Teens, Sexual Purity Pledges & Marriage

Discussion in 'Youth Forum' started by Pastor G, Apr 4, 2006.

  1. Pastor G

    Pastor G
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    With puberty occuring so early with youth these days and people getting married later and later in life, is making a pledge to wait for marriage for sex really realistic?

    I am not a blazing liberal. I am one who believes fully in the biblical mandate for sex within marriage only.

    How it must be so painful to be a youth these days. Make a pledge when you are 13, marry when you are 24...11 years of no sexual contact! For some teens they can do it...for most? I don't know.

    Any others willing to go here with me on this one?
     
  2. YP Joe

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    I've been teaching "Sex: God's Way" to my unchurched teens. To my mixed group, I've been focusing on this very issue.

    My current theme follows the following theme: God doesn't encourage "Abstinence, but Avoidance!"

    Purity shouldn't be "painful." Jeremiah 29:11
    Proverbs 7:26 - "Many" but not All! Be encouraged, see the remnant - I Kings 19:18

    I'm in this one w/ you!
     
  3. Pastor G

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    Hi YP Joe,

    I am so glad that you didn't try to shoot me down on this one...So many want to. We can't get youth "Sex saved" You know, make a decision, sign a card and never sin again...are you kidding me? I would like to carry on this conversation with more people. But Joe, we are the minority on this one.

    I do not believe promoting a condom lifestyle is the answer either...I would never recommend a condom to a kid.

    The answer? Three-fold:
    1. Help youth develop a heart for God.
    2. Set up Christ-centered support systems.
    3. Build a culture of GRACE for when they fail.

    Sounds kind of like church, doesn't it?

    Joe, are you a Youth Pastor? I have an interesting ministry. Check out my website... www.abstinencepastor.org

    Let's expand and keep the conversation going!

    God Bless you, Joe!
     
  4. Petrel

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    Well you're kind of between a rock and a hard place. If you don't tell kids you expect them to be abstinent until marriage no matter what, you're saying you want them to try to be abstinent but you won't be too mad when they fail. Abstinence education delays the first sexual experience but also decreases condom use. So with your method the kids will have sex sooner and still not use condoms?

    There are a lot of people who think that if a person is going to sin, they should do it in the most risky way possible so they will be more likely to fully experience the consequences. I don't agree.
     
  5. samarelda

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    Waiting for marriage is realistic. God expects it, why shouldn't we?

    I don't think God ever intended for young people to be put into the difficult position of having to say no. Kids need to be taught to avoid situations that will cause them to fall.

    Parents need to train their children from day one that they do not touch until they are married. It is not necessary and just leads them deeper and deeper. If they never get so close as to hold hands or kiss, they will never have to worry about going farther. We also need to tell our kids that it is SIN. Not just so they won't get diseases, but because it is sin. It is wrong.

    Some people never marry--an entire life without physical love. It may be hard, but not impossible. I was 31 when I married and my husband 29. We were both pure on our wedding day. It wasn't easy, but we had each made a firm commitment to the Lord as young people, that if and when we married, we would be pure for our mate.

    I see an attitude about this issue among Christians. They expect their kids to have sex. Like it is something they cannot control. It is like telling kids they really shouldn't play with fire, but in case you do, here are some matches and make sure to wear fire-proof clothing just in case it gets out of control. If the fire is not played with, there will be no danger of getting burned.
     
  6. Godsmuiscgirl07

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    I am 17 and i took the true love waits commitment when I was 15. I was sexually pure and I still am sexually pure. I fully intend to keep it. I had three friends take to pledge too. One with me, one before, and one after. We support each other in keeping our commitment. I personally do not put myself in the position where I could break my commitment.


    I think that the commitment is only the fisrt step to abstinence. Their should be accountabilty partners and Bible study. My youth minister is good at this. Our Bible studies are not always about sex but they encourage us to get closer to God and to want to please him. She is also the type of person we could go talk to about anything.
     
  7. YP Joe

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    I appreciate all of the responses. I am a youth pastor in a large inner-city, Philadelphia. 50% of my youth group are teens from homes that are not churched. These teens attend public high schools. The live in a "sex culture."

