PODCAST: The Purity Culture and the Prosperity Gospel

by | Jul 25, 2019 | Uncategorized | 34 comments

Podcast on the end of the purity culture
Merchandise is Here!

It’s time for a new episode of the Bare Marriage podcast!

Today we did a bit of a different one. Rather than having all of our segments, we just talked about one big thing: the earthquake in Christian circles where the purity culture is falling apart.

By “purity culture”, I mean that the extra-biblical rules that grew up around the idea that sex should be saved for marriage. Now, I believe that sex is meant for marriage. But what happened was that marriage became the end-all and be-all; virginity became equated with purity (even though the Bible doesn’t see it that way); and a whole heap of shame was added to the idea of sex. Plus we were told that if we abided by the rules of the purity culture, and had no physical contact at all (not even kissing) until we were married, and didn’t date, then marriage would be great.

While I was away in England, Josh and Shannon Harris announced on Instagram that they were separating. Josh Harris in many ways is the big face of the purity movement, writing the book I Kissed Dating Goodbye when he was only 21, and then following up with Boy Meets Girl, with lots of rules about courtship. 

Josh has also disavowed those books, and is reconsidering much about the evangelical world right now. 

I appreciate his humility. I am sorry for what he and Shannon are going through. I am sorry that many are gossiping about it. And so what we wanted to do in this podcast was NOT talk about Josh and Shannon (we mentioned it at the beginning, but then moved on) and instead talk about the bigger issue: how do we decide what to keep about the purity culture, and what to discard? And why is it that all of these rules haven’t led to great marriages? And I’m deliberately not putting “Josh Harris” in the title of this podcast so as to not use him as clickbait. It’s just that it was this news that got us thinking.

Listen in to the podcast here: 

 

Rebecca and Joanna joined me for the podcast, and we debated lots of things about the purity culture. Again, I do believe that sex is meant for marriage. But there is so much wrong with the way we talk about purity, as my daughter Katie summed up here:

I’ve also written a ton about the purity culture, including:

The Purity Culture had Prosperity Gospel Undertones

Joanna explained this really well in the podcast (she’s really our resident theologian) but the prosperity gospel says that if you do certain things, God will bless you. And that blessing is in earthly circumstances. Things will go well for you. It’s a distortion of what the Bible actually teaches. Job did nothing wrong, and yet his life still was filled with hardship when everything he loved was taken from him. Sometimes life is just difficult. A better way of looking at all of this is with my book How Big Is Your Umbrella, which I wrote about the things that I yelled at God when my son was dying, and what God whispered back. 

But what the purity culture said was that the reason that marriages are falling apart is because people are dating and doing things the wrong way. If you do them the right way, your marriage will be great (and you’ll have great sex, too!).

However, lots of people do things “the right way” and marriage is still tough. Sometimes sex is, too. I know so many on this blog who waited for marriage and then found out that they had vaginismus, making sex very painful. And it’s still a battle. I know others who found that a spouse had a really low libido, or that they had a low libido. Or they can just never figure out how to reach orgasm. (Please, check out The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex or 31 Days to Great Sex if you’re having trouble!). 

We aren’t guaranteed anything in this life except that God will carry us through hardships when we surrender to Him. So many rushed into marriage, thinking they were doing it the right way, only to find they weren’t prepared.

As a church, we need to find a better way of talking about all of this–a way that keeps God’s perspective on sex without creating extra-biblical rules, heaping shame, or giving false promises. I hope this podcast can contribute to that discussion.

A Note from Rebecca: Are All Books Written by Young People Bad?

Something that’s been discussed a lot with the purity culture fallout is the fact that we all just jumped onto a book written by someone who wasn’t even legally allowed to drink in the US and allowed it to dictate how we all did dating and marriage. 

My book, Why I Didn’t Rebel, was published when I was just 22. I wrote the initial blog post at 19, and wrote the book at 21. 

