A Critique on the “Kissing Dating Goodbye” & “Courtship” Practices

This is my attempt to share some of my thoughts on “kissing dating goodbye” and “courtship” practices. I hope to give a balanced presentation. If nothing else I hope to encourage people to think about the concept and decide for themselves what is most important for them in their situation.

Note: Much of my criticism of the “kissing dating goodbye” approach is from the perspective of a single person in his 20′s and 30′s who was involved in churches where this approach was the norm. My blog pages elaborate on this and asks if “kissing dating goodbye” is appropriate for all ages. Temporarily “kissing dating goodbye” which could also be called postponing dating might be appropriate especially for younger teenagers. “Kissing dating goodbye” appears to be reactionary and going to one extreme. Lets not make the same mistake in the opposite direction.

Here are the topics that I have written about so far:

What Problems Joshua Harris Acknowledged About How Singles Relate At His Church (But Doesn’t Share on His Website) NEW ENTRY 4/30/08

Introduction:

Starting My Blog: Should I Kiss Dating Goodbye or Kiss That Book Goodbye?

Definition of Terms: Dating, Groups & Courtship

What Is “Dating” And What Did Harris Supposedly “Kiss Goodbye?” (New 2/27/2009)

General Thoughts on Courtship/Groups:

Does Only Dating Have Defects? Courtship/Groups are Defect Free?

Black & White Thinking: Courtship Approach?

“One Size Fits All?” and Courtship/Groups

Are People Still Kissing Dating Goodbye?

Kissing Dating Goodbye Is “Harmful”: A Respected Christian Author’s View on Non-Dating/Courtship

Did Joshua Harris “Forget” His Own Church’s History With Courtship/Groups?

Examples of Foolishness That Can Happen With “Kissing Dating Goodbye” NEW ENTRY 4/18/08

Josh Harris’s Shopping Cart Illustration: Does “KDG” Just Change the Cart’s Drifting Direction?

Separation of the Sexes: Does it leave you vulnerable to control?

Josh Harris:

Josh Harris’s “Updated” View on Courtship/Groups

Josh Harris’s View On People Using His Book Legalistically

Another Look at Joshua Harris’s “Updated” Views on Kissing Dating Goodbye

What Problems Joshua Harris Acknowledged About How Singles Relate At His Church (But Doesn’t Share on His Website) NEW ENTRY 4/30/08

What Another Leader In Sovereign Grace Ministries Teaches About Courtship & Dating: BrettDetwiler

A Response to Josh Harris’s 7 “Defects” to Dating

Courtship: Extending Parents “Protection” Beyond Home Schooling?

Issac & Rebekah’s Story: Proactive or Passive?

Universal Courtship: If so, would you be here?

A Favorite Story About The Need to Think for Yourself

A Single Man’s Struggle: Does The Courthship/Group Approach Help or Hinder?

Amazon.Com Readers Comments About the Book

You can email me at:

IKDGNot at Yahoo.com
I Kissed Dating Goodbye NOT

132 Responses to “A Critique on the “Kissing Dating Goodbye” & “Courtship” Practices”

  1. Kris Says:

    It was my observation at our SGM church that the attitudes Josh Harris preached against in “Courtship Smourtship” were alive and well…and this was at least 2 years after he preached that sermon. Actually, “alive and well” wouldn’t do it justice. The paranoia about male-female interactions and the idea that “guarding one’s heart” meant running the other direction in the face of ANY sort of attraction – those attitudes were stronger and more pervasive than ever at the SG church we attended.

    I don’t think any of the folks knew of Harris’ sermon. Or, if they had, by that time they’d taken his ideas and run with them to such an extent that they’d turned the courtship system into some sort of foolproof immorality-and-heartbreak-prevention-system.

    Honestly, I believe that at our SG church, anyway, courtship was more about parents who wanted to control every aspect of their children’s lives than it was about actual purity. Purity may have been one of these parents’ well-intentioned goals for their kids, but purity can be accomplished in other ways, like equipping young adults to MAKE GOOD DECISIONS, rather than setting up a bunch of stringent rules for their kids to follow…and a weird artificial process for finding a mate.

    I think what disgusted me the most was to watch people’s responses to the one successful courtship at our church that had actually ended in marriage. Everybody thought that this couple had lived out the absolute ideal. Yet (and granted, I could be wrong, as I did not know this girl that well) I got the distinct feeling, from my position as an observer, that the girl in this couple was woefully ill-prepared for marriage to the young man. She seemed very stiff and uncomfortable whenever the two of them were together in public. I can’t imagine what it must have been like for her, to go from living with her parents (she was about 20, had never been to college and had never held a real job aside from giving piano lessons to some of the other kids from church) to – within a period of about 3 months – having gone through a whirlwind courtship with someone she’d hardly spent any time alone with, to being engaged, to getting married to him.

    I should probably quit this rant. But courtship and the legalistic excesses that I witnessed are subjects that really get me hot under the collar, almost more than anything else within SGM. There are extremes that NOBODY could ever address in a single sermon.

    • Fundamentalism Survivor Says:

      That’s bad. But it gets carried to even greater extremes in other churches, where people’s paranoia and subjective interpretations of the book are involved.

      The doctrines of this man (Josh Harris), difficult enough in themselves, provide a ready platform for fundamentalist hypocrisy in the church. Fanatical proponents of “Kissed Dating Goodbye” methodology ultimately trashed my reputation in my old church (it was found out I “went too far” with my ex-fiance). They stalked around with lists of requirements for their future wife/husband. The sexes avoided each other and were embittered. Elders/deacons kids got a lot more freedom even though they weren’t above messing around at times. The singles had a gossip network by which others were “warned” as to who was “marriage material” and who was NOT. If you didn’t make the lucky few, people were distantly polite & emotionally absent in the youth group; you didn’t have a chance at making friends.

