Older Christian Singles and Celibacy (There Are No Consequences for Sexual Sin)

Older Christian Singles and Celibacy (There Are No Consequences for Sexual Sin)

(click on the “more” link to read the rest of the post)

I am including in this post an URL to an interview with a Christian author regarding a book she wrote about Christian singleness and celibacy.

I will only be quoting portions of the interview, which I am chalking up to “fair use.”

If you want to read the rest, I would advise you to visit their site:
Every Older Singles’ Battle – Christianitytoday.com Article
I wanted to preface the quoted material by making a few comments.

For all my life, I fully agreed with and abided by the Bible’s teaching about sex being for marriage only. I thought, when I was in my 20s, and even into my mid-30s, that I would be married by the time I was 35. That did not happen.

My views on sex may be changing slightly now that I find myself over 40 and still unmarried.

I still believe that the Bible is clear that sex if for marriage only. I am not going to sit here and try to explain away biblical passages that tell readers sex is for marriage only, as I saw one 25 year old, liberal Christian female do on her blog.

To paraphrase this other female blogger, she said that the Bible is “not clear at all that sex outside of marriage is sinful or wrong.” I disagree. The Bible is pretty clear about the topic.

My stance, however, is that I think it’s unfair and unrealistic to expect any Christian over the age of 30 to remain perpetually chaste, regardless of the Bible’s teaching on the matter.

In the past few years, I have watched many, many Christian television programs where people are interviewed about their struggles in life, and how they believe God helped them with that struggle or delivered them from it.

Many of these people I am speaking of are Christian women who were very promiscuous in their 20s and some into their 30s. Some worked at strip clubs, appeared in X-rated films, and some literally worked as prostitutes.

Some of these women were Christians (they had accepted Christ in childhood but had drifted away during their teen years).

Some did not convert to Christianity until their 30s or later.

They all said after they repented of their sexual sin, God helped get them out of their sexual sins, and in every single one of these testimonies (except for one) that I have seen in the last seven years (and I have seen lots and lots of these testimonies), every single one of these women got married to “wonderful Christian men.”

Here I am, a godly Christian woman in her early 40s who has not slept around, have not appeared in dirty movies, or worked as a prostitute or in a strip club, and I cannot even so much as get a boyfriend (I was engaged years ago but the relationship did not work out).

Yet God is sending former sex club workers, former X-rated actresses, and women who were sexually active with many people “godly, wonderful husbands.”

I think it’s wonderful God bestows grace on former prostitutes and sends them husbands. My problem and bewilderment is not that God wants to grant nice things to formerly “bad” people – but that he will not bless a consistently good person with good things too.

At this point in my life, it appears to me as though God is rewarding women who have not followed the Bible’s instructions on sex and other teachings, and yet God is also with-holding and denying good things (a Christian spouse) from women such as myself who have spent a lifetime sincerely following his teachings (who have not been sexually active or worked in strip clubs, etc).

Certainly, I have seen, heard of,  and known women who suffered negative consequences from sleeping around (such as sexually transmitted diseases).

I do not think it wise for women to sleep around with just anyone at any time. If a woman is going to be sexually active outside of marriage, I think she needs to use a lot of wisdom and caution.

The older I get, I am not seeing the overall benefit, or reward in, remaining abstinent (or chaste, or celibate, or whatever term one wishes to use).

I understand that the Bible is clear that sex is for married people, but as I said above, it’s quite cruel and unrealistic to expect adults over the age of 30 to remain sexless for the remainder of their lives.

I see no encouragement from the church at large to help older singles out – they don’t help us in finding mates and instead shame us if we admit to wanting marriage. They also do not offer encouragement from the pulpit along the lines of “way to go for remaining chaste in a sex filled culture.”

The closest thing we ever hear is (and this coming from married pastors who are having sex), “Remember, sex outside of marriage is bad, m’kay?”

Some pastors and Christian laypersons go so far as to tell Christian singles that masturbation is a sin, thus telling Christian singles they have zero honest outlet for sexual urges.

I note this anti-masturbation position is almost always spouted off by 40 or 50 year old married guys, or 40 year old married women bloggers, all of whom have two or three kids, who have been having sex for years.

I think I’m now more open to people having sex outside of marriage (and even though I know the Bible is against fornication), as long as they are not sleeping around frequently or on first dates, and that sort of thing. The older I get, it just seems so ridiculous to tell 35, 40, 45, and 50 year old people to remain celibate.

I’ve seen people who admit to being sexually promiscuous, and God did not strike them with lightning or with-hold marriage from them.

