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It's time to talk back. The generation born into evangelical purity culture has grown up, and many have started families of their own. But as time goes on, it's becoming more evident that many still struggle with purity culture's complicated legacy--its idolization of virginity, its mixed messages about modesty and lust, and its promise of a healthy marriage and great sex It's time to talk back. The generation born into evangelical purity culture has grown up, and many have started families of their own. But as time goes on, it's becoming more evident that many still struggle with purity culture's complicated legacy--its idolization of virginity, its mixed messages about modesty and lust, and its promise of a healthy marriage and great sex for those who follow the rules. In Talking Back to Purity Culture, Rachel Joy Welcher reviews the movement carefully, examining its teachings through the lens of Scripture. Compassionate, faithful, and wise, she charts a path forward for evangelicals in the ongoing debates about sexuality--one that rejects legalism and license alike, steering us back instead to the good news of Jesus. It's time to talk back to purity culture--and this book is ready to jump-start the conversation.


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It's time to talk back. The generation born into evangelical purity culture has grown up, and many have started families of their own. But as time goes on, it's becoming more evident that many still struggle with purity culture's complicated legacy--its idolization of virginity, its mixed messages about modesty and lust, and its promise of a healthy marriage and great sex It's time to talk back. The generation born into evangelical purity culture has grown up, and many have started families of their own. But as time goes on, it's becoming more evident that many still struggle with purity culture's complicated legacy--its idolization of virginity, its mixed messages about modesty and lust, and its promise of a healthy marriage and great sex for those who follow the rules. In Talking Back to Purity Culture, Rachel Joy Welcher reviews the movement carefully, examining its teachings through the lens of Scripture. Compassionate, faithful, and wise, she charts a path forward for evangelicals in the ongoing debates about sexuality--one that rejects legalism and license alike, steering us back instead to the good news of Jesus. It's time to talk back to purity culture--and this book is ready to jump-start the conversation.

30 review for Talking Back to Purity Culture: Rediscovering Faithful Christian Sexuality

  1. 4 out of 5

    Panda Incognito

    This book involves so many loaded topics that it is hard for me to know where to begin. Thus, I have immense respect for Rachel Joy Welcher, who took on the challenge of writing it. Throughout this book, she provides an orthodox perspective on purity culture, addressing its unbiblical promises and demands without discarding Scripture in the process. Unlike other books about the purity movement, which focus on religious deconstruction and reject Christianity, this book reevaluates purity culture This book involves so many loaded topics that it is hard for me to know where to begin. Thus, I have immense respect for Rachel Joy Welcher, who took on the challenge of writing it. Throughout this book, she provides an orthodox perspective on purity culture, addressing its unbiblical promises and demands without discarding Scripture in the process. Unlike other books about the purity movement, which focus on religious deconstruction and reject Christianity, this book reevaluates purity culture through an orthodox lens, asking where Christians can go from here. Welcher separates biblical teaching from human-constructed legalism, and encourages her readers to be willing to reevaluate their beliefs. Evaluating the Fallout At the beginning of the book, Welcher provides a history of the movement from the late 1990s to the present, quoting from popular books that shaped many young Christian’s views of sexuality and their faith. In response to these books, she cites published resources and shares personal stories that show the damage and fallout from these beliefs. Some of these stories come from her own life, others are from personal conversations, and still more come from official interviews. In the following chapters, she addresses how purity culture held out heterosexual marriage and children as a guaranteed reward for chaste behavior without acknowledging the realities of long-term singleness, same-sex attraction, divorce, marital frustrations, and infertility. Welcher also provides a complex analysis of how badly Christian culture addressed sexual abuse during this era. Only the worst resources actively blamed victims for inviting their trauma, but others sent mixed messages or avoided the topic. Welcher challenges Christians to keep sexual abuse victims in mind when they talk about sexuality, because even though writers and speakers have often treated abuse experiences as an anomaly, they are heartrendingly common. In my opinion, this is one of the strongest parts of the book, because she addresses the topic in great depth, with reference to a variety of different situations and experiences. There are other topics that she can only address in passing because of the book’s limited scope, but because she previously did academic research on this topic, she was able to address this with the depth and nuance that the topic deserves. Looking to the Future Welcher writes with great humility, leaving room for all the research, analysis, and understanding that is yet to come. She also maintains a gracious tone towards others, and because many books about the church’s failings are abrasive and condemning, I admire her ability to write about so many challenging topics with grace, compassion, and empathy for everyone involved. This book is not just for people who feel victimized by purity culture, but is also for those who promoted it, and those who still hold some of these beliefs. Welcher calls Christians to reevaluate their approach to understanding sexuality, and even though she is not yet a parent, her experience working with youth gives her credibility, especially in the chapter about how parents can pursue ongoing, nuanced conversations about sexuality with their children. She also encourages adult Christians to talk about sexuality with each other, and supports this by providing discussion questions and group activity ideas at the end of each chapter. It never would have occurred to me to view this as a reading group recommendation, but I agree that challenging topics like this should not stay within the realm of private reading, and need to spill over into conversations and relationships within the church. I appreciate the thought, effort, and care that Welcher invested into writing this book, and even though it cannot possibly cover every person’s experience or concern, the discussion questions give readers a chance to build on this in their own conversations. This is a solid, orthodox guide to reevaluating purity culture and seeking a better path forward. I received a free ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Ruth

