Virgin Tales and the Romance Prosperity Gospel

Khrystian kicks up her heels — or at least one — with her military captain husband Chad in ‘Virgin Tales.

A new evangelical “documentary” movie’s trailer starts out typical. Young women pledge to stay virgins until marriage. An evangelical song plays. Younger girls dance in lacy white.

Then we see a woman kneeling for her fatherly/priestly blessing. Later we hear another woman say, “I’ve just always known that I wanted to be a wife and a mother. I would hate to go off and spend thousands of dollars on an education that I wouldn’t use.”

Wait — wasn’t this presentation about staying pure before marriage?

For some Christians, those beliefs are one and the same. But are biblical commands to walk by the Spirit in light of the Gospel, treat spiritual family with purity, and repent of sexual sins, no longer enough? Do we also need (Talmud-like?) rules about not even kissing before marriage, human fathers acting as family “priests,” and women refusing to attend college?

Even in mainstream Christianity we may promise: Sacrifice yourself, sow your seed, and God will always reward you with a great marriage — effectively, a Romance Prosperity Gospel.

Further concerns:

  • Why do many abstinence promotions focus only on women’s purity? Why do others emphasize fathers helping daughters, an emphasis simply foreign to Scripture?
  • Why make “documentaries” to push beliefs that are at best extra-biblical? (See also: Divided, which accuses youth ministry of not simply being a bad idea but of ruining families and churches.)
  • How does showcasing one’s virginity — encouraging others to think about a particular woman having or not having sex! — fit with biblical truths about humility and modesty?

We must stay active in non-Christian cultures opposing idolatrous versions of “marriage.” But let’s be sure we aren’t making extra-biblical marriage methods into new idols within evangelical cultures — idols that may do just as much to exalt ourselves and distract from the Christ whom marriage should exalt.

As much as we oppose marriage redefinition, let’s also make time to refute other sins such as family worship, virgin veneration, and Romance Prosperity Gospels.

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About E. Stephen Burnett

E. Stephen Burnett is a journalist, aspiring novelist, and editor and webslinger at Speculative Faith. His mission: to explore and enjoy epic stories that reflect the truths and beauties of the first and greatest Epic Story, God’s Word. He also writes for a dynamic news franchise in Austin, Texas and delves into Christ-and-culture doctrine at Christ and Pop Culture. He also enjoys nonfiction, soundtrack music, and spending life with his wife, Lacy, in their Texas headquarters.


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