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Author Topic: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?  (Read 55107 times) Average Rating: 1
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« Reply #90 on: April 11, 2011, 04:57:38 PM »

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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« Reply #91 on: April 11, 2011, 05:16:56 PM »


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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« Reply #92 on: April 11, 2011, 05:54:39 PM »

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.

Quote
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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« Reply #93 on: April 11, 2011, 06:09:33 PM »

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.

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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« Reply #94 on: April 11, 2011, 06:30:03 PM »


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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« Reply #95 on: April 11, 2011, 06:34:47 PM »

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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« Reply #96 on: April 11, 2011, 06:45:28 PM »

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:
Quote
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.
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« Reply #97 on: April 11, 2011, 07:57:40 PM »

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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« Reply #98 on: April 11, 2011, 08:13:13 PM »

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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« Reply #99 on: April 11, 2011, 08:26:10 PM »

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.

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.


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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« Reply #100 on: April 11, 2011, 08:35:52 PM »

Do you think St. Paul would have encouraged a sexual courtship, and the ability to back out after sexual intercourse "to loose a burden"?

Really? Be honest with yourself.
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« Reply #101 on: April 11, 2011, 08:36:23 PM »

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.

I'm not trying to persuade anyone of anything.  I came here with questions about the basis for a common orthodox teaching (that sex during courtship is sinful).  Specifically, I hoped for quotes from early Fathers that clearly supported the teaching (since I had been unable, up to that point, to find support for it in Scripture).   At this point I feel my questions have been answered to the best extent they will be on this board.  Now I'm simply responding to questions asked of me, clarifying my position for people who have misunderstood me, and responding comments directed at me.
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« Reply #102 on: April 11, 2011, 08:41:36 PM »

Do you think St. Paul would have encouraged a sexual courtship, and the ability to back out after sexual intercourse "to loose a burden"?

Really? Be honest with yourself.

I certainly think he would've allowed sexual intimacy in courtship.  To what extent he would've encouraged it I have no idea.  

It certainly was all around him then just as it is now.  He never said anything against it that I've been able to find.  He spoke and wrote against adultery, prostitution, promiscuity, and other sexual sins quite clearly.  However, I can't find one passage where he speaks against sex in a courtship situation.  Given his immense respect for the Old Testament Scripture, given his rejection of many un-biblical traditional restrictions, and given the example celebrated in Song of Solomon, I see no reason to assume that Paul believed it to be sinful.

I don't know what you mean by "loose a burden".  In any event, certainly the tradition of waiting for marriage was also prevalent in Paul's day.  I don't know which he would've encouraged more.  I do think, though, that he never prohibited sexual intimacy in courtship.  I suspect he would've left couples free in Christ to do as they saw best for one another.  Every person is different, and Paul strikes me as someone who understood that very well.
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« Reply #103 on: April 11, 2011, 08:49:02 PM »

I do think, though, that he never prohibited sexual intimacy in courtship.  I suspect he would've left couples free in Christ to do as they saw best for one another.

In Christ? This is taking place in Christ? Going against the nature of Christ is part of being in Him?

Sure. In the context of repentance, though, not of permission.
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« Reply #104 on: April 11, 2011, 08:49:58 PM »

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.

The Song is a procession of imagery and ideas which clearly aren't meant to be taken as a literal guide to love, courtship, or anything else. It's a poem, and not just a prose history with allegorical implications, like, say, Exodus. Your entire argument in favor of fornication hangs on one vague passage from a poem. You take the words "His left hand is under my head, and his right hand doth embrace me" and make the assumption that it must imply sexual intercourse, and then make a further assumption that this must be a literal depiction of premarital sex which shows God's approval of it. Your assumptions are a much bigger stretch than our assumption that a poem talking about someone's teeth being a flock of sheep is not to be taken literally.  

Quote
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.

It's also obvious that it is a love poem, full of symbolism, and that it is not meant to be read as a literal prose narrative, which is the way you're treating it.

Quote
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 don't have to show any such thing, because your assumption that it's a "story", with a linear progression of literal events depicting literal people, is erroneous. It's not "out of order." It's a love poem. And you have yet to prove that "His left hand is under my head, and his right hand doth embrace me" necessarily implies sexual intercourse. Can you cite any commentator who back your interpretation?

Quote
And I'm saying that no other passage or Apostle or Apostolic Father ever condemns such behavior as a sin.
The laws in Deuteronomy say otherwise.

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« Reply #105 on: April 11, 2011, 11:41:43 PM »

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.

The Song is a procession of imagery and ideas which clearly aren't meant to be taken as a literal guide to love, courtship, or anything else. It's a poem, and not just a prose history with allegorical implications, like, say, Exodus. Your entire argument in favor of fornication hangs on one vague passage from a poem. You take the words "His left hand is under my head, and his right hand doth embrace me" and make the assumption that it must imply sexual intercourse, and then make a further assumption that this must be a literal depiction of premarital sex which shows God's approval of it. Your assumptions are a much bigger stretch than our assumption that a poem talking about someone's teeth being a flock of sheep is not to be taken literally.  

Quote
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.

It's also obvious that it is a love poem, full of symbolism, and that it is not meant to be read as a literal prose narrative, which is the way you're treating it.

Quote
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 don't have to show any such thing, because your assumption that it's a "story", with a linear progression of literal events depicting literal people, is erroneous. It's not "out of order." It's a love poem. And you have yet to prove that "His left hand is under my head, and his right hand doth embrace me" necessarily implies sexual intercourse. Can you cite any commentator who back your interpretation?

Quote
And I'm saying that no other passage or Apostle or Apostolic Father ever condemns such behavior as a sin.
The laws in Deuteronomy say otherwise.

There are actually several passages in the Song of Solomon that refer to them lying with one another before their wedding.  One is the passage you cite.  Another is in the first chapter when they say "our bed is verdant".  Verdant as in "green" or "novice".  They are beginning to explore in the bed.  Their wedding comes afterward.

Even if you dismiss the Song of Solomon, the only book in Scripture devoted entirely to courtship and marriage, as useless for gaining any insight into marriage and courtship (as you seem want to do), nonetheless the fact remains that no passage of Scripture or of the Apostolic Fathers ever prohibits sexual intimacy in courtship.

The old testament does not list premarital intimacy as a sin anywhere that I've seen.  It clearly lists sexual sins (such as adultery, homosexuality, bestiality, etc.) and proscribes the punishment for them as death.  The passage in Duet. you may be referring to has to do with rape.  The closest the law comes to "prohibiting" consensual premarital sex is in Exodus 22, and it is actually a far cry from any sort of prohibition.  For having sex with a virgin outside of marraige a payment of the regular "bride price" (since dad owned her virginity) was required to be paid to dad.  The same chapter is filled with other commands concerning restitution (for instance if you borrow an animal and it dies, then you must pay the owner for it).

In this case, this payment was the same exact payment as was made for a marriage. But the couple did not have to marry, and there was no punishment for her (or for him).  It was restitution paid to the father.  The man did have to marry the woman if the father insisted that they marry, but he could then divorce her the next day.  To take that and say the Law calls premarital sex a "sin" is beyond a stretch.   This restitution payment system is all throughout the Old Law, and restitution was common for things that were not sinful.  The passage really doesn't even come close to calling premarital sex a sin. This was simple restitution for something the father was considered the owner of (his daughter's virginity).  

