Mefferd Guest Incredulous that Preachers Push Kids To Marry Early
I will be tweeting a link to this to Janet Mefferd.
Mrs. Mefferd (if she is reading this at all!), I realize this post is way long.
However, I would appreciate it if you would read it and really take to heart and consider what it is saying, and maybe take the time to look over the links to other materials I’ve provided. The evangelical and Baptist and Reformed churches are alienating and hurting a lot of celibate, single adults.
And for anyone else reading, today, I am blogging about this:
(Link): (Janet Mefferd Show) Hour 2- Glenn Stanton from Focus on the Family discusses divorce rates. AUDIO.
Today, at least 44% of the American adult population is single [Sept 2016 update: as of 2014, according to various news sources, that figure is now 51% or higher]. This includes a big chunk of Christian women over 30, 40 who would like to marry, but marriage is not happening for them.
Evangelicals, however, continue to ignore these singles to harp on (nuclear) family, marriage, and babies.
And yes, Evangelicals are pushing for Early Marriage. They are not helping the over-30 singles, but ignoring them and advising 18 year olds to marry now.
I sent Janet Mefferd (Christian radio show host) an e-mail several months ago alerting her to some of the un-biblical, strange, and insulting views of adult, celibate, Christian singles that are held and taught by married Christians – even by famous Christians, such as Southern Baptist Al Mohler – but I got no reply from her.
I have no idea if Mrs. Mefferd read my e-mail or saw it. I used the “contact form” at her site to send her the message.
I don’t always agree with Mrs. Mefferd on all issues, but I do like her on a personal level, I sometimes feel a bit grouchy with her if I feel she’s falling into the “family idolatry” trap that is so pervasive among evangelicals and other Christians…
But I do appreciate that Mefferd thinks Christians should actually expect other self professing believers to walk the Christian walk.
Because when it comes to virginity and sexual purity – though I myself am an ACTUAL virgin past my 40s (since I have not married) – I am now seeing a Christian culture that runs from ‘Laissez-faire’ on sexual ethics to bashing and attacking the concept of virginity and adult virgins themselves. Here are just a link or two (more links at end of this post):
One of several reasons I am drifting towards agnosticism after having been a devout Christian since youth has to do with this very topic: Christians being hypocrites, especially on these sexual issues.
Here I stayed a virgin into adulthood, trying to stay true to the faith and the Bible’s teachings (that is, I am a LITERAL virgin, not one of those fornicators who calls herself a “born again” or “spiritual” or “secondary” virgin, puh-leaze).
And instead of getting acknowledged for remaining sexually pure into middle age (notice that mothers in churches get carnations, they get recognized, on Mother’s Day, etc, what do virgin, adult women get? Nothing, that’s what, no sermons, no flowers, nothing), nor do I get support (emotional, practical, or financial support) from Christians during my celibate, adult singleness.
I am getting blamed and bashed for being a virgin past 40, or totally ignored (links about this below).
False teachings about celibacy, adult singleness, and sex abound in Christendom these days, even among conservative evangelicals, but not many Christians care or even notice.
Even when I alert other Christians to this information, they do not seem to care.
Evangelical, Reformed, Fundamentalist, and Baptist Christians do NOT esteem virginity or celibacy for anyone who is over 25 years of age but actually attack both concepts. (Keep reading, I explain more below, with links to proof.)
In this audio (see link to audio below), where Janet Mefferd interviews Stanton of Focus on the Family, Stanton disputes some recent findings by some study about divorce rates being higher among Protestant Christians.
(I blogged about that study a few days ago, (Link): here).
In this interview with Mefferd, Stanton says the researchers concluded that one reason for higher divorce rates among Protestant Christians is that Preachers encourage young people to marry early (ie, very young).
Stanton laughed this claim off and said, “I have never heard such a thing, ha ha ha.”
But, the claim is TRUE.