While I was writing Why I Didn’t Rebel, I was acutely aware of how young I was. And Josh Harris’s story of writing Why I Kissed Dating Goodbye, honestly, haunted me while I was writing it. And here’s the conclusions that I have come to about young authors in general: 

  1. Take everything you read with a grain of salt. In fact, I actually encourage readers to do so in my book! No 21-year-old should propose to have all the answers or have figured out “the secret” to something–we simply don’t have the experience (and again, because I really wanted to avoid the mistakes that others had made in the past I think I was pretty clear that this wasn’t supposed to be a parenting instructions manual, but was just conclusions I came to from hearing 25 people’s stories and reading a ton of research!). 
  2. Young authors are often able to provide a fresh perspective on age-old ideas. When you get a book from a young author, you should be looking for something different than if it were written by someone working in that field for 20 years with multiple PhDs. When you’re looking at a book by a young author, you’re looking for a fresh perspective; a different point of view; a way that may challenge your preconceived notions of what is good, helpful, or potentially harmful. For my book, I really wanted parents to get to look at parenting techniques from a different angle–from the kid’s perspective. In a sense, I wanted parents to get to break out of the echo chamber of parents giving the same-old advice to other parents and ask the kids themselves–what do you think really worked? 
  3. Any young author who isn’t terrified by the thought of writing a book probably shouldn’t be writing a book. I don’t think that a lot of people truly think about how they can be affecting people’s lives if they’re wrong. I had a lot of people go through my manuscript and offer criticisms, rebuttals, and tear it apart because I wanted to make sure that I was representing the stories in my book accurately (in fact, I made sure that every single person interviewed for my book read the chapters and approved the materials). 

But above everything else, no matter how old the author is who wrote the book, a lesson that I’ve learned as I’ve watched so many people suffer due to bad teachings in books is that any book that offers a simple, formulaic solution to a complex problem is probably not a good oneThat was something I struggled with in finding my core message with Why I Didn’t Rebel, because there simply wasn’t an easy way to wrap it all up. Sometimes, families did great when they had deep, theological talks multiple times a day. Sometimes, families were fine even if the kids hardly ever had heart-to-hearts with their parents. Sometimes, families thrived on a pattern of family devotionals and prayer together. Others just never really got into it but their kids turned out great too! There simply wasn’t an easy answer to the big question that people are asking. 

But as I was writing the book, and struggling to find that easy answer, the fact that I couldn’t find one brought me a lot of peace. Because you know what? Parenting isn’t easy. Raising kids isn’t supposed to be easy because we’re all so unique. You, with your background and your family circumstance, are going to raise your children very differently than I will raise mine. That’s how it’s supposed to be. 

But I hope we can all remember that even if there isn’t a simple formula for churning out kids who don’t rebel, the common thing we all need is just authentic relationship with each other and with our God. And there’s no easy answer for how to achieve that, which is in and of itself incredibly terrifying but also incredibly freeing. 

If you are interested in reading the stories in my book and starting a new conversation about what general trends we tend to see among healthy families, do check out my book. I know this is a really weird place for a book plug, but I wrote it to be the antidote for a lot of the formulaic parenting advice that’s given today that, according to my interviews, really doesn’t work. 

As someone who’s getting ready to be a first-time mom, the lessons I learned researching and interviewing for this book bring me a lot of peace and comfort–because you know what? None of these parents got it perfect. But their kids still all turned out pretty darn good because the foundation was a healthy one.

That’s all we have for today’s podcast episode!

Marriage Podcast: The Purity Culture and the Prosperity Gospel

So what do you think? Did you do everything right only to have issues? Do you think there’s a “prosperity gospel” element to this? Let’s talk in the comments!

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Sheila Wray Gregoire

Author at Bare Marriage

Sheila is determined to help Christians find biblical, healthy, evidence-based help for their marriages. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

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34 Comments

  1. Kristin

    I read “Why I Didn’t Rebel” and thought it was a great book! I think it is important to read because of your age. When I was growing up my opinions and thoughts were not heard by my parents. But in order to have a good relationship with your teens I believe it is important to listen to them. Especially about the challenges they are facing. So reading about how different kids grew up is just good information to help parents know from a teen perspective what they appreciated or didn’t appreciate.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Thanks for saying that, Kristin! That really is what Becca was trying to do–asking parents to listen to teens and what teens were saying. I think it’s an important part of the conversation!

      Reply
  2. Emmy

    I’m so sorry to hear that Josh and Shannon Harris have separated. 🙁

    I agree the Purity Culture has some common elements with the prosperity gospel and I believe it is at least partly because they ARE the same culture. The purity movement was born in the same circles that endorsed the prosperity gospel. They are, so to speak, dishes from the same kitchen.

