Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?

acts420

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NicholasMyra said:
You've already been told that there is no theological reason why Bishops cannot marry. It is forbidden today because, considering the duties of a Bishop in the post-Apostolic Age, it is impractical and potentially abusive to wives and children.

You seem to be confusing Orthodoxy with some form of Reconstructionism; the fact is, the Orthodox Church does not reconstruct faith and praxis according to the early-church idols that men make in their minds; rather, it has preserved, defended and interpreted that faith for 1970 years.
Whether you call the rule theological or practical makes very little difference to me because I've already lost faith whatever generation created it.   Past generations have obviously been more than willing to implement restrictions that go against Apostolic teaching when it suits them and their culture.  They can make whatever distinction they wish to make, and I can see how the "theological/practical" distinction would make you more comfortable.  It must be a little unnerving to say you're faith has been preserved since Christ while at the same time admitting your rules concerning the marital rights of your faith's highest leaders were created long after Christ and are the exact opposite of the rules that the Apostles themselves taught!

I don't see how a married Bishop would be any more "abusive" to a wife now than it was in 80 A.D.  What is "potentially abusive to wives and children" though?  Teaching couples that it is a sin to court in the way the Scripture celebrates and, instead, telling them they must roll the dice with regards to whether or not they will get along well sexually.  That's what.  While Paul wrote that God-given sexual desires ("burning with passion", as he put it) are one very important reason to pursue marriage you're telling single people they might as well be pulling cards out of a hat with regards to whether or not they'll get along well with their spouse sexually.  You could end up pairing one person who's sex drive leads them to twice a year intimacy with someone who's drive is more like twice a day.  That would be fine if sexuality was a minor part of marriage... but it isn't!  It is a very important aspect of marriage and reason to get married, according to Paul!

I suppose next you could say the less sexually-interested spouse just gets the opportunity to sacrifice and serve the other one's desires or something along those lines, or visa versa.  But that is besides the point.  What if the more interested spouse desires to enjoy mutually-interested encounters.  He will get that twice a year while his inward, God-given passion burns for 350 times a year.  Meanwhile, he learns that the woman next door has a sex drive similar to his and... you see where that's going.  It isn't that you're rules are just non-apostolic.  It is that they are *opposite* of Apostolic teaching.  They set up the exact opposite situation that Paul was trying to alleviate, and they foster the exact temptations toward sin that he was trying to enable believers to avoid.  You might as well tell couples they have to refrain from talking during courtship and roll the dice with regards to how often the other wants to talk, how well they relate.  Then watch and see how many end up divorced a few years later because they don't get along personally either.

It seems rather obvious to me why the Song of Solomon celebrates pre-marital sex in courtship. And as far as I can gather at this point, neither Christ nor the Apostles nor the Apostolic Fathers ever taught anything to the contrary.
 

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acts420 said:
I don't see how a married Bishop would be any more "abusive" to a wife now than it was in 80 A.D.  What is "potentially abusive to wives and children" though?
I don't see why you are stuck on a married Episcopacy - the Anglicans* have it; maybe you belong there?  ???

acts420 said:
Teaching couples that it is a sin to court in the way the Scripture celebrates and, instead, telling them they must roll the dice with regards to whether or not they will get along well sexually.
Again, the Anglicans seem to have the correct answers in that department; maybe you belong there?  ???

acts420 said:
That's what.  While Paul wrote that God-given sexual desires ("burning with passion", as he put it) are one very important reason to pursue marriage you're telling single people they might as well be pulling cards out of a hat with regards to whether or not they'll get along well with their spouse sexually.  You could end up pairing one person who's sex drive leads them to twice a year intimacy with someone who's drive is more like twice a day.  That would be fine if sexuality was a minor part of marriage... but it isn't!  It is a very important aspect of marriage and reason to get married, according to Paul!
Do you understand the context from where Paul is speaking or do you wish to retroactively apply what Paul said to "modern society?"