Just about a week ago, this young preacher named Deeter wrote a post encouraging people to marry young, and I wrote this rebuttal:
Yes, some preachers and branches of Christianity are most certainly advocating Early Marriage, to the point it has been editorialized about on “Christianity Today,” see:
Other Christians, some of whom are authors, have commented on the phenomenon of preachers and churches advocating Early Marriage.
Here are some examples (some of these pages are by me):
(Link): Marrying Young – from “Stuff Christian Culture Likes,” by Stephanie Drury
– Drury is, if I understand correctly, a former conservative evangelical, a “preacher’s kid,” who is now very liberal in her views of Christianity, but even she picked up on the “Early Marriage” trend among Christians
(Link): The Nauseating Push by Evangelicals for Early Marriage
(blog post by me, I think not too long after I began noticing the trend)
Even right wing, Non Christians have jumped on the “kids should marry young” band wagon:
(Link): Secular Media Also Pushing Early Marriage
The reason some pastors are advocating Early Marriage is that they see high rates of fornication going on among self professing evangelical youth.
Evangelicals, Reformed, Baptists, and other sorts of Christians, assume if they can get a teen Christian to marry at age 21, that pre marital sex will not be an issue, and that the rates or pre-marital sex among youth can be lowered.
Christians have bought into the same beliefs about sex as have Non Christians: that nobody can resist sex past age 18 or one’s early or mid twenties. Christians, like Non Christians, do not believe that self-control is possible.
I have blogged on this issue many times before, such as (I have many other examples on the blog, this is just one example):
This -that Christians are making the same assumptions about sex as Non Christians are- is also a trend mentioned in the book by Christian authors Field and Colon, “Singled Out.”
I would recommend that Mefferd read that book (“Singled Out” by Christian authors Field and Colon), as well as the chapters on singles and women in the book “Quitting Church,” by Christian writer and journalist Julia Duin for more examples of that topic and other ones that adult, single Christians face in Christianity.
Many Christian preachers today are afraid to be cast as “slut shamers” (a phrase cooked up by secular, left wing feminists), so out of fear of shaming, offending, or hurting fornicators, preachers are chossing not to sermonize against sexual sin:
– I have several other blog posts about “slut shaming” and “virgin shaming” on my blog, that is but one that is a bit related to the topic.
Most Baptist, fundamentalist, Reformed, and evangelical Christian preachers are ignorant about what the Bible teaches about singleness and celibacy.
Despite the fact the Bible makes plain celibacy is something obtainable by EVERYONE, Christians keep adhering to the false view that
- -God only calls a very tiny few to a state of singleness and celibacy,
- and that
- -God gives supernatural ability to, or magically lowers the libido of, adult singles, to remove all their sexual desire.
All of this is false, and it is not biblical. But preachers keep repeating it in their sermons, blogs, tweets, videos, pod casts, and books.
I am 40 years old, never married, wanted marriage, and yet am still a virgin, but I still experience sexual desire. God did not lower my libido, nor did God “call me to” or “gift me with” singleness and celibacy (neither concept is taught in the Bible, but many Christians ASSUME that they are).
Most recently, infamous preacher Mark Driscoll of Seattle’s Mars Hill church wrote a blog post about adult singles, where he maintains several of these unbiblical, false views about adult singles and their sexuality, and I wrote a rebuttal here:
So, you have many Christians today, from Baptists, Reformed, to Evangelical, who believe it is IMPOSSIBLE for anyone to remain celibate and sexually pure, unless God chose them in eternity past to remain single forever, and they seem to believe that God sprinkles some kind of mystical ‘Fairy Dust’ on adult singles, who are over the age of 25 or 30, to remove all their sexual urges.
These sorts of Christians (usually married preacher men) feel if you have not been “called” to singleness, you must marry pronto, you must marry before you hit age 25, or else it is INEVITABLE you will fornicate – no mere mortal can resist sex, supposedly.
The only mortals who can resist are ones God “gifted” with celibacy and/or singleness, they believe.