    We need to remember that Sexual Impurity is a fruit problem stemming from their relationship to God and His Word. It's a simple choice of obedience or disobedience!

    A few principles I use w/ my teens: 1) Abstain from all appearances of evil. I Thess. 5. 2) Sex is God's plan...He said that it was good. Genesis 2:16,17 (Within marriage of course.) Don't teach sex as "evil"...remember Satan's M.O. is to pervert God's good for us. 3) Provide "Light" I John 1 If we give our teens a proper atmosphere to develop healthy relationships, and keep dating relationships in the open, our teens are more likely to do right.

    I've been teaching/preaching this as a series for 6 weeks or so, and there is so much more to cover. Any input would be appreciated.
     
  8. samarelda

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    Good for you 07--I can promise that you will never ever regret that decision. It makes for a very sweet marriage. I cannot say it is always easy, but it is so worth it.

    Not puting yourself into a compromising situation is so wise. Stick to it. And always pray and ask the Lord to help you. He will.
     
  9. bapmom

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    I agree with Samarelda.

    and keep at it, musicgirl!
     
  10. Pastor G

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    I have been camping for the last couple of days and I have not been able to get on line. Great responses! It is so good to read the commitments of the youth who responding.

    I have been blessed to be an abstinence until marriage education consultant for the last 16 years. Across the country I am known as the Nation’s Abstinence Pastor. I want to assure everyone that I am a strong proponent for sexual abstinence/purity. I have been fighting groups who oppose sexual abstinence on a national level for years. Nobody believes in teens and their ability to trust God in this area more than I do.

    I have been blessed to have received invitations from the US Congress and the Bush administration to lead youth leadership conferences.

    I get questions all the time from those who would love to see us Christians go away, about why so many youth who sign sexual purity cards end up not keeping their pledge?

    I hate to agree with them, but they are right. Most teens do not keep the pledge.

    The power for righteous living isn’t in signing a card! The power is in Christ, greatly assisted by living in a Christian home and surrounding ourselves with those who are also seeking righteousness.

    Many youth sign a card who are not Christian only to return to a sex-saturated culture where they are bombarded with sexual temptation.

    All I want to say is that we need to re-examine the way we teach sexual purity. We really need to re-examine the way we do ministry. And what do we do for the youth who do not keep the pledge? The problem there is that we mostly never know because they are too embarrassed to tell us.

    This conversation is stimulating and exciting. I hope it continues and we all continue to learn!
     
  11. gekko

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    why would any professing-christian leader teach sexual purity to non-christians in the first place?
     
  12. Pastor G

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    Great question!

    It is happening all the time and often, because of our method of using huge youth rallies promoting sexual purity in the way we do evangelism events and getting the teens to sign purity cards. Like they can get “sex-saved” or something like that.

    My fear...that youth are getting the idea that a relationship with Christ is about keeping a pledge to "fleshly perfection." Too often, we make Christianity into a performance issue rather than one of relationship and grace.

    I am “pure” because of what Christ has done in me, not because of what I have or haven't done. Where it is my heart's true desire to glorify God through everything I think, say and do, there are times when I don't. Thank God, he still loves me and wants a relationship with me, anyway.

    Too many teens are breaking the pledge and feeling like they have let God down. Of course, God doesn't want us to be hurt by our sin, but His view of us isn't dependant on our performance.

    Sexual purity needs to be taught in a forum that is discipleship in nature, with believers, within the context of biblical teaching, obedience, accountability, encouragement and grace when we fail.

    Where there will be a percentage of youth who will never have a sexual indiscretion, most will in some form. They need to know that they can come back to God, bringing to him their sin, knowing that he still loves them...that they still are pure.

    There is no way that I can, or will, ever pledge that I will be perfect in any area of my flesh! I can, however, pledge that I will love the Lord with all my heart. That my goal each day is to glorify him in all I think, say and do. And if I don't that I will bring my sin to him for healing and restoration.
     