On top of that, after such an event the woman was no longer a virgin and so if she and a later man were to have premarital sex there were no consequences at all (not even restitution) for what you are saying was some sort of grave sin against God!
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« Reply #106 on: April 12, 2011, 12:03:36 AM »

This may be a stupid question (in that I feel it's probably been implicitly previously answered in this thread, if not explicitly), but isn't there a bit of a threshold question to get over here?: ie -- is the Song even meant to present a morally-appropriate paradigm of love?

We all know that plenty of morally-questionable things happen in the Old Testament which are not necessarily recounted in order that we should emulate them. They are simply recounted. Or even recounted that we might know not to emulate them.

The Song doesn't read as a moral treatise or exhortation to me.

I know it's already been said, but Paul's comments as to the purpose of marriage ("better to marry than to burn" and all that) seem pretty conclusive to me. Paul seems to be saying if you can't keep it in your pants, you'd better get married so you don't do anything which might lead to your judgment. I don't see any way around this passage and others like it.

I can accept that perhaps, as a concession to human weakness in this age where marriage is delayed (questionably), sex with one's betrothed before the actual marriage ceremony could be free from condemnation. However, I think there's a lot of truth in FormerReformer's "try before you buy" v. "sipping on your freshly poured Big Gulp as you stand in line at the check out counter" contrast.

"Compatability" strikes me as a bit of a worldly construct. One can never plumb the true depths of one's spouse's nature deeply enough to be assured of total "compatability" before marriage. To my mind, what matters more than this "compatability" is the keeping of promises and the mutual taking up of crosses in following the Lord, whatever issues of "incompatability" might arise over the course of the marriage. It seems trite for me to note it now, as it has been noted so many times already, but divorce seems all the more prevalent in this culture of repeated taking up and casting aside of romantic partners. How do we explain this phenomenon if sexual trying before buying were so important to marital happiness?

My partly coherent two cents.
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« Reply #107 on: April 12, 2011, 12:08:43 AM »

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).  


Have you ever yet considered that the lack of "sexual compatibility" was CAUSED by other issues within your marriage; issues that gave way to the divorce, in the end?

Some people marry and never have sex. They still have a marriage. "Sexual compatibility" is a poor term. Marriage is not about even being compatible, it is about giving up yourself for the other.


People have made points over and over again. The fact that you choose to redefine "porneia" according to your own ideas, are adding all kinds of biases and interpretations to passages that have been explicitly understood for 5 millenia by Jews and Orthodox, and continue to read those same extreme biases and interpretations into sources offered to you indicates that you are so STUCK in your biases that nothing, not even common sense, can get through.

While I don't believe you're a troll, your experience has so scarred your soul that you would rather continue to scar it than allow the wound to heal. The pain is easier than the healing. Self-gratification and self-determination on what is True is easier than self-denial and humility before God. That's no new thing, but no one here will support you in your continued scarring of yourself.
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« Reply #108 on: April 12, 2011, 12:27:49 AM »

acts420, have you attended this course, which uses selected excerpts from the Song of Solomon (aka Songs) as a basis for Marriage workshops focused on sexual intimacy?   Huh

I can cite a whole bunch of websites from Baptist and non-denominational Churches insisting that the Song of Songs represents a literal sexual relationship between a man and a woman.  Some of the more extreme websites reference King Solomon's numerous concubines and mistresses (which the Orthodox believe King Solomon repented of his sins either prior to death or during his stay in Hades). 

Here is what one Baptist Church Blog says about the first 5 chapters of the Song of Solomon:

Quote
Suppose, though, your personal love notes and reflections were found and printed for the whole world to read? That is exactly what the Song of Solomon is: a love story written by the husband but using the woman’s memories. It reminisces about their courtship, wedding and early struggles. It’s private and personal, but God included it in the Bible for us to study....

WEDDED LOVE (1:1-5:1) The first half of the book talks about their wedding day and night. Solomon evidently met Shulamith when he went north to Galilee to take care of business interests. She was different from the big-city, high-society girls who were so available to him in Jerusalem. Her freshness and open honesty won his heart and he came to see here whenever they could. They used this time to work through problems (defeat the “little foxes”) and strengthen their relationship for when they would wed. Clearly they abstained from sex before marriage, in fact three times the reader is warned that no physical desires must be even aroused before marriage (2:7; 3:5; 8:4). Where does God draw the line before marriage? Nothing can be done or said to in any way start what should ultimately lead to sex. How far to go? God says don’t even start anything at all! That’s the way Solomon and Shulamith were.

To the Orthodox, we consider this entire interpretation (after all, it is an interpretation being presented as a fictional literary device) as blasphemous other than noting the references to abstaining from sex before marriage.

If your interpretation of the Song of Solomon is as fictitious as the example cited above, then only self-realization will demonstrate the error of your ways.  May the Lord give you strength to find the error within your own logic....
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« Reply #109 on: April 12, 2011, 12:47:06 AM »

Acts, why is your interpretation of the Song of Solomon "courtship model" superior to the Book of Hosea "courtship model"?
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« Reply #110 on: April 12, 2011, 01:10:09 AM »

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).  


Have you ever yet considered that the lack of "sexual compatibility" was CAUSED by other issues within your marriage; issues that gave way to the divorce, in the end?

Some people marry and never have sex. They still have a marriage.
And some woman had a child without sex, but you would be hard pressed to build the institution of motherhood around that.

Except for some extrenuating circumstances, a marriage devoid of lovemaking is barely a marriage in name.

Quote
"Sexual compatibility" is a poor term. Marriage is not about even being compatible, it is about giving up yourself for the other.

True, but that doen't void "sexual compatiblity" as a problem.

Quote
People have made points over and over again. The fact that you choose to redefine "porneia" according to your own ideas, are adding all kinds of biases and interpretations to passages that have been explicitly understood for 5 millenia by Jews and Orthodox, and continue to read those same extreme biases and interpretations into sources offered to you indicates that you are so STUCK in your biases that nothing, not even common sense, can get through.

Here you are entirely correct.  For instance, the number of couples that prove that premarital sex solves few if any problems of sexual incompatibility and aggrevates and creates far, far more, are legion.

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While I don't believe you're a troll, your experience has so scarred your soul that you would rather continue to scar it than allow the wound to heal. The pain is easier than the healing. Self-gratification and self-determination on what is True is easier than self-denial and humility before God. That's no new thing, but no one here will support you in your continued scarring of yourself.
we have a correct diagnosis.  Not a pleasant one, but the ugliest truth heals more than the loveliest lie.
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« Reply #111 on: April 12, 2011, 01:35:23 AM »

The old testament does not list premarital intimacy as a sin anywhere that I've seen.
Then you are not looking.

Ditto the Fathers, e.g.
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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"
http://www.strobertbellarmine.net/books/Chrysostom--Vainglory_and_Children.pdf
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« Reply #112 on: April 12, 2011, 08:08:31 AM »

There are actually several passages in the Song of Solomon that refer to them lying with one another before their wedding.  One is the passage you cite.  Another is in the first chapter when they say "our bed is verdant".  Verdant as in "green" or "novice".  They are beginning to explore in the bed.  Their wedding comes afterward.

