Earlier this month evangelical leaders from every sector of the culture gathered in Washington DC for the Q conference. One of the panels focused on the staggering number of abortions among single women within the church. Panelists discussed the problem and how churches could begin to turn the tide. At the close of the discussion the audience was asked to respond to an instant poll: "Do you believe churches should advocate contraception for their single twentysomethings?" 70 percent responded "Yes."
While affirming God's intent that sexual activity be confined to marriage, those attending Q recognized the greater evil presented by abortion. While still affirming the ideal of pre-marital chastity, pragmatism led 7 in 10 leaders at Q to embrace the wisdom of preventing abortions by those who don't reach the sexual standards of Scripture. Many were likely persuaded by the undeniable statistics showing the failure of "abstinence only" sexual eduction to prevent pregnancy and lower abortion rates.
But should the church be swayed by these practical arguments? And can we truly hold up the biblical sexual ethics and simultaneously encourage singles to "sin safely"? Matthew Lee Anderson says we cannot.
His thoughtful article for Christianity Today explores the debate more deeply, and he argues that pushing contraceptives undermines the church's higher calling. He writes:
There may be no easy answers to these problems. And the most convenient—advocating for contraception for sexually active single people in our churches—may temporarily reduce abortions. Yet whatever good consequences it might have do not mitigate the fact that such advocacy will inevitably further engrain into our communities the broken understanding of sex and community ...