Is “Purity Idolatry” the New Foot in the Door to Destroy Christian Values?


My husband and I are trying to figure out how we’re going to be discussing things like sexual purity with our children.  He’s already been in various discussions about sex and relationships with our oldest for a few months now, and watching it unfold before my eyes has been incredible!  I never realized how profound it would be, it’s like watching a noble king taking his time with his young prince to help him understand something that’s very difficult to talk about, and it makes me so thankful he has such good character!  Whenever we watch the LOTR movies I can’t help but see my husband as the character Aragon.  His willingness to fight even when extremely outnumbered, his belief in fighting for goodness still left in the world, his faith and faithfulness to the people he serves and serves with, his ability to inspire other men, his superiors have so much trust in him they ask his opinion on other men’s characters, his coworker once commented on his humility being remarkable… it’s all there, and it makes me emotional at times to watch this great man in action teaching our children.

How Old Would Aragorn Be at the Time of 'The Hobbit: The Battle of ...

My husband has a past though that he’s not proud of.  Every hero has a flaw or weakness, something they have to overcome in life.  Because he holds such a high place of respect in our house, and in all of our hearts, when he told our son about his past, our son actually cried!  I think that was more than likely the appropriate response to seeing his dad fail at something he knows is so important in taking his faith in God seriously. It was devastating to him that his dad, the man who seems almost perfect in every single way, the authentic and aw-inspiring patriarch of our family and such an epitome of masculinity for him, had failed to do what was right in his teens and twenties.  He was in disbelief, and that says a ton about who my husband is and has been our entire marriage.  Our son couldn’t believe his dad had a bad past, it’s not who he’s ever known him to be.

The Bible is clear that when we don’t take sexual purity seriously, we’re rejecting not just man’s teaching, but rejecting God and His will for us. Even with us letting him know I also failed in other ways to keep wholly sexually pure as well, it still bothered him more about his dad, because his dad is the leader in our home, and his failure is felt in (I believe) a much greater way.  It must be part of the burden of being a Patriarch, maybe it’s that he’s held to that much greater a standard.

I’m glad our son has such an amazing man to look up to, and I couldn’t have chosen a better father and role-model for them, but it was a failing, something lamentable, and very painful for our oldest to accept about his father.  I don’t think one can truly understand the full weight of it all until explaining it to one’s children.

My husband came from a Catholic family, but his parents didn’t value teaching Biblical truth in any way whatsoever.  Being Catholics, they never read to their children from the Bible, something that always seemed tragic in my opinion.  There was no spiritual direction, no daily (or even yearly) teachings of right and wrong, no spiritual or deep conversations about life whatsoever, and as a result, he and his siblings made a lot of really bad choices, as they were largely left to figure life out on their own.  He’s told our son about that often, and each time my son can’t believe how foreign of a concept it sounds to not have a good and close relationship with your parents, but I believe (and hope) that someday it can help him realize that a lot of that was why his dad made so many wrong choices. Yes, he chose badly, but he also was given zero spiritual or biblical instruction.  I’ve explained to our son also, how even though I didn’t fail, “as badly,” my shortcomings were probably even worse in way, because I definitely was more aware of the spiritual ramifications.

If one’s parents aren’t truly Christian, aren’t actually following God and reading His Word, what chance do their children have in this world?  From my understanding of my Catholic side of the family, along with many Catholic friends, this was the norm when you grow up Catholic.  As I’ll go into further on in the post, Catholics largely missed the purity movement.  It’s very very rare to find Catholic teens or young twenties couples who understand how important sexual purity is… we only know one couple who understood, and got married 3 years after we did and have gone on to have 5 children.  ONE couple… out of 50-100 Catholics we personally know between the both of us!

Unfortunately, the things we are teaching him are not what people in our culture will want to hear, even many Christians.

No one wants to hear about saving sex for marriage anymore… that was, “so 90′s.”   

There’s a growing attitude that the purity movement, which taught the importance of saving sex for marriage, was not biblical and even more harmful than good.

I first noticed this strange new war on purity a few years ago, when it seemed every now and then a new article would pop up in the mainstream Christian progressive media (which is a clue as to who was promoting this new idea) with a former Christian claiming how the purity movement, “ruined,” their life.

Have you ever noticed that 99% of the people writing these articles against sexual purity aren’t Christian anymore?  Almost all of them have rejected their faith, and unfortunately, since the mainstream Christian media only promotes the failures of the purity movement, we don’t get to hear about the hundreds of couples who had what they would describe as a good experience and credit their happy marriages to the messages they received, implemented in their lives, and are planning to teach to their children.  Apparently former teachers and leaders in this movement still receive countless letters from people my age who thank them for their part in the save sex for marriage ministry.  And I’m sure there are many many more who don’t send them letters at all (I’ve never sent one), who are still thankful for the truth they promoted which was so anti-cultural at that time. 

