True Love Mates

Russell Moore says that the way we speak about sexual morality matters. In the most recent issue of Touchstone, he argues that the loss of biblical terms like “fornication” is a case in point.

“Fornication” sounds as creepy and out-of-place to a Christian’s ears as it does to anyone else’s. Sure, we talk about sexual morality and warn against sexual immorality, but those are the words we use, on our best days. More commonly, we teach our children and our single church members to “practice abstinence” or to avoid “premarital sex.”

But could it be that the loss of the words “fornicate” and “fornication” is about something more than just updating our vocabulary to connect with the society around us? Could it be that we’ve lost something crucial about the grammar of the Christian faith? Moreover, could it be that, by using the language of “premarital sex,” we’ve implicitly ceded the moral imagination to the sexual revolutionaries?

As usual, Moore has a way with words. You’ll have to read the rest of it to find out why “true love mates.”


  • Nathan Cesal

    True love mates — so single people don’t have true love. Priceless, Denny, priceless. Way to glorify marriage and sex while stepping on singles. It’s no wonder why there aren’t any Christians that consider singleness seriously and why married Christians judge singles so harshly. tsk tsk…

    • Mike Dunger

      Nathan, why do you take that as an attack or insult on singles?

      God clearly states in His Word that sexual relations are for the marriage bed. He made us that way. He wired it into our psyche.

      Every time we have relations with another, we become one flesh with them. You cannot be whole if you have spread yourself throughout the local singles scene or even through a string of serious relationships.

      I KNEW that I was going to marry the first woman I slept with. I thought I COULD marry the next woman. It went down from there. I can tell you that I deeply regret ever being with any other woman before my bride.

      God’s Word is a guide for what’s best for us, a standard for what’s allowable to us, and ultimately the jury that will judge us.

      Speaking the Truth should always be done in love, but you cannot sugar coat sin.

  • John T. "Jack" Jeffery

    Years ago Karl A. Menninger wrote “Whatever Became of Sin?” (Hawthorn Books, 1973; 2nd ed. Bantam Books, 1978). The euphemisms for various sins were but symptoms of the disappearance of the idea of sin itself from the moral landscape as he presented it. However, the euphemisms persist both contributing to and exemplifying this disappearance. Drunkenness becomes “alcoholism” or “substance abuse”. Sodomy becomes “homosexuality”, “gay”, or “alternative sexuality”. Fornication becomes “premarital sex”. Professing Christians yield in their communicating to the euphemisms of the infidels. All terms with connotations in the past as sins have been given over to the modern “isms” – the supposed diseases, sicknesses, and genetic defects that account for what a generation ago would have been considered aberrant behavior at best. These modern verbal “fig leaves” no more cover sinners now from the view of their Creator than those in the Garden did for Adam and Eve. There is no need to wonder why Christ confronted several of the churches in Asia as he did in Revelation 2-3. We are not exempt, and those letters are just as relevant today as when John wrote them for Christ to those who have ears to hear.

  • Nathan Cesal

    “True love mates” implies that true love doesn’t happen without mating. That means that single people living according to a Biblical sexual ethic don’t know true love.

    I refer anyone to 1 Cor 13 to find out what true love does — mating is not on the list.

    “True love mates” is a cute play on words, but it isn’t true.

    • Daryl Little

      Feel free, Nathan. Read the title, ignore the post, grind your axe and pretend everyone is trying to marginalize you.

      Feel free to be dishonest…or don’t.

    • Alistair Robertson

      Nathan, this seems to be a sore point for you. I can understand that. I think, however, that if you stand back and think about it, the title is not making sweeping generalisations, but has a pretty narrow focus. It’s a play on words and it’s using a general statement to communicate about the narrower area of sexual relationships.

  • Nathan Cesal

    I read the article at touchstone AND posted my comments before I read the title of the post here. I was shocked that that is what Denny pulled from the entire article.

    Both Burk and Moore are too hasty in their accolades of marriage to take their statements to logical conclusions. I never said that they are marginalizing people intentionally. I actually implied it was unintentional by giving a “tsk tsk” instead of something else.

    The church has a GIANT problem with how they deal with single people. The attrition of singles from church is proof enough for me. Backing the statement “True love mates” gives futher evidence.

    Feel free to make your church open to single people and married people equally… or don’t.

  • J.R.

    You may want to write a letter to Touchstone, as they encourage dialog and letters:
    “Letters Welcome: One of the reasons Touchstone exists is to encourage conversation among Christians, so we welcome letters responding to articles or raising matters of interest to our readers. However, because the space is limited, please keep your letters under 400 words. All letters may be edited for space and clarity when necessary.

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