What should a biblical sexual purity message look like for today? In this episode, Scott interviews Sean about his latest book: Chasing Love: Sex, Love, and Relationships In A Confused World. They discuss pressing questions, such as: Is sex really a big deal? Isn't it a private act between consenting? Is a biblical sexual ethic really good for individuals and society? Sean's latest book is part of the True Love Waits campaign that is geared towards helping young people make wise, biblically-based choices in their relationships. They reflect upon earlier purity campaigns and what we can learn from them for today.

Episode Transcript

Scott Rae: Welcome to the podcast Think Biblically: Conversations on Faith and Culture. I'm your host, Scott Rae, Dean of Faculty and Professor of Christian Ethics at Talbot School of Theology here at Biola University.

Sean McDowell: And I'm your cohost, Sean McDowell, Professor of Apologetics at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University.

Scott Rae: We spend a lot of time on the podcast, Sean, promoting other people's books-

Sean McDowell: We do.

Scott Rae: ... and I think it's okay every once in a while for us to promote one of our own books.

Sean McDowell: Fair enough.

Scott Rae: So, we are going to talk about Sean's new book, it's just out, called Chasing Love, which is a part of what's called the True Love Waits curriculum for students. So Sean, maybe the first thing would be to tell our listeners a little bit more about the True Love Waits sort of concept and curriculum.

Sean McDowell: Yeah. I'll take you back a little bit. What's so interesting to me, and I think gives me somewhat of a unique perspective on this, is in the 1980s into the early '90s, my father, Josh McDowell, really led one of the first international, what you might call, sexual purity campaigns. It was called Why Wait? And obviously in response to kind of the sexual revolution of the '60s and the '70s, he's writing books, he's doing video series, he's traveling around the world, and trying to say, "Here is a positive response to what's taking place in culture."

As my father is doing this, I'm turning 11, 12, 13 years old, and my body and life is changing. So I was kind of like experiment number one for him, so over the dinner table, he would talk about all sorts of issues you could imagine related to this. So I've just never been uncomfortable talking about these kinds of issues for that reason, so-

Scott Rae: Oh, I'd have given anything to have been a fly on the wall for those conversations.

Sean McDowell: Oh my goodness. There was times we'd be at restaurants and a waiter would come by and their eyes would get big and he'd go, "Hey, join the conversation." It's just the way he's wired. Well, I grew up and now I look back at that, now that I'm married and I have kids and culture has changed, through a very different lens. Number one, culture has changed, and I also just think about the messages that I got, ways that I benefited from it, maybe ways it needs to be adapted to where we are today.

Now, in 1993, True Love Waits kind of was a second wave to this. Now, my dad didn't plan it, he wasn't formally involved in it, but they kind of piggybacked, so to speak, out on some of the momentum of Why Wait? And it actually started by one of the cofounders, Dr. Richard Ross, at Southern Baptist at that time. He teaches seminary right now. And some of his students in his youth group were starting to say, "Hey, we want to make a pledge. We want to stand up and do something different than what our culture is saying." And it kind of, from the bottom up, morphed into True Love Waits, which was a massive international sexual purity campaign going back all the way into the 2010s and it continues today.

But what's interesting about it is there has been some pushback on purity culture, even some prominent former spokesmen for this that have come out very critical, and so, it's kind of brought this issue really to the forefront as well. So, my responsibility now is we have updated the curriculum and the book that comes with it in light of where the issues that are being asked on sexuality today.

Scott Rae: So why has the purity culture come under fire? I mean, what could people possibly criticize about a culture that encourages sexual purity and waiting until marriage?

Sean McDowell: Well, I think at the heart of Why Wait, at the heart of True Love Waits, was an attempt and a heart to motivate students to resist some of the messages they were getting from the culture that were unbiblical on the idea of sexuality. But it wasn't always practiced by a lot of people fairly. I mean, it wasn't always-

Scott Rae: What do you mean?

