Albert Mohler, Delay of Marriage, and Pornography

I heard Albert Mohler make the most amazing statement yesterday on his program. I agree with Albert Mohler about the nomination of David Ogden as Deputy Attorney General by Barack Obama. I think that it is a travesty that such perversity is now going to be in one of the top law enforcement positions in the United States. However, Dr. Mohler made the most incredible statement at about the 32:51 mark of the program. He said the following:

I would refer you to my book “Desire and Deceit, the Real Cost of the New Sexual Tolerance,” where I deal extensively with this, and let me just give you a heads up. I deal extensively with it with a very direct address to the problem of pornography and young men. The problem of Pornography and the delay of marriage. The problem of pornography and the confusion of beauty. And, the effects are devistating, and they are multiple, and they are lasting. One way that pornography is factoring in to our contemporary problem…it goes back to that originating news story at the top of the hour that I talked about where marriage is becoming a matter of tremendious delay in Great Britian, and we are not that far behind. One of the reasons why a lot of young men aren’t getting married is because they are finding enough satisfaction in pornography that they are not driven to mature, grow up, and take on the responsabilities of being a husband. That’s pretty bad in and of itself. But it isn’t hard to imagine that the life of many young men these days is given to this as a substitute for what they are actually called to do. And I see, as I’ve said, the devistation in those lives, and its not just in the lives of those young men, but also the young women who are just waiting for a young man to grow up, and be ready to be a husband.

There are so many errors in this statement, it is hard to know where to begin. First of all, if Dr. Mohler has talked to so many men who are addicted to pornography, then where in the world is he getting the idea that it satisfies? You see, I have talked to people who struggle with pornography too. The whole problem with pornography is that it doesn’t satisfy, and you keep having to go back for more. If you talk to any Christian man who is addicted to pornography, he will tell you that it is a trap, not that it satisfies, and that is the consistent testimony I have heard.

Secondly, if you are so out of control that you just have to have sex, and you get married because of it, this driving of you to marriage is not natural, it is unnatural. The apostle Paul states as much:

1 Thessalonians 4:4-5  that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, 5 not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God;

The apostle Paul states here that these out of control desires that Dr. Mohler wants to say are supposed to drive us towards marriage are actually things which Paul calls heathen, and says that those who practice such things “do not know God.” Yet here, Dr. Mohler wants to speak as if this is something that is perfectly normal. It isn’t, and Dr. Mohler’s view of sexual desire has more in common with hedonism at this point, than with orthodox Christianity.

Mohler then has to say that marriage is something each person is “called” to do. We have seen before how Dr. Mohler has to abuse the text of scripture in order to get this, and yet, he just states it as if there has been no challange to it at all.

Finally, this pandering to women just simply is unbiblical. Women do not have husbands because of men, they do not have husbands because God has said that they are not to have husbands at this point in their life. God is not entitled to give a woman a husband just because they want one, and it is not the man’s fault just because he refuses to do what she wants.

All of these things, while offensive to any Biblical view of purity, are even more offensive when you think about what Mohler is saying here. What he is, in essence, saying is that the problem with those who are fighting an addiction to pornography has nothing to do with their heart, it has to do with their marital status. If they would just grow up [i.e., get married], they wouldn’t have this problem. There are a huge number of passages of scripture that contradict this, but just to name one:

Mark 7:18-23  And He said to them, “Are you so lacking in understanding also? Do you not understand that whatever goes into the man from outside cannot defile him, 19 because it does not go into his heart, but into his stomach, and is eliminated?” (Thus He declared all foods clean.) 20 And He was saying, “That which proceeds out of the man, that is what defiles the man. 21 “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, 22 deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. 23 “All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man.”

Notice that Jesus says here that sin proceeds from the heart. The real corruption in a pornography addict is not external [his marital status], but internal [his heart]. To reduce the reason for pornography addiction down to marital status is not only irrational, but contradicts Jesus’ very clear words.

It gets worse, though. The book of Proverbs tells us how we are to avoid sexual sin. It is found in Chapter 2:

Proverbs 2:9-19  Then you will discern righteousness and justice And equity and every good course. 10 For wisdom will enter your heart And knowledge will be pleasant to your soul; 11 Discretion will guard you, Understanding will watch over you, 12 To deliver you from the way of evil, From the man who speaks perverse things; 13 From those who leave the paths of uprightness To walk in the ways of darkness; 14 Who delight in doing evil And rejoice in the perversity of evil; 15 Whose paths are crooked, And who are devious in their ways; 16 To deliver you from the strange woman, From the adulteress who flatters with her words; 17 That leaves the companion of her youth And forgets the covenant of her God; 18 For her house sinks down to death And her tracks lead to the dead; 19 None who go to her return again, Nor do they reach the paths of life.

How does this text say we are delivered from the adulteress? Is it by getting married at a young age? Is it by getting married at all? No, the book of Proverbs very clearly says that it is by gaining wisdom, and discernment. In churches today, we seem to have lost this. We teach children that pornography is wrong, premarital sex is wrong, and lust is wrong, but we never teach the wisdom and discernment necessary to deliver young people from these temptations out there in the real world. That is what the book of Proverbs is all about. Not only that, but, while Dr. Mohler defines manhood as marriage, the book of Proverbs defines manhood as one who is not simple, and one who has obtained wisdom built on the fear of the Lord. You see, the danger in what Albert Mohler is saying is that anyone who has out of control desires can walk down an aisle, put a ring on a woman’s finger, and have sexual relations with her. The problem is what happens when there is another woman at work who will not take no for an answer, and she begins flirting with him, and ends up trapping him alone. If he still has those out of control sexual desires, he will have sexual relations with her, and the marriage will be destroyed. You see, if he does not see learning self-control, through learning to love wisdom and discernment as the solution to his problem, he will simply end up destroying the marriage.

As I said, anyone can go down an aisle, put a ring on a woman’s finger, and have sexual relations with her. It takes a real man to gain the wisdom so that he will have self-control to do what is right, whether married or single. I fear that having a view of purity and manhood that is centered on marriage rather on the power of the gospel to change the heart of a pornography addict, and give him the wisdom he needs to get self-control, and thoughts that are after Christ, we will see a whole lot of broken marriages as a result of what Albert Mohler is teaching, all because we are looking for a quick external fix to a problem that is rooted in the heart.

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38 Responses to “Albert Mohler, Delay of Marriage, and Pornography”

  1. Von Says:

    Interesting that in your analysis you never approach the verses that actually say what Dr. Mohler proposes. For example:

    1Co 7:1 Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman.
    1Co 7:2 Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.

    and

    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.

    You say
    “anyone can go down an aisle, put a ring on a woman’s finger, and have sexual relations with her. ”

    Unfortunately, this is not true. Our society, particularly much of the ‘conservative’ church, has decreed otherwise. One may not get married until one is older, more mature, has ones education finished, etc. etc. And you manage to convince the girl, her father, her mother, her aunt, etc.
    And you would add that he must have the gift of controlling his sexual desires. God gives those of us without the gift of celibacy a method of controlling them… marriage.

    As it is written:

    it is better to marry than to burn.

  2. otrmin Says:

    Von,

    Actually I have addressed these verses many times before. For instance, here is what I wrote about 1 Corinthians 7:2. Consider what I wrote on my previous blog:

    http://puritancalvinist.blogspot.com/2008/06/responses-to-candice-watters-book-part.html

    First of all, notice the structure of verses 2-4

    2. …man…wife…woman…husband.
    3. …husband…wife…wife…husband
    4. …wife…husband…husband…wife

    Notice, that verses 2-4 have exactly the same structure, namely, a chiasm. It is in the form of:

    A…B…B…A

    Thus, most scholars [including Gordon Fee, whom Debbie Maken quotes in her book], will say that verses 2-4 are a unit. However, verses 3-4 are talking about the marital duty of sexual relations. How can this be?