    The purity culture is also much older than the book written by Josh Harris. Me and my hubby were dating and we got married in a church where “living clean” was much emphasized. Although “dating” was not forbidden or frowned upon, we had very strich rules about what was allowed and what was not. Holding hands was OK. The guy was allowed to put his arm around the shoulder of his girfriend. All the rest was more or less forbidden or frowned upon.

    And we had those embarrasing sermons and altar call against masturbation and virginity. There was this one preaches that was very popular, Ed Cole was his name, I believe. His sermons and teaching were not totally bad, but after he started to preach on the benefits and blessings of virginity, pastors from other churches started to copy him and after a while, those “hymen sermons” were in fashion everywhere.

    In order to be fair towards Ed Cole, I need to say he adressed his sermons on virginity to both sexes, and his over all ministry was mostly directed to men. He thought guys need to be pure too.

    But I have sat through some “hymen sermons” that were especially directed to women. It was very uncomfortable.

    And this was all before Josh Harris kissed dating goodbye.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I was so sorry to hear that, too, and I wish them all the best!

      Yes, the purity culture definitely had elements before Josh. I think he became the face of it and revived it, though. I know that the purity culture was much more intense when my kids were teens than when I was a teen, which was almost bizarre. And a lot more intense than when my mom was a teen (they dated quite frequently in high school in the 50s). Really strange!

      Reply
  3. Phil

    The Best thing I heard on this topic in the past week came from the American TV Show The Bachelorette. I don’t watch TV but I do read news. The Bachelorette made the news and the story is that she was being asked about her sexual past by a guy and essentially shamed by him. She said and I quote ” YES I HAD SEX AND JESUS STILL LOVES ME”

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      The “damaged goods” approach has hurt so many people. We have to find a way to keep a strong sexual ethic without shaming those who have pasts (or who have been abused). I think one of the ways to do that is to stop equating “sin” with “sexual sin”. We so rarely talk about any sin other than sexual sin, and as I said in the podcast, growing up I felt that the difference between a Bible believing church and a wishy-washy church was simply sex. We’ve made sex an idol, and it needs to stop.

      Reply
      • sheep

        I totally agree with what you are saying about the “damaged goods” approach. I had sex before marriage and I struggled for years with feeling inferior to other christians that touted their purity. That being said, I disagree with Phil about the Bachelorette and her attitude toward sex. From what I read, she has a very flippant attitude toward sex and I haven’t seen or heard anything from her that looks or sounds like repentance. She seemed to have an attitude that says “yep, I sinned and I’m forgiven and I’m going to keep sinning”

        Just because the purity culture was/is wrong does not mean that it is ok to have a flippant attitude toward sin. Rom 6 “What then shall we say? Shall we continue in sin so that grace may increase? 2Certainly not! ”

        This really hits home with me because I had a spouse with the attitude that sex outside of marriage is sin, but she would do it anyway because she would be forgiven.

        Reply
        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          Totally agree. Sexual sin is serious because it has such great impacts. Doesn’t mean it’s a worse sin–but it does impact us more. I have never seen the Bachelorette or really heard much about it, so I can’t comment on that (except to say that the whole premise of the show makes me queasy). But I agree–we have to find a way to talk about how to see sex in a positive light in its proper place, without adding extra biblical rules or throwing out important principles. It’s a tough balancing act.

          Reply
        • Phil

          I am sure the show is pure garbage Sheep. The statement though speaks for its self. We can gain the truth even from a liar or someone who’s intentions are wrong. I have no idea what this woman’s intentions are. What she said was correct.

          Reply
    • Blessed Wife

      As I read in several articles on the topic (I don’t watch the show), what the guy actually said was, “if you’re going to have sex with the other men on this show, then I don’t want to stay because that isn’t what I want.” She had evidently pledged to abstain while visiting his Sunday School class back home, then decided to send him home for “shaming” her for her decision to have sex with other men while entertaining the idea of a relationship/marriage with him.

      Yes, Jesus loves everyone, regardless of their sexual past or present, and the young man agreed with that, too. Jesus also said those who love Him will keep his commandments. Your sexual choices don’t determine whether Jesus loves you, but they are an indicator of whether you truly love Him, or just give lip service to the Gospel while ignoring its principles.

      Would any of us like for a person we’re considering marriage with to be having sex with other people while dating us, and telling us it’s none of our business? Didn’t think so.