      Josh, I don’t believe you intended for extremes to happen. But you have muddied the pond for a couple of generations now. Many of us are so cynical that we have resigned ourselves to singleness. Some of us had meaningful, pure relationships with Christian sisters that have been destroyed because of confusion on topics like “emotional purity” (we don’t want to cheat on our future spouses by opening up). You are in a position of great recognition and authority. You have the responsibility to set a better example…”

      check out http://www.jeremysconfessions.com

  2. Cindy Seay (Mom/Nana) Says:

    I agree with the dangers of legalism and parents being overly protected of their children. I am not one of those. I simply see, in the teenage girls that I work with, examples of taking the opposite approach and know that this doesn’t work either.
    My goal is to help families find a healthy balance – not hiding your daughters away until you find a suitable husband- simply helping young people feel empowered to make good decisions related to dating, relationships, etc. We feel that it is our job to equip our kids to live in the real world and when the time come to launch them to be productive adults. (We have now done this 5 times with great results)
    Thanks for challenging me to think beyond where I have been.

  3. steve240 Says:

    Cindy

    Thanks for your compliment on this. My goal here is to get single Christians ant their parents (for younger singles) to think for themselves what part of this is wisdom and what part is foolishness vs. just taking a herd mentality. There are times when it is wisdom and other times foolishness.

    Kris

    Thanks for your comment. I am also going to post your comment on the blog page you were commenting on.

  4. Jeff Says:

    With four daughters and one son…we’ve found this topic challenging, to say the least, as they are all so different and unique. One may not show any (or little ) interest in the opposite sex at age 16….and another may seem to through themselves at the opposite sex, sneaking to see them, hiding encounters with them, texting, e-mailing, phoning, finding way to hook up when they are supposed to be doing x/y/z….etc….

    We’ve chosen the “no dating” approach, but do strongly encourage mixed group activities and close friendships. For a couple of ours, it seems to be a social pressure to “have someone”… “All my girlfriends have a boy friend…” and “I’m the only one left out”…is a very powerful, yet shallow, motivation. And, no matter how much you attempt to uncover and review at the real reason(s) for one “wanting a friend” of the opposite sex, with a couple of our kids, this draw / need / pressure is great.

    One of the most difficult factors to deal with is the fact that so many parents have seemingly little or no restrictions in the area of boy-girl relationships….and our kids then feel they are “the only ones” not allowed to do what they want, when they want, with whom they want…etc…

    Where’s the real balance?

    Fathers….who do you want your 16 year old daughter(s) kissed by? Who do you want them snuggling with? How many young men do you want to enjoy these types of moments with your daughter(s) before they identify the man for their lifetime (spouse)? Are you comfortable with your 15 and 16 years old daughters being intimately handled (I’m not necessarily meaning physically /sexually touched, but kissed passionately / snuggled with / cuddled with / held close in intimate ways) ? Where is your comfort zone as a dad? How are your daughters to hold “a line” at any one point in this type of intimate activity. A kiss can be a pretty potent and powerful thing!

    Josh’s book really isn’t all that out of line in my mind, but maybe you’ll disagree.

    Respectfully….and with great love for my daughters…

    jeff

  5. steve240 Says:

    Jeff

    Thanks for your comments. The “kissing dating goodbye” (for a season) might be appropriate for your daughters at their age. As they mature the approach should change.

    Have you read some of of my posts such as “One Size Fits All?” My problem with “kissing dating goodbye” is that I have seen it pushed on much older single adults. Harris was young when he wrote about what worked for him. I don’t understand why so many think that what worked for him should be applicable to all ages. Harris also fails to acknowledge the history and problems with the system he promotes.

    Unfortunately Joshua Harris doesn’t make this point in his book. One would think that it applies to all ages etc. Harris also doesn’t distinguish between doing things occasionally with someone of the opposite sex as a friend vs. a longer term relationship.

    In summary, I think that there is both wisdom and foolishness in the concept. Unfortunately Harris left out the foolish aspects of his book.

  6. Jeff Says:

    Thank you for your response. Foolish is a very potent word… One may certainly disagree with someone else’s position(s), but to call them foolish might be a bit over the top. Maybe?

    I’m certainly not the last word on dating / intimate relationships / romantic involvements / etc….but it is unequivocally clear to me that one’s heart must be wholly focused on the Lord and His will for their lives before one should allow themselves to enter “a friendship” that goes beyond the everyday general friendship encounter. Guarding one’s heart romantically is only done well as one’s heart is given over to the Lord, completely, without reservation.

    I guess one needs to tailor their approach to the individual…with regard to boy-girl / man-woman relationships…especially as they are maturing in their teens and are still under the authority / responsibility of their parents.

    His Peace,
    Jeff

  7. steve240 Says:

    Jeff

    Foolishness might be a potent word but was the opposite of wisdom. I am not sure what else I would call foolishness when I see older single adults in their late 20′s and older that are afraid of each other. This includes these single adults not being able to have general friendship encounters. Hence the term wisdom or foolishness. I am also asking in the title if it is wisdom or foolishness.

    Also, when one looks at the history of this approach and how it was implemented to extremes foolish sure seems an appropriate word. I can also think of some extreme words for Harris not sharing the defects of his approach and the historical problems of his approach.

    Tailoring one’s approach is quite appropriate. If nothing else, this blog will help someone think and decide what is right for them in their situation vs. copying a system that worked for a specific 19 year old male for his personal situation. Too many people have just accepted this as the better way without thinking it through; this especially seemed to happened right after the book was published and the “fad” it created.

  8. yamii Says:

    I think Joshua Harris is just being pro to God and so all of his principles depended on His will.

