Is Singleness A Sin?

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Martin, Oct 2, 2005.

  1. Martin

    Martin
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    Is willfull singleness a sin? The president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Dr Al Mohler, seems to think so. In a recent lecture Dr Mohler said that there is a problem with young Christian men not taking the lead in seeking marriage. Dr Mohler made, or attempted to make the case, that only those with the "gift of singleness" should remain single. Of course he never defined what that gift is in his view. If I read 1Corinthians 7 correctly the gift of singleness is not having to get married. It does not mean an absence of desire (etc) it just means that a person is, with God's help, able to remain single just as Paul was. Some people are given that gift for life, others for a period of time. Dr Mohler seems to disagree with that. He also disagrees with those who remain single while they pursue an education or financial security.

    Dr Mohler's views, sadly, seem to be based more on sociology than Scripture. For example in a response to Christianitytoday.com Mohler wrote:

    While I would certainly share his concern over "sexual promiscuity" I would quickly point out that we are talking about Christians. That will cut down the amount of fornication because Christians don't live in sin (1Jn 3:9-10). However I would not share his concern over people "missing the opportunity of growing together". While that is a nice thought for many it is not reality. We must deal with the reality of the situation...not how we wish it was for everyone. It seems that Dr Mohler is concerned less with the Scriptural points and more with sociological points.

    Dr Mohler says:
    I am not sure what this has to do with the subject of singleness. However singles are nothing new in the Christian church. I think of Paul and his letter to the Corinthians. Clearly there were plenty of singles for Paul spent one entire chapter on the matter.

    I find it interesting that Paul never made the kind of statements that Dr Mohler is making. Paul never put pressure on anyone to marry. In fact I would argue that Paul made some statements that run against Dr Mohler's position:

    "A wife is bound as long as her husband lives; but if her husband is dead, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord. But in my opinion she is happier if she remains as she is; and I think that I also have the Spirit of God." 1Cor 7:39-40

    Paul was more concerned with devotion to the Lord than sociological concerns:

    "But I want you to be free from concern. One who is unmarried is concerned about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife....this I say for your own benefit; not to put a restraint upon you, but to promote what is appropriate and to secure undistracted devotion to the Lord" 1Cor 7:32-33,35

    Paul makes a very shocking comment in 1Cor 7:25-31. What is that? That we should not "seek a wife" (1Cor 7:27) because we are to remain as we are (1Cor 7:20-24). Some try to avoid this verse by focusing on Paul's "present distress" statement. However I think, in the larger context, Paul's point is that there will be trouble in this life for those who marry. While marriage is good, and getting married is certainly not sinful, those who can remain single should consider doing so. Why? So that they can avoid trouble in this life and be focused on the things of the Lord.

    If a person wishes to be single so they can "play the field" then that is sin. I would even question that persons salvation (1Cor 6:9-10, Gal 5:19-21, Rev 21:8). However a person who is a Christian who wishes to remain single, for a time or for life, should not be pressured to get married by Dr Mohler (or anyone else).

    Find Dr Mohler's comments here

    The article linked below is a great response to this issue written by Michael Spencer:

    Find that article here

    In Christ,
    Martin
     
  2. Pete

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    I love the way some people get balls and chains and then want to go and make it compulsory for everyone else [​IMG] :D

    (36, single, and staying that way. Mr Mohler can take a short walk off a tall cliff into a deep lake ;) (oops :eek: now THAT might be sin :eek: ;) ))
     
  3. FundamentalDan

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    Well, um, I am single still... I guess I will be okay. I am dating, but to be honest, I do not think I was ever ready before this time of my life to be married. I did not even meet my girlfriend until a year ago, so if I had married some other girl I might have missed out on meeting her. Nobody knows God's will for other people, and the decision of when and whom to marry is a decision that should be made personally with the guidance of God. But, hey, I would not mind being married... I need SOMEBODY to do the dishes...
     
