Mark Gungor on Sexuality and Singles on Jan. 2013 TBN Guest Appearance

Mark Gungor, who often delivers lectures or commentary about marriage on Christian television shows, is a guest on TBN’s “Praise the Lord” show tonight. I had no plans to make another post to this blog tonight, but I listened to Gungor and had to write something.

In a previous post about Gungor, I explained his off-putting (and weird) view that Christian singles are impersonal, interchangeable widgets, so having a good or happy or successful marriage does not depend on either the unmarried Christian man or woman having anything in common or not, other than salvation in Christ. (I found one post where I mentioned Gungor before, and it might be this one I’m thinking of: “The Right One”)

(Scrolling through those old blog posts caused me to remember when I first began this blog (which was based on an old Geocities site I had – and which I think author Debbie Maken copied off for one of her books on marriage/singleness), I was a lot more chirpy and upbeat. I’ve become more cynical or grouchy as time has marched on, heh. Anyway.)

On tonight’s “Praise the Lord” show, Gungor is discussing women having sex outside of marriage, among other subjects. I’ve not yet heard him address Christian males who are committing fornication. (This episode, this interview with Gungor, will be repeated tomorrow on TBN at 4 PM rebroadcast of “Praise the Lord,” and can probably be viewed on TBN’s “iTBN” site, if you’d like to watch it for yourself.)

Gungor said something during this broadcast like, “It’s not that God doesn’t want to withhold things from you, he’s okay with you having sex, but just get married [first]!”

Uh yeah, Mr. Gungor, you have literally millions of Christian women over the age of 30 today who cannot find a Christian husband, but they would love to get married, and it’s not for a lack of trying or due to a lack of faith. They want to get married and have sex, but marriage is not happening, and they don’t know why.

Christian women desiring marriage were told to try “eHarmony,” pray and trust the Lord for a spouse, and serve other people (because, supposedly, if you’re running around acting like Mother Theresa, you will magically bump into Mr. Right) – but none of that led to a spouse.

Gungor just made the odd comment that some study he saw said that a man who remains single will die sooner (than a married man), that remaining single (for men) has the effect of smoking two packs of cigarettes per day. (He was saying this in the context that a woman can sometimes change a man for the better, wives can have a positive influence on men.)

Well, okay, buddy, but what about any Christian men out there who desire marriage, they prayed to God for a wife, they waited, attended church, tried eHarmony – but still no spouse. Or how about the ones who are still single and who are happy about being single? What of the males whom God called to singleness (for lack of a better phrase; I do not believe God foreordains who will marry vs who will not)?

Do the Bible verses that equate singlehood to marriage in terms of value and worth, and the verses about singleness being preferable in some ways TO marriage, not appear in your Bible?

Your quoting of a news item that single men will die sooner than their married counterparts isn’t exactly uplifting or encouraging to them, and it may not even be true (see this page, hosted on Huffington Post: Reports of Singles’ Early Demise are Greatly Exaggerated (or Just Plain Wrong) by Dr. Bella DePaulo).

Earlier in the show, Gungor cited some study that said “X percent” (I don’t recall the exact number) of 20-something Christian women today believe having sex on a first date is acceptable, and that by the time they reach 40 and over 40, the response jumps to something like 53% (percent) feel that sex on a first date is acceptable.

Gungor is shocked that as Christian women grow older they become more accepting of sex on a first date. He wonders what pastors are teaching their flock about sexual morality.

I am kind of with Gungor on the criticism that sexual morality is not being taught in churches, or maybe not taught properly.

The messages one hears about sex from preachers and Christian material is either too simplistic (and this is what Gungor harped on tonight, so he is guilty of this too),

“Just say no to sex outside of marriage!,” “Wait for marriage to have sex!,” “If you want sex, get married!”

or, the message is…

“Every one knows all unmarried Christians are having sex outside of marriage, but that’s okay! You just ask God to forgive you when you have sex, and everything is fine!”

I can tell Gungor why the figures grow higher as women grow older. I’ve actually already addressed this in two previous posts, but here’s a quick recap…

The fact is, as you grow older, you begin seeing there is little, to no, sense in remaining celibate, or penalty to, committing fornication.

