So I’m in a relationship now, which is exciting and overwhelming and horrifying and wonderful. Sarah is a charismactivist with a heart for revival and poverty reduction, a vegan Pentecostal with a global vision for Biblical community-churches that live out the book of Acts. She’s great and I thank God for her every day.
Now, as I’ve written previously I’m really a big fan of celibacy. I have no reason to doubt Paul’s statement in 1 Cor 7:38 about how singleness is “better” than being married. As long as I’ve been a Christian I have found it plausible that a single person can be “undivided” to the Lord in a way that couples can’t (1 Cor 7:33-35).
Now, many would argue that marriage and celibacy are on equal level of both value and sacrifice and that neither is better than the other. I get the impression that this is the official stance of most evangelical and charismatic churches here in Europe at least. Still, in practice, the notion is often that getting a spouse is the priority goal of every Christian’s life and celibacy is the secondary option for those who fail or are uninterested.
I know of several Christian festivals and conferences here in Sweden that are unofficially known as match-making events especially for the youth, and since celibacy is rarely being touched upon in church teaching it naturally becomes pushed back as a life choice alternative. And even if it was put into the spotlight to a larger extent, the current culture of spending time and energy on “finding the one” still makes it impossible to uphold the vision of having singleness and pairness on equal footing.
Having what I would call the Biblical view prevents one from trying to get married just for the sake of getting married; rather, serving the Lord is the top priority. For us who aren’t called to celibacy that is undoubtedly something we need our assigned spouses for to do, and rather than to actively seek a partner we should await him or her passively.
Thankfully, there are many examples in the Bible, from church history and today of sanctified couples who complement each other’s gifts and callings to serve the Lord very effectively. While there’s a risk that the celibate never faces of one spouse hindering the other of doing the Lord’s work, being married is as Paul rightly points out definitely not a sin but on the contrary a good thing (vv. 36-38). Even if celibacy always will be slightly more awesome.
And just to clarify me and Sarah are far from married, I’m just talking generally here. 🙂