acts420 said:
I suppose next you could say the less sexually-interested spouse just gets the opportunity to sacrifice and serve the other one's desires or something along those lines, or visa versa.  But that is besides the point.  What if the more interested spouse desires to enjoy mutually-interested encounters.  He will get that twice a year while his inward, God-given passion burns for 350 times a year.
Mine burns every day and yet I live alone having to "tend" to the temptation by prayer and fasting.  Gambling falls in the same category; I'd like to play the $1/$2 no-limit hold'em poker tables and yet, I play slots knowing that I would lose a lot of money playing poker.

acts420 said:
Meanwhile, he learns that the woman next door has a sex drive similar to his and... you see where that's going.
A wise woman once told me that she didn't want to be the firecracker burning out at the Fourth of July celebration; she wanted her passions to always be simmering and she had a huge icon corner where she prayed to not give into temptation.

acts420 said:
It isn't that you're rules are just non-apostolic.  It is that they are *opposite* of Apostolic teaching.  They set up the exact opposite situation that Paul was trying to alleviate, and they foster the exact temptations toward sin that he was trying to enable believers to avoid.  You might as well tell couples they have to refrain from talking during courtship and roll the dice with regards to how often the other wants to talk, how well they relate.  Then watch and see how many end up divorced a few years later because they don't get along personally either.
Studies from diverse groups show time after time that premarital sex and living together results in higher divorce rates.  If a study says otherwise, look at who paid for it.  ;)

acts420 said:
It seems rather obvious to me why the Song of Solomon celebrates pre-marital sex in courtship. And as far as I can gather at this point, neither Christ nor the Apostles nor the Apostolic Fathers ever taught anything to the contrary.
Go and sin no more - that doesn't mean anything to you?  That doesn't make it OK to engage in pre-marital sex; however, since your belief system sounds more Anglican then Orthodox; I think Anglicans have the sacrament of confession.

* I use the terms Anglican and Episcopalian interchangeably.
 

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SolEX01 said:
acts420 said:
I don't see how a married Bishop would be any more "abusive" to a wife now than it was in 80 A.D.  What is "potentially abusive to wives and children" though?
I don't see why you are stuck on a married Episcopacy - the Anglicans* have it; maybe you belong there?   ???

acts420 said:
Teaching couples that it is a sin to court in the way the Scripture celebrates and, instead, telling them they must roll the dice with regards to whether or not they will get along well sexually.
Again, the Anglicans seem to have the correct answers in that department; maybe you belong there?   ???

acts420 said:
That's what.  While Paul wrote that God-given sexual desires ("burning with passion", as he put it) are one very important reason to pursue marriage you're telling single people they might as well be pulling cards out of a hat with regards to whether or not they'll get along well with their spouse sexually.  You could end up pairing one person who's sex drive leads them to twice a year intimacy with someone who's drive is more like twice a day.  That would be fine if sexuality was a minor part of marriage... but it isn't!  It is a very important aspect of marriage and reason to get married, according to Paul!
Do you understand the context from where Paul is speaking or do you wish to retroactively apply what Paul said to "modern society?"

acts420 said:
I suppose next you could say the less sexually-interested spouse just gets the opportunity to sacrifice and serve the other one's desires or something along those lines, or visa versa.  But that is besides the point.  What if the more interested spouse desires to enjoy mutually-interested encounters.  He will get that twice a year while his inward, God-given passion burns for 350 times a year.
Mine burns every day and yet I live alone having to "tend" to the temptation by prayer and fasting.  Gambling falls in the same category; I'd like to play the $1/$2 no-limit hold'em poker tables and yet, I play slots knowing that I would lose a lot of money playing poker.

acts420 said:
Meanwhile, he learns that the woman next door has a sex drive similar to his and... you see where that's going.
A wise woman once told me that she didn't want to be the firecracker burning out at the Fourth of July celebration; she wanted her passions to always be simmering and she had a huge icon corner where she prayed to not give into temptation.

