Should celibacy be a mandate for SSA Christians?

I do believe celibacy is the more safe and reasonable choice for all Christians who can accept it, especially those who are SSA, but is it fair and biblically valid for the Church to make celibacy an actual mandate for SSA Christians?

It’s becoming more and more apparent to me that God’s original design for marriage was for it to be heterosexual, procreative, monogamous, and a lifetime commitment. But, to my current understanding, two other things are true: 1) God’s original design for marriage cannot be fulfilled by everyone; 2) neither can celibacy. The existence of eunuchs, let alone the existence of SSA Christians, is evidence of the former, and the teachings of Christ Himself and Paul on celibacy is evidence of the latter. If those two points are factual, wouldn’t that mean there is an existence of SSA Christians who will not be able to fulfill celibacy? Wouldn’t God be aware of this reality? Would He punish them for existing? Doesn’t the Old Testament show that God is certainly capable of at least tolerating marriages that are outside of His original design for it?

Since it seems to me that celibacy as a mandate rather than a vocation contradicts what scripture teaches on celibacy, is it possible that God accepts same-sex marriages and sexual intimacy within those marriages and that the Church should accept them as well? Or should the Church, when dealing with sexual queerness within it, abandon scriptural teachings on celibacy in order to preserve God’s original, heterosexual design for marriage and sexuality?

Here is why I’m leaning towards the former option. For one, I’m biased. I try not to be, but I know I am biased towards my own insignificant understanding of what a fair God would do. This is where my bias leads my logic: It is one thing to favor celibacy, as did Christ and Paul, and suggest that celibate SSA Christians will receive a higher reward in heaven, a reward similar to that of the faithful eunuch who will receive a name better than of sons and daughters, a name that will never be cut off. But requiring anyone with any sexuality (especially any adult who has already developed, outside of their control, a mutual physical/affectional attraction for someone) to remain celibate or else receive punishment doesn’t sound fair to me, and, again, neither does it seem to fully line up with scripture (but perhaps those teachings on celibacy as a gift/calling can be ignored in the special case of SSA in the Church). I am well aware that we will all have to make daunting sacrifices for Him, but does that really include marriage and sex for only some of His followers and not others? Aren’t SSA Christians the only non-clerical Christians required by the Church to make such a sacrifice? Is that really fair? Is that really God? Currently, I don’t think so.

It does nothing but add to my bias that I, myself, am a closeted SSA child being raised in a conservative, Christian household and selfishly seeking the least bit of confirmation that God might actually allow marriage and sex in my future, even though scripture makes it clear He would prefer that any of His followers who can accept celibacy accept it, especially those who are SSA. Whether or not the responses I receive here are anything near confirmation or validation, any feedback is helpful. Thank you.

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Hi @gardneri2436,

Thank you for your sincere question. I see what you’re pointing to. I was reflecting on what you propose in your questions. There are many things in the middle.

I’m thinking and reading on what Paul teaches in 1Corinthians 7:7-9. And also about the testimony of the Church through the centuries.

But first of all, we have to check what Jesus said. He had a sexual ethic in mind every time He talked about sexuality or marriage. He always put Genesis as the perfect example before the fall (Matthew 19:5-6, Mark 10:7-9). And then Paul, with his apostolic authority, reinforces that other sexual activities outside of the boundaries of a heterosexual marriage are sinful (1Corinthians 6:9, 1Timothy 1:10, Galatians 5:19-21).

And on the other hand, we see that Jesus pointed out that some people make themselves eunuchs for the sake of the Kindom (Matthew 19:12). And that means that there are people who decide to maintain their celibacy to serve God and his Church. And then Paul writes this:

“Yet I would that all men were even as I myself. Howbeit each man hath his own gift from God, one after this manner, and another after that. But I say to the unmarried and to widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I. But if they have not continency, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.”
1Corinthians 7:7-9

The word “gift” here comes from the Greek word χάρισμα (charisma) that give us the idea of some spiritual concession from God, like something special to fulfill your calling. And the word for “contingency” is ἐγκρατεύομαι (enkrateuomai) that literally means “exercise self-control” and is almost the same Greek word Paul uses in Galatians 5:23 for one of the characteristics of the fruit of the Spirit. And in ancient times when the Church was persecuted, many brothers understand that it is right to avoid suffering and death, but if some Roman soldier caught you up that means that God chooses you to martyrdom. That became your calling and God will support you through that entire process.

