Without support from the church and nuclear family, getting into a solid marriage is a long shot.
Readership: Christians; especially those who were involved in the Purity Movement;
This post is the sixth in a series of articles that examine several aspects of the Purity Movement. For an introduction, please read the first post, Picking through the fruit of the Purity Movement (2020-4-20).
The Dead Body of Christ*
Last week’s three posts covered the institution of marriage. One thing that became evident in these postings is this: In the process of courtship, and in maintaining our marriages, we need to rely on a larger community of believers. But in fact, we cannot, because the church is corrupt or defunct, and our marriages and families have suffered accordingly.
In centuries past, the church played a central role in providing a moral setting for social interactions, which included not only births, baptisms, marriages, and funerals, but also town hall meetings, barn raisings, political bandstanding, and coordinating makeshift or temporary shelters for weary travelers, the homeless, and orphans. Moreover, the church was the heart of the community.
But over the past 50 years or so, people have no longer relied on the church to perform these extra social functions. As a result, the church’s ability to serve people in this way has grown rusty from disuse, if not altogether forgotten.
For some reason, people never noticed the disappearance of the churches’ role in our lives. Why not? Probably because it was the result of several changes in how many churches were managed and conducted, and these changes transpired slowly over a few generations. Looking back over my lifetime involvement in the church, some obvious changes included…
- Changes in technology, especially the advent of the internet.
- Contemporary Christian music replacing traditional hymnody.
- The convergence of Church doctrine with various precepts of the wider culture, especially Chivalry and Feminism.
- The rise of ecumenicalism.
- The sensationalism of Pentecostal televangelists have eroded the public’s veneration for men of the cloth.
- Widespread reports of fiscal corruption and sexual sin among popular priests, preachers, and evangelists.
Among those who were marginal or cultural Christians, it became fashionable to be more or less spiritually “preoccupied” with various Idols of the Tribe. For example, those with a relatively high SMV were busy worshipping the fruits of the sexual revolution, and low SMV duds and snits were busy worshipping chivalry and feminism, respectively.
Something extra was needed to electrify this Frankensheep, to get him morally upright, and walking down the aisle. Enter the false prophets.
Underneath the introductory post, Jason made the following statement.
“I found it a bit strange that a man who wasn’t even 20 or barely entering his twenties was garnering so much media attention for this “amazing new, revolutionary way to date”.”
Yes, Harris was young when those books came out!
“Harris not only recanted the purity movement, he renounced Christianity, thus calling into question all his guidance in God’s name.”
These two comments bring me to wonder how Harris was able to write such an original viewpoint with so much authority – and then gain so much notoriety. Some questions follow.
- By what spiritual authority did Harris speak?
- Where did he get his inspiration for his books?
- Did Harris have a ghost writer?
- Was he a mouthpiece for a hidden entity?
- Or was he merely a mouthpiece for the hidden desires of his generation?
How many teenagers read Harris’ admonitions in a spiritual vacuum, without the tempering wisdom that might have been offered by a father or a pastor?
The Sheep Perish because of a Lack of Knowledge
“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge;
because you have rejected knowledge,
I reject you from being a priest to me.
And since you have forgotten the law of your God,
I also will forget your children.” ~ Hosea 4:6 (ESV)
In the Purity Movement, there was a lot of education about the importance of purity, and the consequences of sexual sin. But there was a total lack of education and guidance regarding how to find/attract a suitable life partner, and actually get into a marriage.
On this point, Lexet wrote,
“I don’t think many churches (mainline evangelical) taught biblical purity and chastity when discussing purity culture. The accounts of those brought up in the movement indicate that whatever the youth were taught was fear-based acts. I don’t think they ever understood the “why” of the movement.
You can tell a person “don’t do X” all day. What they will know is to not do X. You have to teach them the logic behind not doing X.
When you look at the types of churches that were big on the purity movement, it comes as no surprise that they weren’t teaching the “why”. They were in it for the fad and the attention… or book sales.”
Lexet is right. From my own experience of the Purity Movement, I distinctly remember a diffuse, unnamed fear that was prevalent. This fear caused a trifurcation of moral realism. One group took abstinence to the prudish puritanical extreme and shot themselves in the foot in regards to their MMV. Another group dabbled in sexual relations without “going all the way”, and used their technical virginity as a false psychological justification for remaining pure. A third group was comprised of those who engaged in clandestine fornication and dealt with the stigma by either keeping it a secret, or else putting social distance between themselves and others in the Purity culture, all done in order to reduce the risk of possible exposure and the resulting shame.
Of course, some had already decided that they were going to explore their sexuality, and they could not handle the denial or duplicity of the second or third group respectively. These individuals chose to leave the church altogether.
