Warrens, Hybels Advocate for Positive Sex Education as a Way to Combat AIDS

LAKE FOREST, Calif. – Negative messages on sex led Rick Warren, Kay Warren, and Bill Hybels to advocate for positive sex education at the Purpose Driven Conference on Church and HIV/AIDS held Nov. 29 - Dec. 1 at Saddleback Church. Rather than condemn sex, the pastors are promoting sex within the bounds of marriage.

At several junctures throughout the three-day conference, Rick Warren said he believes that the church must go one step farther than just advocating for abstinence, which is to refrain from sex until marriage. The problem with that is it sends the message that sex can be good outside of marriage.

“Sex is great,” pronounced the senior pastor of Saddleback Church. “I’m highly in favor of sex. I just believe it should be God’s way. God meant it be with one man and one woman for life.”

“Abstinence is only part of the answer," said Warren. "We need to teach whole, healthy sexuality.”

Last week’s international conference was a first for the evangelical community, as the Warrens and the Hybels embraced HIV-positive individuals in an effort to erase the stigma. And together with NGOs and governments, the conference discussed the enormous possibilities for local church-based solutions to the pandemic.

One solution the pastors advocated is a positive education on sex.

Bill Hybels, senior pastor of Willow Creek Church in Chicago’s suburbs said, “I think part of what we’re gonna be trying to do together is to raise the challenge level to speak on these issues; to not just talk about following Christ with your mind but also following Christ with your body and sexuality as well.”

He added, “The consequences of not preaching about sexual purity and these matters in this culture could be death. It’s a new day.”

Kay Warren said Saddleback's current sexual education segment is not enough.

“We started asking ourselves, what are we teaching about sexuality? And the answer is not a lot,” she said.

Saddleback's youth ministry has an emphasis on dating and sex, but it is only a "little set about sex,” she said.

Saddleback Church's new sex education curriculum will even advise parents what to do with their newborn child.

“If you pick up a baby girl. You would hold her and tell her, ‘God made you special. God made you a girl,’” according to Kay Warren.

The comprehensive curriculum teaches from newborns to adults about gender and "sexuality as good, as the core of who we are.”

The curriculum is in development and is expected to be released in 2006.