Conservative Colloquium

An Intellectual Forum for All Things Conservative

1 Cor 7, Being Single, and Discerning One’s Vocation

Posted by Tony Listi on November 7, 2010

I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has his own special gift from God, one of one kind and one of another…. Wife, how do you know whether you will save your husband? Husband, how do you know whether you will save your wife? Only, let every one lead the life which the Lord has assigned to him, and in which God has called him. This is my rule in all the churches…. Now concerning the unmarried, I have no command of the Lord, but I give my opinion as one who by the Lord’s mercy is trustworthy. I think that in view of the present distress it is well for a person to remain as he is. Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be free. Are you free from a wife? Do not seek marriage. But if you marry, you do not sin, and if a girl marries she does not sin. Yet those who marry will have worldly troubles, and I would spare you that. I mean, brethren, the appointed time has grown very short; from now on, let those who have wives live as though they had none, and those who mourn as though they were not mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy as though they had no goods, and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For the form of this world is passing away. I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the affairs of the Lord, how to please the Lord; but the married man is anxious about worldly affairs, how to please his wife, and his interests are divided. And the unmarried woman or girl is anxious about the affairs of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit; but the married woman is anxious about worldly affairs, how to please her husband. I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord. If any one thinks that he is not behaving properly toward his betrothed, if his passions are strong, and it has to be, let him do as he wishes: let them marry — it is no sin. But whoever is firmly established in his heart, being under no necessity but having his desire under control, and has determined this in his heart, to keep her as his betrothed, he will do well. So that he who marries his betrothed does well; and he who refrains from marriage will do better. A wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives. If the husband dies, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord. But in my judgment she is happier if she remains as she is. (1 Cor 7:7, 16-17, 25-40)

Chapter 7 of St. Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians has a consoling and refocusing effect for those who take Paul’s words seriously and are single (not dating) in today’s perverse society, which seems to look down upon people who are single as inferior.

Many people often assume there is something wrong with themselves or others if they are not dating someone or haven’t dated in awhile. Sure, maybe they just haven’t found the right person. But who knows, maybe there is something “wrong.” It is just a fact that some are not as attractive as others to the opposite sex according to various criteria. But when the modern American asks, “What quality could possibly be superior to attractiveness to the opposite sex?” St. Paul answers, “Undivided devotion to the Lord” (7:35). We should not judge people based on how attractive we or others do or do not find them but rather on their devotion to the Lord.

But what about when one finds “undivided devotion to the Lord” itself to be attractive?

A nice saying that reflects this wise disposition and that I’ve seen on various Facebook profiles of young Christians (always women, I think) is something along the lines of “My beloved should be so deeply immersed in God that I have to draw closer to Him to find him/her” or rather “I want to be so immersed in God that he/she will have to draw closer to Him to find me.” But the Catholic/St. Paul commentary on this half-baked insight would be this: “Sometimes it’s best for the beloved to remain apart from you (and you from the beloved) so that one or both of you can remain so immersed or become more immersed in God and His holiness.”

There is no point in dating or marrying away from God; in fact, it’s positively harmful and sinful. I don’t think people realize how often that happens or how easily it can happen, even to the most devout men and women. This serious danger should inform the discernment of our vocations, of God’s will, of His gift and assignment to us. 

But supposing one is in fact called to marriage, one should make choices about dating and marriage primarily by how they will affect one’s spiritual life, for nothing else is more important. We should carefully and seriously discern how certain relationships with others will affect us and our relationship with God (and how it will affect the other person and their relationship with God), keeping in mind St. Paul’s warnings of the dangers inherent in erotic love and married life.

Yes, even St. Paul acknowledges that spouses can be God’s means and instruments for each other’s sanctification and salvation (7:16). But we should not think that marriage is necessarily the ideal context for such ministry. We certainly shouldn’t date or marry merely for the purpose of such ministry. Moreover, supposing the man and woman are spiritual equals, even at a very high level of holiness, we should not presume greater love and holiness will result from their combination in marriage rather than from them being single. The example of St. Francis and St. Clare of Assisi comes to mind.

With all this in mind, one might even say that celibacy should be the default assumption for the Christian rather than marriage. The burden of proof rests upon marriage, not celibacy. The only danger with such an assumption, as St. Paul recognizes, is that the temptation to lust is generally very strong, and so many might perish reaching for a standard that they are too weak to achieve. Still, all things are possible through the Lord who gives us strength and forgives us of all our sins each time we confess them and truly repent.

Judging by the current state of American culture, St. Paul’s words are not taken seriously enough, even in Christian circles that are supposedly fond of the Bible. There has never been a better time for us to reflect on his words and how they apply to our own lives.

Click HERE to learn more about the Historical and Scriptural evidence for celibacy, esp. for clergy.

Advertisements

98 Responses to “1 Cor 7, Being Single, and Discerning One’s Vocation”

  1. von said

    It takes a cut and snip reading of the text to produce the result you have arrived at. Christ, St. Paul, and indeed all of Scripture, make it very clear that marriage, not celibacy is the default for the believer. A similar cut and snip could produce results in very much the opposite direction:

    1Co 7:2 Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.

    1Co 7:9 But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.

    1Co 7:36 But if any man think that he behaveth himself uncomely toward his virgin, if she pass the flower of her age, and need so require, let him do what he will, he sinneth not: let them marry.

    Especially if one considers the context of I Cor 7; where Paul insists that soon: 1Co 7:29 But this I say, brethren, the time is short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none;
    1Co 7:30 And they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not;

    And qualifies his judgements here with: 1Co 7:25 Now concerning virgins I have no commandment of the Lord: yet I give my judgment, as one that hath obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful.
    1Co 7:26 I suppose therefore that this is good for the present distress, I say, that it is good for a man so to be.

    It was God who said, “It is not good for man to be alone.” and of God it is said, “He set the solitary in families.

    God reveals his blessing here:
    Psa 128:1 A Song of degrees. Blessed is every one that feareth the LORD; that walketh in his ways.
    Psa 128:2 For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee.
    Psa 128:3 Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house: thy children like olive plants round about thy table.
    Psa 128:4 Behold, that thus shall the man be blessed that feareth the LORD.
    Psa 128:5 The LORD shall bless thee out of Zion: and thou shalt see the good of Jerusalem all the days of thy life.
    Psa 128:6 Yea, thou shalt see thy children’s children, and peace upon Israel.

    • foospro86 said

      I did St. Paul’s words and qualifications justice. Don’t pretend that I missed the verses you cite: “The only danger with such an assumption, as St. Paul recognizes, is that the temptation to lust is generally very strong, and so many might perish reaching for a standard that they are too weak to achieve. Still, all things are possible through the Lord who gives us strength and forgives us of all our sins each time we confess them and truly repent.”

      Marriage is only the default for whom uncontrollable sexual desire is the default, for whom sin is the default. I think it is VERY unwise to assume this is or always will be the default for most people, especially as we raise and teach our children.

      LOL, do you not know that priests and nuns do not live solitary lives? Do you not know it is possible to live in community without sex and marriage? This is how heaven will be. The celibate proclaim the kingdom to come by their abstinent lives.

      No one is saying that children aren’t a blessing. But just because children are a blessing doesn’t mean that the warnings of St. Paul about married life are any less true.

      • von said

        “The only danger with such an assumption, as St. Paul recognizes, is that the temptation to lust is generally very strong, and so many might perish reaching for a standard that they are too weak to achieve. Still, all things are possible through the Lord who gives us strength and forgives us of all our sins each time we confess them and truly repent.”

        Except that these are not St. Paul’s words, nor his meaning. He does not speak of ‘reaching for a standard’, but of those who have a gift. Scripture, taken as a whole, clearly teaches that marriage is the default position. Except for St. Paul himself (who, as a Pharisee, almost certainly had married at some point and probably lost his wife to death or desertion) it is almost impossible to find any Godly man in Scripture who is represented as not being married.

        Did God not say, “Jer 29:6 Take ye wives, and beget sons and daughters; and take wives for your sons, and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters; that ye may be increased there, and not diminished.”

        Did God not say, “Psa 127:1 A Song of degrees for Solomon. Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.
        Psa 127:2 It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep.
        Psa 127:3 Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.
        Psa 127:4 As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.
        Psa 127:5 Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate. ”

        St. Paul in his own words says, “1Co 7:2 Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.”

        Calvin writes of this issue: “To these wicked suggestions of Satan let the faithful learn to oppose this declaration of God, by which he ordains the conjugal life for man, not to his destruction, but to his salvation”
        and
        “…it is not in every man’s power to live chaste in celibacy although it may be his most strenuous study and aim to do so… it is a special grace which the Lord bestows only on certain individuals, in order that they may be less encumbered in his service[. Therefore] do we not oppose God, and nature as constituted by him, if we do not accommodate our mode of life to the measure of our ability?”

        There are many, many purposes for marriage. However, the only reason that specifically separates being married from not being married in general is the issue of sexual purity. All of the other reasons, while good in themselves, do not separate who must be married, and who may choose to live in celibacy. As Calvin states: “The sum is this — that the question is not as to the reasons for which marriage has been instituted, but as to the persons for whom it is necessary”. The other commentators agree. John Gill states: “While he advises to abstain from marriage, he always speaks conditionally — if it can be done, if there is ability; but where the infirmity of the flesh does not allow of that liberty, he expressly enjoins marriage as a thing that is not in the least doubtful. For this is said by way of commandment, that no one may look upon it as mere advice. Nor is it merely fornicators that he restrains, but those also who are defiled in the sight of God by inward lust; and assuredly he that cannot contain tempts God, if he neglects the remedy of marriage. This matter requires — not advice, but strict prohibition. And Matthew Henry insists: “This is God’s remedy for lust. The fire may be quenched by the means he has appointed. …. Marriage is honourable in all; but it is a duty in those who cannot contain nor conquer those inclinations.”

      • foospro86 said

        https://conservativecolloquium.wordpress.com/2009/12/20/clerical-celibacy-scriptural-and-historical-proofs/

      • foospro86 said

        John Calvin has no authority.

        No, you didn’t read St. Paul. “Undivided devotion to God” is what St. Paul wants for Christians, not just sexual purity.

  2. von said

    Indeed, if celibacy is indeed the default position, other questions arise:
    1) Why then does Paul list, as qualifications for being an elder or deacon, that they be married, and have their children under control?
    2) Why then does he command young widows to marry?
    3) Why then does John divide the men into church into the two groups: fathers and young men?
    4) Why then was Christ Himself betrothed, by the father, to the church, before the foundation of the world? Why is human marriage shown as a picture of the relationship between Christ and the Church (in the NT) and God and Israel (in the OT).