~Again, the Bible teaches NONE of this, but Christians such as Driscoll, Al Mohler, and other preachers and Christian laypersons keep preaching it as fact or as biblical truth when it is no such thing.
These views neglect the fact that the Bible teaches that sexual self control is possible for everyone, the Bible does not state or mandate an age at which people must marry, (the Bible does not mandate marriage for anyone, as a matter of fact; see 1 Cor 7), and there are numerous examples of married Christians who engage in sexual sin after they are married.
Further, the Bible does not teach, and common sense bears out, that marriage does NOT guarantee that a person will remain sexually chaste just because they have a Bible-approved outlet for their sex drive (i.e., their spouse).
Preachers wrongly assume that once a person marries, that he or she becomes immune from sexual temptation or sexual sin.
Many married Christian men (even ones who work as preachers), despite having a wife, view porn, have affairs, fondle children, etc. ((Link): View examples here).
Christians today are attacking singles, singleness, and adult virginity – I have proof here on my blog.
I have numerous examples to links by
-Southern Baptist ethics leader Russell Moore denigrating virginity,
-Christian blogger Tim Challies mocking virginity, saying “even fornicators are virgins now,”
-Pat Robertson, Christian show host saying in response to a question about virginity mailed to him by a viewer, “there’s nothing bad about fornication,” etc. etc. etc.
One or two links (more links are at bottom of this post):
(Link): Anti Virginity Editorial by Christian Blogger Tim Challies – Do Hurt / Shame Feelings or Sexual Abuse Mean Christians Should Cease Supporting Virginity or Teaching About Sexual Purity ? (Challies says ‘Yes’)
As I was saying above, I am a woman who was a Christian since childhood. I am over 40, wanted to be married, and have never married. I have never had sex.
I can assure you that, yes, Christians do in fact push early marriage, as well as make an idol out of marriage. I keep track of trends in Christian (mostly evangelical and Baptist, sometimes Neo Reformed) teaching on views towards singleness, marriage, sex, and related issues, and Early Marriage is another trend I’ve come across.
Southern Baptists have been pushing early marriage, as well as some Neo Reformed/ Calvinist Christian groups and your fringe, kook groups, such as homeschool groups who cozy up to aberant groups such as Dominionists, Quiverfull, and Reconstructionists.
These groups hold false teachings about family, parenting, and about gender roles. They elevate the traditional family (mom, dad, with kids) to a point that it has been turned into an idol.
Here’s one or two links about it (I have many other such posts on my blog):
I can go on and on detailing some of their other un-biblical, wacko views, but that suffices.
What I am getting at is that just because a group says they are Christian and believe in “family,” does not mean they have sound doctrine.
Consider Mormons, for example.
Mormons say they believe in Jesus, they believe in the KJV Bible version, and they have strong “family values” and believe in “traditional marriage,” yet their views are not biblical:
they teach something or other that in the afterlife, you and your spouse will become gods, and the more children you have, the more planets you and your god family gets to rule.
Is that biblical? No, of course not… but Mormons believe in “family values,” “traditional families,” and “marriage.”
- (See also: (Link):
Although the New Testament esteems singleness, and though Jesus and the Apostle Paul were single and childless, these fringe groups treat singles and singleness as though they are sin; some go so far as to teach that a single woman is not fully in God’s image, and that to be in God’s image, she must marry a man.
(Some of them seem to believe that an unmarried woman is .5 (one half) a human or one half in God’s image, that an unmarried man is .5, and for them to equal “one” and be fully in God’s image and/or be fully human, they must marry each other.
These are usually the more kooky, patriarchy type groups that are teaching this far out stuff, but such thinking seeps into mainstream evangelical/Baptist sermons I have heard.
I don’t know as much about the fringe groups as other bloggers, such as the lady who maintains this blog, (Link): Under Much Grace.)