We know there were a lot of successes, we know there were happy marriages who feel one or both partners benefited from hearing the purity talks, but why doesn’t the progressive Christian media ask for those stories to be told?

It should make one pause that we’re not hearing both sides.

Is it true that the teens taught to save sex for marriage supposedly went on to all have marriages that didn’t work out for them? Does saving sex for marriage statistically not work out to produce happier, longer-lasting marriages?

I’ve often wondered at how every article I’ve seen in the mainstream world mocking the purity movement has been authored by usually bitter, former Christians In almost every case, I noticed they were twisting the reality of what actually happened, rewriting history (Joshua Harris does this according to other men who participated in the movement), and keeping quiet and hidden all the positive marriages that exist as a result of the purity movement.  It makes it look kind of one-sided, and that the purity movement overall, was a huge failure.  I also noticed that almost every author using their platform to bash sexual purity, took their thrust into the media spotlight as an opportunity to attack and debase other critical Christian values, claiming the purity movement promoted, “toxic ideas,” about those tenants of faith as well.

This is not just a few people upset the purity culture didn’t give them the prosperity-marriage they mistakenly thought they deserved (and none of the purity teachers ever promised anything like that anyway, this is a straw-man argument if there ever was one).  This is growing into an orchestrated attack on overall sexual purity as being part of biblical Christianity, or even a healthy spiritual goal.

In other words, the media pushing articles telling people that a bunch of kids got screwed up from being taught it was important to save sex for marriage could be coming from a less than good agenda.  That saving sex for marriage isn’t really about the purity movement or, “purity culture,” as many are now renaming it.  This is about Satan tearing down first the idea of sexual purity being good and worthy- of-pursuit, and then tearing down everything else.

Becoming publicly anti-purity culture is currently being used as a foot in the door to introduce acceptance of Christian-homosexuality, Christian-cohabitation, Christian-abortion and the rejection of chastity altogether.

When they get done with what they’re trying to do, the purity movement will be the least of a Christian’s fears.  But convincing you that the, “true love waits (for sex until marriage),” message was harmful, is the first step toward attaining this goal.

There are already many Youtube influencers who are preaching this message right now to the younger generation, convincing them the purity movement, or, “purity culture,” was all completely wrong.  They’re teaching saving sex for marriage was making one’s goal of purity into an idol, so that they can shame anyone who took it seriously as being an idolater.  Many are teaching that we shouldn’t even consider fornication a sin anymore.  These are the, “new teachings,” warned about that would signal the end times, with masses of Christians turning away to a new kind of gospel that would tickle their ears – telling them things they want to hear, instead of keeping to a, “stifling, out-dated message,” to save sex until marriage.

The women and men promoting this anti-purity culture message also are teaching that cohabitation and homosexuality and abortion aren’t sins that harm your soul, that all those things are just ugly remnants of a purity culture that is to be thrown off and rejected altogether.  Like what Joshua Harris has done when he threw off the purity movement, his marriage, and embraced support of homosexuality, “Gay Pride.”  Satan won a huge battle when he succeeded in breaking one of the biggest promoters of sexual purity, Joshua Harris, and getting him to renounce everything he once held dear and embrace sexual defilement,  But he not only embraced sexual defilement, because of his influence and fame, he’s now promoting it, which is important to remember when considering his fruits (his visible works for God’s Kingdom).

Joining this relatively new war on sexual purity is considered the, “cool thing.”  It’s right up there with the liberal #MeToo movement.  Having strong convictions about saving sex for marriage, which was what the purity movement was built upon, are increasingly being viewed as impractical at best and brain-washing our children at worst.

As a fellow participant in the purity movement growing up, I never could relate to the writers of these articles (or Youtubers for that matter).  Their strange perception of what they claimed happened or was taught was nothing like what I experienced, and I believe a lot of the examples we’ve seen where it didn’t work out, was actually more of a problem with how it was interpreted and implemented, as opposed to the message itself.

A lot of times, faulty teachings about sex were due to parents failing to understand it themselves, and passing on their own sexual dysfunctional thinking.  Many of the claims seem exaggerated or only found in small pockets and isolated communities, and we cant rule out that some bizarre claims could actually be false.  Many times, when I’ve read a woman’s actual story, they completely twist what the purity movement was about, and then conveniently misused it as an excuse to deny their husband sex, refused to work on their sex life once married, and usually their story ended with them throwing their marriage away along with Christianity.  All those things might not have been purity-movement related, as there are people who never heard the teachings to save sex for marriage who either had similar sexual hangups or made the same choices to refuse to work on their own sexuality and sex life once married.

It's a Heart Issue - 04/22/18 - YouTube

People who feel injured by the purity movement usually claim saving sex for marriage was a stumbling block for them, when in reality, the issue seemed to be more heart- or spirit-related in how they interacted not only with their husband, but also with God.