Sean McDowell: I guess what I mean by this is, and I might differ with some of the issues going back to then that we could unpack, but I think there ... For example, some people have looked back and said, "This is kind of a sexual prosperity gospel that was told to people, 'If you just don't have sex now, God will reward you in the future with endless sexual bliss when you get married. He'll bring that spouse into your life.'" So, rather than the message being, be holy because God is holy, there were some people that took this message and promised young people, "If you just don't do A, B, or C, God is going to reward you with this," which is like a slot machine, what you get out of it.

And then there has been a generation of people who got older and said, "You know what? I waited, got married, found out that my spouse didn't," or, "That person never came." And so there was kind of a generation of people looking back, going, "This didn't work out for me in the way that I was promised." Now, when we say "purity culture," it doesn't just mean Why Wait, and it doesn't just mean True Love Waits. It was an entire larger movement bigger than this. And I think there's just a lot ... And even people from the LGBTQ community have looked back and said, "Hey, this wasn't as much a part of the conversation that would have been helpful to me." So that's an example of the kind of criticism that people have raised against purity culture.

Scott Rae: Okay. So you're familiar with the film that's come out, you know, I Survived The Concept, I Kissed Dating Goodbye.

Sean McDowell: Yes, yes.

Scott Rae: And so that's part of the critique of this purity culture. How does that film, which you can get on Prime Video, how does that film amplify this critique of the purity culture?

Sean McDowell: That was based more of a critique of the book I Kissed Dating Goodbye by Joshua Harris, which came out in the late '90s, so it's around this kind of larger purity culture movement. And Jessica, who created it, is a friend of mine. In fact, we have our undergrads here. We actually have them watch it.

What happens is she takes Joshua Harris kind of on this journey back to his roots, because since then he has abandoned his book, I Kissed Dating Goodbye, for a number of reasons. It's a book that endorsed more courting, said dating itself was kind of bad and evil as a whole. And some of the criticism was like, "Wait a minute. Rather than teaching young people to date with boundaries and date with wisdom, this model was set up that would lead to a certain result and it just didn't happen for people." So that video, she interviews experts, and Joshua, who has since really talked about, since that video was made, talked about not considering himself a conventional Christian, and he's turned away from a lot of what was in that book.

He's very vulnerable and honest in that movie, so I think it's well worth watching, called I Survived I Kissed Dating Goodbye. If you want to hear testimonies of people who are just saying, "God, this damaged me, this hurt me, for a variety of reasons."

Scott Rae: So you would say a lot of that is a misapplication of biblical principles?

Sean McDowell: Oh, it's definitely misapplication of biblical principles. I think there's no question about that. There's a number of things going on. I think the book I Kissed Dating Goodbye was not super balanced in certain things that it promised, and looking back at it, I kind of wonder, where were some of the gatekeepers? Because he wrote it at, I think, maybe 22, 23 years old. I mean, I thank God that nothing I wrote in my 20s at all became a bestseller.

Scott Rae: No kidding. No.

Sean McDowell: Do you know? So I understand, but I think at that time there were a lot of leaders who said, "Here's a young guy, he's smart, he's attractive. He's got a message. It seems formulaic and simple. If you just read this book, you can resist the sexual culture." So, I think there were a lot of leaders who jumped on that and maybe didn't give some of the perspective and wisdom that should have been there, so that movie in particular is a response more to his book, which was different than, say, True Love Waits.

Scott Rae: All right, well, let's look at your book Chasing Love. You make an argument in the book, and I think a fairly compelling one, that the sexual ethic of scripture, particularly what Jesus puts forth, is actually good for an individual and for societal flourishing.

Sean McDowell: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Scott Rae: Let's unpack that a little bit. You make that point really early in the book too, so it sounds like it's really foundational to your approach that's going to weave its way all throughout the book. So spell that out. What's the connection between the sexual ethic of the Bible and an account of human flourishing?

