A Sexual Revolution for Young Evangelicals? No.
Moore is at it again. And he’s flip flopping in a way.
Moore goes from bashing the concept of virginity until marriage ((Link): see this post) to now sort of arguing in favor of, or thinking it’s great that more Christians are supposedly remaining sexually pure. He also (like the rest of Christendom) seems to assume there are no virgins past the age of 30 (but there are).
- Defying the secular culture, churchgoing Christians are sticking to Biblical teaching.
By Russell D. Moore and Andrew Walker
In any discussion about the future of religion in America, especially as it relates to stalled growth in churches and denominations, those outside our religious communities find one theory especially compelling.
This is the idea: that young Evangelicals are frustrated with Christian orthodoxy’s strict standards of sexual morality.
We’re told that these young Evangelicals will soon revolutionize our churches with liberalized views on same-sex marriage, premarital sex, gender identity, and so on. But a new study by a University of Texas sociologist finds that Evangelical Christians ages 18 to 39 are resisting liberalizing trends in the culture.
The suggestion of a shift in attitudes does sound plausible. Indeed, one of us has warned for years that conservative Evangelicals are often “slow-motion sexual revolutionaries,” adjusting to the ambient culture on, for instance, divorce in ways that have harmed our witness and compromised the Biblical message.
How much more vulnerable would Evangelicals be in a culture that is shifting roller-coaster fast on the definition of marriage itself and related issues? But recent data suggest otherwise.
The research, to be fully released in September, was introduced in Mark Regnerus’s presentation “Sex in America: Sociological Trends in American Sexuality,” unveiled at a recent gathering of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission’s leadership summit. According to Regnerus, when compared with the general population and with their non-observant peers, churchgoing Evangelical Christians are retaining orthodox views on Biblical sexuality, despite the shifts in broader American culture.
Regnerus surveyed 15,378 persons between the ages of 18 and 60, but he focuses in particular on respondents under 40.
If it is true that this Christian finds that “churchgoing Evangelical Christians are retaining orthodox views on Biblical sexuality, despite the shifts in broader American culture” why do evengelical (and other conservative Christian groups) continue to ignore virgins in their midst and other types of celibate Christian adults? And why the fixation on youth? Where is the concern and support for virgins over the age of 25?
- Significantly, Regnerus did the important work of differentiating between those who identify merely verbally with a particular religious tradition and those who actually attend church weekly
Church attendance is not necessarily an accurate barometer of who is a “true” Christian or not. I was a very devout Christian since childhood but did not attend church that much. I am also over 40 and still a virgin. So no, going to church every week most of the time cannot tell of the extent of someone’s devotion to Christ or gauge their level of sexual purity.
- “These data suggest that while a modest minority of Evangelicals under 40 profess what we might call more sexually liberal attitudes, it’s not a significant minority. Minorities can be vocal. Survey data help us understand just how large or small they really are.”
Regnerus’s research suggests that younger Evangelicals aren’t hewing to the culture’s expectation that they conform to its values. That’s a welcome reality, especially given the significant cultural pressures that young Christians face in today’s culture. This lines up with what we, as conservative Evangelicals, see happening in our own congregations across America.
…Moreover, sexuality isn’t ancillary to Christianity, in the way some other cultural or political issues are. Marriage and sex point, the Bible says, to a picture of the gospel itself, the union of Christ and his church. This is why the Bible spends so much time, as some critics would put it, “obsessed” with sex. That’s why, historically, churches that liberalize on sex tend to liberalize themselves right out of Christianity itself.
First of all, marriage between a man and a woman is not the only earthly pattern depicting “the union of Christ and his church.” Unmarried Christians also depict “the union of Christ and his church” because in the afterlife, nobody will be married, or to say it another way, you will be married to God, not your current earthly partner:
- At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. – Jesus Christ
Unmarried adults are a reminder to you, Mr. or Mrs. Married Christian, that you will not be married once you are dead (at least not to your earthly partner; you will in a manner of speaking – symbolically – be married to God in the afterlife, according to the Bible).
I have not heard of any critics say that “the Bible” is “obsessed” with sex (maybe they have, but that is not something I recall off hand coming across) – but I do think some Christians are very taken with the topic.
Almost every third sermon in churches is about sex, see (off site Link): The Church of Sex.
A lot of Christians are very obsessed with sex, and not in a healthy way.
Not that I would take too strongly a stance against a preacher who wants to occasionally remind his audience that sex outside of marriage is a sin because most preachers today are cowards and too afraid of condemning sexual sin from the pulpit.
The sort of “sex obsessed” preaching I am referring to is the majority that goes on today, the more salacious variety, with idiots such as Rev Mark Driscoll bloviating about blow jobs, and insisting that the Bible says women are commanded to suck on their spouse’s weiner (Yep. (Link): Click here. Driscoll is also keen on men performing anal sex on their wives as mentioned in his marital books Click here).
I do think there is a portion of evangelicals and Baptists who are not fornicating, but they are not being acknowledged or supported by Christian culture.
Most preachers and Christians assume all singles over age 20 or 25 have already had sex or will shortly be having sex – so any time the sex topic is talked about (for the unmarried at least), it is only within the context of, “Don’t worry, God will forgive you for sleeping around.”
Okay, but what about the virgins who are over 25, 35, 45? Where are the sermons, booklets, blogs and podcasts addressing them and their situation? Where is the encouragement for them?
The Moore piece ends on this note:
- The culture is changing, to be sure. The Sexual Revolution marches on, but it doesn’t move forward without dissent. On any given Sunday morning, in your community, young Evangelicals are telling America that a sexual counter-revolution is ready to be born, again.
Wrong, doofwad. You have 40 year old virgins like me who took the church’s messages of sexual purity back in the 1980s deadly serious.
Stop fixating on today’s 20 year olds and start supporting all virgins of all ages.
And there are male virgins over 30. And for the love of God, stop assuming virginity should only be expected of women. I don’t recall God making any exceptions for men in the area of sexual purity.
By the way, so long as the Southern Baptist Church (and the evangelicals, Reformed, and fundamentalists) continue to shame singles for being single – which they do either directly on occasion, or indirectly, by harping on marriage constantly, and making every third sermon about marriage, never once writing books or offering blogs or sermons for never married, celibate adults – they are creating a legion of fornicators by negligence.
Such Christians are doing nothing to help singles stay chaste – certainly not when all energy and funding is poured into marriage, married couples, and opining constantly on the cultural wars about the importance of marriage, the divorce rate, and arguing against homosexual marriage, etc.
In other words, where are the Southern Baptist editorials on the importance of adult celibacy for adults past age 30?
Oh gosh golly, no, if you’re a Southern Baptist or other variety of Christian conservative, you have no time for that, no, you must run off another fiery blog post, book, or sermon on the evils of (pick one):
-the millennials quitting church
-rising divorce rates
Hyperventilating about and ranting against those topics leaves one no time or funding to actually help adult celibate singles, does it?
At any rate, I remain dubious about Moore’s friend’s study saying more and more singles today are challenging secular sexual norms, because many other pages I have seen have said a lot of self professing Christians are having sex outside of marriage now. See for instance: