By John Blake, CNN
(CNN) –True love doesn’t wait after all.
That’s the implication in the upcoming October issue of an evangelical magazine that claims that young, unmarried Christians are having premarital sex almost as much as their non-Christian peers.
The article in Relevant magazine, entitled “(Almost) Everyone’s Doing It,” cited several studies examining the sexual activity of single Christians. One of the biggest surprises was a December 2009 study, conducted by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, which included information on sexual activity.
While the study’s primary report did not explore religion, some additional analysis focusing on sexual activity and religious identification yielded this result: 80 percent of unmarried evangelical young adults (18 to 29) said that they have had sex - slightly less than 88 percent of unmarried adults, according to the teen pregnancy prevention organization.
The article highlights what challenges abstinence movements face. Movements such as “True Love Waits,” encourage teens to wear purity rings, sign virginity pledges and pledge chastity during public ceremonies.
Yet many of these Christian youths eventually abandon their purity pledges, Relevant’s Tyler Charles concludes in the article. Tyler talked to people like “Maria,” an evangelical woman who said she wanted to wait until marriage to have sex.
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But she said she started having sex with her college boyfriend when she turned 20 because nearly everyone, even most of her Christian friends, were having sex.
It seemed everyone in my life, older and younger, had “done it.” In fact, I waited longer than most people I knew and longer than both of my sisters, even though we were all Christians and came from a good home.
Relevant theorizes about why it’s so hard for so many young Christians to wait, including the saturation of sex in popular culture, the prevalence of pornography and a popular “do what feels good philosophy.”
Yet the article also asks a question that rarely comes up in discussions about abstinence movement. Relevant notes that in biblical times, people married earlier. The average age for marriage has been increasing in the U.S for the last 40 years.
Today, it’s not unusual to meet a Christian who is single at 30 - or 40 or 50, for that matter. So what do you tell them? Keep waiting?
Scot McKnight, author of “The Jesus Creed,” and "One.Faith: Jesus Calls, We Follow," acknowledges that young, single Christians face temptations that their counterparts in the biblical age didn’t face.
He tells Relevant:
Sociologically speaking, the one big difference – and it’s monstrous – between the biblical teaching and our culture is the arranged marriages of very young people. If you get married when you’re 13, you don’t have 15 years of temptation.
So what should a Christian parent or youth pastor do? How do they convince more young Christians to wait until marriage, or should they stop even trying?
So many pastors just say accept JESUS and then do whatever you want. Just believe in JESUS. In our church we believe that Jesus did 99.99999% of the work, but we believe in living the commandments wholeheartedly. Faith without works is dead...no person can claim Jesus as their personal savior and just go out a lambast the most basic commandments. In our church we are expected to follow a code of conduct and most do!
I would hope that you actually meant to say that Jesus did 100% of the work. Our very best works are still tainted with sin. We need His perfection.
"I would hope that you actually meant to say that Jesus did 100% of the work. Our very best works are still tainted with sin. We need His perfection"
Sadly many Christian churches are not understanding that. So many are led by pastors who them themselves are short of understanding this truth, and therefore they and their congregations become infested with hidden sins, while being outwardly polished, and so becoming self righteous people, who look at righteousness skin deep.
Satan's aim is to deceive, no matter which way, and if he can make God's people trust in Jesus Christ 99% but in themselves other 1% then he's got something to work with to disarm them....
Only the love of Truth will sustain us, and keeping our eyes on Christ Jesus, not on ourselves and each other.
"I would hope that you actually meant to say that Jesus did 100% of the work. Our very best works are still tainted with sin. We need His perfection."
Yes you are correct. Jesus did do 100% of the work but it takes more than lip service to qualify for His gift of Eternal Life. Far too often we see people who think giving lip service on Sunday and then living a life filled with sin without any other kind of effort will be enough.
I believe this is what Todd meant when he said Jesus did 99.9999% of the work. It wasn't meant to take away from Christ but rather a reminder to us that indeed faith without works is dead and we need to give our whole selves over to Him seven days a week not just our lips on Sunday.
Even when we do give our whole selves over however, that still is not enough, since like you said even our best works are tainted with sin. That is where Christ comes in and makes up the difference and brings us to a place we would never have been able to reach otherwise.
