Book Review: The Purity Principle by Randy Alcorn

4 03 2008

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Copyright 2008 Kelsey Hough.  All Rights Reserved.

When it comes to Christian purity books, there seem to be two categories: The impure “purity” books, and the fluffy purity books.

Since the first group believes “knowledge is power,” the aim is to inform the reader in great detail about every kind of impurity on the market. Rather than being equipped to deal with living in our sex-saturated culture, though, the reader only comes away with step-by-step instructions of what not to do. It’s about as affective as an anti-drug campaign that teaches kids how to make homemade narcotics.

On the other side of the purity books scale, the goal is to show how romantic purity can be, rather than how painful, devastating and destructive impurity always is. They promise their readers a “happily ever after” if they’ll just follow God’s plan for their love life and relationships. Purity then, sadly, becomes a means to an end – a happy marriage and romantic bliss – rather than the pursuit of God Himself … a life of holiness.

To my surprise and delight, Randy Alcorn’s book The Purity Principle: God’s Safeguards for Life’s Dangerous Trails falls into neither of these two common categories.

The Purity Principle is a small book, but it packs a punch. Chock full of Bible verses, real-life examples, and sound biblical advice, it answers questions like, “What exactly is purity?” and “Why does it even matter?” This is a wonderful book for older teens and adults of any age, and any relational status, who would like to gain a better understanding of what biblical purity is, and why it’s important.

Much like the book of Proverbs, instead of giving you the lowdown on what not to do, or painting an overly romanticized, fluffy picture of purity, Randy Alcorn removes the glimmer of sexual immorality by sharing the real-life stories of men and women who fell into sin by slowly choosing to walk down the wrong road – one small, fatal step at a time.

The Purity Principle shows how the fear of God and the consequences of disobeying His holy law should be what “drives the sense into us” rather than out. And how this fear of God should be what makes us alert, diligent, watchful and drastic when it comes to protecting our own purity and making sure we don’t allow even a hint of sexual immorality into our own lives.

Because The Purity Principle doesn’t take a let-me-tell-you-what-not-to-do approach to purity, and it’s biblically solid, it could be a helpful book for someone who’s currently struggling with issues of morality, while still being an excellent choice for someone who wants to learn how to safeguard their life so they don’t find themselves needing to do an about-face later.

Recommended Age: 16+

PracticalPurity@gmail.com Drop me a note if you’d like reprint permission.





The Teen Sexuality Crisis

18 02 2008

Copyright 2008 Kelsey Hough.  All rights reserved.

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“How could someone possibly be so stupid?” exclaimed the critical voice of one mother as she rolled her eyes in disgust. “What on earth was she thinking? I mean, for crying out loud, kids look up to her! Even my twelve-year-old daughter watches her show every day after school.”

“Yes, so does my daughter.” Her friend chimed in. “But my daughter’s smart.” she said proudly. “She’s a good student. She knows right from wrong. She’d never make that kind of mistake.”

Like many parents with young preteen girls, these two mothers were bent out of shape over the most recent celebrity gossip to hit the newsstands – one of the celebrity starlets, adored by preteens, was pregnant.

In their minds, the young starlet had fallen from her pedestal, and these self-righteous mothers blamed it almost entirely on her lack of intellect – she wasn’t smart like their daughters. But brain power really had nothing to do with the latest teen celebrity pregnancy, what I’m sure was missing in this starlet’s life – like many other teens who find themselves in similar situations – wasn’t brain cells, but guidance.

The Cultural Storm

You don’t have to live on the Vegas Strip to be aware of the fact that purity isn’t exactly “in.” Our culture idolizes celebrities whose daily lives resemble an ongoing frat party, even clothing in the preteen departments seems to be screaming, “If you’ve got it, flaunt it!,” and words like virgin, pure and modest — that in previous generations were regarded as something of value — have become synonymous with prude, sheltered and even socially inept.

Not only has our culture’s moral compass gone right out the window, but in a culture that promotes “it’s good to be bad,” even our very ideas of right and wrong have been stood on end.

Our culture not only doesn’t have a biblical view of purity, it also seems to be entering into a new relational paradigm – The Fast-Food Relationship.