    The Purity Culture movement dominated discussions in my youth. I became disenchanted years ago not with holding a Christian sex ethic but with the way Purity Culture had shaped faithful obedience into something beyond Scripture. Welcher pulls back the veil on the false promises and points us to a better way.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Matthew Manchester

    This is a sex book. SUMMARY This is not a sex book. Rather, it's a sexuality book. Welcher writes after reading multiple purity culture books from the 90s/early-2000s and interviewing a host of people involved in that movement. In some ways, it reminded me of The Whole Christ: Legalism, Antinomianism, and Gospel Assurance—Why the Marrow Controversy Still Matters where the church has fallen into legalism yet knowing that licentiousness is not the answer either. In so many ways, I am the target This is a sex book. SUMMARY This is not a sex book. Rather, it's a sexuality book. Welcher writes after reading multiple purity culture books from the 90s/early-2000s and interviewing a host of people involved in that movement. In some ways, it reminded me of The Whole Christ: Legalism, Antinomianism, and Gospel Assurance—Why the Marrow Controversy Still Matters where the church has fallen into legalism yet knowing that licentiousness is not the answer either. In so many ways, I am the target audience for this book. I grew up deeply within the purity culture movement and it has defined my life to a degree. I've wanted a book like this: one that not only addressed flawed thinking in my mind but also helped me parent in this area better than I was. THE GOOD Welcher demolishes purity culture rhetoric. She also consistently reminds you what the real problem is: "So many of us walked right past the gospel on our way to a purity conference. Our parents and youth leaders were so concerned about our budding sexuality, scrambling for direction and wisdom, that some of us ended up signing abstinence pledges before falling on our knees in repentance. We wore purity rings as badges of honor, forgetting that it is Jesus who cleanses us from all unrighteousness." Her chapters on "Female Responsibilities" and "Male Purity and the Rhetoric of Lust" are her best chapters in my opinion, though every single chapter slaps. I highlighted a good portion of this book. Most will particularly applaud her chapter "Problems with the Promise of Sex" where she takes a look at what the purity culture movement have done to discourage those who are divorced, barren, or same-sex attracted. She writes so carefully, yet boldly, that it's such a winsome chapter. Let me post some of my favorite quotes: "It also reveals an issue with our functional theology: if we truly believe in the Imago Dei—that all people are created in the image of God—then we must recognize that what some brush off as “boys being boys” is actually a perpetuation of abuse that insults the image of God." "The idea that we need to offer non-virgins some sort of symbolic “second virginity” reinforces our misunderstanding of where purity comes from." "How we want our children to live, sexually, is what we really believe about sexual purity." "Jesus himself was single: would we relegate him to the kids’ table, forcing him to sit on a too small plastic chair? Singles do not belong at the margins of our churches. No one does." "I may have been a virgin when I got married, but I was also an adulterer." "Teachings about the moral superiority and responsibility of women place a burden on them that Scripture does not. The rhetoric reduces women to their sexual function, instead of depicting them the way Scripture does, as image bearers of God and coheirs of the kingdom. [...] Such “empowerment” leaves women feeling defeated and guilty, rather than valued by the church and strengthened in Christ." "And in the same way wearing a purity ring does not guarantee virginity, virginity doesn’t guarantee purity." Also, this book doesn't go for the easy answers. There's lament found on these pages. And can I take a moment and praise the last paragraph of every chapter. Welcher is a pro at summarizing her thoughts at the end. They were so good, I noticed how good they consistently were. In my reading experience, that's a rare thing. THE CHALLENGES I should give a trigger warning for those who have been abused, particularly in conjunction with the purity movement. There's a chapter that focuses on abuse and Welcher doesn't shy away. Also, due to my own issues, I didn't find the chapter as comforting as some women might, but Welcher does make mention on male survivors and that helped. Also, Welcher is direct in this book. Loving, but direct. I'm grateful that she speaks very plainly about sex and sexuality, but it's gonna feel awkward for us purity culture kids. :-) The only other challenge I had was regarding parenting advice. Welcher states that she's not a parent at the time of writing this book. However, her work with teaching really shines through where there is little parental experience. It still makes me want a sequel in 15 years if she becomes a parent. (*insert Boy Meets Girl: Say Hello to Courtship joke here*) CONCLUSION It is my hope that every person/parent reads this book. I know that I'm freaking out since my kids are at "that age" but the gospel encouragement Welcher writes reminds me that purity isn't the goal, Jesus is. It has encouraged me out of the same mindset that formed me. 4.5 stars, rounded down.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Aimee

