In a sex–saturated society, people who choose not to have sex are a distinct minority.
And yet, those who commit to chastity before marriage or lifelong celibacy as an expression of their Christian faith continue a rich and time–honored tradition in the Church, and should be valued as such in our midst.
Men and women who are celibate are part of God’s plan for His people. Jesus references those who “renounce marriage for the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 19), and Paul describes celibacy as a “gift” (1 Cor. 7).
“Some Christian adults are single because God has given them the gift of celibacy. By remaining single, they can better accomplish His will for their lives,” writes Peter Wagner.
It is generally accepted that we actually desire intimacy more than sex. And so, single persons are still able to experience intimate relationships with other people without any sexual overtones.
In a church culture where we tend to prioritize marriage and marginalize singles, we might reassert the truth that being celibate can be as nourishing and fulfilling as being in a married relationship.
Celibacy is a profound expression of faithful spirituality, one that can sublimate inbuilt human creativity in manifold ways. Henri Nouwen, John Stott, Mother Theresa, General Evangeline Booth, and many others stand as eloquent testimony to this truth.
We honor their witness.
by Colonel Richard Munn