Christians talk a lot about premarital sex. And I think that's a mistake. I don't think it's a mistake because the issue is unimportant but because the grammar is skewed. The word "fornication" is almost gone from contemporary Christian speech. It sounds creepy and antiquated. Instead, we talk about "abstinence" and "premarital sex."
In the most recent issue of Touchstone magazine, I argue that the loss of the words "fornicate" and "fornication" implicitly cedes the moral imagination to the sexual revolutionaries because the words "fornication" and "premarital sex" aren't interchangeable.
Fornication isn't merely "premarital." Premarital is the language of timing, and with it we infer that this is simply the marital act misfired at the wrong time. But fornication is, both spiritually and typologically, a different sort of act from the marital act. That's why the consequences are so dire....
This word is used in Scripture not only for the sin of impurity between unmarried persons, but for idolatry, and for all kinds of infidelity to God. In Eze 16:1-63, the Jewish church is symbolized as a female infant, growing up to womanhood, and then wedded to Jehovah by covenant. When she breaks her covenant by going after idols, she is justly reproached as an adulteress and a harlot, Jer 2:20 3:8-9 Ho 3:1. Adultery and fornication are frequently confounded. Both the Old and New Testaments condemn all impurity and fornication, corporeal and spiritual-idolatry, apostasy, heresy, and infidelity.
Yes, it was an interesting article as is the above definition which I have seen stated in much the same way in other places which are of something of the same vintage as the American Tract one.