  13. PastorSBC1303

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    PastorG I think you make some good points that are worthy of discussion. I have often wondered if we did not push so hard for sexual purity in the lives of our teens that we neglected reaching out to those who have fallen.

    Obviously we need to do everything we can to teach and lead our teens to live a sexually pure lifestyle. But when they do slip and fall we need to have ways to minister to them, love them and help them known God's abundant grace.

    I do think having teens pledge to live pure lifestyles has its place. Our local school nurse has done a lot of research on these issues and has told me that the most effective means of promoting abstinence she has seen is things like True Love Waits. But ulimately the goal should be to lead our youth to pledge to love the Lord with all their hearts, minds and souls.
     
  14. Pastor G

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    PastorSBC1303

    Thanks for your input. It is rare to find another pastor on the youth forum!

    I am very familiar with the studies your school nurse is referring to. As a prevention method, signing an abstinence pledge card is the most effective method we have for the prevention of teen pregnancy and STDs. In the context of a public school I can definitely see the benefit and I agree with her.

    However, in the context of the church our goal really isn’t to present abstinence as a prevention method. We are talking about holy and righteous living…making a promise before God and our parents that we will achieve fleshly perfection in the area of our sexuality until marriage.

    I think you know that I am in no way promoting promiscuity nor am I excusing it. I have been doing sexual purity and abstinence education for a very long time. There is a difference.

    Personally, I don’t believe one can accomplish anything godly without the power of Christ. With that said, the power of living out a pure life isn’t in the pledge, it is in Christ.

    I appreciate your school nurse and her commitment to teens. As far as a prevention method, she is exactly correct. However, as a motivation for purity and righteous living, a pledge card simply will not do. Only the power of Christ together with a teen’s participation in a Christ-centered culture, rich in grace for when we fall, is a teen’s only hope.

    Again, thank you for your comments. Please, let’s keep talking and expand the conversation.
     
  15. PastorSBC1303

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    [​IMG] You have been here less than a month, how do you know it is rare for me to post here? I check this forum pretty regularly as I love youth. I was a youth pastor for several years. Now as a pastor I attempt to still stay connected to our youth. I teach the youth Sunday School class at our church, and try to support our youth ministry as much as possible. [​IMG]

    I don't think anyone promoting teens signing a pledge card are trying to say that there is power in signing a card. All the classes/studies I have seen have pressed the issue that it is only possible to live in that manner with the power of Christ.

    A pledge card is not attemtping to take the place of the power of Christ in a teen's life. It is just a motivation tool to keep the teen focused on their commitment to Christ.
     
  16. TaterTot

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    My problem with pledge cards is that I have seen some kids sign out of feeling embarrassed not to. It wasnt coming from a heartfelt commitment, but b/c mom, dad, or grandma would really wonder why they didnt.
     
  17. Pastor G

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    Sorry, pastorsbc1303

    I didn't mean to be judgmental. I was not clear. Let me try again. It is rare to find a pastor, like you, who personally participates in youth sexual purity issues as a rule. I didn't mean to confine my comment to this forum. I meant “forum” in a general way...sorry.

    Also, TatorTot, your point is valid, too!

    My point isn't about the intensions of those who promote pledge cards. My point is that as I travel across the country speaking to teens, many of them are not keeping the pledge they made to God. And that is the sticking point…”to God.” When they fail, they are not coming back to us...We are loosing them to the teen clinics and the condom message.

    When Christian programs using pledge cards in sexual purity conferences first came out I was 100% for them. Then, as my consulting business grew I began to discover that kids were not keeping the pledge and were going to teen clinics as a result.

    Youth are very “concrete” in their thinking. Here’s an example. “If I am a virgin, God loves me and everything is cool. If I blow it and I am not a virgin anymore, maybe God doesn’t love me. I broke my pledge…I can’t go back and tell them at church. Well, I’m not a virgin anymore, maybe I need to learn how to use condoms and at least be safe.”

    It is not our intensions as leaders that I am questioning. Nor am I saying that sexual purity is not attainable. Youth waiting for marriage for sex is attainable and many are doing it. Its just when we tie fleshly perfection to a promise to God, I believe, we are creating an emotional hurdle that those who might fail find it difficult to climb.