acts420 said:
It isn't that you're rules are just non-apostolic.  It is that they are *opposite* of Apostolic teaching.  They set up the exact opposite situation that Paul was trying to alleviate, and they foster the exact temptations toward sin that he was trying to enable believers to avoid.  You might as well tell couples they have to refrain from talking during courtship and roll the dice with regards to how often the other wants to talk, how well they relate.  Then watch and see how many end up divorced a few years later because they don't get along personally either.
Studies from diverse groups show time after time that premarital sex and living together results in higher divorce rates.  If a study says otherwise, look at who paid for it.   ;)

acts420 said:
It seems rather obvious to me why the Song of Solomon celebrates pre-marital sex in courtship. And as far as I can gather at this point, neither Christ nor the Apostles nor the Apostolic Fathers ever taught anything to the contrary.
Go and sin no more - that doesn't mean anything to you?  That doesn't make it OK to engage in pre-marital sex; however, since your belief system sounds more Anglican then Orthodox; I think Anglicans have the sacrament of confession.

* I use the terms Anglican and Episcopalian interchangeably.
I've never looked into the Anglican church.  Maybe I should.  As to the "studies" you cite, many other studies have shown that premarital sex has no effect on the divorce rate if not decreasing it.  I cited one earlier in this thread when someone made a similar claim.  But regardless, "studies" can be manipulated quite easily.  I think common sense is the better approach here.

"Go and sin no more" is what Jesus said to the woman accused of adultery, never to anyone accused of modeling their courtship after Song of Solomon (bedding with their partner during courtship).  You may equate the two as "sinful", but Christ certainly never did.  As far as I can tell, neither did the Apostles nor the Apostolic Fathers.
 

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acts420 said:
Go and sin no more is what Jesus said to the woman accused of adultery, not to anyone accused of modeling their courtship after Scripture
Don't worry, no one will accuse  you of that.
 

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acts420 said:
katherineofdixie said:
And what happens if you're wrong?
After all, you've invented your own traditions/interpretations, just like the people you are so angry with. They were wrong - so you could be. If you are honest, you will admit at least the theoretical possibility that you might get it wrong - and that the Church got it right.
You say you follow Christ alone - but you follow a Christ of your own making, a Christ who tells you to do what you want to do, that it won't hurt anyone, and you'll enjoy it, a Christ who wants you to be happy according to your standards and criteria.
I'm not angry at anyone for inventing traditions.  I'm angry at the people who have resorted to ad hominem attacks on my character, calling me a dishonest troll because I have decided against following their customs.
There's no ad hominem in saying that you're being dishonest and engaging in trolling behavior.
 

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acts420 said:
I suppose next you could say the less sexually-interested spouse just gets the opportunity to sacrifice and serve the other one's desires or something along those lines, or visa versa.  But that is besides the point.
Actually that is precisely the point. Marriage is a sacrament, a means of God's grace. With mutual love, compassion and consideration, married people have the opportunity to work out whatever problems arise in their relationship, with prayer and repentance and mutual submission, as they help each other achieve salvation.
 

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katherineofdixie said:
For most people in earlier eras, there was no such thing as courtship, not as we understand it today, anyway. And not, though I may be wrong, as I think you are defining it. Marriages were arranged by families - the courtship was the negotiation between families.

 No Apostolic Father or passage I've ever read forbids it.
See answer above. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. As many people have pointed out to you, the Fathers write about virginity. I've heard that it's rather difficult to maintain virginity while having sex.
I'm talking about courtship as expressed in the Song and as often expressed today.  In other words, the couple begins to enjoy one another's company, falls in love, begins to express that love physically, shares a bed, then gets married, then enjoys one another for the rest of their lives.  That is courtship as I read in the Song of Solomon and as I see creating many successful marriages today also.  There is no family negotiation involved.

I've already responded to the writings about virginity.  They contrasted people who decided to remain celibate with people who decided to pursue marriage.  At what point those who pursued marriage slept with their partner (whether before marriage as celebrated in the Song of Solomon or after as required by the modern orthodox church) is not made clear in any of the writings that have been provided to me.
 