Are you serious? "Our bed is verdant" can only mean they are beginning to explore in the bed? I could just as well argue that it means they haven't done anything in bed. Once again, you take a vague passage and extrapolate from it an absolute interpretation, with nothing to back you up. I'll ask again, can you find any other commentators to support your interpretation? Again, you have yet to prove that these vague, poetic passages constitute a description, much less an approval, of premarital sex.

Quote
The old testament does not list premarital intimacy as a sin anywhere that I've seen.  It clearly lists sexual sins (such as adultery, homosexuality, bestiality, etc.) and proscribes the punishment for them as death.  The passage in Duet. you may be referring to has to do with rape.

No. Deut. 22: 21 refers to consensual premarital sex with a man other than the one whom the girl marries. She is executed for "playing the whore in her father's house." We've been over this before. If you lived in Old Testament times, your selfish antics could cost a girl her life.

 
Quote
The closest the law comes to "prohibiting" consensual premarital sex is in Exodus 22, and it is actually a far cry from any sort of prohibition.  For having sex with a virgin outside of marraige a payment of the regular "bride price" (since dad owned her virginity) was required to be paid to dad.

Which would make your model of "courtship" prohibitively expensive to anyone but a very rich man. We've been over this before. And, again, he must marry the girl if the father says so.  The law is obviously meant to punish/ discourage premarital sex. Or do you go around paying a fortune to the father every time you deflower a girl?

Quote
In this case, this payment was the same exact payment as was made for a marriage. But the couple did not have to marry,

Once again that is the father's decision, not the couple's. If the father said so, they very well did have to marry.

Quote
 The man did have to marry the woman if the father insisted that they marry,


Nice to see you finally admit that.

Quote
but he could then divorce her the next day.

Oh really? And on what grounds? Give evidence please.

Quote
On top of that, after such an event the woman was no longer a virgin and so if she and a later man were to have premarital sex there were no consequences at all (not even restitution)

There are consequences if she marries- if she is found not to be a virgin, she can be executed for "playing the whore" (not for lying). If everyone already knows she's not a virgin, then no one will likely marry her.

Your whole position rests upon one novel interpretation of scripture resting upon another and another. You make exceptions into rules. It's a good indicator that you've got a very weak case.
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« Reply #113 on: April 12, 2011, 11:17:02 AM »

I feel you, acts420, make physical compatibility the most important aspect of sex. It is so complex and affects us on so many different levels, more could have been wrong in your relationship than that. I mean you attribute everything that went wrong to you not having sex; that is a skewed conclusion. I have been engaged, living with the girl, and us being intimate; and I can tell you that I put too much stress and importance on sex and sexual compatibility. I said all the same things you're saying. I would argue anyone who said premarital sex was wrong. Incompatibility in the bedroom is a symptom of a larger disconnection. Healthy couples have sex because they are healthy, not that having sex makes a healthy relationship. Everything else must come before the physical intimacy. And you know what? My fiancé left me. We were wrong for each other but I created a bond with her (sex) before I found those things out and that made it hard to see my faults.

I doubt anyone here will convince you otherwise, but if you think you know more than the traditions of the church then thats on you man. When I encounter anything that seems wrong or doesn't fit, I have to conclude it is I who needs reform not the church. Plus you are going to the Bible looking for support of what you think is right rather than reading it in light of Holy Tradition and the Holy Orthodox Church which is how we are supposed to read it.
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« Reply #114 on: April 12, 2011, 12:06:06 PM »

There are actually several passages in the Song of Solomon that refer to them lying with one another before their wedding.  One is the passage you cite.  Another is in the first chapter when they say "our bed is verdant".  Verdant as in "green" or "novice".  They are beginning to explore in the bed.  Their wedding comes afterward.

Are you serious? "Our bed is verdant" can only mean they are beginning to explore in the bed? I could just as well argue that it means they haven't done anything in bed. Once again, you take a vague passage and extrapolate from it an absolute interpretation, with nothing to back you up. I'll ask again, can you find any other commentators to support your interpretation? Again, you have yet to prove that these vague, poetic passages constitute a description, much less an approval, of premarital sex.



Of course I'm serious.  When a couple says "our" (plural) "bed" (singular) that means they have a bed that they share, together.  That would only be "vague" to me if I was in denial and unwilling to accept the fact that they're sleeping together.


Quote
The old testament does not list premarital intimacy as a sin anywhere that I've seen.  It clearly lists sexual sins (such as adultery, homosexuality, bestiality, etc.) and proscribes the punishment for them as death.  The passage in Duet. you may be referring to has to do with rape.

No. Deut. 22: 21 refers to consensual premarital sex with a man other than the one whom the girl marries. She is executed for "playing the whore in her father's house." We've been over this before. If you lived in Old Testament times, your selfish antics could cost a girl her life.


You have totally misrepresented the passage.  Read what it actually says and you'll see that the passage deals only with a girl who was discovered to be a non-virgin on her wedding night.  That would only happen if she married a man that she either lied to (telling him she was a virgin when she wasn't) or misrepresented herself to (allowing him to assume she was a virgin when she knew she was not). If a girl was open and honest about her sexual past, there were no consequences under this passage.  This passage only teaches that it is a sin to misrepresent virginity to get a man to marry you.  

The passage does not say what you cite it as saying, that non-virgins who married were to be killed.  If a woman's husband-to-be was aware of her sexual past there was no punishment at all for her.  The passage deals only with women who were basically caught tricking their husband-to-be about their virginity.  The fact that you're willing to misrepresent this passage so massively says a lot about how difficult it has been for you to find any passage that actually prohibits premarital sex.  



 
Quote
The closest the law comes to "prohibiting" consensual premarital sex is in Exodus 22, and it is actually a far cry from any sort of prohibition.  For having sex with a virgin outside of marraige a payment of the regular "bride price" (since dad owned her virginity) was required to be paid to dad.

Which would make your model of "courtship" prohibitively expensive to anyone but a very rich man. We've been over this before. And, again, he must marry the girl if the father says so.  The law is obviously meant to punish/ discourage premarital sex. Or do you go around paying a fortune to the father every time you deflower a girl?


You falsely assume that my model of courtship has someone sleeping around a lot.  If done properly, with patience, where the couple waits until they have discovered whether they are in love and whether they are compatible emotionally and personally, then most couples would likely find themselves compatible sexually and marry.  It is only the rare case that a couple would be on such vastly different pages sexually that they would mutually decide marriage is just not right for them.  My marriage just happened to be one of those cases.  That is what led me on this quest to discover whether or not God had actually commanded us to flip the dice on that issue.

Also, you assume the Hebrew bride price was expensive.  As far as I can tell, it wasn't.  But that is besides the point... see paragraph above.


Quote
In this case, this payment was the same exact payment as was made for a marriage. But the couple did not have to marry,

Once again that is the father's decision, not the couple's. If the father said so, they very well did have to marry.

Quote
 The man did have to marry the woman if the father insisted that they marry,


Nice to see you finally admit that.


Finally?  The passage says it directly and I've never denied it.  More misrepresentation on your part.


Quote
but he could then divorce her the next day.

Oh really? And on what grounds? Give evidence please.


