Michael rushed up to me just before morning worship, his face alight with excitement and joy. "Guess what?" he gushed. "Annette wants to be baptized!"

My stomach tightened. My friendly grin suddenly developed rigor mortis. This couple had been living together for nearly a year and attending our church for a few months. Now they wanted a full relationship with God through Christ and a full relationship with the church. What should I do about their obvious and continuing sin?

I told them I'd be happy to talk it over with them.

Michael and Annette seemed to step into our church out of a TV drama. They are intelligent, attractive, and accomplished young professionals who quickly and casually decided to move in together, untroubled by moral questions. We soon began a Bible study together and developed a friendship that drove me to learn more about such couples.

Annette and Michael mirror a growing slice of society and an increasing challenge within the church. Young adults are intentionally delaying ...

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