I am single and an ordained minister of the Armenian Evangelical Church. A common question I get asked is whether or not I can get married. The answer is yes! I can marry! Date me ladies! (Great job showing off your confidence Haigo!) However, not every church denomination allows for their clergy to marry.
To clear up the confusion, here is a breakdown of the rules each major Christian tradition has concerning whether or not their clergy can get married:
Roman Catholic Church: Celibate Clergy Only
If you want to become a priest you are not allowed to get married before or after your ordination. Rare exceptions have been made but the norm is celibacy.
Eastern Orthodox and Apostolic Churches: Both Celibate and Married Clergy
You can get ordained if you are married. But cannot get married if you are already ordained. Celibate priests are the only ones allowed to climb the hierarchy of leadership.
Protestants (Anglican, Evangelical, Pentecostal): No Restrictions
Clergy can get married before or after ordination, they also have the freedom to choose to be celibate.
Being single and wanting to marry is not celibacy, that just means you haven’t found someone yet or have no game. Did I mention I’m single?
So, what does the Bible say about clergy having to be celibate?
The answer is: if you want to get married go for it, if not that is okay too.
Most of the apostles were married and the single apostles had the freedom to get married if they desired. The Apostle Paul, who was single, says in his letter to the church in Corinth, “Do we not have the right to take along a believing wife, as do the other apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas? Cephas is the Aramaic way of saying Peter, the leader of the twelve disciples. In the beginning of the Gospel of Mark, Jesus Christ heals Peter’s mother-in-law of an illness when they visited her home after coming from the synagogue.
The rules for required celibacy for priesthood developed later within church history. For a quick timeline click here
What are your thoughts about Celibacy? What are the pros and cons for being single? What are the pros and cons for getting married? Should clergy be celibate? Comment below. Subscribe.