      Reply
      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        Wow! That sounds like a really toxic show.

        Reply
        • Melissa

          Incredibly toxic. I don’t know how it’s still on the air. I watched one episode about a year ago of The Bachelor and it was just gross. I felt like I needed a shower. 🤢

          Reply
  4. Emmy

    Yep. In many churches “living in sin” has traditionally referred to sexual sin.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Oh, yes, I’d forgotten about that one! But yes.

      Reply
  5. Arwen

    I just hope people don’t swing to the other extreme because of the damages the purity culture has done. The purity culture started as an extreme response to the sexual revolution of the 60s. I’m listening to dozens of podcast in response to Joshua’s regret and now the pendulum is swinging to the other extremes where people are saying sex outside of marriage is fine, homosexuality is fine, divorce for the smallest infraction is fine, etc. Why people can’t simply return to the Bible is beyond me.

    Why must everything be a response to the culture? We all get in trouble in the first place because we drift away from the Bible. Christians are to live by the word of God not by what is hip in a perishing world. I’m devastated for Joshua’s broken marriage in yet another statistic of marriage vows being broken left and right in our culture.

    These past couple of months have been soooo depressing for me. 2019 is not going how i had planned for it to go. There are wonderful news around me but at the same it’s overpowered by the negative news around me. Ugh!

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I agree. We have to find a way to address people’s concerns with the purity culture that doesn’t throw out a Christian sexual ethic. But I think we can do that if we bring it back to Christ, which is what it should have been in the first place.

      Reply
  6. YetAnotherPhil

    Interesting connection between the prosperity gospel and purity culture- I hadn’t seen it put that way before. It even can be likened to Job’s friends saying “Job, this bad stuff happened because you must have done bad stuff,” but reversed. Instead of the retributive theology “Bad things happened to you because you did bad things,” it’s flipped to “do things the right way and you’re guaranteed good results.” While this isn’t entirely unbiblical, as the book of Job illustrates, it’s not a great lens through which to view every good or bad event in life.

    Purity culture has also drawn heavily from legalism- do this and God will love you. Yes, there’s a sexual ethic in Scripture, but (and while I never read the book, it was popular when I went through Bible college in the late ’90s) so many Christians were eager to create that Pharisaical hedge around the law in order to ensure some nebulous and ultimately unbiblical idea of “purity.” All because we had a hang up on sex and the concept of premarital sex as if not the unforgivable sin, then the next thing to it.

    It’s quite the complicated knot we in Christendom have created that we now must unravel, but I think you’re pulling at the right threads.

    Reply
  7. Kristen

    Growing up, I didn’t realize how much of my own Christianity was based on the idea of rules and rewards and essentially fear, until I lost a close uncle two years ago. I felt inexplicable guilt afterward, because I wondered what sort of sin our family must have opened the door for to see him die so young. Now I realize how warped that way of thinking is, and I know that sometimes bad things happen to “good” people. It rains on the just and the unjust, which I think is Jesus’ way of saying that whether you follow Him or not, you’re going to face hardship and loss sooner or later as long as you walk this planet.

    I don’t profess to practice Christianity these days, although I ponder these questions all the time. I just want to make sure that when I return to it, it’s for the right reasons—basically, out of true faith, not those fears twisted around to look like faith. But going along with what you all said about prosperity gospel, I recall a thought I had driving home a couple weeks ago: Growing up, for me Christianity was about following that formula in order to see protection and provision in my life. But what if Christianity is less about ensuring that bad things don’t happen to us, and more about having a safe place to run when they actually do? What if Christianity isn’t the insurance I always subconsciously assumed it was, and instead is a haven to go with our questions and tears?

    I don’t know. Just some thoughts.

    Reply
    • Phil

      Kristen – I am sorry that you are struggling with Christianity. I know that you are on the right track because you are asking questions. Keep asking and God will show you. I pray that you find it in your heart to believe. Believe in Jesus. He is the way- Regardless of what your life looks like. If you are interested, read the story of Potiphar in Genesis 39. Pay particular attention to Joesph who was sold to slavery by his own brothers. He has good in his life regardless of what things happened to him. God cared for him even in the worst of his life in jail. That is because he had FAITH and believed.

      Reply
    • Nathan

      Kristen, I’m so sorry for your loss and for your struggles, although they say that internal struggles can often result in us being stronger in our beliefs.