    In re your original issue, Paul does not speak of unmarried people as inferior to married people. But he does call them, normally, outside of extreme distressful circumstances or a special gift: to marry. To marry young, rejoice in the wife of their youth, raise them in Godliness, lead their wives (and obey their husbands), and so reflect Christ and the church in their lives.

    • foospro86 said

      You have misinterpretted Scripture.
      1) Paul says that IF clergy are to be married, they are to have been married only once. See: https://conservativecolloquium.wordpress.com/2009/12/20/clerical-celibacy-scriptural-and-historical-proofs/
      2) He does not command young widows to marry because of marriage itself. He generally distrusts their conviction and strength in rejecting marriage: “But refuse to enrol younger widows; for when they grow wanton against Christ they desire to marry, and so they incur condemnation for having violated their first pledge.” (1 Tim 5:11-12)

      Paul does not say married people are inferior; he says that those who remain celebate have a superior gift from God. “So that he who marries his betrothed does well; and he who refrains from marriage will do better.” (1 Cor 7:38)

      Marriage is a wonderful theological image and metaphor for explaining other doctrines. Vowed celibacy is marriage to God rather than to a human being.

      • von said

        Paul says that IF clergy are to be married, they are to have been married only once.

        Well, no, he doesn’t. Instead of seeing your post, perhaps we could ‘see’ St. Paul instead:

        1Ti 3:1 This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. 1Ti 3:2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; 1Ti 3:3 Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; 1Ti 3:4 One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; 1Ti 3:5 (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)
        1Ti 3:6 Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. 1Ti 3:7 Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

        So St. Paul says a bishop ‘must be’… the husband of one wife… one that ruleth his own house… one that has his children in subjection with all gravity. You would have this mean that he can be (indeed it is better if he was) not a husband at all, not having any house to rule, not having any children in subjection. And yet St. Paul is very clear that these are requirements, asking ‘if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?’

        In other words he must have *proved* himself in his years of living with his wife, having and raising his children well, keeping his household in subjection *before* he is allowed to try for the post of leading the house of God.

        Jesus was betrothed before the foundation of the Earth to the church, there is no evidence that Paul never married (just that he was not with his wife when I Cor 7 was written), no evidence that Elijah never married, nor any of the others you suggest in your other post.

        and this:

        Vowed celibacy is marriage to God rather than to a human being.

        …is not only never mentioned in Scripture, but is contradicted by Ephesians 5, and contradicts your earlier point. Christ is betrothed to the church… as the husband. If your metaphor for celibate elders is that they are betrothed to God, then either they are in the place of the wife (and thus do not fulfill the requirements for elders), or they stand in the place of the husband in relationship to Christ, a clear blasphemy. Do they have Christ in subjection? Have children by Christ?

      • foospro86 said

        I’m not appealing to me in my other post; I’m appealing to Scripture and the earliest Church leaders. If you are sincere, then read my other post. I’m not going to just repeat what I’ve already written elsewhere.

  3. von said

    Very well, I will respond to your exact quote from that other post. You wrote, there:

    Yes, I am aware of 1 Tim 3:2, 12 and Titus 1:6, which say that a deacon or bishop should be “the husband of one wife.” However, the Apostle’s desire that other men might be as himself (1 Corinthians 7:7-8, already quoted) precludes the inference that he wished all ministers of the Gospel to be married. This direction to Timothy and Titus is restrictive, not injunctive; it excludes men who have married more than once, but it does not impose marriage as a necessary condition. Also and importantly, these verses are silent on the issue of sexual intercourse. They speak of Church leaders potentially having children, not begetting them. To state the obvious, having a wife (and children) does not necessitate intercourse with her.

    You state that the apostles exact words represent an ‘inference’. All languages have ways of implying things but the term ‘must be’ is not one way of doing so. “Must be… the husband of one wife… having faithful children… having his household in subjection with all gravity’ represents a command, not an inference.

    You also completely ignore the rest of the qualifications… including his summary question: 1Ti 3:5 (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)

    Tell us how this never married man can have shown us how well he washed his wife in the word, and how well he brought up his children in the nurture and admonition of the Word? How is he to have, as he is required to have, ‘faithful children’? (Tit 1:6) The qualification to be married is not one item on a checklist, but a life-statement, reflecting one part of the entire character of an elder in the church: someone who is known for the way that he loved his wife and children and for how he raised his family in the Lord and who has now, finally, arrived at the stage where he is ready to also lead the church… which, God willing, he will do just as good a job at as he did raising his family.

    As for your suggestion that a church leader could have a wife but not have intercourse with her, unless you are referring to a widower, this suggestion is forbidden by I Cor 7:3-5 and Proverbs five.

    • foospro86 said

      Thank you.

      Why are you ignoring the fact that 1 Tim 3 and 1 Cor 7 MUST BE reconciled? You can’t just accept one without the other. The only way to reconcile them is to infer that “must be” assumes that the man is already married, which was a safe assumption in his time, and refers not to marriage itself but to the number of wives/of times he has been married, assuming he is married. THIS IS the interpretation of the earliest Church fathers, as my other post demonstrates. Who are you to know better than them what Paul meant?

      Paul is not saying that marriage qualifies a man for bishop, but merely that if he is married, then all the elements of his marriage must be well-ordered. He is not requiring a well-ordered household, but saying that Timothy should look to his household for proof and evidence of the man’s character. He is not saying a household is the only way to judge whether a man is fit for the office.
      There are plenty of ways to show that one is a good leader and manager apart from a household! Is this not obvious? Are you saying single people are inherently unable to demonstrating those qualities?

      Moreover, in 1 Cor 7, Paul says he wished all men would be like himself, i.e. celibate and perhaps without a wife. And Paul is a bishop. So by your own interpretation, you are disqualifying Paul from his position.

      I’m suggesting that a priest or bishop back then could have had a wife and children before he was ordained, but then after ordination was required to abstain from intercourse, so that undivided devotion to the Lord would be secured. Again, this is all in my post.

  4. von said

    There is nothing to reconcile in I Cor 7 and the passages that insist a church elder must be married, have his household in subjection, and have faithful children. I Cor 7 says that, during the time of distress the Corinthian church lived in, St Paul wishes that every Christian was given the gift of being able to live celibate. Not that they would be celibate, but that they would have that gift. Just as he wishes that all the Jews were saved, and that everyone has the gift of prophecy.
    The Corinthian church was going through a time of distress, a time so severe that even married men, who were commanded to have sexual relations with their wife (I Cor 7:3-5, Prov 5), would be prevented from doing so.s
    A gift, an ability, is just that… a gift. Just as the prophets were commanded to not always prophesy, so the man with the rare gift of celibacy may marry. And, having married, he is commanded to rejoice always physically with his wife… to always have intercourse with her, and to always rejoice in her physical beauty (I Cor 7:3-5,Proverbs 5).

    As Paul makes very clear, not everyone, including those with vital gifts for the church, are eligible for every office. The woman, the unmarried man, the remarried man, all were ineligible for the office of elder. The man who has, perhaps, adopted children who are rebellious yet… that man is not eligible for the office of elder. The young man, whose children cannot yet be called faithful because they have no track record… he is ineligible.

    St Paul, in I Cor, makes it clear that while
    It is good for a man not to touch a woman.
    Nevertheless,
    to avoid fornication,
    let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.

    He certainly wishes
    For I would that all men were even as I myself.
    But
    every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that.

    So some of us don’t have the gift of celibacy, and we are required to marry. But even those with the gift are allowed to marry. And only those who have married, have had children, and have proven themselves in that crucible are allowed, by the words of St Paul, to be elders in the church.

    • foospro86 said

      Can you stop with the straw man? I’m not saying that everyone is called to or has the gift for celibacy. While impractical in the early Church, the Church later saw fit to admit into the clergy only those who in fact had such a gift, to focus on quality over quantity.

      This is what I want Christians to take seriously: “I don’t have the gift” vs. “I don’t want the gift God has given me. I want to have sex.” We should not assume the gift is given out by God so sparsely rather than rejected by men so often.

      You are ignoring the arguments I’ve made and merely restating your position. That’s not going to get us anywhere.

      • von said

        You are ignoring the arguments I’ve made and merely restating your position.
        I have directly addressed your position on ‘reconcling’. It is false. The two passages need no reconciling at all. Paul does not say, in one place:

        “Elders must be unmarried, or, if married, abstain from sex with their wives”

        Nor does he even imply it. The I Cor 7 passage never gives any qualifications for elders at all. It states that all those without the gift must be married.

        And the statements on elders forbid those who are unmarried from being elders. These are not at all contradictory.

        And I still await your exegesis of Paul’s entire argument; where he give the reason for the demand that they be married, have children, and have ruled their household well.

      • foospro86 said

        I used Paul himself as a counterexample to your interpretation. YOU IGNORED IT.

        This letter is not a total and comprehensive explanation of the details of the doctrines on this. Paul didnt intend it to be. Your sola Scriptura is blinding you to the greater binding tradition surrounding these verses.

      • von said

        I used Paul himself as a counterexample to your interpretation. YOU IGNORED IT.

        Actually I didn’t, but I can see how you might have missed it. There is no evidence that:

        1) Paul was never married, Paul had no children, These children were not under subjection and faithful and
        4) Paul was an elder, or even considered himself qualified to be an elder, in a local church.

        There are many offices in the church, including apostle, evangelist, deacon, etc. Not all of these have the same qualifications. In order for Paul to be a counter-example, you would have to show both points above. Paul, as a Pharisee, was almost certainly married at a young age. We have no idea what his condition was in I Cor 7 except that he was unmarried at the time… whether he was a widower, whether his wife had abandoned him when he became saved… all of which are listed as possibilities in I Cor 7.

        And he was an apostle, not a local elder. His qualification for apostle was not a life spent in the community raising his family in godliness; but having spoken directly with Christ and being called to that office.

