Sunday, December 11, 2011

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Praise the Lord and Pass the Condoms

The most shocking statistic cited in Relevant Magazine's recent article (Almost) Everyone's Doing It is not merely the fact that 80% of unmarried self-identified evangelical Christians in America have already had sex. 
Chart extracted from the September/October 2011 edition of Relevant Magazine.
Yes, that's highy alarming, even for the most sober and realistic among us, but it only gets worse as we dig deeper.  Consider that fully 42% of single evangelicals are currently involved in a sexual relationship, and that nearly two out of every three had sex within the past year, a statistic that comes stunningly close to the ratio (76%) reported among the general population.

The article brings out some other important points:
  • Three in four single evangelicals recognize that premarital sex violates biblical instruction.  It's hard to know whether to be more distressed that one in four do not, or that so many of those with the correct understanding of the matter remain brazenly unrepentant.
  • Our rapidly rising average marriage ages (which are up 6 years since 1965) contribute to the problem by increasing the opportunity.  Put another way, "It’s one kind of challenge to wait until you’re 18. It’s another challenge entirely to wait until you’re 28." (Hat tip:  David French)
Of course, this is also cause to reprise that burning question posed by one of my favorite authors: "What on earth is an "evangelical" in the 21st century, and does it even matter anymore?" After all, since, "an alarming number of self-identified evangelicals hold to blatantly non-Christian beliefs about such foundational subjects as the way of salvation, the authority of Scripture, and the divinity of Jesus Christ," why should it surprise us that they're also engaging in premarital sex?

4 comments:

  1. We saw this happen in the last century: First, denominations or particular congregations give up being Christian, in any meaningful sense of that word. With that, many of the Christians will leave, though some will stay, hoping for a miracle. The bulk of what's left will be the world's "fifth column", that is, the one in the church. Some of them will be inclined to a form of sanctimonious self-righteousness, but that tends to win out only in smaller groups. In larger groups, the libertines will carry the day. So, if we see this happening today, we shouldn't be surprised.

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  2. Wow! I'm not surprised (I was exceedingly blind myself once). A verse that comes to mind, "But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it." Mt 7:14 And that not by sanctimonious self-righteousness... Presbyter always has such good insights! Blessings!

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  3. I think in large part this is due to a generation raised on easily accessible pornography, which you'll find statistics quoting similarly disturbing numbers of evangelical men who "struggle" with this issue, not to mention the sexualization of television, books, billboards, etc. It's hard to look anywhere these days and not be propositioned by sexual temptation, and if just the desire is equivalent to action as Jesus says, I think these sexual sin numbers are probably much higher. Just my thoughts.

    Manifest Blog

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  4. A danger in Stephen's comment is that, while it's valid in a sense, it might stumble us into thinking that the way to deal with the church's failings is to address the culture. It's true that we should work constructively on cultural matters, out of compassion for our neighbors, and for the sake of the gospel (1 Tim. 2:1-4). However, if any good is to come of that gospel, then it must come from a healthy church, and that can only come from right doctrine and a practice that relies rightly on the work of the Holy Spirit. In the really important senses, the church is the world's physician, and this is a case where "Physician, heal thyself" is valid and of utmost importance.

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