One note for readers, if you have strong emotional reaction to the following, make sure to read the linked essay. Don’t allow emotions to be the sole or ultimate determiner of your thinking.

In the work of youth pastoring, questions about sex, dating, and relationships come up often and I am glad for it. It is my joy and privilege to help students walk through the tumultuous waters of relationships. Some of the common questions I’ll get are…

When and how should I date?

What does the Bible say about sex?

What should pre-marital relationships look like?

What should I do if I find a boy/girl attractive?

What should I look for in a spouse?

I consider all of these good questions for students to talk through with parents and pastors and I am thankful for the opportunity to help them sort out answers from Scripture.

The One Question Many Don’t Ask, But Should

Among the many good questions that are asked, I know there is one question that is rarely asked, but, I bet, is frequently thought about.

Is making out a sin?

In other words, should non-married Christians partake in kissing of the French persuasion? Is it OK for God’s people to play a few rounds of tonsil-hockey? Is Jesus pleased when His redeemed partake in the tongue tango? Whatever your view of speaking in tongues is, what about kissing with tongues (I’m sorry, I had to)?

Now, in today’s very sexualized culture, this question is laughable to most. Making out, by today’s sexual standard, is akin to holding hands or hugging for that extra second. However, Christians are told to not be taught by the world in these matter, but by the Word (Romans 12:1-2). We are to be sanctified by God’s life-giving truth, not seduced by the world’s joy-killing lies (John 17:14-19).

So what does God say about making out?

Something for You to Chew On as You Pastor Students

I don’t want to disappoint you, but I won’t be teasing out specifics here. Instead, I want to offer you a thoughtful answer that you’d do well to chew on. In an essay in The Bulletin of Ecclesial Theology, pastor Gerald Hiestand offers the following thesis:

[F]idelity to the trajectory and ethic of Scripture necessitates reserving any and all sexual activity for the marriage relationship. Or to state it again, the New Testament conveys—both theologically and exegetically—that all premarital relationships are to be completely non-sexual. Or one more time: premarital “making out” is a sin. (p. 14).

In the essay, he argues as follows:

1) All sexual activity must be reserved for the marriage relationship.

2) Some forms of kissing are sexual. Therefore,

3) Sexual forms of kissing must be reserved for the marriage relationship. (p. 19)

Again, I am not wanting you to just agree and move on, but I hope this challenges you as it did me and cause you to think deeply about sexual immorality and your ministry to young folk. What you believe about sexual immorality will affects how you instruct your own children and the students in your ministry. Knowing the power of sex, we need to think long and hard; making sure our answers are God’s answers.

Personally, I think the church has purchased far too much from the world when it comes to sex, dating, and relationships and it is high time for us to grab our receipts and return our purchases.

Read the whole essay here (p. 13-34). Make sure to check out his book (the most helpful on dating I’ve read) here.

HT: Andy Naselli

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