  9. Edmund Bertram Says:

    Yamii,

    Could you please clarify what you mean by, “so all of his principles depended on His will”?

  10. yamii Says:

    Oh sorry, I misunderstood… hehehehe.. God bless! :D

  11. DB Says:

    I have five daughters (and three sons, but the emphasis seems to be on the daughters here for some odd reason.) They are allowed to date. They have also been prepared with talks and our examples. The younger ones also have the examples of their older siblings.

    Two of my daughters are married. We love both of our sons in law with all our hearts. We wouldn’t, however, have chosen these men to be our daughter’s husbands! It would have been pure arrogance on our part to suppose we could have chosen better husbands for our daughters than they would have been able to choose for themselves. Seriously, we’re good, but we’re not *that* good.

    Now, our son is in a serious relationship but everyone in the family right down to the grandparents simply loves this girl.

    Quote from Jeff [quote] Fathers….who do you want your 16 year old daughter(s) kissed by? Who do you want them snuggling with? How many young men do you want to enjoy these types of moments with your daughter(s) before they identify the man for their lifetime (spouse)? Are you comfortable with your 15 and 16 years old daughters being intimately handled (I’m not necessarily meaning physically /sexually touched, but kissed passionately / snuggled with / cuddled with / held close in intimate ways) ? Where is your comfort zone as a dad? How are your daughters to hold “a line” at any one point in this type of intimate activity. A kiss can be a pretty potent and powerful thing!

    [/quote]

    Jeff, there are times when a parent needs to trust their children and trust the things they were taught sunk in. This is also the time they’re being entrusted to drive; these are unnerving times for parents. Mixed in with that is a healthy repulsion to think of our children as sexual beings. I bellieve this natural repulsion is protective but, again, unnerving.

  12. steve240 Says:

    DB

    Welcome to the blog. You make some good points. Teenagers do need to grow and learn some things. Maybe training wheels and guidance are important but they do need to grow up.

    Steve

  13. Fran Says:

    The Lord showed me long ago — when you read a book, remember it is the writers personal tesitimony — what happened when they sought the Lord for His wisdom concerning their situation. He is a personal God. When we preach our personal convictions as biblical truth, it is legalism. God’s will is the picture, the outline the Word of God, and He will personally guide us as to what colors to fill it in with. I know that people are so excited when they see God work so miraculously in their lives, that they want to “help” others to be blessed too. In that excitement, and maybe sometimes, pride, they may be too quick to tell other’s how it’s done.

    • Joe Cisneros Says:

      Smart level-headed gal! I had a similar thought that I argued with my ex-girlfriend several years back when I first read through I Kissed Dating Goodbye (after having reading Boundaries in Dating). I also read Choosing God’s Best. I thought that perhaps in Joshua Harris’s experience, it was best for him to stop dating for a while. He had already had some growing experiences within dating relationships that he realized were unhealthy and too physical or too emotionally involved, that may have left a foul taste in his mouth. That was his “personal testimony,” as Fran says, his experience. For those who hold to this philosophy, never having dated, only hanging out in college groups,” may continue to remain in an immature state, as I had until my mid-20s. Let’s think like adults, not children, and walk in Grace, rather than the Law. But it’s true, as Cloud & Townsend suggest in Boundaries in Dating, good positive dating is “No kids allowed.”

      • John David Blair Says:

        I tend to agree for the most part, Joe, with all you ahve said. However, I do feel like our youth might best be served by group dates organized by a Bible-believing church rather than launching into courting, which seems to be just as “serious” (long-term oriented) as dating, but less effective or sensible.

        I think our youth need to avoid exclusive, committed relationships until they’ve had time to learn about how to interact with the opposite sex in a Biblical and effective manner. That, I think, would be best able to happen in church events that foster supervised, group dating scenarios designed to prepare them for flying solo when they are mature enough.

        This is just an idea, and I am not saying it’s a Bible mandate, btw. I agree: people shouldn’t preach their theories on dating as Bible-mandated.

  14. SavvyD Says:

    Some people might enjoy reading a MARRY romp through the Bible:
    Biblical Ways of Knowing She’s The One. my tongue in cheek view of Biblical relationships.

    http://www.savvysinglechristian.blogspot.com/2007/09/biblical-ways-of-knowing-shes-one

    I posted some comments throughout some of your posts. I’m glad you’re talking about this. :)

  15. steve240 Says:

    Savvy D

    Welcome to my blog and thanks for your comments. When I get time I am going to take a look through your blog more.

    Steve

  16. Derek420 Says:

    Kris,

    I’m a member of the SG church in Gaithersburg, and was in the congregation when Josh’s famous “Courtship Smourtship” was preached. I know Josh personally, and I just want you to know that he has a heart for the Gospel above all things. While the result of “courtship” has been a list of arbitrary rules and regulations that bind people seeking a mate, it was never intended that way. It was (I believe) intended as an example of what a God-honoring relationship should be, NOT as a formula for how things must be done. Also, I gave my life to Christ in the church, and there is no other place I’d rather be.

    With that said, here at ground-zero, the EXACT things that were being preached against were hard at work, and to a large extent still are. Male/Female interactions reached the point of being so awkward that the thought of getting into a serious relationship can seem almost unbearable. Legalism about the whole “courtship” process takes some of those pressures to the extreme. Most of it really is nothing more than the socially acceptable platform for gossip and meddling in the business of others, all done under the guise of guarding hearts, purity, and the like.

    I know of several relationships that were under excessive pressure, and one taken to the brink of ending because of what went on. Someone very close to me swore to NEVER enter into a relationship with anyone from the church because of the legalism that surrounds relationships, and when this person finally did (with another member of the church), the relationship stayed completely hidden from sight for months, and when it did come to light it did so only under the watchful eyes of mature people and pastors. All others were litterally forced out.