Sean McDowell: One of the things that I so appreciate my parents taught me was that God's commands are for our good, so I believe it's Psalm 119, David says he loves the law of the Lord. In Deuteronomy chapter 10, Moses says, "Here's the commandments for you, O Israel, that are for your own good." The reason that's so powerful is I think when people look at Christian sexual ethics today, they don't say, "It's false," they say, "It's bad and it's harmful, and it leads to repression."

And so what I'm trying to do early on is do really two things. Number one, saying to young people, say, "You know what? You might not have an answer for everything, but when it's all said and done, this is going to be a question of trust. Are you going to trust God, who's the Creator of everything, who's good in His very character, or are you going to trust your instincts or certain messages coming through your culture?" It's really a question of authority. But second, I pose the question, I say, "Would the world be a better place as a whole if people lived the sexual ethic of Jesus?" And that's just a really interesting question to explore, because Jesus was really clear, in Matthew 19, that marriage is meant to be one man and one woman in a committed relationship for life, and that sexual expression is to be experienced within that relationship. I think he's very clear, pointing back to Genesis 1 and Genesis 2.

But what if the society as a whole lived to that? Would the world be better or worse? Well, there'd be no pornography. There'd be no abortion. There'd be no husbands leaving their wives for a younger trophy wife. There would be no sexually transmitted infections. There would be no crass humor. I mean, go on and on, and if kids would grow up with a mom and a dad in the home. So the idea is I'm trying to frame the book of telling students, not just, "This is what the Bible says. You must do it," but saying, "Number one, you can trust God, and actually His commandments are for your good and for societal flourishing, if we're willing to actually follow them."

Scott Rae: But people in the culture say, "This is so restrictive. It restricts my freedom to live out my life as I choose." Well, what do you say in response to that, because the way our culture views freedom is very different than the way it was viewed by, say, by our founding fathers, for example.

Sean McDowell: Yeah. I love that you asked this because that is the next chapter in the book. I go into freedom, because I actually think this generation, one of the things that they're most confused about is the nature of freedom. The freedom to do whatever I want, and God seems to be controlling.

So in a great Christian school, high school, I was speaking to about 11 or 12 kids who've grown up in the church, juniors and seniors, and I said, "Give me a definition of freedom." And they said, "Freedom is doing whatever you want, as long as you don't really hurt anybody. That's basically what freedom is." I said, "Okay. If God existed, would that change the definition of freedom in any fashion?" They talk amongst themselves. They come back and they said, "No. Freedom's doing whatever you want without consequences, or sorry, as long as you don't hurt anybody, but now there's consequences for your actions." In other words, all God adds to the matrix of freedom is consequences in this life, maybe you feel guilty, and judgment in the next. And I was sitting there thinking, "These students don't have a clue what it means to actually be free."

So I said to them, I said, "Describe for me the person who's most free." And they said, "I guess a person who's alone on an island who can do anything he or she wants to, and nobody prohibits them from acting how they want to would be the most free." And it hit me that these students understood freedom from, which is a part of it, but they don't understand freedom for. And what that means is, you go back to the creation account, we have been made for relationship with God and relationship with other people. So ironically, if we are only truly human in relationship with God and with other people, because that's what we're made for, this person alone on an island is the least free, because this person is not able to live out what that person was designed for.

So part of the reason I put that in the book is trying to frame young people and say, "Look, you've got to decide what you think freedom is. Are you going to trust the Creator, who's made us to live a certain way, and experience that freedom and flourishing, or is it going to say, 'Nope, I'm going to do it my way, follow my freedoms, follow my instincts'?" So really when it comes to sexuality, it's a question of what we think freedom actually is.