    Of course, the simple solution to the problem is that the Greek term echo [to have] can be used as a euphemism for sexual relations. The following texts in the Septuagint and the New Testament are some of the texts mentioned by Gordon Fee as instances in which echo bears this meaning:

    Exodus 2:1 There was a certain man of tribe of Levi who took [a wife] from the daughters of Levi, and he had [echo] her. [translation mine]

    Deuteronomy 28:30 thou shalt take a wife, and another man shall have [echo] her; thou shalt build a house, and thou shalt not dwell in it; thou shalt plant a vineyard, and shalt not gather the grapes of it. [Brenton Translation]

    Isaiah 13:16 and they will strike their children in front of them, they will plunder their houses, and they will have [echo] their wives. [translation mine]

    Mark 6:18 For John had been saying to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have [echo] your brother’s wife.” [NASB]

    1 Corinthians 5:1 It is actually reported that there is immorality among you, and immorality of such a kind as does not exist even among the Gentiles, that someone has [echo] his father’s wife. [NASB]

    Thus, the meaning of verse 2 would be “because of sexual immorality, let each man have sexual relations with his own wife, and let each woman have sexual relations with her own husband.”

    This interpretation would also fit with verse 1. Paul would be admitting that there is some truth to what is said in verse 1 but, because sexual immorality will exist in this life, we are not to refrain from sexual relations with our wives. Indeed, he goes on to say that there is only one case where someone cannot have sexual relations with their wife, and that by an agreement for a period of time so that they can devote themselves to prayer [v.5]. Thus, the text is addressing one topic from verse 1 until verse 5.

    There are also some criticisms that can be levied against your interpretation of this passage. First of all, there is a Greek word for “to marry,” namely, gameo, and Paul uses that term down in verse 9 in the imperative. It is hard to explain why it is that Paul used the imperative of gameo in verse 9, but not in verse 2. There is no literary reason why he would change, nor is their a contextual reason why he would change.

    Also, it would seem, if we take your interpretation, that Paul contradicts himself twice in this passage. First of all, he says that he has no command from the Lord concerning virgins [7:25], and, given your interpretation, this certainly would be a command to virgins. Not only that, but Paul later on commands them not to seek to change their state [7:27]. Now, whether you limit this to the time of the “present distress” or not, you have just made Paul command the virgins in the Corinthian congregation to get married, and yet, to not seek to change their marital status. Such makes Paul utterly self-contradictory.

    Not only that, but your interpretation completely disrupts the text of verses 1-7. Verse 2 would be a statement addressed to virgins, verses 3-4 would be a text addressed to married people, and verses 5-7 would again be referring to virgins. Such an interpretation thus makes the structure of the entire passage totally random, and inserts an unnatural break at every change of audience.

    Thus, I would say that 1 Corinthians 7:2 is not at all relevant to our present circumstances as single people.

    I have also found out something interesting with regards to this passage. The NET has interestingly translated this text as:

    1 Corinthians 7:2 But because of immoralities, each man should have relations with his own wife and each woman with her own husband.

    What is also interesting is the footnote that they give explaining the reasoning for their translation:

    tn Grk “each man should have his own wife.” “Have” in this context means “have marital relations with” (see the following verse). The verb ἐχέτω (ecetw, “have”) occurs twice in the Greek text, but has not been repeated in the translation for stylistic reasons. This verb occurs 8 times in the LXX (Exod 2:1; Deut 28:30; 2 Chr 11:21; 1 Esd 9:12, 18; Tob 3:8; Isa 13:16; 54:1) with the meaning “have sexual relations with,” and 9 times elsewhere in the NT with the same meaning (Matt 20:23; 22:28; Mark 6:18; 12:33; Luke 20:28; John 4:18 [twice] 1 Cor 5:1; 7:29).

    It is interesting that they have said the very same thing I said above. Not only that, but other very well known commentators say the same thing. Dr. Craig Blomberg [pgs. 133, 136], Gordon Fee [pgs. 278-279], and Dr. Richard Hays [pgs. 113-114] have all taken this interpretation of this passage in their commentaries. In fact, Gordon Fee says he knows of no instance in which the idiom “to have a wife” means “to take a wife” [Fee, p.278 n48]. He says that, in most of those instances, the Greek term lamba,nw is used. He sights the fact that this idiom is used in a Western text variant of 7:28 where it replaces the Greek verb game,w which means “to marry.” He also cites an apocryphal text in Tobit 4:12 which does, indeed, refer to taking a wife because of sexual immorality [pornei,a], and lamba,nw is clearly used there. He concludes that, “Paul’s usage is clearly different from these” [Fee, 278 n.48]. Furthermore, Fee notes that, for a woman to “take a husband” was utterly foreign to first century cultures [Fee, 278 n48].

    Hence, when someone tells you that you should marry because of the rampant sexual immorality in our culture, and they point to 1 Corinthians 7:2, read it from the New English Translation, and then have the citations from Gordon Fee, Craig Blomberg, and Richard Hays ready and waiting.

    I have also addressed 1 Corinthians 7:9 before, and I have pointed out that the text does not tell people to marry in order to get avoid sinning, or to get rid of the sin, but rather, in order to get rid of the external lack of self-control. Paul later is going to say that this lack of self-control is, indeed, something that is sin [1 Thessalonians 4:4-5; Galatians 5:22-23]. Hence, sin is something that comes from the heart. Marriage might help to curb the outward manifestations of the sin, but it will never address the wickedness of the heart that is causing the burning. That must be done by the Holy Spirit.

    Even worse than that, it is likely that this text is not even talking to singles in general, but widows and widowers. Gordon Fee, Craig Blomberg, Richard Hays, etc. all believe that this is the case. The next issue becomes what exegetical warrant we have for broadening it out to refer to all singles? Paul here would then be addressing a situation in which normal sexual relations have occured, but then, have been interrupted by the death of a spouse. Hence, it would be totally irrelevant to someone who is engaging in sin just simply because they do not yet have a heart that is like Christ, because they never had that normal sexual relationship in the first place!

    Also, one final thing, I have approached these verses many times before. Go back to my other blog, http://puritancalvinist.blogspot.com/, and do a search for some of these verses, expecially the later posts, as I have grown in my knowledge and understanding over time. The reality is that Dr. Mohler will not approach our exegesis of these texts. He does not interact with commentators, he does not interact with people who have publically criticized him. According to him, he is right, and all he does is put his finger in his ear, and just call the other interpretation “warped” when he comes up against an exegesis of his key passages that he cannot refute.

    I would love to have a conversation with this man about his view of delay of marriage. I think that the idea that delay of marriage is a sin is exegetically indefensible. However, as long as I am just a simply M.A. Candidate at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, that is not likely to happen.

    God Bless,
    Adam

  3. Von Says:

    Well, your welcome to discuss it with me.

    Your exegesis falls apart at several places. I will post more when I have time. I believe that much of the problem that we have with these passages comes from a resurgence of the gnostic ‘body’ vs ‘spirit’ antagonism. Your post reveals this tendency as well when you say, “saying is that the problem with those who are fighting an addiction to pornography has nothing to do with their heart”.

    Those who preach, as I do, early marriage (for those that do not have the gift of celibacy) are not denying the problem of the heart, we are saying that God has provided a proper, physical, escape for that problem (again, for those who have not the gift of celibacy).

    As the unit of verses I Cor 7:1-5 proclaims, the problem is not ‘solved’ by mere marriage… but the solution continues into marriage with proper marriage relations. As Proverbs 5 points out the solution involves a continual heart attitude accompanied by physical action of (re)turning to ones wife.

    Obviously it is not even a partial solution to the God given desire for sex to marry and then fail to ‘rejoice in’ ones wife.

    I believe that much of what you have posted above is a straw man of Dr Mohlers position… it certainly is of mine.

    In Him,
    Von
    Vonstakes.blogspot.com
    Christianbetrothal.blogspot.com

  4. otrmin Says:

    Von,

    I believe that much of the problem that we have with these passages comes from a resurgence of the gnostic ‘body’ vs ’spirit’ antagonism. Your post reveals this tendency as well when you say, “saying is that the problem with those who are fighting an addiction to pornography has nothing to do with their heart”.

    No, I am very much against that. The point is that a sinful nature causes sinful actions. I am not a gnostic, because I believe in that intimate connection between body and soul, which a gnostic dualist does not. That is the whole reason why I believe that one will effect the other, and why I believe that Godly sanctification must take place, even after marriage, or otherwise, you will not only have sexual sin, but a broken marriage because of adultery.

    Those who preach, as I do, early marriage (for those that do not have the gift of celibacy) are not denying the problem of the heart, we are saying that God has provided a proper, physical, escape for that problem (again, for those who have not the gift of celibacy).

    Right, and that is exactly what I am denying. Only the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit can change that. We cannot put our trust in marriage to save us from sexual sin. While I know you would never say that you are saying that, it seems to be the logical conclusion of your posiiton.