Maybe that’s something similar happening here. Maybe some SSA brothers are able to fall in love with some lady, others simply can’t. And maybe that be their calling: to serve the Lord with his entire life, and God will sustain him through that. And I don’t see that as a negative thing, because no one needs an active sexual life to be fully human and second the Church is a wonderful family (Mark 10:29-30). I’m not saying this is easy but is what I find in the Scriptures as a whole.

A good example could be Saint Augustine. He identifies himself as a person with an inclination to sexual temptations. In his flesh, he would be fine living with multiple wifes, but he knew that was not part of the sexual ethics Jesus wants for us. And he decided to celibacy, and until this day (since the 400’s) he is still one of the greatest theologians of Church history.

I try to address all your questions, please tell me if I misunderstood anyone.

God bless you,
-R

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@gardneri2436 I can understand what you are saying I’m SSA as well. One thing we have to ask ourselves as Christians is if sex and marriage are the ultimate fulfillment or is God. I say this because often too many times the world makes sexual pleasure and romantic relationships the end all be all. The truth is, it’s not. While they are wonderful and beautiful we still have to come to the realization that no man or woman can fulfill us the way God does.

His love is what will sustain us and never fail us. People make mistakes and are not perfect in how we want them to love us, but God is. And you have to find that out for yourself in your relationship with him. It doesn’t mean it will be easy. A life like this is never easy especially when society tells you it’s okay and when the church makes singleness seem like a defect.

But it doesn’t mean it’s the end to fulfillment in life or your purpose in life. We have to train oursleves into the thinking that you can have a wonderful life in Christ inspite of these types of setbacks. God has so much more to offer us aside from sexual pleasure and marriage. Yes they are his creations and they are wonderful creations but he is not limited to them. Your confidence in him must grow as you trust him. Then you can see how God can give you love that’s not worth trading in for ANY type of relationship.

Here is someone I really like who’s testimony I find really interesting. Her name is Jackie Hill Perry.


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Hello Isaiah,

A few weeks ago someone suggested a really good resource in another discussion thread. The book is called “Holy Sexuality” by Christopher Yuan. You can also google Christopher Yuan and listen to his testimony and the way he addresses the question you have raised here. I have both began reading the book and have watched several videos of him speaking, and I have been challenged and encouraged in my personal experience with the subject. I hope that you will be encouraged by the source as I have been. I also pray that God will grant you Ephesians 3:17-19:

“so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”

Sexuality can be a very difficult issue to address. Since I gave my life to Jesus around 7 years ago, it has been an issue that I have wrestled with before God. Although I am still walking this path of singleness (and therefore celibacy, as I believe it is God’s will for me at this point in life), and there is still much that I do not understand, I am learning that it is in this place of surrender and sacrifice where God has made for Himself a door through which He meets with me in my heart to share intimacy with me in a way that no man ever could (Revelation 3:20).

The life of a Christian is meant to be a life of hope, and the journey we go through as we follow Jesus is based on the hope of being fully united to Him for eternity. This hope is the power of God within us that sets us free from the dust of this world and causes our spirits to ascend to God. We hope in God and in His promises, and therefore, we give ourselves to trust Him more and more. The Bible tells us that it is this hope that purifies us, and that such hope will never put us to shame. As you wrestle with God and seek His will for your life, keep your hope in Jesus and in His promise to be more to you than anything or anyone else in this world could ever be. He is worth it and He will satisfy you as you fix your eyes on Him. May God bless you and keep you.

In Christ,

-Holly M.

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The first video was amazing! Thank you for sharing :slight_smile:

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@Renzo.DG @Luna @holly_nichole32 Thank you all so much for your insight, resources, testimonies, and prayers. They are all really helpful and much appreciated!