I even saw one Christian woman interviewed on a Christian television program who was married and had an affair, she became pregnant by the other man, her husband forgave her, and is now raising the ‘love child’ as though it’s his own son.

Sure, her marriage was strained by her indiscretion for awhile, but in the long run, everything worked out peachy keen for her. She apparently did not pay any sort of price for her sexual sin.

So what exactly is my incentive for remaining celibate? I see next to none, outside the obvious (such as not getting sexually transmitted diseases, for example).

Here are excerpts from the Christianity Today’s interview with the book author:

Every Older Singles’ Battle

Interview by Katelyn Beaty, 2009

Q. What prompted you and Bonnie to write Singled Out?

A. The two of us have been friends since college. As we went on with our lives and earned degrees, we had long conversations about our frustrations of being single in the evangelical church. So we started to look for good advice for older singles, because much discussion about abstinence [is for] high schoolers and college age people. But once you’re out of college, once you are working, there really wasn’t much of a discussion.

Much of the discussion around singleness is, “Just have enough faith, and God will provide a spouse.” And we started to worry about what that says about God. This idea of, wait a second, God hasn’t provided a spouse. What does that mean? Does that mean I’m not a good Christian? Does that mean God is not faithful? When you start going there, that’s dangerous. So we started to look for a better discussion.

Q. What are the sociological factors leading to so many Christians, particularly women, remaining single?

A. One factor is that we just have more singles in the U.S. The most recent statistic is from 2006, which says 46 percent of Americans are single. There’s just not the assumption that you will marry, you will marry young, and you will stay in that one marriage for life. But many churches have reacted to this by focusing on the nuclear family, and because of that, a lot of singles are uncomfortable in the church.

There have also been discussions about the feminization of Christianity, and how men don’t feel comfortable in the church. So when you have those factors working together, from our experiences and our friends’ experiences, single women in churches look around and are not finding anyone.

The other dilemma is “marrying down” — what does it mean to marry someone who isn’t as spiritually mature? That is a dilemma for many single Christian women.

I don’t want it to sound like we are ragging on all the single men in the church. Yes, there’s a problem of immaturity in the church, for men and women, but a lot of writers say, “It’s the men’s fault, and if they would step up and do their job, we wouldn’t have this problem.” And it’s far more complex than that. I feel for men in the church who say, “I also have reasons why I’m single, and it’s not because I stay home and play video games all the time.”

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8 thoughts on “Older Christian Singles and Celibacy (There Are No Consequences for Sexual Sin)

  1. First, thank you for your honesty in writing this post. As a fellow 40 something female, I understand your pain. I have asked many of the same questions.

    However, I must also agree with a.w. marks, that I must trust God even when life doesn’t make sense.

    It is difficult to hear testimonies from people, who seem to get everything we have always wanted, even though they definitely walked the wrong path. I think of Jesus’ parable of the Prodigal Son. . . the older son didn’t understand why his father welcomed the younger son home with open arms, and he never got a party of his own, even though he had always served so faithfully. . .

    I don’t necessarily have any answers. I will point out a few things that I thought about as I read your comments. The testimonies which you heard on TV (or other places) are just that, some people’s own accounts of what may have happened. Who knows if they really told the whole story. Even if they told the truth about being healed (and maybe they weren’t), they didn’t tell the full story. Perhaps if you talked with someone who had sinned sexually and was eventually restored and then, rewarded, if they were completely vulnerable, they would tell you about the emptiness and pain they experienced during their disobedience. And, even if God rewarded them with a godly husband eventually, that doesn’t mean that their marriage is easy and wonderful and happily ever after all the time. I am sure that there are consequences for their choices, the rebuilding of trust being one of them.

    For me, as I grow older (and am still unmarried), I have to decide who I trust more, man or God. . . in the end, I have to trust in God and His Word, despite how difficult life can be and how unfair it seems.

    I am sorry for your struggles and the loss you have experienced. I also have lost a brother and a mother too soon, and I miss both of them every day. But, I must look to Jesus for my hope. He understands heartache and pain, and He cries with us. I pray that God will comfort you and give you peace.

  2. Hey I would to share more of the std’s testimonies here: http://www.testimonyshare.com/std/

    There are people in that site claiming to be healed right away from std’s or in 7 days, or maybe some months but many indeed seem to get healed by god, I don’t know. Yet people like me who have abstaining forever( I will be 27 soon) get no healing for non sexual diseases such as vitiligo and hypothyroidism after praying nearly everyday.

    Where is the logic in this? Either god has favorites and/ or a personality with likes and dislikes just like humans that makes him act like a douche or an angel at times or the bible is a bunch lies with a little bit of truth involved.