    As the unit of verses I Cor 7:1-5 proclaims, the problem is not ’solved’ by mere marriage… but the solution continues into marriage with proper marriage relations.

    Actually, the reason why denying relations in marriage leads to sexual immorality is found right in verse 3, right after the command of verse 2 where Paul calls sexual relations an opheile, that is, a debt. When you don’t give someone what they owe, it is easy to see how sexual immorality will follow. In the case of marriage, one immoral action leads to another immoral action. You deny your spouse what you owe them, and that leads to sin.

    As Proverbs 5 points out the solution involves a continual heart attitude accompanied by physical action of (re)turning to ones wife.

    Actually, the book of Proverbs is setting out two ways: the way of fidelity, and the way of unfaithfulness. He is not telling is son that one is the remedy for the other, but, rather, that you are to go down the way of fidelity, rather than the way of unfaithfulness.

    Not only that, the book of Proverbs itself tells us that a person who seeks wisdom will be kept from the way of the adulteress, as I mentioned in my post. I think that text speaks to this issue more than anything I could ever say. One has to argue that the text is not telling us the truth. You not only need wisdom, you also need marriage, even though the text itself tells us that wisdom will do it! The problem is not delay of marriage, the problem is the fact that we want quick fixes like commanding people to marry young, rather than training our children in wisdom so that they will be less likely to go down these paths. When you do not train your child in wisdom, you can expect that the follies of sexual immorality, adultery, and everything else will follow. That is what I mean when I talk about getting the issues of the heart. Teaching our children to love lady wisdom, rather than lady folly. That is why I believe Dr. Mohler is doing more harm than good on this issue.

    God Bless,
    Adam

  5. Von Says:

    You said:
    Those who preach, as I do, early marriage (for those that do not have the gift of celibacy) are not denying the problem of the heart, we are saying that God has provided a proper, physical, escape for that problem (again, for those who have not the gift of celibacy).

    Right, and that is exactly what I am denying. Only the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit can change that. We cannot put our trust in marriage to save us from sexual sin. While I know you would never say that you are saying that, it seems to be the logical conclusion of your posiiton.

    You seem to have the idea (common to many modern gnostics) that the Holy Spirit must act independent of obedience to Gods Word, in this case the provision of marriage.

    No one says that marriage ‘saves us from sexual sin’. It is a straw man and it partially explains why you have problems understanding these passages. What we do say is that Gods Word tells us that God Himself has provided marriage for those who do not have the gift of celibacy.

    If one lives in disobedience to Gods Word, one is not living in obedience to the Holy Spirit.

    You remember the story of Naaman. It is written:

    2Ki 5:10 And Elisha sent a messenger unto him, saying, Go and wash in Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean.
    2Ki 5:11 But Naaman was wroth, and went away, and said, Behold, I thought, He will surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of the LORD his God, and strike his hand over the place, and recover the leper.
    2Ki 5:12 Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? may I not wash in them, and be clean? So he turned and went away in a rage.
    2Ki 5:13 And his servants came near, and spake unto him, and said, My father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? how much rather then, when he saith to thee, Wash, and be clean?
    2Ki 5:14 Then went he down, and dipped himself seven times in Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God: and his flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.

    Did washing in the Jordan ‘cleanse’ Naaman? Or was it his obedience to the Word of the Lord? God cleansed Namaan… the water didn’t. But God commanded him to take a bath… seven baths… in that awful muddy water. And without the baths (tho they had no power) he would not have been cleansed.

    Our society has put blasphemous and unGodly obstacles in the way of marriage. Our church magnifies and multiplies these. Gods Word condemns them.

    Obedience to Gods Word is not a ‘quick fix’. It is the only fix.

    We cannot put our trust in marriage to save us from sexual sin. While I know you would never say that you are saying that, it seems to be the logical conclusion of your posiiton.

  6. Von Says:

    I believe that Godly sanctification must take place, even after marriage, or otherwise, you will not only have sexual sin, but a broken marriage because of adultery.

    And no one will dispute this, at least no one I have ever talked to. Lets go back to the text. Let me give you the absoloute benefit of the doubt concerning the first few verses. Lets say they really mean:

    1Co 7:1 Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to have sex with a woman, ie not to get married.
    1Co 7:2 Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every married man have sex with his own wife, and let every woman have sex her own husband.
    1Co 7:3 Let the husband render unto the wife the sex she is due : 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 (by withholding marital sexual relations), 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.

    So let us assume that it all applies only to married men. I don’t think that is supportable, but let us suppose. This doesn’t help. Verse 2 speaks of avoiding fornication, and verse 5 incontinency. Are you saying, can you really say, that only married men who are deprived of their wives are tempted with fornication?
    One important thing to notice is that the recipient of verse 2 is not the man himself, or the woman. It is some authority; either church or family. The active verb in verse 2 is ‘let’. It is an authority who ‘lets’.
    That verse then must speak to an authority, an authority who has the power or the authority to prevent the husband from having sex with his wife (or, if you read the verse as I do, to prevent him from marrying). And to this authority is given the command ‘let every man have his own wife’. If your reading is correct, it indicates that there was an authority so perverse… within the church… that they were actually forbidding husbands from having sex with their own wives, and wives from having sex with their husbands!
    And Paul slaps this authority down… “because of fornication, let them have sex.”

    Or, the more natural reading, and the lesser perversity, Paul was dealing with a situation that mirrors ours… where civil, church and family authorities were (are) placing enormous obstacles in the way of marriage. They were, as we are, all but forbidding to marry. Especially marriage in the youth.

    PS. I have no idea how that last post ended up with that repeated bit at the end.

  7. otrmin Says:

    Von,

    Are you saying, can you really say, that only married men who are deprived of their wives are tempted with fornication?

    I am saying that ignoring of the ophele of verse 3 is what is causing the incontinence. There is a marital debt that is due, and, when the wife or the husband refuses to give it, it results in sin because of the fact that they are not getting what is rightfully theirs.

    You seem to have the idea (common to many modern gnostics) that the Holy Spirit must act independent of obedience to Gods Word, in this case the provision of marriage.

    No one says that marriage ’saves us from sexual sin’. It is a straw man and it partially explains why you have problems understanding these passages. What we do say is that Gods Word tells us that God Himself has provided marriage for those who do not have the gift of celibacy.

    If one lives in disobedience to Gods Word, one is not living in obedience to the Holy Spirit.

    You remember the story of Naaman. It is written:

    Von, I do not play these games with people. I do not accept your interpretation, and I believe you are misusing these text to bind the contience of God’s people things that are not found in God’s word. You are under obligation to prove your case. I will not accept what you have to say until you can prove it from the text itself. I could just as easily say that you have the attitude [common amongst modern “legalists”] that the more laws you can pull out of texts that have nothing to do with what the text is talking about, the more you can stop sin. The problem is that this is a very naive view of sin. Sin is not stopped by adding laws by misusing the text of scripture. It is stopped by the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit. In that sense, you are saying that coming up with a command for people to marry is going to save them from their sexual sin.

    Hence, the issue is whether or not you are engaging in eisegesis, ignoring verse 3, and reading this passage in a way that totally violates the context of the passage.

    Also, you gave me no reason whatsoever to accept that this does not only refer to married men. You gave no refutation of any of the exegetical information I presented. Again, why would I believe that this is a command of God when you have, to this point, been unwilling to interact with my exegesis of the passage? The whole issue is whether you are being obedient to God’s word, or mistaking your own traditions for God’s word, and then forcing them back onto the text of scripture. I am arguing for the latter. Hence, the only way to refute me is to deal with my exegesis.

    One important thing to notice is that the recipient of verse 2 is not the man himself, or the woman. It is some authority; either church or family. The active verb in verse 2 is ‘let’. It is an authority who ‘lets’.
    That verse then must speak to an authority, an authority who has the power or the authority to prevent the husband from having sex with his wife (or, if you read the verse as I do, to prevent him from marrying). And to this authority is given the command ‘let every man have his own wife’. If your reading is correct, it indicates that there was an authority so perverse… within the church… that they were actually forbidding husbands from having sex with their own wives, and wives from having sex with their husbands!
    And Paul slaps this authority down… “because of fornication, let them have sex.”

