Millennials and Gen Z increasingly reject biblical sexuality, and they aren’t shy about saying why. For American evangelical millennials (ages 26 to 41), specifically, the shift happened at least in part with ‘90s purity culture, which shouldn’t be a shock. Many were blindsided by tyrannical youth pastors wielding half-eaten lollipops, chewed gum, flowers without petals — symbolic, they said, of budding sexuality gone awry. These metaphors devaluing the human body while seemingly idolizing virginity were originally intended to exemplify our need for the redemptive work of Christ, but too often overly-zealous church leaders made them their primary focus. Girls had their developing bodies reduced to stumbling blocks and traps, waiting to ensnare their brothers in Christ hopelessly enslaved to their hormones. The fallout has deeply affected evangelical Gen Z’s perception of sex and the church. They have parents who are just now shedding the weight of shame placed upon their teenage shoulders. Parents who refused to make their own children walk through the same sexual minefield. As a result, they have largely kept silent. They believed that their children wouldn’t listen to their beliefs about sex, let alone wish to discuss it. Within progressive sexuality, purity rings have been exchanged for how-to classes on bondage. Condoms, not Christ, protect the heart. Teens, who not long ago would have had to sneak into the darkened back room of a video store to glimpse an adult film, can access the darkest pornography with a few clicks on their smartphone. If they aren’t watching porn, celebrities encourage them to make it. Why wouldn’t they? They are sexual beings after all, and sex, not some patriarchal religion, is the path to empowerment, liberation, even the American dream. Without biblical morality, design, and truth, our bodies lose all value. It isn’t until children encounter the biblical worldview that they see themselves and sexuality for what they truly are, precious creations worthy of protection. Our children have to feel welcome to discussing sex and their sexuality with us, even if they choose not to sometimes. If our children have the maturity to ask the question, we have the God-ordained responsibility to give them an answer, no flinching allowed.
This Postmodern Realities episode is a conversation with Journal author Amy Davison about her article, “Youth are Walking Away from Biblical Sexuality: What Parents Can Do About It” in the forthcoming 45:2-3 (Fall 2022) edition of the Christian Research Journal.
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