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St Paul's Exhortation to the Unmarried

Discussion in 'Semper Reformanda' started by saintboniface, May 23, 2014.

  1. saintboniface

    saintboniface Junior Member

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    Do Calvinists have any regard for St Paul's exhortation in 1 Corinthians 7:7 where he instructs single and widowed people to remain unmarried?

    I have never heard of a Calvinist who forsakes marriage based on this exhortation, thus the question above.
     
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  2. nobdysfool

    nobdysfool The original! Accept no substitutes!

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    Verse 6 indicates that he is NOT giving a commandment. He indicates it as a personal preference or opinion. And he says that if they cannot contain themselves, it is better to marry than to burn.
     
  3. GQ Chris

    GQ Chris ooey gooey is for brownies, not Bible teachers

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    Exactly, that is not a commandment.
     
  4. Apologetic_Warrior

    Apologetic_Warrior Pilgrim

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    Calvinists have regard for all of Scripture. Does having regard enable a person to comply with all of Scripture? No. Only by the grace of God and power of God the Holy Spirit can anyone walk in the power of Spirit doing what is pleasing to God.

    Just think if every single person remained unmarried what a mess mankind would be in, nobody would be married, since everyone that is married started out as a single, so let's have regard for reading Scripture in context.
     
  5. GQ Chris

    GQ Chris ooey gooey is for brownies, not Bible teachers

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    Context? I honestly don't think that is anywhere close to a real possibility of being considered in the roman church.
     
  6. abacabb3

    abacabb3 Newbie

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    In general, Protestants reject Biblical teaching on chastity, which I think they do to their own error.

    However, Paul writes later to the unmarried if they are young, they should remarry, the same issue being the presumption that they will not be able to deal with their lust.

    I think there is a lack of teaching on Christian marriage that Christians should marry for this reason. By default, we are marrying sinners and we ourselves are sinners. So, you already have by default two incompatible people. God calls men to be like Christ to their wives though their wives are sinners and for wives to submit to their husbands though he were like Christ even though he is a sinner, and all throughout the process God will sustain His people by His Spirit and conform married people increasingly to the image of His Son.

    However, these promises ring true for the unmarried and the widows/widowers, because God remains true to His promises. He will just work differently in the situation. It is at all time how God decides to work in us.

    However, the issue here at its center is lust. If lust is not a struggle Paul is clear, it is preferable not to marry. If lust IS struggle Paul says it is no sin, it is good to marry. The same God sustains all men and women in both decisions.
     
  7. abacabb3

    abacabb3 Newbie

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    Personally, I oppose this interpretation. The Scripture is the word of God, not Paul. I even think the greetings exist in the epistles, as well as the Epistle to Philemon, to give us an accurate idea of what the Spirit-driven life consists of. There are no useless speculations and opinions in Scripture. All Scripture is God-breathed.

    As for Paul, he ends the chapter saying, "and I think that I too have the Spirit of God" (1 Cor 7:40). I think Paul is being humble. He knows he is talking by the Spirit, just not from a specific commandment from Jesus' ministry.
     
  8. saintboniface

    saintboniface Junior Member

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    Verse 6 appears to be in regards to verses 1 through 5. Still the same, I wouldn't argue that it is a commandment. St Paul only says that it is "good for them." So if the bible says it is good for them (those that can muster it), why don't we see any Calvinists taking that lifestyle?

    Regarding reading scripture in context - I never said all Calvinists should remain single or that even a majority of them should. According to the advice, only those who can muster it should remain single. I am just curious why it is that, to my knowledge, Calvinists never accept the advice. I guess it could be that Calvinists can't muster the single life (as a spiritual choice) and therefore they are taking St Paul's advice.

    I could be wrong on whether or not there are many Calvinists who heed this advice - I just haven't heard of any myself.
     
  9. GQ Chris

    GQ Chris ooey gooey is for brownies, not Bible teachers

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    There's no "single" Calvinists? Wow, that's news to me.
     
  10. saintboniface

    saintboniface Junior Member

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    Calvinists who remain single for the purposes outlined by St Paul? I haven't heard of any but wouldn't mind be enlightened.
     
  11. Calvinist Dark Lord

    Calvinist Dark Lord Regular Member

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    J. Gresham Machen.

    The man would fit the description you have given.
     
  12. Calvinist Dark Lord

    Calvinist Dark Lord Regular Member

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    Dr. Clarence E. McCartney.
    He and Machen are just two of the most prominent who i can think of. There are many more.

    Personally i have some rather strict reservations about allowing an unmarried man into the Pastorate, or even as a Ruling Elder or Deacon so your question would be a non issue to me. i would like to have replied "none at all in a leadership position" but that is not the case.
     