    Or, the more natural reading, and the lesser perversity, Paul was dealing with a situation that mirrors ours… where civil, church and family authorities were (are) placing enormous obstacles in the way of marriage. They were, as we are, all but forbidding to marry. Especially marriage in the youth.

    Actually, there is no authority here in this text at all. This is the third person imperative echeto. Dr. Daniel Wallace in his syntactical Greek grammar Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics writes of this:

    One final note: the third person imperative is normally translated “Let him do,” etc. This is easily confused in English with a permissive idea. Its force is more akin to “he must,” however, or periphrastically, “I command him to . . .” Regardless of how it is translated, the expositor is responsible to observe and explain the underlying Greek form.

    In other words, Paul is commanding specific people in the third person to have sexual relations with their wife. We do not have a third person imperative in English, but it is something that you learn in first year Greek. Also, it is the hight of eisegesis to argue that somehow you can get from this text anything about marrying in one’s youth. Where is that in the text? Where are any of these things you call “perversities?” Again, it is total eisegesis.

    Again, I appricate your zeal to follow God’s word, but you need to learn to be more careful with your exegesis. The same is true for most of the folks who address this issue. They see legitimate problems, but come to traditional solutions that are then forced back on the text rather than allowing the text to speak for itself. The determining factor in whether or not a man is cleansed from sexual sin is not marriage, it is the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit. Whether a man gets married or not, if he has the Holy Spirit of God, he will be like Christ in his thinking about sexuality whether he gets married or not.

    Finally, I have absolutely no idea why you are referring to me as a dualist when I have been about the task of refuting dualism when I see it all over the church. My goal is to accurately handle the word of God, and not just believe something because it goes against the culture and is traditional. As you can see, I have talked about structure, grammar, syntax, and followed Paul’s argument almost too closely even for some people’s liking. If you are going to say that this is a command, you need to deal with the exegesis I have offered.

    God Bless,
    Adam

  8. otrmin Says:

    Von,

    Also, I would point out what Jesus says:

    Mark 7:18-23 And He said to them, “Are you so lacking in understanding also? Do you not understand that whatever goes into the man from outside cannot defile him, 19 because it does not go into his heart, but into his stomach, and is eliminated?” (Thus He declared all foods clean.) 20 And He was saying, “That which proceeds out of the man, that is what defiles the man. 21 “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, 22 deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. 23 “All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man.”

    Notice what Jesus says. The reason why people engage in fornication is not because of something external [their marital status], but, rather, because of something internal [their heart]. Even if they were forced to get married, that would not change their heart, and that is the point. In fact, most probably it would shift from fornication to adultery. That is why I said that marriage will change nobody’s heart. Changing the external [their marital status] will not change the internal [their desire to rebel against God by commiting fornication].

    Put another way, if a man has a heart of rebellion against God such that he engages in sexual sin before marriage, what makes you think he will not rebel against God by committing adultery after marriage? In fact, I had one woman tell me that her husband did marry her for the reasons you are suggesting, and then he got even more deeply involved in pornography, and, even worse, started going to prostitutes. According to your principles, he was obedient, and yet he went deeper into sin. The fatal flaw in this position will always be that marriage is powerless to change the heart, and, until the heart is changed by the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit, they will stay on their sinful path. Marriage is powerless to help anyone in this situation. Only the blood of Jesus Christ can cleanse anyone from sexual sin.

    God Bless,
    Adam

  9. Von Says:

    are you saying, can you really say, that only married men who are deprived of their wives are tempted with fornication?

    I am saying that ignoring of the ophele of verse 3 is what is causing the incontinence. There is a marital debt that is due, and, when the wife or the husband refuses to give it, it results in sin because of the fact that they are not getting what is rightfully theirs.

    Your point on the marital debt is well taken, even if it contradicts your overall point (surely those married men who are being defrauded should rely on ‘the Holy Spirit’ (in quotes because you misapply the term) however my question did not concern the ‘incontinence’… which comes indeed from the defrauding as you point out… but the ‘pornenea’ of verse 2… which is not contingent on the defrauding of verse 3, but he ‘having’ of verse 2.

    Here a married man is (even under your misinterpretation) not allowed to ‘have’ his wife… not because of the actions of his wife (ie verse 3) but because of some authorities who will not ‘let’ him. Surely such a man should be able to master his desires in obedience to those authorities and avoid fornication?

  10. Von Says:

    I believe you are misusing these text to bind the contience of God’s people things that are not found in God’s word.

    I Cor 7:2, 9, 36 and even Genesis 2:18 are in Gods Word. But you would cast a snare on our young men and women and deny them what God says to allow.

  11. Von Says:

    It is stopped by the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit. In that sense, you are saying that coming up with a command for people to marry is going to save them from their sexual sin.

    You will recall that I very specifically that marriage ‘saves’ us from sin. It no more saves us from sin then the waters of the Jordan cured Naamans leprosy.

    No one says that marriage ’saves us from sexual sin’. It is a straw man and it partially explains why you have problems understanding these passages. What we do say is that Gods Word tells us that God Himself has provided marriage for those who do not have the gift of celibacy.

    If one lives in disobedience to Gods Word, one is not living in obedience to the Holy Spirit.

  12. Von Says:

    The reason why people engage in fornication is not because of something external [their marital status], but, rather, because of something internal [their heart].

    And again, I do not deny this. What I do deny is that the right actions of the heart will not lead to the right actions of the body.

    For those who have the gift of celibacy, the right actions of the body involve living as a virgin in all purity. For those who are given the gift of marital sanctity, the right actions involve getting married and living with ones wife in all purity.

    Both involve a gifting of the Lord, both involve purity, both involve the work of the Holy Spirit. But the gifts differing leads to appropriate actions differing.

  13. Von Says:

    Even if they were forced to get married, that would not change their heart, and that is the point.

    Forced to get married??? What an incredible straw man! No one is talking of forced marriages.

    What I am talking about is getting rid of the unGodly obstacles to marriage that our society and the church have set up. I cannot count the number of virgins I have talked to who have said, ‘I would like to get married but…’ and then they list (all unknowing usually) some sin of the church, their parents, or themselves that have prevented them from obeying God in this matter.

  14. Von Says:

    Put another way, if a man has a heart of rebellion against God such that he engages in sexual sin before marriage, what makes you think he will not rebel against God by committing adultery after marriage?

    Since this is exactly the opposite of the person I am talking about, your point is moot. I am talking about the Godly young man (or woman) who acknowledges to God and their parents that they do not have the gift of celibacy (a rare gift if the lives of the Godly patriarchs are to be believed) and thus gets married.

    I am saying that the world, the church, and their parents, denies them that proper outlet. That they forbid them to marry… either outright or by placing unGodly obstacles in their way… and thus violate Gods Word which says ‘let them marry’.

  15. Von Says:

    I had one woman tell me that her husband did marry her for the reasons you are suggesting, and then he got even more deeply involved in pornography, and, even worse, started going to prostitutes. According to your principles, he was obedient, and yet he went deeper into sin.

    No, according to my principles he was disobedient… since you say he went ‘deeper into pornography’. He began disobedient, and ended disobedient… hardly a surprise.

    But if we are going to stoop to anecdotes I can point to literally hundreds of young men and women, denied the outlet of marriage by the world, the church, and their parents… who went on to fall into fornication, pornography, or illegal marriage.

    The point is that Scripture says ‘let them marry’ and the world, the church, and the parents say ‘you may not marry’. This is directly in contradiction.

  16. Von Says:

    Finally, I have absolutely no idea why you are referring to me as a dualist when I have been about the task of refuting dualism when I see it all over the church

    I don’t. I refer to you as a Gnostic because you deny (as they did, and indeed I Cor 7 was written in part in reaction to them) that God calls us to physical obedience and not mere spiritual. They rejected any role in the physical in training us to spiritual obedience. They forbade to marry, and even forbade marital contact.

    They claimed that the body was unspiritual and could have no role in the training of the spirit.

    Again. I am saying that Paul is saying that ‘because of fornication let every man’ (except those with the gift of celibacy, which he mentions later) ‘have his own wife, and every woman her own husband.’

    And I am pointing out that our world, our church, and our parents deny this, and deny a wife to those men, and deny a husband to those women. ‘Later’ they say, “after you have mastered your desires.”
    “Later, when you have your education.”
    “Later, when you are able to provide for her.”
    “Later, when you find the ‘right’ one.”
    Later.