As a culture, we often approach relationships the same as we chose which fast-food restaurant to stop at – “Where can I get what I want in the shortest amount of time?” And sadly, because of this fast-food approach to romantic relationships, committed, meaningful relationships seem to have taken a backseat to casual hookups and one night stands, especially in the media. And at the rate our culture’s relational paradigm is shifting, it seems relationships themselves are in danger of becoming extinct.

Regaining a Christian Worldview

It shouldn’t surprise us then when teens living in the very heart of this cultural storm seem to have no sense of morality or respect for virtue, because culture – mainly through the media – has completely redefined reality for them, even right and wrong. They’re not short on brain cells, they’re simply putting this worldview that “it’s good to be bad” and “do whatever makes you happy” into action.

Because of this, when I look at my peers, what I believe Christian teens and young adults are in need of today is to be presented with a practical Christian worldview. We need to understand what purity is (not just what it isn’t), how God views the covenant of marriage, how every aspect of our lives is to bring glory to God, and how Christianity itself is very practical even in our fast paced, twenty-first century world.

The pursuit of purity – the set-apart Christian life – is very practical, but sadly too often when people give “purity talks,” the focus is on what we shouldn’t do in relationships and in life, not what we should do. In our fast-food, hookup culture, though, what’s needed isn’t a list of don’ts, but a practical Christian worldview that provides us with a destination – holiness – and a practical map to show us the way.

PracticalPurity@gmail.com Drop me a note if you’d like reprint permission.





Stop Test Driving Your Girlfriend

8 02 2008

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I stumbled across an interesting article on Boundless this afternoon and thought I’d share it with the rest of you.  It’s entitled “Stop Test Driving Your Girlfriend” and it’s written specifically to men, but the principles brought up in the article still apply to both men and women in relationships. 

Here’s an excerpt:

“How do I know if she’s the one?”

I can’t think of a question I encounter more often among single Christian men. The point of the question is clear enough. But a rich irony dwells beneath the question. In a culture that allows us to choose the person we’re going to marry, no one wants to make the wrong choice. Especially if, as Christians, we understand that the choice we make is a choice for life.

The question is not merely ironic. If what you’re after is a marriage that will glorify God and produce real joy for you and your bride, it’s also the wrong question. That’s because the unstated goal of the question is “How do I know if she’s the one … for me.”

Excerpt from Stop Testy Driving Your Girlfriend by Michael Lawrence

You can read the full article here:

http://www.boundless.org/2005/articles/a0001306.cfm





Book Review: Passion and Purity by Elisabeth Elliot

6 11 2007

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Copyright 2007 Kelsey Hough.  All rights reserved.

Because there are so many relational/purity books in print, I think it’s easy for Christian singles desiring a Biblical world view regarding romance and purity to feel at a loss of where to even start reading.  Most of us don’t have the time, money, or desire to wade through a stack or relational/purity books looking for a few diamonds in the rough.

So where do you start if you’d like a thoughtful introduction to romantic relationships?  I believe Elisabeth Elliot’s Passion and Purity: Learning to Bring Your Love Life Under Christ’s Control is an excellent starting point for both singles and dating/courting couples desiring to, as the subtitle says, bring their love lives under Christ’s control.

In Passion and Purity, Elisabeth Elliot honestly and openly shares with the reader the story and lessons learned from her five-year courtship with Jim Elliot while addressing topics such as dealing with loneliness and impatience, how we’re to view singleness, putting God’s desires ahead of your own, men and women’s relational roles, the importance of purity, and much more.

I appreciate the fact that although Elisabeth Elliot talks candidly about purity and relationships, the way she addresses these topics is never inappropriate, so a preteen could read Passion and Purity without losing a piece of their purity and innocence in the process, and a single adult could read it without feeling talked down to.

Unlike some relational/purity books, Passion and Purity never makes the mistake of over-spiritualizing romance and relationships, but Elisabeth Elliot also makes it evident through sharing personal stories and journal entries she does understand from personal experience the joys and pains of singleness.

I originally read Passion and Purity in early high school.  It was one of the first books I read on the subject of purity and relationships, and I found it challenging, thought-provoking and encouraging.  I’ve since reread it several times, and in each new stage of life, I’ve found it just as applicable.

Passion and Purity has remainded my personal favorite relational/purity book on the market, and one I regularly recommend to other Christian singles.  If you haven’t read it, I wholeheartedly recommend you give it a whirl.

Recommended Age: 13+

PracticalPurity@gmail.com Drop me a note if you’d like reprint permission.