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Over the past few years, there has been a crescendo of talk about sexual consent aimed especially at our teens and young adults. Freshman orientation at the local college is now less likely to orient students in the ins and the outs of campus and curriculum and more likely to teach the ins and outs of sex and consent. Students are taught that consent must be given before the commencement of any sexual encounter and again explicitly through each and every progression of that encounter. Any withholding, denial, or inability to give consent are clear indications that all sexual acts must cease immediately.
It is good and wise, of course, to teach the importance of sexual consent and the terrible harm that comes by ignoring or violating it. Please hear me: non-consensual sexual activity of any kind is immoral, abhorrent, and inexcusable. It falls to parents to teach our children its importance. But, as we will see, the problem with so much of today’s talk of consent is that it studiously avoids grounding it in the only appropriate context for sexual activity. If we, as Christian parents, ground our children in that context, we will have come a long way toward instructing them in the matter of consent in a confused and confusing world.
Consent - God - World - Sex—with - Nakedness
First, let’s consider consent as God intended it, as he created it to exist in his perfect world. Sex—with its nakedness, its vulnerability, and its intimacy—is very powerful. It is risky, even, and this is why God has set it in a particular context. According to God, the creator of human sexuality, marriage is the only appropriate context for sexual activity of any kind. Within marriage, sex flows out of the commitment formalized in the wedding vows and always points back to it. For this reason, Tim and...
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