    If you tell a Christian any of these thoughts you will be met with the familiar but annoying:

    1. You should be happy for them ( I am, but I am not blind to the unfairness of people breaking the rules and then being rewarded anyways and those who obey are met with indifference by the powerful god.

    2. He is testing you. (he is not exactly testing someone with patience when he heals them the same day of std’s after having a quickie with a friends with benefits, yes you can read for yourself in this page that Christians do not even have girlfriends and boyfriends anymore but lots of fwb and one night stands. If sin is all the same, you all should get the same healing results from it, no favorites. And what is the reason to test someone who already believes in god anyways? I still believe in god/Jesus promise but not everything from the bible and I do not go to church just like you though..

    3. It’s not my time( but apparently it’s always my time to suffer in silence when a graceful god could heal you at any moment but refuses to do so just to teach you a lesson you already know or have been through? )

    4. They will get their punishment in the afterlife ( Not if they received their healing in this life and have more reason to believe in god, and be a better person which will probably go to heaven and have a double good time of a life both here and there)

    You are in all your right to question this foolishness…

    • Thank you for the link. I had seen these types of testimonies on TV, but it had not occurred to me there might be similar ones on the internet.

      I do think it’s great God forgives people and gives them second chances and all that, but I do not understand why people who have obeyed God in the area of sexuality – abstaining from sex, since they are single – are not being rewarded with spouses and what not, when the self professing Christians sleeping around all over the place are getting spouses, or not getting STDs, or being healed of STDs five minutes after they contract one after praying for a healing.

      I am not seeing any personal benefit to following the rules, since I am not being compensated for it in anyway but the rule breakers are getting off scot free.

      Then, if and when you point all these inconsistencies out, you are correct, instead of being consoled by most Christians over this situation, you will be scolded for it, or told you are being prideful.

  3. Speaking as a 33-year-old man and lifelong celibate, I empathize with many of your points. I’ve entertained the doubts when I’ve seen men with no regard for God’s word woo incredible Christian women into relationships. I’ve known women who have overcome (or more accurately, dismiss) their new man’s sexual past with the “gift” of their own purity on the marriage bed. And I could drive myself crazy with these thoughts. All this to say, I understand that it works both ways, and our Enemy is quick to bury us with lies about God that would dismantle our hope.

    Hope in itself is a dangerous thing. Without it we are void of the expectations that crush us. And yet the writer of Hebrews consides it prerequisite for faith (11:1). So the question is, would you or I risk our relationship with God for the sake of hope? God Himself seems to think it’s a risk worth us taking in Him. That in itself is a bold move on His behalf, almost as if He’s asking us to put Him to the test in our faith.

    At the same time, I think many of your arguments are based in a faulty understanding of justice. Those who believe in “karma” think that our results are equally drawn from our deeds — in other words, those who remain celibate deserve a particular outcome, and anything short is punishment or injustice. But scripture says that this is justice: that we deserve death. Not just at the end of our lives. We are already sinners. Anything that God chooses to give us in gravy, and any amount of “karma” would lead to immediate judgment.

    Thus, just as the ex-strippers have received grace in marriage, you and I have received it by the very measure of waking up this morning. Us that fair? Is it just? I don’t know — that’s the same questions that Job had to answer. Inevitably, the God that created you and I determines justice, and our attempts to create our own will always fall short. We have the choice to trust that His ways (about sex or otherwise) are good or that they’re not. If you determine that they’re not, than you’ve made yourself your own god, with your own laws and determination of what is just. Millions of people make that choice every day; you wouldn’t be in bad company.

    However, I’m of the mind that God allows me to wrestle with His seeming foolishness (or your words, “ridiculous” or “cruel”) to find the reality of His grace. Could I truly appreciate His grace if I felt I had earned everything I had received through my sexual purity, including marriage? I admit I could not, so it’s a work He’s faithful to finish in me. Could the ex-stripper truly appreciate grace were she not accepted by a Godly husband in the purest way? Must not have been. Two different measures — the same God who owes us nothing. He gives because He knows exactly what we need to find Him, and that has to be good enough.

    That said, everything you state about the church is true. We’ve been made to feel shame for unmet desires, as if desire in itself is indicative of lacking faith. Hebrews 11 would have me think the opposite is true. It is easy to believe when you desire nothing: that is not faith. But to seek Him despite evidence to the contrary of its fulfillment? That requires a miracle. That requires faith. For a 33-year-old man to live without sex and trust that a righteous woman would be honored by that someday? Nothing short of a miracle driven by faith. I don’t know that you or I possess that level of faith, but I know that it’s required, just as it was with the “injustice” that Sarah and Abraham had to endure. They didn’t sin in their doubt, but they did when they determined that God must be different than He says He is. When Abraham made his own justice his law, he tried to produce his own child outside of God’s grace. The world is still paying for that sin.