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katherineofdixie said:
acts420 said:
I suppose next you could say the less sexually-interested spouse just gets the opportunity to sacrifice and serve the other one's desires or something along those lines, or visa versa.  But that is besides the point.
Actually that is precisely the point. Marriage is a sacrament, a means of God's grace. With mutual love, compassion and consideration, married people have the opportunity to work out whatever problems arise in their relationship, with prayer and repentance and mutual submission, as they help each other achieve salvation.
Then we should just arrange marriages by drawing straws and not letting couples meet first.  That way couples will get perhaps even more ample opportunity to work out even more problems!  Of course I'm not serious.  The point is that the modern orthodox prohibition on sexual intimacy in courtship simply creates the potential for marriages between people who don't get along sexually.  Marriage is hard enough.  There is no need to make it harder. 

All that logic is besides the point though.  The main point I'm making here is that the couple celebrated in the Song lies with one another before they get married.  I see no Scripture that ever calls such behavior sin in any clear sense whatsoever, nor do I see any writings of Apostolic Fathers that do the same. 
 

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PeterTheAleut said:
There's no ad hominem in saying that you're being dishonest and engaging in trolling behavior.
When the point being discussed in the thread is the fact that the couple celebrated in the Song of Solomon lies with one another before they get married, and when the primary discussion revolves around the fact that apparently no Scripture nor any writings of Apostolic Fathers ever calls such behavior sin, then responding with accusations that I'm a lying troll is pretty much the definition of ad hominem.
 

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acts420 said:
katherineofdixie said:
acts420 said:
I suppose next you could say the less sexually-interested spouse just gets the opportunity to sacrifice and serve the other one's desires or something along those lines, or visa versa.  But that is besides the point.
Actually that is precisely the point. Marriage is a sacrament, a means of God's grace. With mutual love, compassion and consideration, married people have the opportunity to work out whatever problems arise in their relationship, with prayer and repentance and mutual submission, as they help each other achieve salvation.
Then we should just arrange marriages by drawing straws and not letting couples meet first.  That way couples will get perhaps even more ample opportunity to work out even more problems!  Of course I'm not serious.  The point is that the modern orthodox prohibition on sexual intimacy in courtship simply creates the potential for marriages between people who don't get along sexually.  Marriage is hard enough.  There is no need to make it harder. 

All that logic is besides the point though.  The main point I'm making here is that the couple celebrated in the Song lies with one another before they get married.  I see no Scripture that ever calls such behavior sin in any clear sense whatsoever, nor do I see any writings of Apostolic Fathers that do the same. 
When you pointed out that passage in the Song of Solomon a year ago, I said this:
The burden of proof is on you to demonstrate a couple of things before this passage prove your point. First, that the Song of Solomon is meant to be a literal guide to the marriage process, and that we are supposed to pattern our marriages on this poem. The Fathers saw it primarily as a spiritual allegory. Secondly, that this love poem follows a completely linear narrative from courtship until marriage, and that the passage refers not to the future and is not a phantasy. Thirdly, you have to show that the above passage is to be taken literally and referring necessarily to sexual intimacy before marriage, and that Christians are thereby exhorted to follow this pattern before marriage. You've got your work cut out for you.
You did not respond; instead, you left the forum for a year.
 

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acts420 said:
I'm talking about courtship as expressed in the Song and as often expressed today.  In other words, the couple begins to enjoy one another's company, falls in love, begins to express that love physically, shares a bed, then gets married, then enjoys one another for the rest of their lives.  That is courtship as I read in the Song of Solomon and as I see creating many successful marriages today also.  There is no family negotiation involved.
First of all, tas I said before, that kind of courtship simply didn't exist up until fairly recently - for most of human history, marriages were arranged by families. Sometimes the wishes of the children were taken into consideration - sometimes not. 

