Belmont University Research Symposium (BURS)

Publication Date



Theology and Christian Ministry, College of

BURS Faculty Advisor

Andy Watts

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation


Words like “virginity”, “sex”, and “sexuality” hold a good deal of weight and importance inAmerican society and in the Church, but are Christians actually approaching them theway God intended? While the purity movement arose out of good and biblical intentions, the way it has been implemented through the use of guilt and shame-driven techniques has hurt just as many people as it has helped, if not more. Even those who feel it has helped them in many ways are walking around with underlying scars that can affect their friendships, dating relationships, marriages, or even the way they raise their kids. In this presentation, I will take a look at the history of words like these along with the history of the Purity Movement itself. I will also talk about the implications of the Purity Movement for the Church, politics, media, and greater American society, exploring specific examples of how it has and can affect those who have been influenced by it. Finally, I will examine some features of the Purity Movement using Russel Moore, Emily Timbol as well as the theology of Sarah Coakley in order to empower healing, unity, and a healthier sense of how to steward sexuality.