  4. Pete

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    Dan [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] :D
     
  5. One of His sheep

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    It is Biblical to marry or to remain single.
    I see nothing in the Bible to demand or condemn either one.

    [​IMG]
     
  6. jaded_chaos

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    I think if a person wants to be single there's nothing wrong with it, unless like you said they're just doing it to play the field. That Mohler guy is crazy. The bad thing is non-Christians could hear that and then automatically think we all believe that, they tend to do that.
     
  7. Petrel

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    I was talking to my father-in-law, a Methodist pastor, last night. He said that the chief reason that the mainline church populations are declining was that the women twenty years ago started becoming more educated and putting off child-bearing, and ultimately having fewer children. Apparently Methodist women are at 1.7 children average, below replacement even if we assume zero losses to other denominations and to the church as a whole. He said that Southern Baptists used to be at 4 children average, but now they are experiencing the same trend with being educated, postponing childbirth, and having fewer children. He thinks that the Southern Baptist leadership is concerned by this--and by Dr. Mohler's statements it seems that he is!
     
  8. Artimaeus

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    Who has more time, more energy, less distractions, etc. to serve God singles or marrieds? Paul makes it clear that the answer is singles. He also makes it clear that being married is quite acceptable, too. You know how people are, if Paul didn't make it clear that being married is all right then people would say that he is saying that because single is more efficient than marriage then people shouldn't get married.
     
  9. Pastor Larry

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    Quoting Dr. Mohler more completely would have been helpful.

    It seems that the answer to what Mohler was talking about right there in the article, but was conveniently omitted by the OP for some reason.

    It appears clear that he is not saying singleness is a sin. He is saying that at best, singleness without the gift of celibacy is a neglect of Christian responsibility.
     
  10. jaded_chaos

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    It seems that the answer to what Mohler was talking about right there in the article, but was conveniently omitted by the OP for some reason.

    It appears clear that he is not saying singleness is a sin. He is saying that at best, singleness without the gift of celibacy is a neglect of Christian responsibility.
    </font>[/QUOTE]Well, that makes more sense. I agree with that one.
     
  11. robycop3

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    If it aint in the Bible, it AINT!
     
  12. Martin

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    "It appears clear that he is not saying singleness is a sin. He is saying that at best, singleness without the gift of celibacy is a neglect of Christian responsibility. "

    ==A neglect of Christian responsibility is a sin (Rom 14:23). So, without trying to split heirs, Mohler is saying that Christian men who are not seeking marriage are in sin. He blames young Christian men for the number of single women in the church. I have listened to his radio show enough to know that he believes all Christian men should be seeking a wife. Does he allow for exceptions? Yes, for those who are called to a ministry that requires them to be single. That, it seems to me, is the best explanation of how he defines the gift of celibacy.

    Now it is defining the gift of celibacy that becomes a bit of a problem for Mohler. Why? Because it becomes a foggy thing that they have a hard time defining. Do those who have the gift have sexual desires/temptations? Yes or no? Do those who have the gift wish they could marry at some point? Who is the judge over who has the gift and who does not? This brings us to this question: What authority does Mohler have to stand there and rebuke Christian young men for not marrying when he does not know if they have the gift of celibacy or not? Neither Paul, Jesus, John, nor anyone else in the New Testment gives such a rebuke. Paul states clearly that this is a matter that is up to the individual (1Cor 7:35). What is the gift of celibacy? Biblically it is the ability to stay single without being drawn into immorality. It is not a absence of natural desires, nor is it an absence of temptation (etc).

    My point is that Dr Mohler has gone beyond Scripture. If you disagree with me that is perfectly fine. On this we can agree to disagree. However Dr Mohler should do several things:

    1. He should give a clear explanation of his understanding of 1Corinthians 7 and Matthew 19:10-12.

    2. He should give a clear explanation, as I have above, of his understanding of the gift of celibacy.

    3. He should explain his statement(s) that marriage is one of the goals of the mature Christian life and a mark of a true adult. Btw I don't know that he made that comment in writing but I have heard him say simular things on his radio show. He should give direct Biblical support for his position.