And so the other piece I added to this was to say, "You might be free to sit down at a piano and just bang the piano. But in one sense, you're not really free. You're only free if you train yourself and discipline yourself and learn how to play the piano. Well, the same is true with sexuality. If you're not free to go out and do anything you want to, you're actually free when you cultivate a certain character and discipline that you develop over time, like we talk about in sports. This also applies to relationships and sexuality." So, a lot of this book is just reframing categories, and I've seen how deeply our secular culture has shaped the way kids think.

Scott Rae: But Sean, don't some people say, "I need to be my authentic self." And what that means is that I have to allow my actions to be dictated by my desires. If I'm really going to be who I am, who God made me to be, I can't be restricting my desires like this. I've got to be able to have the freedom to express my desires in whatever way I see fit. That's my authentic self. And I mean, our current culture places a huge emphasis on authenticity.

Sean McDowell: Yes, it does.

Scott Rae: And isn't this allowing myself to have those desires be dictated by forces outside of me?

Sean McDowell: Well, so the way you framed it, so I'm going to respond this way since it's a Christian who is saying, "This is my authentic self, but I should be able to live according to my desires, not something outside of me." So if a Christian says that to me, I would say, "Okay, since you and I agree that Jesus is God and the scriptures are true, help me understand where we see that idea in scripture, because I don't see it. I don't see scripture saying, 'Live according to your desires.' I see scripture say, 'Change your desires.' I don't see scriptures saying, 'Do whatever you want to do.' I see scriptures saying, 'Love your neighbor.'"

So I would just have to challenge that person who's a believer and say, "Okay, wait a minute. What does it mean to be human? What does God call us to do? And the greatest commandment is to love God and love other people." So that's how I would push back, but a lot of Christians have bought into that kind of secular idea without realizing it, which is why I couldn't just jump into verses in this book-

Scott Rae: That's right.

Sean McDowell: ... or they'd be interpreting them completely differently.

Scott Rae: Right. Yeah. I think there's probably a place to say to the Christian that when Jesus talks about the way to be fulfilled, it's by denying yourself, taking up your cross, following him.

Sean McDowell: Yes.

Scott Rae: The satisfaction of my desires is fairly low on that priority list, it seems to me. And I think even for the person who's not a committed follower of Christ, I mean, I think you could make a good case that if guys gave full vent all their desires, almost every guy would be polygamous in a heartbeat, and the damage that that would cause, the havoc that that would wreak. And I think most ethical systems are designed to help us, keep us from giving full rise to our desires.

Sean McDowell: Right. Right. And you know what's interesting about that is that's how I kind of start the book by saying, "You have a choice." And I use the illustration from The Matrix, so I asked my high school students that I teach part time, I'm like, "Am I dating myself?" They're like, "No, it's a classic. It's a great movie with a blue pill and the red pill. Do you want to live this life of desires that's artificial, or the red pill?"

Scott Rae: Right. It's a great example.

Sean McDowell: You'll learn truth, but it might be costly. And everybody's voting, "Take the red pill." We know that truth matters. We know we shouldn't just indulge our desires. And I'll actually start off the book by saying to students, "Look, yes, it's difficult to follow Jesus today, because the winds are blowing against us, but difficult things are valuable. We know that. It's the stuff that we work and sacrifice for that matters. You are made in God's image, and He has called you to a task. Yes, it's difficult, god will be with you, but it's the path that's worth it, and I think your heart wants that."

Scott Rae: Now Sean, you've got a section in here, in a book on sex, love, and relationships, about singleness.

Sean McDowell: Yeah.

Scott Rae: That seems out of place.

Sean McDowell: Yup.

Scott Rae: What's your purpose for that? What are you trying to say with that chapter on singleness?

Sean McDowell: Well, I love that you asked this because I think one of the ways we can look back at maybe some of the messages that have been given about sexuality in purity culture, intentionally or not, was that marriage is the greatest calling. And if you can't get married, you get plan B, which is singleness, and-

Scott Rae: Yeah. I'd say more people would probably view that as plan X, Y, or Z. Yeah.