  13. St_Worm2

    St_Worm2 Simul Justus et Peccator Supporter

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    Oh I get it, you're trying to get rid of us, aren't you .. :scratch: This was your plan all along .. :help:

    No more burning us at the stake. Now you're turning to the slow but final Calvinist solution, guilt (from our clearly low regard for 1 Corinthians 7)) and celibacy .. :eek:

    I just can't believe this .. :mad:

    And YOU, of all Catholics, who'da thought, who'da ever thought .. :cry:
     
  14. gordRedeemed

    gordRedeemed Well-Known Member

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    I think it's clear that if a person wants to pursue primarily God in their life, it's MUCH easier if you are single. When a person has a spouse and children, that creates responsibilities that can distract (which isn't a bad thing, just the way it is).

    But I fail to see how it's different with any denomination/theology. Calvinist, Catholic, Orthodox, Baptist, Charismatic. Catholics have their monks and priests, but I don't personally know any Catholics (or Protestants for that matter) that chose to be single so they could serve God better.

    But Paul's advice is sound.
     
  15. Apologetic_Warrior

    Apologetic_Warrior Pilgrim

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    I am sorry, but I have to disagree. Let's get it straight. What Protestants tend to reject, is the demand, or an moral obligation or legal contract of chastity on primary leaders in the Churches.

    Based on the teachings of the Apostle Paul (and the rest of Scripture), protestants hold to what are known as the "Five Solas" emphasized during the Reformation. Protestants hold to salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone for the glory of God alone. Protestants reject antinomian errors (Martin Luther himself wrote against them).

    The Protestant answer is the Pauline answer from your response in bold.

    Not that it is anyone's business, but personally I remained single (lacking a "sex life") until the age of 33 (almost 39), not because lust suddenly became a problem, it began to be a problem from about the age of 14. And most any and every (Arminian) Protestant Church I attended (until around the age of 28), would encourage me to remain single, to use my singleness to better serve God. Unfortunately, what was lacking in the advice I received was the true depths of human depravity (the Lord really began to work on me through exposure to C.S. Lewis' "Screwtape Letters" and thoughts afterwards), the deceitfulness of sin, and the fact that lust is a problem for everyone in one manner or another (be it power, money, etc). There I was struggling greatly with lust (for the opposite sex), but do not recall any Protestant (Arminian) advice that I should seek a marriage partner. What so many fail to realize about chastity (perhaps because they lack it themselves) is the idol it can easily become. How easily from the depths of indwelling sin, it can psychologically become a means of looking down on others, a means of self-righteousness. Even when by the grace of God these sins revealed to self, chastity then becomes a source of guilt and self condemnation. Some people reading Paul, need to read more of Paul, because his emphasis is not on works of righteousness, it is not on chastity, his emphasis is on the gospel of grace. If by the grace of God and enabling work of God the Holy Spirit a person can be single and chaste for the glory of God according to His will, then by all means. But this is not the "norm", the norm is "be fruitful and multiply", and I cannot imagine a better world, than one where Christian have large families, where principally (in theory at least) would increase the number of Christians on the earth. Whereas chastity would more likely result a decrease of the number of Christians on the earth. The Covenant household of a Christian cannot be underestimated at the expense of "chastity".
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2014
  16. abacabb3

    abacabb3 Newbie

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    Theoretically yes, but it runs deeper than that. We would not trust a religious leader for marital or child-rearing advice, even though God used Paul for such things and he was unmarried. I think in many ways, we do not trust the leading of the Spirit and doubt how it can work through different people.

    Let's admit it. Unmarried people are considered weird. We don't trust them as much. Any man unmarried is presumed to be a homosexual in the closet or a real freak that cannot land a woman. I really don't think this is what the Bible says.

    The Holy Spirit can raise unmarried men just as well as married men to lead the church. Of course, God in His wisdom knows there will be many more men with normal sexual inclinations that should be married, which is why in the Pastoral Epistles the guidelines to be a deacon and elder presume the man is married.


    What in my response rejects this?

     
  17. GQ Chris

    GQ Chris ooey gooey is for brownies, not Bible teachers

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    Make sure you include the entire roman church in that buddy, not just Boniface; they've twisted almost everything as well as turned much of what Scripture says upside down. Nothing personal toward's you, just this Calvinist's opinion.
     
  18. saintboniface

    saintboniface Junior Member

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    Indeed, the advice is rock solid. But I would venture to say that there is an enormous difference in putting the advice into practice between Catholic and protestant faiths. There are hundreds of thousands of priests and nuns who choose to remain unmarried to better serve and know God. There are also consecrated virgins who remain virgins for life without being priests or nuns.
     
  19. saintboniface

    saintboniface Junior Member

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    Amen.
     
  20. gordRedeemed

    gordRedeemed Well-Known Member

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    True that. I remember when I was in my 20's I told myself if I wasn't married by 30 I would become a monk. What a peaceful existence that would be. But I did get married at 27 so that did not happen ;)
     
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