This could explain how, although there may be purity movement failure marriages, there seem to be many many more positive outcomes we just don’t hear often about.  If one’s heart (spirit) isn’t in the right place, no amount of effort and work on our part can get us to grace, which is what is needed when considering, “purity.”  Think of it as similar to the Parable of the Sower, if the seed (Truth) falls on a type of soil (a person’s heart/spirit condition) that is rocky, prone to drought, or eaten by birds, instead of good soil (a pure heart that stays committed to God through ups and downs, through mistakes and failures) then it could look like the, “seed,” itself was a failure to produce good plants.  In reality, I think the purity movement revealed the different kinds of reactions individuals had toward it, many times based in where their hearts were in receiving the message.  I watched it play out in the lives of all my peers going through it with me.  From kindergarten to years after college, I watched the demise of many people who had heard the same message I did growing up, and either joyfully received it and went on to get married fairly young, or they rejected it completely (as false) once they became adults and turned more toward Atheism (or very liberal forms of Christianity that one wouldn’t really say was Christian).

Most of the women I knew who went on to reject the purity movement message to save sex for marriage, just wanted their sexual freedom.  Period.

They didn’t want to find a husband early in life, they openly would share messages on social media that getting married like I did (very young) was, “settling,” and they gloated often publicly (social media is a God-send here) about their sexual conquests and new-found freedom.  I even knew one women who went to the same Christian school and was a few years younger than me, started priding herself in seducing married men.  I would never view these women who grew up in the purity movement as, “victims,” of its message, although once they find a nice man to marry, perhaps that would seem a perfect excuse.  It was always obvious to me they were making a choice to outright reject the message of sexual purity they grew up hearing, and reject God, like 1 Thessalonians says.

“For this is God’s will, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality, so that each of you knows how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not with lustful desires, like the Gentiles who don’t know God.

This means that one must not transgress against and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an Avenger of all these offenses, as we also previously told and warned you.

For God has not called us to impurity, but to sanctification.

Therefore, the person who rejects this does not reject man’s teaching, but God and God’s teaching, who also gives you His Holy Spirit to discern these matters.”‘

1 Thessalonians 4:3-8

Of course it’s possible that sometimes the purity message did get twisted based on legalism, either from specific churches or from parents interpreting it differently and teaching their daughters or sons that sex was dirty and shameful.  However I really don’t think this was as common as the loudest voices we’re hearing are claiming.  The legalistic side was not mainstream purity movement, and the proof is found in the hundreds of couples who received the same purity message, and yet went on to have beautiful, passionate marriages like ours.

I never heard the message that sex was dirty and shameful, and I visited many Protestant evangelical churches where the message was presented when I was between 18-21.  My mom had encouraged me to branch out and visit many churches, singles groups, etc. to try to find an eligible husband in one of these places.  I grew up practically bathed and surrounded by the purity message in my home and Christian school, from childhood to adulthood.  I couldn’t escape from it if I tried!  It was definitely what I’d describe as a pervasive and wholesome tenant of the Christian faith.  Not only did I never hear that sex was dirty and shameful, I also never ever felt, “sexually repressed.”  You know what I did feel though?  Sexually protected.

My parents had a good, biblical view of the beauty and freedom of sex within marriage, there was nothing shameful about it except for when it was outside of marriage, which if you’re a Christian, is how sex *should* be viewed.  I strongly believe that the women claiming they were sexually repressed by the save sex for marriage message, just didn’t want to feel the shame that comes with choosing a promiscuous lifestyle.  And many that I knew did choose that for themselves, and then felt internal shame afterwards.  Claiming the moral standards oppressed you, or hurt your feelings (made you feel ashamed) is a conveniently modern way of trying to discredit moral truths.

The teachers at my Christian school gave the same message.  The churches my husband and I visited when we were dating and engaged all gave the same message as well – that sex was beautiful and wonderful, and that it was supposed to be saved for marriage.  Never was there even an implied message that sex was shameful and dirty.  Only that if done outside of marriage that it could harm you, make you feel used (which is true) and feel ashamed or dirty (which again is true). 

It’s not unlike the #MeToo phenomenon of women having sex, feeling used and ashamed afterward, and then falsely claiming it was rape.

They’re bearing false testimony, but it’s possible they’ve convinced themselves those men really raped them, because all of a sudden they do feel used and dirty and less valued.

These anti-purity women are trying to mentally avoid the shame, the feeling used, by mischaracterizing an entire movement that simply taught to save sex for marriage – something that would have protected them from those feelings of shame, regret, and feeling used if they had received it in their youth.

It’s ironic they want to convince us so hard that virginity doesn’t matter and shouldn’t be important, and yet they can’t stop obsessing about the topic, and tearing down the purity movement that hurt their feelings.

There was only one case my husband and I came across where one of the couples we knew in college was getting married, and the soon-to-be wife specifically asked for, “no racy lingerie,” at her lingerie party.  We both thought it worrisome she thought clothes worn for the sole purpose of seducing her husband, shouldn’t be racy, and we concluded her mother must’ve given her the idea sex was dirty, or that wearing racy lingerie for your husband’s eyes was dirty.  But we never thought to blame it on some sort of purity movement teaching.  It was a specific parenting failure, not a, “saving sex for marriage failure.” 

