August 4, 2007

In Case You Missed It (Another Marriage Mandate Brouhaha)

In case you missed it, there was post on Boundless.org about the "gift of Singleness." Here is a relevant quote from Ted Slater, the author of the piece:
God wants people married. I'm not a "marriage mandate" advocate by any means, but I do see how God expects people to marry. He's commanded it in Scripture (Genesis 1:27-28) and affirms it by putting into the vast majority of us the passionate desire to "know" (in a sexual sense) another person intimately. [emphasis original]
In the comments, Chizadek asked Ted the same question that came to my mind:
Ted, what's your understanding of the marriage mandate position? You say that those who burn with passion should marry, so I'm not sure what distinction you are making [about not being a "marriage mandate" advocate--A.N.]
Unfortunately, we have yet to get answer to that question.

In the comments that ensued, one fellow ("David") had the temerity to suggest that some at his church have found that marriage isn't all that it is cracked up to be and that the single life isn't so bad. The marriage mandate proponents predictably excoriated this poster for simply stating the obvious. Ted Slater went so far as to declare:
David -- thank you for writing.

I'm pretty distressed about your comment, frankly, that your pastor and the men in your church would have such a low view of marriage, and falsely ascribe that low view of marriage to Paul.

Paul, a single man, *highly* esteemed marriage. God has given us a gift in marriage, not a curse. I'm sorry so many around you feel it's a curse.

Consider leaving that church, if you are able to. Seriously. It sounds like a nightmare of heresy.
A nightmare of heresy? So those who don't find marriage to be "all that and a bag of chips" are now to be ranked with the Gnostics and Arians? Oh my.

But all was not lost. Wombatty and Adam (aka "Puritan Calvinist") stepped in to counter some of the faulty thinking. I, myself, was fortunate to have one comment published. I said this:

******

A few observations:

1. Genesis 1:27-28 is not a command for us today. Those who say otherwise must account for the following: (i) Similiar language in pronouncing blessings which contradicts any notion of imperative language (Gen. 1:21-22; Gen. 24:60); (ii) the context, which shows it was given to Adam and Eve ("and God said to THEM"); (iii) the connection with filling the earth and having dominion over it (which the Bible declares is a done deal: Gen. 9:19; Psalms 8:4-8); (iv) and as one person mentioned here, the fact that our Lord and Savior said some could "CHOOSE" to be "eunuchs" (Matt. 19:12).

2. 1 Cor. 7:9 - "if they cannot" is a misleading translation. The passage is better translated - "if they will not contain." Gordon Fee in his scholarly commentary on 1 Corinthians (which Debbie Maken cites, by the way) has the following to say:

"For many later Christians this has been the troubling verse. Paul is seen to be arguing in v. 8 for all singles to stay that way, then as making allowance for marriage for those who cannot remain continent, for it is better to be married than to be consumed with sexual passion. But it is doubtful whether Paul's point is quite so stark. In the first place, Paul does not say (as the NIV), 'if they cannot control themselves.' Rather he says, 'if they do not, or are not practicing continence (or exercising self-control).' The implication is that some of these people are doing the same as some of the married in vv. 1-7, practicing 'sexual immorality,' that is, probably also going to prostitutes. The antidote for such sin is to get married instead.

"With an explanatory 'for' Paul appends a reason: 'It is better to marry (or to be married) than to burn.' This final word is the difficult one. The usage is clearly metaphorical, but it could refer either to burning with desire or burning in judgment (cf. 3:15). Since both of these can be supported from Jewish sources, that evidence is not decisive. The question must finally be decided contextually, and by Paul's usage in 2 Cor. 11:29, which is almost certainly a metaphor for inner passion. Even though the larger context, including the warning in 6:9-10, could be argued to support the judgment metaphor, such an idea is missing from the immediate context altogether. It seems more likely, therefore, that Paul intended that those who are committing sexual sins should rather marry than be consumed by the passions of their sins.

"In this case, then, Paul is not so much offering marriage as the remedy for the sexual desire of 'enflamed youth,' which is the most common way of viewing the text, but as the proper alternative for those who are already consumed by that desire and are sinning." (Fee, 288-289)

I will also add that the Sexual Desire interpretation doesn't work for the simple fact the Paul speaks of the "burn" NEGATIVELY. Equating it with sexual desire means married people would have to stop wanting sex once they got married. Not a tenable position, to say the least.

3. Marriage mandate proponents often quote passages about marriage and children being a blessing and call into question whether or not others respect God's wisdom in that regard. However, this ignores Paul's statement that not all things that are lawful are expedient (1 Cor. 6:12). 1 Cor. 7:27-28 furnishes us with an approved apostolic example of turning down something that is a blessing in principal because of practical considerations ... and leaving that choice to the people involved. It's a principle that blows a hole a mile wide into any thinking that automatically translates God's "gifts" into a matter of duty.

