The Church of Pentecost in Ghana is clarifying its position on sex and marriage after one of its counselors suggested that sex is permissible for teenagers who can't control themselves, as long as they use contraception.
"We wish to offer the following comments: Sexuality has been abused over the years by man due to the fall. God in His own wisdom has restricted sex to married couples," said apostle Alexander Nana Yaw Kumi-Larbi, general secretary, on behalf of the Church of Pentecost.
Kumi-Larbi added that for Christians, using condoms for sex outside marriage, even to prevent pregnancy or diseases, is not a biblical option.
"The Church will always encourage and advocate bringing up our children and youth to live according to biblical principles of abstinence and fidelity, and would not teach on what ways could be found to avoid the harmful consequences of engaging in things that God forbids us to do in His word," he added, according to Ghana Web.
As Pulse previously reported, Elder Nii Armah Hammond, a counselor and elder of the Church of Pentecost, New Achimota District in Accra, said that parents should consider allowing their teenagers to practice safe sex — but only in cases where youths have "uncontrollable libido."
Hammond explained that his position stems from the dangers and complexities of teenage pegnancy, which he said could ruin young people's lives.
The Church elder also reportedly warned that teenage pregnancies also cause collateral damage to the family, and to the whole country.
A United Church of Christ pastor in the U.S. stirred similar controversy last year, when she wrote that single Christians can have sex as long as it's "mutually pleasurable and affirming."
The Rev. Bromleigh McCleneghan from the Union Church of Hinsdale in Illinois made her arguments in a book titled, Good Christian Sex: Why Chastity Isn't the Only Option — And Other Things the Bible Says About Sex.
In it she wrote that "we can be chaste — faithful — in unmarried sexual relationships if we exercise restraint: if we refrain from having sex that isn't mutually pleasurable and affirming, that doesn't respect the autonomy and sacred worth of ourselves and our partners."
The pastor's argument was criticized by major evangelists, such as Pastor Greg Laurie of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, California.
"Yes, this is a problem because they are misrepresenting God," Laurie said in an interview with The Christian Post in August, referring to pastors who go against traditional teachings on sexuality and marriage.
"So, someone might believe something like that, or another idea that says they can do whatever they want regardless of what Scripture teaches and this now becomes something that can push people away from God or keep them from understanding what a real Christian really is."
McCleneghan told CP in an interview, however, that she is not suggesting Christians can do whatever they want.
"My book is really an invitation for people to reflect on Scripture and their experiences in the light of their faith," she said at the time.
"It is not an 'anything goes' approach to sexuality, but it does ask readers to consider what is at stake in the ways they order their sexual relationships."