  17. otrmin Says:

    Von,

    Your point on the marital debt is well taken, even if it contradicts your overall point (surely those married men who are being defrauded should rely on ‘the Holy Spirit’ (in quotes because you misapply the term) however my question did not concern the ‘incontinence’… which comes indeed from the defrauding as you point out… but the ‘pornenea’ of verse 2… which is not contingent on the defrauding of verse 3, but he ‘having’ of verse 2.

    The problem is that the text itself contradicts this:

    1 Corinthians 7:5 Stop depriving one another, except by agreement for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

    He clearly says that it because they are “not coming together” that Satan is tempting them.

    Here a married man is (even under your misinterpretation) not allowed to ‘have’ his wife… not because of the actions of his wife (ie verse 3) but because of some authorities who will not ‘let’ him. Surely such a man should be able to master his desires in obedience to those authorities and avoid fornication?

    Again, Von, when you refuse to interact with the other guy’s exegesis, one really has to question whether you are interested in obedience to God’s word, or obedience to your own traditions. First of all, there is no authority here. This is a third person imperative, and there is no permissive idea in it. Virtually every Greek scholar will agree with me.

    Secondly, the problem is that there is sin in the first place of one person denying the other what is rightfully theirs. That is the point. In such a situation, it is not impossible for the person to live a Godly lifestyle, but much harder, expecially in the context of such perversity as Corinth.

    You will recall that I very specifically that marriage ’saves’ us from sin. It no more saves us from sin then the waters of the Jordan cured Naamans leprosy.

    And again, I do not deny this. What I do deny is that the right actions of the heart will not lead to the right actions of the body.

    For those who have the gift of celibacy, the right actions of the body involve living as a virgin in all purity. For those who are given the gift of marital sanctity, the right actions involve getting married and living with ones wife in all purity.

    Both involve a gifting of the Lord, both involve purity, both involve the work of the Holy Spirit. But the gifts differing leads to appropriate actions differing.

    Again, where in the world are you getting these ideas from the text? Where does the text talk about a “gift of celebacy?” Such is utterly foreign to Paul’s context. I likewise believe that the right state of the heart will lead to the right state of the body, and the problem is that changing the marital status will not change that wrong state of the heart. That is the point.

    Even worse [and I was hoping that this was not what you were saying], could not one argue for the Roman sacraments in the same way? Could not the Roman Catholic say, “It is not the sacraments themselves that sanctify someone, but, rather, it is the grace that works through the sacraments. The sacraments don’t save anyone any more than the water cured Naaman.” This is why my pastor views your perspective as a return to Roman Catholicism. Your perspective opens up the door to all kinds of things like this.

    Rather, what we need to say is that true obedience is a heart issue. Whether or not someone is obedient to God’s word flows from whether or not they have a heart that has been changed by God’s grace. These things are not necessary to salvation [i.e., they have no sanctifying power at all], but they flow from a heart that has already been saved. The only way to apply marriage in that context is to say that a person who you deem to not have this “gift of celebacy” who does not marry is unconverted. If that is the position you wish to hold, then I would say that you are no longer orthodox.

    Forced to get married??? What an incredible straw man! No one is talking of forced marriages.

    What I am talking about is getting rid of the unGodly obstacles to marriage that our society and the church have set up. I cannot count the number of virgins I have talked to who have said, ‘I would like to get married but…’ and then they list (all unknowing usually) some sin of the church, their parents, or themselves that have prevented them from obeying God in this matter.

    Von, again, I don’t play these linguistic games. You know as well as I do that everyone who is a Christian wants to be obedient to God. Hence, when you say that this is a matter of obedience, then, yes, you are forcing them to get married. I don’t have a problem with the idea that people need to be forced to do things, that is why we have church disipline, and law enforcement. However, this is something that is based upon an interpretation of 1 Corinthians 7 that is totally based on tradition and utterly exegetically indefensible. Because of this, yes, you are binding to the contience of God’s people things that are not found in God’s word.

    Since this is exactly the opposite of the person I am talking about, your point is moot. I am talking about the Godly young man (or woman) who acknowledges to God and their parents that they do not have the gift of celibacy (a rare gift if the lives of the Godly patriarchs are to be believed) and thus gets married.

    Again, there is nothing about a “rare gift” anywhere in the Bible. These are categories that are utterly foreign to the text of scripture. I simply ask you to go to 1 Corinthians 7, or anywhere else for that matter, and find me a rare gift called celebacy. It doesn’t exist. Secondly, a person practicing incontinence is not “Godly.” Incontinence is just as ungodly as looking at pornography. Sin is sin, and we need to call it what it is.

    No, according to my principles he was disobedient… since you say he went ‘deeper into pornography’. He began disobedient, and ended disobedient… hardly a surprise.

    The problem is that it cuts both ways. The men you want to call “Godly” are disobedient in their incontinence. God calls them to self-control, and if they are not exercising self-control, they are sinning. Hence, they start out in disobedience, and, hence, what makes you think that they are not going to end up in disobedience? Again, what we have here is a lessening of sin. Incontinence is disobedience, and hence, you will have the same kind of things happen even if these so called “Godly” men get married.

    I Cor 7:2, 9, 36 and even Genesis 2:18 are in Gods Word. But you would cast a snare on our young men and women and deny them what God says to allow.

    I do not forbid anyone to get married. I just do not believe in marriage will do anything to cure someone of sexual sin. That requires the work of the Holy Spirit of God. That is what started this whole discussion in the first place.

    Also, Von, you need to have more humility when you approach the text of scipture. You are fallible, and hence, your exegesis is fallible. That does not mean that we cannot know what the text says. It only means that it requires hard work to do it. What I have seen from you is the taking of a particular interpretation, and just assuming it the whole way through this discussion, even though it has been challanged on multiple levels. You have not answered the lexical information on echo, you have not answered the information on the syntax of the third person imperative, and you have not answered the idea that 7:8 is referring to widows and widowers. Until you do these things, you need to recognize that your interpretation of 1 Corinthians 7 stands refuted. I would encourage you to get down and dirty, and do the hard work of exegesis necessary to “rightly divide the word of truth.”

    I don’t. I refer to you as a Gnostic because you deny (as they did, and indeed I Cor 7 was written in part in reaction to them) that God calls us to physical obedience and not mere spiritual. They rejected any role in the physical in training us to spiritual obedience. They forbade to marry, and even forbade marital contact.

    I don’t either. I believe in physical obedience. I just believe that this physical obedience will not take away any sin, is the result of a changed heart, and, finally, that it has nothing whatsoever to do with whether or not someone gets married.

    God Bless,
    Adam

  18. Von Says:

    Two issues:

    1) The gift of celibacy, also called being a eunuch for Christ:
    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.

    and

    Mat 19:10 His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry.
    Mat 19:11 But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given.
    Mat 19:12 For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother’s womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.

    2) The question of authority:

    Take I Cor 7:2 and translate it into third person singular and the question of authority becomes more clear:

    1Co 7:2 Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let [George] have his own wife, and let [Sue] have her own husband

    Said like this, taking away the vagueness that third person plural creates in our own mind, and we see that this verse must be addressed, not to George or Sue, but to some third person who has the power to ‘let’ or to ‘not let’ George have Sue, or Sue have George.

    In addressing the church then, he says ‘let’. Someone in the church, whether that be the elders who were preaching a Gnostic view of sexuality, or the parents, were not ‘letting’ each man have his own wife.

  19. Von Says:

    I just believe that this physical obedience will not take away any sin, is the result of a changed heart, and, finally, that it has nothing whatsoever to do with whether or not someone gets married.

    I know of no one that says, and I myself have specifically repudiated the idea, that physical obedience ‘takes away sin’. God, and only God, can take away our sin.

    Physical obedience, on the other hand, as you yourself point out in your exegesis of verses 3-5 can be part of *how* God does that… just as physical preaching can be part of how God draws sinners to himself, and physical washing was part of how God cleansed Namaan.

    So then, those in the world, the church, and the family who forbid marriage are deliberately standing in the way of this physical obedience, just as one who would forbid baptism or communion.

  20. otrmin Says:

    Von,

    Said like this, taking away the vagueness that third person plural creates in our own mind, and we see that this verse must be addressed, not to George or Sue, but to some third person who has the power to ‘let’ or to ‘not let’ George have Sue, or Sue have George.