I will also note that I do not see marriage mandate proponents chastising those who go on diets for refusing God's bountiful blessings of food and drink. Why? Aren't food and drink to be received with thanksgiving? But 1 Tim. 4:3 is only quoted against those who don't want to marry. Sheer inconsistency.

4. Marriage in principal may indeed be ordained of God, but so is the Church. Some marriage mandate proponents would have us condemn any admission that one's marriage is unhappy or that one wishes they were single. Any criticism of marriage in today's society is considered verboten. But a thing as it exists in this fallen world is not always the same as its ideal. Really, shall we time warp back to Luther's day and tell him that his criticism of the Catholic Church was wrong because he was insulting the bride of Christ? Marriage is indeed instituted by God, but the current configuration as it is seen in our Western society isn't.

[What answer did I get from the marriage mandate proponents? They kept on posting as if I had never even responded. Predictable, but sad.]

32 Comments:

Anonymous Vikram Erandawane said...

"Marriage is indeed instituted by God, but the current configuration as it is seen in our Western society isn't."

Very good.

The current configuration of marriage in today's society is not what God intended. Women as domestic masters with legal rights far above men was never ordained.

8/4/07, 6:00 PM  
Blogger farmer Tom said...

I'm confused by several of your statements.

First, are you really suggesting that the command to "be fruitful and multiply" was only for Adam and Eve? Do you mean then that it is totally unnecessary for anyone to ever have children? You accept the overpopulation arguement?

Second,

One is to assume from your statements about I Cor. 7:9 that only those who have already engaged in sexual immorality should marry, is that what your saying? Since everyone is born a virgin, only those who have given up their virginity should marry? Your not serious are you?

Third, I can understand why you reject the idea that children are a blessing from the Lord if you also believe that only the sexually immoral and the pagans should have children, since followers of Scripture can ignore the command to be fruitful and multipy following your line of thinking, in fact you seem to be glorifying the concept of those who "choose" to be eunuchs. Hows that working for the Catholic Church?

Fourth, you said, Marriage is indeed instituted by God, but the current configuration as it is seen in our Western society isn't.

Now this I totally agree with, the question is what kind of a pattern is the Church showing the world. That becoming a eunuch is the answer. That they should try sexual immorality first, then marry? If you genuinuely believe that the current system is broken, why not show a better way, with marriages make on the Biblical pattern?
Since I believe that we are to be different than the world, my marriage/family life is totally different than the people living around me. I got married at the age of 26, my wife and I were both virgins. She is now a stay at home mom, we are homeschooling our children. We are different than the world around us, and people know it. That gives me oppertunity to tell them about my relationship with Jesus Christ. My life is a pattern different than the world offers.

Near as I can tell, the pattern you argue for is that of the Catholic priesthood.

I realize that some of my comments are a little on the flamethrower side, but I thought it might be fun to see if you will take the bait. I'm not convinced that the marriage mandate idea is correct, but I also reject as absurd the "gift of singleness" concept as well.
In summary I would say, I believe that the vast majority of Christians should plan on marrying because most Christians do. If you are one of the ten percent or less who is a eunuch, blessing on you, but most of you will marry, so start thinking Biblically about marriage instead of finding excuses to avoid it.

8/4/07, 8:29 PM  
Blogger Anakin Niceguy said...

Hi Farmer Tom,

Here are my responses:


First, are you really suggesting that the command to "be fruitful and multiply" was only for Adam and Eve? Do you mean then that it is totally unnecessary for anyone to ever have children? You accept the overpopulation arguement?

Actually, the blessing to be "fruitful and multiply" was for Adam and Eve, and restated for Noah and his sons. No, we don't need to have children today in order to be pleasing to God. It's not a matter of accepting the "overpopulation argument" as it is of realizing that under the New Testament, the kingdom of God grows by obedience to the Gospel, not by physical families.


One is to assume from your statements about I Cor. 7:9 that only those who have already engaged in sexual immorality should marry, is that what your saying? Since everyone is born a virgin, only those who have given up their virginity should marry? Your not serious are you?


No, that is not what I believe. Gordon Fee is not stating that, either. In the matter of marrying vs. not marrying, per se, God has left the choice up to people. That has been my position all along.

What I am saying is that 1 Cor. 7:9 simply teaches that if you are not exercising self-control and are caught up in sin, then realize that marriage is better than the sin in which you are engaged. That is far different from saying that you have fall into sexual immorality before you have the right to marry.


Third, I can understand why you reject the idea that children are a blessing from the Lord if you also believe that only the sexually immoral and the pagans should have children, since followers of Scripture can ignore the command to be fruitful and multipy following your line of thinking, in fact you seem to be glorifying the concept of those who "choose" to be eunuchs. Hows that working for the Catholic Church?


