[quote="Roy5, post:6, topic:276714"]
Christianity generally - Catholic and Protestant - has been rather puritanical re sexual matters over the centuries. Catholicism has focused more attention on its sinfulness, perhaps, than mainline Protestantism. The fact that priests must be celibate, that most female saints have been virgins, that virginity seems to be preferred over normal sexual activity, etc. - this is the image many have of Catholicism. This was one reason the sex scandal among priests hit so hard. Priests had been perceived as non-sexual representatives of Christ. The high incidence of homosexuality made the scandal all the worse in the eyes of most of the laity and the non-Catholic world beyond.
On this issue, as on many, Protestantism is very diversified. Some pastors, for example, will marry cohabiting couples - arguing that "it's about time they got married." Some pastors may turn such couples away (the minority, I'm sure).
I'm not sure that mainline Protestants today would describe premarital sex as a sin. They would generally consider it ill-advised but deal with it more as a mistake and slippery slope that stems from our innate carnal nature as humans. Since the age of marriage has risen - plus the sexual revolution - the God-give sexual instinct is less likely to be kept in tow before marriage today. The media, of course, have played a major role in lowering sexual standards. Young adults watch programming that runs completely counter to Christian undestanding. Premarital sex becomes fun, exciting, glamorous, normal, healthy.
What does one do? If you preach avidly against premarital sex you are likely to alienate the very young adults who most need the church. What's the expression - a catch 20 quandary?
We are always forgetting that God calls us to be better and perfect. That what we aim for is much more than what we do. That we must set our goals higher and higher. It is not because people do bad things that we must not preach good. It is not because I do bad things that I must say that the bad things I do are good and the good is out of reach.
So, call young for higher grounds is absolutely essential. And pre-marital sex is the minimum. We are in a situation where we must tell teens that multiple partners is not good, that virginity at 13 is good, that to keep love for the future husband is good.