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In “Talking Back to Purity Culture,” Rachel Joy Welcher takes the purity movement to task for missing the point of biblical sexuality

Steve Yount, a senior fellow with the Denison Forum, is a former newspaper editor and public-relations executive working with Christian ministries.


a young man and woman smile at each while holding coffee mugs
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Encouraging adolescents to remain chaste before marriage is a good thing, but not when the teaching isn’t true to Scripture.

That’s the key takeaway from Rachel Joy Welcher’s book, Talking Back to Purity Culture: Rediscovering Faithful Christian Sexuality.

Beginning in the 1990s, millions of young Christians signed “True Love Waits” commitment cards and wore purity rings as indications of their pledges to remain chaste before marriage. Unfortunately, Welcher writes, purity was often viewed as part of a transaction, with marriage, sex, and children the reward.

“Marriage is not the goal of purity,” she writes. “Family is not the goal. Sex is not the goal. God and his glory are the goal of purity.”

Welcher reminds us that chaste or not, we are all sexually broken. To believe otherwise is contrary to Scripture.

One of the women Welcher interviewed puts it this way, “I no longer see purity as a gift one spouse gives to another. God has made me pure through Christ, and he alone keeps me pure.”