“no person can claim Jesus as their personal savior and just go out a lambast the most basic commandments”. Why not? Didn’t jesus say to forgive 70 times 70 and more? What about someone that tries but is weak. What about the fact that there is no commandment against fooling around if your both single?
Thou shalt NOT...I guess when your pastor gets more money if he preaches what you want to hear (in other words, a watered-down version of God's Eternal Truths) then you rationalize your sins, you tell yourself that you aren't as bad as others...but you are supposed to not compare yourself with others and their sins, you are to follow the Word of God. Happiness comes from following the truth. You know what is wrong. Stop doing wrong. Stop laying sins upon Jesus and do the right thing. Wait until you are married. The world will mock you, will make fun and chastise you–because they hate that you can show self-control.
i don't hate that people have self control. however, i am amused that they are basing it on edited, translated bronze age hearsay
The theif does not come except to steal, kill and destroy
Jesus came so that you may have life and life more abundantly
God's plan is a good plan
Don't get ripped off
Don't open your presents before Christmas
What you have said is very true , people should not open their presents , Hi u can email me on email@example.com
It's because the gospel is not clear in USA. I see one weak gospel. Not the gospel of the Kingdom. But the gospel which comes from man, by man and for man. It preaches an easy salvation for a weak faith and produces a sinners "christians". That's the simple reason.
God. Have mercy on América!
Does the gospel make any more sense in Portuguese? I suppose it's possible...
It is because they are not born again!
I think about about to vomit over all the textual ignorance in these comments.
*I think I'm about to ( for you grammar ninjas out there)
From the "Bible is full of contridictions" to "they have found original manuscripts" many of the comments are uniformed. But we all must admit that we all are uninformed at some level. The main issue to recognize though is that it is not who is the smartest or most reasonable. It is not "us" against "them". It is God and the powers of good against the Devil and evil. Faith in God and the Bible is just that...Faith. It is not a misplaced, illogical or unreasonable faith. Nor is it an "even a monkey could figure it out" clear truth. We all must respect where God has each of us on our path and trust God in his leading instead of cutting others down as being "dumb" because they don't see it my way.
"...many of the comments are uninformed..." (Also for the grammar ninjas ;) I am an engineer and hopelessly poor at spelling and typing :)
So, I am amazed at this conversation. First, to repond to the person above, God wants to be in relationship with you – and it's nothing you do or did not do! He loves you...and he keeps loving you. His love is so big that He sent Jesus to cover any and all of your sin. You are free! So no need to have an impression that God will stop loving you. He can't stop loving you. It's in His nature to love. There is so much more but that's it for now. Regarding young marriage, yes, I think it's a good idea. Though I didn't marry until I was in my late 20's, I think it's a great idea if you can meet someone while you are young and grow together.
The problem is that you become a hypocrite, by claiming your a Christian, but your not going to follow what the bible states. How do claim to be something if you are going to purposely ignore the laws of your belief? Or is this the New King Pick and Choose Version?
This doesn't mean that you are free to do any crime you want, anything at all and God will love you? Then God must have created all this system to be at total loss., kill, rob, lie, ruin your own and others lives but No, this god is not going to tell you anything but just every one is free to do whatever they like.
In fact, Jesus clearly clearly said that he had come to 'fulfill the law, not to break it' and the law he followed (the Moses law) clearly says that those who will commit adultery, those who lie, those who believes in other gods other than the One, are all to be severely punished.
We really need to seek truth, go and read, think and analyse ourselves the original texts before pasting any of our thoughts onto the God if we really seek truth.
@Greg: your just another cafeteria Christian condemning others for their cafeteria choices. Do you know there are 2 sets of the 10 commandments and god personally wrote the 2nd set? Do you know one of the set is “Celebrate the Festival of Unleavened Bread. For seven days eat bread made without yeast, as I commanded you. Do this at the appointed time in the month of Aviv, for in that month you came out of Egypt.” Have you ever done this even once in your entire life?
@Breeze: The commandments don’t say anything about not fooling around if you are both single. And don’t give me your interpretation of adultery. Take the commands at face value.