Absolutely nothing in those purity movement books tell you lingerie can be too racy, and I should know, I read practically all of them.


Progressive Christian podcaster and author Brenda Marie Davies ...

Above is an example of a Youtube influencer who is using her beauty coupled with her outright rejection of the purity movement in order to influence and teach younger women that cohabitation is ok, that you can be a pro-abortion Christian, that homosexuality isn’t a sin and I’m sure many other anti-Christ teachings.

She not only wants to teach younger women that the Purity Movement was harmful, she’s actively doing just that, and landing magazine covers as a result!

Sex Positive Christian — The Sex Ed

What I found interesting was that she comes from a Catholic background.  My husband (who turned away from Catholicism), has talked with me many times before how strange it is that the Catholics basically missed the whole purity movement.  This Catholic girl only got involved in it because she happened to go to an evangelical church when she was 12.  Purity culture seems to be mainly a Protestant thing.

During one of her more popular anti-purity videos, she again said what I’ve been seeing is more popular a claim – that saving sex for marriage was making one’s purity into an idol.  This is similar to the argument that loving your husband and submitting to his leadership is, “husband idolatry.”  I’ve actually been accused of, “husband idolatry,” even though it’s obviously just another straw-man made by wives who don’t like submission.  The woman who accused me of husband idolatry was reacting to a comment I left about meeting one’s husband’s needs more effectively.  Apparently the fact that I wanted to meet my husband’s needs also meant that I was holding him up as an idol, higher than God!  It seems to make some women uncomfortable to see a husband shown such respect and admiration.

Satan is always consistent, I’ll give him that.  Twisting what is good, pure, holy, true, and uplifting into something so off base.

I think it’s ironic the idea a few of these women are claiming now, in light that so many of these same women were apparently ready to trade one idol, their, “purity,” for anther when they sent in their rings (see below).

Rollo Tomassi on Twitter: "How many 'purity' rings did it take to ...

I had a ring like that, which I believe I got it after being inspired by a book called, When God Writes Your Love Story, by Eric and Leslie Ludy, an adorable couple who used their relationship and marriage as a model to inspire many of the children and teens in the church at that time.  They were touted as the ultimate inspiring couple of the purity movement, and I remember hoping I’d find a love like theirs.  I’ll give some quotes from Eric further down where he tells his thoughts on this new war on purity.

But first lets hear from the female pastor who easily convinced women my age and younger to send in their purity rings… objects that bound them in sexual chains apparently.

She says some women who had waited to have sex until marriage struggled with enjoying sex as a pleasurable experience.

‘A lot of women have gone through a lot of their lives sort of judging themselves on a scale of worthiness that somebody else handed them,’ she said.

This part of me is mine and I get to determine what is good for it and if it’s beautiful and how I use it in the world,’ she said of her own sexuality.

Notice the language she uses that convinced these girls to send in their rings…

“This part of me (my virginity and sexuality) is mine(!) and I get to determine what is good for it and if it’s beautiful (meaning even though my virginity is gone it doesn’t matter) and how I use it in the world (how I decide to have sex with my boyfriend, or others, or if I decide to shack-up).”

Give It To Me Want GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

It’s all about memy sexuality is mine… Not my future husband’s… and only I get to decide how I use it!!!  What a Veruka Salt proclamation if there ever was one!

What I personally loved best about the purity movement, and what I found to be most effective, was being taught that No, my virginity and sexuality was not only mine, it did belong to my future husband, and yes, it WAS important to think of him when deciding what to do in hot-pressure situations, as well as if I was pleasing God.  And the most important thing was that these messages that came from the purity movement teachers were helpful and created shame when I needed to feel shame when I’d crossed some kind of purity boundary (that was not even tied to vaginal sex, but purity wholly).

It’s an outright falsehood that the purity movement only focused on vaginal sex, the books largely focused on what purity meant altogether, and how serious it was long-term when it’s slowly degraded.   If it had only focused on trying to abstain from vaginal sex, and allowed everything else, it would rightly make sense how much it is mocked and derided in our culture now as being massively hypocritical.  But that was not my experience, nor the experience of many others. And it was certainly not what the books and leaders taught.  No one else was talking about one’s overall purity going beyond just sexual intercourse, it seemed to be a new idea that sexual purity could be degraded overtime, and I believe it was very right.  It was such an anti-cultural message in the 90’s when casual sex was becoming the norm, it was a sort of revival to bring sexual purity back in line.

I really don’t think I would have been able to withstand temptation if I hadn’t taken the purity movement messages to heart that my virginity and sexuality didn’t belong to me solely, even with falling short in many ways.  I know for a fact I wouldn’t have gotten married at 20 without hearing those messages growing up.  And no one else was really teaching these things unless you had parents who were outside of the purity messages.