And what of the people who fall in love, share a bed and then one decides this just isn't for them. Or what about one or the other partner is not able to fulfill the other's desires, due to illness or incapacitation? What then? Move on to a partner who is better able to fulfill their desires? No harm - no foul, in your opinion?
What happened to love being patient and kind? What happened to loving someone more than you love yourself?

Just because you keep saying that premarital sex would insure better marriages doesn't make it so. In fact, the evidence of our modern society suggests otherwise.
 

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acts420 said:
PeterTheAleut said:
There's no ad hominem in saying that you're being dishonest and engaging in trolling behavior.
When the point being discussed in the thread is the fact that the couple celebrated in the Song of Solomon lies with one another before they get married, and when the primary discussion revolves around the fact that apparently no Scripture nor any writings of Apostolic Fathers ever calls such behavior sin, then responding with accusations that I'm a lying troll is pretty much the definition of ad hominem.
So you see no difference between people saying you're engaging in dishonest, troll-like behavior and people calling you a lying troll? You can't see that the former is a criticism of your behavior while only the latter is a criticism of your person? I don't see anyone here calling you a lying troll, but I do see people criticizing your behavior on this thread.
 

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acts420 said:
katherineofdixie said:
For most people in earlier eras, there was no such thing as courtship, not as we understand it today, anyway. And not, though I may be wrong, as I think you are defining it. Marriages were arranged by families - the courtship was the negotiation between families.

No Apostolic Father or passage I've ever read forbids it.
See answer above. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. As many people have pointed out to you, the Fathers write about virginity. I've heard that it's rather difficult to maintain virginity while having sex.
I'm talking about courtship as expressed in the Song and as often expressed today.  In other words, the couple begins to enjoy one another's company, falls in love, begins to express that love physically, shares a bed, then gets married, then enjoys one another for the rest of their lives.  That is courtship as I read in the Song of Solomon and as I see creating many successful marriages today also.  There is no family negotiation involved.

I've already responded to the writings about virginity.  They contrasted people who decided to remain celibate with people who decided to pursue marriage.  At what point those who pursued marriage slept with their partner (whether before marriage as celebrated in the Song of Solomon or after as required by the modern orthodox church) is not made clear in any of the writings that have been provided to me.
First, katherineofdixie brings up a good point as to your model diverging from history as to the way marriages were contracted.

Second, you have to take into consideration that these marriages were "contracted", that is before the wedding ceremony itself the fact that a marriage was taking place between the two parties was considered a given.  In those cases where a couple didn't quite make it to the ceremony itself there was no "Well, we weren't sexually compatible, so let's each go out into the world and date other people."  This was not a case of "try before you buy" but a case of sipping on your freshly poured Big Gulp as you stand in line at the check out counter.

Third, the Song of Songs is just that: a song.  It makes use of many poetic elements, contains no detailed timeline (in the last chapter the "Bride" goes from "having no breasts" to "breasts like towers" in the space of two verses! and this at the END of the song!), while a wedding is mentioned at the end of Chapter 3 it is already spoken of as past tense.  As for parental consent to the courtship/marriage, it is implied all throughout chapter 8 that not only was the Bride's mother involved in negotiations but that the Bride was raised from birth to be the wife of the King!

Finally, Biblical context is all well and good, but you cannot simply proof a text, find there is no mention of something in that text and thus conclude that something didn't exist/was never intended.  Historical context is needed, as well, and in the historical context marriages were arranged between the parents of a girl and her groom.  This was the reality in the time of Isaac and Jacob, the reality of the Law, and the reality that Jesus knew, the reality of the Fathers, and the reality all throughout history until our rather muddled and backward age.
 

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acts420 said:
I don't see how a married Bishop would be any more "abusive" to a wife now than it was in 80 A.D.
The Bishop is not abusive, the situation is. Imagine a diocese in 80 AD, now imagine a Diocese in 800 AD.