Look just two chapters ahead of the passage you mis-cited above (Duet. 22) to Duet 24.  It says a man could divorce his wife if she found no favor in his eyes.   Granted, Jesus later said such divorce was permitted because the Israelite's hearts were hard.  However, we have no idea what else in the law was written for such reasons.  For all we know, the father may have been able to force the marriage because his heart was hard.  We can't assume anything.  So the larger point is that there was no lasting consequence to a man for premarital sex except, perhaps, a restitutionary payment to reimburse the father for the price of his daughters virginity.   If she was not a virgin, there was not even a restitutionary payment.  In that case, there were no consequences at all for what you claim to be a terrible, grievous sin against God and body.



Quote
On top of that, after such an event the woman was no longer a virgin and so if she and a later man were to have premarital sex there were no consequences at all (not even restitution)

There are consequences if she marries- if she is found not to be a virgin, she can be executed for "playing the whore" (not for lying). If everyone already knows she's not a virgin, then no one will likely marry her.


"Playing the whore" can mean anything.  Obviously it doesn't mean she exchanged money for sex.  The passage itself says she is killed if she is discovered to be a non-virgin *after the wedding*.  The passage itself describes a surprised husband.  Therefore, the punishment is only if she earlier lied about or misrepresented her virginity.  No woman who was honest about the state of her virginity was ever punished under the law.


Your whole position rests upon one novel interpretation of scripture resting upon another and another. You make exceptions into rules. It's a good indicator that you've got a very weak case.

It is pretty clear to me who has the weak case, who is in denial, and who has to misrepresent passages in order to claim that the Scripture teaches that premarital sex is sinful.
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« Reply #115 on: April 12, 2011, 12:31:06 PM »

There are actually several passages in the Song of Solomon that refer to them lying with one another before their wedding.  One is the passage you cite.  Another is in the first chapter when they say "our bed is verdant".  Verdant as in "green" or "novice".  They are beginning to explore in the bed.  Their wedding comes afterward.

Are you serious? "Our bed is verdant" can only mean they are beginning to explore in the bed? I could just as well argue that it means they haven't done anything in bed. Once again, you take a vague passage and extrapolate from it an absolute interpretation, with nothing to back you up. I'll ask again, can you find any other commentators to support your interpretation? Again, you have yet to prove that these vague, poetic passages constitute a description, much less an approval, of premarital sex.



Of course I'm serious.  When a couple says "our" (plural) "bed" (singular) that means they have a bed that they share, together.  That would only be "vague" to me if I was in denial and unwilling to accept the fact that they're sleeping together.

It. Is. A. Poem. Again, you are picking out one symbol from a poem full of symbols, and claiming to have found the undeniable meaning of it, without any supporting sources.

Quote
Have you read the passage?  I have to ask because you have totally misrepresented it.  If you read it, it is obvious that the passage deals only with a girl who was discovered to be a non-virgin on her wedding night.  That would only happen if she married a man that she either lied to (telling him she was a virgin when she wasn't) or misrepresented herself to (allowing him to assume she was a virgin when she knew she was not). If a girl was open and honest about her sexual past, there were no consequences under this passage.  This passage only teaches that it is a sin to misrepresent virginity to get a man to marry you.

Wrong again. It says "she played the whore in her father's house," not "she lied." Read it again. You are in very clear denial about this passage.  

Quote
You falsely assume that my model of courtship has someone sleeping around a lot.  If done properly, with patience, where the couple waits until they have discovered whether they are in love and whether they are compatible emotionally and personally, then most couples would likely find themselves compatible sexually and marry.
But if they must, they can sleep around a lot. I have not mischaracterized your position.

Quote
Look just two chapters ahead of the passage you mis-cited above (Duet. 22) to Duet 24.  It says a man could divorce his wife if she found no favor in his eyes.

Surprise, surprise. Once again you omit to mention some key words: "...because he hath found some uncleanness in her." Anyone who reads this passage can see that you are misrepresenting it, as if he can just divorce her on a whim.
Quote
That is only if she is found not to be a virgin on the wedding night.  And that would only happen if she lied about or misrepresented her virginity.  No woman who was honest about the state of her virginity was ever punished under the law.

And why do you think a woman might be motivated to lie about her virginity?
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« Reply #116 on: April 12, 2011, 12:59:21 PM »

There are actually several passages in the Song of Solomon that refer to them lying with one another before their wedding.  One is the passage you cite.  Another is in the first chapter when they say "our bed is verdant".  Verdant as in "green" or "novice".  They are beginning to explore in the bed.  Their wedding comes afterward.

Are you serious? "Our bed is verdant" can only mean they are beginning to explore in the bed? I could just as well argue that it means they haven't done anything in bed. Once again, you take a vague passage and extrapolate from it an absolute interpretation, with nothing to back you up. I'll ask again, can you find any other commentators to support your interpretation? Again, you have yet to prove that these vague, poetic passages constitute a description, much less an approval, of premarital sex.



Of course I'm serious.  When a couple says "our" (plural) "bed" (singular) that means they have a bed that they share, together.  That would only be "vague" to me if I was in denial and unwilling to accept the fact that they're sleeping together.

It. Is. A. Poem. Again, you are picking out one symbol from a poem full of symbols, and claiming to have found the undeniable meaning of it, without any supporting sources.

Yes, it is a poem.  A poem that celebrates love and marriage. And in the poem the couple shares a bed before they have a wedding ceremony.  If you want to take that to mean they didn't share a bed before their wedding ceremony, feel free.  I'll just take it as it is.  I don't feel comfortable twisting Scripture so that it complies with the traditions I was raised under.  I already did that long enough as a Baptist.  Now I'd rather just deal with and beleive what is said.

Quote
Have you read the passage?  I have to ask because you have totally misrepresented it.  If you read it, it is obvious that the passage deals only with a girl who was discovered to be a non-virgin on her wedding night.  That would only happen if she married a man that she either lied to (telling him she was a virgin when she wasn't) or misrepresented herself to (allowing him to assume she was a virgin when she knew she was not). If a girl was open and honest about her sexual past, there were no consequences under this passage.  This passage only teaches that it is a sin to misrepresent virginity to get a man to marry you.

Wrong again. It says "she played the whore in her father's house," not "she lied." Read it again. You are in very clear denial about this passage.  

The question is what does "play the whore" mean.  You're saying it means sleeping with someone else before marriage.  However, I'd rather derive the meaning from the passage itself than just take you're word that it means whatever you want it to mean.  The passage itself deals only with a woman who's lack of virginity was discovered on her wedding night.  If "playing the whore" was simply premarital sex, then all who had premarital sex would be punished regardless of whether or not they were honest about it to their fiances.  However, there was no punishment ever proscribed for non-virgins for simply being non virgins (in other words, for those who married honestly).  Therefore, "playing the whore" does not mean what you say it means.  It most likely means she tricked a guy for wealth (in this case, marriage).

Quote
You falsely assume that my model of courtship has someone sleeping around a lot.  If done properly, with patience, where the couple waits until they have discovered whether they are in love and whether they are compatible emotionally and personally, then most couples would likely find themselves compatible sexually and marry.
But if they must, they can sleep around a lot. I have not mischaracterized your position.

Yes you have.  My position is that promiscuity is a sin.  Romans 13, "excess in sex" is listed as a sin along with drunkenness.  So no, people can't "sleep around a lot."  The purpose of sex is marriage.  My position is simply that, as in the Song, a couple is free to allow sex to be part of their courtship.  They must obviously be careful though.  

