by Julian Mann
It is easy to point the finger at liberal Anglican churches for caving into the cultural consensus that sex before marriage is acceptable. But it is sobering to reflect that the larger evangelical Anglican churches are almost certainly not immune from the changes registered by the latest British Social Attitudes survey.
When the BSA survey first appeared in 1983, 31 per cent of Anglicans said that pre-marital sex was "always" or "mostly" wrong; in 2012, only ten per cent thought this.
Evangelical churches and para-church organisations 30 years ago generally gave clear biblical teaching against pre-marital sex. But given the ranks of unmarried, professing Christian couples now attending the larger evangelical Anglican flagships, both conservative and charismatic, one wonders why they are not choosing to get married as they age side by side in the pew.
Is it realistic to claim that such 'evangelical' couples, in many cases in long-term relationships, are not having pre-marital sex?
If they are, then are they deliberately ignoring what they are being taught from the pulpit or is the Bible's teaching being soft-pedalled?