Is There a Gift of Singleness?

Reposted with permission from DBTS Blog.

The tendency among young men and women to delay marriage (or even to abandon it entirely) in contemporary Western society has given birth to a curiously parallel increase of interest in Paul’s passing comment in 1 Corinthians 7:6–9 about his own marital state and implication that there is a “gift of singleness” to be had and even sought in the modern church. Note the full pericope in question:

Now for the matters you wrote about: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” 2But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband. 3The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. 4The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. 5Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. 6I say this as a concession, not as a command. 7I wish that all of you were as I am. But each of you has your own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that.

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Research: traditional ‘cornerstone’ marriages compare well with ‘capstone’ marriages

"we found weak (mostly nonsignificant) evidence that capstone marriages are more stable than cornerstone marriages. In other words, waiting to marry was linked to slightly more marital stability. However, there is new research that complicates that story." - C.Today

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A New Book Outlines a Game Plan for a Church-led ‘Marriage Renaissance’

"... Endgame: The Church’s Strategic Move to Save Faith and Family in America, a new book by John Van Epp and J.P. De Gance... they point out that most 'churches currently allocate almost no capital or energy either to marriage ministry or to ministry for relationship health.'" - IFS

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Divorce and Remarriage: No

By Don Shirk. Read Part 1 and Part 2.

“The soul of a marriage can be a trusting place where two people can come together quietly from the struggles of the world and feel safe, accepted, and loved … or it can be a battleground where two egos are locked in a lifelong struggle for supremacy, a battle which is for the most part invisible to the rest of the world” (Keith Miller, The Taste of New Wine). For 38 years I’ve sat on my side of the pastoral desk, handling the ugly carnage of marital warfare. The stories are numerous, with gut-wrenching heartache as the perpetual theme.

To be honest, I knew this would be the case when I entered the ministry. I can’t plead the Fifth with the popular excuse “They didn’t teach me this in seminary!” Both in seminary and throughout my pastoral years, I’ve attempted to do my homework on the various views of marriage, divorce, and remarriage. Having done so, I don’t claim to have the corner on the truth; I continually desire to be teachable. I also have learned that good and godly people hold views opposite my conclusion. This has tempered me to hold my position with gentleness, grace, and humility. All that being said, I hold the position that the weight of Biblical evidence lands on affirming no divorce, no remarriage after divorce. Why do I hold that position?

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Divorce and Remarriage: Yes in Some Circumstances, as a Last Resort

By David Huffstutler. Read Part 1.

“Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found myself asked to present my view on divorce and remarriage.” This paraphrase of Jude 3 reflects how I feel as a Christian and pastor who has dealt with the difficult topics of divorce and remarriage after divorce. Perhaps you feel the same as I do. Divorce involves a broken marriage, broken hearts, suffering, and sin. And even if one allows for remarriage, painful memories linger. Can we talk about salvation instead?

But as difficult as this topic may be, we need to know what the Bible teaches about it, and we should understand our fellow Christians even when we disagree. I look forward to reading Pastor Shirk’s article to help me better understand his view, and I will do my best to present my own. Knowing that many readers may not hold my position, my goal is not to persuade but merely to present my view. 

In my understanding of divorce and remarriage, the Bible allows for divorce and remarriage in certain circumstances. I will explain my view according to three related statements: (1) the Bible describes marriage as a covenant; (2) if the marriage covenant is broken, the Bible allows for divorce; (3) if the Bible allows for divorce, the Bible also allows for remarriage.

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