It was over 50 years ago, when I was just a 17 year old high school student, that the speaker, Josh McDowell, came to my hometown in DeKalb, Illinois to speak at Northern Illinois University on the topic of maximum sex. As a young teenager, I was intrigued by that topic, and I went to hear what he had to say. It changed my life. Josh McDowell was, at that time, quite known for the publication of a book, Evidence That Demands a Verdict. It had just come out. And yet, he was traveling the country challenging secular students with a biblical vision of waiting till marriage and being faithful in marriage as God’s will for us to secure the greatest human happiness in terms of our sexuality. I went to that discussion and heard this vision for waiting until marriage and being faithful in marriage, and took that advice to heart and have never regretted it.
Over the years, I’ve become more and more convinced that this is the kind of message that we as Christians need to proclaim today without apology. We need to be contrarians or as someone has said, we need not to believe lies today. Nothing is more bound with lies today than our human sexuality, but God has a plan for it that’s rooted in his holiness and our happiness and it can be summed up as waiting till marriage and being faithful in marriage.
C. S. Lewis, in the 1940s, was proclaiming this radical message. This is radically and powerfully attractive Christianity. Listen to what he (C.S. Lewis) has to say “Chastity is the most unpopular of Christian virtues. There’s no getting away with it. The old Christian rule is, either marriage with complete faithfulness to your partner, or else total abstinence.” This is so difficult, and so contrary to our instincts. Either Christianity is wrong or our sexual instinct, as it now is, has gone wrong. One or the other. Of course, being a Christian, I think it is the instinct which has gone wrong. In other words, Lewis is upholding a biblical, beautiful, moral vision for our sexuality in the culture today. And I think we need to do the same thing.
The Apostle Paul! did this centuries ago, and he made it very clear. And again, I think many, many young people are asking the question, “What is God’s will?” And they are wrestling with it. Well, here’s one place where God reveals His will to us in no uncertain terms, and we can be confident of it. This is the radical language of Paul in 1 Thessalonians, where he says, “This is God’s will, your sanctification, that you abstain from sexual immorality, that each of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passions of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God.”
Now remember, I got this vision or this challenge, right in the 1970s which was around the time of Woodstock and the sexual revolution with abortion just a few months away from being declared a right in our constitution. In January of 1973, we were the period of sex, drugs and rock and roll, yet, Josh McDowell came out into that culture and with clarity and courage proclaimed a beautiful vision of God’s will regarding our sexuality.
Young people today need this message and my heart is for all of us to find our courage and to find our voice and to proclaim this biblical radical vision of human sexuality to our young people today without any hesitation whatsoever. The hesitation is going to come from our own personal background, but I say, bring the radical vision according to the Bible and use your radical testimony of waiting and having no regrets or I regret that I didn’t wait. Both of those are powerful testimonies. And I believe our young people need to hear from older people who have gone through all the rigmarole and have been hurt.
We’re told lies about our sexuality, and we’re ready when we think that we’re ready, as if we could know when we’re ready, as if we could know all the dangers and all the lures that are in our popular culture today. Young people are waiting for us to say no to certain things in our lives. It falls to us to come through as parents, pastors and Christian leaders, to encourage each other to live contrarian lives with great joy and with great passion.
If you’d like to do a little more reading on this then I would recommend my book, Doing Things Right in Matters of the Heart. It was my attempt to be able to bring to this next generation of young people, a winsome, attractive, contrarian view of human sexuality, what it means to be a man and not a woman, what it means to be a woman and not a man, how we behave toward one another and how we form a healthy, tender, and respectful relationship. A relationship that is intimate, mutually satisfying and long-term with someone of the opposite sex.
This book is available for free on our website. You can download the PDF version of this. I encourage you to get a copy of this. Read it and share it with the young people in your life today. Get into the fight to help young people flee sexual immorality and hold out for something much better.