    There is a useful example here. I was told to my face to tend to my own biz (which I gladly did). This couple had no problems because they sought wise counsel from pastors and mature people, and made it very clear that the nosy people around them had best find something else to amuse themselves with. So you can certainly stand up for yourself when someone becomes the “uninvited guest” in your relationship.

  17. steve240 Says:

    Derek

    Thanks for your comment and sharing about the situation at the Sovereign Grace Ministries “flagship” church. It is sad that things that Josh Harris taught against and tried to correct with a few messages are still significant problems in his church.

    This just goes to show that a few messages aren’t nearly enough to correct problems that have developed in the culture over years. I am sure Joshua Harris means well and meant well.

    Thanks again.

    Steve

  18. Suitman Says:

    Well one thing is definite, Harris’s heart is in the right place, I am only coming up for 18 myself so I do not claim to be an expert, but I have seen The havok lots of dating within a youth group can acheive and I have no doubt that some of the principles he teaches could have been a huge Help. For while I tryed to help the situation and remind people that wisdom was required however it didn’t work out for the best and put the youth group under alot of stress and division. However the legalistic nature by which some people take this book is ridiculous. Despite the book having no publicity in scotland I myself have felt a bit of a sting from the same views.

    In my church I have been friends with a girl since … I was something like 6 days old. and we have literally grown up together… but some of those in the church have seen us having conversations without other people there (oh shock horror <_<) and rumours are a common symptom.

    I myself hold to the dating philosophy that for every rule thats made there are so many exceptions that the rules become pointless in the end. And so use guidelines and proverbial rules that I handle with what little wisdom I have and the wisdom that I nick from God. I learn my boundaries and I avoid situations that will cause me to fall but do not avoid woman.

    To be honest wisdom is one of the most vital components to a successfull relationship… which is why teenagers usually … fail. And why it should be dealt with properlly, but not avoided.

    Daniel Kelly
    danielskelly@talktalk.net

  19. steve240 Says:

    Suitman

    Welcome to my blog and thanks for your comment.

    Joshua Harris wrote his book in his late teens and wrote about something that worked for him as a teenager. Thus as a teenager kissing goodbye or at least postponing might be a good thing. You might want to read my blog entry about one size fits all. There I question whether what Harris wrote applies to all ages. Unfortunately so many people assumed that what worked for a teenager works for all ages.

    I don’t doubt Harris has the right heart but some times good intentions don’t produce the right results. He wrote his book as a quasi testimonial which leaves a lot of holes in the presentation. These holes include not sharing the problems that have occurred with his approach including at the church he is now the senior pastor at.

    Welcome again to the blog.

  20. Ivy Says:

    hmm…after reading thru all the comments here. i agree with jeff, derek420 and suitman though i really think that your blog is a good avenue for people to read and expand their minds to think futher.

    personally i dont believe that there’s a perfect writer and no one can write something about everything and anything for everyone. i totally agree that i kissed dating goodbye applies well for for teenagers but older singles as jeff says can tailor them to their needs. i also believe that Josh Harris did not write it as a guideline that those who read should follow them strictly but he wrote it plainly to give an idea to singles out there of what a pleasing boy-girl relationship is like in God’s eyes. at the end of the day, it’s still up to the readers to decide for themselves whether they want to take lessons from it or not.

    so yea…that’s my point of view.

  21. steve240 Says:

    Ivy

    Thanks for your comments. I am glad you agree with a lot of what I and others say here.

    Yes there is no perfect writer and writers do make mistakes even with the best of intentions.

    A big criticism I have of Harris is that with the unintentional mistakes he may have made with the book, I don’t see a lot of action to try and correct this. For example read my post “What Problems Joshua Harris Acknowledged About How Singles Relate At His Church (But Doesn’t Share on His Website) ”

    Harris could do a lot more to correct abuses but for some reason chooses not to. If you read my latest post about what another SGM leader taught then maybe Harris is between a rock and hard place with other leadership in Sovereign Grace Ministries.

  22. Jim Says:

    Thanks for your hard work on this issue. After 13 years in singles ministry, I find that few will even attempt an alternative to “dating”. I have observed that many singles do not attempt celibacy, do not limit their dating to believers, etc. We had three wedding showers this summer. All had met a non-christian, become pregnant and had a baby. Then they got “around to” marriage. Still, no Christian man in the picture. So, any strategy is an improvement. SGM actually reminds me of the Maranantha church of the 70″s where the individuals had to individually approach the pastor about who they were attracted to. When he saw a good match, he would bless them and they could date.

  23. steve240 Says:

    Jim

    Welcome to the blog. I agree that there can be many problems associated with dating. One does need to make sure that we don’t react to these problems by going to the opposite extreme as it appears many do when using the “kissing dating goodbye” philosophy.

    Harris wrote his book based on his experiences as a teenager since he was 21 when he wrote the book. People reading that should take that into account more than they seem to to do, especially when they think this should apply to singles of all ages.

  24. SavvyD Says:

    Derek–secret relationships? I don’t recommend those either. It can be just as dangerous to keep a relationship hidden as it is to tell the whole world everything. There has to be some middle road in here. I date to get to know someone better. Some say I date too much, but if someone else asks me out, I might go so I can get to know him better before I decide to accept another date. A date means an appointment.

    Dating is any social activity performed as a pair or even a group with the aim of each assessing the other’s suitability as their partner in an intimate relationship or as a spouse. The word refers to the act of agreeing on a time and “date” when a pair can meet and engage in some social activity.

    In many cultural traditions, dates are arranged by a third party, who may be a family member, an acquaintance, or a dedicated matchmaker.

