Cultivating Chastity – Part 4

Now that we’ve covered many of the errors and mistakes that Christians have made, we’re going to start looking at our positive case: How should Christians teach and inculcate Biblical sexual morality in our congregations, our families, and our communities? It would help if we can begin thinking in terms of virtue.

Previous Installments:
1) Introduction:
2) The Church’s Failure:
3) Stop Teaching Celibacy:

You can find more of my material at…
The 96th Thesis:
The Federalist:

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2 Responses to Cultivating Chastity – Part 4

  1. Misty Autumn Marshall says:

    Your federalist article criticizing Ms. Zempel totally missed the point. Feminists have been critical of marriage because of the way it’s been lawfully used against women. Did you know that marital rape wasn’t seen as a crime until 1993? Are you aware that 1 out of every 3 women are victims of domestic violence, often at the hands of their husbands? Have you heard of child brides or polygamy? Do you know it’s still legal in many cultures for husbands to abuse their wives?

    Marriage is not a higher calling. It’s a gift and a privilege, which means it’s not for everybody. Yes, God told Adam and Eve to be “fruitful and become many” but that changed after Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden. In fact the ground became cursed, and to this very day there are still parts of the Earth that are inhabitable for reproduction. He then provided a new commandment: go therefore and make disciples, which one can accomplish married or single but it’s easier to make disciples and teach God’s word when your single because you have the freedom to “step over into Macedonia”. Paul often wrote of women who accompanied him in the public ministry, preaching from door to door, both single and married. They were ministers. The early Christian congregation never had “pastors”.

    “Marriage needs to be pursued and deliberately prepared for?” NO. Did you forget Jesus’ words at Matt. 19:12: “For there are eunuchs who were born that way, and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs on account of the Kingdom of the heavens. Let the one who can make room for it make room for it.” There are many reasons why a person may not pursue marriage – even when he or she may want to be married. Celibacy isn’t just for religious reasons, you know. Do you want a Christian to be unevenly yoked with an unbeliever all because “marriage is a calling?”
    Maybe you should talk to more happily single people who aren’t priests/ministers/etc. before you judge us for not wanting to be married. And since we’ve been scolded and persecuted for refusing to marry, why can’t we judge those who’ve gotten married – especially when they aren’t taking their marital duties responsibly (another reason why some people shouldn’t get married).

    • Matt says:

      Thanks for your comment, Misty, but I’m not entirely sure why your hatred for the institution of marriage should be “the” point. It certainly wasn’t Zempel’s–she explicitly condemns the feminist attacks on marriage and affirms the institution as highly valuable–and hers is the argument I was responding to.

      As for your own condemnation of marriage, I’m afraid it’s not particularly compelling. Women have historically done much better in marriages than out of them. Domestic violence is much more common in non-marital relationships. Marital rape is a tiny percentage of rape (about 1%) and represents a proportion of marriages which is orders of magnitude tinier. Neither are child brides and polygamy the Western norm for marriage in any meaningful sense of the word. And feminism has no business critiquing a damn thing, built as it is on a mountain of tiny corpses & broken homes, and failing as it has to actually make women happier.

      Your Biblical exegesis is likewise poor. God repeats word for word the instruction to be fruitful and multiply after the Fall (Gen 9:1). The Church’s great commission doesn’t revoke it anymore than it revokes any other divine commands (Missionary work might be easier if you steal funding too, but that doesn’t mean it revokes “thou shalt not steal.”) You’re way off base on the idea that the early Church didn’t have pastors–they’re often refered to as elders and overseers in the NT, and the office is plain from many of the extra-biblical writers in the early church. And I already addresed calls to celibacy in the Federalist piece.

      I could certainly be wrong, but I get the impression that you or someone close to you has suffered some kind of marriage-related trauma, and for that you have my sympathy. A consequence of marriage being an image of Christ and his Church is that abuse of marriage can be all the more heinous. But every good thing can be abused, and that does not stop them from being good things. I don’t blame anyone who is unable to catch a glimpse of that goodness because they cannot see past their suffering. Nevertheless, the goodness is still there and should be pointed out to those who may yet be able to see.

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