Purity Revisited

Team Members/Contributors

Ritva H. Williams Augustana College Contact Me

About this project grant for researchers

This project grows out of my dual role as a professor in a liberal arts college and a pastor in a congregation, and seeks to integrate my professional work as a biblical scholar with calling to encourage and support faith formation among our youth.

Today when one hears the word "purity" one immediately thinks of sexual abstinence. Yet biblical purity teachings address a much wider range of human concerns including what comes out of and goes into bodies (contact and ingested impurity), as well the consequences of the corruption of the heart or inner person in relation to God and neighbor (moral impurity). Hence this study will redefine and expand our understanding of purity to include bodily, personal and social integrity.

Working together with local pastors, youth ministers, Christian educators and others engaged in the faith formation of middle- and high school youth in the Southeastern Iowa Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, I plan to explore questions such as:

- How can we use biblical teachings about purity to teach positive values in language that is accessible to adolescents and teens and the adults who care for them?

- Can we relate biblical concerns about handling vital bodily fluids with personal hygiene and health?

- Can biblical prohibitions about ingesting impurity help us address concerns about healthy diet and body image?

-Can biblical convictions that moral itnegrity is essential for the wholeness of individuals and the communities they inhabit be conveyed to youth today?

The expected outcome is curricula for middle school and high school youth that will be first beta-tested by participants in the study before publication and dissemination in the congregations of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and other mainline Protestant churches. At this time there appears to be a lack of teaching materials on this matters.

Image Title Year Type Contributor(s) Other Info
  Wholeness & Holiness 2012 Booklet Ritva H. Williams