  25. John D. Says:

    What it seems to boil down to is that for conscientious Christians, seeking a mate borders on insanity.

    I’m 43, never-married, and was not raised in a church that practiced this courting/betrothal/kissing dating goodbye stuff. It’s all pretty new to me.

    The idea — which Ted Slater and Boundless have endorsed — that courtship principles are applicable to all ages, even to middle-aged professionals who moved away from their parents’ homes years ago, is flabbergasting.

    Seriously — I have to have the pastors and my (and her) parents breathing down our necks when we’re old enough to be the parents of teens ourselves? The same people who are desperate to get Christians to marry are making the process so burdensome and repulsive to self-respecting adults that a lot of us would rather just leave it alone than submit to legalistic nonsense.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy Says:

      Insanity? I’ll give you insanity when KDG gets factored into the mix:

      I’m 54 years old. Never married (though I sure longed to be, women never found me attractive). My parents are dead. According to KDG courting dogma, Who The Hell Will Arrange My Marriage For Me?

  26. Jon Says:

    Interesting article and interesting posts, as today is the first times I had heard about the problems within SGM I can’t really comment on what happened there. However most of the people from the church I attend within my peer group (20yrs old) did read the book and I think it would have been a positive thing if some of them had taken the lessons more to heart rather than telling everyone that they were courting without changing anything about their relationships.

    Indeed the fact that boy/girl contact remains too free has caused a lot of problems within the church and a few pointed sermons. I am not saying by the way that people are breaking a strict rules system but rather they appear to be missing a few salient passages in the Bible.

    I think Joshua raises some good points in his book and the sequel (I am a little surprised that it hasn’t been mentioned as I thought it laid out a much better foundation than IKDG did). And with everything of this nature one must vet all “christian” books through the lenses of scripture and ensure that one only acts upon convictions that are biblically based.

    My closest friend happens to be female, and having known her since I was 6 there is nothing wrong with that relationship, however I do get sick of the comments and rumours spread whenever I go to her church by those who don’t know the history. As Derek says sometime older people outside of those in the ‘know’ i.e. parents, etc should realy mind their own business and stop fueling the problem.

    Thats my two bobs worth and I’ll leave you to it. Thanks for the blog.

  27. Min C Says:

    Hello,
    Thanks for the comment on my blog. I have looked at a couple of your and can agree with some onf your findings.
    On my blog, I posted the text from “I kissed dating godbye” as the hard copy to notes I presented in a bible study.

    I do agree with with Mr. Harris that most people are not ready to date, and therefore need to be done with “dating” in the normal/ traditional sense…. But more importantly, I think there is more significant question Joshua Harris raises that the dating issue itself. The question is..if we are dating in the traditional sense can we glorify God through a system (dating) that is inherently selfish in its origin?….

  28. Steve Says:

    Min C

    Welcome to my blog. I wouldn’t necessarily say that dating is inherently selfish in its origin. People can use dating in a selfish way or in a way thinking about others.

    One thing that Harris doesn’t seem to differentiate with dating is long term vs. short term, i.e. two people going out as friends vs. a couple that get into a committed relationship even if it is more of a short term going together situation.

    Many parents use courtship to control their children but I wouldn’t say that it was set up with that intention by all people using it.

    One of the main purposes of my blog is to share the problems courtship/groups have created. Most who push courtship aren’t willing to admit the defects and problems with courtship.

  29. dinnie Says:

    hi steve,

    I am not sure if this sounds right.
    But as a reader of the book, I feel that the advice that Josh has dished out is pretty useful, especially for us the youths. Yes, I understand that the book’s radical ideas might not be for everyone, and sometimes for older adults the ideas might seemed irelevant. but do not forget that he has another book titled Boy Meets Girl, in which he teached the proper ways of starting a relationship.

    I feel that personally, the book has some pretty good ideas and it helped me.
    and these are just my ideas, not to force them on anyone or whatsoever.

    Thanks for setting up this blog.

  30. steve240 Says:

    dinnie

    Thanks for your comments.

    The title of my blog says a lot. Harris’s book has both wisdom and foolishness. Unfortunately Harris hasn’t acknowledged the problems the approach he promotes has caused.

    It is sad that he has never shared this on a broad basis like his book was. These problems have even occurred in the church Harris now pastors and has been their practice for the last 30 years. Not acknowledging these problems sets people up for failure IMO.

    I do hope that this blog helps people at least bring up when there are problems if they choose this approach and make adjustments vs. just walking around silent and

    You might want to take a look at my definitions page. The courtship system that his church now promotes seems strange in that you have to spend time getting to know the father before you can even spend time courting the young lady.

    I would also be careful of patters or a method such as the term “right way” of starting a relationship. There isn’t always one way that God has all follow in this area.

    Welcome again and thanks for your compliment.

  31. Meghan Says:

    Steve, thanks for sharing. It was interesting to see the extent to which you’ve paid attention to this issue. I’ve been lucky enough to avoid too much personal contact with the IKDG clan, and intend to keep it that way. :)

  32. Stephen Says:

    As a guy in his 20′s I would still agree with Harris and his book. I have never dated and I do not intend to date until I am ready to get married. I think Harris’ point was not that people shouldn’t date, but that they should hold off on dating until they are absolutely ready to marry. I read that book when I was 17ish so it was quite a few years ago when I read it, but I would not change my decision on dating. Courtship and group dating is a much better approach, in my opinion, because of the aforementioned. Parents have a chance to meet and see their children’s choices on a mate and there is not that added pressure to actually have a boyfriend or girlfriend and with group dating it’s not really dating because everyone is just hanging out, having fun and enjoying each others company without feeling like you have to appease to the other person. That’s just my opinion. Thanks for the critique though.