The Bishop has to travel much farther, manage many more parishes, attend councils, etc. Examine the life of a modern Orthodox Bishop. His family would suffer immense neglect or be dragged around constantly; plus, there is the benefit of appointing those who have lived in the monastic life-- namely, those people are less likely to re-interpret Scripture and Tradition according to the passions. The Scriptural designation is "a husband of one wife" and this has never, ever been understood as a mandated married episcopate.

acts420 said:
I suppose next you could say the less sexually-interested spouse just gets the opportunity to sacrifice and serve the other one's desires or something along those lines, or visa versa.  But that is besides the point.  What if the more interested spouse desires to enjoy mutually-interested encounters.  He will get that twice a year while his inward, God-given passion burns for 350 times a year.  Meanwhile, he learns that the woman next door has a sex drive similar to his and... you see where that's going.
Your version of Matthew 15:24: "Then acts420 told his disciples, 'If anyone would come after me, let him satisfy himself and take up whatever he prefers, and follow it unless it turns out not to be to his liking."

Two people can adapt to each other. I know, I know, that goes against the new-age and relationship blog self-help mantra "don't expect someone to change for you!" It's true, you shouldn't; but two people who live together, work together, sleep together, do indeed adapt to one another to a certain degree. This can even be BIOLOGICALLY OBSERVED.
 

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PeterTheAleut said:
acts420 said:
PeterTheAleut said:
There's no ad hominem in saying that you're being dishonest and engaging in trolling behavior.
When the point being discussed in the thread is the fact that the couple celebrated in the Song of Solomon lies with one another before they get married, and when the primary discussion revolves around the fact that apparently no Scripture nor any writings of Apostolic Fathers ever calls such behavior sin, then responding with accusations that I'm a lying troll is pretty much the definition of ad hominem.
So you see no difference between people saying you're engaging in dishonest, troll-like behavior and people calling you a lying troll? You can't see that the former is a criticism of your behavior while only the latter is a criticism of your person? I don't see anyone here calling you a lying troll, but I do see people criticizing your behavior on this thread.
Right.  There is no difference between saying someone is dishonest and calling that person a liar.  I happen to be honest.  However, whether or not I'm honest has nothing to do with the question of whether or not Scripture or the Apostolic fathers ever wrote that sex in courtship is a sin.  The accusation about my honesty was ad hominem.  Please don't try to judge my sincerity from across the internet.  Just let it go, please.
 

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katherineofdixie said:
acts420 said:
I'm talking about courtship as expressed in the Song and as often expressed today.  In other words, the couple begins to enjoy one another's company, falls in love, begins to express that love physically, shares a bed, then gets married, then enjoys one another for the rest of their lives.  That is courtship as I read in the Song of Solomon and as I see creating many successful marriages today also.  There is no family negotiation involved.
First of all, tas I said before, that kind of courtship simply didn't exist up until fairly recently - for most of human history, marriages were arranged by families. Sometimes the wishes of the children were taken into consideration - sometimes not.  

And what of the people who fall in love, share a bed and then one decides this just isn't for them. Or what about one or the other partner is not able to fulfill the other's desires, due to illness or incapacitation? What then? Move on to a partner who is better able to fulfill their desires? No harm - no foul, in your opinion?
What happened to love being patient and kind? What happened to loving someone more than you love yourself?

Just because you keep saying that premarital sex would insure better marriages doesn't make it so. In fact, the evidence of our modern society suggests otherwise.
"That kind of courtship" is written about in Song of Solomon.  So you can't say it didn't exist until recently.  Read the book.  There is no arrangement by families.  Arranged marriages were not the only way marriage occurred in the past.  In fact, I've read books by Jewish historians who say it was extremely rare in judaism.

To answer you:  Spouses who are incapacitated are cared for by the other.  Millions of couples (and many orthodox couples) have sex before the wedding and don't just leave one another at the slightest whim or when the going gets tough.  You ask what happened to patience and kindness and love.  They're all still there  The only thing missing is the non-biblical, non-apostolic restriction on courtship.  Marriage remains marriage. 
 

