Perhaps you saw the recent headline: Many Teens Don't Keep Virginity Pledges. It would seem that a recent study apparently found that abstinence pledges don't work. The study also apparently found that those who make virginity pledges are less likely to use birth control. Liberals would have us believe that this study is evidence that we should be providing birth control to teens rather than preaching abstinence to them.
All of the mainline media stories I saw claim that this new study provides a direct indictment of abstinence programs. Mollie Hemingway has posted a good analysis of the wrongheaded media coverage of the story. It appears from Mollie's post that this study cannot rightly be used to support such a claim.
However, regardless of what this study means or doesn't mean, let's entertain a Christian ethical analysis of the hypothesis. What if it is true that abstinence education and/or virginity pledges are proven to be ineffective means of reducing teen sexual activity? What would this tell us? That we should stop telling teens they shouldn't have sex before marriage? That teens should stop making resolutions to lead a sexually pure life? That we should just accept the fact that teens are going to engage in premarital sex and provide the necessary means of preventing disease and "being punished with a child?" I hope the Christian answers to these rhetorical questions are obvious.
More to the point, from a Lutheran Law/Gospel perspective, I'd like to ask:
Would the "failure" of abstinence education tell us that preaching and teaching on the Sixth Commandment is useless?
Answering this question right depends on whether or not you understand Law and Gospel from a truly biblical (Lutheran) perspective. Rather than answer this question myself by expounding on the three uses of the Law, I'd like our readers, and perhaps the pastors who are authors on this blog, to give their perspective. Perhaps another question is: What enables the Christian to live more in accordance with the Sixth Commandment?