  33. steve240 Says:

    Stephen

    Thanks for your comment.

    I would urge you to read all of the entries of my blog. As you may find, IMO their is both wisdom and foolishness in “kissing dating goodbye.” Make sure your agreement is based on what results you see vs. what someone might tell you.

    Unfortunately those who promote “kissing dating goodbye” as well as courtship don’t acknowledge the problems that their approach causes or has caused over the years. Harris’s approach has caused a number of problems in the church he is now Sr. Pastor of but even these problems aren’t shared and rarely acknowledeged. One big concern is that it many times teach single to avoid relating with those of the opposite sex vs. learning how to properly relate.

    One distinction that Harris doesn’t make is between short term dating and long term dating. I would tend to agree with him that long term dating without a purpose doesn’t make sense but I do see value in short term dating of someone of the opposite sex. It can offer many benefits and learning experiences.

    If this blog does nothing else than makes one think vs. blindly accept what someone else says about “kissing dating goodbye” including realizing the guidelines might vary with age and maturity then it serves a good purpose. Sometimes when one sees a problem with one approach the “answer” seems to be to react vs. respond. Many times “kissing dating goodbye” is reactionary vs. responding.

  34. debrabaker Says:

    Is this ubercontrolling teaching contributing to abuse within courtship churches?

    http://www.sgmsurvivors.com/

    This story begs the question.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy Says:

      I find it worthy of South Park that a group calling itself “Sovereign Grace Ministries” acts as micromanaging/legalistic as Extreme Shari’a.

  35. steve240 Says:

    Debra

    I have read and been a part of the above blog for quite a while. The latest entry on that blog and what happened to the 3 year old child is really sad.

    You ask a good question. I will have to think about this but it is my guess is that the teaching of “kissing dating goodbye” is more of a symptom than a contributor. Of course one type of control can feed an justify another type of control.

    Welcome to my blog.

    Steve

  36. John Says:

    Hey Steve,

    First, thank you for taking the time to comment to our blog in reply to our entry, “What is ‘dating’ anyway?” Those wishing to see Steve’s comment and our article may use the following link:

    http://appliedtruthandinterest.blogspot.com/2009/01/what-is-dating-anyway.html

    I find your site to be very interesting, and it zeroes in specifically on a topic we only just touched on at our blog, “Applied Truth & Interest” or, simply, “ATI” (http://appliedtruthandinterest.blogspot.com). That issue being Mr. Harris’ views on dating.

    Personally, I respect Mr. Harris and believe he is very well-intended. However, I also feel he is misguided, that his approach fails completely with adults, and provides little hope of helping those younger Christians learn how to date before going off to college or a career. Abandoning dating is not the answer. Rather, we need to teach our youth how to date from a Biblical perspective, with appropriate consideration given to their ages. The modern trend to villify dating is detrimental to our youth. Instead of teaching them to avoid dating, we should remind them that dating is just spending time with someone of the opposite sex, getting to know each other. It is not a relationship or a physical encounter.

    A date is a one-time event. Dating is, simply, the practice of going on dates. Whether a date leads to a 2nd date, a 3rd date, or to a commitment, be it a relationship or marriage, depends on what you learn on that date. “Do I want to explore a commitment with this person?” “Is this the sort of person the Lord would be pleased to see me marry?” “How can I honor God while dating?” Addressing questions like these is a reasonable way to start discovering what dating from a Christian perspective means.

    Now a shameless plug for our blog: its point is taking God’s truth, revealed in the Bible, and addressing it to a wide range of topics, questions, concerns, and interests relevant to Christians who are saved but don’t know where to go from there. The Church has a bad habit of bringing people to the cross, dropping them off, then leaving them to figure out what comes next all on their own. Our blog is here to help (at least, that is the goal). The truth is His, and the interest is ours.

    It began with just me, John, but now we have a second dedicated writer on board. Also, we have sent out invitations to guest writers. We discuss dating, true religion, Heaven, politics, the law, and more, all from a Biblical perspective. We’re new, so we need you to help us grow!

    Peace and love in Christ,

    John

  37. steve240 Says:

    John

    Welcome to my blog and thanks for your compliment. I am enjoying the discussion we are having on your blog about dating.

    If I do nothing more than help singles think about what is best for them vs. blindly follow one person’s teaching about “kissing dating goodbye” than my blog has served its purpose. Like you I feel Harris means well with what he wrote. His book was more of a testimonial on how “kissing dating goodbye” worked well for him. Why people assumed what he wrote should apply to all people to be done the same way baffles me.

    One thing that seems to be the rule with people promoting “kissing dating goodbye” is that there seems to be little thinking for themselves including questioning. Also, those who promote IKDG rarely seem to want to admit the the problems it causes or has caused.

    Welcome again and I am looking forward to additional discussions on this topic.

  38. Emily Says:

    I am truly happy to have found this blog. Searching around for varying opinions on “I Kissed Dating Goodby” tends to go from the extreme view of “his opinions are THE ONLY BIBLICAL WAY” to “I could care less, I’ll do what I want!” And this really upset me, because I saw quite a lot of legalistic and overly-controlling tendancies in his book, yet I don’t think throwing oneself head-long into the secular dating world is the right way to live, either.

    I will admit that I initially had a knee-jerk reaction to the book and the idea of courting, becuase I like the idea of dating– hanging out one-on-one with friends/someone I might become interested in/someone I AM interested in. And I’ve always believed (and trust) that I tend to have good judgement in regards to my actions and what is just setting myself up for temptations and what isn’t. I guess my initial response was anger at being told that I wasn’t capable of “drawing my own lines” or using my own common-sense in a dating relationship.

