Marriage, Singleness, And The Family (Of God): A Sermon -- By: David C. Cramer
PP 30:1 (Winter 2016) p. 16
Marriage, Singleness, And The Family (Of God): A Sermon
David C. Cramer is Associate Editor at Baker Academic & Brazos Press in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and a PhD Candidate in Religion at Baylor University. He is a contributor to CBE’s blog, “The Scroll.” This sermon was first preached at Keller Park Church, South Bend, Indiana.
The perception in evangelical church culture persists that one of our primary goals as a church is to create good, healthy, safe, Christian families. Sure, we might have singles’ ministries in our churches, but even those are usually designed to help singles meet each other! It is no small secret that the ultimate goal of some singles’ ministries leaders is to work themselves out of a job. Consider this note that I received from a friend after discussing this topic with him:
This is a very interesting topic for me as many of my closest friends are single. My best friend and I talk about this a lot because he desires to find a life partner and wonders why he has not found anybody yet. He also feels at the age that he is that a majority of people look at him as if he is “less responsible” or “more selfish” because of his singleness. As you know, the current church culture promotes marriage, which makes it extremely difficult to be single as a Christian (unless you have extremely thick skin and are okay with comments people are making about you at times). My question is: how does the church counter this view of marriage and make singles know that they are important, gifted, and even needed in the body of Christ? Personally, what can I do to help my friend and others know and feel like they have abilities and responsibilities that married couples don’t have or can’t do, and help singleness be seen as not a temporary thing but a very valuable and fulfilling thing?
To address these questions, I want to look at the NT to see what it has to say to this matter. Happily, we find that it is not silent on this topic. And, moreover, much of the NT instructions on this topic come from single people! Below I offer three NT insights on marriage and singleness in the church.
Paul offers these instructions about marriage and singleness in 1 Cor 71:
Now for the matters you wrote about: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband. The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband I. . . . say this as a concession, not as a command. I wish that all of you wer...
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