Sexual Influences Upon the Church

John ArmstrongSexuality, The Church

Young Adults are clearly surrounded by sexual influences like never before. I cannot imagine how I would cope in this context if I were 21 again. I am sure I would need exceptional grace to remain chaste and pure if I were single.

A new Barna Group study reveals that a growing number of young people are leaving the church because their church experiences related to sexuality are too simplistic. This particular study found that young adults question how to live in purity while immersed in a culture that values hyper-sexuality over wholeness. Turning to the church for answers too often results in a list of forbidden activities with very little explanation about how to keep from doing them. Students and youth pastors say if the church is going to reach young adults, it must focus on the internal instead of the external. 17% of young Christians who responded to the Barna study said they made mistakes involving sex and felt judged within the church as a result. My personal experience says that this number is likely much higher. 

How can we change this? I suggest we develop a better understanding of anthropology, i.e. the doctrine of humankind. I also believe that we must regain a deep commitment to the real humanity of our Savior who was tempted in every way common to us. When we believe human persons are made in God's image and that Jesus is the ideal human person who lived in love and faith (and of course purity) then we are at least headed in the right direction again. Jesus did this by the power of the Holy Spirit, the same Spirit given to us to live in faith, hope and love.