Most single, never-married Christian men and women are not abstaining from sex, according to a new study from Communio, a national nonprofit organization.
In the study, called the “Nationwide Study on Faith and Relationships,” Communio surveyed some 19,000 Sunday church attendees from Evangelical, Protestant, and Catholic churches.
“Despite scriptural teaching to the contrary, research has shown that most never-married Christian men and women are not living lives of sexual chastity. This engagement in sexual relationships outside of marriage coincides with and likely fuels delays and declines in marriage,” wrote author JP DeGance, who is also co-author of the book, Endgame: The Church’s Strategic Move to Save Faith and Family in America. “The delay in marriage represents what some scholars have called the shift from a cornerstone view of marriage to the view of marriage as a capstone institution.”
DeGance, the founder and president of Communio, said single Christians have likely been influenced by secular society and a model that says marriage is for people who have reached “some preset level of financial and personal achievement,” The Christian Post reports.
“Individuals who pursue the capstone model often have a longer list of requirements before selecting an ideal ‘soulmate.’ Sex before marriage is common in this model. While some celebrate this shift, the explosive, and societally dangerous, levels of loneliness among the never married shows one major defect in capstone marriage,” DeGance said.
He called the shift a “loneliness epidemic.”
“To effectively evangelize today, we must address the declining number of marriages, poor marital health and improve the effectiveness of fathers in those marriages,” he said.
Nationwide, other churches are also looking to change their view on marriage and sex among Christians.
For example, megachurch Pastor Jamal Bryant of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Georgia said the church needs a “gospel for grownups.”
“I had a Zoom with all of my singles just this week. … For me to tell 16-year-olds to be celibate is one thing, a 37-year-old who is used to getting some [sex], I need a different kind of gospel,” said the 51-year-old Bryant, who is a single divorced father.
Photo courtesy: Unsplash
Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.