Monday, 25 April 2016

Monday quote

The family, after all, is the original and best department of health, education and welfare.

William Bennett

Monday, 18 April 2016

Monday quote

Second Great Commandment—which I usually abbreviate "2C"—(second behind giving God first place in your life, 1C). In everything you do, you need to give the other person at least as much deference as you want for yourself.

Tom Pittman

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Does marrying early help avert the sins of pornography use and fornication

Doug Wilson has written a somewhat controversial post, 7 Reasons Young Men Should Marry Before Their 23rd Birthday. Though I don't necessarily agree with everything he has said, I think the principles behind it are sound. I would like to give my take on a few of his claims (though Wilson may not agree with how I have read him).

The distinction between gift of celibacy and the gift of singleness is probably important: a man with the gift of celibacy is not distracted by women.

Concerning the issue of age. I do not think Christians should approach marriage the way that Wilson recommends. I think we should be more circumspect and place more emphasis on prayer and hearing God in the situation. That said, we need to consider the situation Christians find themselves on a population basis. When are they marrying and why? What are their relationships like prior to marriage? Do they differ from their secularist friends? Are they subsequently divorcing?

It may be that Christian men should marry younger on average. Yet even if this were true this would apply to the group, there would be plenty of individuals who for specific reasons would marry later (and earlier) than average. The church can give general teaching on the nature of marriage and general principles and at the same time, give advice on learning to hear from God in their own situation. What this means is that (specific) people who marry significantly older than the average for good reasons are not an argument against the proposal that Christians (generally) may be waiting too long for marriage.

Something that may suggest people are waiting too long is how they are behaving. The Bible is clear that sex outside of marriage is wrong yet way too many Christians are fornicating. Now adultery is a much more serious sexual sin than extra-marital sex. And God can forgive fornication. Even so, it is a sin, a serious one, and one that Christians should not minimise, especially in the defence of other good things that people desire such as education and work. If the percentage of Christians marrying as virgins is low then perhaps the age of marriage may be part of the issue. Paul after all did write
because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. (1Co 7:2-3)
and
To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single as I am. But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion. (1Co 7:8-9)
So if a person is being tempted to have sex, or is even having sex, then Paul says it is preferable to be married. Arguments about needing to finish university, or having enough money, and many other important things, and largely irrelevant in this context. If you are old enough to be having sex you are old enough to be married, and if you are too young to be married you are too young to be sexually active (not physically, morally).

Which brings us to Wilson's comments on pornography.
The temptations of porn do not disqualify men for marriage. Rather they qualify men for marriage. God has a solution for sexual temptation for those not gifted with celibacy. That gift is called sex, bounded and surrounded with covenant vows.
He expands this in the article though one needs to read more Wilson if he disagrees with him here. Not that reading more may convince him otherwise, just that he will better understand Wilson's position.

Reading through the comments reveals significant misunderstanding of Wilson here. When Wilson says this about a consumer of porn
If a man despises women, hates his mother and sisters, and seeks out the kind of porn that specializes in degrading women, then no one should be surprised that marriage will fix nothing. Something else is wrong with him
he is talking about a person with a specific problem and is not talking about the pornography industry. Of course the industry is degrading and despising of women. But not every man who has seen or used pornography is as depraved as the industry or the hardcore consumer. This is not a defence of the mildness of porn, porn is dangerous and the industry is diabolical. It is saying that people are on a scale and the use of pornography, while always wrong, may be for mixed reasons. One of those reasons is we are sexual and struggle with our sexuality. Porn is an illegitimate outlet for this. Paul says that marriage is a legitimate outlet for this. (I think that refraining from sexual urges when not married makes it easier over time to be self-controlled, and indulging them—including using pornography—makes it harder. Porn feeds intemperance.)

Marrying early may help avert the sins of pornography use and fornication. There are other things to be considered but idea should not be overly contentious.

Monday, 11 April 2016

Monday quote

They never tire of telling us of the glory that was Greece, the grandeur that was Rome, but the Church was infamous because it satisfied the Greek intellect and wielded the Roman power.

G.K. Chesterton (1874–1936), The New Jerusalem.

Monday, 4 April 2016

Monday quote

Whenever the church picks up the sword, it lays down the cross.

Greg Boyd

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