The Point: What to Make of “Purity Culture”


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The phrase “Purity Culture” is the new derogatory shorthand for how Christians have attempted to promote sexual chastity. And it’s been the target of significant criticism in recent months, especially in the wake of Josh Harris’s divorce and subsequent apostasy.

Though well-meaning youth pastors and parents have said harmful things, it seems to me that more than a little of the criticism aimed at purity culture is actually a criticism of traditional Christian sexual morality.

But there are other valuable perspectives, so I’ve asked a number of Christian thought leaders to weigh in on this question: Are criticisms of “purity culture” legitimate, and in what ways should Christians change how we advance a biblical sexual ethic in this cultural moment?

Folks like Peter Leithart, Karen Swallow Prior, Sean McDowell, Scott Klusendorf, and many others weighed in, and you can read their answers at our online symposium at

While you’re there, check out my discussion with Shane Morris on the BreakPoint Podcast about reactions to Josh Harris and purity culture.


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