Young Evangelicals back cohabitation

David Virtue DVirtue236 at AOL.COM
Sun May 13 22:23:11 EDT 2001


Young evangelicals back cohabitation

By Jonathan Wynne-Jones
Church of England Newspaper

A third of young evangelical Christians believe that it is acceptable
to live together before getting married.

According to the survey of Christians in the 18 to 35 age group, young
evangelicals are turning their backs on traditional biblical teaching,
in favour of a more secular lifestyle.

They see cohabitation as a way of getting to know their partner better
before getting married, despite the church's teaching condemning the
lifestyle as living in sin.

Attitudes to marriage have been straying from the biblical teaching
rapidly, as only 28 per cent regarded cohabitation as acceptable in
1995, an increase of 18 per cent in just six years.

Evangelical Alliance's findings come only a few weeks after research by
the Rev Prof Leslie Francis showed that young Christians believe sex
outside marriage is morally acceptable.

This generation has the fewest numbers attending church, and as more
continue to leave, the church is caught in a dilemma of trying to
uphold the validity of marriage as the basis for monogamous
heterosexual relations, but at the same time not wishing to exclude
them.

Matt Bird, the Evangelical Alliance's 18-35s Consultant, believes that
the church faces a serious challenge in discipling young adults about
relationships and marriage.

"Cohabitation is clearly not the best demonstration of a lifelong
commitment between a man and a woman, and it certainly isn't the most
stable context in which to bring up children," he said.

There was some more positive news in the survey, however, with almost
all Christians, and 84 per cent of non-Christians, agreeing that
getting married should be a lifetime commitment. While unbelievers did
not have a problem with divorce, only a fifth of Christians said that
it was acceptable.

END




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