1. The goodness of the body
2. The meaning of sex and marriage
Furthermore, whereas purity culture has an idealistic view of sex—“just wait till you’re married, and we guarantee amazing, mind-blowing sex!”—a theology of the body demythologizes this view. Like anything in marriage, sex takes work, intentionality, vulnerability, and care. This is no sex prosperity gospel. Like marriage as a whole, the sexual dimension of our marriages may go through seasons of better or worse. Rather than holding out false promises, we must emphasize both the realistic difficulty and the immense blessing of the sexual dimension of marriage.
3. The meaning of singleness
4. Chastity vs. purity
The remedy for lust, then, is not merely better porn-filtering software or more accountability. The remedy is a heart that learns to see people as God sees them: image bearers worthy of respect and dignity, not as objects to be used for my own sexual ends. Whereas purity culture focuses on behavior modification, chastity emphasizes Spirit-empowered heart transformation.
5. The reality of the gospel
The natural and ultimate end of purity culture is divorce, precisely because it assumes that we sustain ourselves and our relationships through our own strength and not by daily reliance on Jesus and his Spirit to do a work in us that we cannot do ourselves. So the deepest problem with purity culture is not merely that it is misleading about sex and marriage but that it belies the way that much of conservative evangelical Christianity doesn’t actually get the gospel. A theology of the body, by contrast, understands that it is only by truly understanding Christ’s body—and God’s grace made manifest there—that we understand our own bodies. By grace we are saved. By grace we allow God’s grace, faithfulness, and self-giving love to be made manifest in our bodies on a daily basis, so that others may see and know him.