Enter Satan on the scene, to hold up the card many of these women signed that made them feel sex was actually important, that their virginity actually DID belong to their future husband, and that it was important to God and to him to save it…

Controversial liberal pastor has purity rings melted down into ...

The ultimately creepy thing about this photo above is that …. I signed that card!  This is deeply personal… it’s like she’s channeling Satan here, holding our old commitment cards up to be mocked.

If you’re against the purity movement, and you think it really did cause so much disarray, I challenge you to answer to yourself then… why is Satan going after it as hard as he is now?

If it really didn’t work… if it really did harm so many people and ruin so many marriages, why isn’t he promoting it, and making it sound really great?

Why is he trying to get us to believe it was harmful to teach children this message?

Why is he trying to get people, non-Christians included, to view it as some kind of form of abuse (setting up an environment that in the future, Christian parents will be persecuted for teaching purity movement teachings)?

Why is it even on his radar to tear down with so much passion?  Satan usually doesn’t care about things that are already destroying marriages, he usually cheers them on because they help further his mission.  But that’s not what we’re seeing, and have been seeing for years in the liberal Christian media.  We’re seeing him using people to tear down the purity movement, make false and exaggerated statements about it, and replace purity rings or what they claim was, “purity idolatry,” with actual vagina idols!  You just can’t make this stuff up!

Pastor Melts Old Purity Rings Into a Golden Vagina Sculpture

I think the answer is obvious.  It obviously did work, and for many of us who know it worked, seeing his latest attempt to derail it all like this is horrific.

Liberal Lutheran pastor melts purity rings into vagina sculpture ...


So why on earth do we never hardly hear from the people who had a positive experience with the purity movement?

I know there are countless couples like us who feel like they greatly benefited from the purity movement. There were many like us who married shortly after we did (we really couldn’t wait… so we instead married while we were in college).  Most of those couples have lasted and are happy and having children.

Have you ever wondered why we don’t hear from those people?

For one, the media, even the Christian media which is increasingly becoming more and more secular and anti-Christ, doesn’t want to promote purity culture as having been a positive thing.

They have a strong interest in keeping people in the dark about how it did work for so many couples.  How they do have happy marriages because it did help people save sex for marriage.  Statistics frequently show that saving sex for marriage does help it to last longer, have better happiness levels, and have more mature fighting mechanisms, and even yes, these couples have a better sex life.

Of course there is an interest in not showing all the ones who had it work out for them. When you only show one side, especially a negative side, you can gain more anti- or liberal-Christian interest, and build a broader base of people to tear overall sexual purity down – and much faster.

Many people, even Christians now, don’t want the public to hear about the marriages that actually did work out, I don’t think it will ever be popular.  Promoting their agenda is more important, and it is definitively anti-purity.  Promoting sexual purity now will only get one labeled a social pariah.  Only a few really big names, that are able to capitalize on a social pariah status, in the same way Trump does, and also happen to be writers, have been successful at that.  Think Stephen Crowder and Matt Walsh, both men who grew up in the purity movement, and publicly attribute their great marriages (to women who also grew up in the movement) to success of them having saved sex for marriage.

We usually don’t hear from the otherwise non-famous couples because to be honest, they’re not all writers and they’re probably REALLY busy right now raising children and keeping a marriage healthy.  Most people don’t blog, we have to remember that in this social media age.  Usually the loudest voices, who all happen to be against the purity movement, are not the main representative of what actually happened.  They certainly aren’t the silent majority out there, quietly living their lives, having good marriages, and raising lots of children.  Unless you’re a blogger, many probably aren’t even aware of how the anti-purity crowd have gotten louder and more progressive.  There is an outright war on our Christian faith, and this latest war on purity is just the tip of the iceberg.

Again, what are the fruits of those who are against it?  What are the fruits of the people you see right now, who have such vitriol toward people trying to retain sexual purity (like the female pastor)?

Compare that to the fruit of the Ludys.

Even now, twenty-five years later, Leslie and I continue to receive letters and emails from people who took the message of true purity to heart when they were teens and now have been happily married for many years, with a strong foundation of Truth undergirding their relationship.

Clearly, those who embraced God’s life-giving message of true purity discovered something real and lasting.

Though it has not been an easy road, we do not regret our stand for Christ-centered, Truth-based purity. On the contrary, it has been one of the greatest joys and privileges we have ever known — both in our own relationship and in interacting with thousands of others who made similar decisions. And for the record, after twenty-five years of marriage we are still very much in love and still believe that our love story is the best in the history of the world (not that we are biased or anything).

More from Eric

A new language seems to be emerging that is attempting to redefine the history of this purity movement over these past twenty-five years. For instance, the term “Purity Culture” has stepped onto the scene. I have been on the front lines of this movement for twenty-five years and I’ve never heard that term until Josh Harris launched his Apology Tour. When new-fangled terminology emerges it often has a revisionist agenda — desiring to overwrite past realities with new ones.