    Rachel Joy Welcher writes with grace and humility as she addresses the effects of Christian purity culture and its messages. Several of her points expressed thoughts or conversations I have had in recent years; others revealed false teachings I did not realize I had internalized. In this book, Welcher shines a light on some of the seemingly harmless but actually insidious teachings in the church regarding sexuality, and she does so while holding Jesus up consistently as the one who deserves our Rachel Joy Welcher writes with grace and humility as she addresses the effects of Christian purity culture and its messages. Several of her points expressed thoughts or conversations I have had in recent years; others revealed false teachings I did not realize I had internalized. In this book, Welcher shines a light on some of the seemingly harmless but actually insidious teachings in the church regarding sexuality, and she does so while holding Jesus up consistently as the one who deserves our focus and obedience.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Hayley Chase

    Talking Back to Purity Culture is not a book that claims to know everything, or that it is perfect. It is a book that asks us to look at the facts: what the purity culture was and is, how it impacted a variety of groups within the church, and how it is still impacting so many today. It asks us to look these facts, these people, in the eyes, and acknowledge what has been done to them. What has been done to us. It is not an easy read. Whether Rachel Joy Welcher is discussing the impact of the purity Talking Back to Purity Culture is not a book that claims to know everything, or that it is perfect. It is a book that asks us to look at the facts: what the purity culture was and is, how it impacted a variety of groups within the church, and how it is still impacting so many today. It asks us to look these facts, these people, in the eyes, and acknowledge what has been done to them. What has been done to us. It is not an easy read. Whether Rachel Joy Welcher is discussing the impact of the purity culture upon the sexually abused, the same-sex-attracted, the singles, or the divorced, there is something in nearly every section that will touch your heart (I know that I cried more than once). But Ms. Welcher doesn't leave us simply facing these hurtful truths, with no hope - no light - at the end of the tunnel. "We may feel shattered," she says, "but our worth remains intact." We face these facts and these hurts so that we can begin to heal from them. So that we can move forward. Do better. Step "out of the darkness and into His marvelous light." Leave the shame that was impressed upon so many of us behind. So, while this book doesn't "have all the answers", while there were small bits and fragments that I might not have fully agreed with, it does exactly what it is intended to do: it makes you think. It makes you ask questions. It makes you want to talk with others. It makes you crave community, and desire to seek healing. And it does all of this without ever losing sight of the importance of Biblical purity and the call to holiness. It is an important book - one that I will be using with my women's group to further open these topics up, and - God willing - provide some measure of clarity and community for these young women who have been so wounded and burdened for so long. So, if that is you - if you have been weighed down and seemingly crushed by the guilt and shame that the purity culture inflicted - pick up this book. Even if you don't find the full solution, it just might make you start asking the right questions. And it will gently and lovingly guide you along the way.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Emily Enger

