Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Problem with 'Purity' Culture

"And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto Him [Jesus] a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, They said unto Him, "Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now, Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?!?

This they said, tempting Him, that they might have to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down, and with His finger wrote on the ground, as though He heard them not. So when they continued asking him, he lifted himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.

And again He stooped down, and wrote on the ground. And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.

When Jesus had lifted up Himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her: Woman, where are those thine accusers?!? hath no man condemned thee?!?

She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more."

John 8:3-11

The other day, I read this article in the Christian Post.  It bugged the everloving snot out of me.  I've finally figured out why.

What does the phrase 'sexual purity' sound like to someone outside the Church?!?

To someone outside the Church, 'sexual purity' sounds judgmental.  The Church is calling anyone who's ever violated Chapter 18 of Leviticus impure.  That's what the Pharisees did.

Jesus, by contrast, forgave and redeemed the adulteress.  Granted, Jesus held her future behavior to a high standard, but His command 'Go and sin no more' came after he forgave and redeemed her. Grace came first.

Sexual redemption is more important than sexual 'purity.'  The Gospel isn't about being 'pure'; it's about turning to God for help in our impurity.  The Holy Spirit will take care of the rest.

To me, this 'purity' talk focuses on works when we should focus on Grace and the Holy Spirit.

Don't preach on abstinence and 'purity'; preach on Salvation and have Faith in the Holy Spirit.


  1. Adam, perhaps this is one of those both/and, rather than an either/or. The Bible does call Christians to purity, that is the standard. It also recognizes failure occurs and requires grace/redemption to recover from that failure. Calls to adhere to the standard are not inappropriate, and condemnation of a person who fails to meet the standard is inappropriate. In fact, calls to meet the standard are even more necessary when the culture pretends the standard doesn't exist. That doesn't mean that someone who heeds the culture rather than the standard should be condemned. Fair enough?

    1. My beef with the whole concept is how it comes across to those outside the Church. Once the phase purity is introduced, it sounds like the Pharisees in John I quoted above. It just seems like a bad message to hit people over the head with when you could tell them about the awesomeness of a personal relationship with God and trust the Holy Spirit to take care of the rest over time.

  2. I would argue that Evangelicalism has placed ALL of the emphasis on salvation, but very little on discipleship and sanctification (which includes sexual purity). You know, the whole dunk-'em-and-let-God-do-his-thing philosophy? Not working.