The Meaning of Singleness
Is Christian singleness a burden to be endured or a God-ordained vocation? Might singleness here and now give the church a glimpse of God's heavenly promises?
Dani Treweek offers biblical, historical, cultural, and theological reflections to retrieve a theology of singleness for the church today. Drawing upon both ancient and contemporary theologians, including Augustine, Ælfric of Eynsham, John Paul II, and Stanley Hauerwas, she contends not only that singleness has served an important role throughout the church's history, but that single Christians present the church with a foretaste of the eschatological reality that awaits all of God's people.
Far from being a burden, then, Christian singleness is among the highest vocations of the faith.
"Protestants often forget the rich history of the church as it dealt with singleness. This book addresses that lacuna and reminds the church that celibate singleness is an important witness to the future reality of the resurrected world and life. Treweek's work to retrieve a tradition that understands singleness to be eschatologically significant offers both a genuine encouragement to Christian single people and a faithful challenge to the church at large."
"Drawing expertly on Scripture and history, Treweek offers a much-needed salve to the wounds left by many contemporary, evangelical understandings of singleness. Rather than seeing singleness as deficient, regrettable, or only valuable if definitively chosen, Treweek helps us recognize the vital, hopeful, resurrection-oriented role that single Christians can and should play in the body of Christ. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a serious, orthodox, and scholarly exploration of the meaning of singleness."
"This is a welcome study of singleness in the church from a theological, indeed an eschatological perspective. Singleness is a growing issue in society at large and the church in particular, and here we have a solid theological foundation upon which to build pastoral thinking and practice. In particular, Dr. Treweek's treatment of celibacy is a welcome antidote to the valorization of that idea in the current penchant among some Christians to allow the categories of modern sexual politics to set the terms for Christian thinking."
"The meaning of singleness is one of the most pressing questions of our time. It is also one of the most difficult to answer, not least for Christians. Our culture regards singleness as a substandard, temporary status, and the church is, by and large, no different. We need to consider the Bible's teaching afresh, with sensitivity to the cultural issues and the help of the best theology. Danielle Treweek's book does just that. The Meaning of Singleness is an insightful and inspiring investigation, and a much-needed gift to the church."
"While there have been a number of informed, edifying Christian treatments of singleness published in recent years, I know of none that combines biblical exegesis, historical and cultural analysis and critique, and pastoral wisdom and sensitivity as effectively and powerfully as this one does. It will be an evangelical touchstone for years to come—as relevant for theologians and educators as it will be for pastors and counselors."
"Danielle Treweek's account of Christian singleness adds a much-needed perspective to the conversation. First, she focuses on singleness, which is still rather rare. Second, she articulates why all Christians need to take notice of Christian singles. Single people are not afterthoughts to Christian life but integral to it. I think pastors, theologians, and other Christian leaders ought to be reading and digesting this book."
Introduction: Setting the Scene
Part One: The Context of Singleness
1. Singleness in Society
2. Singleness in the Church
Part Two: The Diagnosis of Singleness
3. The Character of Christian Singleness
4. The Value and Belonging of Christian Singleness
Part Three: The Retrieval of Singleness
5. Retrieving Singleness in Church History
6. Retrieving Singleness in Biblical Exegesis
7. Retrieving Singleness in Christian Theology
Part Four: The Meaning of Singleness
8. Telling the Time
9. Making the Meaning
10. Continuing the Conversation