    "Talking Back to Purity Culture" is a deeply-researched and thoughtfully-written book that re-examines the popular "purity" movement that overtook Evangelicalism throughout the 1990s and early 2000s. Welcher grew up in this movement and began to re-examine it when the perfect Christian family life she expected didn't happen quite like purity culture promised it would. While acknowledging the good intentions behind purity culture, Welcher calls Christians to abandon some of the lies that became e "Talking Back to Purity Culture" is a deeply-researched and thoughtfully-written book that re-examines the popular "purity" movement that overtook Evangelicalism throughout the 1990s and early 2000s. Welcher grew up in this movement and began to re-examine it when the perfect Christian family life she expected didn't happen quite like purity culture promised it would. While acknowledging the good intentions behind purity culture, Welcher calls Christians to abandon some of the lies that became embedded in its teaching, including women being responsible for men's lust, the promise of the ideal family as a response to one's sexual abstinence, the popularizing of rape-culture language, and more. "Talking Back to Purity Culture" is not a call to abandon the sexual ethics of the Bible, but rather to return to them - because it is the Bible that is infallible, not Christian purity books or movements. I received an Advance Readers Copy of this book by the publisher.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Rachel Mayes Allen

    I've been eager to read this book since I first heard Rachel as a guest on the Where Do We Go From Here podcast, and it did not disappoint. Rachel bathes this incredibly complex and controversial topic in grace, acknowledging that the discussion is nuanced while anchoring it in truth. Too many evaluations of purity culture belie the evaluators' bitterness or departure from orthodoxy; this one maintains a gracious tone even while pointing out the many false and misleading teachings within purity I've been eager to read this book since I first heard Rachel as a guest on the Where Do We Go From Here podcast, and it did not disappoint. Rachel bathes this incredibly complex and controversial topic in grace, acknowledging that the discussion is nuanced while anchoring it in truth. Too many evaluations of purity culture belie the evaluators' bitterness or departure from orthodoxy; this one maintains a gracious tone even while pointing out the many false and misleading teachings within purity culture. She casts a vision of biblical sexuality which is both faithful to Scripture and full of love for fallen human beings, just as God intended.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Camden

    4.5 stars. Review coming soon!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kelsey

    This is a book that I wish was around decades ago, but am so grateful Rachel Joy Welcher has written it for today. Many of us who grew up in the church were taught about purity in the context of protecting ourselves until marriage, and the subsequent “rewards” that would follow (amazing sex with spouse, marriage being filled with blessings and children, etc. - things that might happen, but are not promises by any means, and as Rachel has expressed, are easily turned into household idols and beli This is a book that I wish was around decades ago, but am so grateful Rachel Joy Welcher has written it for today. Many of us who grew up in the church were taught about purity in the context of protecting ourselves until marriage, and the subsequent “rewards” that would follow (amazing sex with spouse, marriage being filled with blessings and children, etc. - things that might happen, but are not promises by any means, and as Rachel has expressed, are easily turned into household idols and believed in as a form of the prosperity gospel). There was and still is a focus within Christians on following rules concerning purity, without emphasizing the biblical “why” behind them and the importance of an intentional, pursued relationship with Jesus. I agree with the author’s take: “Lazy spirituality results when we teach our children that following our rules is all it takes to honor God.” Also, she brings up good points about how surface-level rule-following for personal gain doesn’t have a firm foundation: “...if our motivation for pursuing purity is personal fulfillment-the reward of married sex-then when the wedding never happens, our virginity is stolen from us, our marriage crumbles, our spouse dies, or sex fails to be nirvana, our conclusion will be that sexual purity isn’t worth it.” Rachel references many of the books and messages that were put on pedestals and emphasized during purity conferences/church events in the years when purity rings and signing purity pledges were all the rage in Christian circles. Many of these resources used a lot of scare tactics that were rooted in evoking shame and blame, and did not typically lend themselves to opportunities for real dialogue that would help anyone who had legitimate questions or was struggling in one way or another. I appreciate the way the author discusses the true “why” behind obedience, as well as spends a great deal of time dedicated to how the church also needs to gracefully, lovingly, and biblically respond to sexual assault, survivors, singleness, same-sex attracted believers, and other important topics that, similar to purity culture as a whole, are typically shied away from in many churches or Christian groups. Ultimately: “Your faith is not in vain. Your self-control is not for nothing. Your trust in Jesus is well-placed...Whether you are married, single, same-sex attracted, lonely, infertile, transgender, divorced, asexual, whoever you are-you matter. Your longings matter. And submitting them to God’s precious, holy will matters.” I recommend reading this book and think it will be a great conversational piece for Christians and church groups especially with the questions she poses in each chapter that help challenge our views and point us back to the Bible.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    This book examines and untangles the fruit of the purity culture movement while consistently pointing readers back to the gospel and a biblical understanding of sexuality. Welcher acknowledges the good intentions of 'purity culture' teachings while also critically engaging with the ways that such teachings led to damage, pain, shame and downright bad theology. Incredibly well-written and well-researched. I've already done the work of deconstructing a lot of the shame and pain of purity culture i This book examines and untangles the fruit of the purity culture movement while consistently pointing readers back to the gospel and a biblical understanding of sexuality. Welcher acknowledges the good intentions of 'purity culture' teachings while also critically engaging with the ways that such teachings led to damage, pain, shame and downright bad theology. Incredibly well-written and well-researched. I've already done the work of deconstructing a lot of the shame and pain of purity culture in my own life, but Rachel's work helped put even clearer words to some of my own experiences. I think it was very wise of her to use the books and conferences that shaped the movement as her source material to interrogate. I do not agree with all of Welcher's assertions about biblical sexual ethics or her treatment of LGBTQ+ people, but still found tons of valuable insight here. Sex is a GOOD thing that was created by God and we must refuse to either demonize or idolize it. I hope that this book encourages open and honest conversations about sex, sexual sins, and embracing our God-given sexuality. For anyone who grew up immersed in purity culture, this is a must read.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Persis