Sean McDowell: Well, fair enough. Yeah. I think we've done a terrible job. And we've highlighted this on this podcast, saying, "There's two equal ways of loving and following the Lord."

So, when I was researching that and looking back at different sexual purity from the past, I realized, gosh, we are overselling marriage. I don't want to undersell it, but we're not elevating the beauty and goodness of singleness. So I thought, number one, to give a balanced view of sex, love, and relationships, it's really a cultural idea that you find your soulmate and live happily ever after. That's not in the scriptures. So, if I'm just going to help teach kids to think biblically about sex, love, and marriage, I've got to have a section on singleness. But also, every young person reading this as a teenager, they're single right now. So whether you get married in five years, 10 years, 50 years-

Scott Rae: Or never.

Sean McDowell: ... or you get married and the spouse passes away or leaves you, I mean, the reality is almost everybody is single at least for season. Everybody is when they're younger, but even when they get older. So this has to be a part of the conversation.

I actually, even the way I ordered it, the first third of the book is the stuff we talked about. I define what love is, talk about freedom, et cetera. And then the middle, I talk about sex, I talk about marriage, and I talk about singleness. But I started with sex, and then the middle part is singleness, and then marriage, to try to say, "Look, let's not elevate something in a way it shouldn't be elevated." Marriage and singleness, two beautiful, good ways of honoring and serving the Lord.

Scott Rae: Yeah. And even in 1 Corinthians 7, where Paul directly addresses this, I think he makes the argument that there are times at which singleness is a more expedient option.

Sean McDowell: Yeah, that's right.

Scott Rae: Maybe a wiser option, though both are intrinsically good things. Now, all right, you've had lots of students over the years ask you some pretty tough questions.

Sean McDowell: Yup.

Scott Rae: So let's do Twitter responses to some of these. "Isn't sex just a private act between two consenting adults?"

Sean McDowell: Well, the reality is, in at least two ways, it's not. Number one is a whole lot of sexually transmitted infections have been spread in the privacy of the bedroom that affect people, and all of us on our budget level financially, their health, and even every year, dozens of young people, babies die because of a sexually transmitted infection. So, that's one way. Second, what happens in the privacy of the room produces something we call babies, and babies, if they do anything, they don't stay in the room. They come out in public. All of us living in public at some point were conceived in the privacy of a bedroom, so I think empirically, we just know that's not true.

Scott Rae: Okay. Second, "Isn't sex just a physical thing and really not ... Why are we making such a big deal out of it? It's just a physical act between two consenting adults, no harm, no foul."

Sean McDowell: One mistake we can make is say, "Sex is everything." In some of the critiques of purity culture where if you're sexually faithful, then you are a good disciple of Jesus. It minimizes our sanctification to sexuality. That's probably unfair. So we can make it too big of a deal. We can also make it too little of a deal.

Part of the sexual revolution was like, "It's just a biological function like drinking water. It doesn't matter." Well, what I think of this is like, everybody knows that sex matters. There was actually this program maybe two or three years ago, a movie called Passengers with Jennifer Lawrence and with Chris Pratt. And at that time, as far as I'm aware, it was the first sex scene that Jennifer Lawrence had done in a movie. Since then, I think it's been different for her. And Chris Pratt was interviewed before this.

And I watched this live, they said, "What do you do to protect as the male ..." And they shouldn't have framed it that way, but they did, "protect your costar in a scene like this?" and he was a little bit uncomfortable, and he said, "Well, I make sure no one else is on set, and I just try to make sure she's okay," and changed the subject. I thought, "This is interesting. I wonder if she's weighed in on this." So I did a little bit more research and it turns out that she called her mom the night before, because it was the first time she'd done a scene like this, and she said, "I feel so vulnerable. Please just tell me that everything is going to be okay."

Now, she didn't call and say, "God, that scene where I'm walking down the hall with Chris Pratt, I'm really worried. That scene where they're fighting the bad guys ..." It was that scene, because we know it's different. And by the way, she got herself drunk for one scene that they filmed. It was that scene, to dull her senses.