      • foospro86 said

        Fine, you’ve found a way to wiggle. Perhaps Paul is not a strictly good counterexample because of timing. But the point still stands that Paul wished all to be like himself and that you’ve misinterpretted his letter to Timothy about the qualifications for a bishop/priest. See those arguments. If Paul held celibacy in such great honor, which is clear from 1 Cor 7, then you are hard-pressed to say he wouldve denied such a celibate person the episcopacy.
        Any man who can purposefully remain celibate all his life is a man a greater strength, discipline, and self-control. (The gift of God is not the absence of sexual urges, mind you.) Paul recognizes this truth that you apparently do not. These are the same qualities that Paul tells Timothy to determine in a married man by his househould governance. Marriage is not an end in itself for Paul, whether generally or for Church leadership.

        2) From my perspective, you’re just splitting hairs now. Just because Paul didn’t have immediate responsibility for a particular church doesn’t mean that he was not an elder/bishop. He had general responsibility for all Gentile churches. He merely had more authority and responsibility than the typical local bishop like Timothy or Titus.

  5. von said

    then after ordination was required to abstain from intercourse

    Which is strictly forbidden by Scripture:

    1Co 7:3 Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband.
    1Co 7:4 The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife.
    1Co 7:5 Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.

    Pro 5:15 Drink waters out of thine own cistern, and running waters out of thine own well.
    Pro 5:16 Let thy fountains be dispersed abroad, and rivers of waters in the streets.
    Pro 5:17 Let them be only thine own, and not strangers’ with thee.
    Pro 5:18 Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth.
    Pro 5:19 Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love.
    Pro 5:20 And why wilt thou, my son, be ravished with a strange woman, and embrace the bosom of a stranger?
    Pro 5:21 For the ways of man are before the eyes of the LORD, and he pondereth all his goings.
    Pro 5:22 His own iniquities shall take the wicked himself, and he shall be holden with the cords of his sins.
    Pro 5:23 He shall die without instruction; and in the greatness of his folly he shall go astray.

    • foospro86 said

      No, St. Paul was assuming in those verses that the married man was not a minister of the Church. Again, you refuse to look at this issue and Scripture within the context of what the early Church, what the successors of the apostles, actually did and believed. You are narrowing your vision of the truth.

      Notice that Paul says that couples should abstain from sex at times for the sake of prayer. Well, guess what? The man of God, the priest or bishop, is praying constantly! He is offering the sacrifice of the mass. The Levite priests too were required to abstain for certain periods of time.

  6. von said

    Paul is not saying that marriage qualifies a man for bishop,

    Paul is saying that being married, and the way he raised his family, is one of the qualifications for being an elder in the church:

    Ti 3:2 A bishop then must be … the husband of one wife, … One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)

    That is part of what a bishop must be, and (what I have not seen you address) WHY. Paul not only gives us these qualifications, but he tells us WHY. Why must a bishop be these things? Because:

    if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?

    How can that unmarried man have proved to the congregation that he can take care of the church of God? Unless he has represented Christ in his relationship to his wife (Eph 5), unless he has represented God in his relationship to his children (Eph 6, Jer 35)… how can he possibly have learned to take care of the church of God?

    Marriage and family are the testing ground and the training ground for the elder of the church of God. That is what St. Paul says.

    • foospro86 said

      Look, the fact of the matter is that your interpretation is wrong. Plausible apart from history and context but absolutely wrong. Why? Because your interpretation was NOT recognized by the successors of the apostles at all. Who are you to know better than them what St. Paul meant??

      I’ve already given the correct interpretation from the early Church fathers, the successors of the apostles, who were taught by the apostles. Again, you are merely restating your position over and over again. I am appealing to higher authority than yourself, apostolic tradition.

  7. von said

    Notice that Paul says that couples should abstain from sex at times for the sake of prayer. Well, guess what? The man of God, the priest or bishop, is praying constantly! He is offering the sacrifice of the mass. The Levite priests too were required to abstain for certain periods of time.

    1Co 7:3 Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband.
    1Co 7:4 The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife.
    1Co 7:5 Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.

    Oh? Read the text again. It says that the husband is only allowed to defraud his wife in this way, for a short time, with her consent, and that he is then required to come together (have sex) with her again after that short time, so that neither he nor she is tempted.

    And this is so serious an event, and meant to be so rare an non-normative, that St. Paul calls it ‘defrauding’.

    G650
    ἀποστερέω
    apostereō
    ap-os-ter-eh’-o
    From G575 and στερέω stereō (to deprive); to despoil: – defraud, destitute, kept back by fraud.

    This term is used in many negative senses in Scripture, including:
    Jas 5:4 Behold,G2400 theG3588 hireG3408 of theG3588 labourersG2040 who have reaped downG270 yourG5216 fields,G5561 which is ofG575 youG5216 kept back by fraud,G650 crieth:G2896 andG2532 theG3588 criesG994 of them which have reapedG2325 are enteredG1525 intoG1519 theG3588 earsG3775 of the LordG2962 of sabaoth.G4519

    • foospro86 said

      You ignored my point that Paul is assuming the married man is not a priest or bishop.

      Who is more important the wife or God? Who is worthy of “undivided devotion”? You aren’t taking everything Paul says into account. You are isolating specific verses to support your argument.

      Again, your sola Scriptura is narrowing your vision of the truth. Paul’s letters are not comprehensive statements of doctrine and weren’t meant to be. One must look at other authoritative sources for clarification, the early Church fathers.

  8. von said

    You ignored my point that Paul is assuming the married man is not a priest or bishop.

    I did not ‘ignore it’, I saw it and dismisssed it because St Paul did not say it. Again, the verses:

    1Co 7:3 Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband.
    1Co 7:4 The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife.
    1Co 7:5 Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.

    Are you suggesting that fraud is OK for elders? That they are free to violate their marriage vows? St. Paul commands that husbands submit their bodies to their wives, that they continually submit their bodies to sexual intercourse with their wives. This is what is commanded, and it is what they knew (hopefully) was commanded when they married.

    Above that they know that their marriages are to be metaphors, illustrations to the entire church, of what the relationship between Christ and the church is to look like. Dare we suggest that Christ would defraud the church? Is that what we see in Scripture?

    Mal 2:14 Yet ye say, Wherefore? Because the LORD hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously: yet is she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant.
    Mal 2:15 And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth.
    Mal 2:16 For the LORD, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away: for one covereth violence with his garment, saith the LORD of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously.

    • foospro86 said

      Fine, you dismissed it. Still not courteous in a sincere debate to not address it at all. I’ve tried to address your points thoroughly.

      Btw, you keep leaving out the next verse: “The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. For the wife does not rule over her own body, but the husband does; likewise the husband does not rule over his own body, but the wife does. Do not refuse one another except perhaps by agreement for a season, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, lest Satan tempt you through lack of self-control. I say this by way of concession, not of command.” 1 Cor 7:3-6
      And I don’t know what translation you are using to get “defraud.” I’m using RSV.

      You are frustrating. Because St. Paul’s doesn’t say he is assuming the husband is not a priest/bishop, you think you can assume your position, assume that priests/bishops do not warrant exceptions and clarifications. Again, you’re ignoring the early Church fathers; you’re ignoring how the early Church actually interpretted St. Paul, how those who were taught by St. Paul interpretted St. Paul and taught others. Again, the root of your rigidness is the heresy of sola Scriptura.

  9. von said

    This is what I want Christians to take seriously: “I don’t have the gift” vs. “I don’t want the gift God has given me. I want to have sex.” We should not assume the gift is given out by God so sparsely rather than rejected by men so often.

    But the problem with this is that St Paul says, clearly, that rejecting this gift (or, rather, rejecting celibacy itself, since they would still have the gift) is not sin. Paul says, clearly, ‘let them marry’, and ‘if they marry they have not sinned.’

    What is going on, that I see, is that many people have falsely adopted the world or the modern churches assumptions that later marriage is better than early, and the fornication that is dating. That they have literally said, ‘it is better to burn than to marry’.

    There is nothing in I Cor 7 that makes it a sin to say, “I want to have sex, therefore i will get married.’ There is everything in I Cor to make it a sin for us to prevent them, or discourage them.

    1Co 7:8 I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I.
    1Co 7:9 But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.

    • foospro86 said

      No, he doesn’t. It is ALWAYS a sin to reject God’s calling, to reject God’s specific purpose for our lives, to reject the gifts He gives for those purposes.

      No, Paul says “let them marry” if they are unable to control themselves, not if they have the gift and calling but wish to reject it. Jonah sinned against God in rejecting his calling.

      I dont know what “many people” youre referring to, but I’m not one of them and do not believe those things.

  10. von said

    Who is more important the wife or God? Who is worthy of “undivided devotion”?

    God. The God who requires that we have intercourse with our wives, and that our relationships with them are meant to reflect his relationship with the church:

    Eph 5:22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.
    Eph 5:23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.
    Eph 5:24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.
    Eph 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
    Eph 5:26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
    Eph 5:27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

    It is no lack of devotion to God to obey his commands. In fact, Christ says that he who loves him will OBEY his commands… including his command to love (and not defraud) our wives.

    • foospro86 said

      You keep leaving out the next verse: “The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. For the wife does not rule over her own body, but the husband does; likewise the husband does not rule over his own body, but the wife does. Do not refuse one another except perhaps by agreement for a season, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, lest Satan tempt you through lack of self-control. I say this by way of concession, not of command.” 1 Cor 7:3-6
      And I don’t know what translation you are using to get “defraud.” I’m using RSV.

  11. von said

    If Paul held celibacy in such great honor, which is clear from 1 Cor 7, then you are hard-pressed to say he wouldve denied such a celibate person the episcopacy.

    I wouldn’t at all be hard pressed. Two reasons spring immediately to mind:
    1)Not everything that one holds ‘in great honor’ qualifies one for every honor. I hold a womans submission to her husband, and childbirth in great honor, but they don’t qualify one for being an elder.
    2)Paul himself, his words. He says:
    Ti 3:2 A bishop then must be … the husband of one wife, … One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)

    In other words, he deliberately states that being a husband and father is the training and proving ground for being an elder.

    In order to be come a nurse I went through clinical trials… a series of experiences that both prove and cause my readiness for being a nurse. No matter what other honors I might have had in my life, this was a required stage. I could have had a law degree, or been a Nobel prize winning nuclear physicists, and I would still have had to do my clinicals in order to be a nurse.

    • foospro86 said

      Address my whole argument!
      “Any man who can purposefully remain celibate all his life is a man a greater strength, discipline, and self-control. (The gift of God is not the absence of sexual urges, mind you.) Paul recognizes this truth that you apparently do not. These are the same qualities that Paul tells Timothy to determine in a married man by his househould governance. Marriage is not an end in itself for Paul, whether generally or for Church leadership.”