Quote
Look just two chapters ahead of the passage you mis-cited above (Duet. 22) to Duet 24.  It says a man could divorce his wife if she found no favor in his eyes.

Surprise, surprise. Once again you omit to mention some key words: "...because he hath found some uncleanness in her." Anyone who reads this passage can see that you are misrepresenting it, as if he can just divorce her on a whim.

All women were "unclean" at some points in the month by the law's standards (during their period, for instance).   So those words are not key.  What it comes down to is any man could divorce his wife if he wanted to.  He simply had to testify that he found her to be unclean and wanted a divorce.

Quote
That is only if she is found not to be a virgin on the wedding night.  And that would only happen if she lied about or misrepresented her virginity.  No woman who was honest about the state of her virginity was ever punished under the law.

And why do you think a woman might be motivated to lie about her virginity?

Because it has long been seen as a dishonor in many cultures (though not all) for a woman to lose her virginity before a wedding ceremony.  You've managed to take that cultural phenomena and turn it into "God has said it is a sin for a woman to not be a virgin."  That simply isn't the case.  Nowhere in the law is anyone ever punished for having sex outside of marriage if that is all they did.
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« Reply #117 on: April 12, 2011, 01:29:50 PM »

The old testament does not list premarital intimacy as a sin anywhere that I've seen.
Then you are not looking.

Ditto the Fathers, e.g.
Quote
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"
http://www.strobertbellarmine.net/books/Chrysostom--Vainglory_and_Children.pdf

sorry to intrude but acts420 i noticed you were quick to jump at responnding to Iconodule's prior 2 posts but have yet to respond to ialmisry's post which was made prior
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« Reply #118 on: April 12, 2011, 01:51:22 PM »

The old testament does not list premarital intimacy as a sin anywhere that I've seen.
Then you are not looking.

Ditto the Fathers, e.g.
Quote
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"
http://www.strobertbellarmine.net/books/Chrysostom--Vainglory_and_Children.pdf

sorry to intrude but acts420 i noticed you were quick to jump at responnding to Iconodule's prior 2 posts but have yet to respond to ialmisry's post which was made prior

I just got online, got here, and started looking at the latest posts from the bottom up.  Give me a second, please.  Smiley
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« Reply #119 on: April 12, 2011, 02:03:51 PM »

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.
Quote
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"
http://www.strobertbellarmine.net/books/Chrysostom--Vainglory_and_Children.pdf

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.
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« Reply #120 on: April 12, 2011, 03:28:38 PM »

I would say that there are two levels of this problem which we define as premarital sex... the first 1 is the church level or the christian level... on it- one can find strict pieces of advice and a straight line which is in concordance with the bible and the fathers... there is not much space (strictly speaking) here... the other level I like to refer to as the personal level of every christian... it is our personal relation with God and what we do in our lives- our deepest motifs and fears... everything we put in front of God's feet... here there is much space which often stays unallocated  Grin

This is because the Bible is not a set of regulations but rather a living word of God which tends to reach its fulfillment in us... in life... this stands for the church canons too... they do change in time and although I know quite a few christians who think that canons are un unchangeable category and that the same canons have the answer to all our problems- I relly think that the bottom line of all that is our brain in a jar...

And I think we all agree that a brain in a jar is not the true message of Christ,our Lord...

The paradox here is that these 2 levels I have mentioned r not diametrically opposed at all... they are being reconciled in Christ and we do this when we take the responsibility for what we do... sometimes I think it's better to make a mistake and use your God given freedom than to obey every word and be a robot....  angel
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« Reply #121 on: April 12, 2011, 03:57:35 PM »

I hear you say two things, Mr Acts.

You don't like when others change without you (like the millions of dead who lived before you).  But you want to change everyone for yourself.

You also won't accept that Marriage is Martyrdom and not only sexual union.  "Sexual compatibility" is unnecessary.  Besides, if your partner lies about an STD, or has an affair, or had a sex change, the Church allows divorce.


No need to defend your divorce here.  What's done is done.  Repentance is a lifestyle, not a debate.
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« Reply #122 on: April 12, 2011, 04:57:06 PM »

The question is what does "play the whore" mean.  You're saying it means sleeping with someone else before marriage.  However, I'd rather derive the meaning from the passage itself than just take you're word that it means whatever you want it to mean.  The passage itself deals only with a woman who's lack of virginity was discovered on her wedding night.  If "playing the whore" was simply premarital sex, then all who had premarital sex would be punished regardless of whether or not they were honest about it to their fiances.  However, there was no punishment ever proscribed for non-virgins for simply being non virgins (in other words, for those who married honestly).  Therefore, "playing the whore" does not mean what you say it means.  It most likely means she tricked a guy for wealth (in this case, marriage).

There WERE none who had pre-marital sex. Any who were discovered to not be a virgin on their wedding, which is the ONLY time they would be having sex for someone to discover that, was punished. No man married a non-virgin. Women who were non-virgins were either prostitutes or like the passage says, stoned to death.

Have you read any secular historical information about sex in biblical times? The practices, the standards that were upheld by the culture and supported by their scriptural content? No women were having sex outside of marriage, ever, without taking on the threat of being killed if discovered. We certainly don't encourage stoning, but even Christ said "go and sin no more" to the woman who was caught in the act. In modern times, in countries in the middle east, women are STILL not even allowed to be alone with men who are not of their immediate family. This is to absolutely prevent them from having sex and "shaming" the family. While we would not agree with the method or the punishments, this is all clear historical evidence of what everyone is saying---there is no sex outside of marriage.

How about St. John Chrysostom on sex? What about even Fr. Tom Hopko, to give you a modern writing which would reference plenty of fathers?
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« Reply #123 on: April 12, 2011, 05:24:58 PM »

if we want to be a God-like beings,we must control our instincts and not only them but also their gifts, desires and all the other features. Sexuality as a gift from God, should be to the glory of God, or to serve for the salvation of man not to enslave us. this sounds simple but it isnt.We should not condemn a man if he or she had sex before marriage, but it is bad  he or she  wants it  at any cost, because it takes the form of idolatry.
It is difficult to discern what's what. From the time he tasted the fruit of knowledge of good and evil,   man is no longer able to clearly discern what is right and wrong, and often what he thinks is good  turns out  to be bad. That is why man must have Christ as the measure of things...

btw sex can bring destruction in marriage as well...

there is much about what the bible said about this.. is that the only answer to a question like this...
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« Reply #124 on: April 13, 2011, 09:17:28 AM »

if we want to be a God-like beings,we must control our instincts and not only them but also their gifts, desires and all the other features. Sexuality as a gift from God, should be to the glory of God, or to serve for the salvation of man not to enslave us. this sounds simple but it isnt.We should not condemn a man if he or she had sex before marriage, but it is bad  he or she  wants it  at any cost, because it takes the form of idolatry.

Well said.
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« Reply #125 on: April 13, 2011, 03:33:16 PM »

No Fathers that I've seen recommend that couples wait until after the wedding ceremony either. 

Please forgive me if this statement has already been sufficiently addressed in this thread.  I admit I haven’t had the time to read each post carefully.  Nevertheless, I did want to pass on a few quotes on the subject from the Fathers, since it seems that such quotes are of interest here.

