I’ve already mentioned Mohler’s recent vocalization of a common evangelical predilection for despising and distrusting single people in positions of church ministry. As I’ve also noted, this whole evangelical (and in some ways more broadly Protestant) obsession with getting all ministers “safely” married and childrened is decidedly anti-biblical. The universal testimony of Jesus and Paul in the NT accounts is that, while marriage isn’t wrong, its decidedly disadvantageous to the life of discipleship. So there’s that.
But more pointedly for me is the fact that the belief that marriage is somehow safer, more adult, and more responsible for Christian ministers seems to me to deny the truth of Gospel. I don’t mean to put too fine a point on this, but is it not true that the Gospel declares that, in Christ, old “natural” divisions and restrictions are no longer sovereign? Does it not proclaim that it is the Holy Spirit who distributes gifts to the body just as God desires, irrespective of social location?
To say that there is any inherent superiority — in any way — in Christian ministers being married is not only to contradict the scriptural witness; it is also to deny that the reality of God’s work in Jesus Christ really happens the way the Gospel claims it does. To argue, as folks like Mohler do, that a social-cultural institution (however good it may be in many ways) is the dominant norm for those who would proclaim the Gospel is to deny what the Gospel proclaims, namely that in Christ social-cultural divisions, whatever they might be no longer “are.” What is something, the Gospel says, is “a new creation.”
To say that pastors need to be married is to say that there is no new creation, no presence and action of the Spirit, and indeed, that Christ is not truly Lord. It is to deny that “the form of this world is passing away” and claim instead that “all things continue as from the beginning” and therefore we cannot believe the Gospel in a way that calls forth actual action and faith. Instead we are left to simply defend cultural status quos and the various forms of domination they propagate. That is what Mohler and his ilk peddle and proclaim: The denial of the Gospel and its replacement with a project of cultural conservatism. It is idolatry of the worst sort and should be repudiated by all Christians.