A Primer for Parents

The barriers against premarital sex have been crumbling in America for decades. Today they have been leveled almost to the ground. That this has brought dismay and apprehension to Christian parents hardly needs to be stated. Even non-Christian parents are often alarmed by the phenomenon and what it portends.

Violators of the sexual code were hardly uncommon in the past, but the principle was largely unchallenged. That is no longer the case. The code itself has been subjected to heavy attack and even ridicule from many quarters. For many, it is part and parcel of the “moral rubbish” that disfigured the Victorian era. Yet we must not forget that a basic Christian precept is at stake, one that is as valid today as when it was first proclaimed.

The forces producing this condition are well known. As Ronald Koteskey has pointed out, puberty arrives at a much earlier age than it did centuries ago. At the same time, marriages are delayed by the need for advanced education as well as by the financial burdens of sustaining a home during this educational phase. This makes heavier moral demands on young people than those experienced by previous generations (CT, March 13, 1981, p. 26).

Moreover, we live in a society that seems hell-bent on stimulating sexual activity by a variety of potent means—TV programs, pornography, advertising, books and magazines preoccupied with illicit sex and scornful of anything smacking of “Puritanism.” (In his Screwtape Letters, C. S. Lewis noted that the disdain in which the word “Puritan” has come to be held is one of Satan’s “really solid triumphs”.) The arrival of “the Pill” and the ready availability of other birth-control devices have furthered the trend.

Besides all this, moral standards ...

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