John Morgan’s Incorrect Assumption That There Are Only Two Groups: Called to Celibacy, or Called to Marriage
(This post has been edited a few times since being published to add a few more points)
As I was just remarking (Link): in my last post
- There is no such thing as “being called to” marriage or to celibacy.
- God does not choose who will marry, who will stay single: God allows you to choose which of those routes to go. Using terminology such as “called to” suggests there is no human free will involved, that your marital status was pre-determined in eternity past. I’m not a Calvinist. So no.
- Secondly, Morgan knows damn well there is a 3rd group: women like me who are, to use his bogus term, “called to marry”, yet God has not sent me a husband.
- I did not deliberately set out to be single into my 40s. I do not want to remain single.
- Not everyone who is single and/or celibate WANTS TO BE.
- I do not want to be single. I do not want to be celibate. I simply find myself in a position of such.
- The idea of God calling someone to live without sex and focus exclusively on his concerns is a foreign concept. It only follows then that churches define singles strictly on the absence of a marriage license.
While I sort of agree with the second half of his statement – churches don’t respect singleness in and of itself, but only view singleness as a temporary stop on the way to marriage, without recognizing that not everyone marries – I do disagree with the first half. The Bible simply does not teach that God calls anyone to marriage or to singleness.
- Apostle Paul makes it clear that there are only two lifestyle choices for the Christian, both of which have equal value: Celibacy as a eunuch or marriage as a spouse.
Yes, singleness and marriages are CHOICES, left up to adults; singleness/ celibacy is NOT a calling or a gift.
Marriage is not a calling or a spiritual gift.
Morgan keeps presenting this false dichotomy:
1. that there are only those who do want marriage and who eventually marry
2. those who don’t want to marry, who prefer celibacy, and who live as celibate singles
There are more groups out there, including women who want sex, who in fact have sex, but who do not want marriage, so they “shack up” with a man.
Then there are Christian women who are involuntary single and celibate. They WANT to have sex, they WANT to be married, but find themselves single, and, if obedient to the Bible, they stay celibate while single.
Morgan makes absolutely no other distinctions in his universe: all single celibates in his thinking are single celibate because God forced that lifestyle on them and they DESIRED it (they were “called” to it, or “gifted” with it).
He completely overlooks the boat loads of single Christian women who RESENT being single and celibate, who very much want marriage and sex. Morgan also says:
- When it comes to celibacy being a spiritual gift, even the thought is offensive to most Protestant churches. Consider the First Baptist Church of St. John’s, MI:
- “When Paul speaks of singleness as a gift, he isn’t speaking of a particular ability some people have to be contentedly single. Rather, he’s speaking of the state of being single. As long as you have it, it’s a gift from God, just as marriage will be God’s gift if you ever receive it.”
- The Bible does not tell us that we choose our own spiritual gifts. God does that.
- …Acknowledging spiritual gifts would acknowledge God’s presence in the world. Churches today can’t do that, especially when it comes to human sexuality because they think they know more than God
Edited addition to this post: Morgan is incorrect. The idea of singleness and celibacy being a “gift” is NOT offensive to most Protestant churches.
In fact, most Baptist and Protestant churches teach that singleness is a gift when adult singles such as me cry, act sad, or become discouraged about being single.
When single, adult women who desire marriage ask Protestants, “Why has God not sent me a husband, I want a husband!,” one typical reply is for these Protestants to tell single women: “Cheer up! Singleness is a gift of God!”
The old “singlness is a gift” line is one that is often trotted out to try and encourage single adults who want to be married but who find themselves single over the age of 35.
The “GOS” (Gift Of Singleness) crapola is intended, by Protestants, to soothe the feelings of anxious, lonely heart women who want a marriage, so they are forever portraying singleness as a “gift” when confronted directly by an angry or weeping single woman who asks them why God has not provided her a spouse.
(The rest of the time, of course, Protestants behave as though singleness is a second class citizen position in life, and married people are superior to singles.