God has done something extraordinary over these past twenty-five years — not through the stiff and stodgy counterfeit camp, but through the many who have embraced God’s true version of set-apartness, purity, selfless love, and lifelong faithfulness. He has reawakened a vision for honorable masculinity and gracious femininity in the hearts and minds of countless Christians. Let’s not let the enemy come along and take it all away. 

If you’ve been confused by the recent “purity messages are a joke” murmurings swirling around Christianity, it’s vital to recognize that there were two different trains leaving the station when the purity movement began. One train was headed down the tracks carrying formulas, phobias, and the hyper-expression of parental authority. It was (and is) an oppressive counterfeit, and I agree that it is worthy to be discarded and rejected. But the train carrying true purity — the one representing honor, selfless love, and faithfulness — shouldn’t be derailed and destroyed while we attempt to get the other train off the tracks.

Throughout history, with every movement towards true life, there has always been two trains that leave the station. The reason there are two trains is because the devil always has a counterfeit (i.e. the pharisaical movement that ran parallel with the ministry of Jesus Christ).

Though I didn’t always agree with his approach, I never thought Josh Harris was riding on the formulaic train. Sure, the counterfeit train was always there, huffin’ and puffin’ down its pious track, but I assumed that Josh was against the legalistic train, just like I was.

Ultimately, many people view most of this backlash as mocking those of us who actually lived through the purity movement and feel like our marriages benefited from it.  It feels like a very direct attack against a truth we know to be self-evident.  An attack on a tenant of our faith, that sex should be saved for marriage, delivered in a way that maybe wasn’t perfect, but that worked, and helped us grow beautiful, loving, life-long marriages because it made us take sex seriously.  You can’t just dismiss the marriages who went through the purity movement and worked out better for it, as fake, unless you have a Satanic agenda.

Here’s what Eric has to say about that,

You can mockingly call it a “Purity Culture” if you like. But I stand by the fact that when God takes hold of a man or woman, He builds them into vessels that are pure, honorable, and noble channels through which His truth, love, kindness, and grace can flow freely and unhindered.

Call me a kook if you want, but I still stand with God’s pattern for building lifelong love stories. When we arrive in Heaven someday soon, we will all discover that Heaven is a culture of purity.  So we might as well get used to it, don’t you think?

Leslie and I are celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary this December. And this whole “Joshua Harris debacle” has given me a fresh gumption to celebrate the beauty, purity, and love that Leslie and I both share with an extra measure of zest, thanksgiving, and vigor.

One thing I’m convinced of now more than ever. God’s ways always win! 

And lastly, just because there are some stories where a woman or man did follow God’s way, and yet it didn’t work out, it still doesn’t mean God’s ideal for marriage is wrong.  It still doesnt’ mean the purity movement was a sham.

Again, you can’t only listen to the negative (and very loud and demanding, which again, should be a red flag) side of the story about the purity movement, and discount all the marriages who benefited and are passionate love stories.

We need to really question what the motivations are behind this one-sided viewpoint.

And give those who had a positive experience, a chance to defend it.


  1. I think this whole problem can be seen in the context of the destruction of our institutions and moral authority in general. That is certainly true of what happened with Catholics.

    The Catholic Church is not at all what it used to be and Catholic schools are certainly not what they used to be. This is why most culturally conservative Catholics are homeschoolers now – they are basically setting up a shadow church. Catholic schools used to be places where you were given a classical education that was heavy on virtue ethics (you are what you do), chastity certainly was emphasized, and you were being taught by people who had taken vows of lifetime chastity themselves. Not only was the Bible taught, but theology and philosophy were taught too. But even then, you had a cliche develop of the “Catholic school girl” who was rebellious and easy because she grew up in such a strict moral landscape.

    Now, Catholic schools have become incredibly secular and are becoming ever more permissive thanks to the leadership of a Marxist anti-pope. Catholic schools use Common Core (yes, you are literally paying thousands of dollars to the church in tuition so your kid can get the same exact curriculum that is dumbing down millions of public school kids). The teachers are from the same pool as any private school, some are Catholic and some are not. Child predators are still very much a problem because of what the church hierarchy is recruiting these days. I’ve seen polls done by religious groups that suggest fully half of the practicing Catholics now believe abortion should be legal. That’s a shift in a single generation. As I have watched the spiritual teachings in the church erode in my lifetime, I think a second Marxist pope will certainly change church doctrine on this issue arbitrarily as Francis has done with so many things already. (Note: John Roberts, chief justice of SCOTUS, who just voted to uphold abortion in Louisiana, is a Roman Catholic. Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer are Catholic. All working diligently to undermine the faith of the church.) A schism is certainly in the church’s future.