First of all, I do believe that children can be a blessing, but passages such as Luke 21:23 negate any idea that children are blessing irrespective of what circumstances we find ourselves in. Secondly, I fail to see how you can deduce from my writings that only the pagans and immoral are allowed to have children--or that I am helping the Catholic Church. The right to be single/married or childless/parents does not necessarily translate into the obligation to be any of those things.


I'm not convinced that the marriage mandate idea is correct, but I also reject as absurd the "gift of singleness" concept as well.
In summary I would say, I believe that the vast majority of Christians should plan on marrying because most Christians do. If you are one of the ten percent or less who is a eunuch, blessing on you, but most of you will marry, so start thinking Biblically about marriage instead of finding excuses to avoid it.


Farmer Tom, first you say you say that you are not convinced the marriage mandate movement is correct, but then you seem to espouse the key belief of this movement--that marriage is required for most us. What is your understanding of the marriage mandate movement versus your own beliefs?

8/4/07, 9:31 PM  
Anonymous singlechristian said...

At the end of the day, this may be, for some people, about "sex" rather than about "marriage."

I digress to make my point: Many public policy questions (condoms in schools, abortion, public funding for abortions, graphic sex ed in schools, public assistance for single mothers, etc.) are about "sex", essentially, when you get down to the nitty gritty of why one policy course over another is supported by individuals in the civic polity. That is, people who support these policies may not in fact care so much about a woman's "right to choose" (many of these would not wish her to be free to choose to buy a gun, for example) and may not even particularly care so much about the single mom and her kid. But they do care about their own personal freedom to make hedonistic decisions, and they suppose they might not have that freedom if they gave in to those nasty social conservatives.

Ok, back from the digression: The 700 lb. gorilla in the sanctuary is sexual purity. Is a portion of the MM crowd motivated by a desire to stop, as they see it, rampant sexual impurity (internet porn, sleeping around) among single women or men in the church? Do they have an intuitive sense that believers are no different than non believers in regard to their behavior in this?

Or, are they trying to create (unaware that they are doing this, just as my examples in my digression are unaware) a churchy kind of worldview in which the struggle for purity is "off the radar" screen? Perhaps so.

I must commend Debbie Maken in at least addressing this aspect of the question, though as is known to all this company I disagree with her solution; or at least the way that it is put.

Being married is in fact God's provision for sexual outlet, but to judge from articles in both the secular and evangelical press; and the experience of evangelical men (myself included) simply being married doesn't ipso facto mean that the "purity" question is thereby resolved; any more than being single means ipso facto that you are not content and not in firm control of your appetites.

Some smugly married supporters of the "marriage mandate" idea might recall a time when they were -- or more significantly, maybe were not -- walking in holiness as a single and enjoying life just fine.

8/5/07, 12:42 AM  
Blogger farmer Tom said...

Anakin,

Lets start at the beginning, since it is clear that we are not using the same approach on understanding Scripture.

Please explain to me with chapter and verse how I can recieve eternal life.

I expect direct quotations of Scripture.

8/5/07, 5:18 AM  
Blogger farmer Tom said...

Anakin,

BTW, would you also give me a few verses of Scripture to support your use of Scripture. On what basis do you consider Scripture to be of any importance?

8/5/07, 5:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What answer did I get from the marriage mandate proponents? They kept on posting as if I had never even responded. Predictable, but sad.

Anakin, I wouldn't be surprised if your posting was simply lost in the shuffle. The last time I checked, the blog post in question had received almost 200 comments.

As for Ted Slater's contention that he is not a "marriage mandate" advocate, on April 27, 2007 he said the following in another post at the Boundless Line blog:

This reminds me of when I was provoked earlier this decade to bring an end to my years of contented adultescence and pursue marriage.

So he doesn't believe in mandating marriage yet describes his single years in essentially the same terms as Debbie Maken? I don't think so. In addition, the blog and web site for which he serves as editor have actively promoted and encouraged Debbie Maken's viewpoint about singleness and marriage.

Nice try, Ted.

8/5/07, 12:17 PM  
Blogger Anakin Niceguy said...

Farmer Tom,

When you say that our approach to the Scriptures are different, what do you mean? I am a Christian. I believe the Bible is the inerrant, inspired Word of God (1 Tim. 3:16-17) and furnishes us with that which allow sinners to have faith (Rom. 10:14-17; Rom. 1:16). There is no other religious law to which I will bow (1 Pet. 4:11). I am certain that you know John 3:16 and that salvation is not of our own merit, but a gift to be received through the exercise of faith (Eph. 2:8-9, Heb. 11:16, 1 Pet. 3:21-22).

Obviously, we differ in our understanding of what God expects from single Christians, but this a different matter from the question of authority of the Bible and the matter of salvation.

8/5/07, 12:45 PM  
Anonymous Young Believer said...

What seems to be happening among some western, neo-christian churches borders on pagan, fertility cult idolotry. Goddess worship in disguise, treating intercourse as a sacrament at the alter of the vagina.