You will hear married pastors go on and on in the pulpit about how great marriage is, and how it’s superior to singleness…
UNTIL that pastor is confronted in his office, in private, (or on a forum or a blog), with a weeping single woman who begs him to explain how is it she is still single, has God not heard her prayers for a spouse? It’s in such situations that Baptist or Protestant preachers will dredge up the GOS bull sh_t.)
As a matter of fact, this incorrect Baptist, evangelical, and Protestant view of singleness being a “gift” is so entrenched among those groups that a small number of Christians (including marriage mandater Debbie Makken) had to do research debunking the whole idea.
While I do not agree with Christian marriage mandaters on every point (they tend to be just as insulting to singles as non-marriage mandaters), they are correct in pointing out that apsotle Paul never taught that singleness is a gift (spiritual or otherwise), as Protestants and other Christians keep arguing or assuming.
So Morgan is quite incorrect when he says that Protestants object to singleness being a gift: they most certainly do believe and teach that singleness is a gift.
It’s only a small minority of Protestants who are starting to question this view point of singleness being a gift, since more and more women who desire marriage are still single now, into their 40s.
When Morgan used to post on my blog, he was fairly insistent that his celibacy or singlehood was a “gift of God.” I think the guy is deluded.
I tried telling him on my blog (before I banned him here) there is no such thing as a calling to, or a gifting of, celibacy or singlehood.
He remains tone deaf.
Whether to be celibate or get married are both simply life style choices people make, or fall into – as in, some women who are single hate being single and want a spouse, but they cannot find a decent man to marry.
I can only assume he wants all Christians to regard singlehood and celibacy as “gifts” or “callings” because he thinks this will cause the church to finally treat singles who are celibate with respect…. and he is wrong.
That won’t change a damn thing. The Baptist and Protestant church ALREADY pays lip service to singlehood and celibacy being respectable, but in practice, they don’t bear this out, because they go easy on fornicators and worship marriage and pro-creation.
Being celibate is a choice, not a spiritual gift.
In his lists of spiritual gifts, Paul NO WHERE mentions celibacy or singleness. From (Link): 1 Cor 12, Paul says:
Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.
To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit,
9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit,
10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues and to still another the interpretation of tongues.
11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.
Yeah, you see things such as wisdom, healing, and faith mentioned, but NO CELIBACY.
Paul never holds celibacy or singleness up as being SPIRITUAL GIFTS.
Stop teaching this heresy, Morgan.
Stop making up garbage like this just because you are cheesed off at churches for treating singles like dirt.
The Bible no where teaches that celibacy is a gift that God forces on to anyone; a gift that is thrust on someone ceases to be a gift but a command
A gift is something freely given, with no strings attached, and is gladly accepted.
There are many women who are celibate who want to be having sex. They sure as hell do not consider their singlehood or celibacy as “gifts” or “callings.”
- God does that. We live in a world though where no one can have a “particular ability” that everybody else doesn’t have.
Maybe I am misunderstanding him on this score, but Morgan seems to be arguing that celibacy is a super gift or a special power God grants some humans and not others, which is false.
The truth is that anyone can practice celibacy.
Many Baptists and other Christians also fall into the mistaken notion that because only a few people are “gifted” or “granted the super power” of celibacy by God, that nobody else can resist sex.
One needs this “super power” given by God to not cave in to fornication, they believe.
Ergo, they teach that the majority of people should marry, and should marry young, in order to avoid fornication.
The Bible does not teach this at all. It is pure heresy to teach that celibacy or singleness are “gifts” or “callings,” as it implies that both are forced on to people, and that both are only possible for certain groups of people. In reality, the BIble teaches being celibate is a choice, and one that anyone can master.
The Bible says that humanity is capable of SELF CONTROL. A person does not have to “have a gift of” or a “calling to” celibacy to be able to practice sexual self control.
