The old testament does not list premarital intimacy as a sin anywhere that I've seen. Then you are not looking.
That's easy for you to say. Please show me the passage.
Ditto the Fathers, e.g.
Moral. Hear this, ye fathers and mothers, that your bringing up of children shall not lose its reward. This also he says, as he proceeds, “Well reported of for good works; if she have brought up children.” (1 Tim. v. 10.) Among other commendations he reckons this one, for it is no light praise to devote to God those children which are given them of God. For if the basis, the foundation which they lay be good, great will be their reward; as great, if they neglect it, will be their punishment. It was on account of his children that Eli perished. For he ought to have admonished them, and indeed he did admonish them, but not as he ought; but from his unwillingness to give them pain he destroyed both himself and them. Hear this, ye fathers, bring your children up with great care “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” (Eph. vi. 4.) Youth is wild, and requires many governors, teachers, directors, attendants, and tutors; and after all these, it is a happiness if it be restrained. For as a horse not broken in, or a wild beast untamed, such is youth. But if from the beginning, from the earliest age, we fix it in good rules, much pains will not be required afterwards; for good habits formed will be to them as a law. Let us not suffer them to do anything which is agreeable, but injurious; nor let us indulge them, as forsooth but children. Especially let us train them in chastity, for there is the very bane of youth. For this many struggles, much attention will be necessary. Let us take wives for them early, so that their brides may receive their bodies pure and unpolluted, so their loves will be more ardent. He that is chaste before marriage, much more will he be chaste after it; and he that practiced fornication before, will practice it after marriage. “All bread,” it is said, “is sweet to the fornicator.” (Ecclus. xxiii. 17.) Garlands are wont to be worn on the heads of bridegrooms, as a symbol of victory, betokening that they approach the marriage bed unconquered by pleasure. But if captivated by pleasure he has given himself up to harlots, why does he wear the garland, since he has been subdued?http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf113.v.iii.x.html
See also St. John's "The Right Way for Parents to Bring up their Children"
Thank you for this. Don't take my response to mean I dismiss this quote. I don't. I am definitely going to note this as I continue to explore orthodoxy and pray about this issue. This is actually the first obviously applicable quote that has been provided to me (from a Father), so I thank you very much. This is exactly the sort of thing I've been looking for.
It would be more powerful to me if it were from an earlier Father. Again, don't take that to mean I dismiss it. Here is the problem I'm dealing with:
When what happened to my marriage happened, I was not yet interested in early church history. I was a typical Baptist. I set out to find if the Bible actually ever said premarital sex was a sin. I did not find any passages that said so. As I explored Scripture more I discovered that eastern orthodoxy was teaching the more "biblically" correct doctrines about salvation. I had to reject the Baptist version of "salvation by faith alone" as I explored the Scriptures, and so I became more interested in orthodoxy. Therefore, I've become more interested in what the Fathers said about this sex issue. However, the earlier the Father the more interested I am. This is because I've already been burned by a Christian tradition that changed over time until it was no longer teaching Apostolic teachings (the Baptists).
So, while I'm interested in orthodoxy for what it has preserved, at the same time it seems obvious that some changes from Apostolic belief have slipped into common orthodox teaching over time. For instance, at the same time St. John was alive, a Council of Carthage (~400) decreed, "that bishops, priests and deacons, guardians of purity, abstain from conjugal intercourse with their wives, so that those who serve at the altar may keep a perfect chastity." (The Canons of the CCXLII Blessed Fathers Who Assembled at Carthage, canon III) That does not seem Apostolic at *all*. Paul gave very detailed instructions about bishops, priests, and deacons. He mentioned that they could be married (to one wife). However, he never mentioned that they should refuse to have sex with their wives! I don't think he would've skipped that "little" detail if that is what he believed and taught. Also, elsewhere in Paul's instructions about marriage, he was very adamant that husband and wife should *not* stop having sex so that the wouldn't be tempted toward adultery (except for a short time to devote themselves to prayer). THerefore, it seems obvious to me that, over time, large segments of the orthodox church began to leave Apostolic teaching with regards to sex and marriage.
Go back in time a few generations before that council at Carthage, and you'll find the Greek ecclesiastical historians Socrates and Sozomen report that the First Council of Nicaea (325) considered ordering all married clergy to refrain from conjugal relations, but the Council ultimately decided against it. (see The Ecclesiastical History of Sozomen). So it seems to me that, generation after generation, slowly common orthodox thought became more negative toward sex. At first bishops could be married and have sex (as the Apostles taught). Then leaders and thinkers began suggesting that married bishops abstain. Then they it was declared that bishops could be married but couldn't have sex. Now they can't even be married!
So the evidence seems to say that there have been very massive change in common church thinking and writing with regards to sex and marriage over time, not only from the Apostles until now but even from the Apostles until the time of St. John. It seems that even in 325 there were many thinkers in the church with non-Apostolic, negative attitudes towards sex in the church, and that their number only grew generation by generation.
So, long story short: If the only sources I have that condemn premarital sex are from nearly 20 generations after Christ, it starts to seem like that may just be the time that particular belief drifted into orthdoxy (in other words, that it wasn't Apostolic). That being said, thank you for the quote. I'm definitely saving it, and I will continue to hunt for more and earlier ones to see what I can find. Despite what some here think, I am open to change with regards to this issue.
I'm going to bow out of this discussion for a while. The company I work for dissolved yesterday, and I just am not going to have time to discuss/debate as I try to deal with unemployment a new job search. I'll continue to pray though, and I'll be back. Please feel free to leave me any ideas, quotes, or passages you think may help me in my journey. Thank you for your help, and for your kind words and advice (those of you who have had them).
thank you all.