    4.He should interact with those who disagree with him. While I respect the fact that Dr Mohler is a very, very busy man (president of a major seminary, etc) I have recieved no reply to an email I have sent him on this matter (not even from an assistant).

    Now am I saying that I will ever agree with Mohler on this matter? Probably not.

    Btw, I linked to Mohler's article so people could make up their own mind and not take my word for it.

    In Christ,
    Martin.
     
  13. SAMPLEWOW

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    AMEN! [​IMG]
     
  14. Pastor Larry

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    Splitting heirs would result in jail sentences which would certainly preclude marriage in most cases. Splitting hairs however is a different issue. And Mohler, to me, is not saying that Christian men not seeking marriage are in sin. He said that Christian men who do not intend to remain celibate are, and that many Christian many are not getting married for the wrong reasons.

    I don't think defining the gift of celibacy is really at stake. THe point here is that men are, in many cases, not stepping up to the plate in terms of commitment. They want to "play the field," get "sex on the side" without ordering the main dish. That seems to be what Mohler was talking about.
     
  15. El_Guero

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    I agree!

    Most Christian Singles do not have the gift of celibacy ... that usually equals sin ...

    Notice! This indicates women AND men ...
     
  16. El_Guero

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    Martin

    I disagree with your misleading the original article.

    Leadership that leads to sin versus leadership that leads away from sin?

    We are amazed at the lack of power in the pulpit ... I am not, when we do not lead God's people AWAY from sin, then God is NOT for us.

    Ezek ch 3 & 33, and others.

    There are FEW men or women that are given the GIFT of celibacy. It is easy for married men and women to say the best thing for singles to do is wait ... Emotionally that SOUNDS good. Spiritually that has led to a significant increase in SIN within the church.
     
  17. El_Guero

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    And it is JUST as wrong for us to lead men and women to marry that ARE CALLED to singleness.

    But, I have met only ONE individual that said they really thought that they were called to singleness that EXHIBITED singleness characteristics. Unfortunately, someone led him to think he HAD to get married.
     
  18. Martin

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    El_Guero:

    You said:
    I disagree with your misleading the original article.

    ==If you wish to say that my post was "misleading" thats fine. However the post was based on Dr Mohler's artcle/response, his original speech, and things he has stated on his radio show.

    ______________________________________

    You said:
    There are FEW men or women that are given the GIFT of celibacy.

    ==I agree with that totally, and I have never said anything any different. I also agree with Mohler's concern reference immorality in the church and delaying marriage for reasons that are less than noble. However I disagree with Mohler's general premise that young men not seek marriage are in sin (or are being lazy, or not fulfilling their responsibilities). There are several reasons that are very valid that cause some to delay marriage. There is nothing in Scripture that would indicate that their reasons are anything less than valid. They want to finish school, become more ecnomically secure, or other such things. There is just nothing in Scripture that would indicate or state that such motives, as long as they are sincere, are wrong. After all it is the Apostle Paul himself that allows for someone to stay single for the purpose of having less trouble in this life and having more time for the things of God (1Cor 7:32-35).


    You said:
    It is easy for married men and women to say the best thing for singles to do is wait ... Emotionally that SOUNDS good. Spiritually that has led to a significant increase in SIN within the church.

    ==Waiting is not what causes sin. If it is not the right time for them to marry, marrying will be a big mistake. What causes sin is spiritual deadness, or spiritual immaturity (1Cor 6:9-10, etc).

    Martin.
     
  19. Pastor Larry

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    Paul said that not being married causes the sin.

    1 Corinthians 7:2 But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband.
     
  20. El_Guero

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    Pastor Larry

    Any man that cannot understand what you are saying, should not marry a woman and make her miserable. He sounds called to remain celibate.

    I know that I try to date women, and I hear all the time that "God has not called me to marry, yet".

    I see that NOWHERE in scripture ...
     

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