Some of these fringe views about marriage, procreation, etc, have crept into mainstream Baptist, Reformed, and evangelical beliefs to one degree or another. I blog about it all the time here on my blog.
There is nothing wrong with marriage, traditional marriage, wanting to be married, and there is nothing wrong with traditional families
– BUT – many Christians have turned all these things into IDOLS.
Christians have come to marginalize and ignore (or some preachers even insult) anyone (e.g., widowed, divorced, never married, childless) who does not fit the “Man and Woman, married, with two kids” mould.
These Christian views towards marriage vs. singleness, having children vs. not having children, flies in the fact of Jesus’ teachings not to put wife, daughter, mother, son, ahead of Him (see (Link): Matthew 10:34-38).
Jesus basically warned Christians against putting flesh and blood family before the family of God (that is, your spiritual brothers and sisters in Christ, see (Link): Matthew 12:46-50).
Christians and churches and preachers, however, violate Christ’s teaching of Matthew 12:46-50 ALL THE TIME.
Some Baptists are downright hostile towards singles and singleness, such as Al Mohler (president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary), which I have blogged on before:
Mohler has not only pushed for early marriage in previous statements over the past few years (in speeches or blogs), but in order to defend traditional marriage, he has BASHED singles and singleness.
Mohler, in some blog posts he has written, and lectures he has given, will insult the state of being single in the midst of writing pro-marriage articles.
Mohler blogs in several posts (one is located here) with a tone of glee studies that claim that singles die sooner than married people. -That is not a “pro marriage” post, it is a SINGLES BASHING post.
Where in the Bible did Jesus express glee at the idea that an entire group of people would die sooner than another group? Is that loving? (BTW, those studies are bogus; marrieds do not out-live singles. I have links to studies and articles which refute those studies in other posts.)
The Bible nowhere upholds marriage or married people AT THE EXPENSE OF SINGLENESS or SINGLE PEOPLE. But Christians do so FREQUENTLY.
Another trend I’ve seen the past year or two have been hetero, conservative Christians giving a pass to homosexual adult and young singles to have sex, but still expecting hetero adult singles to sexually abstain.
It is not only an anti biblical view, but hypocritical to expect hetero singles to live up to a standard that homosexuals are not expected to live up to.
I’ve blogged on it a time or two before, such as:
Evangelical Christianity is in fact pushing Early Marriage, and has been doing so the the last few years.
The majority of Evangelical Christians (as well as Southern Baptist and other types of Christians) regularly denigrate celibacy and singleness (when not totally ignoring both), they have false, unbiblical views about celibacy and adult singleness, and all of that plays into their advocacy of Early Marriage.
Remaining single and celibate over life are options possible to any and all people, and the Bible presents them as such, but evangelicals think a person’s choices in life are either
- 1. FORNICATE
- — or —
- 2. MARRY.
Evangelicals and other Christians do not have an
- “BE SINGLE AND CELIBATE”
on the menu.
Option Number 3 is never considered by Christians. If it is ever addressed by Christians, it is “shoo’ed” away as “being impossible.”
Where in the Bible, especially in the New Testament, does it teach marriage is the norm, or that God considers it to be the norm for all people for all cultures, or that God prefers marriage and hates singleness, and that being celibate is impossible? The Bible does not teach those things.
- (See (Link):
- for more – excerpts can be read
Evangelicals, and other Christians, do not support or acknowledge Christian celibates who are over the age of 25 / 30. We are either ignored, or insulted, when they do write about us.
The needs (needs = emotional support, financial, sermons just about being single over 30, helping us to get married, etc) of single, adult celibates are not being met by the Christian community.
The concerns of adult, single celibates are not being met by churches, they are not being helped in their struggles but brushed away with platitudes such as, “be content with your singleness.”
But churches sure as heck don’t mind meeting the needs of the “nuclear family,” or single mothers in their midst, or in their communities – giving them advice, sermons geared towards solving marital problems, ministries tailored to married couples and kids, buying shoes for the children of single mothers, etc. There is not near this amount of activity and attention given to adult, single celibates.