    Please, I don't mean to be offensive. Believe it or not I can live with a pledge if we include some sort of grace statement that would point youth back to God and the church if they don't keep it. I do believe there is power in confessing righteousness out loud. Like a responsive reading in worship or asking people to quote scripture with you.

    But there is a difference between that and signing a card pledging fleshly perfection.

    Pastor, thank you for this discussion. I'll admit that I am not very good at expressing myself with a keyboard. I have at times wondered if I should even be addressing this subject in this fashion. The issue is so controversial. You are kind to do this with me.

    By the way…Pastors and congregations love the way I handle my purity conferences with youth. I don't claim to have all the answers, but I think I am on the right track. In my conferences I absolutely challenge the teens to sexual purity. But I don’t use a pledge card. I help to create an atmosphere of Christ’s love and acceptance, even in the room right there asking teens to create small groups of encouragement. I tell them about the reality of temptation, but through the power of Christ and the group they form, along with their parents and church body, Christ, through them can accomplish this.

    But I always add…That if in this or any area of our lives, we fail to reach our goal…we will bring our sin or failure to this group and to God. God’s opinion of us is not based on our performance, but what he did for us on the cross and in us at salvation.

    There is hope and joy for teens that choose righteous living. There also is hope and grace for those who, although they have a desire to live righteously, have failed. We need to make sure that in our well-intended efforts to encourage them to live godly lives that we don't alienate those who might slip.
     
  18. StefanM

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    As one who slipped...

    I know that pledge cards and the like turned me away from the youth group. These kind of things tend to be oriented toward those who have not failed, so I felt like I was some sort of outcast beyond the scope of the studies. Everyone always harped on about how virginity was such a "great gift" to give to your future spouse, so I felt like I would never be "good enough." I though that there would be no way for me to marry a Christian woman because from everything I heard in youth group it seemed like the only thing that mattered was virginity. Unfortunately, this is one thing that you cannot change, so I felt hopeless, and I shut myself off from the group.

    Also, the pledge cards, etc. also caused me to avoid the group. I didn't want to pretend like I was a virgin when I knew I wasn't.

    If there were anything I wish I could change about all that...I'd make it more friendly to those who have failed. Whenever I heard people talking about it, I always heard how important it was to be a virgin, but I never heard how you could still pursue purity even if you weren't a virgin. I needed that message, and I was only able to come to terms with the whole mess years later.
     
  19. gekko

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    and what's the point in spending a whole week... or month... teaching "sexual purity" when really... all one needs to give these teens is the ten commandments. check it:

    exodus 20:14 "thou shalt not commit adultery"
    also,
    matthew 5:27-30 "whoever looks on a woman to lust after her has commited adultery already with her in his heart..."

    if anybody breaks any one of the commandments... they've broken them all. whoever breaks the commandments are goin to hell. unless they've put on the Lord Jesus Christ like they would put on a parachute. nobody jumps out of a plane just believing in the parachute. ya gotta put it on.

    give these teens the law if they are proud.
    give these teens the grace of God if they are humble.

    salvation is much more important then talking about sexual purity. yes it is important to talk about sexual purity... but these people are in a fire. are we going to pull them out?
     
  20. Pastor G

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    StefanM,

    You are pure, not because of what you have done or haven’t done. You are pure because of what Jesus Christ did on the cross and in you when you received him. I understand completely how you feel.

    It sounds like to me that you understand that we must teach the value of virginity. Those who are waiting until marriage for sex should be commended and encouraged, but so should those who have “slipped” and come back!

    I am just as impressed with the teen who is willing to remain sexually faithful, “From this point forward,” as I am with one who is still a virgin! Both deserve praise.

    If you have taken your indiscretions to the Lord, then thank him for his love and grace and move on my brother. You are forgiven! Hold your head up. God loves us all no matter who we are or what we have done. You are not impure! If you belong to Jesus, he has made you pure.

    Now, go…each day surrender your all to him. How are you doing now? If you prefer, email me and answer privately.
     

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