The worship of marriage, family, even sex itself. Another version of putting the creation above/before the creator. Part of the big lie.

Peace,
YB

8/6/07, 6:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8/6/07, 7:46 AM  
Anonymous CH said...

YB,

Are you impling that married people are spiritually inferior to singles? Are you are also implying that community and family isn't important at all? Lastly, are you implying that sexuality is evil?

8/6/07, 8:54 AM  
Anonymous young believer said...

No.

8/6/07, 9:04 AM  
Anonymous CH said...

YB,

Sorry to I put on the spot. My concern is that most don't really know how to be happy for someone else for the work God has in their life. I don't see how the GoS advocates and marriage mandate advocates are helping matters on that. Both of them are more like Martha in attitude, especially with their low expectations of teens and college-age youth regarding what they are capable of as Christians and people. I don't know where they lose their humanity and vision but they lose it alright.

8/6/07, 9:14 AM  
Blogger wombatty said...

An Anonymous commenter (female) is raking Farmer Tom over the coals over at Maken's blog. I posted a response (my first comment at Maken's site in a long time). I doubt she'll publish it, so I'm posting it here as well.

Anon wrote:
The state of Biblical masculinity is even worse than I thought!


I suppose the cat ladies (a reference to 'Vox Popoli August 3, 2003' post Tom cited) are batting 1000?

Anon wrote:
No admonition for men to step up their game.


Nor none from you for women to get their ducks in a row and set priorities. As has been pointed out before, women ususally prefer to 'marry up the income ladder'. I have no problem with that, but it has its consequences - reduced numbers of potential mates that make more. Sorry, I am under no oblligation to find some higher paying job just because you (might) make more than I do. You have to sleep in the bed you've made.

Anon wrote:
Instead he appears to conclude that women who are cursed with both a brain and a womb must accept that they have to choose between using one or t'other!


And many women (in this arena) seem to want to 'have their cake and eat it too'. Life involves trade-offs and setting of priorities. Some seem not to accept that reality.

Anon wrote:
He's already made it clear that he only wants to rub salt into the wounds of God's precious daughters, and is not man enough to confront his own gender with their failings.


The same seems true of many women. even in marriage. Consider the following from Emmerson Eggerichs' book Love & Respect:

What I see happening in some marriages is that the wife believes - or appears to believe - that she does not sin. In many other marriages the only sin that a wife will readily admit to is her negative reaction to her husbands failure to be loving or for losing patience with the children. beyond these areas, women do not see themselves as sinning, even though they readily admit bad habits and wrong attitudes. They write these off to chemical imbalance, hormonal problems, or dysfunction due to family of origin.

[...]

...it's easy for a wife to discount or disparage a husband's suggestion that she has some problem that need's correcting. Even if he is gently and diplomatic in suggesting that she needs to make a correction to avoid hurting herself or others, he is quickly silenced. She is offended, wonded, and angered by his assessment. He is accused of being without understanding and compassion. He has no right to speak. And he will often wind up being shown contempt.
When I speak on this topic at a Love and Respect Conference, I often get feedback, not all of it positive.


Anon wrote:
We really need to pray for men who are real men to step forward and take a firm hold of this issue.
Until then, I see no choice other than to follow the example of the prophetess, wife, and judge, Deborah, and encourage men towards their God ordained masculine role of leadership.


Why not get your own house in order first?

Anon wrote:
Meanwhile, if I may take this opportunity, I would just like to remind single Christian women reading this that there are a lot of real men in the world, that are believers, who respect women, are not intimidated by their brains but actually see it as an asset, yet just need some encouragement in their faith and "the church" is not bothering to reach out to them.

There are plenty of guys who respect and aren't intimidated by smart women (though there are plenty that are). There also seems to be plenty of women who have nothing but contempt and little respect for men who don't measure up to their ideal of a high-earning Prince Charming eager to cater to their every whim.

Anon wrote:
(And sadly we currently have a big problem with not only the quantity, but also the quality of the men in our churches, because men in leadership positions are not only neglecting to reach outwards, they are not even appropriately discipling the men under their care!)

Again, you would simply have us assume that the ladies are batting 1000? We know better.

8/7/07, 4:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"And sadly we currently have a big problem with not only the quantity, but also the quality of the men in our churches, because men in leadership positions are not only neglecting to reach outwards, they are not even appropriately discipling the men under their care!"

This is classic "Captain Sensible" nonsense.

Over the last four decades, women have come to dominate the churches. Christianity and our larger Western society has reformed itself to serve women and feminine interests. After all of these changes became concretized, women suddenly realized they didn't want what they had been demanding all along.

It's too late now. Lots of decent Christian men will not kneel to female masters. They cannot. If most women work, many more women will be unable to "marry up". Many more women will be independent and lonely.

