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Celibacy for the unmarried?

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  • nyguy_1225
    I was recently asked by a (female) Christian friend what my response would be if she told me she was going to move in with her boyfriend. She was asking if
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 25, 2004
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      I was recently asked by a (female) Christian friend what my response
      would be if she told me she was going to move in with her boyfriend.
      She was asking if that would be okay or if that would be sin? It's
      a good question and one I get asked relatively frequently in one
      form or another and more often than not in relation to gay people.

      Clearly, nowhere in Scripture is celibacy demanded for those who are
      unable to marry. In fact the word is never used in Scripture. The
      only references to even the concept of celibacy come from Jesus and
      Paul, who refer to the "renunciation" of marriage as a free choice
      (Matthew 19:12; 1 Corinthians 7:1 and 7). Indeed, the requirement
      of celibacy for the unmarried is not God's law, but a doctrine of
      man.

      The crux of the matter is simply that the Bible has no sexual ethic
      per se. There is no Biblical sex ethic. Instead, the Bible exhibits
      a variety of sexual mores, some of which changed over the two
      thousand-year span of biblical history. Mores are unreflective
      customs accepted by a given community. Many of the practices that
      the Bible prohibits, we allow, and many that it allows, we prohibit.
      The Bible knows only a love ethic, which is constantly being brought
      to bear on whatever sexual mores are dominant in any given country,
      or culture, or period.

      The very notion of a "sex ethic" reflects the materialism and
      splitness of modern life, in which we increasingly define our
      identity sexually. Sexuality cannot be separated off from the rest
      of life. No sex act is "ethical" in and of itself, without reference
      to the rest of a person's life, the patterns of the culture, the
      special circumstances faced, and the will of God. What we have are
      simply sexual mores, which change, sometimes with startling
      rapidity, creating bewildering dilemmas. Just within one lifetime we
      have witnessed the shift from the ideal of preserving one's
      virginity until marriage, to couples living together for several
      years before getting married. The response of many Christians is
      merely to long for the hypocrisies of an earlier era.

      Our moral task, rather, is to apply Jesus' love ethic to whatever
      sexual mores are prevalent in a given culture. We can challenge both
      gays and straights to question their behaviors in the light of love
      and the requirements of fidelity, honesty, responsibility, and
      genuine concern for the best interests of the other and of society
      as a whole. Christian morality, after all, is not an iron chastity
      belt for repressing urges, but a way of expressing the integrity of
      our relationship with God. It is the attempt to discover a manner of
      living that is consistent with who God created us to be. For those
      of same-sex orientation, being moral means rejecting sexual mores
      that violate their own integrity and that of others, and attempting
      to discover what it would mean to live by the love ethic of Jesus.

      -Alex
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