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Iconodule said:
acts420 said:
katherineofdixie said:
acts420 said:
I suppose next you could say the less sexually-interested spouse just gets the opportunity to sacrifice and serve the other one's desires or something along those lines, or visa versa.  But that is besides the point.
Actually that is precisely the point. Marriage is a sacrament, a means of God's grace. With mutual love, compassion and consideration, married people have the opportunity to work out whatever problems arise in their relationship, with prayer and repentance and mutual submission, as they help each other achieve salvation.
Then we should just arrange marriages by drawing straws and not letting couples meet first.  That way couples will get perhaps even more ample opportunity to work out even more problems!  Of course I'm not serious.  The point is that the modern orthodox prohibition on sexual intimacy in courtship simply creates the potential for marriages between people who don't get along sexually.  Marriage is hard enough.  There is no need to make it harder. 

All that logic is besides the point though.  The main point I'm making here is that the couple celebrated in the Song lies with one another before they get married.  I see no Scripture that ever calls such behavior sin in any clear sense whatsoever, nor do I see any writings of Apostolic Fathers that do the same. 
When you pointed out that passage in the Song of Solomon a year ago, I said this:
The burden of proof is on you to demonstrate a couple of things before this passage prove your point. First, that the Song of Solomon is meant to be a literal guide to the marriage process, and that we are supposed to pattern our marriages on this poem. The Fathers saw it primarily as a spiritual allegory. Secondly, that this love poem follows a completely linear narrative from courtship until marriage, and that the passage refers not to the future and is not a phantasy. Thirdly, you have to show that the above passage is to be taken literally and referring necessarily to sexual intimacy before marriage, and that Christians are thereby exhorted to follow this pattern before marriage. You've got your work cut out for you.
You did not respond; instead, you left the forum for a year.
The Fathers saw the entire Old Testament as spiritual allegory, but that doesn't mean the stories therein are not also guides containing wisdom for us.  Indeed, they are, and the Apostles often referenced Old Testament stories as examples of godly behavior.

I don't have to "prove" that the Song of Solomon is an example of courtship and marriage celebrated in Scripture.  Just read the book, that much is obvious.  As far as whether or not it is a linear narrative, I'm simply noting the order of the book itself.  If you want to claim the book is out of order then I would say that burden is on you.  You should show why such a story would be intentionally written to have the couple lie with one another and then, later in the story, get married, displaying (and seemingly celebrating) an example to us of what you believe to be a terrible sin against God.

I'm not saying that Song of Solomon commands Christians to engage in sexual intimacy during courtship.  I'm not saying it is the pattern Christians must follow.  I'm only saying that SoS celebrates a couple that lies with one another before they are married.  And I'm saying that no other passage or Apostle or Apostolic Father ever condemns such behavior as a sin.  Therefore, it is perfectly okay for Christians to court that way.
 

NicholasMyra

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acts420 said:
I'm only saying that SoS celebrates a couple that lies with one another before they are married.  And I'm saying that no other passage or Apostle or Apostolic Father ever condemns such behavior as a sin.  Therefore, it is perfectly okay for Christians to court that way.
*Even if*, *even if*, we agreed with this statement,

It would not logically lead to permit your "backing out", as other posters have commented.

Your position lacks any sense, morality, or continuity with the Apostolic Faith. Please reconsider it.
 

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acts420 said:
I don't have to "prove" that the Song of Solomon is an example of courtship and marriage celebrated in Scripture.  Just read the book, that much is obvious.  As far as whether or not it is a linear narrative, I'm simply noting the order of the book itself.  If you want to claim the book is out of order then I would say that burden is on you.  You should show why such a story would be intentionally written to have the couple lie with one another and then, later in the story, get married, displaying (and seemingly celebrating) an example to us of what you believe to be a terrible sin against God.
As to the rules of debate, YOU are the one challenging the consensus belief of this forum that premarital sex is sinful and that the Song of Solomon cannot be interpreted to support such sinful behavior. Therefore, since YOU are the challenger and the opinion you're challenging is the consensus opinion, the burden of proof falls on YOU to persuade us to abandon our position. We bear no burden to prove anything to you.
 