    This is much bigger than how you feel about older Christians having sex outside of marriage. This is about what you know of God and whether you know Him to be trusted. Culture will continue to do us no favors, and I’m going to wake up tomorrow as ready to have sex as the day before. But I’ve had to purpose in my heart that His ways have not changed and that the consequence of being my own God (and knowing better) is greater than what the ex-stripper committed in ignorance of the truth. I don’t get a pass, and you probably won’t either.

  4. Speaking as a 33-year-old man and lifelong celibate, I empathize with many of your points. I’ve entertained the doubts when I’ve seen men with no regard for God’s word woo incredible Christian women into relationships. I’ve known women who have overcome (or more accurately, dismiss) their new man’s sexual past with the “gift” of their own purity on the marriage bed. And I could drive myself crazy with these thoughts. All this to say, I understand that it works both ways, and our Enemy is quick to bury us with lies about God that would dismantle our hope.

    Hope in itself is a dangerous thing. Without it we are void of the expectations that crush us. And yet the writer of Hebrews consides it prerequisite for faith (11:1). So the question is, would you or I risk our relationship with God for the sake of hope? God Himself seems to think it’s a risk worth us taking in Him. That in itself is a bold move on His behalf, almost as if He’s asking us to put Him to the test in our faith.

    At the same time, I think many of your arguments are based in a faulty understanding of justice. Those who believe in “karma” think that our results are equally drawn from our deeds — in other words, those who remain celibate deserve a particular outcome, and anything short is punishment or injustice. But scripture says that this is justice: that we deserve death. Not just at the end of our lives. We are already sinners. Anything that God chooses to give us in gravy, and any amount of “karma” would lead to immediate judgment.

    Thus, just as the ex-strippers have received grace in marriage, you and I have received it by the very measure of waking up this morning. Us that fair? Is it just? I don’t know — that’s the same questions that Job had to answer. Inevitably, the God that created you and I determines justice, and our attempts to create our own will always fall short. We have the choice to trust that His ways (about sex or otherwise) are good or that they’re not. If you determine that they’re not, than you’ve made yourself your own god, with your own laws and determination of what is just. Millions of people make that choice every day; you wouldn’t be in bad company.

    However, I’m of the mind that God allows me to wrestle with His seeming foolishness (or your words, “ridiculous” or “cruel”) to find the reality of His grace. Could I truly appreciate His grace if I felt I had earned everything I had received through my sexual purity, including marriage? I admit I could not, so it’s a work He’s faithful to finish in me. Could the ex-stripper truly appreciate grace were she not accepted by a Godly husband in the purest way? Must not have been. Two different measures — the same God who owes us nothing. He gives because He knows exactly what we need to find Him, and that has to be good enough.

    That said, everything you state about the church is true. We’ve been made to feel shame for unmet desires, as if desire in itself is indicative of lacking faith. Hebrews 11 would have me think the opposite is true. It is easy to believe when you desire nothing: that is not faith. But to seek Him despite evidence to the contrary of its fulfillment? That requires a miracle. That requires faith. For a 33-year-old man to live without sex and trust that a righteous woman would be honored by that someday? Nothing short of a miracle driven by faith. I don’t know that you or I possess that level of faith, but I know that it’s required, just as it was with the “injustice” that Sarah and Abraham had to endure. They didn’t sin in their doubt, but they did when they determined that God must be different than He says He is. When Abraham made his own justice his law, he tried to produce his own child outside of God’s grace. The world is still paying for that sin.

    This is much bigger than how you feel about older Christians having sex outside of marriage. This is about what you know of God and whether you know Him to be trusted. Culture will continue to do us no favors, and I’m going to wake up tomorrow as ready to have sex as the day before. But I’ve had to purpose in my heart that His ways have not changed and that the consequence of being my own God (and knowing better) is greater than what the ex-stripper committed in ignorance of the truth. I don’t get a pass, and you probably won’t either.

    • Thank you for your input, but I disagree with several of your points and I don’t think you totally understood mine.

      I don’t believe in “karma.”

      My point is not so much “I am chaste, ergo I deserve a husband,” but “I’m chaste, have obeyed God, yet women who whored around and totally disobeyed God’s teachings on sex have been blessed with husbands anyway.”

      When I see “evil doers”
      1. not being held accountable by God for their sins; and
      2. rewarded to boot

      (especially point 2), I see little to no reason to remain “pure.” The message I have gotten from watching testimonies is that it’s fine for me to have sex outside of marriage, and doing so will not prevent me from getting a great husband.

