1 Corinthians 7:28-29, the Danger of Celibacy

But those who marry will face many troubles in this life, and I want to spare you this. What I mean, brothers and sisters, is that the time is short.

//Today’s words are written by Paul, encouraging the Corinthians to abstain from marriage. Why? Because the return of Christ is just around the corner. The time is too short to bother with things like marriage.

Paul guessed wrong about this, but he’s not the only one. His instruction reminds me of a group we’ve all heard of: the Shakers.

The Shakers were founded in the 18th century as the United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing (USBCSA). Their belief that the Kingdom of God was at hand led to a self-defeating doctrine: celibacy. Procreation was unnecessary, as the time was short, so the Shakers used celibacy as a central part of their efforts to separate from the sinful world around them. Shakers were not only messianists; they were communitarians.

But would enough conversions be possible to keep the group alive? How do you keep from dying out as a group without procreating? One answer: adoption. This worked well until orphanages were established, and the states began to limit adoption by religious groups. Today, adoption into the Shakers is no longer possible.

As the result, the Shaker population in America has dwindled (to my knowledge) down to three members: Sister June Carpenter, Brother Arnold Hadd, and Sister Frances Carr. Jesus better come back quickly, or there will be no one left to welcome him.

Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth? –Luke 18:8

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