      We are not talking about different honors or different qualities that are unrelated to each other. The rest of my previous argument addresses the present one you are making.

  12. von said

    I say this by way of concession, not of command.

    ooooooK. And so?

    Linguistically that cannot mean that he is allowing them to defraud their wives. That is not what ‘concession’ can mean.

    the concession of verse six leads into verse seven:

    1Co 7:6 But I speak this by permission, and not of commandment.
    1Co 7:7 For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that.

    He is not *commanding* all men to marry (verse two) or even commanding them to abstain from intercourse (verse five)… instead he allowing those things because he wishes that all men had his gift of being able to remain celibate.

    The ‘defraud’ of verse five is not subject to a ‘concession’.

    • foospro86 said

      If being a priest/bishop requires undivided devotion to the Lord and if undivided devotion requires abstinence from intercourse, then the priest who had a wife had a higher obligation to God, to remain abstinent, than his conjugal obligations to his wife. It isn’t as simple as you’re trying to make it. The priest is an exception, just as their were special rules for the Levites.
      Again, I’m right because my interpretation is what was followed in practice and taught in the early Church.

  13. von said

    And I don’t know what translation you are using to get “defraud.” I’m using RSV.

    The KJV and the Greek.

    G650
    ἀποστερέω
    apostereō
    ap-os-ter-eh’-o
    From G575 and στερέω stereō (to deprive); to despoil: – defraud, destitute, kept back by fraud.

    FLS: 1Co 7:5 Ne vous privez point l’un de l’autre, si ce n’est d’un commun accord pour un temps, afin de vaquer à la prière; puis retournez ensemble, de peur que Satan ne vous tente par votre incontinence.

    Geneva: 1Co 7:5 Defraude not one another, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may giue your selues to fasting and praier, and againe come together that Satan tempt you not for your incontinecie.

    IAV: 1Co 7:5 Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.

    • foospro86 said

      It is only fraud for the husband who has no clerical obligations to God.

      • von said

        Your words, not Pauls… or Solomons:

        Pro 5:15 Drink waters out of thine own cistern, and running waters out of thine own well.
        Pro 5:16 Let thy fountains be dispersed abroad, and rivers of waters in the streets.
        Pro 5:17 Let them be only thine own, and not strangers’ with thee.
        Pro 5:18 Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth.
        Pro 5:19 Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love.
        Pro 5:20 And why wilt thou, my son, be ravished with a strange woman, and embrace the bosom of a stranger?
        Pro 5:21 For the ways of man are before the eyes of the LORD, and he pondereth all his goings.
        Pro 5:22 His own iniquities shall take the wicked himself, and he shall be holden with the cords of his sins.
        Pro 5:23 He shall die without instruction; and in the greatness of his folly he shall go astray.

        Nowhere in Scripture is any kind of ‘clerical obligation’ listed that would excuse their disobedience to the multiple Scriptural commands, including ‘be fruitful and multiply’.

        And why on Earth a priest would be called to violate the metaphor between Christ and the church is beyond me.

        Say, a question from earlier that, if you answered, I missed: the priest who is married to God, does he represent the husband or the wife in the relationship?

      • foospro86 said

        Nowhere in Scripture. Nowhere in Scripture. Nowhere in Scripture.
        This discussion is turning into a waste of time because of your sola Scriptura.

        The metaphor is meant to explain, not command a priest who has a wife to have sex. You’re reading too much into it for the special situation of the priest.

        The priest is a leader of the Church, which is the Bride. The priest/nun is thus the bride.

  14. von said

    No, he doesn’t. It is ALWAYS a sin to reject God’s calling, to reject God’s specific purpose for our lives, to reject the gifts He gives for those purposes.

    You imply here that the gift of being able to remain celibate is given for the purpose of remaining indefinitely unmarried. This is simply false, as I Cor 7 proves.

    I Cor 7, in the contetext of already having insisted that the unmarried person who cannot ‘contain’ must marry, goes on to say that, of his remaining audience, those that marry have not sinned:

    1Co 7:27 Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife.
    1Co 7:28 But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned; and if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned. Nevertheless such shall have trouble in the flesh: but I spare you.

    So Paul, even in the light of the terrible distress, still says that he who marries has not sinned. Thus their ability to abstain does not mean that one is required to do so.

    • foospro86 said

      Those verses don’t address whether someone is called to celibacy/has the gift or not. Those verses are NOT addressed merely to those who can contain themselves. He addresses himself to ALL the unmarried, both those who can contain and those who can’t: “Now concerning the unmarried, I have no command of the Lord, but I give my opinion as one who by the Lord’s mercy is trustworthy.” verse 25
      Paul is merely focusing on yet another issue other than sexual purity, which is how marriage can adversely affect one’s relationship with God.

      I’m not saying that everyone who has the gift is automatically called to a life of celibacy. That’s a straw man. You quoted the wrong verses to tear down that straw man:
      “But whoever is firmly established in his heart, being under no necessity but having his desire under control, and has determined this in his heart, to keep her as his betrothed, he will do well. So that he who marries his betrothed does well; and he who refrains from marriage will do better.” 37-38
      No sin is involved. The person just doesnt do as well.

      Everyone who is called is given the gift by God. Not vice versa.

      I can’t believe that you are saying it is not a sin to reject God’s calling, our vocation.

  15. von said

    f being a priest/bishop requires undivided devotion to the Lord and if undivided devotion requires abstinence from intercourse, then the priest who had a wife had a higher obligation to God, to remain abstinent, than his conjugal obligations to his wife. It isn’t as simple as you’re trying to make it. The priest is an exception, just as their were special rules for the Levites.

    All Christians are required to have undivided devotion to God,

    undivided obligation to God requires that one obey Gods’ commands,

    God commands husbands to have sexual relations with their wife,

    therefore undivided devotion to God requires that one have intercourse with one’s wife.

    Indeed:

    One’s relationship with one’s wife is a reflection of the relationship of Christ with the church,

    Failing to have sexual relationships with one’s wife is a form of defrauding and a violation of one’s oath

    Christ would never violate his oath to us, or defraud us,

    Ergo, a respect for this metaphor requires all Christians, but particularly elders, to be continually diligent in carrying out their sexual relationship with their wives.

    • foospro86 said

      You aren’t taking Paul’s warnings seriously about the threats marriage inherently poses to undivided devotion to God.

      One of God’s commands is that the priest offer a pure and holy sacrifice. There is no sex in heaven. Sex does not belong in the life of one who offers the heavenly sacrifice of the mass. But again, more doctrines you probably reject….

      Look, there was a conflict of obligations here, whether you want to see it or not. That is why the Catholic Church eventually decided that more than celibacy would be required of the cleric as a matter of discipline; it requires that they not be married at all (least in the Roman rite).

    • foospro86 said

      Why should I believe you over the overwhelming consensus of the earliest Church leaders?

      Moreover, the early Church fathers interpreted these verses to mean a prohibition against the ordination of remarried laymen, not against the ordination of virgins, who were actually preferred (Origen (and here), Tertullian, Ambrose, Jerome, John Chrysostom, Ambrose, Augustine, Pope Siricius, Epiphanius, Apostolic Canons).

      See original post for link citations of these fathers: https://conservativecolloquium.wordpress.com/2009/12/20/clerical-celibacy-scriptural-and-historical-proofs/

  16. von said

    I’m not saying that everyone who has the gift is automatically called to a life of celibacy.

    I can’t believe that you are saying it is not a sin to reject God’s calling, our vocation.

    I’m not. I’m saying exactly what you said, that having the gift of celibacy does not mean you are called to a life of celibacy.

    If there was someone who was called to a life of celibacy (note the if at the front of that sentence) then that would be what they should do. However taking a vow to do so without assurance of God’s perpetual gift to do so would be a violation of Christs own command and the teachings of I Cor 7.

  17. von said

    The priest is a leader of the Church, which is the Bride. The priest/nun is thus the bride.

    The church is indeed the bride of Christ, and every Christian is part of that.

    However if you are saying that the priest, in particular, is representing the bride of Christ, the female in the relationship, then he is forbidden from speaking in Church, and disqualified by the rules for elders from being an elder.

    And elder is someone who is the husband/father of a home. Indeed, I believe that priests are typically called ‘father’. As a ‘father’ figure he is appropriate in leadership, as a ‘bride’ figure he is not… the metaphor is backwards. St. Paul is quite clear that the elder is to represent the husband/father, ie to stand in the place of Christ at the front of the church, until the day when we have Christ, Himself, standing in front of us.

    • foospro86 said

      Wow, how many more ways are you doing to abuse the metaphors in Scripture?

      The priest is bride in relation to God, male in relation to all human beings, and father in relation to lay Christians. You are mixing things up to try and prove contradictions that don’t exist. There are different relationship in play with a priest.

  18. von said

    The metaphor is meant to explain, not command a priest who has a wife to have sex.

    The metaphor is indeed meant to explain. And from understanding comes obedience. Just as Christ would never defraud us, so the priest may never defraud his wife.

    You seem to hold elders to a lower standard than the rest of us; as if they could also steal, murder, or lie. Scripture holds them to a higher standard. An elder must not also love his wife as teh rest of us do, but must do so at an even higher standard, with more witnesses.

    An elder who defrauds his wife sexually has not only sinned against his wife (and his children) but against the entire church, as he tears down the image of Christ before their eyes.

    Several times in the Old Testament we get graphic representations of the relationship between God and Israel, images which insist on continuous and intimate relations between the two of them… relationships which are meant to bear the fruit of children.

    Indeed, the gift of children is shown, in Scripture, as the very evidence of the blessing of God.

    Psa 128:1 A Song of degrees. Blessed is every one that feareth the LORD; that walketh in his ways.
    Psa 128:2 For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee.
    Psa 128:3 Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house: thy children like olive plants round about thy table.
    Psa 128:4 Behold, that thus shall the man be blessed that feareth the LORD.
    Psa 128:5 The LORD shall bless thee out of Zion: and thou shalt see the good of Jerusalem all the days of thy life.
    Psa 128:6 Yea, thou shalt see thy children’s children, and peace upon Israel.

    • foospro86 said

      One of God’s commands is that the priest offer a pure and holy sacrifice. There is no sex in heaven. Sex does not belong in the life of one who offers the heavenly sacrifice of the mass. But again, more doctrines you probably reject….

      It is only fraud for the husband who has no clerical obligations to God.

      It would be really ironic right now if you thought using contraception wasn’t sinful, hahaha.