    We had our daughter in a Catholic school and lasted less than a semester before returning to homeschooling. Catholic friends still beat us up about the decision to pull her out. It set into motion a period of searching for a new church life that I honestly still haven’t escaped. I wish our daughter could grow up with the spooky and beautiful rituals of the church and the old church emphasis on virtue ethics, which had a long history of producing good, decent, and intellectual people. But I have to admit to myself that is substantially gone now. The church even stood by to watch statutes of Junipero Serra – a saint, for crying out loud – be removed from their property.

    I tried going to evangelical Christian churches, as all of the other liturgical denominations seem to have become similarly tainted by politics, but the evangelical churches are not like I remembered visiting when I was in college at Baylor. They are less strict on ethics themselves and seem to be really getting into this therapeutic, I’m-okay-you’re-okay posture… God as your BFF, not your – well – God.

    My brother showed me the stuff they are marketing to Christians on this very popular Bible app, “The Power of Disruptive Compassion: Becoming the Revolutionary You Always Wanted to Be.” Honestly, I don’t think this is a problem with individual sects anymore. I think these folks have pervaded every aspect of Christian culture.

    And I think it started with the naked, unholy materialism of Christian books and souvenirs and the making of Christian culture “influencers.” As soon as you started having folks flocking to Compass Christian Bookstore and the like to get their Christian self-help books, the strictures started to come undone. Now we have Christian celebrities who behave like secular celebrities, and they create space in children’s lives and in people’s marriages for supremely bad role models who are going to focus on emotions over the directives of God. That “Say Goodbye to Dating” guy denouncing Christianity was the canary in the coalmine, IMO.

  2. Stephanie – I linked some music at Spawny’s place. You might find that it speaks to your spirit, if you can ever find the time to listen.

    How Can I Keep From Singing

    My life goes on in endless song
    Above earth’s lamentations,
    I hear the real, though far-off hymn
    That hails a new creation.
    Through all the tumult and the strife
    I hear it’s music ringing,
    It sounds an echo in my soul.
    How can I keep from singing?
    While though the tempest loudly roars,
    I hear the truth, it liveth.
    And though the darkness ’round me close,
    Songs in the night it giveth.
    No storm can shake my inmost calm,
    While to that rock I’m clinging.
    Since love is lord of heaven and earth
    How can I keep from singing?

    When friends by shame are undefiled
    How can I keep from singing?

  3. Having spent around five decades in an “evangelical” church (although we would not have considered it such) some observations:
    In the early 80s I actually heard sermons about husbands and wives sexual obligations to one another, especially vis a vis I Corinthians 7. That no longer seems to occur.
    Paul’s teaching that the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit was used only to condemn smoking (tobacco), never sexual immorality…. Even though Paul specifically teaches that ONLY sexual immorality is the crime against his own body (I Cor. 6:18).
    As late as the 90s influential preachers/writers within the church I attended were condemning divorce; the same influential men have now PUBLICLY renounced their old teaching and endorse divorce, especially/only female initiated divorce, for any reason whatsoever.
    Purity culture cannot long survive in a setting of delayed marriage. Delayed marriage is primarily the decision of women, contrary to popular opinion.
    Most churches appear to be pushing for the delay of marriage. Pushback mostly seems to come from individual families, not from united churches.
    Just my random thoughts, for whatever they’re worth.

  4. This is such an excellent post. I am Catholic and attended Catholic school from age 4-22. I don’t know what the schools are teaching now, but I received a great education especially in 8th grade regarding sexual purity/modesty/chastity. However, you’re absolutely correct about “parenting failure”. I believe most parents are incredibly uncomfortable talking with their children and sharing the beautiful Christian bibilical teachings of sex. By God’s grace I remained pure for my wedding day, but it surely wasn’t because of my parents. Talking with close friends, we all got the shorthand “Sex is bad, you’re a dirty whore if you have impure thoughts, and if you get pregnant you’ll be kicked out of the house.” There was nothing positive that was reinforced about sex WITHIN MARRIAGE!

    PS-I don’t know what a lingerie party is since none of my friends or I had them when we got married (we just had bridal showers), but personally I’d be mortified unwrapping crotch less panties in front of my grandma and other elderly relatives. Is your friend more demure or introverted?

  5. @Casey – She wasn’t introverted really, it just seemed odd to have a frame of mind that only certain lingerie was appropriate for her husband, and that she couldn’t let herself look “too sexy.” She was very closed off sexually. That usually implies a girl will have some major or minor sexual hangups and once married, they’ll more than likely have some sexual frustration figuring out how to get through those mental blocks. Hopefully they worked through it ok.

    And no, lingerie parties are not for Grandma necessarily, they’re for peers who are excited you’re going to be having tons of sex with your almost-husband! It’s the excitement of girls wishing we were next! I remember going to a few before mine, it was so fun and exciting and even wholesome knowing we were celebrating married sex that was coming for that girl in the next week or so. And getting to pick out outfits for her – I personally loved going to them 💓. I think my favorite part was getting to pick out lingerie for them!! And then seeing the married ones (these were women under 25) come back to other girl’s lingerie parties with knowing smiles and laughter, knowing they were still having great sex with their husbands. It was wonderful. And to me, that was also part of the purity culture I grew up in.