Men aren't happy about this, but it is reality. It's difficult to have a happy marriage in a world of socialist "equality" where everything female is inherently good and everything masculine is regulated and medicated out of existence.

Ladies, you won your equality, rights, power, etc. Stop complaining and start enjoying the new sexual/gender dynamics you fought so hard to put in place.

8/7/07, 6:55 AM  
Blogger wombatty said...

Anon 8/7/07 6:55 AM wrote:

If most women work, many more women will be unable to "marry up". Many more women will be independent and lonely.

Men aren't happy about this, but it is reality.


(Just to be clear, I don't know that the female poster in question is Captain Sensible.) Here the relevant quote in full:

So this strong, bold and courageous man of God, Farmer Tom, cites an article that highlights how men are "moving backward" and he sees fit to conclude from that that it's: "a good thing for women who want to remain single, make Powerpoint slideshows and live with their cats"?
The state of Biblical masculinity is even worse than I thought!
No admonition for men to step up their game.
Instead he appears to conclude that women who are cursed with both a brain and a womb must accept that they have to choose between using one or t'other!


This woman has a classic case of 'I want to have my cake and eat it, too.' Women are free to pursue their worldy (not sinful) desires without regard to setting priorities. When such women realize that their course of action has led them to a place they don't quite like, it is up to the men the clean up the mess, or, in the poster's words, 'step up their game'. That is the 'entitlement mentality' with a vengeance!

8/7/07, 8:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"...we still desperately need strong and courageous men that are willing to take a bold stance on this issue.
Where are they all?
Has the devil destroyed masculinity from the Body of Christ already?
..." - Capt. Sensible

No, not the devil, Captain. Women have worked to make the world safe and agreeable for women. The Church is a wonderful place for women, as are most social organizations. Women wanted a world where they had equal or greater control.

Now they have it. Why the complaints? Are you sure you really want strong and courageous men to attend your church? Why would you want that? You'd be offended by his masculinity and make endless demands of him to change. When he did become "acceptable", i.e. effeminate and subordinate, you wouldn't like him anymore.

I think it's true that women don't know what they really want, but they do know who to blame...

8/7/07, 9:47 AM  
Blogger farmer Tom said...

Anakin,

My apologies. I have been very busy since Sunday morning when I sent my questions and we have guests coming for supper tonight. I left you hanging and I'm sorry. Lord willing I will be able to continue our discussion tomorrow.

I have one follow up question that is related, if your game. Do you support the death penalty for capital crimes? yes or no?

I'll try to be back tomorrow.

8/7/07, 3:42 PM  
Blogger farmer Tom said...

sorry about my spelling

your = you're

8/7/07, 3:43 PM  
Blogger Anakin Niceguy said...

Farmer Tom asked:


I have one follow up question that is related, if your game. Do you support the death penalty for capital crimes? yes or no?


I recognize it for capital crimes. I think God wants it for murder, especially.

8/7/07, 7:00 PM  
Blogger farmer Tom said...

Anakin,

Again, I'm sorry for the strange questions and the long delay. It's been a hectic week and it's not getting any better.

You said,

Actually, the blessing to be "fruitful and multiply" was for Adam and Eve, and restated for Noah and his sons.


Now thats a true statement, I agree, the problem is, you also said,

believe the Bible is the inerrant, inspired Word of God (1 Tim. 3:16-17) Now that presents a quandary.

Are you Timothy? Are you a proselyte of the Apostle Paul a heretic according to Jewish tradition? This verse was written to Timothy, by what standard do you claim it applies to you?

You also said,

John 3:16 and that salvation is not of our own merit,

by what logic can you claim that this passage applies to you? This was a private conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus, is your name Nicodemus, are you 2000 years old? Accepting as a promise for your self, a message written to another seems a bit presumptuous don't you think?

(Rom. 10:14-17; are you from Rome?
Rom. 1:16)are you a Roman citizen?
(Eph. 2:8-9, maybe your from Ephesus?
Heb. 11:16, Or maybe your a Jew?
1 Pet. 3:21-22).or maybe you are a stranger scattered at Pontus, Galatic, Cappadocia, Asia or Bithynia?

What we have here is a failure to understand the contextual application of a passage of Scripture. All of the above passages were written to Believers or to the Church, secondary to the persons addressed, ie I and II Timothy is first addressed to Timothy, secondarily to pastors,(hence the Pastoral epistles) and then to the church at large, ie you and me. This does not negate the truth of the passage nor does it give us permission to ignore the teaching contained within it. But it was first addressed to Timothy.

For the moment we will ignore Genesis 1:22 and stick with Genesis chapter 9. Yes you are correct that it is first addressed to Noah. But if you ignore the rest of the passage and it implications for all of mankind you do not understand the passage. When God addressed Noah and his sons in Genesis 9:1 they were the only human beings left on the face of the earth. When God spoke to them he was also speaking to all of mankind through them.