      Sadly, the idea you’re talking about is pervasive in some circles. That is, if something bad happens to you, then you (or somebody close to you) must have committed some horrible sin.

      But you’re right. Jesus himself said in this world, you WILL have trouble. He never said “join me, and you’re on easy street forever”. Being a Christian isn’t some shield against bad things. It is, rather, a way of getting through it when (not if) bad things happen.

      There’s a church somewhere in the midwest, for example, where if you have a child who is born with a physical or developmental disability, they take it is a sign that God is punishing your for some horrible sin by sending you a “cursed” child. That’s nonense, of course, but some still have the idea that God is just waiting for us to stumble so he can zap us with something.

      I hope that you do well with your struggle and come to a place of happiness

      Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Those are great thoughts, Kristen! And I think you’re already asking exactly the right things about faith. Don’t be scared of asking questions. And don’t be scared of asking God. I think He’s answering you!

      Reply
  8. Ina

    Wow. I finally got around to listening to the podcast and at what point it was like Shelia was talking about my own dating/courting relationship. We, thankfully, knew each other SUPER well. We were best friends for a while growing up, had tons of fun together as teens, and had seen a lot of one another. The moment we started courting, it was like our friendship evaporated because we both felt we could not show that we liked each other at all. Take a 19/20 year old boy-man who already has difficulty showing emotion and vulnerability and tell him that in order to protect his and my purity he needs to guard against attraction… It was a disaster. We both look at that year as the worst of our relationship. Thankfully, we worked past it, found our friendship again and then did decide to marry (best decision ever!) but we both grieve how painful and twisted our courtship was

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Oh, wow, Ina! I’m so sorry. Glad you could relate, but so sorry! Glad you’ve managed to untangle it all now.

      Reply
  9. Phil

    Sheila – question for you: I read an article earlier today that Josh Harris is not only separated and has disavowed his book but he claims he is not a Christian anymore. Very Sad. So here is my question. Earlier in the comments I took a statement at face value and used it because it speaks the truth. Some folks took issue with it because of the nature of the source. So if Josh disavows his book for the wrong reasons do we still call him humble? I know you stated you were not going to discuss Josh here but I figured someone has to call this out. Me personally I think that it is good that Josh disavowed his book. I really do. That was a good move. But to then claim I am not Christian anymore? This claim makes me take issue with the disavowing and really truly just overall discredits him period. Anyway, I am sad for this man and his apparent tough time in life he is having. Sorry if I am opening a can of worms here but if I am correct about what I know about you, you will be talking about this soon anyway lol. Thanks

    Reply
  10. Logan

    I think this whole topic relates to transactional “christianity.” Rather than having a right view of God, one in which He is above all and supreme and sovereign…we now have a view that we can manipulate God into doing just what we want. If X, than Y. That begs the question, are we Christians because we love Christ, or do we say we are Christian because it is just another avenue to “live your best life.” Of course when one believes this, and encounters the storms of life and everything falls apart including all one may believe in, some may discover this was the house built on sand.

    I have been there myself. God was merciful and brought me to understand the lies I had been raised to believe and who He really is. Changed my life. I just pray for those that have fallen away that they may be renewed again.

    Reply
  11. Natalie

    A detour from the podcast, but “I Survived I Kissed Dating Goodbye” (Josh Harris’s documentary) is available on Amazon Prime… at least that’s the case here in the States. I just finished watching it & thought it was fantastic!! It talks about basically all the same stuff Sheila & TLHV staff talk about on this blog & we discuss in the comments. But I found it to be really insightful and healing almost to hear it coming from the author himself. It’s a great reminder that we need to periodically take a step back and reassess the things in our life that we may be idolizing (i.e. marriage & sex in this case), remember who should be holding the #1 place in our lives (Jesus), and that marriage and sex do not equate ultimate fulfillment in life – no matter how wonderful and Christ-centered they are. Anyway, I’d highly recommend it!

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I really like that documentary! I do encourage everyone to watch it.

      Reply
  12. Learning A New

    Thank you for this podcast Sheila. It has opened my eyes to the damage this cultural shaming is within the church. In all honesty the purity culutre is much older than the 60’s. The idea that sex outside of marriage is SIN and that pregnancy is therefore a consequence of sin is well entrenched within the church culture. That is why young women are sent into hiding and the abortion movement was born to hide the “unforgiveable sin” of sex outside of marriage. It was such an ah ha moment for me.