My wife and I waited until marriage (and we dated 5 years). We have been married 14 years and have 6 kids (3 adopted). Yes our decision was based on a spiritual belief but the good effects of that decision have reached well beyond the spiritual. It is a very intimate part of our lives that we have not shared with anyone else but each other. It makes for a much stronger bond and serves as a symbol of our commitment to our relationship, a relationship founded on a decision to love one another instead of cyclical "feelings" of love which can deceive. I just wanted to put out there that there are benefits beyond just being able to say "We made it". There are regular and practical emotional and "secular" benefits to waiting. I don't condemn those who decide not to wait, but I want those considering "not waiting" to talk to someone who has waited and consider the benefits that may not be easily apparent. May God grant each wisdom as they walk their own path.
agreed. My wife and I waited as well. No regrets at all.
Agreed here as well! My wife and I were high school sweethearts and waited until we married at 21. I think it makes it easier to stay together in a difficult world where divorce is so common. God, all knowing and loving, gives us guidance to bless our lives individually, as families, and as communities. For those who are worried they can't make it, you can! God will give you strength and bless you in ways you can't now imagine. Strong marriages and families aren't easy, but they are the most fulfilling things in the world. Don't make it harder by giving in early.
The Bible was hundreds of years in the making, written by God through different people. If that wasn't so, then how do all the books of the Bible agree? The authors were hundreds of years apart; that rules out conspiracy. Original texts of certain books have been discovered, and they match the Bible as we know it today, so that rules out lies. So, how else could all of this happened? I suppose you have another theory to share, a theory that would shoot down the Bible and justify your way of living so you don't have to feel bad about it anymore.
Tiffany, Brilliant observation!
Fornication among young Christian couples is sin. Gay s*x is sin. Two wrongs don't make a right.
Satan roams the world seeking the ruin of souls. Say no to sin and Satan will depart. Keep up the good work Tif!
Why is slavery ok in the bible anyways? Must be ok with god if he wrote it. God owns slaves? Just want an answer to this question then maybe i'll believe in religion again(I was raised catholic and went to catholic school through high school). It made me a good person but it made me realize how much every religion is wrong. They push their beliefs on you and if you dont believe them they act as if you're a horrible disguisting person. Religion also discriminates against gays which should never be ok according to what they're all about. Talk about a joke.
Unfortunately things are not as cut and dry as we would like them to be. We all must remember that salvation comes "by grace through faith". No one can be "reasoned" into a saving relationship with Jesus because that relationship is not based on reason and logic (and no I am not saying that it is illogical). The relationship is founded on Faith. God could have made things crystal clear but that would have negated the concept of faith itself. People are not dumb for not believing nor are they not counting all the facts. There are plenty of very smart and reasonable people who do not believe. My encouragement to them is to seek God much like Paul encouraged his listeners in Acts 17. Tell the truth of the scriptures but allow people to disagree based on "logic" because Christianity does not hinge on logic but faith. The Bible tells us that if a person seeks God with all their heart they will find him. Love people by telling them the scriptures and trust God to sink the scriptures into their heart. There is no need to "defend", God can do that for himself.
But...the books don't agree. Even the Gospels contradict each other, especially John.
Not a single original manuscript of scripture has been found. They don't all agree. There's so much variety in scripture you can't ignore it. But people try anyway.
If “all the books of the Bible agree” how come there are 2 sets of 10 commandments that aren’t the same? Or don’t you know the one about not cooking baby goats in their mothers milk
Too many "Christians" I know believe that they are saved by the grace of Christ and having called upon His name, they believe they now are saved without regard to their actions. Does it matter what Jesus would do, or what he taught? Or is it enough just to call his name to "be saved" and continue a life of debauchery? What do readers of this article believe?
I thought about this when i was much younger in my Faith "why don't I just keep sinning and doing what I enjoy regardless of if it's wrong? Christ has already forgiven me." I later came upon this verse: Romans 6:1-2 "What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?" The more I grow in my relationship with Christ, the more I see how my sin pulls me apart from Him. That's why we should not keep on sinning if we truly are Christians. Sin is what separates us from God!
I believe God will forgive as long as we are truly sorry for our sin – repeating it over and over might be a sign that our remorse is short lived – never do I get it perfectly but as Christians we are called to keep trying and go back to God just as we are – He is all forgiving!