    Rachel Welcher critiques what happens when purity is reduced to sexuality and driven by legalism, disconnected from the gospel. This is a must read for those burned by purity culture and parents who want to guide their kids. It's also for the entire church because much of the harm happens when this topic isn't discussed in light of the whole of scripture, grounded in the gospel, and within the context of Christian community. I hope to elaborate more in this review at some point.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Ylva

    Rachel Joy Welcher is by far not the first person to criticize how (especially American) churches approach purity, sexuality and relationships. But while the church is being rightfully criticized by many, this is often paired with demands to abandon teachings about purity and Biblical sexuality altogether and replace it with a radically sex-positive, "anything goes" approach. And while I think that we can learn a lot about sexuality from science and should not reject new findings and theories ju Rachel Joy Welcher is by far not the first person to criticize how (especially American) churches approach purity, sexuality and relationships. But while the church is being rightfully criticized by many, this is often paired with demands to abandon teachings about purity and Biblical sexuality altogether and replace it with a radically sex-positive, "anything goes" approach. And while I think that we can learn a lot about sexuality from science and should not reject new findings and theories just because they are secular, Welcher does an amazing job at showing what shame-free, Christ-focused teaching about sexuality can look like. Some of the aspects that she addresses in this book are how purity teachings can turn into a sexual prosperity gospel as well as promote victim-blaming and treat purity as something purely physical. She illustrates how sexual legalism can lead to problematic attitudes in the church and hinder people to seek help and forgiveness for their sexual sin. Finally, she shows a way forward without leaving the Biblical foundation and how to pass on Christian values without turning them into idols. Her claims about the effects of purity culture are based both on many interviews with people that grew up with it and and an amazing critical discussion of many popular books on purity and sexuality such as And the Bride Wore White or I Kissed Dating Goodbye. She points out both the good things as well as where the authors, even if not intended that way, taught potentially harmful things. The author is also well versed in Scripture and uses it really well to support her suggestions. Another great point is that she refers to criticism of purity cultures by other authors and Christian public figures and critically discusses that as well. At the end of each chapter, there are discussion questions for either individual reflection or a group study. This book is for anyone, parents, teachers, youth leaders, pastors, counselors etc., that wants to teach about purity. Next to Sheila Wray-Gregoire's blog, this is the best resource on Christian sexuality that I have encountered so far. A huge thanks to the publisher for providing a free review copy via Netgalley!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Becky Schwarz

    It took me way longer than I meant to, reading the advanced copy of this book, but now that I have I can say without a doubt it is a needed and important work. I am so thankful for the word's of Rachel Joy Welcher and the healing this perspective brought. Whether you lived through these experiences or not, you will benefit from reading this book. "Talking Back to Purity Culture" puts the Gospel back where it should be. As our best and only treasure.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jodi