  19. von said

    You aren’t taking Paul’s warnings seriously about the threats marriage inherently poses to undivided devotion to God.

    I am taking them very seriously… along with the rest of what Paul says. Each time that he points out that celibacy is good (at least for a time) he then goes on to point out its weaknesses, and to sometimes command, and sometimes allow, for marriage.

    Marriage or betrothal having been entered into, the Christian must now realize that he is in a relationship which reflects the relationship between Christ and the church. Any failure in that relationship, any defrauding, and failure to work towards that profound physical intimacy which God commands and illustrates, is a direct and blasphemous violation of that metaphor.

    This is the kind of metaphor that God Himself has chosen for His relationship with us:

    Son 1:1 The song of songs, which is Solomon’s.
    Son 1:2 Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth: for thy love is better than wine.
    Son 1:3 Because of the savour of thy good ointments thy name is as ointment poured forth, therefore do the virgins love thee.
    Son 1:4 Draw me, we will run after thee: the king hath brought me into his chambers: we will be glad and rejoice in thee, we will remember thy love more than wine: the upright love thee.
    Son 1:5 I am black, but comely, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, as the tents of Kedar, as the curtains of Solomon.
    Son 1:6 Look not upon me, because I am black, because the sun hath looked upon me: my mother’s children were angry with me; they made me the keeper of the vineyards; but mine own vineyard have I not kept.
    Son 1:7 Tell me, O thou whom my soul loveth, where thou feedest, where thou makest thy flock to rest at noon: for why should I be as one that turneth aside by the flocks of thy companions?
    Son 1:8 If thou know not, O thou fairest among women, go thy way forth by the footsteps of the flock, and feed thy kids beside the shepherds’ tents.
    Son 1:9 I have compared thee, O my love, to a company of horses in Pharaoh’s chariots.
    Son 1:10 Thy cheeks are comely with rows of jewels, thy neck with chains of gold.
    Son 1:11 We will make thee borders of gold with studs of silver.
    Son 1:12 While the king sitteth at his table, my spikenard sendeth forth the smell thereof.
    Son 1:13 A bundle of myrrh is my wellbeloved unto me; he shall lie all night betwixt my breasts.
    Son 1:14 My beloved is unto me as a cluster of camphire in the vineyards of Engedi.
    Son 1:15 Behold, thou art fair, my love; behold, thou art fair; thou hast doves’ eyes.
    Son 1:16 Behold, thou art fair, my beloved, yea, pleasant: also our bed is green.
    Son 1:17 The beams of our house are cedar, and our rafters of fir.

    • foospro86 said

      There is no weakness in celibacy; there is only weak people. But there is an inherent weakness in marriage that Paul points out: worldly anxieties that are specific to marriage.

      If you are unwilling to acknowledge the priestly class as unique and exceptional, then there’s nothing else to discuss. The priest has a greater obligation to bear spiritual fruit than material fruit.

  20. von said

    It would be really ironic right now if you thought using contraception wasn’t sinful, hahaha.

    It would indeed be ironic. And untrue. As I make clear on my blogs I do hold that contraception is sinful. Some of it is merely blasphemous, other forms are blasphemous and murderous, but all are sinful.

    Indeed, I live in a catholic area, and I occasionally quip that I am more catholic than any of them… who promote fornication and birth control.

  21. von said

    There is no weakness in celibacy; there is only weak people.

    Ah, now here you are merely being pendantic. One of the ‘weaknesses’ of celibacy is that the God-given sex drive, deprived of its natural outlet, can lead even Godly men to sin… sins of fornication and adultery. The other weaknesses are obvious, failure to have a helpmeet, failure to procreate, etc. The weaknesess of marriage are also there, a tendency to distraction toward one’s spouse.

    It is, indeed, weak people who are at fault in both. When God said, “it was not good for man to be alone” he didn’t mean to imply, “I am going to put him into a state where he can serve me less well.” Indeed, it would be blasphemous to suggest such a thing.

    Sin, entering the world, meant that that wonderful relationship that God Himself created and designed became, like all of creation, fallen.

    • foospro86 said

      Fair enough.

      I repeat: If you are unwilling to acknowledge the priestly class as unique and exceptional, then there’s nothing else to discuss. The priest has a greater obligation to bear spiritual fruit than material fruit.

  22. von said

    If you are unwilling to acknowledge the priestly class as unique and exceptional, then there’s nothing else to discuss. The priest has a greater obligation to bear spiritual fruit than material fruit.
    An elder being unfaithful to his marital vow, fails to obey the command to procreate given to married me, an elder who fails in his duty to represent the relationship between Christ and the church by avoiding the very physical intimacy which Christ insists on… is not an elder who will be fulfilling his obligation to bear spiritual fruit, but will instead be causing the word of God to be blasphemed.

    The fact that he is an elder, a leader of the church; the fact that he stands before the church weekly to teach and shepherd them, makes his sin all the greater.

    • foospro86 said

      Again, you just don’t understand or accept the nature of the priesthood in Christ and how it overrides any marital obligations. You are merely restating what you’ve already said.

      In the early Church, a person who was just recently married was probably not ordained because of the reasons St. Paul outlines. A man whose children were grown and who’s wife was beyond her child-bearing years was probably preferred and ordained.
      But you don’t care about the early Church and the insights it provides….

  23. von said

    I repeat: If you are unwilling to acknowledge the priestly class as unique and exceptional,

    I do not deny the role or existence of any of the God given positions in the church: elder, deacon, widow, teacher, etc. Each of these is unique from the other, and each fills a unique and vital role; just as both married and unmarried people each have their unique and vital role.

    However no one is commanded, because of their role in the church, to violate God’s own commands; in this case specifically the commands given to husbands and wives to rejoice in each other sexually and fruitfully. And Elders and Deacons, specifically, are required to have been married to one wife, and to have raised faithful children; to have their households in subjection with all gravity.

    • foospro86 said

      It is not a violation of God’s commands; rather, it is obeying a command of God that is of higher priority than another. Prudence is a virtue.

      Again, you just don’t understand or accept the nature of the priesthood in Christ and how it overrides any marital obligations.

    • foospro86 said

      St. John Chrysostom (347-407):

      Some indeed say that this discourse was addressed by him to priests. But I, judging from what follows, could not affirm that it was so: since he would not have given his advice in general terms. For if he were writing these things only for the priests, he would have said, “It is good for the teacher not to touch a woman.” But now he has made it of universal application, saying, “It is good for a man;” not for priest only. And again, “Are you loosed from a wife? Seek not a wife.” He said not, “You who are a priest and teacher,” but indefinitely. And the whole of his speech goes on entirely in the same tones. And in saying, “Because of fornications, let every man have his own wife” by the very cause alleged for the concession he guides men to continence.

      http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/220119.htm

      • von said

        OK, I’m seriously confused. If anything this seems to support my case. He says that the parts of the passages, such as ‘not touching a woman’, apply to everyone, not just an elder in the church. Which is my point, last I checked. Everyone, and not merely the elders, need to marry to avoid fornication. Everyone, and not just the layman, needs to sleep with his wife.

      • foospro86 said

        The underlying assumption throughout this passage is that the priest is NOT to “touch” a woman. Thus “for universal application” and “not for priest only.”

      • foospro86 said

        You claim that 1 Cor 7:1, “It is well for a man not to touch a woman,” does not apply to priests with wives. Chrysostom is saying “No, this does not look like it was addressed to priests only but to all men, not just priests do well in not touching women, whether they have wives or not.” The assumption is that priests do not “touch” women. Chrysostom is denying the objection of men who are not priests and who do not like Paul’s words. Such men wanted to say that it is was good ONLY for priests to not touch a woman.

  24. von said

    BTW. while I have you (it isn’t often I get to talk to a Catholic who knows his Catholic doctrine) and totally off the subject… what is the official current position on the headcovering of I Cor 11? As I understand it, up until recently you, along with the rest of Christendom, considered it, well, a headcovering. What is the modern position and how is it justified?

    • foospro86 said

      It is within the authority of the one, true Church to establish which practices are binding and which are not. So I believe that the practice is no longer binding; what Paul said was once recognized throughout the churches is no longer so.

      • von said

        Ok, so if I understand you you recognize the doctrine as written (ie that women should wear headcoverings in worship) but state that the church has overruled it. Could you give me a little more detail? When, why?

  25. von said

    Why should I believe you over the overwhelming consensus of the earliest Church leaders?
    But Tony, no one is asking you to believe me. I am not coming on your blog as some authority saying ‘believe me’. You proposed, above, a certain interpretation of a certain Scripture… an interpretation that flies against the Scripture of I Cor 7 and the rest of Scripture.

    I don’t ask you, or your audience, to believe me. I never say any such thing nor do I desire it. I post, and discuss, Scripture. God’s Word will not return void. As a brother in Christ I come to you, as Iron sharpens Iron… but I never ask you to believe *me*.

    • foospro86 said

      I hate it when you Protestants do this: say you have the truth and then act like the Truth doesn’t demand obedience. Stop pretending you don’t want to convince me. Or otherwise, it is not charitable to not want someone to turn from error.

      Don’t you understand that these Church fathers were closer in time, place, culture, and language than you? Who are you to say you know who Paul was and wasn’t referring to in certain passages? Who are you to cite your subtext as correct in contradiction of early Church practice? Do you know how many virgins were ordained in the first centuries of Christianity?? Do you? A ton, as a matter of historical record in the fathers writings. Why are you not willing to bend to the plain truth in early Church practice? It is insane to believe that Church practice was corrupted so soon after the death of the apostles and continued for 1400 yrs or so until your heresiarchs came along.

  26. von said

    The underlying assumption throughout this passage is that the priest is NOT to “touch” a woman. Thus “not for priest only.”

    There is not a shred of evidence anywhere in this text, or anywhere in the rest of Scripture, that an elder or deacon of the church is excluded from marriage. In fact, as we have discussed, Scripture says the literal opposite:

    Ti 3 A bishop then must be … the husband of one wife, … One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)

    An elder must be a husband, a husband must have sex with his wife, therefore an elder must have a wife and have sex with her.

    Indeed the passage is not for priests only. It is for all men (and women).