God established specific rules for the new world which existed after the flood, they were as follows, be fruitful and multiply(vs 1), have dominion over the all the animals(vs 2), eat meat(vs 3), don't eat the blood,(vs 4) the death penalty for man or beast who kills another human(vs 5,6), be fruitful and multiply(vs 7), and see verse 12 a covenant between God and Noah (last part of verse twelve)for perpetual generations. The sign of this covenant was the rainbow.

Genesis 9 was written first to Noah but secondarily to you and me. It is a command with promise to all generations. Since you are a direct descendent of Noah and his sons, it applies to you.

If you reject this, you must also reject the right of mankind to eat meat, to enforce the death penalty, and to claim the rainbow is a sign of God's promise not to destroy the earth with another flood. I find it interesting that two of the things that are established by God in this passage are under assault by our culture. Marriage and the producing of offspring and eating meat are both attacked daily all around us. Also seems interesting to me that Paul expected this and warned against it, see I Tim 4:3. Why do you think he put those two together? Because they are intertwined within the commands to Noah.

All this to get to this point. I believe you are incorrect to argue that the "be fruitful and multiply" passages only apply to Noah and his sons. I believe it is a command for the whole human race. If it is not, then the rest of Genesis 9 does not apply to us either.

As to the "marriage mandate" idea, I reject that as well. Because I do not like the term. A mandate indicates a requirement. And we know that Jesus said in Matt. 19 that some men would not marry. God gives us free will. We can choose to marry or not. The question is, are we able to remain a "eunuch" for the kingdoms sake, "if we cannot contain, it is better to marry than to burn."

So I reject the marriage mandate, I would say instead, that marriage is the default position.What's a default position, the one that the original writer of the program put as a starting place, only a small few will be outside the default position. Most men and women will marry, a few will be given the self-control or lack of sexual desire that is required for celibacy.

My guess is that the few would be in the range of 10 to 15 percent. Or in other words 85 percent should and will marry. Most do not have a call to singleness, they simply refuse to make choices which lead to marriage.

Thanks again for your patience.

God Bless

8/8/07, 8:13 PM  
Anonymous young believer said...

farmer Tom said:

_SNIP_

"When God addressed Noah and his sons in Genesis 9:1 they were the only human beings left on the face of the earth".

Seems like a special circumstance to me.

_SNIP_

"If you reject this, you must also reject the right of mankind to eat meat, to enforce the death penalty, and to claim the rainbow is a sign of God's promise not to destroy the earth with another flood".

I thinks this is a false dichotomy. There are other reasonable, logical ways to interpret and apply those scriptures.

_SNIP_

"Also seems interesting to me that Paul expected this and warned against it, see I Tim 4:3. Why do you think he put those two together? Because they are intertwined within the commands to Noah"

Or maybe there were heretical/false teachers at the time forbidding people to marry or eat meat? It is possible Paul was thinking of Noah at the time, but not necessarily.

"I believe it is a command for the whole human race. If it is not, then the rest of Genesis 9 does not apply to us either".

Maybe it doesn't. Humans seem to have fulfilled the call to reproduce quite well, but appear lacking progress in many other areas.

_SNIP_

"We can choose to marry or not".

That sounds reasonable to me.

"The question is, are we able to remain a "eunuch" for the kingdoms sake, "if we cannot contain, it is better to marry than to burn.""

I think Anakin and others have already responded to the "burn" issue with other plausible interpretations and application.

"So I reject the marriage mandate, I would say instead, that marriage is the default position.What's a default position, the one that the original writer of the program put as a starting place, only a small few will be outside the default position".

Maybe the default position is the pre-fall state of Adam and Eve. Unfortunatly, much has changed since then, and many other problems need to be addressed before the "default" state of marriage may be restored for most people.

_SNIP_

"My guess is that the few would be in the range of 10 to 15 percent. "

My guess is your guess isn't any better or worse than anyone elses.

"Or in other words 85 percent should and will marry. Most do not have a call to singleness, they simply refuse to make choices which lead to marriage. "

Like refusing to conform to the materialistic, self-centered, consumerist post-modern culture?

That seems to make some men undesireable as husbands to lots of church ladies.

Peace,
YB

P.S. I've been married over 20 years, happily for the most part.

8/9/07, 8:22 AM  
Blogger wombatty said...

The anonymous female poster over at Maken’s blog offers more comment on Farmer Tom:

If you were genuinely trying to help “several young people who desire marriage” you would be encouraging young men to exercise male leadership by finding a wife and leading her to marriage in a timely fashion, and also challenging the extended adolescence and fear of commitment that is so common in your own gender.

