I found this opinion, and wanted to know your response: "There are lots of opinions out there regarding finding that special someone in God's kingdom -- a potential husband or wife. Here's the problem. It's a fact that there are very many -- no, far too many -- sisters (and perhaps also too many brothers) that get passed over for a large variety of reasons and remain single for years and decades, despite their deep desire to be married. They could get married to non-Christians, but do not do so because of their obedience to God. The focus seems to be more about whether there should be dating or not, and how to do that. Should it not be about meeting needs of our dear brothers and sisters? In Acts 6 there was an observed need. The Grecian widows were being overlooked. The Apostles did not work on it themselves, but they did see to it that it was taken care of by entrusting it to godly men. The situation with so many singles is similar. In effect, it's as though this isn't important enough to be addressed... This is a screaming need among singles. Why can't we recognize this and all do our part to help each other...? But the problem has been overlooked and ignored for far too long, hasn't it?" I know this was one of the classes at one of your seminars, and you tend to look at issues in our fellowship... -- Michelle

Actually, the need was aggressively addressed in the fellowship of which I am a part in the 1990s, and by many of the principal leaders. As a result, people were "married off" at an alarming rate--and with many crashes. In the end, I am not sure the concerted effort made any real difference.

While I certainly see this as a need, it is not a need in the sense that the overlooked widows were. That is, in Acts 6 something was being done wrong. In this case, I am not convinced that marrying people is the job of church leadership in the first place.

In "the old days" (throughout most of human history), parents were very involved in the marriage process. They took care of things. Most people in the US today have been deeply conditioned by Hollywood to look for special things in a relationship, many of which (I think) are unrealistic. So people wait...

This is not to blame singles for being single. Staying single is God's ideal anyway (Matthew 19, 1 Corinthians 7:7).  I do agree that most singles should marry. And to true Christians. But again, I am not so sure that this is a responsibility of church leaders.  Especially since there is no scripture on the subject. Even in 1 Corinthians 7, where some were holding off, Paul tells them to make up their minds--remain single or go ahead and marry. In Corinth there were people who thought it might be better not to marry at all.  Paul encourages them (7:1ff) to reconsider.

So maybe what is needed is better teaching about the theology of marriage/singlehood. So how does this thought strike you?

Thanks for your response. I was thinking that Grecian widow comparison was a little off-base... as being single is not the same as not getting food. I tend to agree with you that it's not the church leaders' job to marry people off...I mean when you think about that, would there be a "deacon of matchmaking"? I also stronglly agree there needs to be more teaching on the biblical theology of marriage and singleness... I personally have heard it preached from the pulpit on several occasions that you are not complete in God's eyes until you're married. Singleness is certainly not looked upon as a gift, but rather as a stop on the way to married-town... and if your stop is longer than say 3 or 4 years than something is "wrong" with you. You're not praying hard enough, you're not spiritual enough, there is some sin that you're not repenting of, etc. This is compounded by the pressures we get on a daily basis in the world, that you have to be in a relationship to be "happy." I don't know if the same views are prevalent around the world when it comes to singleness, but here in the US I think it's an issue that needs to be taught from the Bible.

Sadly, I believe this is the most common view. The passages on singleness and celibacy are routinely ignored. Given that 20% of adults (in our country, anyway) will never marry, I think we need to take a fresh look at the vow of celibacy. After all, marrieds take a vow, don't they? Why not singles?

To sum up, I agree that singles' needs are not always met by church leaders. But not because they are not busy enough match-making, but because scriptures on celibacy are ignored. The result is a culture of shame, teasing, and ignorance as to one's biblical options.

For more, please see Q&A 0911 and Q&A 0311.