Scott Rae: Isn't that interesting.

Sean McDowell: Now, I'm not saying that in any judgment over her. That's not my point, but that illustrates that we know sex means something. We all know it intuitively. In fact, the whole Me Too movement is kind of saying, "There is something. Look, all abuse is bad, but when you were sexually abused, there's something about who you are that's just deeply violated in just such a deep, lasting fashion, we know that it matters." We just can't escape it.

Scott Rae: Well, and biblically speaking, in 1 Corinthian 6, what it outlines is that sexual immorality violates our relationship with all three members of the Trinity, spelled out specifically.

Sean McDowell: Oh, interesting. Interesting.

Scott Rae: All right. Here's another one. "How can you envision having sex with only one person for the rest of your life? Surely that gets boring and routine."

Sean McDowell: So, let me frame this. I'm not just going to give you just the Twitter response, is I think some way in the past where purity culture went wrong is it seemed like the culture was having all the fun, and married sex is boring. So, one of the responses was, by the church at times, was, "No, no, no, we've got the best sex. You have no idea what you're missing out on." And I thought, "Gosh, we are kind of playing by the larger playbook, motivating people to come to faith again from what they get out of it." So I don't think that's helpful.

Ultimately, marriage is not just about sexuality. That's a very small part, an important part, but ultimately, be holy because God is Holy. Love our spouses because this mirrors God's love for the church. But with that said, there are some significant studies that show that actually in sexuality, when you commit to one person for life, there's a deeper sense of contentment and a meaningful pleasure that comes out of this. And I think there's reasons for this.

In fact, I heard one expert, he said, "You're actually more free when it comes to biblical sexuality." First time I heard that I thought, "Free? Because freedom's doing whatever you want, sleeping with anybody, anytime, anywhere, isn't that person more free?" And the person said, "No, it's actually, you're free to love somebody and be loved. You know if the person gets pregnant, there's a committed, married relationship. There's no fear of sexually transmitted diseases. There's no fear of comparison. There's actually a freedom that is there."

So I don't want to sell to young people, "Hey, married sex is the best," because I don't want that to be the hook. But I also want people to know that there is something good and beautiful about biblical sex because we're living the way God wants us to. Now, does that mean that it's just, there's no hitches and it's not difficult? The answer is no. I've talked to a lot of couples who say it took them just years to get comfortable. So I understand that, so that's the way I think I would frame in that response.

Scott Rae: Yeah, I think there's no doubt the culture has oversold sex because every time on television or the movies, you see couples behind closed doors or behind open doors-

Sean McDowell: Yeah, for sure.

Scott Rae: ... it's just assumed that it's sort of fireworks and the 4th of July. And you know, in reality, as you pointed out, no such luck.

One other tough question, it says, "What's wrong with cohabitation? What's wrong with it? Isn't it wise for people to sort of figure out what it's going to be like to live together under the same roof before they actually commit to doing that?"

Sean McDowell: Yeah. I did a lot of research on this chapter and contacted some friends of mine, like Glenn Stanton, who's written extensively on this. And the bottom line is, as a whole, if you live with somebody before you get married, you put yourself at a significant, more likely percentage, of ending up getting a divorce. It seems somewhat counterintuitive because you'd think, "Oh, wait a minute. I want to see what this person's like in the morning. I want to spend more time with them. I want to see what it's like being in a home, and then we can see if we can go on to the next step."

There's a number of reasons why this doesn't work. One is men and women tend to have different expectations in a cohabiting. A girl tends to view this as one step closer to marriage. The guy's like, "I'm just doing this to see if I even want to consider getting married." And by the way, if guys get there, and they're like, "Well, we're living together. I'm having sex. Why the need to commit?"

Scott Rae: "I got everything I want."

Sean McDowell: "What's the point?" So that's one piece of it.