Not surprisingly, things aren’t as simple as she would have it. Flying Solo is a 2000 article concerning a Time/CNN poll about modern single women. I’ve posted this before, but it bears repeating here. Some excerpts:

They [single women] feel free to start and end relationships at will--more like, say, men. In a Yankelovich poll for TIME and CNN, nearly 80% of men and women said they thought they would eventually find the perfect mate. But when asked, if they didn't find Mr. Perfect, whether they would marry someone else, only 34% of women said yes, in contrast to 41% of men. "Let's face it. You don't just want a man in your life," says author Bank, 39. "You only want a great man in your life."

So men are apparently more realistic about mates - suitable vs. 'perfect' - than women are. The obvious question follows:

Are women too unrealistic about marriage--so picky about men that they're denying themselves and society the benefits of marriage while they pursue an impossible ideal? Does the rejection of marriage by more women reflect a widening gender gap--as daughters of the women's movement discover that men, all too often, have a far less liberated view of the wife's role in marriage?

[…]

For this summer's study, Whitehead chose to focus on blue-collar women in their 20s and expected more traditional attitudes. However, she found these women too were focused more on goals like college degrees, entrepreneurship and home ownership than on matrimony. "They wanted to be married, yet they were preparing as if that was not going to be the case," she says. "There was a sense they couldn't count on men and marriage."


All is not lost for Maken & co., however. The last sentence above provides an all purpose excuse – I mean explanation – for the results of the survey.

The embrace of singlehood is, in some ways, a logical result of the expanding possibilities for women brought on by the women's movement. "Women get addicted to the possibilities of their lives, the idea that on any given day you have the freedom to do this or that," explains Melissa Roth, author of On the Loose, a chronicle of a year in the life of three thirtysomething women. And so, while still looking for love, many women today are slow to let go of their space and schedules for the daily compromises--and sacrifices--of marriage.

Say it ain't so...

From another article on the same survey:
Single Women Are Making Big Strides

A fear of nuptial misery is a large reason for the upsurge in singleness. Many women feel they can't count on men or that divorce is inevitable.

The unfortunate result for some of the women?

Women who choose singleness sometimes have qualms about their chosen lifestyles. Not needing a man is not the same as not wanting a man. Loneliness for a man can make the most resolute woman wonder whether her choice for the single life was a mistake.

Here's where Maken's solution comes in: blame it all on the men!

Us men certainly have our issues, but so do women. As Songbird has pointed out, to insist the blame belongs to one gender is silly and unproductive.

8/9/07, 9:02 AM  
Blogger Anakin Niceguy said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

8/9/07, 8:51 PM  
Blogger Triton said...

I saw that comment too, Wombatty, and couldn't resist blogging about it.

These Makenites are just too much fun.

8/9/07, 8:52 PM  
Blogger Anakin Niceguy said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

8/9/07, 8:55 PM  
Blogger Anakin Niceguy said...

Farmer Tom,

Your raise some valid concerns. Let us go back to those passages we mentioned:

I will bold those parts that indicate a general application:

1 Tim 3:16-17 ...

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God [as opposed to just You, Timothy] may be complete.

John 3:16

For God so loved the world [as opposed to just Nicodemus that he gave his only Son, that whoever believe in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

Romans 10:14-17 - look up to verses 11,12,13 for context - "whoever" and "all" is mentioned, not just the Romans

Ephesians 2:8-9

lest "anyone [not just the Ephesians] should boast

Hebrews 11:16 - I meant to say Hebrews 11:6 -

"he who comes to God [as opposed to just Jewish Christians

1 Peter 3:21 -

You may have had me here, except it doesn't say "your baptism" but "baptism" (in general).

Gen. 9:6 - "Whoever sheds man's blood"

Now for those passage about being fruitful and multiplying -

"So God blessed Noah and his Sons ...[sounds like a particular application]" (tell me, does he bless infertile couples with "be fruitful and multiply" since you think it applies to everybody?)

Gen 9:7 -

"And as for you [sounds like a shift in thought to me]"

As for the covenant - God doesn't just establish it with human beings but with every living creature (v. 10), so that makes it odd to try to connect it back to what God told Noah about capital punishment. Are the fish supposed to be engaged in capital punishment? No, the terms of the covenant are laid in the following verses 11-17: That God will never again flood the earth. How can that covenant be broken or forsaken?

As for refraining from the eating of blood, it was restated in Acts 20:19-20, 28-29 (and yes we are Gentiles).

You say that the statement "be fruitful and multiply" is a command (as opposed to a blessing - for even if we allowed a general application, you would still have show how it is a command when the Scriptures clearly say it is a blessing) ... but then you say we have a choice. It can't be both ways. Either marriage is command of those with a sex drive or it is isn't. If it is, then those who refrain are sinning.

As for 1 Tim 4:3 - a right to marry and eat meat does not translate into an obligation to do either.

Do you believe in foot washing, daubing mud in blind people eyes, refraining from pork, sacrificing your firstborn son to see how much faith you have in God, building an ark today, etc.?