  27. von said

    You claim that 1 Cor 7:1, “It is well for a man not to touch a woman,” does not apply to priests with wives.
    I do? First I’ve heard of it. I believe that I Cor 7:1 applies to all men, including priests, and I believe that I Cor 7:2 applies to all men…
    “Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and every woman her own husband.”
    …including priests.
    Chrysostom is saying “No, this does not look like it was addressed to priests only but to all men, not just priests do well in not touching their wives.”
    Well, if he is saying that then he is directly contradicting verses three through five:
    1Co 7:3 Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband.
    1Co 7:4 The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife.
    1Co 7:5 Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.

    The assumption is that priests do not “touch” women.
    You assume that, I grant you. But you bring that assumption to the text, you don’t find it in the text.

    Chrysostom is denying the objection of men who are not priests and who do not like Paul’s words. Such men wanted to say that it is was good ONLY for priests to not touch a woman.
    So then, you would deny verses three through five, and Proverbs five, for all men. You would have all men defraud their wives. Wow.

    • foospro86 said

      No, you don’t believe that 1 Cor 7:1 applies to priests with wives because you believe any husband MUST have sex with his wife.

      He is not contradicting the passage; he’s citing the traditional exception for priests that you won’t accept because you are puffed up by your own wisdom rather than being willing to submit to legitimate authority which interprets and qualifies the text correctly.
      There really is not point in discussing anything with you until your sola Scriptura is abolished. You are so stubborn to think that St. Paul meant his letters, driven by random circumstances surrounding the churches and his travels plans, to be the sole source of authority apart from the apostles and their successors. The Catholic Church gave you your Bible, for Christ’s sake! (despite the fact, Luther subtracted some OT books).

      No, I’m not saying all husbands should defraud their wives. MEN. MEN. The first verse is about MEN, not husbands.

  28. von said

    I hate it when you Protestants do this: say you have the truth and then act like the Truth doesn’t demand obedience. Stop pretending you don’t want to convince me. Or otherwise, it is not charitable to not want someone to turn from error.

    You SO misunderstand me. I don’t want you to believe ME. I do want you to believe the Scriptures, and I do want you to turn from your error. Of course I want to convince you… I just don’t want to convince you to believe ME.

    Of course truth demands obedience… isn’t that what I’ve been saying the whole time? That the truth of the qualifications for elders demands obedience? That the truth of not defrauding your wife demands obedience? That the truth of headcoverings demands obedience?

    Your question was why you should believe ME. My answer is, don’t. Believe God… believe His Word.

    • foospro86 said

      God’s Word is more than what is in the Bible. That is your downfall, your idolatry of the written, scriptolatry. Scripture itself makes no distinction of authority between apostolic tradition that is written or taught in person.

  29. von said

    [Why] do you think I bolded stuff for? That is the evidence in the text.,
    Oh? None of the bolded text (nor the unbolded text, for that matter) makes any distinction between an elder of the church or anyone else. As we discussed (and you agreed) all Christians are to have undivided attention for Christ. Thus you either have to (as you seem to be doing) insist that all men should defraud their wives (rather destroying verses three through five, Proverbs five, and the entire Song of Solomon) or you have admit that we are all in the same boat… verse one, verse two, verses three through five… the whole works.

  30. von said

    It is insane to believe that Church practice was corrupted so soon after the death of the apostles and continued for 1400 yrs or so until your heresiarchs came along.

    It would be rather insane to believe the opposite; since practically every book in the NT has extensive passages addressing heresies that arose while the apostles were still living. Legalism, Gnosticism, Unitarianism… all of these heresies were present while Christ walked the Earth, and haven’t been eliminated since.

    And Scripture continually warns us against the presence of false teachers, and demands that we continually stand on guard against them.

  31. von said

    No, you don’t believe that 1 Cor 7:1 applies to priests with wives because you believe any husband MUST have sex with his wife.

    Funny how you keep telling me what I believe. I do, actually, believe that I Cor 7:1 applies to elders with wives, and other men with wives. But like many other Scriptures in other contexts, it does not apply to them at the time that their wives are alive. Before they were married, these priests and other men should not touch (ie have sex with, or touch in other sexual ways) a woman. After their wife is dead (and before they remarry) they should, again, not touch a woman.

    However for all men who are husbands, they are required to touch their wife, touch her sexually, please her sexually, have children with her, and rejoice always in her physically.

    And, ultimately, the entire ‘applies’ argument founders on the very next few verses, where the statement of verse one is immediately put into context… that ‘every’ man (Greek hekastos hek’-as-tos As if a superlative of ἕκας hekas (afar); each or every: – any, both, each (one), every (man, one, woman), particularly.) should have his own wife, and every woman should have her own husband; and each of these husbands should have sex with his wife, and his wife should have sex with him. And that his body does not belong to himself, but has been given (by the LORD) to his wife.

    • foospro86 said

      More of St. John Chrysostom (347-407):

      “Are you bound unto a wife? Seek not to be loosed. Are you loosed from a wife? Seek not a wife.”

      These words carry no contradiction to what had been said before but rather the most entire agreement with them. For he says in that place also, “Except it be by consent:” as here he says, “Are you bound unto a wife? Seek not separation.” This is no contradiction. For its being against consent makes a dissolution: but if with consent both live continently, it is no dissolution.

      http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/220119.htm

      The defrauding only results when one spouse does not consent to the abstinence. I hope you haven’t been implying that mutual consent to abstinence for extended periods of time, even until death, is unlawful or sinful.

    • foospro86 said

      How do you reply to Our Lord’s words to the Twelve (many of whom had wives, supposedly)?
      Luke 18:28-30:

      Then Peter said, “We have given up our possessions and followed you.” He said to them, “Amen, I say to you, there is no one who has given up house or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God who will not receive (back) an overabundant return in this present age and eternal life in the age to come.”

      See also Matthew 19:27-29

      Notice that I am only picking out points from my main post and challenging you with them because you apparently will not challenge yourself with them, even those in the Scriptural section.
      https://conservativecolloquium.wordpress.com/2009/12/20/clerical-celibacy-scriptural-and-historical-proofs/

  32. von said

    No, the New Testament does not deal extensively with all manner of heresies.

    What I actually said was, “practically every book in the NT has extensive passages addressing heresies that arose while the apostles were still living.”

    And I stand by that. I can post the passages if you wish.

    No one denies that the early fathers, and the later fathers, dealt with heresy. I am just denying that they dealt with, adequately, all heresies. And they do deny the truth of the Scriptures in the area we have been discussing.

    (And what a discussion!! Wow, you know how to hang in there!)

  33. von said

    The defrauding only results when one spouse does not consent to the abstinence. I hope you haven’t been implying that mutual consent to abstinence for extended periods of time, even until death, is unlawful or sinful.

    I am not ‘implying’ that, I said it. I Cor 7:3-5 says it:

    1Co 7:3 Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband.
    1Co 7:4 The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife.
    1Co 7:5 Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.

    The couple, even with mutual consent, and only for a period of fasting and prayer, may defraud each other only for a short time and then is required to come together again sexually. The ‘fasting’ puts a rather definite limit on the time anyway, so the fact that St. Paul adds that it must be a short time would indicate that the defrauding must be less than the time a fast would be. But it certainly couldn’t be longer than the time that they both could survive not eating. (Indeed, ‘eating’ is a very common metaphor for sexual satisfactions.)

    Proverbs 5 makes the underlying point clear:

    Pro 5:15 Drink waters out of thine own cistern, and running waters out of thine own well.
    Pro 5:16 Let thy fountains be dispersed abroad, and rivers of waters in the streets.
    Pro 5:17 Let them be only thine own, and not strangers’ with thee.
    Pro 5:18 Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth.
    Pro 5:19 Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love.

    Obviously any indefinite time of separation would be a violation of the Proverbs concept of ‘at all times’ and ‘always’. As you point out elsewhere, as well, it is a sin to deny what God has called you to. Married people are called to sexual satisfaction and intercourse, and bearing children… both as a reflection of the image of Christ and the Church… thus any kind of mutual agreement of the type you suggest would be a violation of this call of God, and a sin.

    • foospro86 said

      hahaha, you are obsessed with certain verses to the point losing all sight of others.

      St. Paul is not commanding a shorter period of abstinence in itself; he’s merely warning the couple that it could lead to temptation and sin. He says these things out of concession/permission, not command, as he says in verse 6. Though you wish this verse to apply to what follows rather than what came before, you are wrong. The contradiction of your obsession is staring you in the face in verse 6.

      So what do you think of this verse: “I mean, brethren, the appointed time has grown very short; from now on, let those who have wives live as though they had none….”?

  34. von said

    I have just noticed the way that your author uses the word ‘continent’:
    if with consent both live continently, it is no dissolution.
    This is a false, and blasphemous, use of this word. St. Paul, in I Tim, condemns the ‘incontinent’:

    2Ti 3:1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
    2Ti 3:2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
    2Ti 3:3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
    2Ti 3:4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
    2Ti 3:5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

    And yet he (and the other Scripture writers) make it very clear in several places that marital intercourse is holy, and righteous and good. Thus the use of the term ‘continent’ to mean ‘without marital intercourse’ is highly inappropriate. If, on the other hand, he means without adultery why, it should hardly take the ‘consent’ of your spouse to do that!

  35. von said

    Contrariwise one hopes that you aren’t saying that defrauding your wife without her consent isn’t sinful.

    Consenting together to sin is still sin.

  36. von said

    St. Paul is not commanding a shorter period of abstinence in itself; he’s merely warning the couple that it could lead to temptation and sin. He says these things out of concession/permission, not command, as he says in verse 6. Though you wish this verse to apply to what follows rather than what came before, you are wrong. The contradiction of your obsession is staring you in the face in verse 6.

