ARTICLE

Failing To Take A Stand - Hook Up Culture Invades The Church

News Image By John Stonestreet/Breakpoint.org May 11, 2021
Share this article:

Last August, Pew Research announced the findings of a new study with a provocative headline: "Half of Christians say casual sex is sometimes or always acceptable." As is the case with many studies, a "Christian" for the purposes of this study meant anyone who "identified" as one, without taking into account orthodox belief or degree of commitment. Still, the results are disturbing.

In particular, what the study reveals about self-identified evangelicals is especially troubling. According to Pew, less than half of evangelicals surveyed were willing to say that casual sex is never acceptable. Seventeen percent said the casual sex was "rarely" acceptable. 

Twenty-four percent said that it was sometimes so, and twelve percent (one in eight!) said that casual sex was always acceptable.


Remember, these are evangelicals talking about casual sex here or, as the survey defined it, "sex between consenting adults who are not in a committed romantic relationship." We're talking Tinder and the infamous "hook up" culture. 

That any Christian would find this behavior ever acceptable is astounding, but that more than one-third of evangelicals are fine with occasional promiscuity? (The survey also found that nearly three-in-five approve of cohabitation, with two-fifths of them planning to doing so.)

At root, what this survey reveals is a failure of catechesis. Or, to be more precise, a failure of the Church combined with the resounding success of cultural forces to catechize. Specifically, churches have failed to teach young people a true, Christian understanding of sex and the human body.

It will sound ridiculous to some, especially those wounded by or obsessed with "purity culture," to say that churches haven't catechized people about sexual morality. The popular assumption is that Christians are always talking about sex!

Missing in these "hot takes" are two things. First, we are a full generation past the heyday of "purity culture," if there ever was one. Since the 1990s, the pendulum has fully swung in the opposite direction, more than overcompensating for any past stridency. 

It's not that many churches modified their views on sex outside of marriage; it's that they stopped talking about it. Or, when they did, many were so focused on apologizing for how they did it in the past that they forgot to teach the actual morality part in the present.

Either way, many young evangelicals learned to be okay with causal sex and cohabitation in churches sounding what the Apostle Paul called an "uncertain trumpet" on the matter. Embarrassed by what Christianity has to say about sex, the emphasis was placed on assuring people that sexual sin is "no big deal," no worse than any other sins, and that we shouldn't be too "judgy."

Second, within those churches that did continue to proclaim (and rightly so) that God cares about sexual behavior, there was often a failure to connect sexual morality to God's creative purposes for sex (or, to put it differently to connect "the what" with "the why"). 

To paraphrase T.S. Eliot, before we can know what do with something, we need to know what that something is for. In many cases, the Church was merely decorating a thoroughly secular vision of sexuality, the kind now largely taken for granted in our culture, with a sort of external Christian morality. Surface-level catechism is no catechism at all.


In contrast, there is absolutely nothing uncertain or surface-level about the cultural catechism about sex. In our world, it's those who abstain from sex outside of marriage who have to explain themselves. Those who embrace children as God-given blessings of the sexual act who have to defend their point of view. It's Christians who must justify their strange opinions about sex.

Even if churches effectively catechized in the area of sexuality, that prospect would be daunting. Advances in technology and the omnipresent internet only add to our immersion in the culture's worst messages. With an uncertain trumpet coming from the Church, maybe we should be surprised that even more of our young people aren't okay with causal sex and cohabitation.

Still, we should remember that Christianity arose within the paganistic and sexually abusive Greco-Roman world. In that world, biblical morality was seen as life-giving, hopeful, and good. The same Scriptural truths that transformed the Western mind are as potent today as ever.

Originally published at Breakpoint.org - reposted with permission.




Other News

September 22, 2022Divine Coincidence? Red Heifers Arrive In Israel Before New Shmita Cycle Begins

A major prophetic event just happened, and hardly anyone in the United States is talking about it. For a long time, the search for a perfe...

September 22, 2022Global Increase In Natural Disasters - Another Birth Pain Sign Increases

Just over the past few days, our planet has been hit over and over again by major natural disasters. So why is this happening?...

September 22, 2022Ezekiel's Bones Live - Israel's Population Nears 10 Million

The Jewish state will be home to 10 million people by 2024, 15 million by 2048 and 20 million by the end of 2065, according to official da...

Israel's Impoverished Speak Out About Their Struggle During The High Holidays

Israel’s rising energy costs and rising inflation are making the cost of food more expensive and eroding the purchasing power of the worki...

September 20, 2022Did The Bible Predict Drone Swarm Technology?

With drone warfare heating up in Ukraine, the US Army decided to conduct a field training exercise involving "a swarm of 40 quadcopters al...

September 20, 2022Are Big Retailers Preparing For Recession? - Billions In Orders Cancelled

Do they know something that they aren't telling us? All of a sudden major retailers are feverishly canceling orders, and this would only m...

September 20, 2022Whistleblowers Reveal Facebook Spied On Conservative Individuals Private Message

According to DOJ whistleblowers, Facebook has been spying on Americans' private messages and reporting them to the FBI if they express 'an...

Get Breaking News