Christian Sickness

I’ve discussed the issue of purity and abstinence recently, but I’m doing it again as I’ve just come across this piece that perfectly illustrates modern evangelical sickness, read it. I’m beginning to think ‘purity’ is one of, if not the most, destructive teaching in the modern church.

In this article, a 30-something women discusses how great purity is and how hard her struggles with sexual desire are.

As a single girl in my thirties who was committed, by God’s grace, to saving sex for marriage,

Notice, ‘committed to saving sex for marriage.’ This is entirely the wrong commitment. The commitment should be to marriage.

Paul was very clear on this: “To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single as I am. But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.” (1 Corinthians 7:8-9 ESV)

For those women (and men) burning with passion, counseling abstinence is simply wrong; in fact, it might be borderline sinful. Instead, the church should council marriage.

“Purity culture” is destroying the church.

Or maybe the greater question is, Why do we even want to fight for sexual purity when our desires seem so natural and good—and often feel too powerful to control?

She shouldn’t. These desires feel good, natural, and powerful because they are good, natural, and powerful because God made them that way.

The problem is not the desire, the problem is looking for it in the wrong spot. People should not be waiting until their late-20s, or 30’s to get married and suffer under some perverse form of purity. They should be getting married young and having good, natural, enjoyable sex with their spouses while young.

God created sex, then told us to enjoy it only within the context of marriage between a man and a woman; so if He has us wait an excruciatingly long time for it, He is (mercifully) teaching us to meet our very deepest desires in Him alone.

Waiting is the problem, a Christian should not be waiting. They should be actively preparing and looking for marriage, men and women alike, each in their own way.

She gives some advice on combating lust, of which this is the most interesting:

9. Set hard-and-fast boundaries with men—for your sake and theirs. Hanging out alone with a man never helped me; it usually stirred up desires unnecessarily.

If a man and a woman are hanging out and want each other so much they are considering sin, they should be getting to the altar post-haste. ‘Boundaries’ are a broken product of a broken church culture. If a Christian man and woman are worrying about violating their ‘boundaries’ they should be be getting married.


To Colleen,

You seem like a decent woman, but you have been mislead by a sick church culture, so please don’t take offense to my criticisms, instead help me to fix church culture. Council your other women readers avoid sticking to some misguided quest for a perverse form of ‘purity’, instead council them to commit to marriage, to try their hardest to find a decent Christian man and start a life.

Stop waiting and ‘being pure’, and embrace the holy desires God has given you. Find a decent Christian man, marry him, and have as much sex as you possibly can; council your readers to do the same.

The false teachings you have received on this issue have obviously hurt you according to your own words, so please help prevent other young women from falling into the same trap.


  1. Also — 1 Tim 4:1-3 But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth.

    Sometimes we go too long without reading for ourselves the scriptures our faith is based on.

  2. Very insightful post.

    The post 30 virgin crowd seem to have elevated sex and hyperagamy to a super divine institution.

    I am very familiar with this type (and it doesn’t solely occur in Christian circles), it’s nothing other than an extreme version of hyperagamy and an over inflated ego.

    I’ve seen this type knock back solid Christian men and then pine for the drummer in some rock band.

    The common theme for these types is that their real world SMV is far lower than they perceive it to be, so they wait for some Prince Charming to come along and appreciate them for who they truly are.

  3. I believe that it is this overemphasis on virginity to the expense of fulfilling healthy sexual desires in marriage that the early church before the 12th century helped set the stage of the feminization of the church. The eroticization of the relationship between the believer and Christ:

    Since women cannot be erotic in marriage with their husband they are instead erotic with Christ. Somehow keeping virginity makes one more: “Righteous” than those who lose it in marriage.

    Davis MJ Aurini talks about his experience with a 25 year old virgin:

  4. I think folks get Paul wrong on that vs. It is likely he believed Christ’s return was right around the corner. Remember all.the early Christians basically living in hippie communes & giving away all.there cash? It being better to be single negates be fruitful, multiply and fill.the earth and it would also men no children born into the faith.

    These days marriage is evil so things are a tad bit different but like I said, I think most folks get Paul wrong on that one.

  5. Some interesting thoughts.

    I share a good article of the Catholic persuasion detailing how celibacy is an act of warfare against the sex-obsessed society.