Definitely read the full Relevant article to get the full picture on what this means for Christians, why Christians aren't waiting, and why they should.
Eat mushrooms and then we'll talk about god.
funny I am mushrooms in 1968 and almost killed myself. I do not believe that wasGod
Virgin and me and my girlfriend are proud of it!!! :) look at the smile on my face!
I know for a fact she's no virgin. Tell her I said hi!
Let me correct my grammar errors before I'm corrected. Start the sent ace above with "I'm" and change "me and my girlfriend" to "my girlfriend and I"
Why do Christians feel that it's necessary to threaten everyone in order to get them to believe in God? Why would God threaten anyone? Do you enjoy living a life in constant fear that if you screw up God won't love you? Seems like a crappy way to go through life. I'd rather be care free, live life to the fullest, learn from my mistakes, believe what I want to believe based on logic and reason, free to question mine and others beliefs in search for knowledge, be open minded and accept everyone for who they are and what they believe, treating everyone the same. You have no right to judge others and condemn them for believing differently than you, leave that up to God.
God doesn't threaten anyone. If you don't accept God's protection (because all of his commandments are for our benefit) then you go it alone and face these things alone. That's not a threat, that's truth. And common sense. And no Christian should tell anyone that God won't love them if they mess up. But messing up and doing things deliberately are two different things. Of course, God will still love you then, but you're not able to mess in anything you want and do what you want and still be saved. It's not about fear, it's about morals. You shouldn't serve God because you fear him like you fear an evil dictator, but because you love Him and want to do what is right. So from your point of view and from ours, it's about sincerity and truth.
"Do you enjoy living a life in constant fear that if you screw up God won't love you" uh...no. I enjoy living a life without any fear, knowing well that no matter how much I screw up, no matter how many times I've failed and will continue to fail, God will always lead me back to the bloody cross of Christ where I am set free. We are redeemed. Semper Fi!
Thank you for explaining that to me. I guess it's how people say it that makes the difference. I've been approached by many Christians and they constantly ask me if I fear that by not following their beliefs if I'll go to Hell? Some people are just too extreme for me to handle. Morals, sincerity and truth are all great things to have.
yeah but once ya get to the end of your life you may just find out that the teachings would of helped in your past. Now that you are at the end of your life you know every thing but can not use it to better the life you have lived. mean no argument just saying . could go ether way
So true. I cn hardly get through my morning coffee without my mind drifting off into what I would do to all those people if I were God and then He gently reminds me I would have to hang on a cross for their sins and humbly ask for forgiveness and smile at the world and say to myself "thank God your life is not my business" I pray for all and and ask for forgiveness for myself
im not the only one yay!!
Gays struggle to be celib*te, while straights struggle to remain abstinent. All have fallen short of the mark. Satan snares
good people with tempting fruits, but the strong carry on. The power of popular culture to glorify and celebrate the sin of fornication is intense. The power and salvation in remaining celib*te for gays and abstinent for straights confounds Satan. Honor the dignity of young couples with a face set like a flint on God. They will be redeemed!
A M E N ! So glad to see godly people's stories! It's very lonely for a true Christian now days... But you people are an encouragement!
Majority of Mormons wait! This article needs to take that into account!
The funny thing is that many of these "Christians" are just so because their parents were, much like how in Egypt that some Egyptians identify themselves as Christian only because it is printed on their ID card
I am a Christian because I believe in God and his son, Jesus. Not because someone forced me to. Every single last Christian I know is a Christian for the same reason, not because their parents were.
I identified myself as Roman Catholic for fourteen years because my parents told me I was. Then I realized I didn't believe in God at all. So I think there are both sides of the spectrum- people who really believe and people born into it.
