There is one word that is mentioned 130 times in the Bible according to Strong’s Concordance for the Bible. This word has been a standard in this country for a few hundred years yet it is no longer acknowledged; even within the Church. Since the onset of the Sexual Revolution, this word has been looked upon as “Victorian,” “repressive,” and “outdated.” This word, according to Webster’s 1828 dictionary is defined as:
-“Cleanness” -“Freedom from guilt or the defilement of sin; innocence” -“Chastity; freedom from contamination by illicit sexual connection” -“Freedom from any sinister or improper views” -“Freedom from foreign idioms, from barbarous or improper words or phrases”
If you haven’t guessed it yet, that word is PURITY.
I have a “Purity” ministry and it has been interesting to see Christians react to the word over the years. Let me give you a few examples:
My husband and I visited his old college roommate. While talking to his wife I mentioned the word “purity.” I shared that presenting purity to youth was relatively easy as they seem to be hungry for the message, but getting this message to adults would be more difficult. Her first response to me was, “What, you mean no fun?”
In 2001 I began my ministry by alerting the Lutheran publishing company that their sex education program that was advertised as “Bible based” and “Christ centered” was actually based on a man who had collected data from pedophiles who raped children. The words “sex,” “sexier,” “sexiest,” and “sexual intercourse” were mention 354 times throughout this series which is for children between the ages of 3 to 18 years old. In the original series, Purity is mentioned once in a negative light with the comment made, “Some of your companions may say, “Purity is out of date. Have fun. Get some sexual experience.”” (A.J. Bueltmann, Take the High Road, Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, 1967, pg.70).
A few years ago I was asked to speak to a very large MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group in the area. The leaders wanted me to teach them how to talk to their kids about sex. When I explained where “sex” education came from and why I teach parents how to raise pure kids instead, I was told that my services would not be needed.
Lastly, I was at training a leadership training at a very large church that I attend a few weeks ago. While at lunch I met a lovely young woman from Taiwan who recently married an American who had been involved with Children’s ministry for over 10 years. When she asked me what I did, I shared my “purity” ministry. She was excited to talk about it and shared that “purity” is making a comeback in Taiwan. When her husband joined us at the table and she shared that I had a “purity” ministry, he had a distorted look on his face (as if a bad word had been uttered) and said sarcastically, “how is that going for you?”
It was at that moment that a light bulb went off in my head; purity has become a bad word in the Christian Church.
As I read my young son a book on the story of Betsy Ross and the first American flag, I was struck by the following words: “There are only three colors for the flag of our country: Red for the blood of her patriots, blue for her truth, and white for her purity.”
Matthew 5:8 states, Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Now look at the definition of purity above and I ask you; is it a dirty word, too Victorian, too out dated, or is it a standard that we need to get back to?