    In addressing the church then, he says ‘let’. Someone in the church, whether that be the elders who were preaching a Gnostic view of sexuality, or the parents, were not ‘letting’ each man have his own wife.

    No, actually the issue is not with the person, but with the person and mood. The force of a third person plural is “I command x to.” Hence, the force of Paul’s statement is, “However, because of sexual immorality, I command every husband to have sexual relations with their own wife, and every wife to have sexual relations with their own husband.”

    I know of no one that says, and I myself have specifically repudiated the idea, that physical obedience ‘takes away sin’. God, and only God, can take away our sin.

    Von, I never said that you did say that. What I said was that it was the logical conclusion of your position. In your view, marriage is the sine quo non of removal of incontinence. I say that, no, the only way incontinence will ever be cured is by a change in the heart happening first.

    Physical obedience, on the other hand, as you yourself point out in your exegesis of verses 3-5 can be part of *how* God does that… just as physical preaching can be part of how God draws sinners to himself, and physical washing was part of how God cleansed Namaan.

    Actually, the difference is that I do not believe God *must* work in these ways. Your view is, again, that we have a sine quo non of removal of sexual incontinence being marriage. I say that, no, marriage will never remove anything. God can certainly work in any way he wants, but he is not obligated to work in any way. We are not God, and thus, we cannot frustrate his plan for our sanctification just because we don’t ever get married. If God wants someone to be holy in terms of their sexual continence, then he can bring that about in whatever way he wants, and getting married is not necessary.

    So then, those in the world, the church, and the family who forbid marriage are deliberately standing in the way of this physical obedience, just as one who would forbid baptism or communion.

    Again, I am not standing in the way of anyone getting married. I do want people to put marriage back to it’s proper place, and that is outside of the role of sanctification. Marriage has nothing to do with whether or not one sins externally. It has everything to do with the state of one’s heart, as Jesus himself says in Mark.

    God Bless,
    Adam

  21. otrmin Says:

    Oops, I should have said “the force of the third person “imperative,” not “third person plural.”

    God Bless,
    Adam

  22. otrmin Says:

    Von,

    Ooops, I also forgot to address the first half of your post.

    Two issues:

    1) The gift of celibacy, also called being a eunuch for Christ:
    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

    First of all, nowhere does Paul say this gift is celebacy. In fact, it is likely that Paul was married before he wrote this, and was now widowered, thus making it impossible that the gift here is celebacy.

    Mat 19:10 His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry.
    Mat 19:11 But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given.
    Mat 19:12 For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother’s womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.

    Again, allow the text to speak. Look at the part I have emboldened. This is not a gift of God, but, rather, a service into which one voluntarily enters [makes themselves]. Hence, this text cannot be used for some kind of divine gift of celebacy, as the text itself tells us this does not come from God, but from our own choice!

    God Bless,
    Adam

  23. Von Says:

    First of all, nowhere does Paul say this gift is celebacy. In fact, it is likely that Paul was married before he wrote this, and was now widowered, thus making it impossible that the gift here is celebacy.

    I have difficulty believing that you wrote this. Perhaps some malicious and logically challenged person signed onto your account.

    Paul may very well have been married, and either widowed or have had his wife abandon him because of his faith. However in regards to the spiritual gift of celibacy, this matters not at all.

    Before he received the gift of the Holy Spirit Paul was unable to speak in tongues. Before he received the gift of the Holy Spirit Paul was, presumably, unable to heal and unable to be bitten by poisonous snakes and not die.

    So it really is of absolutely no moment that *before he received the gift of the Holy Spirit* Paul was married.

    Indeed it would be of no moment if he was married afterwards. A spiritual gift is not a *lack*. Someone who can speak in tongues can also speak in their ordinary speech. And someone with the gift of celibacy is perfectly capable of being married, and of performing the act of marriage as often as his wife needed or desired.

  24. Von Says:

    Mat 19:10 His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry.
    Mat 19:11 But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given.
    Mat 19:12 For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother’s womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.

    Again, allow the text to speak. Look at the part I have emboldened. This is not a gift of God, but, rather, a service into which one voluntarily enters [makes themselves]. Hence, this text cannot be used for some kind of divine gift of celebacy, as the text itself tells us this does not come from God, but from our own choice!

    I did. All of the text. Your analysis leaves out two parts of the text, and one important feature of spiritual gifts:
    1) Christ Himself says ‘all men cannot receive… except those to whom it is given’. This text, and the gift it describes (gifts are traditionally ‘given’) is not given to all men, only some.
    2) The text closes with a similar distinction, namely, ‘He that is able to receive it.’ again implying that this is not something most of us are ‘able to receive.
    3) You forget that gifts are ‘exercised’. The power to use a gift, and even the seeking after a gift, is completely under the control of the recipient. We read this in I Cor 14… for example in verse 28:

    1Co 14:28 But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God.

    Thus the gift is under the power of the recipient… including the gift of celibacy. Someone with this gift could still marry, still engage in sexual intercourse. Deciding to forgo this obvious pleasure would be ‘making oneself a eunuch for the kingdom of heavens sake’. It would be voluntarily foregoing a legal good for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. But it is not given to all men.

    It would be interesting to know just what gift (in the midst of an entire passage on the proper distinctions between being married and remaining a virgin, widowed, etc.) you believe that Paul was talking about…. and how it logically connects to his ‘permission not commandment’.

  25. Von Says:

    Actually, the difference is that I do not believe God *must* work in these ways. Your view is, again, that we have a sine quo non of removal of sexual incontinence being marriage.

    And, again, nor do I. I believe in the gift of celibacy. For some men (and women) God gives them, instead of a spouse, a special gift of being able to ‘contain’.

    But for the rest of us, God commands us to marry… to avoid fornication. And more specifically in this text, God forbids the current forbidding of marriage as exercised by the state, the church, and the parents.

  26. otrmin Says:

    Von,

    I have difficulty believing that you wrote this. Perhaps some malicious and logically challenged person signed onto your account.

    I have a hard time believing that someone can hold onto their traditions so strongly that the refutation of their position can be right their in the text, and they will force something onto the text that is not there! Again, allow the text to speak for itself:

    1 Corinthians 7:7 Yet I wish that all men were even as I myself am. However, each man has his own gift from God, one in this manner, and another in that.

    Now, are you really seriously suggesting that what Paul is saying here is that he wishes that only the people who are regenerate are as he is? Paul is not limiting it to those who have the Holy Spirit, otherwise this statement would be utter nonsense. While this is certainly related to the discussion of spiritual gifts, it is not necessarily a spiritual gift, given that it is given to all men.

    Now, even if you disagree, you are still left with a major problem, and that is that celebacy is nowhere in this text! Again, specifically, where is there anything about celebacy in 1 Corinthians 7?

    Paul is contrasting two marital statuses [his own, and the marital status of those who are to “render what is due”], and it is in that context that he talks about each having his own gift from God. Hence, the “gifts” spoken of here do not have anything to do with celebacy [something totally foreign to the context], but, rather, marital statuses. Both marital statuses are a gift of God, and are to be used to his glory.

    1) Christ Himself says ‘all men cannot receive… except those to whom it is given’. This text, and the gift it describes (gifts are traditionally ‘given’) is not given to all men, only some.
    2) The text closes with a similar distinction, namely, ‘He that is able to receive it.’ again implying that this is not something most of us are ‘able to receive
    .

    Acually, the problem with this interpretation is that it makes nonsense out of verse 11: “Not everyone is able to receive this word.” Given your interpretation, we will not find out what the “this word” is until the end of a very long verse. In fact, there is an article before the Greek term logos which is probably anaphoric, referring back to the word that has already been spoken [namely, Jesus’ teaching concerning divorce, and the goodness of marriage]. Again, given your interpretation, the content to the “word” would not be given until the end of a very long verse, thus rendering Jesus’ statement totally unintelligable. Also, yes, there is an envelope structure around the passage, but that is probably meant to both connect this section with Jesus’ teaching on divorce.

    3) You forget that gifts are ‘exercised’. The power to use a gift, and even the seeking after a gift, is completely under the control of the recipient. We read this in I Cor 14… for example in verse 28:

    1Co 14:28 But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God.

    Thus the gift is under the power of the recipient… including the gift of celibacy. Someone with this gift could still marry, still engage in sexual intercourse. Deciding to forgo this obvious pleasure would be ‘making oneself a eunuch for the kingdom of heavens sake’. It would be voluntarily foregoing a legal good for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. But it is not given to all men.