I am a Christian as my father before me and his father before him. If I were born to a Muslim would I be a Muslim...quite probably. There is a definite leaning to Christianity based on my family history but once I reached college and opened myself up to the possible truths of other religions I found Christianity to hold God in the highest regard. I say this because it holds him as so holy that sin cannot be in his presence. There is no amount of good that I can do to "erase" the sin I have done. There is no way I could in any way earn his favor, it absolutely has to be a gift. At that point in college I honestly felt that I would not come face to face with God someday and say, "wow, I thought you were holier than this" or "I guess I could have earned it". The grace of Christianity doesn't motivate me to live a life of free sinning but gives me a greater view of what grace is. I believe in the good news of Christ, not to avoid hell but to be present with God. I want to emulate his goodness, kindness and love for all people regardless of what they believe.
jFor all of you who put much clout in the bible and what it says, I encourage you to do a thorough, historical study, starting at the beginning of the book and proceeding to the end. Find other historical works to collaborate what the bible says, as I am sure if God wanted the people of the world to follow the instruction, we would receive ample confirmation of facts backing the bible up. When you truly do this, and use critical thought, you will find that the bible is SO FULL of contradictions, it is actually amazing how so many people have followed it for so long. The day I realized that Christianity was not legitimate, was the day I was set free.
You have no faith!
To the contrary. I am a Christian and have done exactly as you say (although I doubt that you have). I was a History major in college so that made it a little easier to do this. Backing the Bible up with historical fact has only confirmed my belief in it.
If you assume that the Bible is the only theological treatise of its kind, then of course what you say could be true. I happen to belong to a faith that holds that there is another record that verifies much of the Bible. However, most Christianity rejects our additional record, claiming at as a falsehood. If they are right, then perhaps you are right and they are following a myth just as much I would be. But if Christianity is wrong about our "revealed" scripture, then perhaps Christ was indeed the Son of God. The problem most Christianity would have with our scripture is two-fold. One: the priesthood authority. Two: revelation. See, if you accept our book, then you accept modern prophets and prophesy even though our book claims to be a record found in a hill–which an angel directed a young man to find and gave him the means to interpret–a record of civilization that started around 600 B.C. and was destroyed some time after Jesus Christ lived and died.
Dear lady, you have no idea what you are talking about. There are no contradictions in the Bible, and the few "apparent" contradictions are quite easy to reconcile. May I suggest "Evidence that Demands a Verdict" by Josh McDowell? If you are as interested in the truth as you claim, you will see the truth.
You are absolutely correct. The Bible is so full of contradictions to the person who lacks faith and belief in God. That is exactly what satan wants you to think. The Bible (Word of God) is written for those who chose to believe and have faith. The Bible is not written for the unbelievers. The Word of God will either save you are condemn you. Turn back to God and seek freedom and do not be a slave to satan and your own opinions and the filthy ways of this world.
It's funny, I did exactly what you did when I questioned the authenticity of my Christian faith, and I found the exact opposite to be true. I found the Christian faith and the Bible corroborated by not only secular (Roman and Pagan) historians of the times, but also Jewish historians (who had nothing to gain, much to lose in promoting Christianity as a real movement with a real founder in Jesus Christ). Not to mention the hundreds of martyrs who gave their lives for the faith. Also, in the Bible you have four different authors corroborating the life and death and resurrection of the same individual (the four gospel writers about Jesus) in a manner that hushes any accusation of "faking" while also hinting at first person accounts. Most people we consider as true historical figures, such as Alexander the Great, don't come close to this type of historical account. Also, the Bible is not full of contradictions if you understand it as Catholic Christians do: The New Testament reveals what is hinted at in the Old Testament. As well as understand it as a liturgical text, not a historical or scientific text. This reading, known as typology, is the same type of reading of the scriptures the first Christians used...and is continued to this day in the Catholic church and among many Biblical scholars.
Just liek I wrote the person conviced that "any reasonable person would see the Bible as true" I would ancourage you to also keep an open mind. The Bible can be neither proven nor disregarded. There are those with logical and "critical thought" on both sides of the issue.
The most important issue is whether or not you are prepared to be face to face with God. You may not believe that he even exists, and start there, seek after him. If you do, I believe you will find him when you seek with all your heart. None of this is about "I'm right and you are not" nor is it about a path to "happiness". It is about finding reconciliation with your creator and becoming what he designed you to be. Seek God with an open heart and with all you have, then come to the Bible.
Logic and faith a miraculous event , a twist of fate who knows but do not tell me that I must read all of this crap to decide my beliefs. Many believe in evolution but there is no PROOF nobody sees anything changing from one species to another. Others believe creation, nobody saw it happen. Both are religions pick yours and do not insult me as if I were poorly educated. I am Not . And I truly believe
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.