Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Virgin lips

Here's something radically counter-cultural. A new movement is on the rise to encourage Christians to abstain from kissing until marriage.

It's obvious our culture has become hyper-sexualized in a very short time. Al Mohler writes,

In the space of little more than a single generation, we have seen the breaking down of virtually every social and cultural support for sexual abstinence. Arousal and intimacy come with the romantic longing that marks the deepening relationship between a man and a woman. Young couples no longer court on the porch swing with the girl's parents sitting inside and very close at hand. Now, most young couples face the temptation of romantic contexts in which intimacy--and this means sexual intimacy--is a likely outcome.

The Virgin Lips Movement represents a serious effort to push back against this expectation and to create boundaries that will protect virtue and honor marriage.

What do you think? Is the Virgin Lips Movement putting Matthew 5:29-30 into practice, i.e. taking radical steps to avoid sin? Or is it legalism? Should parents expect this of their children?

I don't think it would be legalistic at all to have such a standard for one's own relationship. After all, we all must set clear boundaries of purity and never violate our consciences. "He who doubts is condemned if he eats [or kisses], because his eating [or kissing] is not from faith; and whatever is not from faith is sin (Rom. 14:23). There could be great wisdom in establishing and avoiding this threshold of physical intimacy. However, I could see the VLM quickly becoming legalistic if couples begin to impose this vow on others, adding an extra-biblical standard by which all relationships are judged to be sinful or righteous.

The real issue is a matter of the heart - not merely outward behavior. Certain boundaries must exist to avoid fueling lust and temptation, but these boundaries will vary from person to person and from couple to couple.

Randy Alcorn, in his excellent book The Purity Principle, says,
For years I didn't go in a particular doorway to our local supermarket because of a magazine rack. Later, my mental discipline became strong enough that I could keep my eyes away. But until then I honored my boundary. It was inconvenient, but a small price to pay to guard my purity.

We have a television, but we don't have cable. Not because we believe it's wrong, but because we don't want more temptation in our home.

I'm not telling you what you have to do. Boundaries will vary from person to person. A boundary may be not standing in a checkout line where certain magazines are displayed. Or not driving in a certain part of town. Or never going on a business trip alone.

Boundaries keep temptation from getting a foothold. They are based on the premise that our sexual purity cannot be strengthened if we keep doing what we've always done! We must change our habits. We are sentries charged with protecting something immensely strategic... (p. 44)
The Virgin Lips Movement is a great reminder that all of us must stand guard, glorifying God in our bodies and remaining pure in every relationship.

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