At the same time, liberal and profuse justifications of these deviations from morality abounded (e.g. “single mothers need love too”; relaxed dress codes being the norm; the belief that love justifies immoral intimacy; etc.). These lies were mostly due to influences from secular culture.
- The value of exercising self-control was replaced by the moxie of “Finding Yourself™”.
- A sense of purpose waned and was transformed into the “Fear of Missing Out™” (FOMO).
- The immediate satisfactions of profligacy appeared to outweigh the arduous task of denying the fleshly nature.
- Any long term benefits of obedience became obscured.
- Any rewards of obedience were presented as abstractions which carried little guarantee of fulfillment.
As you can see, the path of obedience became exactingly legalistic and detached, while the path of disobedience was prevalent in the wider culture, and well justified. Those who tried to straddle the fence for the best of both worlds had to swallow an assortium of lies to do so.
Pumping fresh Blood into a Corpse won’t bring it back to Life.
In a previous post, A New Patch on Old Cloth (2020-4-29), we looked at how Christian ethics and expectations of sexual purity were starkly out of place in the modern socio-sexual/marriage marketplace (SS/MMP). Although the objective of retaining sexual purity was entirely good and right, it was a heavy burden imposed on young people who were unable to follow through on such expectations. The reasons for dabbling in sexual sin and disobedience may have been any of the following, or possibly others.
- They did not have a clear vision of God’s will for their lives.
- The SMP offered too many opportunities, and too many temptations.
- They did not have a strong purpose at stake, and the willpower to follow through.
- They did not (or could not) detect the negative spiritual consequences of sexual sin.
- They did not have enough faith to appreciate the purpose and the value of the discipline.
- They were not emotionally mature enough to take a serious approach towards the commitment of marriage.
- Although the Purity Culture dished out a stern warning against sexual sin, there was no social structure present that would encourage and enforce a serious attitude towards courtship.
- There was virtually no clear path towards securing a marriage. It was expected that “marriage will just happen when you’re ready”, but actually, nothing good ever just happens in life.
- Many churches could not even offer a pool of eligible singles large enough to allow assortative pairing. The church was the last place any young person would go to seek a spouse.
With any combination of the above, it would be very difficult for a young person to make good on the revised path towards marriage.
In addition, the wider secular culture offered attractive alternatives to the Purity Movement. For those who were willing to forfeit their involvement in, and being accepted by the Purity Culture, it was extremely easy to get off the hook for any indiscretions. “It’s easier to get forgiveness than permission.” (See the list in the previous section for more justifications.)
Over the past four decades, the notion of the church holding a central place in one’s life has passed from familiarity, if not dismissed as being overly zealous or outdated.
Instead of a strong functional church being the heart of the community as it was in centuries past, social atomization, filtered reality, and post-truth have become the new norm.
The church leadership as well as churchian culture have been totally inept in terms of generating a marriage-minded environment that provides a forum for Christian courtship. As a summary of the key points contained in this post, these inadequacies include…
- The doctrine was converged with the values and goals of feminism and chivalry.
- Relevant knowledge was “politically correct”, gynocentric, and wholly inadequate.
- Books on “Christian Dating”, brimming with unrealistic half-truths, replaced real mentorship.
- A recondite fear prevailed.
- Moxified lies and alternative lifestyles from the secular culture were attractive and well-accepted.
All of the above deficiencies were a result of a weakened church and a laissez-faire social environment within an atomized community. Without a strong family-based community to guide and support Biblical Courtship, a Biblical marriage just can’t happen by accident. Thus, it should be no surprise to see how the Church was unable to deliver the most basic fundamental needs of its flock. In particular, the church was logistically unable to act as a central social support network to be used to launch a social program like the Purity Movement.
It seems like it took years before Dalrock’s expose of converged churchianity began to sink into the collective awareness of the Christian masses. The slow but steady momentum of his message stands as a testament that the truth is hard won, and it’s not coming through the pulpit.
But even now that it is evident that the spiritual nature of the church has been corrupted through the spirit of this age, and its function has grown decadent, the real lament which has gone unmourned is that the heart of the community had already been long dead.
* Christ Himself is not dead. The phrase “the Body of Christ” is a common New Testament metaphor for the Church as a collection of those who are in Christ. The Church is called “one body in Christ” in Romans 12:5, “one body” in 1 Corinthians 10:17, “the body of Christ” in 1 Corinthians 12:27 and Ephesians 4:12, and “the body” in Hebrews 13:3. The Church is clearly equated with “the body” of Christ in Ephesians 5:23 and Colossians 1:24.