Lessons in purity and why it's worth waiting until marriage

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The Candyshop conference, which is designed to "empower this generation to live pure under increasing cultural pressures", held its second meeting of the year on Saturday at the London School of Theology.

An eclectic mix of seminars and interactive sessions took place educating young people on what the Bible teaches about sex and relationships and the importance of saving oneself for marriage.

Sarah Richards, co-pastor of COM church in Dunstable, opened the conference with the subject of social media and 'sexting', the act of sending text messages or images of a sexual nature.

"Once you've posted something online, you lose control of it completely. You no longer have control over who sees it or where it goes. Even it is deleted, it can be traced," she said.

Richards touched on how exposure of explicit images could ruin job prospects and social life.

"People often think that they are not going to get caught and the act is just between them and another person. But Jesus warns us that nothing we do can be hidden."

She continued: "Jesus does not speak about 'sexting'. He does not speak about social media, however, he was ahead of his time and we can see this in Luke 12: 2-3."

Youth Pastor Stephen McEwen delivered a message on the sanctity of sex and how the present generation are being fed fabrications about the purpose of it.

He said: "Sex has lost its context which is marriage. When sex moves beyond the marriage bed it is dangerous. Sex is not just a physical act, it is a spiritual act."

He continued: "This generation is suffering from an over exposure of knowledge. We have an explosion of knowledge about sex now on the internet, you have access by the click of a mouse."

He recalled an MP stating on News Night one evening that sex education in schools only deals with the 'mechanics' and not real life.

Pornography is more accessible now than it has ever been. According to covenanteyes.com , one in five mobile searches are for pornography and 24 per cent of smartphone owners admit to having pornographic material on their phones.

MOBO award winning artist Jahaziel, a former drug and porn addict, illustrated how pornography affects individuals spiritually.

"It is a scientific and biological fact that the same chemical reaction goes on in the brain with porn addiction as with drug addiction," he said.

He continued: "What effect does porn have on your spiritual life? I would say two things, death and decay. Death to our character, healthy relationships with the opposite sex, and our confidence in God. It also brings death to ministries, marriages, our sensitivity towards God and our joy and peace in God.

"You will never experience the life and peace that God intends so long as pornography is a part of your life."

Closing the conference was Rachel Gardner, the Director of the Romance Academy, a project that develops young people's self esteem by encouraging sexual delay. She also touched on sex being a sacred gift from God and how it is worth abstaining until marriage.

"I believe that we save sex for marriage because sex is about two becoming one flesh. It really is worth protecting," she said.

She shared her opinion of Christian dating saying she thinks it is "absolutely fine for Christians to date".

"I think that is a great way to practise being godly boyfriends and girlfriends, then husbands and wives and saying 'God, work on my character'. Don't just bring me the perfect person, help me to be the right person for them."

The final conference will take place in Wolverhampton on 5 April.

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