    Again, you lept out of the text itself. Jesus mentions nothing about anything being given accept the ability to accept his teaching on marriage. Again, you are assuming something is in the text that you must prove. He does, however, mention something about people making themselves eunichs, which, again suggests exactly what I am telling you.

    And, again, nor do I. I believe in the gift of celibacy. For some men (and women) God gives them, instead of a spouse, a special gift of being able to ‘contain’.

    Huh? If they are able to “contain” then they are not “incontinent!” Hence, yes, you are saying [albeit unintentionally] that the only way God can work to deal with our incontinence is by marriage!

    Notice what has happened here. We have seen a reading into 1 Corinthians 7 some idea of celebacy nowhere even remotely found in Paul’s context. We have seen the forcing of the “word” in Matthew 19 into “becoming eunichs for the sake of the kingdom,” and we have you ignoring that one who contains oneself is, by definition, not someone who is incontinent! Do you see what I mean when I say that this is not coming from the text, and is based on unbiblical tradition?

    God Bless,
    Adam

  27. Von Says:

    Now, are you really seriously suggesting that what Paul is saying here is that he wishes that only the people who are regenerate are as he is?

    Yes.

    Since Paul wishes for all men to be regenerate, it is no stretch at all to say that Paul wishes for all men to be as he his… regenerate and having the gift of celibacy.

    However not all have that gift. As we see from the Scripture:

    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.

    Paul speaks by permission… he permits people to marry to avoid fornication.. because he wishes that all men had the gift he had, of being celibate for Christ. But as all men don’t have that gift, the others should marry, to avoid fornication (verse 2,9,36).

    And those who have wives, must not fail to perform their marital duty toward them… less this external thing (their failure to perform their marital duty) should tempt their wives to the inward spiritual fault of incontinence.

  28. Von Says:

    And, again, nor do I. I believe in the gift of celibacy. For some men (and women) God gives them, instead of a spouse, a special gift of being able to ‘contain’.

    Huh? If they are able to “contain” then they are not “incontinent!” Hence, yes, you are saying [albeit unintentionally] that the only way God can work to deal with our incontinence is by marriage!

    Not sure what is unclear here, so I will repeat. Two groups of men:

    1) The first is given the gift of celibacy, the gift of being able to contain. This group does not need to marry in order to contain, in order to avoid fornication. They may marry, it is not forbidden, but they do not need to. God has given them, in a special and non-normal way, the gift of being able to avoid fornication outside of his normal way of doing so… ie marriage.

    2) The second group is the normal race of men, including almost every single Godly man in Scripture about whom their marital status is recorded. These men have been given the gift of a spouse. The gift of sexual intercourse within marriage. They are commanded not to abstain from sexual relations within marriage, but instead to:

    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.

    and abstain from:

    Pro 5:20 And why wilt thou, my son, be ravished with a strange woman, and embrace the bosom of a stranger?

    This ‘external act’ is listed in I Cor 7 as being a required act, its opposite being called ‘defrauding’ in the English translation, and the failure to perform this act is listed as having possible spiritual ramifications toward ones self and spouse:

    Co 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.

  29. Von Says:

    Again, you lept out of the text itself. Jesus mentions nothing about anything being given accept the ability to accept his teaching on marriage. Again, you are assuming something is in the text that you must prove. He does, however, mention something about people making themselves eunichs, which, again suggests exactly what I am telling you.

    and again, the text reads:

    Mat 19:11 But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given.
    Mat 19:12 For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother’s womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.

    The statement of being a eunuch for Christ is bounded by two qualifiers. It is given only to those to whom it is given (ie not all men) and it is given only to those who are able to receive it.

    The ability to ‘accept’ a teaching can, of course, mean several things. Often, in Scripture, it refers to people being given a special spiritual gifting even to be able to understand what is said. Not all ground is equal.

    I I Cor 12 we read:

    1Co 12:4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.
    1Co 12:5 And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.
    1Co 12:6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.

    These gifts, then, have different operations. Just as Paul, being celibate (whatever his marital status, divorced, widowed, or abandoned) was able to more freely move about, other apostles brought along believing wives.

    We each have gifts differing. Paul had the gift of celibacy, I have the gift of a spouse.

    And even Paul recognizes that his advice toward celibacy, and the special status that it bestowed, was just for the present distress; the special circumstances that the Corinthian believers found themselves in.

    (Side note: I do not wish to post your part of this discussion on my blog without permission. I am unclear on the copyright issues on a ‘conversation’. So… do I have your permission to post this on my blogs?)

  30. otrmin Says:

    Von,

    Yes.

    Since Paul wishes for all men to be regenerate, it is no stretch at all to say that Paul wishes for all men to be as he his… regenerate and having the gift of celibacy.

    However not all have that gift. As we see from the Scripture:

    Well, then, if you agree that Paul wishes for all humanity to have his gift, then let the text speak for itself:

    1 Corinthians 7:7 Yet I wish that all men were even as I myself am. However, each man has his own gift from God, one in this manner, and another in that.

    Notice how Paul specifically parallels those he wishes to have his gift, with those who have all sorts of different gifts. He wants all humanity to have his gift, then, given the parallelism, all of humanity actually does “have” his own gift from God, and hence, we cannot be talking about just the regenerate. Thus, the argument from spiritual gifts is not possible, since we are not only talking about the regenerate, but all humanity.

    Of course, regeneration is not Paul’s context at all. That is the point. Again, it is amazing how these things like the Holy Spirit and celebacy just pop into the text.

    Also, again, where is this idea that a person with a “gift of celebacy” can “marry?” Again, the idea of celebacy is totally foreign to Paul’s context, and, even worse, the idea of those having his gift getting married is even more foreign to his context.

    Not sure what is unclear here, so I will repeat. Two groups of men:

    No, I understand what you are saying. What I was replying to was the idea that your position obligates God to deal with incontenence through marriage. You said that this was not the case, because there are people that are not incontenent. Why would God need to deal with incontinence in someone who is not incontinent [i.e., someone who you say has the gift of celebacy]? It doesn’t make any sense.

    Paul speaks by permission… he permits people to marry to avoid fornication.. because he wishes that all men had the gift he had, of being celibate for Christ.

    Where is there anything about “marrying to avoid fornication” to this point in 1 Corinthians 7:1-6? The only thing you could point to is 7:2, and I have already shown that the imperatives and the verb echo are not talking about getting married, and are also not talking about some external authority. Outside of that, there is really nothing about getting married to avoid fornication.

    The ability to ‘accept’ a teaching can, of course, mean several things. Often, in Scripture, it refers to people being given a special spiritual gifting even to be able to understand what is said. Not all ground is equal.

    I would be fine with that, but, notice, it refers to the *teaching*, not to “being made eunichs for the sake of the kingdom.” The teaching is that there is a particular kind of eunich. You wanted to say that whether or not you are this kind of eunich is what is “granted by God.” That is nowhere in the text, and totally disconnects Jesus’ statements here with what came before.

    I I Cor 12 we read:

    1Co 12:4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.
    1Co 12:5 And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.
    1Co 12:6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.

    These gifts, then, have different operations. Just as Paul, being celibate (whatever his marital status, divorced, widowed, or abandoned) was able to more freely move about, other apostles brought along believing wives.

    We each have gifts differing. Paul had the gift of celibacy, I have the gift of a spouse.

    Again, you have made a huge logical leap. Where did you go from the idea of “teaching” being a gift to the idea of “celebacy” being a gift?

    The problem is that, in 1 Corinthians 7, Paul mentions a gift, but there is nothing about celebacy in the context. In Matthew 19, Jesus mentions celebacy, but there is nothing to say that celebacy is a gift in Matthew 19.

    Again, I appriciate your zeal to follow God’s word, but I really think that there are entire concepts you are reading into these texts.

    (Side note: I do not wish to post your part of this discussion on my blog without permission. I am unclear on the copyright issues on a ‘conversation’. So… do I have your permission to post this on my blogs?)

    Ya, I actually was thinking about linking to this discussion on my blog. I think it would be useful for folks like Anakin and Amir who dialogue on this issue as well. If you think it would be useful, I have no objections.