    Linguistically your interpretation cannot be. One cannot ‘concede’ not ‘command’ someone not to commit a sin. The thing is simply linguistically impossible.
    In order for something to be ‘conceded’ not ‘commanded’ the thing must be in the imperative or permissive mood. So, for example, “Go to the park!” might be interpreted as a command. The child, on saying, “do I have to?” might be answered by, “Why, no, I thought you wanted to go to the park, I was just giving you permission to go, you can stay here if you want.”
    However if you tell your son, “Don’t hit your sister!” You cannot turn around and say that you were giving permission instead of a command. You cannot ‘permit’ a forbidding… the grammar doesn’t work.
    St. Paul here forbids married couples from abstaining from sexual intercourse, except for a short period of time, for fasting and prayer: and commands them to come together afterwards so that they are not tempted. One cannot, linguistically, divorce the last part of the sentence (come together) from the beginning, ‘do not defraud’. Linguistically that cannot be.
    (You can try this for yourself. Try putting together a sentence in the form of: Do not do X wrong thing, except in fashion Y, and for a short time, and make sure you stop doing X immediatly afterwards” and then say, “but I am just giving your permission.”)
    So the verse reads: You may not commit the sin of defrauding your spouse (withholding the sexual intercourse that is their due and your duty to the LORD); except (that it isn’t a sin if you do it only) for a short time, (only) for the purpose of fasting and prayer, and (only) if you unite sexually immediately afterwards. The chief verb of the verse is ‘may not’… and ‘may not’ may not be ‘commanded not permmitted’. And you lose sight of the fact that verse seven is organically connected to verse six by the connector: G1063
    Γάρ gar A primary particle; properly assigning a reason (used in argument, explanation or intensification; often with other particles): – and, as, because (that), but, even, for indeed, no doubt, seeing, then, therefore, verily, what, why, yet.
    Which gives the reason for the fact he is permitting not commanding. He wishes that everyone had the gift of celibacy, but acknowledges that they don’t. So, inspite of the fact that he said that ‘every’ man should have his own wife, he acknowledges that some, like him, may have that gift and be able to go, at least for a season, without a wife.

    So what do you think of this verse: “I mean, brethren, the appointed time has grown very short; from now on, let those who have wives live as though they had none….”?

    I would have thought that was obvious. The church was scheduled for a time of persecution; when husbands and wives would be ripped apart, to live in jail, be thrown to lions, or lit as human torches. Obviously for anyone who was married, or had children, or was pregnant during that time their grief would be doubled at the sight of their loved ones being treated in that manner… whereas the unmarried person could focus on their martyrdom with a less troubled focus.

    • foospro86 said

      It is only “impossible” to you because you are begging the question, assuming what you are trying to prove. What a long response for merely a logical fallacy. You assume they are commands, and so they can’t be concessions. Brilliant!

      I don’t think so. Paul is not talking about persecution specifically. He is talking about the 2nd Coming and the Final Judgment. For most of his life, Paul believed it would happen in his lifetime. That is why he says “appointed time” and “For the form of this world is passing away.” These things indicate the End of Days, not persecution. Thus, Paul is calling husbands and wives to be mindful of the Judgment with regard to their conduct and devotions, which may require them to act as if they were not married at times, i.e. abstain from intercourse.
      Maybe you should be more careful about what you consider “obvious” in Scripture.

  37. von said

    Then Peter said, “We have given up our possessions and followed you.” He said to them, “Amen, I say to you, there is no one who has given up house or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God who will not receive (back) an overabundant return in this present age and eternal life in the age to come.”

    Your interpretation here fails at the rock of Ephesians 5 and Proverbs 5. All of us give up things to follow God, and no one denies this. St. Paul in I Cor 7 gives one example of this, with the unbelieving wife (or husband) leaving their spouse because they have become Christians. Others are called to a distant ministry ( like Jonah) and have to leave behind their spouse or children. Some are martyred, or have their spouses or children martyred. We all must, at times, give up things for the kingdom of God, including, occasionally, our life.

    However that is not at all what you are proposing. You are proposing, if I understand you correctly, that a man deliberately defraud his wife and children despite the fact that there is no reason whatsoever to do so, and while doing so will degrade his very witness for the church. That a man says, “I want to become a priest” and the church insists that he must, by doing so, become a defrauder and abandoner. The church has plenty of money and plenty of housing for his wife and family. They could just as easily live with him as elsewhere. His wife could continue to be his helpmeet, his children to serve him in his ministry… indeed he could raise his family in the Lord as a witness to the whole church.

    But because of some false sense of spirituality which violates every Scriptural command concerning marriage, the priest is called to violate the very image of Christ and abandon his wife and children. They could, as I understand it (and I hope and pray I am wrong), come crying outside his dwelling and he would be required to turn them away with, “be warmed and filled.”

    We are not talking about some soldier or missionary, who might be called to a far off and dangerous land where he cannot, in good conscious, take his wife and children… but who hopes someday to return to them. We are talking about men living in their ease in surburbia or downtown who could obey their marriage vows without the slightest difficulty.

    And, of course, these are men who are required by Scripture to be married, and to have a well managed household that bears faithful witness for the Lord. Because, as St Paul puts it: “For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?”

    • foospro86 said

      hahaha, this must have been a very powerful verse against you because you felt the need for a much longer response, which didn’t even analyze the verses I put forward, least not my boldings of wife and children. Yes, I’m sure the words of Our Lord, according to both Luke and Matthew, have failed in light of Proverbs and St. Paul! You’re playing the old Protestant game: ignore the Scripture the Catholic puts forward and stick to favored verses. I’ve addressed your presented verses, saying your interpretations are wrong based on early Church traditional interpretations and practices. And your Old Testament verses cannot override New Testament/apostolic teachings.
      (I really do get a kick out of when Protestants prefer Paul’s letters to Jesus’ gospel sayings, haha. It happens a lot.)

      The fact of the matter is that the Twelve did indeed “abandon” their wives and children in some sense, though we do not know the details. Marital and family life, including intercourse, was “given up.” What a hard gospel truth (literally) for you to accept because of your obsession, your rigorist heresy. But accept it you must. Course, then all your other erroneous interpretations would be shown to be hollow. You’ll just put your finger in this dike, won’t you?

      Does the Catholic Church advocate husbands abandoning their wives and children to becomes priests? No, it avoids this conflict of obligations by not allowing married men to become priests and not allowing priests to marry, at least in the Roman rite. Thus priests abandon any future choice to marry and have children, and married men abandon any future in the priesthood, at least while their spouse lives.

      ::sigh:: It’s not a matter of money and housing! Again, refusing to take St. Paul’s warnings about how married life inherently lessens one’s devotion to God.

  38. von said

    cross posted to my blog at:http://vonstakes.blogspot.com/2010/11/my-finger-in-dike.html
    1) Does the Catholic Church advocate husbands abandoning their wives and children to becomes priests? No,You seem to contradict yourself here, stating this, and then implying that Peter and the other apostles ‘abandoned’ their wives and children. Which is it? Are you suggesting that Peter and the others continually defrauded their wives and abandoned their children for the ‘undivided attention’ reasons you suggest? Or not?
    2)
    it avoids this conflict of obligations by not allowing married men to become priests and not allowing priests to marry, at least in the Roman rite. Thus priests abandon any future choice to marry and have children, and married men abandon any future in the priesthood, at least while their spouse lives. So you are saying that, in pursuit of your unscriptural doctrine that elders may not have sex you have violated the clear Scriptural teaches that they must be married and have sex with their wives?
    3) I really do get a kick out of when Protestants prefer Paul’s letters to Jesus’ gospel sayings, haha. It happens a lot.It is odd of you to accuse me of focusing on the writings of Paul in comments to a post on I Cor 7 (Hint: Author: Paul). Jesus, a betrothed man from before the foundations of the earth never even hinted, in any of his teachings, that an elder of the church of God must be unmarried, or that a married man should even defraud his wife. Indeed, all of the Catholic commentaries that I have ever read insist that the steamy sexual book of the Song of Solomon is a metaphor for the relationship between Christ and the Church… hardly an indication that he disapproves of sex.
    4) Again, refusing to take St. Paul’s warnings about how married life inherently lessens one’s devotion to God.You keep returning to a point ‘undivided devotion’ which you have already conceded. You stated that all Christians are to have undivided devotion to the Lord. All. Therefore the warnings regarding marriage apply to all Christians.
    This leads us to one of two conclusions. Either all Christians must therefore remain unmarried
    or
    we can accept what St. Paul says, namely, that while:
    It is good for man not to touch a woman
    nevertheless
    Let every man have his own wife, and every woman her own husband.
    IE Although it is true that remaining unmarried would allow one a less divided attention to the Lord, the issue a fornication, a grevious sin which destroys ones devotion to God much more strongly than the sanctified and holy union of marriage, besides destroying one’s ministry to the flock and witness to the community, means that ‘every’ man should have a wife.
    5) Which raises another point, namely, avoiding all appearance of evil. Proverbs five points out the well known common sense principle that a man who is appropriately rejoicing in his wife sexually is less likely to stray to the ‘strange woman’.
    I am not one of those who believe that every Catholic priest is a Sodomite pedophile; or has closet mistresses in every parish, but the well known fact is that they have that reputation. The fact is that the supposed ‘undivided devotion’ of those priests via their unmarried state, far from bearing witness to the world of their devotion to God, has led to an almost universal speculation about their sexual perversions.
    It is a dramatic shame that, in a world that so denigrates the institution of marriage, the Catholic church should insist that their best an brightest should reinforce that blasphemy.
    Tit 2:3 The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; Tit 2:4 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, Tit 2:5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.

    • foospro86 said

      1) It is clear from St. Paul that many of the wives of the apostles accompanied them and ministered to them (as sisters, as we know from the Church fathers and even the Greek text), if the wives were even alive at the time. The point is that the apostles abandoned married life.
      2) lol, again with you sola Scriptura and faulty interpretations as the premise. More restatement of your position rather than argument. I’ve already addressed this.
      3) There is no sex or marriage in heaven! Jesus makes this clear in rebuking the Sadduccees. Sex and marriage are used merely as symbols in order to attempt to capture spiritual realities and mysteries.
      Nothing frustrates me more when others mischaracterize my own position: where the heck did I say that Jesus or Paul disapprove of sex? It’s not a matter of good or bad, approve or disapprove. It’s a matter of higher degrees of perfection and devotion. That is why Paul says “BETTER” (verse 38).
      4) All Christians are to have as undivided a devotion as they can, according to their vocation. But the fact of the matter is that the eunuch for the sake of the kingdom has an inherent advantage over the married man when it comes to devotion. You can’t tell me that any married man has more devotion to prayer and God than a monk, all things being equal. There is a hierarchy of goods and different rewards in heaven.

      Fornication is of no risk to the man gifted by God and called to the priesthood. That risk is not dominant to the point where it overrides Jesus and Paul’s own words about celibacy.

      I don’t know why you want to insist on your interpretations when the Church clearly believed and practiced something different from the beginning as a matter of history.

  39. von said

    FYI Note: Slightly tangential post here: http://vonstakes.blogspot.com/2010/11/on-marriage-of-christ.html

    I can paste it as a comment here if you wish.

    • foospro86 said

      Jesus was married to no human being. That is clearly what I meant all along. You’re splitting hairs here. Marriage is merely a symbol that explains Christ’s relationship to the Church. Let’s not waste our time on something I think we agree on.

