The following post is another article written by Rachel Dinkledine, who wrote a popular post a few weeks ago called With Love, Your Single Daughter. Rachel works as a registered nurse in the Indianapolis area.
Many of you have liked and shared the article I wrote a few weeks ago. Some of you have thanked me for being vulnerable enough to share an open letter to my parents. Others have questioned the wisdom of a mid-20-something grieving the loss of her ability to give her parents grandchildren. I appreciate your thoughts, but the letter wasn’t really about my parents or me.
This fictional letter was based on the experiences of older single women who have shared their stories with me. In a way, the letter is about the woman who sits in front of you at church. However, it’s really about you. Could someone thank you for helping them live out God-honoring singleness?
The letter’s subliminal message is this: Regardless of your age or marital status, you need a biblical theology of singleness.
So I ask--how is your theology of singleness doing? What would you say if someone asked you: What is the meaning of Christian singleness? If marriage tells the watching world about Christ’s love for the church, what does singleness say? How do you reconcile Genesis 2:18 and 1 Corinthians 7?
Or would you be prepared to speak to the practical questions: What does healthy fellowship between singles and married people in the church look like? What does God want one to do with the unfulfilled desire for marriage?
I’m not going to answer these questions. . . because others already have. Instead, I’m sharing some of the resources I have found most helpful. The list is far from comprehensive, but it should give you somewhere to start.
In closing, I pray that the first letter stirred your heart to realize the importance of your theology of singleness. I pray that this article stirs your mind to develop a theology of singleness based on the Bible (not tradition or your experience). I pray that God’s Spirit stirs you to live out His truth in your home and in your pews.
Beeke, Joel. “Singleness, Parts 1 & 2.” Heritage Netherlands Reformed Church, Grand Rapids, MI. 25 November 2007 and 2 December 2007. Sunday School Lectures.
Comments: Beeke’s talks are biblical, practical, and deeply compassionate.
Clarkson, Margaret. So You’re Single! Harold Shaw Publishers, 1978.
Comments: This lifelong-single woman practically addresses the full spectrum of the single life—from loneliness to sexual struggles to interacting with families in the church. In most places she is theologically grounded, but please read as a Berean (Acts 17:11).
Danylak, Barry. Redeeming Singleness: How the Storyline of Scripture Affirms the Single
Life. Crossway Books, 2010.
Comments: I have not read this one yet, but Piper and Beeke endorse Danylak’s work.
Howe, Daniel. “Men and Women: What Singleness Means.” Christ Reformed Presbyterian Church, East Providence, RI. 13 May 2012. Sermon.
Comments: The title says it all. If you have only 36 minutes to think on these things, spend them here: http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=1129121041592
Keller, Timothy, and Kathy Keller. The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God. Penguin Group, 2011.
Comments: The chapter Singleness and Marriage addresses the goodness of singleness and the goodness of seeking marriage. This chapter The Essence of Marriage has a section on the relationship between vows and identity. While talking about marriage vows, it offers compelling food for thought for the single Christian who has made vows of church membership.
Olivetti, Jared. “Singleness.” Immanuel Reformed Presbyterian Church, West Lafayette, IN. 5 May 2013. Sermon.
Comments: Pastor Olivetti tackles some of the tough questions that arise from 1 Corinthians 7.
Piper, John. This Momentary Marriage. Crossway Books, 2009.
Comments: The chapter Single in Christ: A Name Better than Sons and Daughters exposits Isaiah 56:1-7. It is a glorious, 9-page picture of Christian singleness. The chapter Singleness, Marriage, and the Christian Virtue of Hospitality is a gentle exhortation for married people and singles in the church to relate to each other in a way that makes much of Christ.