    Another sadder article details the problems with purity culture when women run the show. 800 dead Irish children because their mothers decided the correct way not to bear a child out of wedlock or have an illegitimate son or daughter was to kill them: ritualistic purity sacrifice. If a gun was against my back, I’d choose a single mother as a wife before I’d choose a woman who aborted. It’s strange. Whenever women (in this case nuns) run a purity culture, the chosen outcome is always the alternative to purity which supplants it. Even supposedly devout women chose an image of purity which merely superficially resembles the actual article. My prayers for the souls of the unborn.

    sftcon says

    I think folks get Paul wrong on that vs. It is likely he believed Christ’s return was right around the corner. Remember all.the early Christians basically living in hippie communes & giving away all.there cash? It being better to be single negates be fruitful, multiply and fill.the earth and it would also men no children born into the faith.

    These days marriage is evil so things are a tad bit different but like I said, I think most folks get Paul wrong on that one.

    On the contrary, I think Paul could not have been more correct then and now. Families impose undue burden on people committed to the advancement of the kingdom at all costs. Families require comfort. Becoming an instrument of God’s perfect will is horrifically uncomfortable. I’ve come to see the Catholic provision against marriage not as a limitation on an individual to increase piety, but an attempt at mercy for the cleric’s would-be family. How many priests are compromised in their practice by the need to put decent food on the table, name brand clothes on their sons and daughters, a decent car in the drive way, and a sufficiently-roomy house under the belt? Alone, a man can live like a hermit and wage a war like the enemy wouldn’t believe. But our hearts melt for our families, as they should.

  6. Paul lays out the criteria for church positions. Mature men, one wife, well managed family etc. The Catholic position on this is unbiblical.

    The Catholic church use to allow marriage for priest etc but changed the rule because the church was losing money. Mercy etc had nothing to do with it

  7. FYI, the writer did marry, if you follow the link with her name at the top in her article:

    Married at age 34, Colleen Chao writes about her journey from singleness to marriage to motherhood, celebrating God’s faithfulness in every season of life. A former book editor, English teacher, and youth leader, Colleen is now mastering the finer arts of diapers, dirt, and dishes. She makes her home in Southern California with her long-awaited husband and son, and blogs at

  8. Observing Biblical mandates has certainly not made my faith any stronger, in fact it has tested it sorely. I often feel I would have been better off with a long list of things to repent of, rather than distaste for the faith. I have my doubts sometimes that the Bible actually says the things I have always though it said.

  9. I found the article to be interesting. She actually seems to give some good advice- eat well and exercise… how dare she suggest this to women?. [/sarcasm mode]

    To borrow a term, it’s the Hypo-Chritian philosophy at work. A Christian would realize that perfection is an ideal, not a goal. Purity is something that can be striven for, but taken to the wrong extreme it can be harmful. To use the secular jargon, a notch count isn’t an automatic disqualifier, but a high one raises red flags.

    I can’t help but think that her problem has to do with the cultural pressure to be an empowered and fulfilled women, eg., putting off marriage far too long to do other things. Had she focused on marrying and raising a family instead of college/mission work/ whatever it was that kept from family life, is what is causing her conflict.

  10. I think some segments of the Church are kind of sort of waking up to this, while keeping on the purity spiel for the sake of the parents. I went to Liberty University, a capital of conservative forms of Churchianity, and we were positively encouraged to pair up and leave married or at least en route to the altar. Admittedly, they did also follow the Mark Driscoll “man up” line of thinking that got increasingly tiresome, especially as they conveniently glossed over any problem women might have in this department. This was especially annoying for myself because I am a died-in-the-wool Calvinist and from Washington State, so I was expected to follow Driscoll like he is the Pope, regardless of the fact I don’t buy into most of the rest of his hare-brained modernist theology.

    I’m convinced it’s the half-witted Churchian parents of the present youth generation who are a driving problem in this. They think the number one cause of divorce is getting married before the age of 28, or at least that was my parents’ thinking as well as many of my peers. It’s kind of awkward telling your parents that it isn’t realistic to expect people to remain “pure” for that long, so a lot of young evangelicals are stuck in between common sense and family pressure, becoming ironically neurotic the whole time they are supposed to be pure. Notably, the people whose parents weren’t like that were generally much more well-adjusted when it comes to the opposite sex.

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