(ChurchLeaders) Committing not to have sex before marriage is not the same as purity culture, says author and pastor Dr. Timothy Keller. While abstinence campaigns were a significant part of the purity movement, the requirement not to have sex outside of marriage has long been a part of the historic Christian faith.
“Some say that ‘sexual abstinence outside of marriage’ is identical to ‘purity culture,’” wrote Keller in a Facebook post Thursday. “This is simply not the case. The early church’s revolutionary sex ethic was that sex was only for within a mutual, whole-self-giving, super-consensual life-long covenant.” He continued:
This ethic replaced the (wrong) Greco-Roman model of sexuality—that men of higher status, even if married, were allowed to demand sex with anyone of lower social status. The first laws vs rape & sex without consent grew from this Christian ethic…Since then, every branch of the Christian church-orthodox, Catholic, & Protestant—in every culture and in every century has taught the ethic of sexual abstinence outside of marriage.