Celibacy – From Choice To No Choice

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At the time of Christ and when Paul wrote his epistles, it was taken for granted that people could choose between one of two legitimate Christian lifestyles, either a life of marriage or a life of celibacy. This balance expressed both the “be fruitful and multiply” mandate of the Old Testament with the spiritual rebirth mandate of the New Testament. Paul makes that abundantly clear in 1 Corinthians 7, talking about how married people are concerned about the affairs of the world and virgins (unmarrieds) are concerned about the affairs of the Lord. Unfortunately, it didn’t take long for the world to upset this balance and place more value on virginity and celibacy and look at marriage as something of a lower calling. Jerome even wrote, “I praise marriage and wedlock, but only because they begat celibates.” Of course, what followed was the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century, with the reformers complaining about the requirement of celibacy being placed on priests and other religious. This resulted in the upset once more of the celibacy/marriage balance with more value being placed this time on marriage and family. Calvin himself believed that “the life of a single person is often much more miserable than that of a married person.” He also believed people with the gift of celibacy were “rare, not one in a thousand, for they are a special miracle of God.” So the intention of the Protestants was to glorify marriage and cast doubt on those who claimed to be able to live without sex. In other words, Protestants were no friends to singles from the beginning and were skeptical of the existence of people with the gift of celibacy, save some kind of ” miracle.” Things got even worse for unmarried people in the 20th century with Sigmund Freud comparing the human mind to an iceberg with only one-tenth of it visible above water and the other 90% of it made up of “the urges, the passions, the repressed ideas and feelings . . . a great underworld of vital, unseen forces that exercise an imperious control over the conscious thoughts and deeds of individuals.” All unmarried people became suspicious because, as Freud said, they were just looking for outlets for their sexual urges.

Did churches have enough intelligence to see above Freud? Did they have any faith left in the salvation of man?  Unfortunately they did not. Protestants bought into his twisted ideas hook, line, and sinker. The only faith men had left was in their ability to satisfy their wives in the bedroom because that’s what made them real men.  Families started to avoid singles altogether, making sure their children didn’t sit with one during church service. Preachers started to ramp up their sermons on marriage and family and decry the evils of “extended adolescence,” telling their flocks that “singleness is a sin.” This is where we’re at today – sex worship.  Southern Baptist preachers are telling their 12 and 13 year olds to get married to avoid fornication because, as Freud said, it’s not possible to control repressed sexual urges. It’s hard to comprehend that we have church leaders who are slaves to sexual sin. But they’re just reflections of their flocks who jump from one spouse to another through no fault divorce. Indeed, we have come from the time of Christ when the choice was between marriage and celibacy, as outlined by Paul, to today where the choice is between marriage and cohabitation, as outlined by your local preacher of choice. We have come from a time when self control was possible to a time when self control is out of the picture. Who do we have to thank for all this? In my opinion, it’s the immoral leaders of the churches and especially the privileged academics who are leading Protestant denominations swiftly to the land of Sodom.

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