    I'm 39, so I was the exact target demographic as the purity movement emerged and gained footing. I still struggle to this day with believing that God's love for me is dependent on me, what I do, how I think, etc... Some of it has to do with my personality and family of origin, but purity culture also played a part. I have a "promise ring" in my drawer that my parents gave me when I was a teenager, and I bought into all the rhetoric about chewed up gum, dirty water, marked up paper, and so on. I I'm 39, so I was the exact target demographic as the purity movement emerged and gained footing. I still struggle to this day with believing that God's love for me is dependent on me, what I do, how I think, etc... Some of it has to do with my personality and family of origin, but purity culture also played a part. I have a "promise ring" in my drawer that my parents gave me when I was a teenager, and I bought into all the rhetoric about chewed up gum, dirty water, marked up paper, and so on. I see so many people my age passing this rhetoric on to their children (I heard a mom last week say that they've always taught their children that clothing is the wrapping paper for your spouse to open someday and that they have to remind their 9 yr old daughter to be modest out of respect for her brothers?!). I have always used correct anatomical terms with my children because I'm a nurse and it just makes sense to me, but I've struggled with how to help them understand modesty without introducing shame, a la the mom I described above - I would never say that to my daughter because my sons know that their sister is not an object to lust after! I'm incredibly thankful for this book, as Rachel spends time discussing so many issues I have struggled to understand in recent years, as I have come out of the fog of what turns out was basically fundamentalism. A huge frustration to me is the evangelical idolization of marriage - I have never taught my children that marriage is definitely in their future or something they should expect. I also realize that I married incredibly young, partially motivated by the things I took away from purity culture, and I want to help my children understand that that's not something they need to feel pressured to do. I have a good marriage and a wonderful husband, but many of my friends who married young had many, many painful experiences that might have been avoided if we didn't have the "it's better to marry than to burn" mentality. I also appreciate the things Rachel shared to help cultivate healthy conversations and relationships with children. Overall, this book is worth reading even if you have never even heard of purity culture or experienced any of it, but for those of us who did and now see its flaws, get yourself a copy asap.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Krista Mc

    There is a lot to think about in this book. I have seen both the good and the bad of "purity culture", so I was curious to see which direction the author would go. She believes (and I agree) that a book such as this should be read in community with honest discussion and not just processed in isolation. "Appearing pure isn't the same thing as pursuing sexual purity". Many of us can (and have) played the game of looking pure on the outside but in truth being far from it. Most of us desire genuine There is a lot to think about in this book. I have seen both the good and the bad of "purity culture", so I was curious to see which direction the author would go. She believes (and I agree) that a book such as this should be read in community with honest discussion and not just processed in isolation. "Appearing pure isn't the same thing as pursuing sexual purity". Many of us can (and have) played the game of looking pure on the outside but in truth being far from it. Most of us desire genuine heart-purity without making it works-based but stumble in our journey. There were some challenging chapters here...the author cites some books and authors that I have read and revered and loved and exposes some of the unintended consequences of their thought processes. None of the authors advocating for a wise purity standard was condemned or maligned. I could see why she highlighted the examples that she did. Re-evaluation of a long-held belief contains risk, but it can produce growth and maturity. Asking questions does not have to mean the beginning of the end (the end in this case being walking away from the faith) if we understand that we are not questioning God, but our beliefs about God, and that those beliefs about how He wants us to live can be fallible and in need of realignment because of our humanity. The author presents the issue fairly and in a balanced way--she quotes and interviews folks from all sides of the spectrum--those who have benefited from and promoted purity culture, those burned by it, those who expected optimal results from it and blame it for falling short. In the end, purity culture should not be separated from our view of God and His word. Many chapters I resonated and agreed with, and a few I didn't--that is where personal discernment comes into play.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jill

