Purity Groups

Purity groups are a resource for Southeastern students who want to find freedom from pornography.

At Southeastern, we are committed to equipping men and women for the ministry that awaits them. Moral and spiritual formation is an aspect of this preparation. While we hope to form Christian minds through study and coursework, our goal is for students to glorify God with their hearts and bodies as well. Your time at Southeastern is the perfect time to work through besetting sins like pornography. We are under no illusion that students come to Southeastern without sin struggles. We invite all students to address their sin patterns before it damages their souls, marriages, families, or ministries. We want students to be qualified for ministry when they graduate from Southeastern. Sexual sin is addictive and requires an abundance of grace and intentionality. We want to walk alongside students as they put sin to death and embrace their new selves in Christ.

Student Life offers purity groups as a resource for students who want to pursue freedom from pornography. Purity groups meet during the semester and offer students opportunities for confession, encouragement, fellowship, and accountability. Grace, redemption, and restoration are central themes for our weekly discussions.

If you would like information, please email puritygroups@sebts.edu and we will be glad to connect with you.

Presently, we do not offer purity groups for women. We encourage women who are interested in addressing personal purity to contact Katy Parker: counselingservices@sebts.edu

Q: Do purity groups meet online or in-person?

During the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be offering both options. Distance students and students concerned about the pandemic can meet virtually on Zoom for purity groups. We encourage students who are comfortable meeting in-person to come to campus for a purity group.

Q: When do purity groups meet, and how long are they?

We meet during fall and spring semesters and occasionally during the summer. Groups start at the beginning of the semester and end before finals. We do not meet during breaks in the academic calendar. At the beginning of the semester, we determine a time that fits everyone’s schedule. Purity groups meet for one hour every week.

We encourage students to establish accountability with leaders and peers in their local church. After participating for one semester in purity groups, students will transition to these relationships for accountability. Having established and regular accountability, students are less likely to fall back into regular pornography use. Purity Groups are not a long-term solution for accountability needs.

Q: Who leads purity groups?

Student Life personnel lead purity groups. Some groups may be led by counseling interns who are supervised by the Counseling Center.

Q: How does viewing pornography relate to the Southeastern Covenant?

  1. Viewing pornography is a sin against the Lord.
  2. Viewing pornography breaks our community standards as outlined in the Southeastern Covenant.

Q: Will there be consequences if I admit to looking at pornography? 

Students who admit to viewing pornography while enrolled at Southeastern may be placed on probationary status to help them overcome these sin patterns. This action may be necessary because viewing pornography is against Southeastern’s Covenant, which students agree to abide by when they enroll. Probation does not hinder students’ progress through academic work; it is a warning to take pornography sin seriously. If students do not make progress in overcoming these struggles, they will be choosing to suspend themselves.

The Student Life Office will take measures to incentivize rigorous efforts to overcome this sin pattern. We do not want consequences to deter you from getting help during your Christian journey. Please trust that we will come alongside you with an abundance of Christian love and compassion.

Q: Will I need to install software on my devices?

Yes, we ask students who participate in purity groups to install software on browser-enabled devices (smartphones, tablets, laptops, desktops). Some examples of accountability software include the following: Covenant Eyes, Ever Accountable, X3Watch, and Accountable2You.

Q: Are purity groups confidential?

We are committed to maintaining a confidential group environment, and we instruct participants to keep the disclosures of other participants to themselves when outside group meetings. Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee confidentiality because we cannot control participants’ actions outside the group. Given legal obligations and institutional norms, leaders will maintain confidentiality except in the following circumstances:

  • When there is reasonable suspicion of child or elderly abuse or neglect.
  • When there is reasonable suspicion of suicidal or homicidal or criminal intent by the participant.
  • When a participant persistently refuses to renounce a particular sin and it becomes necessary to seek the assistance of leaders in their church to encourage repentance and reconciliation (see Proverbs 15:22; 24:11; Matthew 18:15-20).
  • When a SEBTS or C@SE student (either the counselee or someone to whom they are referring) violates the covenant they signed upon admission or otherwise violates the student conduct and disciplinary code. This would include failure to make progress on the issue for which the participant is coming to purity groups.
  • These circumstances allow for disclosure on a need-to-know basis to persons who must be notified to ensure the safety and well-being of our students. Otherwise, leaders will honor confidentiality.

Please be assured that group leaders prefer not to disclose personal information to others. If we believe that information needs to be shared with others, we will attempt to discuss this with you first unless to do so would put you or others at risk of harm.