I’m not sure if Mefferd is aware of just how many prejudices and conflicting views we adult singles get from Christians.
Here is just one of many stereotypes and contradictions held by Christians (and one that is playing a role in the prolonged, unwanted singleness among Christian women who are over the ages of 30, 40):
-1. Christian, adult singles are told by married Christians and preachers how awesome and great marriage is all the time. Every other sermon is about the Awesomeness of Marriage and How To Have a Super Marriage.
Why, marriage is (supposedly) (Link): the Backbone of Society, we should all strive to be married, by doggies!
– 2. Christian adult singles are guilted and shamed for being single by the larger Christian community.
False assumptions are often made:
- The females are single because… (supposedly),
- we are single at 40 because we deliberately chose to be single; we are bra- burning, man- hating, career obsessed harpies;
- we view singleness as being more holy than being married;
- we are too picky; we passed over thousands of proposals from Brad Pitt look-alikes when we were 27 (I wish);
- we must be too fat or ugly;
- we have too much baggage.
-3. However, when we single women go to these Christian people and ask for help in getting married (we ask for prayer in this area; we ask,’fix us up on with dates single guys,’ etc),
….these same “pro marriage” Christians suddenly turn into strident anti marriage advocates.
These married Christians and preachers will tell the adult single who admits she wants marriage that she is making an idol out of marriage, she should not attempt to get married (just “wait on the Lord’s timing”), that using dating sites, etc, is wrong, as it supposedly shows a lack of faith, etc.
These Christians who claim to be pro-marriage actually want us singles staying single, despite the fact out the other side of their mouths they complain Christians are not getting married anymore.
They yell at us to desire marriage, but if we admit we do, then they tell us to stay single – “be content in your singleness” they say, “the Lord is your husband.” etc.
So, who is keeping Christian singles single? It’s the evangelicals and Baptists doing so, not secular culture, feminists, availability of birth control/abortion, or liberals: it’s the Christians themselves.
Oh, on a last note: from what I have read: In the USA there are approximately three unmarried female Christians for every unmarried Christian male.
There are not enough dudes for the chicks to marry. Christians refuse to grapple with that one.
Baptists, Reformed, evangelicals and other Christians, keep shaming us ladies for being single past the age 30/40, telling us how great marriage is, but telling us to “be content in your singleness.”
- or (also false):
- God’s gifting of singleness is rare –
- More Accurate: God calls only a few to marriage and God gifts only the rare with the gift of Marriage
- (Re: Steven Furtick and Elevation Church Perpetuating Anti Singles Bias –
- ie, Single Women are Supposedly Sexual Temptresses, All Males Can’t Control Their Sex Drives – (but this view conflicts with evangelical propaganda that married sex is great and frequent))
Single Women, Stop worrying about “Being Equally Yoked” – it’s keeping you unnecessarily single for too long, and it’s pointless:
(Link): Pastor charged in wife’s murder was headed to Europe to marry boyfriend, prosecutor says – Single Christian Ladies: Kick that Be Equally Yoked Teaching to the Curb!
- (Also: Marriage and Parenthood do not make people more godly or mature or loving or ethical)
- (this is a variation of the other false teaching:
- “If you pray long and hard enough / have enough faith, God will send you a husband!”
- – tell that to the millions of age 40, never-married Christian women like myself. Didn’t work for us.)
(Link): Christian Wife of Kinda Famous TV Preacher Guy Committed Multiple Affairs – He tells congregation at church service / (Being married does not make a person immune from sexual sin or make them more mature or godly
(Link): More Virgin and Celibate Shaming in Article: How the New Abstinence Movement is Trying to Reshape Our Views on Sex (from Relevant Magazine) Another Christian Anti Virginity Hit Piece – Fornicators Need To Repent of Their Pride in their Fornication Testimonies Maybe?