    But I just felt like I couldn’t question his advice because it just seemed so biblical, and if this is how it was done then shouldn’t it also be continued now? I’ve been looking into culture versus Christian values a lot lately– but within other settings. Such as “what sort of music can be played in church”. Our traditional culture tells us it has to be “classical hyms” but the newer culture has more pop/rock/modern music. Is either un-Christian or more Christian than the other? I would say no, because our culture and not our religion determines our musical taste.

    And within the last couple of days I’ve been wondering if the idea of “dating versus courtship” could also be an issue of culture. The idea specifically came up when I read an article on “bethrothal” and how THIS was truly the only biblical way. And it’s right– courtship is more of a “victorian era” style of marriage, NOT the biblical one. It is something that was influenced by the culture at the time. I think that Christians can adopt the “dating culture” of today, while apply Christian values, and still call the process a Christian one. God does not dictate what our fashions need to be (but He does say they should be modest), He does not say what musical instruments are best for worship of Him, He does not say that our houses have to be built in a certain way (although He does say they must be safe– levitical law) so why do we assume that the way of arranging marriages must stay the same? The Christian values (modesty and safety) can be applied to the cultural “system” and still be Christian.

    I think including ones family in the decision making is important and I also think it is important that a couple truly think through their reasons for marriage, but imposing these rules and saying “it’s biblical” can be misleading. Yes, these relationships may lead to too much physical intimacy, but what cost is this man/woman segregation causing? I don’t want to imply that sex before marriage is somehow better or worth it if this fear of the opposite sex is eliminated, but at the same time this repression of feelings isn’t healthy and likely to lead to other problems down the line. There needs to be a “comprimise” of sorts. The same with the emotional concerns people have, and the phrase “emotional promiscuity”. The idea seems to be that so long as people don’t become emotionally attached before their marriage they can’t be hurt, but is living in a bubble justified? So many “non-romantic” relationships can leave people hurting. Family members and close friends are people we love, are emotionally intimate with and trust– yet they have just as much of a chance of “just leaving” us or betraying us as any boyfriend/girlfriend. Heck, even ones husband isn’t exempt from this possibility. I just don’t see it justifying the idea that we shouldn’t attach ourselves emotionally until we are married– the idea just doesn’t seem right to me.

  39. steve240 Says:

    Emily

    Welcome to my blog. I am glad that you see I am trying to do a fair analysis of the concept of “kissing dating goodbye.”

    Unfortunately in a lot of groups the ideas of courtship and doing things in groups becomes unassailable when they are promoted as the “biblical” way to do something.

    Thanks again.

  40. Victoria Rebecca Says:

    Hi Steve. Thanks for visiting my blog. I will keep all the issues that you pointed out in mind while I read the book.
    Blesssings,
    Victoria

  41. Genesis Says:

    I havent seen your blog bc i dont know you ,but thanks for visiting mine… I believe Harris’ book is pretty good. It all depends on your own point of view. I choose to “Kiss daitng goodbye,” because I know i wouldn’t feel at peace if i get in a relationship now. I want to be so in love with God that nothing nor anyone will distract me. I have always had that mentality even before reading Harris’ book, but who knows maybe God will send me a person before i turn 21 lol or maybe not, but what i do know in my heart is that He will let me know when is the right time until that I will seek Him.

  42. steve240 Says:

    Genesis

    Welcome to my blog. If you read my blog, you will find entries where I suggest that “kissing dating goodbye” might be appropriate for teenagers.
    Thus is might be that you are temporarily “kissing dating goodbye” or maybe postponing dating till you are a little older.

    Each person has to make their own decision about dating.

  43. DieM Rockel Says:

    I find Harris’ analogy of the pulling cart … in a china store… not only that but the aisles are narrow, to pretty much say he does not accept dating as any kind of option.

    What people who support this don’t realize is the affect of his book spreading outside groups that have always done group dating and courtship had a terrible affect on those of us who grew up at the time.

    Our church had not taken that kind of a stand. My parents raised me to be pure and that dates were acceptable, but I should only date someone who was a Christian…

    All the parents of the girls at my church latched onto the movement as a way to keep their girls pure, by them saying they were not dating. They could have maned up as Dad’s and have to say to me as a MAN THEY were not allowing their daughter to date.

    That left all the guys who thought the basic premise, “Some day when I’m ready my prince will come and court me,” was pie in the sky after reading how poorly I kissed dating goodbye and boy meets girl explained things, with no Christian girls to date who cared about their purity let alone ours.
    The worst part is there is no infrastructure supporting this. If I’m supposed to be some girls prince how am I to know where to find her that she is a single Christian and that I have to court her.
    I don’t trust God to micromanage every life and I didn’t at 16. God wasn’t the one setting up marriages by uma and thumin, people were finding whoever they could.

    As a single now in a Church with few single females near my age I would love to pick a fight with some of those idealists.

    Every girl I knew from church gave up courtship in college or when they found the guy they WANTED.

    Funny how that works. The only people I’ve met who are still serious about courtship are people who are starting to feel disillusioned.

    Joshua Harris doomed these people to a system that if they are not at a church that preaches courtship is strange to all but the most persistent suitors.

    Now he doesn’t want to own up to the pain and problems his books have caused by him not waiting till he had a full solution. He should have known not all Christians would start practicing this system.

    Now he has detractors like me who frankly pray to God for justice for what he did to us and our generation.

    DieM

  44. steve240 Says:

    DieM

    Welcome to my blog and sorry for the late welcome. It is sad reading about the problems that you shared “kissing dating goodbye” created in your experience. Unfortunately, in my experience, most of those who promote the “kissing goodbye mentality” never admit or come to terms with the problems that it causes. It isn’t the perfect or clearly better approach it usually is made out to be by those who promote it. It has its own problems.