Below are some canons (rules) from the Holy Fathers which equate sex before marriage with fornication, a serious sin that is considered equal with sodomy and bestiality.  Those guilty of this sin would be deprived of Communion for a considerable length of time, but while the disciplinary measures presented here are uncommonly applied today, the point of presenting the information is to demonstrate that the Fathers did consider pre-marital sex to be the sin of fornication, as typically distinguished from adultery.  No distinction is or should be made between pre-marital sex between dating, courting, or engaged couples, as none of these states represent the binding commitment of marriage (“cleaving”) which is the only lawful context for sexual union. 

Quote
http://www.holytrinitymission.org/books/english/canons_fathers_rudder.htm


St. Basil the Great

Canon 26. Fornication is not matrimony, but is not even the beginning of matrimony. So that if it be possible to separate persons joined in fornication, this would be the best course to take. Rut if they insist upon marriage at all costs, let them pay the penalty for fornication, and let them have their way, lest anything should happen that is still worse.

(Ap. c, LXVII; cc. XXII, XXIII, XXV of St. Basil.).

Interpretation.

After allowing those who have been raped before the wedding to contract a marriage in his cc. XXII and XXV, the Saint finally in the present Canon decrees this generally and more exactly, to wit: that as for those men who fornicate beforehand, either with a virgin or with a whore, and after the fornication seek to marry, the truer and better course is for them not to marry, but even if they should succeed in marrying, it is better that they be separated, since it is for this reason that marriage is called honorable and the marriage bed undefiled, namely, because it is free and clean from any previous sin and rape, whereas, on the contrary, fornication and rape are neither marriage nor a beginning of marriage. But if the fornicators themselves will on no account consent to being separated, let them be punished as fornicators, with a seven-year sentence, that is to say, but let them remain unseparated, in order to avoid having any more serious thing happen, or, more explicitly speaking, in order that after being separated they may not keep on secretly indulging in fornication, or, in order that while both of them are united with other persons they may not secretly commit adultery with each other, or in order to keep them from committing suicide because of their being unable to put up with excessive love and separation. Read also Ap. c. LXVII and the Footnote thereto.


Canon 38. Maidens who without the consent and advice of their father run after men are guilty of fornication. But if the parents can be reconciled, the matter would seem to be susceptible of remediation. But they are not to be restored to communion directly; they must, on the contrary, be sentenced to three years.

Interpretation.

The present Canon prescribes that all maidens and virgins who are under the control and authority of their father and run after men, or, in other words, willingly and of their own accord have offered themselves to their lovers, are fornicating and cannot be married. But if thereafter the parents of such virgins become reconciled and consent to let the lovers and ravishers of their daughters cohabit with them, it seems that what happened in the beginning of the affair may be remedied, and that their fornication may be changed into marriage and matrimony. Nevertheless, when men and women do such things, they are not to be pardoned at once and forthwith allowed to partake of communion, but are to be canonized three years.

Concord.

Canons XL, XLI, and XLII of the same St. Basil make it plain that marriages of the daughters and slave girls that have been made without the consent and approval of their fathers and masters, respectively, are to be considered cases of fornication and are to be dissolved. But after their consent has been obtained, they may be validated, and in that event they become true marriages. See also the Footnotes to cc. XXVII and XLII of Carthage.


St. Gregory of Nyssa

Canon 4. As for sins done for the satisfaction of desire and for pleasure, they are divided as follows: It has pleased some of the more accurate authorities, indeed, to deem the offense of fornication to be tantamount to adultery; for there is but one lawful state of matrimony and conjugal relationship, namely, that of wife to husband and of husband to wife. Everything, then, that is not lawful is unlawful at any rate, including even the case in which a man has no wife of his own, but has that of another man. For only one helper was given to man by God (Gen. 2:20), and only one head was set over woman. "That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honor," as divine Paul says (I Thess. 4:4-5), the law of nature permits the right use of it. But if anyone turns from his own, he will infringe upon another’s in any case; but another’s is whatever is not one’s own, even though its owner is not acknowledged. Hence it is evident that fornication is not far removed from the offense of adultery, as has been shown by those who give the question more accurate consideration, seeing that even the divine Scripture says: "Be not too intimate with another man’s wife" (Prov. 5:20). Nevertheless, inasmuch as a certain concession was made by the Fathers in the case to weaker men, the offense has been distinguished on the basis of the following general division to the effect that whenever a man fulfills his desire without doing any injustice to another man, the offense is to be called fornication; but when it is committed by plotting against and injuring another man, it is to be called adultery. Copulation with the lower animals, too, and pederasty are considered to belong to this class of offenses, because they too are a sort of adultery, or in the nature of adultery. For the wrongfulness consists in infringing upon what belongs to another or acting contrary to nature. This division, then, having been made also in connection with this kind of sin, the general remedy for it consists in the marts becoming purified and being made pure as a result of regret for the passionate madness for such pleasures. But inasmuch as no injustice has been made admixed with the sin of those polluting themselves by fornication, therefore and on this score the length of time fixed for the return of those tainted by adultery has been double that fixed for the other forbidden evils. For, the penalty for copulation with lower animals and for the madness practiced upon males has been doubled, as I have said, because such cases involve one sin consisting in the enjoyment of a forbidden pleasure, and another sin consisting committing an injustice with what belongs to another man, after the manner of abusing another marts wife. The difference between cases testing upon repentance, and offenses committed for the sake of pleasure amounts to the following. For any man who on his own initiative and of his own accord proceeds to confess the sins, the mere fact that he has condescended on account of secret acts to become an accuser of himself as a result of an impulse of his own, is to be considered proof that the cure of the disease has already begun, and since he has shown a sign of improvement, he is entitled to kinder treatment. One, on the other hand, who has been caught in the act of perpetrating the offense, or who has been exposed involuntarily as a result of some suspicion or of some accusation, incurs an intensification of the penalty, when he returns; so that only after he has been purified accurately may he then be admitted to communion of the Sanctified Elements. The canon, therefore, is such that as for those who have polluted themselves by fornication, they are to pray along with kneelers for three years in a state of return, and are then to be allowed to partake of the Sanctified Elements. But in the case of those who have made better use of their reversion and life and are showing a return to what is good, it is permissible for the one entrusted with the management of the matter, with a view to what is of advantage to the ecclesiastical economy, to reduce the length of time of listening and to allow a quicker reversion’, and again he may even reduce the length of time and allow Communion to be administered sooner, as he may by actual test be persuaded to approve the condition of the person under treatment (Matt. 7:6). For precisely as it has been forbidden to throw a pearl to swine, so too it is a piece of absurdity the man in question of the most precious Pearl through indifference and insistence upon purity. A transgression committed after the manner of adultery, or, in other words, after the example of the other kinds of filthiness, as has been said previously, shall be treated in all respects in the same way of judgment as is the abominable sin of fornication, but the length of time shall be doubled. But the disposition of the person being treated shall be observed in regard thereto, in the same manner as in the case of those who have allowed themselves to be polluted by fornication, so that sooner or later they shall be allowed the privilege of partaking of the essence of the good.


St. John the Faster

Canon 12. Upon every Monk or layman that has committed fornication we impose exclusion from Communion for two years, provided he consents to submit to xerophagy after the ninth hour and to do two hundred and fifty metanies; but if he neglects to do so, let him fulfill the whole term fixed by the Fathers.

