On the Moral Implications of Fornication

Growing up in South Africa as a teenage boy in the early 2000s was an interesting experience in many regards. During this time I was faced with coming to terms with my first-hand experience of a radical shift in public morals, perhaps most notably with regard to sexual ethics, within the society I grew up in. Afrikaners were graciously isolated from the sexual revolution that hit the Western World in the sixties for about thirty years due to apartheid. In the nineties, things drastically changed. Of course, it was not as if fornication was nonexistent prior, but it wasn’t openly advocated or bragged about as it became when I grew up. By the time I went to college, it had become fairly common for guys at least (I didn’t speak to many girls on this particular subject – but for every male fornicating, there is normally a female participant) to openly brag about “getting laid”. This bothered me, and I would openly admit to being a virgin, but I never mustered the courage to openly scold my peers who claimed to be Christians, for their behavior. By this time the culture had already changed, and even I had engaged in a “hook-up” once or twice, although thankfully this was limited to first base.

The fornicating young men I encountered (like most of humanity, unfortunately) didn’t think much of the social and moral implications of their actions, but a recent piece at the Imaginative Conservative which links the rise of birth control to the decline of Western Civilization, puts it bluntly:  

A woman who takes the pill, or will get an abortion, or both, has little to no cost to sex, and can therefore “sell” it to men cheaply. A woman who refrains from using contraception can only sell sex at a much higher cost. Which type of women will men prefer? The obvious answer is women selling cheap sex. The expression, “no one’s gonna want to buy the cow if you’re giving the milk away for free” comes to mind. Women on the pill are practically giving the milk away for free. How does someone selling the cow at full price compete? The answer is that they cannot compete.

 The women who would otherwise refrain from premarital sex were priced out of the market by competitors offering the product much cheaper. Not only that, but now these women are basically forced to participate in premarital sex: ‘The advent of contraception and abortion used by others may result in an unwanted increase in sexual participation for those who reject the new technology.

Now, premarital sex is the cultural standard norm in relationships. As it always had before, sex leads to pregnancies, and without the high cost of marriage accompanying it, an increase of out-of-wedlock births followed. This new standard increased the rate of single motherhood, which then decreased the stigma of single-motherhood.

The murder of millions of unborn children, single mothers, broken families – it’s all a curse on a godless society which has an intergenerational impact whereby it destroys a people and a civilization.

2019 was a tough year for our family in many regards. My wife and I married as virgins nearly 8 years ago, but a few months ago I overheard her sharing a story about making out with a guy in college. She’s my superior when it comes to physical attractiveness by quite some distance, so I was aware of the fact that she got hit on quite a bit before we met. But at a time when our family was going through such a tough phase, hearing about it made me angry (even though it had happened more than a decade ago and before we met) . Although not applicable to my situation, I couldn’t help but think of the text in Deuteronomy 22:13-21:

“If any man takes a wife, and goes in to her, and detests her, 14 and charges her with shameful conduct, and brings a bad name on her, and says, ‘I took this woman, and when I came to her I found she was not a virgin,’ 15 then the father and mother of the young woman shall take and bring out the evidence of the young woman’s virginity to the elders of the city at the gate. 16 And the young woman’s father shall say to the elders, ‘I gave my daughter to this man as wife, and he detests her. 17 Now he has charged her with shameful conduct, saying, “I found your daughter was not a virgin,” and yet these are the evidences of my daughter’s virginity.’ And they shall spread the cloth before the elders of the city. 18 Then the elders of that city shall take that man and punish him; 19 and they shall fine him one hundred shekels of silver and give them to the father of the young woman, because he has brought a bad name on a virgin of Israel. And she shall be his wife; he cannot divorce her all his days.

20 But if the thing is true, and evidences of virginity are not found for the young woman, 21 then they shall bring out the young woman to the door of her father’s house, and the men of her city shall stone her to death with stones, because she has done a disgraceful thing in Israel, to play the harlot in her father’s house. So you shall [a]put away the evil from among you.”

To be clear, the passage does not command the death penalty for women who committed fornication and repented. It prescribes the death penalty for women who falsely present themselves as virgins. Although thankful that I married a virgin, I experienced some pain about the fact that my wife had gone to first base with other guys in the past. I cannot imagine the pain if one were to find out your bride, whom you thought to be a virgin, had had sexual intercourse with another man. 

Any kind of “hooking-up” outside of a biblical courtship, even if limited to presexual physical interaction, is not in harmony with the Biblical command to flee from sexual immorality (I Cor. 6:18). What starts out as seemingly innocent, can help cultivate a culture of abortion and broken families – a culture ultimately at war with to the Kingdom of God.

I realize the difficulty for young people in contemporary culture – as touched upon by the aforementioned quote from Steven Kessler’s piece at the Imaginative Conservative. The struggle is not one to be taken lightly, but this only entails the necessity to intensify the culture war against the sexual revolution. If we truly oppose abortion, the destruction of the family and ultimately, of our civilization, we must, in word and deed, actively oppose, in fact actively make war with the sexual revolution. It is not enough to oppose “gay marriage” or abortion on demand in theory. We must oppose this with our actions and guide our children to do likewise. If we do not, we are complicit in breeding a culture of death and destruction. 

Fornication is an abomination to God. It is destructive to his people’s wellbeing on earth. It is not a mere private act between two consenting adults as libertarians would have us believe. It has a negative impact on society as a whole and, as genetic studies have shown, even on our children and grandchildren.


  1. Tim Folke

    Thank you for this highly relevant message. It will reach those the Lord intends it too. Perhaps not as many as we would wish, but let us remember that – unlike the drive for growth in membership (quantity) the mainstream churches strive for – the God of the Bible (either old Testament or new) was never interested in numbers. He chose those sinners He wished, and dealt with them in terms of quality and not quantity, and each in their own order.

    For our people, sexual propriety and the strong family values that result have always been a cornerstone of our strength, and disdain thereof has been our downfall. Witness Russia and Hungary as to the former, and the UK and USA as to the latter.

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