(Total Reading Time: 9 minutes; Bold parts: approximately one minute)
Back in August I posted a roadmap of my thoughts on what I termed "An Evangelical Dilemma
" (if you haven't read it, I'd suggest starting there), the unsustainable contradiction between Evangelicals' embrace of abstinence until marriage and the cultural shift towards later marriage, arguing that if Evangelicals want to uphold abstinence, they have no choice but to encourage earlier marriage. In that piece, I argued that the simultaneous embrace of contradictory cultural and theological norms in the Evangelical world is damaging to its young people (and ultimately, its families), suggesting that the only realistic solution if abstinence is to be advocated is 1) a push towards earlier marriage supported both by the families of the young newly-married and the larger church body itself and 2) a change in perspective from an individualistic "soul-mate" view of marriage towards a covenantal, missional perspective of Christian marriage.
What I did not know at the time was that about a week earlier, University of Texas Sociologist Mark Regnerus had made a similar case in, "The Case for Early Marriage
," a lengthy piece in Christianity Today
17 November, 2009