One of the first articles to appear on Boundless from CHBC folks was Physical Intimacy and the Single Man by Matt Schmucker which is based on the talk he has given a couple of times in the church’s sexuality talks and at the Sex and the Supremacy of Christ conference (and taken from the conference’s book). Well now Boundless have published an interview their staff had with Michael Lawrence and Scott Croft on the subject of sex and the single man, which is well-worth reading. In part 1 they discuss the extent of what constitutes sexual activity, the need for asking specific questions to single men regarding their ‘struggles’ and the obligation for many men to pursue marriage. In part 2 they discuss the marriage norm and the gift of celibacy being a rare thing and that often men attempt to use 1 Cor 7 to justify selfish singleness, and they oppose married couples choosing childlessness. There is also a comment to women who desire marriage regarding singleness being a gift in the sense of 1 Pet 4:8 and also a form of suffering.
While I disagree with some of what they said, particularly regarding the gift of celibacy, I do think that there are some helpful points that they raise. Here are some key points:
- Singleness is a gift to be used for the church, as in 1 Pet 4:8.
- Unwanted singleness is a sharing in Christ’s sufferings.
- There should be no getting onto the sexual on-ramp outside of marriage (see also the last reply in this Q and A post).
- Extended singleness requires particular sexual control (Michael and Scott take a gift of celibacy position that goes further than I do, believing that the gift involves no sexual struggle).
- Extended singleness is for the purpose of ministry (indeed Michael includes having such a ministry as part of the way to identify the gift).
- Extended singleness is a sacrifice.