      You said, “But scripture says that this is justice: that we deserve death.”

      We’re not talking soteriology (doctrine of salvation). Christ already paid for my sins.

      I’m talking about people who are already saved who are having sex outside of marriage, some have appeared in dirty movies – and God still gave them great spouses anyhow.

      You said, “Thus, just as the ex-strippers have received grace in marriage, you and I have received it by the very measure of waking up this morning.”

      You’re mixing apples and oranges. The topic is marriage and singleness, not salvation, not heaven and hell. The ex stripper has a husband. I don’t. I obeyed God, she did not.

      The ex stripper and I both ultimately deserve hell, but in living life day to day, one still gets a husband – the other does not.

      You said, “If you determine that they’re not, than you’ve made yourself your own god, with your own laws and determination of what is just.”

      Nope – I already stated in the original post that I realize God forbids sex outside of marriage in the Bible; I do not dispute that or attempt to explain away the Bible’s teachings on sex as I have seen other Christians do on their blogs.

      I also pointed out in my original post that I realize God bestows grace to even the vilest of sinners, which isn’t really the crux of the problem I am having; it’s only a part of it.

      I simply pointed out that lots of people are committing fornication anyway and are not being penalized -AND – even more unbelievably – they are being BLESSED (with great husbands, homes, jobs, etc).

      In light of all that, I see no incentive to remain chaste.

      You said, “When Abraham made his own justice his law, he tried to produce his own child outside of God’s grace. The world is still paying for that sin.”

      Again, I have seen many, many testimonies by Christian women (these were women who not ‘acting in ignorance,’ as you stated somewhere in one of your posts: not all, but many of these women said they accepted Jesus as Savior as little girls, and said they KNEW it was wrong to engage in fornication and appear in dirty movies and so on, but did so anyway), who went on to live very sexually impure lifestyles, and who were STILL rewarded with a wonderful Christian husband, nice suburban home, etc.

      God did not hold them accountable for their sexual escapades, and there was no fall-out or consequence from or for their sins.

      There was even one testimony by a Christian 25 year old woman who was so promiscuous, beginning when she was a teen, that she contracted a disease from the sexual activity. It injured her internal organs badly, and doctors said there was no cure. However, she began praying about this.

      A week later, a woman from her church said, “God wanted me to tell you he will heal you.” So this 25 year old went to a medical check up the next week, and her doctor, who was quite baffled said, “I simply don’t understand it, but all your tests show you are totally cured! No disease at all!”

      So apparently, not even contracting STDs (Sexually Transmitted Diseases) is a consequence one has to endure if having sex outside of marriage; one can sin knowing it is wrong, fornicate with lots of men for ten to 15 years, get a S.T.D., and God will cure you of it.

      You said, “I’m going to wake up tomorrow as ready to have sex as the day before. But I’ve had to purpose in my heart that His ways have not changed and that the consequence of being my own God (and knowing better) is greater than what the ex-stripper committed in ignorance of the truth. I don’t get a pass, and you probably won’t either.”

      Again, these were people who became Christians in youth -a few came to Christ later in life, but many became Christians as teens or little girls – and many of them said the Holy Spirit told them before they planned on having sex or posing nude, “do not join this strip club,” or “do not pose nude for Playboy,” but they did it anyway, not in ignorance, but knowing full well it grieved the Spirit and was a SIN.

      Yet God delivered them later and gave them spouses in spite of it.

      As for the rest of your remark, good luck to you – but you’re only 33 years old.

      Wait until you are in your early 40s like me and still waiting, with no end in sight to the waiting.

      God has also let me down in other ways (death in family a few years ago and factors related to that), and none of His promises in the Bible in regards to that came true, either. Even the most simple of prayer requests have gone unanswered.

      From what I have seen and experienced, Christianity simply does not work in today’s society for some of us, not when it comes to living out “day to day” life.

      It’s a naive way to live life, very impractical.

      Since I have decided to let go of aspects of Christianity, (or Christianity as taught by American churches), I feel more free and at peace (for once in my life).

      Being a sincere Christian for over 35 years did not bring me peace, joy, or an “abundant life” – it actually held me back in some ways.

      I still believe in the Bible’s main message about heaven, hell, the need for Salvation, Jesus is the only way, and such – but when it comes to daily living and dealing with people, the Bible’s teachings have not been terribly helpful or relevant to me.

    • Dude (A W Marks), I replied to your two posts over a year ago and you never did come back and reply to my reply. It makes me wonder why people bother to leave a comment if they’re not going to interact with my rebuttal.

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