do choose to try and debate and twist scripture to a different agenda then there is no point to debate because you have already made up your mind.

    • “Withholding myself sexually before marriage” does not mean that my sexual response is “turned off.” It is merely reserved – waiting for the one to whom it can be truly given %100 in the manner which God commanded and said he would bless. In fact, as real relational intimacy (friendship) with your future spouse grows, sexual anticipation and attraction only becomes stronger and more exciting. Waiting until marriage to have sex will not make you some crusty prudish nun of a sexual partner; rather, you can enter into your union uninhibited by guilt and regret, fully prepared to enjoy sex with the one person whom you were meant to.

  26. Now you need to explain how the Gospel can speak to this issue. I definitely agree with your post, and commend you for tackling the topic. I also like the prescription of “sexual atheism.” But, if we don’t show people how Jesus makes a difference, then why point out the problem in the first place? I might argue we need to preach the Gospel FIRST, and then point out the problem as we EARN THE RIGHT to point it out in our neighbor’s life.

  27. “we not only have to pray for them, but we also have to equip them practically with the best possible teachings and tools that serve to restore a vision of God that transforms them in their context”
    One major problem is that the churches are not praying for singles in their pews or in their cities. Even when requested, you’ll hear from too many single Christians that these prayer requests were not just ignored, but scoffed at and rejected. The churches are so focused on feeding families and young people that their singles are starving and no one seems to care enough to do anything about it; least of all, a 10 second corporate prayer. With the temptation of sex being such a strong one, combined with loneliness and freedom, the statistic you mentioned does not surprise me at all.

  28. Many say they are believers and are not.

    • and let me guess David, you know which is which, right? well just remember the church executed Galileo for teaching the world was round (vs. the Bible saying it was flat)… just saying, sometimes the true “believers” are wrong!!

      • So if an unmarried person claiming to be a believer refuses to give their sex life to God; are they not knowingly defying God’s word? Jesus calls that being lukewarm, and he detests that. Jesus says in Revelation 3:15-16 – “‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. Matthew 7:21 says – “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. A a lot of people will say they are Christians and are not willing to truly follow Christ.

      • Please, we’d all like you to educate us regarding where the Bible claims the world is flat. Chapter and verse, please.

  29. In the dating world, I’ve found this to be true more often than not. I’ve been online dating for that last several years, using OkCupid, Match, Plentyoffish, and Christian Mingle. Most women I’ve met refuse to be with a man that wants to wait until marriage before having sex. They feel that they must “test drive” their partner to make sure that they are sexually compatible before sealing a life long covenant between each other. Even Christian women, when I try to explain to them that by waiting, I’m honoring them, God, AND myself, they just look at me like I’m speaking gibberish and like I don’t know what I’m talking about. The Bible says I’d be persecuted for following Jesus, I just didn’t think this would be one of those ways.

    • Jedi Master Ivyan April 10, 2014 at 5:36 pm

      I’ve got a couple of friends who need a man like you in their life. They’re committed to waiting, but that means most men look right past them.

    • Hate to break it to you, but sexual compatibility is EXTREMELY important in a marriage. People who wait for marriage often have difficulty in their marriage because of the incompatibility. Everyone belittles the importance of sex, but it is very great.

      • Hate to break it to you, but it doesn’t matter one bit when compared with the fact that God says it’s not right to have sex before marriage. I don’t give a flying flip if it’s so “extremely important”, God said not to have sex before marriage, so it’s not right. Period. If you can find the compatibility without breaking or nearing those lines He put in place, then great, otherwise, the rest is more important.

        • Hmmm…. this discussion seems to be approaching some rivalry between What The Bible (In Its Canonically Compiled and Edited State) Says and What Individuals Experience. In my view, theology more often than not conforms to experience. Which is hardly a bad thing: what we experience goes deep. No one can deny another’s experience. No one ought to.

          I’m just a tad concerned about equating what the Apostle Paul says with what God supposedly says. Paul is Paul, and God is God. Sex is huge, and sex is trivial. Experience, observation, and Bible study all point in that direction. To me, at least.

          • i applaud you Tim, among many things in this argument, the argument that in essence makes the words of Paul, the words of God is just weak.

          • Excuse me but you are either not familiar with numerous places in the bible plus the ten commandments where God is saying no sex before marriage. In fact you are trivializing the word of God simply because it is not compatible with your desires. God is clear on this subject.

          • Well, I think that it comes down to interpretation. I mean do we not want to take into account the fact that the bible has been translated countless times, that historical context may have something to explain this abstinence, or maybe the simple fact of general disregard for other aspects of the Biblical teachings. My favorite perspective is that ALL Christians, that I have met, have taken what parts they want to live by and disregarded the other parts. They take the face value of one statement word for word, and another they do all this interpreting to come out with more preferred meaning.
            Exhibit A: “And if your hand is a cause of trouble to you, let it be cut off; it is better for you to go into life with one hand than to have two hands and go into hell, into the eternal fire.” believe that is Mark 9:43……….
            now do people go cutting off their hands because they stole a pencil from work? or because their hand lingered for a moment when washing themselves? maybe they clicked a link they shouldn’t have, or maybe they took a drug they shouldn’t have. at some point in life all of us have sinned through the use of our hands. and yet no one has chopped it off……..hmmm…..oh well they didn’t mean it literally, or “it was how they did it back then” (historical context)….or “that is because that is how people did it there” (cultural context)….I mean they additionally suggest, as I believe, that it is meant as an analogy to say well if I have a porn problem then i should cut myself off from the internet. cut off the root and the problem will wither.

