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.