    I was interested to read Welcher’s book because of the harm I had seen done to my own girls from purity culture. Even though I had in many ways embraced that culture and taught it, I grew very uncomfortable with it and finally, like the author, had to find a middle ground that would end the painful repercussions of bad theology while staying true to Scripture. Welcher does that. She has done so much research, and she takes us on the trip back into how this culture began. I appreciate her dedicati I was interested to read Welcher’s book because of the harm I had seen done to my own girls from purity culture. Even though I had in many ways embraced that culture and taught it, I grew very uncomfortable with it and finally, like the author, had to find a middle ground that would end the painful repercussions of bad theology while staying true to Scripture. Welcher does that. She has done so much research, and she takes us on the trip back into how this culture began. I appreciate her dedication to good scholarship in this as well as interesting writing. She is gracious yet insistent about fixing the brokenness of purity culture. If you’ve been harmed by this teaching, this book will help. If you’re considering walking away from it, this book will help. If you don’t think there’s anything wrong with it, I suggest you read this book. As a teacher and writer myself on his topic, I can endorse what she has to say.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Rachael

    This is a brilliant book. I was hesitant at first as sometimes books like this one can criticise without being constructive, but Welcher really offers a way forward, rooted in theology and a desire to be faithful to God. A must read for christians who grew up within the purity culture, but also those wanting a new way to look at life long purity.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kaitlin

    A few years ago, I penned a post about purity culture. I made the point that girding your virginal loins till your wedding day, treating marital sex as a prize for your righteous behavior, was a poor way to create a Christian sexual ethic. I recall as I typed out a few hundred words on the subject that I wished someone would write a book on this because it seemed to me, in the midst of all the true love waiting and letting God write your love story, that something better could be said. I can than A few years ago, I penned a post about purity culture. I made the point that girding your virginal loins till your wedding day, treating marital sex as a prize for your righteous behavior, was a poor way to create a Christian sexual ethic. I recall as I typed out a few hundred words on the subject that I wished someone would write a book on this because it seemed to me, in the midst of all the true love waiting and letting God write your love story, that something better could be said. I can thankfully say that Rachel's new book answers that prayer. With true grace, she offers wisdom and clarity around what purity is and isn’t (hint: it’s not all about your virginity); what the Bible actually has to say about sex (it’s a gift but not a guarantee in this life); and what purity culture tried to do but failed (guard our hearts without providing anything but a broken rewards system). I truly believe this is the book we Christian children of the 90’s and early 2000’s have been waiting for.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Reyna

    Since Dannah Gresh, Josh Harris, and Wendy Shalit's books about purity I have not read anything about this topic. I think this kind of book is disappearing, they are very countercultural. Sad, I know. Why sad? because even when I know and understand some people felt wronged or pushed by a toxic legalistic culture I do not support, I have to admit there is another generation growing up without a purity option, this topic is banned, left behind and fear about hurting someone is now the way to hurt Since Dannah Gresh, Josh Harris, and Wendy Shalit's books about purity I have not read anything about this topic. I think this kind of book is disappearing, they are very countercultural. Sad, I know. Why sad? because even when I know and understand some people felt wronged or pushed by a toxic legalistic culture I do not support, I have to admit there is another generation growing up without a purity option, this topic is banned, left behind and fear about hurting someone is now the way to hurt, again for young and teens giving away purity for shallow and empty promises. This topic must be expressed, explained, and talked about openly, with sincerity and grace. I do not support bullies or people who treat others like trash because they did not think about purity and lived licentious sexual lives, but I do believe we need to know the facts so we can decide and that won't happen if we don't know different perspectives and options while growing up. I think Rachel tried to explain that not anything goes without consequences. Sexual prosperity gospel can also make many empty promises to the ones who live pure lives. Purity is not merely physical. There is sexual legalism, and not so much emphasis in our minds, our thoughts. I'm very concerned about how this generation blames everything and everyone for their own mistakes or consequences of their decisions. That is a shame, it is painful. Everything you read, you judge, think about it and decide what are you going to implement as an action in your life. I invite you to read and think critically about these topics, freedom, purity, shame, how to approach people who have wronged themselves or others. Even when I think this may be a sensitive topic for many, probably some may be brave enough to go through the discussion questions at the end of each chapter. I think parents, youth, and teen leaders, or counselors must read this kind of content.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Wesley Pena

  21. 5 out of 5

    Angela

  22. 4 out of 5

    Janelle

  23. 4 out of 5

    Guilherme Cordeiro

  24. 4 out of 5

    Sarah McGalliard

  25. 5 out of 5

    Samuel Tran

  26. 4 out of 5

    Erin Ervin

  27. 5 out of 5

    Leslie-Anne

  28. 4 out of 5

    Aunna Gill

  29. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

  30. 5 out of 5

    bookishtory

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