Introduction: From My Heart to Yours
I am a pastor. I have been involved in ministry since early 1959, the year I was discharged from the Marine Corps and entered seminary. During these decades I have been directly in touch with the needs of people. Refusing to remain aloof from the pain and brokenness of humanity, my wife and I have seen firsthand the heartache brought on by wrong choices and irresponsible decisions. Rather than hardening us, these up-close-and-personal years in the real world have deepened our understanding, softened our spirits, and given us a compassion neither of us possessed in our earlier years. As our eyes have been opened, our hearts have been broken.
God has chosen to extend the boundaries of our ministry far beyond my expectations. As this has happened, I have been allowed to witness a broader scene than many in ministry. Such exposure has enlarged my perspective and forced me to face issues I could have otherwise missed altogether or conveniently chosen to ignore.
Of all the issues I have encountered through all the years I have been engaged in people-related involvements, none are more significant than the sanctity of life and sexual purity. The ground swell of concern surrounding each has made them the inescapable issues of our times. Remaining silent on either is no longer an option. I have spoken on both in recent months. The response was so overwhelming I felt compelled to put my thoughts into print.
The book you hold in your hand - or that you are reading online - is the result of that decision. As you can see by its size, it is not meant to be an exhaustive treatment of the issues. Many other volumes, far more thorough than mine, deal with the subjects in much greater detail. My desire, however, is to address the essentials succinctly, biblically, and compassionately . . . leaving you room to reason your way through the mine field without getting blown away in confusion. It is my hope that you will feel informed rather than insulted, encouraged to think rather than forced to agree on every point, and ultimately motivated to make the best decisions based on the timeless principles of Scripture.
In the final analysis, the ball is in your court. You are the one who must decide, then respond on the basis of that decision. As a pastor, I appeal to your heart throughout this book. Open its door and let the truth in. If you do, you will be surprised at how quickly the fog will lift and how clearly the issues will appear. At that point, the right decisions will no longer seem confusing and complicated. They will, in fact, be incredibly simple.
Simple . . . but not easy.
Chapter 1 || Table of Contents