Ethics: Pastor Calls Married Couples to Abstain from Sex for Lent

What would you do Wednesday!

The Lenten season is here for the Christians. While Lent has mostly been a tradition observed by Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox, more Protestants are participating. This year is no different except your Protestant pastor actually made some appeals from the pulpit.

While not attempting to make any spiritual requirements beyond Scripture, your pastor thought a challenge or two for Lent may be good for the congregation. He thought practicing some spiritual discipline during this time may be healthy for everyone.

Among the Lenten exhortations of sacrificing and self-denial, he had a very interesting suggestion for married couples. “I am about to suggest a huge act of self-denial for some married folks for Lent,” he exclaimed from the pulpit.

He said in his reading he came across an article from an Orthodox perspective. It used to be “canonically required, at least of clerics—for husband and wife to abstain from conjugal relations during some or all of Great Lent.” This was required not because sex was bad, “but precisely that it is good to freely, joyfully give up such a good thing for a greater good and larger share in the joy God wants to bestow.”

And so he gave his Lenten challenge for married couples:

“For this season of Lent, I challenge my fellow married couples in the congregation to abstain from sex for the next 40 days. Yes, I am asking if you will join me in giving up sex with your spouse for the next 40 days!”

What would you do?

  • Follow his lead and go for it.
  • Prayerfully consider the challenge.
  • Decline since you don’t participate in Lent anyway.
  • Request a meeting to ask for repentance for promoting such an unbiblical practice.
  • Find a new church.
  • Or…

Here I blog…


Let's connect!

tagged as , , in Christianity,Church Issues,Culture,ethics

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 mrfunkhouser March 5, 2014 at 10:19 am

I know this flies completely in the face of your point, but according to my catholic friend you get Sundays off of your fast because one, “Never fast on a feast day, and every Sunday is a feast day because that’s the day Jesus rose from the dead. Plus, if you count Sundays it’s more than 40 days!”

I have no experience with this, as I’m single so I will abstain from answering. (hehe. See what I did there?)

2 Joshua T (@austinpreterism) March 5, 2014 at 10:31 am

I’d be willing to consider it given two important things 1) the pastor doesn’t attempt to make a Biblical case for it and 2) it is recognized as a suggestion not a imperative.

3 rhology March 5, 2014 at 11:02 am

Terrible idea. Ed Young Jr’s Sexperiment was better, and it was awful.

4 Reg Schofield March 5, 2014 at 1:01 pm

Laugh out loud. In all seriousness , I believe that is a matter that should only be between a husband and wife . I personally don’t and have never practiced lent . If I do a fast of some kind , I do it privately and to the Lord . Just my few cents worth.

5 Mark Lamprecht March 5, 2014 at 1:10 pm

mrfunkhouser, Ironic because a fast is from food not from sex. But that is much like Catholics to always have some kind of out. And yes, I see what you did there. 🙂

6 Mark Lamprecht March 5, 2014 at 1:12 pm

Joshua, rhology, and Reg, I would not consider this challenge to abstain. If I did, it would be personal and private between my wife and I. I’m not sure if Ed Young Jr’s ordeal was better or not. LOL But I, like Reg, do not and have never practiced Lent.

7 Jeff Peterson March 5, 2014 at 7:24 pm

I gave up Lent for Lent a long time ago. It’s worked out pretty well.

8 sethdunn88 March 5, 2014 at 8:51 pm

Call for repentance.

Paul says only take a break from getting it on for prayer! …and Lent is made up.

9 mrfunkhouser March 5, 2014 at 11:21 pm

I’m not a practicing catholic or anything of the sort, but I think there’s wisdom in choosing to abstain from something you enjoy, not because you HAVE to, but because if you can redirect that time to pursuing God for a season, it could be wonderful. 😀

So, if you’re going to say no… say no not because you don’t want to celebrate lent, say no because you are not only glorifying God in your sex life and it makes you love Jesus more, but because you’re choosing to abstain from something else that is more important, and takes more time in your life than sex. 😀


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