    Would we have the issue of abortion in our culture today if the church had not made sex the cardinal sin? The bible always speaks of pregnancy as a blessing and yet in the church it is a shame if a pregnancy exists without a wedding ring. How many children and young women have been abandoned by the church due to this culture?

    I was stunned to realise too that when the church equates purity to sex, this is one of the majour roots of sexual dissfunction we find in the Western culture because women can’t be pure if they are having sex but somehow they need sex in order to keep their husbands from sin??

    I am stunned by the ongoing ramifications of this attitude of purity = no sex. Looking back I finally understand why I hated growing up. I hate buying anything to do with being a woman from underware to monthly cycles.

    I am so sad that I lost 40 years of my life (my prime as a woman) through this cultural move within the church. I lost 28 years of healthy sexuality with my spouse and have to start from scratch and learn a new. I have lost more than 50 % of my adult years to this culture in the church and the frustrating part is I did not see it for myself when reading my bible. I read the Word through the teaching of the church and not for what it actually was. I so wish I had heard this even 10 years ago.

    Today I feel a deep grief for all the years lost and for all the other woman like me who have lost decades of a healthy sexual relationship with their husbands because of this cornerstone teaching within the church.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Oh, I’m so sorry! I really hear you. I do. You’re totally not alone. So many people have felt the same thing. I’m going to save your comment and maybe include it in a book I’m writing about this now. It’s just so on point, and so sad. But there is hope–and God can restore and renew, and I think He’s doing that in a big way right now!

      Reply
  13. Charissa

    Again – super late to the comments. I’m binge listening to your podcast right now. But I thought your points about how the courtship model does not allow room to truly know someone were spot on. I remember explaining this whole “stay mostly in groups” dating philosophy to my department chair at school – who is not a Christian but a good and wise man. He looked me straight in the eye and said, “All the men I’ve ever known who beat their wives looked great in groups.” I had my questions about the model before that – but for me that one very true statement solidified the lack of wisdom in marrying someone with whom you haven’t spent significant time alone. As far as affection before marriage – the people I know who had the worst sex lives after marriage waited until their wedding day to kiss. I’m sure there are some people for whom that strategy works – but in general I think people really stunt their relationships by cutting off all affection before marriage. Just based on my friends’ experiences, going from zero to sixty after marriage tends not to work out well for establishing strong communication patterns, and in my experience women in these scenarios tended to struggle significantly with experiencing pleasure.

    Reply
  14. Jean

    God’s intimate design for sexual intimacy to only be shared as part of marriage is not “… just a nice bonus” as stated in this podcast. God’s beautiful design of his children in His image for initmate connection is so much more. Suggesting that a spouse whose partner had premarital sex “should just get over it” is a callous statement that shows you really do NOT understand the seriousness of this pain and, if anything, your advice to just get over it causes harm enouraging guilt and shame. Yes, legalism applied to God’s beautiful design is damaging, but there are not “different rules depending on who you are” in the Bible for sexual sin as stated in this podcast. Really disappointed.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Jean, so what, then, is your solution for someone married to someone with a sexual past? You live with jealousy your whole life? You’re never able to enjoy the gift of passionate sex? That’s not how God works.

      Reply
      • Jean

        Nor is that what I suggested – not even close. God’s gift of intimacy and pleasure in marriage is a wonderful thing that Song of Songs tells us should be enjoyed fully. We are blessed to be so fully
        loved and provided for by our Creator. There is not a one-size fits all solution for someone struggling with their spouse’s premarital sex since people’s experiences and needs differ, but the mutual exchange of grace, forgiveness, love and compassion for one another are important parts of it. “Just get over it” misses this important part of the healing process for a married couple dealing with
        painful consequences of premarital sex. Those consequnces are real for a number of people in this situation (you mentioned receiving many inquiries on the subject) and minimizing the consequnces and seriousness of premarital sex should not happen either (e.g. “nice bonus”, “different rules”, etc.) Sexual legalism is certainly not the answer either. God’s grounding Word is – sex outside of marriage is a sin, He forgives us of our sin and we are without blemish before God as a result, and we are to forgive and love one another as He has us.

        Reply

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