    God Bless,
    Adam

  31. Von Says:

    posted at:

    http://vonstakes.blogspot.com/search/label/adam%20discussion

    (Hopefully that link will get all of the text. If not you will have to go to the root: vonstakes.blogspot.com. No time right now for more. Copy pasting really helped me, as I was forced to re-read everything and see some things I missed out on.)

    In Him,
    Vaughn

  32. Von Says:

    Let me see if I can do my best to translate these verses as I understand you to understand them:

    1. It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.
    2. However, because of all kinds of sexual immorality I command every man who is already married to have sexual relations with his wife and every woman who is already married to have sexual relations with her own husband.
    3. -5 I think we agree on verses three through five; the husband is not to ‘defraud’ his wife, nor the wife her husband, except by mutual consent for a time, that they be not tempted.
    6. But I say this as a permission not as a command
    7. Because I wish that every man was un-married as I am.

    Here are the problems that I see with this translation:

    First, what is it that is permitted and yet not commanded? It cannot be that Paul ‘permits’ a man not to defraud his wife. A godly leader cannot speak of permitting a Christian not to sin… and the context makes it clear (to avoid fornication, not defraud, lest ye be tempted) that Paul is speaking of avoiding a sinful action.

    Even less can it be said that Paul permits a man to defraud his wife!

    Some have argued that Paul here is referring to the time of separation as what is permitted and not commanded. However I find this extremely weak as Paul limited that action to ‘by mutual consent’ which already implies that it is not commanded.

    Secondly and even more strongly, none of this makes sense in the light of your interpretation of verse 7. Paul states that these things are permitted and not commanded because he wishes everywhere as he is.

    If the ‘as he is’ refers (as you suggest) to his marital state of being un-married then how can we interpret the concept of because (‘’for’ in the KGV, G1063, strongs posted below) as it links ‘permitted not commanded’ and Pauls wishing that all men were um-married. What about Pauls wish that all men were unmarried makes one thing in the text permitted and not commanded?

    Does he mean that it is permitted but not commanded that a man not defraud his wife because Paul wishes all men were unmarried?

    Does he mean that it is permitted but not commanded that a man and his wife abstain from sexual relations because Paul wishes all men were unmarried?

    Is fornication or marital infidelity permitted but not commanded because Paul wishes all men were unmarried?

    G1063
    γάρ
    gar
    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.

  33. Von Says:

    On the issue of authority, third person imperative, etc.

    I realized, after reading all of the posts, that I dealt with your concern of the third person imperative only tangentially.

    Your Greek note is excellent. I am afraid that the overall effect is rather different than you suggest, however.

    I Corinthians is a letter. All letters, by definition, are addressed to the second person. ( At least, I know of no letter that is not addressed the second person.) Not that there are not other persons throughout the letter (I saw Aunt Grace… He told me about his surgery… etc.) but the overall letter is, by definition, addressed to the second person.

    So in this case Paul begins:

    1Co 1:1 Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother,
    1Co 1:2 Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:

    So the addressee of the letter is ‘the church of God which is at Corinth’. In the context of writing that letter, Paul says several things, including the instructions of I Cor 7. He begins, “Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. “

    Here again we have the second person ‘ye’. The Corinthian church wrote Paul, most probably involved in a fight between the Gnostics (who taught that marriage and the marriage bed were evil) and those from a Judiac tradition (who denied the validity of celibacy. A man would be accused of sinning if he reached the age of 20 without marrying). He addresses both sides.

    In verse one he refutes the Judiac camp. He says that it was indeed good for a man to go without sexual relations. In spite of the various commands concerning being fruitful, there still was a role in Gods economy for a celibate man or woman.

    In verse two, and following, he refutes the Gnostics. Verse two (in my opinion) addresses the general mass of men. Every man *should* (imperative, but according to verse 6 this is a permission not a command) have (have sexual relations with) his own wife, and every woman her own husband. This implies (and is stated more clearly later) that that general mass of men should marry.

    In verse three through five he adds that it is absolutely forbidden to abstain from sexual relations within marriage. It was a failure to do what was due, and led to temptation.

    In all of this, Paul is addressing the church. He is laying out official, apostolic teaching. He is refuting heresy. He was stopping the mouths of both the Judaic and the Gnostic camps. Thus what I mean by (and put fairly poorly above) ‘second person’. Basically:

    “Dear Corinthian church, here is the official, apostolic teaching on these issues. This is what you are to teach, and how you are to live. Anyone teaching or living in a way different than this must stop immediately.”

  34. Von Says:

    Why the Gift can’t merely be being ‘unmarried’

    Adam states that he believes the gift is Paul state of being unmarried. And he also states that he believes (as I do) that Paul was married ( a cultural argument, having to do with the fact he was a ‘Pharisee of the Pharisees’ and orthodox Jews do NOT believe in putting off marriage… an unmarried man of 20 would NOT have been a ‘Pharisee of the Pharisees’ but more of a pariah).

    Thus Paul was either widowered, divorced, or abandoned by his wife.

    So first of all, is Adam really saying that being a widower, divorced, or abandoned by ones wife is a gift? I doubt it. So at least in that sense one doesn’t see Pauls gift as ‘his marital status’.

    Secondly, if merely being unmarried is a gift, it is an odd gift. All of us (except perhaps in some areas where they practice arranged marriages) began life unmarried. And we grew up unmarried. And then we (at least many of us) spent a great deal of effort trying to NOT be unmarried; meeting various obstacles along the way.

    But, be that as it may, my third point is this. Does Adam really mean that it is the mere ‘being unmarried’ that characterized who Paul was? Was Paul unmarried… and fornicating? Was he unmarried… and committing adultery? Was he unmarried… and visiting temple prostitutes on a regular basis? Masturbating? ‘Checking out the chicks?”

    I doubt that Adam believes that. (He is welcome to refute this if he wishes). So who Paul was was… unmarried… and not fornicating. Unmarried… and not committing adultery. Unmarried and not… burning with passion, or not controlled, or any other form of Pornenia (pardon my Greek).

    And if that is what Adam believes is Paul’s gift… then we agree, because that is what I believe was Paul’s gift. That is what I meant (perhaps I was not clear) by ‘the gift of celibacy’. Perhaps I should have called it ‘the gift of chastity’. Or ‘the gift of not burning with passion’.

    Natural man (ie not Physical Eunuchs) are constantly bombarded with sexual temptation, sexual thoughts, sexual impulses. And God has given most of us a wonderful gift as a focus for those thoughts and impulses, and as an alternative to those temptations. A wife.

  35. Von Says:

    On the incontinence of continent people:

    Adam states:

    What I was replying to was the idea that your position obligates God to deal with incontenence through marriage. You said that this was not the case, because there are people that are not incontenent. Why would God need to deal with incontinence in someone who is not incontinent [i.e., someone who you say has the gift of celebacy]? It doesn’t make any sense.

    There are a couple of confusions here, but I will deal now with the second one. The primary confusion must be on my part, because I am really at a loss to understand what Adam means. But I am going to make a guess:

    Perhaps he is misinterpreting the gift of celibacy (or chastity, or whatever) to mean a life-long inability to have sexual thoughts etc. In that case God wouldn’t need to provide a gift. Except in that case God would have already provided a gift.

    No, that can’t be it.

    I’m still confused.

  36. Dialogue with Von « Old Testament Studies Blog Says:

    […] a link to a dialogue I had with a person who supports Vision Forum in the comments section of the post about Albert Mohler and pornography. I have been ill, and have been trying to get papers done for the end of the semester coming up, […]

  37. Thomas Says:

    “God is not entitled to give a woman a husband just because they want one”.
    God gives us good gifts that we might receive them with thankfulness, enjoy His gracious provision, thus glorifying Him. Is God not allowed to give good gifts to his children?

  38. otrmin Says:

    Thomas,

    The key is that God gives good *gifts*-plural. The point is that God is the one who decides which gift he is going to give, to whom, when, and where. While we might pursue these things, God is the ultimate determiner of whether or not someone receives a specific gift.

    Also, God gives and withholds gifts according to his own plans and purposes for our life. Hence, God gives us only certain gifts, at the right time, and in the right place so that we will become more like Christ, and use these gifts for the building of the kingdom.

    The point is that God is under no obligation to give any woman a spouse just because they want one, and if God doesn’t give them a spouse, he will still give them other good gifts, and those gifts will be used to make them more like his Son, Jesus Christ, and to build and grow the kingdom. Hence, even if God does not give them marriage, the statement “God gives good gifts to his children” is still true.

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