Question: "How should a Christian view sex education?"
Answer: Sex education has become a hot topic in recent years. Until the mid-1950s, sex education in schools was limited to the study of biological reproduction in mammals. Since a comprehensive sex education encompasses far more than a scientific discussion of sperm-meets-egg, it was left to parents and churches to fill in the rest. Today, sex ed curricula are a little more explicit than what could be found in the classrooms of the ʼ50s.
Due to the intrinsic complexities of human sexuality, the physical aspects cannot be separated from moral responsibility. Unfortunately, many parents fail to instruct their children about God’s view of sexuality. The churches have been strangely silent as well. So the schools have undertaken that responsibility. And when Christian parents leave the moral training of their children to the government, conflict in worldviews is inevitable.
Sexuality is a gift to us from God and should be viewed as such. God created sex for two purposes: procreation and unity between husband and wife (Genesis 1:28; Matthew 19:6; Mark 10:7–8; 1 Corinthians 7:1–5). Any other use of sex is sin (1 Corinthians 6:9, 18; 1 Thessalonians 4:3). Teaching children about sexual relationships apart from morality is like teaching a child to drive a car without explaining the traffic laws. Unfortunately, the moral climate of our day is far from God’s standard. Often, the only “rules” accompanying public school sex education are that sex should not be forced on an unwilling participant and that sexually active people should use birth control. Any teaching of boundaries is limited to the avoidance of consequences.
Most modern sex education instruction presents perversion, fornication, homosexuality, and living together before marriage as “normal” expressions of sexuality. All of this is contrary to Scripture (1 Corinthians 6:9; Leviticus 20:15–16; Matthew 5:28). Christian parents should be actively involved in all aspects of their children’s education, especially in areas that compromise Scripture. God holds parents responsible for the upbringing of their children (Ephesians 6:4), and that includes instruction on sexuality. Many parents find this topic awkward and embarrassing, so they disregard their responsibility and allow those without similar values to train their children.
Children will learn about sexuality from someone. The options are their peers, pornography, school settings, experimentation, or their parents. The best place for sex education is in the home, as a natural part of training children “in the way they should go” (Proverbs 22:6). It is the parents’ God-given responsibility to teach children God’s perspective on every area of life, including sexuality (Deuteronomy 6:5–6). Parents should begin when the children are very young, speaking matter-of-factly with preschoolers about their bodies and how men and women are made differently. Those conversations transition naturally into more complex areas as the child matures. It is important that a child knows he can talk to mom or dad about anything that confuses him.
Sexual information bombards us from every direction, so these parent-child conversations must begin very early. Before parents allow a school system to instruct in sexuality or morality, they must be sure their children have already learned the truth. It is then crucial to stay abreast of what the children are learning and how they are applying their knowledge. Keeping a constant, open dialogue with one’s children is a key to staying in charge of what they are learning. When parents are proactive in their children’s instruction, those children have a basis upon which to recognize and reject errors that the world promotes as truth.