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But I Dont Have the Gift of Celibacy!

Today for the second time, I came across the argument that Christian gays & lesbians cant all be celibate, because not all have that gift.

Yes 1 Corinthians 7:7 may be read to indicate that celibacy is a gift that is not given to all. This raises the questions of how the classic scriptures about homosexuality would make sense, if it’s not possible for all gays and lesbians to be celibate. And if gays and lesbians are banned from expressing their sexuality, yet cant contain themselves due to lack of spiritual gifting, then 1 Cor 10:13 would not make sense either.

But is it this black and white? If you lack a spiritual gift, does this preclude ability to comply with scripture? I notice from Romans 12, that even things like ‘giving’, ‘serving’, and ‘mercy’ are gifts. Surely all Christians are expected to do these things to some extent. If that’s the case, then either everyone has those gifts, or it must be possible to do those things even if you dont have them as spiritual gifts. I also see that a “message of wisdom” is a gift (1 Cor 12:7), and that God gives wisdom if requested (James 1:4), so if lacking the gift of celibacy, perhaps God will provide it if requested? I also see that the notion of a gift of celibacy is presented in the context of heterosexual marriage, not homosexual marriage (1 Cor 7). So maybe all gays and lesbians are given the gift of celibacy, even though not all straight people are given it? Or maybe as per giving, serving and mercy, it’s possible to act in a field in which you do not have a spiritual gift? As Eve Tushnet has said “We see in Scripture that God calls people who are uniquely unsuited for the task that he sets them”.

We have some unknowns here, and it’s difficult to obtain clarity amongst the various possible solutions. But it is reasonably clear from numerous other scriptures that Christian relationships are heterosexual only, so I suggest we should give priority to the Scriptures that we can grasp, and place these mysteries as secondary.

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2 Comments on “But I Dont Have the Gift of Celibacy!”

  1. Tapman says:

    Hi stasisonline, found your stuff in my junk box – not sure why it was going in their, I might not agree with you but you aren’t junk. This celibacy thing your talking about, it just amuses me how easily we hand out celibacy to someone else – Jesus acknowledges that it is not a “walk in the park” for all when he says it is better to marry than to burn. Even strong Christian men who have given their lives to the service of the church and to God fail at the celibacy thing – you only have to look at the cases of abuse by clergy. All I am saying is that it is a huge burden that the church places on teenagers who are already feeling bad about themselves and are often in depression (among other things). Christians seem to play down this burden – but as already noted are unable to live it themselves. Have a read about what the bible says about millstones and the warnings associated with this. From what I can tell you haven’t fully grasped the scriptures regarding Gay people – might I remind you Romans says that God handed them over as some kind of punishment – stasisonline, I think you know as well as I do that gay people are born different, this is a different kettle of fish. Try reading the scriptures without preconceived ideas as to what you believe it says – let the Holy Spirit lead you wherever He will.

    • stasisonline says:

      Thanks for affirming that Im not junk! I certainly agree that celibacy is difficult. I made it through my teens and early 20s in celibacy though, so I relate to that troubled period. And yes the millstones warning is sobering. I agree that Romans does say that God handed them over (you and I might have discussed this previously?) I have to wonder whether Exodus 20:5 applies – ie children being handed over due to the sins of their parents? If I havent fully grasped the Scriptures regarding gay people, Id love to learn. It troubles me that there are people who may be ineligible for the intimate relationship they desire, and Id prefer not to believe that doctrine. But it’s just a fact that the Bible portrays Christian life as one of singleness or heterosexuality, and it repeatedly rules out homosexual sex. If you come across any compelling insights to the contrary, please let me know.
      Thanks.


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