The End of Evangelical Innocence

Some good thoughts from Phil Johnson

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Ed Vasicek's picture

Johnson has hit the nail on the head. There are right and wrong ways to address sex from the pulpit. Using the right words for the right audience is important. People should not be afraid to bring their children to church, nor should they be made to feel awkward.

In any congregation, we are likely to find women and men who were molested as children, or people so inhibited about sex that it pains them to hear sermons on the subject. Some people might even hope to come to church to get away from our sex-crazed culture.

In the past, churches basically taught what was clearly wrong: sex outside of marriage. As far as techniques and mechanics within marriage (at least in my ministry), a pastor might hand a struggling couple a book or discuss a specific problem.

What is lacking in the modern approach is discretion and modesty. This is one issue that could well expose the division of evangelicals into "new" and "old" evangelical camps. We are quickly rushing toward the situation ethic of "sex outside of marriage is wrong, but we all do it, so get over it." The truth is that many of us entered our honeymoon suites as virgins. We may not be the majority, but I think there are a lot of us. If we think this is impossible, it will be.

I would almost wager that the sexual satisfaction of couples has declined with our loss of inhibitions. People simply do not understand relationships in general, despite all our books. Some things are better caught than taught.

"The Midrash Detective"