To teach otherwise is to open people up to falling into fornication – this is what John Morgan and many other Protestant evangelicals and Baptists are doing with these teachings.
- As those know who are familiar with this topic, Jesus addressed the topic of the gift of celibacy in Matthew 19 by using the metaphor of eunuchs.
Jesus may have discussed something resembling celibacy in Matthew 19, but he did not do so under the rubric that celibacy IS A GIFT. Do NOT put words into Jesus’ mouth, Morgan. Morgan says,
- Instead of eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven, we have support for singles meat markets.
No, no, no. Most churches do not offer such services for adult singles, precisely because they are scared shitless that singles classes will turn into “meat markets.”
I for one would WELCOME a church that offers means to fix me up with a hot, sexy, single man with the goal of MARRIAGE being in mind. So speak for yourself, Morgan.
There are some churches that do offer special courses just for single adults, but those courses turn out to be “singles ghettos” where adult singles are dropped off and forgotten, never to be included with the rest of the church, which is terrible.
Or you have churches with zero courses and ministries for singles, because churches don’t want to “waste” money or resources on singles, which I find terribly insulting. Morgan says,
- How are your “family values” holding up? Who talks about fornication anymore? The church latched onto the world’s language of “premarital sex” and never looked back.
There’s nothing wrong in and of itself with the phrase “pre marital sex” as it means the same thing as “sex outside of marriage” or “fornication.”
- There’s only one tiny problem with that: Jesus never used the word “single.” He used the word “eunuch.”
I for one do NOT want to be called a eunuch. No thanks.
Who the hell would want to join a “eunuch’s ministry” at a church, should a church offer one? Please join us in reality, Morgan.
I prefer the word “single.”
Morgan needs to get over his disdain of the terms “single” and “pre marital.”
- Do you prefer God’s language or the world’s langugage? Jesus tried so hard to make it clear that there was an alternative to marriage, yet so many professing Christians today, especially preachers, don’t have a clue as to what he was talking about. For most, the only alternative to marriage they can think of is homosexuality. So the big question in life is who to marry.
There is a grain of truth in what he says here, for most Christians totally ignore HETERO adult, celibate singles.
However – Morgan himself confines his thinking to only these two groups or categories:
- 1. married people who wanted to be married
- 2. single celibates who are quite happy and content being a single celibate
The dude makes NO allowances for involuntary single celibates, such as myself. I sure as hell do not want to die a virgin or be single the rest of my life.
- Can you think of a better metaphor for someone with the gift of celibacy?
I am celibate, John, but it’s not a “gift.” It is simply a choice I made and can be chalked up to self control, not some magical ability God bestowed upon me.
- But there is absolutely nothing biblical about a courthouse document.
Oh yes there is.
Jesus and Paul, in some passages, taught you are to go with your culture and not stand out and look like a weirdo, and you are to respect your governing authorities.
In our nation, America, the governing authorities do not consider you legally wed unless you’ve lived with the person for 7 years (common law), or filled out the legal paperwork.
If you do not seek government sanction for your marriage, and you are having sex with your partner, you are “living in sin” with your partner, by American standards – you are co-habitating, you are “shacking up,” which is considered a sin.
- Rather, I think he was trying to explain why celibacy is a gift given only to some, because it is that difficult.
That is total bull shit. Being celibate is not that difficult. Not a cake walk, but not super hard.
Remember, I did not choose to be a virgin this long (I chose to be a virgin until marriage assuming all the while when younger I’d be married by the time I was 30 or 35; I did not realize I’d be single over age of 40).
If I can hold out this long, anyone can Some of his opinions about singleness, marriage, and celibacy are way bonkers, and there isn’t biblical support for it.
(post later edited to add clarifying comments)
(Link): The Myth of the Gift – Regarding Christian Teachings on Gift of Singleness and Gift of Celibacy
(Link): Douglas Wilson and Christian Response FAIL to Sexual Sin – No Body Can Resist Sex – supposedly – Re Celibacy