Yes, occasionally a woman gets an unintended pregnancy, or a sexually transmitted disease, or one hears stories of a guy who sweet talked a woman just to dump her the day after, but by and large, that doesn’t seem to be happening to most Christian women who sleep around.

If I had a nickel for every testimony I’ve seen by Christian women in the past seven or eight years (and I recall a few from my teens and twenties) who said they were very promiscuous (and even though they knew it was sinful), yet they went on to marry decent Christian guys and live the American dream (two cars, nice two story house in the burbs, etc.), a 40- something Christian woman like me who has totally abstained from sex to this point sees no incentive to keep it up.

Combine those testimonies with the attitudes from the pulpits, Christian blogs, and Christian shows that “We know that all Christian singles past 30 are sleeping around, but just repent when you do it, and you’re fine with God!,” and again, one sees little incentive for holding out and remaining celibate.

I’m not seeing any negative consequences befall the Christian women who sleep around, and God is not withholding blessings from them.

When you’re younger, these things are not as apparent, and you are more naive and apt to buy into the horror stories Christian authors repeat to you about fornication. The arguments in favor of abstaining are not as convincing the older one gets.

Some of Gungor’s attitudes on these subjects bother me. I normally turn the channel if he’s a guest on a Christian show to avoid him, but for some reason, I watched him tonight.

Post Script. Not all Christian married couples are chaste. They cheat on each other. Sometimes the husband will have sex with a prostitute or another woman and then come home, have sex with his wife again at some point, and give her sexually transmitted diseases. Some husbands are addicted to pornography, which is a form of adultery. So I don’t think it’s fair or realistic for guys like Gungor to only counsel singles to remain “sexually pure.” He needs to be telling husbands to stop seeing prostitutes or looking at dirty sites and magazines, and stop expecting their over-35 year old wife to retain her high school weight or look perpetually like a 21 year old.

4 thoughts on “Mark Gungor on Sexuality and Singles on Jan. 2013 TBN Guest Appearance

  1. Let me rephrase – There are a few decent preachers today. Do all youth pastors have to be single? No. But I think there are too few in that ministry today. And some churches are better than others. Trying to stay positive.

    • Many churches are obsessed with hiring married dudes for just about every role, even for singles ministries. I keep seeing that on other blogs. I think I pasted in one such story on this blog somewhere, but I know I read somewhere about a married pastor whose wife died.

      His church made him step down once he was single again (due to his wife dying). He began applying for jobs, but no church would hire him because they all insist on hiring married men.

      Churches would not even permit him to lead or teach SINGLES CLASSES and the guy is single now!

      Churches will not let anyone serve or lead unless they are married males.

      If you are a woman, never married, divorced, widowed, churches don’t want you. They won’t let you put your talents and skills to use.

      About the only area churches will permit women – married or single – to serve is in the church nursery. I have never felt comfortable around kids or interested in being around them, so I cannot even do that much.

      Churches are really needlessly ostracizing and excluding a heck of a lot of people on the basis of gender and marital status.

      I seriously doubt this is what Christ wanted or taught (he always included people, even women. Back in his day, it was scandalous for a rabbi to teach women, talk with them in public, but he did all that any way!)

  2. I’ve never thought it made sense for daddies to take jobs as youth pastors. There may be some comfort factor there because his orientation is no longer in question, at least his public orientation. Can you imagine him giving a talking to them about premarital sex? Maybe pastors need to be introduced again to the concept of “credible witnesses.” This may come as a big surprise to a lot of them, but a married man having sex with his wife everyday is not going to relate in any way whatsoever to any person in a youth group, much less to older singles. It doesn’t matter if the subject of conversation is not about sex, he’s disqualified the moment he enters the room with a ring on his finger. “Okay, let me tell you kids how good it’s going to be for me tonight . . . ” Can you hear the laughter? Maybe they count on the youth not to ask those kind of “uncomfortable” questions.” Silence is being banked on again. Thank goodness there were older Christian singles in my neighborhood who cared enough to get involved. I didn’t realize how much of a “menor” they were until years later.