            YET, I still hear people taking the historical and cultural contexts for those passages they don’t want to take literally. And then they are judging (in a very non-christian and rude fashion) other people for doing the same thing with other passages.
            I mean I am a virgin by choice and after 3 major relationships I am single at age 22. However, I have always believed Sex was not the issue, but LUST was.

            But again this is only my opinion. I simply ask that people take into consideration the fact that every last christian has at some point used a very loose interpretation of a passage to justify violating its more popularly assumed premise.

            This is my opinion, one that I am entitled to, just as others are entitled to their own.

          • There are plenty of scholarly texts that use Scripture to interpret Scripture so that we can properly navigate these things. There are many texts that are written as wisdom or poetry that use literary elements that should not be taken literary (similarly to how we use metaphors, similes, and sweeping statements in general). There are also commands specific to certain cities or cultures because they are dealing with very specific temptations that other areas would not need to concern themselves with (idol worship or rivalries specific to certain areas or cultures).
            The point you make about certain Christians picking and choosing what they wish to follow proves the point of this article, rather than disagrees with it. The point: Far too many Christians are not taking the entirety of Scripture to heart – and are therefore only following/loving/worshiping a small portion of our Father God.
            We are born broken by original sin – so why would it make any sense to trust our experience and our desires over the Word given to us by our Creator? Yes, Paul wrote many of the Epistles in the New Testament, just like Moses and many prophets wrote the books of The Old Testament. Even those words that recorded as Jesus’s were written by men, but were used by God directly for one specific purpose – to record His Word for us. I’m pretty sure that a God capable of creating this world and giving us live in such intricate detail is capable of guiding people to record His teachings as He wishes. “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17.
            Also if you look at The Bible being translated into so many different languages – it’s true that sometimes we lose bits of the meaning here and there (which is why it’s important to have a good study Bible that can fill in gaps). There have been studies, though, that show how accurate the Bible has remained after being copied time after time after time (both by hand and then later by machines) that it has remained much more true to the text than other books like Homer’s Illiad, and many other classics that no-one has ever questioned. The results show such a difference that there is no doubt God has a hand in keeping His Word true.
            So, I believe it comes down to this: You either trust God above your own understanding, or you trust your own understanding above God. Whichever one you choose defines your faith, and one of them is NOT the faith that the Triune God is calling for.

      • And how do you propose we go about assessing sexual compatibility? Sleep with someone how many times before we decide they’re “incompatible”? Cross off positions on a checklist?

      • Katjazz….could you define sexual compatibility? My understanding of the word means one learns technique to satisfy that partner. Technique is learned and easily attainable from books. If you mean the attitude of being willing to satisfy one’s partner and put their needs above your own so as to have a fulfilling and joyful life of intimacy, “experience” with others will not help. In fact self-control before marriage is far more beneficial to being able to satisfy one’s partner than trying it a few times to see if they are “good.”

        • My understanding was that the phrase “sexual compatibility” meant one was male and the other was female….

        • I am curious, Dave, if you speak from experience. If I have any insight to Katjazz’s point, i’d say he/she is not advocating for merely a good lay, but for compatibility. For chemistry. This is hardly something to sniff at. Not that you’re sniffing at it, but I’ve found that when I mention this aspect of sexuality in a committed relationship, evangelicals tend to dismiss it.

          There are a thousand reasons, most of them good ones, probably, to stay in a marriage for volition only, when there never was sexual compatibility or chemisty. However, that doesn’t necessarily imply that sexual compatibility is an ignoble criterion in choosing a mate.

          • i lived the abstinent life for over a decade, broke up w/ more than one good person over this issue, and finally after 20+ yrs as a Christian, I left the church! Thank God!! 3 years later, I am still passionate about encouraging people to study/ think for themselves esp. on this issue. THIS IS YOUR LIFE! too many relegate important choices in their lives to the regurgitated crap from the mouths of fallible teachers! i know, i was one of them (former seminarian/ minister)! if you study the greek and consider the culture this was written in its not nearly as black and white as people want to say! this is the age of information, read other viewpoints, be informed! while Christianity added many wonderful things to me and my character, i regret that it took so much of my adulthood to really question things and to think/ study for myself.

          • Tim,
            I do speak from experience having been married and faithful to the same woman for 27 years. We worked through some issues of sexual compatibility.I defined compatibility as attitude and technique. Technique is learned and attitude is determined by character not experience. If you define chemistry as something beyond those two things, I’m open to hearing what you mean and how it relates to sexual incompatibility.

      • Hell no. Totally disagree with that. I don’t mean to preach but this is where the devil has most people trapped (taking their focus off God and making SEX a critical issue). Agree with Adam, Alice’s got a point and Dave nailed it. So you mean to tell me that if your partner is perfect in everything to you except sexually compatible, you would say no. Please can someone tell me anyone in the bible who married because they where sexually compatible.

    • WHy are you having to resort to on line dating? Also, do you really think that all men and women on Christian dating sites are really Christian. Some people will do anything for a social life, including all sorts of dating sites. So glad I am happily married and don’t have to be concerned with dating.