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NicholasMyra said:
acts420 said:
I don't see how a married Bishop would be any more "abusive" to a wife now than it was in 80 A.D.
The Bishop is not abusive, the situation is. Imagine a diocese in 80 AD, now imagine a Diocese in 800 AD.
I understand that.  I'm talking about the situation too.  I also understand that a Diocese is would be bigger.  However, there are other solutions besides contradicting Apostolic teaching.  One other answer is a smaller Diocese.  Another is more bishops.  Prohibiting an extremely large class of godly men from being bishops (the class of men gifted with the calling toward marriage) only makes the problem worse.   If an Apostle or a president of the United States can maintain a successful, healthy marriage that isn't an abusive situation (and many have done so) then I think the Bishop of a Diocese is quite capable of doing the same.

NicholasMyra said:
The Bishop has to travel much farther, manage many more parishes, attend councils, etc. Examine the life of a modern Orthodox Bishop. His family would suffer immense neglect or be dragged around constantly; plus, there is the benefit of appointing those who have lived in the monastic life-- namely, those people are less likely to re-interpret Scripture and Tradition according to the passions. The Scriptural designation is "a husband of one wife" and this has never, ever been understood as a mandated married episcopate.
I'm not saying marriage is mandated by Scripture for Bishops.  I'm saying bishops were clearly allowed to marry or be celibate, the choice was their's.  Now the orthodox have disallowed marriage for their bishops.  That is in complete contradiction to Apostolic teaching.

NicholasMyra said:
acts420 said:
I suppose next you could say the less sexually-interested spouse just gets the opportunity to sacrifice and serve the other one's desires or something along those lines, or visa versa.  But that is besides the point.  What if the more interested spouse desires to enjoy mutually-interested encounters.  He will get that twice a year while his inward, God-given passion burns for 350 times a year.  Meanwhile, he learns that the woman next door has a sex drive similar to his and... you see where that's going.
Your version of Matthew 15:24: "Then acts420 told his disciples, 'If anyone would come after me, let him satisfy himself and take up whatever he prefers, and follow it unless it turns out not to be to his liking."

Two people can adapt to each other. I know, I know, that goes against the new-age and relationship blog self-help mantra "don't expect someone to change for you!" It's true, you shouldn't; but two people who live together, work together, sleep together, do indeed adapt to one another to a certain degree. This can even be BIOLOGICALLY OBSERVED.
I'm not saying people can't adapt to a certain extent.   You could randomly pick names out of a hat and marry people off and they could adapt personally, emotionally, and sexually to whatever extent possible.  The point is, *why should they have to*?  Has God commanded that type of courtship?  If so, I don't see where.  Marriage is hard enough when people have already figured out that the get along fairly well personally and sexually.  These sorts of unbiblical, ungodly (it seems to me) restrictions only make it potentially much, much harder.  

I'm living testimony that if you take two people who don't get along well sexually and make them marry without allowing a period of sexual discovery they may indeed not get along well sexually for the rest of their lives (or at least until one spouse has had enough and leaves).  The release and experience of sexual passion is an important reason someone should marry, says the Apostle Paul.  Sexual preferences, likes, dislikes, desires, and such things are very similar to emotional or personal likes, dislikes, preferences, desires, etc.  They are individual, personal characteristics.  Some couples who abstain from intimacy before marriage get along fine.  Others don't.  It is a flip of the dice when what would otherwise be a natural step in the course of marriage, a Song of Solomon style courtship involving sexual intimacy and discovery, is prohibited.

Oh, this sounds fun.  Can two can play at this "you're version of Scripture" game?  Matthew 15:24: "Then NicholasMyra told his disciples, 'If anyone would come after me, let him load himself with burdens that God has never commanded, take up whatever non-Apostolic restrictions the previous generation thought fit to burden the children of God with, and follow that generation instead of the Apostles'.'"
 
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