NEW HARVEST’S POSITION ON PREMARITAL/EXTRAMARITAL SEX
One is conscious that, since the development of contraceptives during the last century, the norms of society have shifted markedly towards the acceptance of premarital/extramarital sex. It is deemed to be possible to practise “safe sex” now, and so society’s stricture on intercourse outside of marriage has largely disappeared. It is in this environment that New Harvest finds itself needing to clarify its stance on premarital/extramarital sex.
THE BIBLICAL POSITION.
As Christians we are committed to upholding biblical values as opposed to drifting with the flow of societal opinion. We believe that God loves us and wants the best for us, and on that basis has set ethical norms to protect us. Scripture clearly indicates that premarital/extramarital sex is outside the Christian value system (Matthew 15:17-20; Romans 13:13; 1 Corinthians 5:1-2; 1 Corinthians 6:9-20; Ephesians 5:3; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8 et al). Those who indulge in the practice expose themselves to the risk of sexually transmitted diseases and an unwanted pregnancy, and all the physical and emotional trauma which will accompany either of these events. We believe that God’s ban on premarital/extramarital sex comes out of His desire to protect us from the ruinous consequences of what might appear to be an innocent, fleeting pleasure.
OUR PASTORAL POSITION.
We understand that we are likely to encounter many couples seeking to link into New Harvest who have been persuaded by societal norms and are practising premarital/extramarital sex. We embrace the understanding that the Church is not a “society of saints” but a “school for sinners”. Our approach therefore is to welcome them, love them and gently seek to persuade them towards abstinence or marriage.
Our difficulty is not with sin but with unrepentant sin. Because we are standing against a practice which society condones, it is likely that couples who join us and are practising premarital/extramarital sex are doing so out of ignorance of God’s perspective. Through biblical teaching and sensitive confrontation we will attempt to persuade them towards a Christian lifestyle. No disciplinary action would be contemplated unless we are convinced that the couple is fully aware of God’s view and yet remain unrepentant of their lifestyle.