Treatment on fornication versus adultery in Evangelical-land – Divorce Minister

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Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.

-Hebrews 13:4, NKJV

I grew up in an evangelical church where I attended youth group in the 90s. “Purity culture” was big in those days for evangelical teens.

As an adult, I realize some of my upbringing was not the most helpful. The overemphasis on avoiding fornication created a culture of fear around human sexuality. Sadly, you cannot just turn that off once you’re married.

While I would argue an overemphasis was placed on avoiding the sin of fornication, I cannot remember a single sermon whose focus was upon the destruction of adultery.

Sure, adultery would regularly would be added to a list of sexual vices to avoid. Yet, I cannot remember any extended teaching on this particular sin. This is odd considering the disparate impact of these respective sins.

While fornication is a sin, it does not require the breaking of marriage vows and involuntary soul violations as adultery does.

The impact of some sins are greater than other sins. This is true in the case of adultery versus fornication.

Both can result in STDs. However, adultery could result in an innocent party–the faithful spouse–getting that STD. That is much worse.

Adultery tears at the trust and fabric of community in ways that fornication does not. It does this through the breaking of public vows and the resulting divorces from shattering such trust in the faithful party.

Adultery is very ugly.

It is not a “fun” topic to discuss. Yet I believe our families and church communities would be better served by having an open talk about how ugly adultery is.

This blog exists, in part, as a corrective to the imbalance on teaching regarding these sins. Its tagline is “Taking Adultery Seriously.”

This tagline remains radical–even in evangelical circles–because many are too ready to excuse such sin as opposed to resist and expose it. I am putting the spotlight on this sin as it has hurt many and deserves greater scrutiny.

Yes, fornication is wrong; yet, adultery is vastly more destructive! I hope the evangelical culture will change to teach this.

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