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Lovingly Leveling with Live-ins

Most people — even the unchurched and those living together — still go to a church for marriage. How we deal with them makes a powerful statement about the church's view of sex and marriage, and a memorable testimony for Christ.
Gregory D. Stover

Sunday morning worship was over. I was standing in the tiled corridor near the entrance to our church, chatting with the few people who still lingered. Suddenly Elaine, a woman in her mid-twenties and a member of our church, bounced up to me with a look of joy.

"Pastor, guess what!" she blurted out. "Keith and I are living together!"

Mouths dropped. The church corridor didn't seem the place to deal with such an issue, so I urged Elaine to join me in my study to discuss her situation.

Keith and Elaine are one example of a rapidly growing phenomenon confronting the church. In 1970 approximately 523,000 couples in the United States were living together out of wedlock. By 1978 this figure had more than doubled. Recent studies indicate today as many as ...

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