I’m very young, but I know I will certainly be striving for a lifetime of celibacy if I never fall in love with someone of the opposite sex. I may not be entirely convinced that, if I instead fall in love with someone of the same sex, He would require me to resist and reject those feelings or else not enter His kingdom, but I pray I never have to even face this situation. And if I do, I pray He’ll stick with me and guide me through it. I pray that He shows grace to any SSA Christians who have understandably failed to resist and reject such strong, fleshly passions, who have already entered relationships and marriages that are outside of His perfect design. I can only imagine the distress and confusion of being demanded by a fair, loving, all-powerful God to break away from someone with whom one may have already grown physically, affectionately, and even spiritually intimate. But I realize God’s unconditional love is easily more fulfilling, no matter how tangible it may seem at any given moment. Whether or not I fully understand this or think it’s fair, I just pray He leads me not into temptation.

Again, thank you so much! I will definitely be doing more research on this over the weekend. I may even return with additional questions.

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Thank you @gardneri2436! For your honest response!

I don’t know what you’re passing through this season, but I can tell you the devil is an expert to deceive us. And he wants us to think that everything is the end of the road and God can do anything, but it is a lie. God is powerful even in this situation. And only Him can satisfy you more than anything.

I encourage you to stay firm. And especially because you are young, temptations could be abundant but stay firm and the devil will go away each time he comes. Try not to give an inch to sin because it could look harmless, but if you give it an inch it will go a mile into you. And, as someone told me one day, your feelings don’t care about you, they could come one day and the other, when everything is mess up, they’ll leave you alone. But God stays by your side. You are not alone in this bro.

I also will be praying for you :slight_smile:

If you can listen to this testimony, it may encourage you. Nothing it a lost cause :slight_smile:

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I’m back! With a few more questions:

  1. Should SSA Christians be allowed to enter committed, “romantic,” nonsexual relationships with same-sex partners, assuming they possess the level of self-control required for those relationships to never become erotic?
  2. If so, should they be allowed to adopt and raise children so long as they introduce close role models of the opposite sex, similar to how single parents may do that for their children.
  3. Can the relationship between David and Jonathan be considered “romantic yet nonsexual?”
  4. Can the relationship between Jesus and the “beloved disciple” be seen similarly?

When I say “romantic,” I guess I am referring to whatever would be left in an otherwise marriage-capable relationship if the sexual intimacy is removed, or in other words, a kind of relationship which exists between traditional friendship and actual marriage. I point to David and Jonathan because their relationship seemed to have transcended traditional friendship, immediately becoming covenantal and later even physically intimate (referring to the kiss), yet still not violating martial/sexual ethics. I point to Jesus and the “beloved disciple” for a similar reason; His relationship with that disciple, though not erotic, seemed to be a special, more intimate kind of relationship than His friendship with the other disciples. I’m curious as to whether any of you could see “romantic” ever being used in the Church as an acceptable descriptor for those two biblical relationships in particular or any same-sex relationship.

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Hello again @gardneri2436, I will try my best to answer your questions in order.

  1. No they should not be allowed to do this. Why? Because Jesus says this in Matthew 5:27-29

27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘ Do not commit adultery .’ 28 But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to desire her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

When you enter a romantic intimate relationship with someone you are going to see them in a sexual way, even if the intimacy is not physical. This happens the closer you become to someone you are attracted to. It’s best to not play with fire and not try to search for a grasp or loophole in this. I say this because God is worth it.

  1. I don’t think they should adopt unless they are living lives modeled after Christ. I believe this for anyone homosexual, bi-sexual, or straight, etc. Being a single parent is hard work I know personally but because you want the best for your child then it would make more sense that they would be given your best especially if you know such a relationship would be hard to explain to them. It contradicts the Bible and Christianity.

  2. I don’t believe it can be considered sexual at all. I have a female best friend who is close to me as a sister but it runs much deeper because I’m closer to her than to my siblings.

Gotquestions explains David and Jonathan’s relationship like this:

We know from 1 Samuel 18:1 that Jonathan loved David. Second Samuel 1:26 records David’s lament after Jonathan’s death, in which he said that his love for Jonathan was more wonderful than the love of a woman. Some use these two passages to suggest a homosexual relationship between David and Jonathan. This interpretation, however, should be rejected for at least three reasons.

