Lifeway Release True Love Waits Documentary, Revamps Popular Abstinence Program

( [email protected] ) May 07, 2014 11:35 AM EDT
Popular Abstinence program that has seen over 2.5 million pledge purity until marriage, and may have contributed to a downturn in teen pregnancy,gets revamped for a new generation.
High school students in Mount Juliet, Tennessee are signing the ''True Love Waits'' pledge card. (Photo:

LifeWay Films has just released "True Love Waits: The complicated struggle for sexual purity", A new documentary that explores the abstinence-until-marriage movement that took the nation by storm 20 years ago, and may have contributed to historically low teen pregnancy rates.  

The film critically examines the success and controversy surrounding the True Love Waits movement, an evangelical Christian movement that started in Nashville in 1993, leading up to today, and the current state of the True Love Project, which is undergoing a retooling to address problems faced by todays online, oversexed youth.

According to Lifeway, the Project's sponsor, "Twenty years ago a small group of students in the Nashville area committed themselves to Christ in the pursuit of purity. Little did they know that shortly thereafter there were going to be thousands of additional students join them in what came to be known as the movement of True Love Waits."

Since then, True Love Waits has witnessed hundreds of thousands of young people commit their sexual purity to God, while at the same time offering the promise of hope and restoration in Christ for all who have sinned sexually. Lifeway says It has been a tremendous movement, orchestrated by God, to further spread the biblical message of sex and purity to a younger generation.

Aimed at promoting sexual abstinence outside of marriage for teenagers and college students, the newly released documentary traces the story from a concept sketched on a napkin to the present-day relaunch through the True Love Project.

The documentary shows the successes and criticism that the original True Love Waits movement faced, and how the modern day restart is shaping up.  

The original movement involved taking a pledge and wearing a ring as a symbol of the promise, and over 100,000 young people signed the pledge cards in the first year of the campaign.  According to Wikipedia, over 2.5 million people have taken the pledge in the last decade.  

By the late 1990s, Christian bands were promoting the program, and people signed the cards at youth rallies and at Christian music concerts.

The oath reads:

"Believing that true love waits, I make a commitment to God, myself, my family, my friends, my future mate and my future children to be sexually abstinent from this day until the day I enter a biblical marriage relationship."

Not without its detractors, some question the efficacy of the program and speculate about how many people actually followed through on the pledge.  Some also say the group uses sex to sell abstinence.  

Clayton King, the Author of The True Love Project curriculum says no matter the naysayers, the project is important.  He seems to think that maybe todays teens even have a tougher time than the young people of the early nineties.  

In a promotional video for the program that goes with the documentary he tells today's teens, "We are going to talk about things you struggle with and deal with on a daily basis. We are going to talk about pornography, and lust, and social media."

King hopes people will find, "a great way for the Gospel to define your purity," with the program.