    Maybe you’re confusing it with the secular bachelorette party where it’s focused on sexual debauchery and the girl having one last night to have sex/be sexual with other men before she lands on one penis (even the idea sounds so gross and debase!!!). It’s not like that at all!!! Bachelorette parties are raunchy and even someone we knew in our family (a Catholic 🙄) had her friends drinking out of penises. It’s just a whole different atmosphere and not even really comparable. Lingerie parties, at least the ones I went to were sweet in an innocent way.

  6. How interesting Okrahead…. thanks for adding your thoughts. Five decades is a long time and it is valuable to hear another perspective.

    We definitely heard messages from a Pastor during our engagement (we went to a church that did a 6-8 wk sermon series on sex at that time) and he definitely talked about the wife’s obligation. It was such a great series that I used the notes years afterward, to teach a couple of my single friends about sex/married sex whose mom’s didn’t teach them anything about it at all. That was in 2007.

    I agree with you that it has to be early marriage for it to work. My parents were fine with me taking it seriously, until I wanted to actually get married, then they didn’t support it. So yes, the parents often expected too much, mine were extremely adament I had to graduate from graduate school first. They kicked me out when they found out I was engaged. But they love and support it now and it all worked out.

  7. Another thing about the lingerie parties, sometimes girls would ask the bride to be what colors her fiance liked, etc. So we could buy her lingerie he’d love to see her in!!!! It was all about celebrating *their* new exciting sex life, and helping her to sexual please him basically.

    The bachelorette parties seem to be about celebrating only the *bride’s* sexual freedom ending that night, and giving her that last chance to live it up. I’ve never been to one, but it sounds opposite in intent to actually build up the couple as a *couple.* And I definitely don’t think it’s beneficial to her future husband or honoring to him in any way. For the lingerie parties, we knew it was about her husband ultimately, helping her look enticing to only her husband. I absolutely loved it 💓❗

  8. Thanks for your response!

    I’ve honestly never heard of a lingerie party. They sound really cute! I did have a bachelorette party, but it was nothing like the mainstream Vegas stripper parties. The women I surround myself with aren’t into that kind of behavior. My friends and I went to a tour/tasting at a winery and then to a fancy cooking class! It was SO fun! Then we all woke up early the next morning, went to Mass, then on a beautiful hike together, and then had my bridal shower.

    I suppose I’m just different, and a bit more shy. FWIW I did receive some lingerie at my bridal shower, and just sort of giggled and thanked the person for the gift. It was a size too small, but that just motivated me to be more strict in the gym and with nutrition LOL. Then my dress had to be altered again a few weeks before the wedding 😬

    Aren’t minor little hiccups a part of marriage, like learning to live with another person, learning your partner’s (and your own!!!) body and growing closer to each other through open communication and physical bonding? I married at 30, and it was difficult to “turn off” the years of conditioning I had to guard my body and heart and remain modest. One night, I went to bed in a cute cotton sleepshirt. The next evening (my wedding night) I barely sleep at all, next to another person for the first time, in skimpy lace and satin. It was all so NEW and so sudden, and it took a bit of time and prayer and talking with my husband to work through the lack of positive teaching on my parents’ part.

  9. That sounds like a really nice bachelorette party! Again, I’ve never been to one… the Catholic family member who had one though ironically declined to go to my lingerie party, because she thought it was gross LOL!!!!! And yet she had her guests drinking out of penis cups!!! I’m sorry if I’m offending Catholics with this info, but for both my husband and I, growing up seeing the differences between these two faiths was sometimes hilarious! But mostly that was prompted because of things like that, where the Catholics looked down on us or thought we were, “gross,” and then do things that actually ARE gross. Just very strange, but thank goodness we both grew up with that and understand it.

  10. Ewwwww penis cups? How inappropriate and definitely NOT honoring Holy Matrimony uniting husband and wife as one flesh. But lingerie being too risqué/gross is ironic! 😂 All of my close friends and family are Catholic and not one of the married women had a penis-themed bachelorette party, just fancy dinners and fun outings. We’re all very active and one was a kayaking/whitewater rafting adventure! I’ve seen gaggles of scantily dressed engaged women with the whole “Last fling before the ring!” drinking, pool party-type bachelorette ordeal elsewhere (my husband and I used to travel a bit to major cities for his work conferences) and we just shake our heads and pray for them and their husbands that Christ keep them safe and bless their marriage, even if they don’t know Him.

    I hope you and your family have a Happy Fourth of July, and God bless your husband and his coworkers. 🙂

  11. On the lingerie not being too racy, she didn’t say, “no crotchless panties,” I don’t think any of us knew what those were at that time, I only found out about things like that about three years into marriage when we saw them somewhere.

    She literally said nothing too racy or too sexy and I believe she also gave specifics for no red or black or leopard print. 🤷

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