But I Dont Have the Gift of Celibacy!Posted: March 31, 2013
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.