Quoting Quiverfull: Is Not Being a Virgin on Your Wedding Day the End of the World?

Quoting Quiverfull: Is Not Being a Virgin on Your Wedding Day the End of the World? December 30, 2014
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by John Piper of Desiring God blog and from his broadcast “Ask Pastor John” – Walking the Wedding Aisle Without Your Virginity

Editor’s note: Is it really such a big deal if you come to your wedding with previous sexual experience? Wonder if the writer of the email had been female would Pastor Piper’s answer have been vastly different?

A young man recently emailed this question in to the Ask Pastor John podcast:

Pastor John, I want to propose to my girlfriend, and as I prepare for marriage thoughts of my past mistakes come to mind. I think back to women I slept with before I was saved, and mistakes I made with my current girlfriend who I will, Lord willing, marry. People often speak of the purity to be saved for marriage, and how terrible it is to squander that. What truths do you have to share with a man or woman such as myself, struggling with regret related to past sexual mistakes and their current consequences in the context of marriage and engagement?

Here’s a transcribed excerpt from Pastor John’s answer in Wednesday’s episode: “When Past Sexual Sin Haunts Your Wedding” (Episode 336).

I think the main thing I want to say is this: Virginity is a precious gift that you cannot give to your fiancé, nor she you. That is a great sadness and a great loss.

But there are gifts you can give her and God will multiply those gifts so wonderfully that the loss will not be destructive.

You said that you have heard people say, Save yourself sexually for marriage and it is a terrible thing to squander that. Well, I say: Yes, yes, yes — that is exactly right. That is exactly what I think Paul and Jesus would counsel any virgin: “Flee fornication” (1 Corinthians 6:18).

Your body belongs to God as a single person, and it will belong to your future spouse. It would be good to think about 1 Corinthians 7:3–4: “The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights” — that means sex — “and likewise the wife to her husband. For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.”

In other words, you belong to each other — to no one else. You belong to God in your singleness, united to him in your body by the Spirit. And you belong to God in marriage, through union with your spouse. That is a precious, biblical gift that should be presented in marriage.

QUOTING QUIVERFULL is a regular feature of NLQ – we present the actual words of noted Quiverfull leaders, influential bloggers and cultural enforcers and ask our readers: What do you think? Agree? Disagree? This is the place to state your opinion. Please, let’s keep it respectful – but at the same time, we encourage readers to examine the ideas of Quiverfull and Spiritual Abuse honestly and thoughtfully.

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NLQ Recommended Reading …

Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement by Kathryn Joyce

13:24 – A Story of Faith and Obsession by M Dolon Hickmon

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  • Nea

    I am not property. I belong to no one, and I owe no theoretical construct the time of day, much less my physical/mental dedication. My worth lies between my ears, not my legs, and what I’ve done with my genitals is no more of a metaphysical loss than it is a sadness and great loss than I have used my legs to run a 5K and without waiting for my putative spouse’s permission and company to do so.

    I am a human being, not a toy, and will not promise any collector that I will remain New In Box until they pick me off the shelf. Pixar’s parable Toy Story II was eloquent on the subject and as much an authority as the literary choices of the Council of Nicea.

    At the end of my life, I’ll be able to say I made a small difference. That is far more important than to say I waited for someone else’s permission.

  • Saraquill

    By this reasoning, no widow/er is suitable for marriage.

  • KarenH

    I’m curious why the bride of a non-virginal groom cannot gift him with her virginity (presupposing she still possesses it).

    Does his lack of virginity automatically revoke hers?


  • Astrin Ymris

    Well, to be fair, he tells the guy that there are “other gifts” the couple can share, and that “… God will multiply those gifts so wonderfully that the loss will not be destructive…”.

    It sounds like he’s trying to walk a fine line between potentially losing a breeding pair for the Cause and outright stating that premarital sex is no worse than any other “sin” and can be similarly forgiven.

    On a related note, isn’t it interesting that in the CPM ideology sexually predatory preachers can be forgiven more quickly and easily than women who have enthusiastically consensual sex before marriage?