But second, in people's minds, they think if they're living together, it's giving them kind of a simulation of what marriage might be like, but the very thing that makes marriage work is absent. What makes marriage work is that you look at your spouse, you go, "You know what? God, I don't feel like I like you right now. I'm frustrated. I'm upset. I don't think you treated me fairly, but you know what? I'm never going to leave you, and I love you, and we're in this together." That's a freedom to disagree, to challenge each other, that just changes everything.

So, it's not like living together is one step closer to marriage. It's in a completely different category. But when people get married, once they've cohabited, they think they have a better sense of what it's going to be like, but that ring changes everything. When I asked Glenn Stanton about this and I document it in the book, he says, "Basically, if you were thinking of an institution that would harm your chances of having a lasting marriage, this would be it." Now it doesn't mean there's not exceptions. It doesn't mean people who didn't cohabit cannot redeem that, but it really, statistically speaking, I think the numbers are pretty clear. It puts people at a disadvantage to live together before they get married.

Scott Rae: So we definitely shouldn't consider that a formula for success.

Sean McDowell: Yeah. He actually says, he goes, "It's a formula for the opposite of success in most cases."

Scott Rae: Yeah. One last question, Sean. How do you hope this book is going to be used by students, teenagers, college students alike?

Sean McDowell: Yeah. On a couple levels, I actually came up with 30 chapters because kids' attention spans are shorter today, so they'll all be three, four or five pages. When I got 30, I thought, "You know, wouldn't it be awesome if parents took this with their kids one month and they read a chapter a day with their ..." probably 12 and up. It's made for high school, but I had my 12-year-old daughter read it. I said, "If you read it and we go to coffee and talk about it, I'll buy you a pair of shoes" that she wanted to. Now, she's smart, so she goes, "Dad, at the outlets, I could get two for the price of one." I was like, "Fine, we'll get you two."

But it was a tool for me as a dad that I could just say to my daughter, "I just want you to read this, and I just want to ask you some questions to make sure you've read all of it. And then I'll want to talk through these questions of God's design for sex, dating, LGBTQ questions." And we sat there over Starbucks and had a great conversation.

Scott Rae: That's great.

Sean McDowell: So I would love it if a parent would say, "Hey, one chapter a day. You can read it in 10, 12 minutes. We're going to talk about it 10 minutes." At the end of that month, you have poured into your kids on some of the most sensitive but important issues of sexuality. And the study shows, just reading a book doesn't change a kid, but studies show it's that conversation with caring adults, and specifically with parents, that makes it lasting. So that's one way to use the book. I tried to make it just as handy for parents as they could, but it's also for Christian schools. There's a teaching series that really, I mean, LifeWay just knocked it out of the park with equality on this, and for homeschool groups and for youth groups.

Scott Rae: That's great stuff. That's a really practical, terrific way to use the book in a way that sort of gives parents ... It takes the last excuse away from parents to have that conversation like this.

Sean McDowell: It does, and you know, my first student book, I wrote Ethix, I didn't frame it that way because my kids were young. I wasn't a parent to teenagers. Now I'm writing this thing, go, "Okay, I got to write this for myself. How can I make this most helpful?"

Scott Rae: That's right.

Sean McDowell: And it just changed it for me.

Scott Rae: Well, that's great stuff. The book is called Chasing Love, part of the True Love Waits curriculum. Sean, great stuff on this. Really appreciate all your research, your work, your passion for this, and the impact you're having on the next generation of students.

Sean McDowell: Thanks, Scott.

Scott Rae: This has been an episode of the podcast Think Biblically: Conversations on Faith and Culture. To learn more about us, today's guest, Dr. Sean McDowell, and to find more episodes, go to biola.edu/thinkbiblically. That's biola.edu/thinkbiblically. If you enjoyed today's conversation, give us a rating on your podcast app, and please share it with a friend. Thanks so much for listening, and remember, think biblically about everything.