Interpretation.

The present Canon canonizes every monk or layman that fornicates even once to abstain from Communion for two years and every day to do two hundred and fifty metanies, and after the ninth hour of every day to confine himself to xerophagy, or, more explicitly speaking, to the eating of bread alone and the drinking of water alone; but if he should neglect or refuse to do this, let him abstain from Communion for as many years as the divine Fathers have fixed. See c. XLIV of the 6th, c. XXII of Basil, and c. XVI of the 4th.


St. Nicephorus the Confessor

Canon 35. Any man who even once only has committed fornication ought not to be made a priest, even though he has given up the sin. For Basil the Great asserts that such a man cannot be made a Priest even though he bring dead men back to life.


St. John Chrysostom

Homily XXXIII on the Epistle to the Hebrews
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf114.v.xxxvii.html?highlight=undefiled#highlight

“Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled; but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge. Let your conversation be without covetousness: being content with such things as ye have.”  See how large is his discourse concerning chastity. “Follow peace,” he said, “and holiness; Lest there be any fornicator or profane person” (Heb 12:14); and again, “Fornicators and adulterers God will judge.” (Heb 12:16) In every case, the prohibition is with a penalty. “Follow peace with all men,” he says, “and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: But fornicators and adulterers God will judge.”

And having first set down “Marriage is honorable in all men, and the bed undefiled,” he shows that he rightly added what follows. For if marriage has been conceded, justly is the fornicator punished, justly does the adulterer suffer vengeance.

Of course, much else could be provided, but the matter should be very clear to anyone who reads the Scriptures or the Fathers.  The Scriptures clearly speak affirmatively about sexual union (becoming one flesh) only within the context of marriage, or of “leaving and cleaving”.  The Scriptures and the Fathers distinguish between adultery and fornication, with adultery generally describing sexual acts between two people where one or both are already married to another person, and fornication pertaining to nearly every other kind of sexual activity by an unmarried person or between unmarried people, from pre-marital sex to masturbation, sodomy, pederasty, etc.  This distinction between fornication and adultery is reflected in the Scriptures, for instance in St. Paul’s letter to the Galations where he says:

Quote
Galations 5:19-21

Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication[/u], uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before , as I have also told you in time past , that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

The Scriptures also are very clear that through the sexual union, a man and a woman become “one flesh”, such that to become one flesh with any person who is not one’s spouse, who one does not intend to “cleave to” forever, is indeed a great sin, that of fornication. 

Quote
St. John Chrysostom, Homily LXII on the Gospel of St. Matthew
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf110.iii.LIX.html

How then doth He answer them? “Have ye not read, that He which made them at the beginning, made them male and female, and said, For this cause shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they twain shall be one flesh? So that they are no more twain but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.”

See a teacher’s wisdom. I mean, that being asked, Is it lawful? He did not at once say, It is not lawful, lest they should be disturbed and put in disorder, but before the decision by His argument He rendered this manifest, showing that it is itself too the commandment of His Father, and that not in opposition to Moses did He enjoin these things, but in full agreement with him.

But mark Him arguing strongly not from the creation only, but also from His command. For He said not, that He made one man and one woman only, but that He also gave this command that the one man should be joined to the one woman. But if it had been His will that he should put this one away, and bring in another, when He had made one man, He would have formed many women.

But now both by the manner of the creation, and by the manner of lawgiving, He showed that one man must dwell with one woman continually, and never break off from her.

And see how He saith, “He which made them at the beginning, made them male and female,” that is, from one root they sprung, and into one body came they together, “for the twain shall be one flesh.”

After this, to make it a fearful thing to find fault with this lawgiving, and to confirm the law, He said not, “Sever not therefore, nor put asunder,” but, “What God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.”

But if thou put forward Moses, I tell thee of Moses’ Lord, and together with this, I rely upon the time also. For God at the beginning made them male and female; and this law is older (though it seem to have been now introduced by me), and with much earnestness established. For not merely did He bring the woman to the man, but also commanded to leave father and mother. And neither did He make it a law for him merely to come to the woman, but also “to cleave to her,” by the form of the language intimating that they might not be severed. And not even with this was He satisfied, but sought also for another greater union, “for the twain,” He saith, “shall be one flesh.”

Then after He had recited the ancient law, which was brought in both by deeds and by words, and shown it to be worthy of respect because of the giver, with authority after that He Himself too interprets and gives the law, saying, “So that they are no more twain, but one flesh.” Like then as to sever flesh is a horrible thing, so also to divorce a wife is unlawful. And He stayed not at this, but brought in God also by saying, “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder,” showing that the act was both against nature, and against law; against nature, because one flesh is dissevered; against law, because that when God hath joined and commanded it not to be divided, ye conspire to do this.

The fact that a man leaves father and mother and then cleaves to the woman, representing a commitment to remain with the woman forever, precedes becoming “one flesh” with her, is of great significance here.  That becoming “one flesh” with another is involved in the sex act itself and not by mere marriage is clear also from St. Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians:

Quote
1 Cor. 6:16

What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he , shall be one flesh.

It should be clear from all of this that to unite with one’s girlfriend or even one’s fiancé before marriage is condemned by the Fathers and the Scriptures as fornication, the becoming of one flesh with another person before marriate.  If fornicators wish to marry each other, according to St. Basil’s canon, they should still be disciplined as fornicators even if after becoming “one flesh” they do not “put asunder” this union but rather choose to marry rather than to commit further fornication by separating and uniting with others.  That those who have not “cleaved” through marriage sin by uniting in the flesh prior to cleaving should be obvious since without the “cleaving” of marriage there is little assurance that those united in the flesh will remain together afterwards, which may set both parties up for putting asunder the union of the flesh and committing further fornication with others in the future.  If two people say that they intend to “cleave” and therefore their pre-marital fornication with each other is not condemnable, they deceive themselves because if they truly intended to “cleave” in marriage then they would crown this intention with action and proceed to the “cleaving” in order that such a union of the flesh would be lawful and without sin.

To use the Song of Solomon to justify pre-marital sex is a particularly strange venture for a Christian, as the New Testament is very clear about this issue, and that which was permitted by condescension in the Old Testament is shown by the New Testament to be not in accordance with God’s will.  If one wishes to discard the New Testament and return to the Old Testament as a basis of determining what is or is not considered sexually immoral or in the category of fornication, one could just as easily justify polygamy along with pre-marital sex. 










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Doubting Thomas
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« Reply #126 on: April 15, 2011, 04:16:13 PM »

Well said, Jah777.
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« Reply #127 on: April 15, 2011, 04:48:36 PM »

Sexual compatibility is simply an excuse people use to make premarital sex OK. I lived a fairly wild life before I met my husband, I did things I am not proud of and I was not a virgin when we wed. I am sad that I simply gave away an aspect of myself because I could. My husband was a stronger person and came to our relationship completely pure despite being a gigging musician.

My husband and I dated or "courted" for three years. In those three years we didn't even come close to having sex. We waited until our wedding night to have sex for the first time. I had plenty of people asking me about sexual compatibility. How could I know it would "work" if I didn't try things out? My answer then is the same as it would be now;

1) We have compatible working sexual parts.
2) We have the rest of our lives to perfect sexual compatibility.

