Keynote Addresses

Getting Close: Steps Toward Intimacy

This material was originally presented by Dr. Ralph Blair at connECtion 1980, the summer conference of Evangelicals Concerned, Inc.

I am going to begin with a neglected passage from Ecclesiastes 4:1 and 4:8-12.

Then I looked again at all the injustice that goes on in this world.  The oppressed were crying, and no one would help them.  No one would help them because their oppressors had power on their side.  … Here is one who lives alone.  This person has no children, no sister or brother, yet this person is always working, never satisfied with the income.  For whom is this person working so hard and denying self any pleasure?  This is useless, too — and a miserable way to live.  Two are better-off than one, because together they can work more effectively.  If one of them falls down, the other can help the person up.  But if someone is alone and falls, it’s just too bad, because there is no one to help.  If it is cold, two can sleep together and stay warm, but how can you keep warm by yourself?  Two can resist an attack that would defeat one alone.

 In the May 1980 issue of Inter-varsity Christian Fellowship’s His magazine, singleness is called “The Gift Nobody Wants.”  This is the rather revealing title of an article by IVCF staffer Paul Friesen, extolling singleness as a gift of God.  That singleness-for-those-happily-called-to-it-with-the-gift-of-celibacy can be a real gift from God must not mislead us into thinking that enforced singleness, however subtle the enforcement, must be seen as what God wants for all of those who are unwillingly and unably single.  But again, after centuries, it is becoming theologically fashionable for some evangelicals to write in this vein, albeit in vain, for it is true that it does seem that nobody wants this so-called gift of singleness.  This “gift” is an especially attractive “solution,” however contrived, to more and more evangelical leaders as they try to foist it onto Christian men and women whose homosexual orientation is becoming more and more obviously unalterable.  Friesen goes on and on about how God gives good gifts and about “how freeing” is the idea that “marriage may never come!”  But here’s Read more →

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