I have been fairly open about my concerns for the sexual problems in our culture, especially in the evangelical church. After all, judgment begins in the house of God. I spoke recently about the pressures young Christian ladies face (and let us not forget the godly men) to view sex as just an ordinary act in any relationship. “Purity before marriage is a Puritan thing, antiquated, fit for a legalistic society,” they say.
I want you to oppose that mindset at all costs, but I also want you to know that purity is not defined by one consequential sin. In other words, if you have lost you virginity due to naivete or deceit or for any other reason, you are not therefore branded with an impurity mark forever. This would be the most anti-Gospel message one could ever hear. Your purity is given by Jesus who is altogether pure. He died for all your impurities. So, acknowledge your sin to God. Seek wisdom from those who most care for you. Seek counseling and accountability as a young couple, or perhaps move to better relationships or remain single for as long as it takes. But don’t allow those mistakes to take you to dark places. Yes, there may be consequences. And why wouldn’t there be? Your body is the temple of the Third Person of the Godhead! However, it’s not what you did that will define you, but how you choose to deal with that decision that purifies you or leads you to more impure acts.
I know adults who had terribly impious and immoral college years, but they have learned from those mistakes and now live fruitful lives filled with joy. So, I want you to be aware of how both of these ideas function. The value and goal of sexual purity are good and beautiful, but to idolize such things and to treat those who have failed to maintain those goals as secondary citizens is…let’s say, impure.
So, treasure purity. But purity is not a once-for-all thing, it’s more like sanctification. Impurity should propel us to repentance which should propel us to purity in life and with one another.
I hope this helps balance the conversation in a positive way.
Pastor Uri Brito
Grace, Mercy, and Peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
I would like to spend these next two exhortations discussing briefly what it means to be real men and real women in the Church of Christ. Let me address the men this morning. There is an ideology of masculinity that has replaced the Christian faith as the true religion of men. This type of masculinity finds the church repulsive and un-masculine. Certainly, there is truth to this statement, but the fact is true masculinity is not anti-church, rather embraces the church. You do not have to abandon the church to become man; the opposite is true. You embrace the Church to become truly man. Even Charles Spurgeon saw this problem over a hundred years ago when he said: “There has got abroad a notion, somehow, that if you become a Christian you must sink your manliness and turn milksop.” The reality, of course, is that true masculinity is church masculinity. Real men are churchmen. Real men delight in the church, support the church, delight in the ministry of the church, and desire the victory of the church. This is Pentecostal Manhood; men who are led by the Spirit and committed to leading their families to love the Bride of Christ. This is true manhood and everything else is a false imitation.
Pentecostal Manhood causes fathers to train their children to love everything about the church; to even tolerate her imperfections, because just as you are maturing in your walk, so is the church maturing in her wisdom and love for her Groom; because just as your wife accepts your imperfections and does not leave you when she discovers you are imperfect, neither do you leave the Bride of Christ when you come to the realization that she is not perfect. Pentecostal, Biblical manhood means that the Church carries a central role in the life of the man. He sings with passion, even when singing is not his gift, he sets the model for his wife and children of what a good parishioner looks like. He may not have 40 hours a week to study the Scriptures, but he has 4 hours a week to do so and to instruct His family.
For us, Jesus Christ is the first Pentecostal Man, because He sent the Spirit to make us like Him. He did not leave us as little babes; He called us by His Spirit to become mature men; men who embrace the passion of the Psalmist and the wisdom of God in the community of saints.
David Burrow’s book Why Men Hate the Church is quite instructive. It teaches the obvious, but an obvious that only becomes obvious when you first hear about it. He observes that women comprise 60% of adult congregation on a given Sunday. In Japan, evangelical churches are filled with women and few men. The matter is complicated when you have young godly ladies, but no young godly men. So, what is the result? The women marry men who need to be taught–when they are willing–the simple things (the elementary things, as Paul puts it). The women carry the spiritual weight and responsibility to educate her domestic parish. Many persevere, but many give up. A sacred partnership in marriage matures precisely because roles are understood and there is no abandonment of duties; but in such in these marriages roles are reversed.
When women are forced to lead churches they become effeminized and families become disorganized (this, of course, opens up an entirely new discussion when considering single and widowed ladies). By her very nature, the Church is militaristic and triumphant. It should be an encouragement to men. She sings powerfully and victoriously, but very few men see this as the picture of the modern church. What men would not be attracted to The Son of God Goes Forth to War or the jubilant wedding of Psalm 45? Unfortunately, modern churches give increasing ammunition to men for not acting like real men.