  40. von said

    It is only “impossible” to you because you are begging the question, assuming what you are trying to prove. What a long response for merely a logical fallacy. You assume they are commands, and so they can’t be concessions. Brilliant!

    Nope, you totally misunderstood my point. I will try again and see if you can understand my point. Fine if you disagree, but so far you haven’t understood it (based on your comment above).

    The statements in verse 5 are of the following form:

    1) Forbidding: “Defraud ye not one the other”
    2) Exception:
    a. Part a: “except it be with consent”
    b. Part b: “for a time”
    c. Part c: “that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer”
    d. Part d: “come together again”
    3) Reason: “that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency”

    Here is another sentence that is of the same form:

    You may not stay up late while we are gone, except on Friday night, until midnight, to watch the meteor shower, and then get right to bed. I don’t want y’all all cranky from lack of sleep.

    1) Forbidding: You may not stay up late while we are gone
    2) Exception:
    a. Part a: except on Friday night
    b. Part b: until midnight
    c. Part c: to watch the meteor shower
    d. Part d: then get right to bed
    3) Reason: I don’t want y’all all cranky from lack of sleep.

    Now, suppose the mother were to say right after that, “But I am just giving you permission, not commanding you.” What would this mean? She is obviously not giving them ‘permission’ to ‘not stay up late’… that is ludicrous. You cannot ‘permit’ a ‘forbidding’. “I give you permission to not hit your sister.” “I give you permission to not murder your neighbor.” The linguistics do not work.

    Nor can you give ‘permission’ for the reason. “I give you permission for me to want you to not be cranky.” Nope, doesn’t work.

    No individual part of the exception can be a permission. Could she be only ‘giving permission’ for them to go right to bed after the meteor shower? When that is part of the conditions for the exception she is giving? Could they stay up till midnight every night? Could they stay up to watch a movie on Friday night?

    What can be given ‘permission’ not ‘commanded’ is the ‘exception’ as a whole. She may not be ‘ordering’ the children to stay up and watch the meteor shower. They might have thought, based on her statement, that they were ‘supposed to’ stay up and watch the meteor shower (for school or whatever) and she is now telling them, ‘no, you don’t *have to* watch the meteor shower. You can, if you are tired or have no interest in meteors, go to bed on Friday night, early, too.’

    And so, similarly, in verse five. The ‘forbidding’ of the first part of the verse cannot be a ‘permission’. Nor can the reason at the end. The only thing that can be a ‘permission’ in that verse instead of a ‘command’ is the exception itself, as a whole. No man (or woman) should feel himself forced, by the apostle’s words, to abstain from sexual intercourse for a time of prayer and fasting. No man (or woman) should pressure their spouse into such a thing. Each spouse must judge for themselves concerning that time, and concerning their own sexual temptation… deciding whether they have the gift to successfully, without lusting etc., sustain the time proposed.

    Indeed I challenge you to go through the verse and point out exactly what part of it Paul was afraid his audience might have thought was a ‘command’ that he felt it necessary to state was only a ‘permission’. The suspect part of the sentence must be liable to *both* interpretations.

    • foospro86 said

      All of 1 Cor 7:1-5 is said/commanded within the context of lay believers and of lust being a very great temptation for the Corinthians (verse 2: “because of the temptation to immorality”). Verse 6 clarifies that these are not the absolutist commands that you are portraying them to be. The situation of the bishop/priest is a different context. So is that of Christians with great self-control. All the textual analysis in the world is not going to contradict these facts.

  41. […] Men Sleeping with "Lesbian" Women???Who is More Compassionate: Conservatives or Liberals?1 Cor 7, Being Single, and Discerning One's VocationViolent and Intolerant Qur'an Verses"The Rock" in […]

  42. von said

    … if undivided devotion requires abstinence from intercourse…

    Well, I so missed this earlier. Just shows what you get from re-reading.
    Paul never hints that ‘undivided devotion requires abstinence from intercourse’… in fact he says the exact opposite. I tracked with you (I mean, you were wrong, but I at least understood you) when you were talking about abstinence from marriage, but now you are focusing on intercourse? (or, you were before and I missed it?)
    I am truly confused by your position. So you are saying that Peter and them took their wives around but refrained from sleeping with them? That that is the official church position? I thought at one point you said the opposite.
    Is that still the official church position? I know that, occasionally, in some rites and permissions, married men are inducted into the Catholic priesthood. Is it still the case that they are required to abstain from intercourse?
    Let me resume the conversation with these questions, then:
    1) You are saying that the apostles defrauded their wives (translation: refused to have/did not have intercourse with them)?
    2) Are you saying that it is the church position that all married priests should refrain from intercourse with their wives (ie: defraud them)?
    3) Are you saying that all truly Godly laymen, who wished (as God commands) to live lives of undivided devotion to the Lord should, equally, refuse to have intercourse with them?
    4) Are you saying that these things (see I Cor 7:3-5) may be done *without* consent from the wife, not merely for a time of fasting and prayer, and not merely for a short time?
    (Just to be clear from my standpoint. I hold that all of us, without exception, are to have undivided attention to the Lord. I hold that practically all laymen, and all elders of the church, should be married. That no married man, at any time, except with mutual consent, for a short time, for the purpose of prayer and fasting, should ever refrain from intercourse with his wife.)

    • foospro86 said

      What the heck do you think Paul means when he talks about the worldly anxieties of husband and wife? They distract from the Lord, not necessarily unto hell at all, but they do distract when greater perfection is possible. (Just as the young man could have had greater perfection had he actually sold all his belongings and became a disciple.) This opinion is also confirmed among the Church fathers.

      Can I ask you a question? Did you ever EVER actually read the note that actually talks about clerical celibacy?
      https://conservativecolloquium.wordpress.com/2009/12/20/clerical-celibacy-scriptural-and-historical-proofs/
      You would learn so much and save me the trouble of copying and pasting. Please read the excerpts from Tertullian and Pope St. Clement of Alexandria.
      “The rest [of the Twelve], while I do not find them married I must of necessity understand to have been either eunuchs or continent.” -Tertullian
      “Even Paul did not hesitate in one letter to address his consort. The only reason why he did not take her about with him was that it would have been an inconvenience for his ministry. Accordingly he says in a letter: “Have we not a right to take about with us a wife that is a sister like the other apostles?” But the latter, in accordance with their particular ministry, devoted themselves to preaching without any distraction, and took their wives with them not as women with whom they had marriage relations, but as sisters, that they might be their fellow-ministers in dealing with housewives. It was through them that the Lord’s teaching penetrated also the women’s quarters without any scandal being aroused.” -Clement
      Who are you to quibble over interpretations with 2nd and 3rd century Church leaders who were closer than you in time, place, culture, and language to St. Paul? Why do you insist on your personal wisdom rather than theirs and their authority?

      1) You really should stop phrasing your questions with your premises. There was no defrauding going on b/c St. Paul wasn’t talking to priests and bishops in 1 Cor 7, regular sexual intercourse in marriage is not an absolute command under the Law of Christ but a concession as verse 6 says (though the marriage is not consummated until first intercourse), and the dignity of the priesthood allows for exceptions as evidenced in the Twelve and in Scripture.
      2) I will get back to you on that.
      3) Once a man is married and has no clerical duties, he certainly is under obligation to be fruitful in a responsible manner. If he is not married, he may certainly be called to a single life of devotion to the Lord and his vocation, whether that includes the priesthood or not.
      4) I’m saying that the Roman rite avoids this problem altogether. I have no idea how the Twelve apostles handled it. I know that in the early Church married men were informed of the discipline of continence before they were ordained. Again, read my post.

      Again, you have misinterpretted Paul’s letter to Timothy. One misinterpretation requires another, apparently. And again, the correct interpretation, the Catholic interpretation is upheld unanimously by the earliest Church fathers from Origen, Tertullian, and Ambrose to Augustine and Pope Siricius. The “husband of one wife” is restrictive, not injunctive. Tons of clerics were ordained without wives. Such men were preferred, so that they could be as Paul wishes them to be, like himself.
      I don’t know how many times I have to repeat myself. Paul merely assumes that those who had advanced in age, wisdom, and holiness to be a bishop at that time mostly likely would have had a family and that looking to household governance would be necesarily helpful in the decision of whether to lay on hands or not. I don’t care what you think the text says. The context of the rest of Scripture and actual early Church practice demands your humility and submission.

  43. von said

    Jesus was married to no human being. That is clearly what I meant all along. You’re splitting hairs here. Marriage is merely a symbol that explains Christ’s relationship to the Church. Let’s not waste our time on something I think we agree on.
    As long as you use the words ‘merely a symbol’ than we don’t agree.
    Jesus was (and is) betrothed to the church. If anything it is our human marriages which are a symbol for that heavenly reality, not the other way around. And, our marriages being a symbol for that marriage, is what makes the very idea of defrauding one’s wife here on Earth so blasphemous. Are we still agreed?

    • foospro86 said

      No, we’re not going to agree on this. It is amazing how you have made an idol out of marriage and the marriage metaphor; it is quite a feat but tragic. You Protestants never cease to amaze me with your innumerable, creative misinterpretations and heresies (which is what happens with sola Scriptura, the wisdom of men and not God).
      Marriage is an earthly/worldly institution; it does not exist in heaven as Jesus tells the Sadduccees. There is no marriage between Jesus and the Church in any literal sense; there is a relationship between Jesus and the Church that goes beyond marriage. And marriage, limited but sacred institution that it is, is used as a symbol to help us understand the great mystery that is the relationship between Christ and the Church. Marriage is the closest we can get to grasping this relationship. You are abusing and twisting the metaphor beyond Paul’s intentions, just as the earliest heretics would twist the parables, which St. Irenaeus exposed and condemned in the 2nd c. Yes, the metaphor tells us something about how marriage should be, but just because it does this and helps us understand the relationship between Jesus and the Church, that doesn’t mean it tells us marriage itself is preferable or of higher dignity than virginity.

      Do you think there is a literal Body in heaven too?! Are our bodies merely the symbols of that Body? NO. Again, Paul is using an analogy to explain the communion of saints. A human body is the closest we can get to understanding the communion of saints. He isn’t making an idol of embodiment and drawing all sorts of erroneous implications.

      Any metaphor can be stretched beyond its intentions into error and contradiction.

      Maybe you should become a Mormon; they too have idolized marriage, making it into an eternal relationship.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: