Is Singleness A Sin? by Camerin Courtney
(If the above link does not work, please try (Link): this one, which has a back up copy of the same essay)
Excerpt (you will have to click the link above if you want to read the rest):
- He [Southern Baptist Al Mohler] also spoke of the “holiness of marriage as the central crucible for adult-making” and of the ill of single women putting off wife- and motherhood to establish their careers.
He urged the singles in attendance at that conference to make getting married their top priority. “What is the ultimate priority God has called us to?” Mohler asked. “In heaven, is the crucible of our saint-making going to have been through our jobs? I don’t think so. The Scripture makes clear that it will be done largely through our marriages.”
Joining this bandwagon, Dennis Rainey and Bob Lepine of FamilyLife Today, a national radio broadcast of Campus Crusade’s FamilyLife ministry, aired the tape of Dr. Mohler’s talk. Afterward, the hosts voiced their absolute agreement with Mohler’s message. Rainey added a personal anecdote about how excited he was when his sons popped the question to their respective wives, “because I knew life was about to begin in earnest.”
… Their comments make me wonder how many actual Christian singles they interact with on a regular basis, or whether they’re basing their understanding of singles from viewing a few episodes of Friends.
Most of the singles I know and hear from aren’t delaying marriage due to selfish motives.
Rather most of them earnestly desire to be married, are surprised and/or frustrated that they aren’t yet, and are prayerfully trying to figure out how to get from here to there.
… Mohler seems to assume that all still-single women are such because we chose to climb the corporate ladder first, and that all still-single men are such because they first chose to sow their wild oats.
But this simply isn’t the reality of singleness I’ve witnessed and experienced. Now, I know I haven’t met all the single Christian women out there, but I’ve certainly talked with quite a few at singles events and heard from literally thousands more through e-mails in response to this column.
I’m sure there must be some Christian women somewhere who pursued a job/career to the exclusion of marriage, but I have yet to happen on even one. For the vast majority of us, a vocation is a way of finding an outlet for our God-given gifts, being a responsible member of society, and, most importantly, paying the rent.
… Sure, the Bible tells us it’s better to marry than to burn with passion (1 Corinthians 7:9). But surely it’s not telling us to marry the next person who catches our eye simply to avoid temptation. That would fly in the face of other biblical injunctions to learn self-control, to respect others, to flee temptation- as opposed to simply finding an acceptable outlet for our desires.
… And as for the assertion that getting married is synonymous with becoming an adult, I agree that making that caliber of life-long commitment grows you up in many ways. But, I would add, so does having to fend for yourself for decades of adult life.
Does this marriage-as-adulthood argument imply that I and my 40something, 50something, and beyond unmarried counterparts are somehow still children? Wouldn’t character issues such as righteousness, goodness, faithfulness, and the other fruits of the Spirit be a better gauge of maturity?
… Perhaps many of us are slower to marry not because we don’t take marriage seriously, but because we do take it seriously. Because we’ve seen and experienced the consequences of hasty unions, because we’ve seen the statistical evidence that older first-time marriages have a better chance for survival, because we take very seriously the words “til death do us part.” If anything, I think rushing to marry and preaching a gospel of marriage for marriage’s sake devalues it more than our generation’s hesitancy and seeming passivity.
… When Mohler calls marriage the “ultimate priority God has called us to,” I cringe. Not because I’m anti-marriage, but because I don’t find backing for this in the Bible. I don’t see the place where marriage is called a requirement. It’s called a blessing many times, but then so is singleness.