If the sex life in a marriage isn't mutually satisfactory then the couple needs to COMMUNICATE to make it better. You tell each other what you like/dislike and what you want/don't want. Sexual experience doesn't necessarily mean sexual pleasure. If there is an issue with the marriage bed it is often a symptom of poor communication. Sex is the icing on the cake of marriage. If the icing is falling apart then it could be a sign that the foundations of the marriage are crumbling beneath.

And other than the 2 deployments in 3 years I haven't had any disappointment with our marital bed. I didn't need a test drive to know that this was a union that would work quite well.
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« Reply #128 on: April 15, 2011, 06:18:48 PM »

Sexual compatibility is simply an excuse people use to make premarital sex OK. I lived a fairly wild life before I met my husband, I did things I am not proud of and I was not a virgin when we wed. I am sad that I simply gave away an aspect of myself because I could. My husband was a stronger person and came to our relationship completely pure despite being a gigging musician.

My husband and I dated or "courted" for three years. In those three years we didn't even come close to having sex. We waited until our wedding night to have sex for the first time. I had plenty of people asking me about sexual compatibility. How could I know it would "work" if I didn't try things out? My answer then is the same as it would be now;

1) We have compatible working sexual parts.
2) We have the rest of our lives to perfect sexual compatibility.

If the sex life in a marriage isn't mutually satisfactory then the couple needs to COMMUNICATE to make it better. You tell each other what you like/dislike and what you want/don't want. Sexual experience doesn't necessarily mean sexual pleasure. If there is an issue with the marriage bed it is often a symptom of poor communication. Sex is the icing on the cake of marriage. If the icing is falling apart then it could be a sign that the foundations of the marriage are crumbling beneath.

And other than the 2 deployments in 3 years I haven't had any disappointment with our marital bed. I didn't need a test drive to know that this was a union that would work quite well.

Very good points.
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« Reply #129 on: April 15, 2011, 08:16:21 PM »

times are different my friend. in the early days the orthodox population was NOT 300 million... bishops did not have nearly as much responsibility and so they could still 'submit themselves to their wives'. however, what kind of a husband will travel all the time visiting all different churches in his duristiction having almost NO time for his wife? i do not think he can truly submit himself to his wife and so, the church would rather have the bishop not marry rather than marry and be in direct violation of the word of God Smiley

also, he is married to the church and he submits himself to her Smiley
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« Reply #130 on: April 22, 2011, 12:19:43 AM »

Grace and Peace,

I'm confused... If we commit adultery if we even look on a woman to lust after her, then we have already committed adultery. What is adultery? To argue that relations with a woman outside of marriage isn't wrong... I don't know what adultery is?

You have heard that it was said to them of old: Thou shalt not commit adultery. But I say to you, that whosoever shall look on a woman to lust after her, hath already committed adultery with her in his heart. ~ Mat 5:27-28

I'm very sorry that you had a bad experience with your first marriage and because of that experience you feel you need to blame this teaching for ruining your marriage but I think you're overreaching.
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« Reply #131 on: April 26, 2011, 05:09:07 PM »

Acts, why is your interpretation of the Song of Solomon "courtship model" superior to the Book of Hosea "courtship model"?
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« Reply #132 on: May 06, 2011, 05:18:48 PM »

    I've read similar things to what Mr. Acts is saying among some Anglican writers.  I believe he would be happier there, though in Anglicanism the attitudes to premarital sex differs widely, on the whole you will find few clergy people endorsing a "try before you buy".   I have an online friend who is a fairly liberal Episcopalian priest (favors the blessing of gay unions) and yet I doubt he would be very OK with making up an endorsement of premarital sex.  Unlike Orthodox though, Anglicans are very much into questioning traditions and trying new things, whereas Orthodoxy favors consensus... avoiding scandalizing the faithful, and strong continuity across time and space.

 One tragedy doesn't make a norm.   I think Mr. Acts situation is a pastoral issue.   The whole point of the rules in any church focused on penintence, is to learn we cannot live by rules.  Live by grace and not the law.  The Baptist tradition sometimes focuses on outward conformity but this is the least thing that we should be focused on as Christians, this grace has to be extended to others in forgiveness and suspending judgement, which is why there are rules- to learn that if God should count iniquities "who could stand?".  Wheather any particular sin leads to guilt and condemnation is a pastoral issue too, since God does not reward us according to what our sins deserve- he deals with us as unique persons and knows our weaknesses.  

   I know what it is to feel hurt, and to feel maybe a response you are getting from the Church is not particularly sensitive, sometimes i have felt in the past even a bit frustrated at the Orthodox Church in my quest.  But one thing about the Orthodox tradition, my pain and sorrow are welcome there.   In Orthodoxy life is always touched by sadness, you see it in the icons, its a reminder of the fact we live in a world tarnished by sin.    The Fathers of the Church say a life of "ceaseless mourning" is not uncalled for.   In a sinful world, we all have crosses to bear.
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« Reply #133 on: May 06, 2011, 05:36:53 PM »

Sexual compatibility is simply an excuse people use to make premarital sex OK. I lived a fairly wild life before I met my husband, I did things I am not proud of and I was not a virgin when we wed. I am sad that I simply gave away an aspect of myself because I could. My husband was a stronger person and came to our relationship completely pure despite being a gigging musician.

  That's OK just realize not everybody feels the same way.    I myself, well, i'm a 35 year old virgin and have deep regrets about it.  I have Aspergr's syndrome, for me my virginity is a sign of social failure.  It grieves me.   You can talk all you want about virginity being a blessing but...  I don't feel it.  It cuts me off from most people for one thing, and hardly makes me any holier.   Its one thing for teenage kids or young adults to just give their virginity away casually, its another thing to tell somebody in their thirties that premarital chastity is some kind of bliss (I've had that happen from well-meaning Christians).   Be realistic:  people can potentially have alot of regrets with them in life, regardless of what we choose.

  I don't believe that the Patristics are totally wrong about sex but, they lack the experiences we have had in a millenium and live in a very different culture.  I believe in our present culture their views of sexuality are not completely realistic.  The Church should not be in the business of being a  counsellor, therapist, or sexologist for that matter.  Ones spiritual life is distinct from ones psychological life and the two must be delt with differently, sometimes concessions must be made in the name of keeping the total person in balance.
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« Reply #134 on: May 06, 2011, 06:27:42 PM »

Ones spiritual life is distinct from ones psychological life and the two must be delt with differently, sometimes concessions must be made in the name of keeping the total person in balance.

In Orthodox spirituality we believe we are single body-soul-spirit beings. We cannot be reduced to separate elements.

Since we are spiritual beings, that aspect of our lives is affected by all the others, and so, everything is spiritual. Because of this, the Church absolutely has the right—and obligation—to tell us how to live our lives.

Furthermore, the Church does not lower her standards simply because our culture is going all to hell. The Church is in the business of saving souls, not necessarily making us happy or giving us what we want. Heaven knows there are things I desire that the Church has determined are not good for my salvation, and that's what this life is all about.

We can "eat, drink and be merry", but tomorrow we die, and that is when we'll find out whether we used our lives wisely. There are a lot of people who are having a lot of "fun", but it's actually destroying their souls. And as hard as it is to sit on the sidelines of life while others are living it up, it is far better to do what pleases God, because God is who we'll be facing on that Day.
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