“Scripture speaks of virgins and a Virgin Birth, of the erotic and the carnal, of heterosexual and homosexual behaviors, of the body and the flesh. Does the youth group your son or daughter attends ever address these issues? If not, the morning paper does, the evening television news does, the weekly news magazines do, their peers do, and 43 percent of their schools may (results of a 1978 Gallup Youth Survey). Do the churches have a heart for teenagers, who live in a sex-laden atmosphere? If so, if your teenagers are to be light and salt in their own environment, someone must help them make sense of sexuality. What is the effect of such a sex-laden atmosphere on teens today?”
These words come from an article by Lewis Penhall Bird published almost 40 years ago in Christianity Today. They once also formed part of a Christian Medical and Dental Associations Ethics Statement online. Today we need to add the Internet to Bird’s list of voices influencing teen sexual attitudes and behavior: Facebook, Instagram, You Tube, and all the other forms of social media.
The bible tells us that parents are to teach God’s commandments to their children (Deuteronomy 6:6-7; 11:19). This means that parents are to be the primary sex educators of their children, but it is the church’s responsibility to equip parents, to challenge them to accept this responsibility, and to supplement their teaching. How can the church do this successfully? What mistakes have been made in the past? What needs to be done to correct these mistakes going forward?