When God blesses man, is it not reasonable to assume that it will come about and that it need not be regarded as an ongoing commandment (Gen 9:19; Psalms 8:4-8; Acts 17:26)? Indeed, when God cursed Adam, Adam didn't have to make conscientious decision to return to the dust or give up a life of leisure.

8/9/07, 8:56 PM  
Blogger wombatty said...

Warning: off-topic post

Triton:

Thanks for the 'Triton U' posts. I've been fascinated by math & physics (especially cosmology) for some time now.

I've been reading alot of Einstien's stuff (his lectures and such for the 'average joe') and am surprised at how adept he was at making the complex understandable.

I've been toying with the idea to go back to school for this stuff so I've also recently started teaching myself mathematics. (Having been out of school for awhile now, I'm starting pretty close to ground-level with basic algebra.) I figure if I can discipline myself enough to get up through calculus, I'll have proved to myself that it's just not a 'superficial fascination' and would be justified in considering school more seriously.

What is your education & profession?

8/10/07, 8:14 AM  
Blogger Ted Slater said...

Anakin, you wrote:

"In the comments that ensued, one fellow ("David") had the temerity to suggest that some at his church have found that marriage isn't all that it is cracked up to be and that the single life isn't so bad."

Once again, in an effort to spark discussion you are misrepresenting the truth. That's a shameful activity for Christians to practice.

David wasn't saying that his church affirmed singleness. David was saying that his church leadership was denigrating marriage. What God has declared good, they are declaring bad and "miserable."

While some go too far and mandate marriage for all, going so far as to call singleness a "sin," others go too far in the other direction and denigrate marriage. The truth is in the middle somewhere -- God desires for most to experience the fulfillment and maturing responsibility of marriage, and they should therefore plan for that and pursue that.

It's my prayer that you come to your senses and stop misrepresenting other Christians for your own benefit. This isn't a game.

8/10/07, 9:02 AM  
Blogger Anakin Niceguy said...

Hi Ted,

You said that God expect most people to get married. What if a lot of people decide not to? Is it sinful? If it is, how is affirming such materially different from the marriage mandate position (Those of Debbie Maken's persuasion do allow for singleness but they must meet certain criteria.)?

Anyway, if I have misrepresented anyone, it is certainly not intentional. To allay any concerns, here is David's actual quote:


My intention was to graduate from college, get a job, pay off my school expenses, put some money away, buy a house, get married, have 2 kids. I have done all those things except the last 2. I have come to realize that I love my life as it is. I don't need to be married to be complete. I am very content. I think maybe the reasons are when I attend the Men's Study Group, the married men will bring up the topic of Married Life. I've asked them "If you had your life to live again, knowing what you know about marriage, would you marry?"

The answer is "No, I should have listened to Paul." One guy mentioned that his father told him not to do it, he did it anyway. His father is a Pastor. Does he regret getting married? He said that he wanted me to get married so I could be miserable like him, and I would not have that big smile on my face.

The Pastor of the Church said that if his wife died, he would never do it again. Do I want to get married now? No, I am not in a hurry! If it happens, it happens, if it doesn't, that is ok too.

Is there pressure to marry? If the Pastor's wife finds out that you are single, she will tell the single women and then the game is on! This Church that I now attend, there are a lot of single men. The Pastor knows who we are, and he has encouraged us not to tell his wife unless we are ready to marry.

One senior man told me that in his day the role of the Man and the Woman was clearly defined. Today, they are blurred, and you don't know what to expect in today's marriages.

But if the Lord wants you to be married, you will be married. If you are single, happy, and content, then thank God and be anxious for nothing. If you make it a focal point in your life that you must be married by a certain age, that will lead to desperation. You may marry for the sake of marrying. Will it last?

8/10/07, 12:34 PM  
Blogger Triton said...

You're welcome, wombatty. Always glad to help.

My degree is in nuclear engineering, but I don't use it professionally.

As for going back to school, I would not recommend it, simply because you can learn pretty much anything for free on the internet. On my blog, I recently posted a link to MIT's downloadable courses. This is essentially a free college education in science or engineering. I haven't looked at any of the courses in detail, but I think it would be a much better place to start than spending money on college.

Personally, I would like to broaden my physics education. When I have the time to do that, I will start at the MIT site.

I'm sure there are sites out there that teach algebra and trig and whatever else you might need before you start learning calculus. The internet is the most wonderful invention of our lifetimes - take full advantage of it.

8/10/07, 12:41 PM  
Blogger wombatty said...

Triton:

My degree is in nuclear engineering...

I suppose I should have guessed, given your avatar ;-0

On my blog, I recently posted a link to MIT's downloadable courses. This is essentially a free college education in science or engineering.

Thanks - I have already been scouring the internet for stuff and and turned up some decent sites. Thanks for the MIT link....free education - Woo Hoo!!

I left a relativity question for you in the comments section of your Relativity 102 post...

8/10/07, 2:17 PM  

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