  • Astrin Ymris

    The correspondent lists his current girlfriend/fianceé as one of the women he’s made “mistakes” with. Since his prior “mistakes” included sexual intercourse, Piper may be assuming this means the two of them have engaged in what Tudor England quaintly called “pre-contract”. (And did not consider to have “ruined” the lady for all time.)

  • Saraquill

    Preachers are easily forgiven because penis they make the rules Bible.

  • Mel

    It didn’t ruin the lady – it created logistical nightmares for people of ‘middle classes’. For several centuries, the Christian churches of the West followed the Lombardian theology of marriage which was that the exchange of vows (with or without witnesses) OR sexual intercourse created a marriage.
    On a practical level, this meant that a suitor you rejected could go to the local court and swear that the two of you exchanged vows and were legally married.

    Or if a husband came into a large unexpected windfall, a local greedy woman could pull the same stunt.

    On the flip side, if you needed to get out of an abusive relationship, all you had to do was explain that you were actually pre-contracted to _____ (bribing the named person was a good idea) and poof! Your marriage was invalid and you were free.

    This lead to a more public form of marriage – requiring clergy and witnesses to see the vows being made; revoking sexual intercourse as a form of marriage; making secret marriages illegal; publishing the banns etc.

  • Mel

    Do these churches have no concept of forgiveness?

    If the writer really feels that he sinned by having sex before marriage, then he should ask forgiveness from God and if needed the people he wronged.

    (I can insert a bunch of Bible verses here, but I’ll pass.)

    It would be good for him and his fiancee to discuss their sexual histories – not in a condemning or shame-filled way, but as a way of growing closer.

    [I DON’T think the writer has actually sinned and probably shouldn’t track down ex-girlfriends to apologize for having sex – but seriously, most churches have a method of dealing with sin that doesn’t include agonizing forever…]

    Do previous sins get forgiven when a person is saved? In the Catholic church, we believe that sins are forgiven during baptism – not so important for babies, but can be comforting for adult converts – but I have no idea how that fits into this theology.

  • Trollface McGee

    To flush out that analogy further – he’s saying that any running or training you do prior to a 5K is ruining the specialness of that 5K. Which, sounds extremely stupid in the context of running and is equally stupid in the context of sex.

  • Most non-Catholic Christians I know either:

    1) Agonize forever; or
    2) Rationalize it away; or
    3) Say it doesn’t matter because “I”m going to Heaven anyway.”

  • Trollface McGee

    Are there people that would apologise for something like that?
    *imagining most awkward conversation ever*

  • My advice? Become an atheist. Worked for me. #NoMoreGuiltOverStupidShit

  • Rachel

    My body doesn’t belong to anybody but me. I do not “give” sex to anyone, it is an act that we share. I hate that so many learn about sex in the context of “giving” and “taking” and “losing.” Where is the consent? The mutuality? The gain?

  • Catherine

    I don’t see why it matters that your spouse isn’t your first…isn’t it more important that they be your LAST?

  • Astrin Ymris

    The whole conceptualization of sex as something that men “take” from women is the root of Rape Culture.

  • Astrin Ymris

    Thanks for the info! I was wondering why “secret marriages” were considered so scandalous during the Regency.

  • SAO

    Marriages among the wealthier classes were family affairs, expanding family influence or encumbering higher status relatives with embarrassing lower-class relatives.

    In Elizabethan times, some men hid their marriages because QE1 favored unmarried men or because more powerful men might befriend and mentor other men, grooming them as future sons-in-law the the mentee wanted his choice of bride, plus all the help of the mentor. So there was deceit involved in hiding something.

  • SAO

    I just don’t see the difference between discarding one’s “purity” with a fiance before marriage and waiting until the wedding night. It’s the same event. The only difference I can see is the hype.

  • Mel

    God, I hope not, but I know some really wound up Catholics who have apologized for stranger things….so….maybe?

  • FrequentFlyer

    I don’t know what brand of Protestant they are, but I was taught that your sins(even sex!) are forgiven when you’re saved. The immersion baptism symbolizes the death of the old, sinful self and rebirth into a new life in Christ. Do these people really believe that’s the only sun that you have to pay for forever? I’d like to see them back that up with scripture.