First, the Hebrew word for “love” used here is not the typical word used for sexual activity. This word for “love” has clear political and diplomatic connotations (see 1 Samuel 16:21 and 1 Kings 5:1). Second, David’s comparison of his relationship with Jonathan with that of women is probably a reference to his experience with King Saul’s daughter. He was promised one of Saul’s daughters for killing Goliath. But Saul continued to add conditions upon this marriage with the underlying desire to have David killed in battle (1 Samuel 18:17, 25). The love David had received from Jonathan was greater than anything he could have received from Saul’s daughter. Third, the Bible clearly and consistently denounces homosexuality (Genesis 1:26-27; Leviticus 18:22; 20:13; Romans 1:18-25). Extolling a homosexual love between David and Jonathan would be contradicting the prohibitions of it found throughout the Bible.

The friendship between David and Jonathan was a covenantal relationship. In 1 Samuel 18:1-5, we read of David and Jonathan forming an agreement. In this agreement, Jonathan was to be second in command in David’s future reign, and David was to protect Jonathan’s family (1 Samuel 20:16-17, 42; 23:16-18).

You can read the rest here --> https://www.gotquestions.org/David-and-Jonathan.html

  1. No I don’t think the relationship between Jesus and John was romantic at all. John was the youngest of the disciples so it wouldn’t be surprising for him to be seen as a younger brother. He was very loving to those he had to take care of. You see this in throughout his letters. I think it’s a very large stretch to imply they had a romantic relationship which there is nothing that gives an indication to it in the Bible.

You have to ask yourself one thing about Jesus. If he is God why would he hide a non-sexual romantic relationship with another man? He spoke with authority and knew he would be killed and was willing to die to save us all. In the scheme of things he had nothing to lose in speaking about relationships, yet he never addressed anything like this in an affirming manner. But he did say this…

Matthew 19:3-6

Then some Pharisees came to him in order to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful to divorce a wife for any cause?” 4 He answered, “Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator made them male and female , 5 and said, ‘ For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and will be united with his wife, and the two will become one flesh ’? 6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

Jesus showed what the original plan was for relationships and marriage. It’s pretty clear. While I do believe the church should love people as they are there is a difference between loving someone and agreeing/condoning their behavior. The church doesn’t have to condone these things in order to love which is actually something beautiful. We can learn to love and show love to those who are different and struggle. So my answer would have to be no, I don’t see the church (if being faithful to Christ) ever using the description “romantic” for the relationships between David and Jonathan or Jesus and John.

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Hi again @gardneri2436!

I was thinking about your question. I understand what you are talking about. There are sometimes when we love someone so much that we want to spend time with that person, when we learn something we want to share it with him, or even when we see a meme the first person we think to tag in it is that special one, but with a pure heart without evil or any sexual desire. I think that is a real and profound friendship. That is what David and Jonathan experienced! The problem is that the devil, with his cunning, wants to distort that beautiful thing God gives us into something sinful (as everything in our lives).

When we start to demand exclusivity or some love back, we begin to fall into a distorted love. Because healthy love is one that doesn’t wait for anything and is conscious that the other one is free to have more friends. What the devil is trying to do with our generation is to trap us in different labels. “Am I gay? Am I straight? Am I queer?”. The reality is that we all are broken, needed for healing. I think what will help us the most is to see ourselves as children of God. We have to see Him as a lovely Father that has a plan and a purpose for our lives. He made us born male or female, and we are beautiful in different ways. We don’t have to be men o women according to what society demands (to like sports or dolls, for example), but to be what God expects.

To respond to your precise question about same-sex partners adopting, I think it is risky, in the first place, to live with a person of the same sex if we are conscious of some concupiscences related to that. We have to do everything in our hands to avoid temptations because we are not as strong as we think we are.

I know we have that profound and valid feeling of making a family, but we have to understand that the Church is that family. Jesus said: “And every one that hath left houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and shall inherit eternal life.” And there are a thousand ways to have a family. Maybe here we can learn more about the medieval monasteries or orphanages made by Christians in the past.

Take heart, my brother! God is good all time, don’t have doubts about it. On this page, you could find many useful resources: https://www.livingout.org/

God bless you bro!

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Thank you @Luna and @Renzo.DG!

I totally understand what you guys are saying. Getting that exclusively intimate with someone you find attractive is definitely a risk that very likely will not be worth it. It is not only imperative to avoid temptation towards sinful behavior but to also avoid sinful thoughts which ultimately are manifestations of sinful behavior from within our hearts. Thank you guys for pointing that out.

God bless you both!

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