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Danielle Treweek: Why the Early Church Would Be Surprised at How We View Singleness

Danielle Treweek
Photo courtesy of Danielle Treweek

Dr. Danielle Treweek is the founding director of Single Minded and an ordained deacon within the Anglican Diocese of Sydney. She has served on the ministry team of a number of different churches and speaks regularly at various conferences, events, churches and podcasts. Her new book is, “The Meaning of Singleness: Retrieving an Eschatological Vision for the Contemporary Church.”

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Key Questions for Danielle Treweek

-Why does the contemporary church need to recover a vision for singleness? 

You describe a diversity among singles that the term “single” fails to adequately capture. Could you explain that for us? 

-How can pastors who want to teach a robust theology around singleness celebrate it without sounding condescending?”

-​​How would you encourage pastors, the vast majority of whom in American and western culture are married, to find ways to make their churches thriving places for singles and for married people?

Key Quotes From Danielle Treweek

“There’s a lot of Christians who are single and there’s a lot of Christians who will be single again.”

“I’m convinced who we are as the body of Christ is married and single together—we actually need each other to inhabit our identity as the body of Christ…So I think a theology of singleness is not just really essential for single Christians, but is actually essential for the church as a whole.”

“We seem to have an absence of a robust theology of singleness in a way that the early church particularly would have been very surprised at, I think.”

“The word ‘single’ in our day does a lot of heavy lifting. It kind of encapsulates a whole lot of things that we may not be aware of or we might be talking at cross-purposes about as well…And so the word singleness really is a very loaded one that we have to unpack carefully.”

“Throughout church history, we’ve kind of swung wildly from one end of the spectrum to the other on marriage and singleness.”

“Most of the early church fathers before Augustine actually thought that marriage and sex were realities that came in after the Fall, that they were God’s concession to fallen humanity rather than created goods.”

“Those who are husbands and wives now will not be husbands and wives in the resurrection. The ultimate marriage will have come. And so that has actually been a very orthodox exegesis throughout most of church history.”