God created sex and He is for sex, says one pastor. But how is sex preached from the pulpit and how do Christians stay committed to their faith in a sex-saturated culture?
"God created sex. Why not at least tell people what He has to say about it?" said Matt Keller, pastor at Next Level Church in Fort Myers, Fla., on CNN's special report "What Is A Christian: Sex and Salvation." Keller had launched a sermon series in February talking about sex after having a controversial billboard posted that read "mycrappysexlife.com" to draw the public.
On the beaches near the church, Christian students from Beach Reach ministry are surrounded by partiers and alcohol but they're out on a mission to tell Spring Breakers about abstinence. The evangelical students themselves encounter temptation, one Beach Reach participant admits to CNN, but they are committed to stay pure until marriage.
In Phoenix, Ariz., Christians are talking about another sexual temptation – same-sex attractions.
Focus on the Family's Love Won Out conference recently hit Phoenix to preach both compassion to the gay community and that homosexual identity can be overcome.
"We, as citizens, need to articulate God's intent for human sexuality," said Dr. Joseph Nicolosi, president of National Association for the Research and Therapy of Homosexuality, according to CNN. "And that's what we need to do. We're not just opposing homosexuality. We're articulating the wisdom of heterosexuality."
The ex-gay debate was reignited when the Rev. Ted Haggard, one of the nation's most influential evangelical leaders, admitted to "sexual immorality" after a male prostitute alleged Haggard paid him for sex for three years.
While some churches are preaching the acceptance of homosexuality, others are leaving the doors open to the gay community but also trying to walk gays and lesbians out of homosexuality.
Prominent ex-gays, including Alan Chambers, president of one of the world's largest ex-gay referral services, are happily married to their wife and have children. They admit to still having feelings of same-sex attraction, but are happier with the path they have chosen.
"When a person is cured of alcoholism, does that mean that they are completely set free from ever wanting a drink? No. They are not," Ken Hutcherson, pastor of Antioch Bible Church in Redmond, Wash., told CNN's Anderson Cooper. "Or someone that has a problem with tremendous amounts of lust. If they are cured of that, that doesn't mean those feelings aren't there. Just because the feelings are there, don't make it right or wrong. What makes it right or wrong is what the Bible has to say."
Just like the Love Won Out conference tells thousands of people across the nation, Hutcherson believes a person can overcome homosexuality.
"I think it's possible to be cured of any sin that the Bible calls. Because that's what the Holy Spirit does. That's what repentance does. And that's why we think that homosexuality is a choice. And that it is a sin. And they need to repent that sin and God gives them the strength to walk in a life that pleases Him."
Meanwhile, from the Next Level Church pulpit, Keller preaches, "God has given us the ability to have a great sex life in our marriages."