Learning About Mandatory Celibacy (3.3.13)
1Corinthians9,4-5: "Have we not every right to eat and drink? And every right to be accompanied by a Christian wife, like the other apostles, like the brothers of the Lord, and like Cephas?
1Timothy 4,1-3: "The Spirit has explicitly said that during the last times some will desert the faith and pay attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines that come from devils, seduced by the hypocrisy of liars whose consciences are branded as though with a red-hot iron: they forbid marriage and prohibit foods which God created to be accepted with thanksgiving by all who believe and know the truth."
Colossians 2,20-24: "If you have really died with Christ to the principles of the world, why do you still let rules dictate to you, as though you were still living in the world? 'Do not pick up this, do not eat that do not touch the other,' and all about things which perish even while they are being used- according to merely human commandments and doctrines! In these rules you can indeed find what seems to be good sense- the cultivation of the will, and a humility which takes no account of the body; but in fact they have no value against self-indulgence."
Singleness can be a great opportunity in a person's life to serve God and others.
Many diverse faith groups wisely incorporate the missionary zeal of young people while they are unmarried, before they take on the blessed roles of serving both Jesus and a mate.
But non married service to Jesus often comes in a limited season (or two) in a person's lifelong faith walk. Yes, 1Corinthians7,7 speaks of voluntary celibacy as a gift, if one can abide in it, and or chooses to.
So if not being married becomes a rule of lifelong service, the question arises, what's the primarily benefit from such a lifelong rule?
And to whom does the benefit accrue?
You decide for yourselves.
Mayby this hypothetical example will help us answer these questions (and then finally get us back to the wisdom of scripture which prohibits mandatory celibacy):
If two worldwide multinational corporations, both said "all our upper level managers from now on will be single men", most folks would assume that this new rule was made for their own strategic and global benefit.
There would also a great hue and cry in some parts about forcing managers to stay single: "It's against our right to pursue life, liberty and happiness."
(For the sake of this discourse we'll just mention without comment that any such rule leaves women out in the cold.)
And then after this brief hullabaloo folks everywhere would ask "why would men marrying women get in the way of being an upper level manager in multinational corporations?"
Answers: Less time at work, less focus, less committed, harder to manage, customer wait times increase, need more pay.
But into the conference room walks the brightest consulting firm in all the world, offering noble charity. And armed with their crunched numbers, they prove that corporations where men managers marry are more productive, and healthier, and have better retention than those where they cannot.
Even if they have to pay their married folks more!
The consulting firm would conclude their report, very diplomatically and professionally, something like this: at one time it might have been more efficient for corporations to prohibit their men managers to get married. We don't really have any data on that one way or the other, but not in this day and time.
Please forgive this modern market analysis hypothetical in relation to mandatory church celibacy, but perhaps it serves to remind that God's age-old word repeatedly prohibits it.
And he knows best.
Why it's kept:
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Tobin Hitt is the founder of the Zion Pentecost Mission. He is open to gospel partnership with all, and identifies with Paul's description of our mission as ambassadors for our king, Jesus, urging all to reconcile with God (2Cor.20-21). He resides in Cheshire, Connecticut.read more...