    No you won’t hear too many pastors talk about fornication. I have a new theory about this though. I think all of that condemnation gets channeled to other sins – like cigarettes. Think of the number of times your preacher has talked about tobacco. Then compare that to the number of times he has talked about fornication and adultery. Usually when I calculate that, the ratios are not even close – something like 5:1 or 7:1. But cigarettes are not their only whipping boy. They like to use any visual cue there eyes can focus on – tattoos, makeup, clothes, etc. It’s all diversionary for preachers because they can’t face the fornication going on in their own lives on top of not be able to provide a witness to the youth in their church – especially those older than he is.. The hypocracy is so thick you can cut it with a fork.

    Honestly, If I had made it to 35-40 without a mentor who was also on the same road, I probably would not have made it to 51 today. It’s not as critical for me now as it was back them, but it sure helps. I had always wondered why Catholics put so much emphasis on monks and nuns living in a community, not wanting them to be out on the streets and dealing with the everyday grind. From a psychological and social perspective, it’s making more and more sense to me. Because out on the streets (as my case) the probability of running into a lifetime celibate are astronomical, waiting on marriage or not. The internet has made it a little easier today since virtuous singles are spread out all over the world. One problem though is that there are some, understandably, who account make that leap of faith and reach out and grab the hand of an older Christian single. Of course, that could have resulted from bad experiences in the past, not having a computer, etc. Considering that this country, as well as the world, is on the verge of a population explosion, I tend to believe that’s one reason God allowed all of the technically advanced communication devices to be developed today. When support is not possible face to face, at least the technology does offer an alternative, albeit not perfect – but definitely sufficient. But in a community, you know you’re spending time with like minded souls who have renounced marriage for a greater good.

    It’s interesting that Mr. Gungor recommended eHarmony. As far as match-making, there are dozens of other alternatives that churches haven’t even tried yet. For instance, I know several virtuous singles, personally and online, who might well be matches for a few singles I know in church. But has anybody asked me about that? No. Of course, that might take a feather out of the preachers hat. In most churches, pride and politics trump real needs.

    The reason that what we hear from married preachers is so simplistic is because they only know about two words on the subject of celibacy – “just wait.” Past 35-40 it becomes an intellectual pursuit. So no amount of bible thumping, pugh warming, lesson studying, etc. is going to make any difference (at least for me). My waiting has moved into a dimension so far away from small rural churches that I have accepted the fact that not another soul like me is going to walk through the church doors. I’m content with that and try to keep my mind fixed on the hundreds of art projects I’m involved with and so forth. It’s certainly not easy though.

    I don’t think that report about single men dying younge is true. I feel pretty healthy today.

    • Oh sorry about any confusion, due to my wording – Gungor did not advise singles to try eHarmony; those were my words.

      I was responding to his advice to Christian singles who want to have sex to “just get married.”

      This is advice that actually pops up frequently in Christian material. Many married Christians will tell the singles to try eHarmony, as though one is magically guaranteed a spouse if they try eHarmony or some other dating site.

      The problem with the “if you want sex just get married” cliche’ is they are preaching to the choir. A lot of us singles would like to get married to another Christian, but there is nobody our age in local churches, most of the singles on the dating sites (even the ones who bill themselves as “Christian”) are creepy or a bit pervy, etc.

      I quoted some book review on this blog somewhere by a lady who reviewed Maken’s book. Maken does the same thing, tells singles “Just get married.”

      The reviewer said telling singles who desire marriage but who cannot find a suitable partner is like extolling the virtues, benefits, and yumminess of chocolate cake to a starving person (or maybe ‘to a diabetic who loves sweets’ would be a better analogy).

      The desire for marriage is already there, by many unmarried Christians, but the supply of suitable partners for them is not. That’s what these married Christian yahoo’s do not seem to grasp.

      Could you imagine falling down due to dehydration in the desert, you are lost and alone, and a book you’ve carried with you that you open to pass the time advises you, “Are you thirsty? Just drink a glass of water!”

      Well gee, you’d love to drink a glass of water, but there is no water there. DUH.

      Married Christian people show just as much sense when talking to unmarried Christians about marriage and relationships.

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