    My take on it is that it is an approach that was more designed for teenagers vs. older adults at best.

    Welcome again.

    Steve

  45. Janice Says:

    hi everyone!..

    hmmm well not all problems are based on dating itself or having bf/gf or husband/wife etc.. it could be related to your own insecurities too.. hatred towards self that could lead to detructive relationship.

    hmm im just wondering why is it so important to talk about this book i kissed dating goodbye.. etc.. blah blah blah-ing about his work.. if u think u cant trust the book…

    hmmm…then what is the Holy Spirit for? Didnt God said trust Him.. seek him first the kingdom of God and everything shall be added unto you?

    God is BIG.. He is almighty.. ask him.. he is the one who created u and me.. if u dont like the idea of i kissed dating goodbye…. then why not ask God, who created all things in the first place?!?!

    well im not putting everyone down.. just that i feel there’s not need to make a big hoo haa about all this.. when there is much simple way to discern in Godly manner… God Bless…

    • steve240 Says:

      Janice

      Welcome to my blog. One of my biggest purposes of setting up this blog is to expose the other side of “kissing dating goodbye.” IMO, the book Harris wrote shared all the pros of “kissing dating goodbye” but didn’t share the various problems that it has caused over the years, including problems in Harris’s own church.

      Stating this another way, those that promote “kissing dating goodbye” are quick to point out all the “defects” of dating but won’t admit the problems with their “alternative.”

      Also, what may be appropriate for teenagers (age Josh Harris used to base his writing) isn’t appropriate and sometimes detrimental for older singles.

      Thus I feel it is good that people realize the whole truth about “kissing dating goodbye.”

      Welcome again.

      Steve

  46. lauradee24 Says:

    From my own experience of a courtship gone disastrously awry, I can say that I am very much against courtship and would say I am more for “smart dating.” Really, if you read Joshua Harris’ second book, you find that his ideas did not really work for him 100%, either. I think this is given with good intentions, but the same imperfect people that date turn into the imperfect people that court when they find something they think is “better.”

    I wasn’t really allowed to date in high school, and my parents pushed me more for courtship. What they didn’t think of, and what I don’t think most parents realize, is that it is BETTER if your kids are learning how to navigate the romantic playing field while they are still at home where parents can better guide them into making smart choices. My boyfriend was easily able to fool me into thinking he was a great guy because I was so naive. He was easily able to fool my parents because he rarely saw them. We got married, and our marriage fell completely apart 3 years and 1 baby later after he decided it would be fun to share his wife with his friends. So courtship/purity before marriage in NO way guarantees that you’re marrying a nice, pure guy who has only your best interests at heart. I think a moderate, “smart dating” approach is probably a better way to go for most people.

    It’s actually an INCREDIBLY long story. I could write my own book. I am the poster child for why purity and courting isn’t always the way to go. . .

  47. steve240 Says:

    lauralee

    Welcome to my blog. I have read some of your blog entries and what happened to you is a sad story of betrayal by your husband.

    One of my biggest concerns with courtship is that those who promote are quick to share all the defects they see with dating but seem to ignore and be silent about all the problems that courtship has caused over the years. Welcome again.

  48. Jessica Says:

    Steve,

    I saw that you left a comment on my blog and came over here to check you out like you suggested. I don’t have a lot of time, unfortunately, to read all of the articles which you referenced back to in this entry. On my blog you addressed that kissing dating goodbye and having courtship as an alternative may be fine for younger people but possibly counterproductive for older singles. I am sure this is a valid point, but I’ve never thought about it because I will still be considered young for a long time. Are there a couple specific articles that you have linked to here that I could read to see your point a little better? And how do you define “older”? 25? 30? What parts of courtship do you consider counterproductive?

    I certainly do not agree with everything that Josh Harris preaches, but I think, to a degree, he has good theory when it comes to this topic. Have you ever read anything by Eric and Leslie Ludy? I like their perspectives better, actually.

  49. steve240 Says:

    Jessica

    Welcome to my blog.

    What age things change will depend on each specific person. My general thought is that the “kissing dating goodbye” approach is more designed for teenagers vs. older singles.

    Most of the links above are pretty short so aren’t long articles to read. I would suggest you read the “One Size Fits All?” article. Also “What Is “Dating” And What Did Harris Supposedly “Kiss Goodbye?” for starters.

    Dating can mean a lot of things. Even Harris was more concerned on one type of “dating.” Many take his approach as meaning that all forms of “dating” are wrong.

    Hope this helps.

  50. lolasputnik Says:

    Interesting blog. I do agree that courtship is not for everyone, but I can definitely see Josh’s good intentions in the book. Everyone is different, and I think he does state that in his book – just remember he is also human, and at the end of the day we must look back into God’s Word to see what He says: maybe if the day comes that a guy wants to pursue a relationship with me we might go the dating route or not … it’s just a good book to think seriously about relationships and not as flings (as the world does). Cool blog though.

  51. JMH85 Says:

    Steve,
    Thanks for the comments on my site. It has been sometime since I have actually read the book, but I do remember discussing it many times with youth group members and various friends. I can remember thinking that this guy has some good ideas, but not all of them are sound. I see God as designing relationships and wants us to be active participants in them. Of course there should be appropriate bounderies for interactions with the opposite sex, but we should by no means avoid them and then expect God to magically drop Mr or Mrs Right into out laps (which seems to be the general idea of many Christian authors). There are some good resources out there though The Boundless website is excellent and The Guys and Girls Guides to Marrying Well are great too. Thanks again.

    • steve240 Says:

      JMH85

      I hope this blog of mine provokes the right kind of questioning vs. just blindly accepting IKDG as so many seemed to do initially.

      As I say in one of my entries, many times “kissing dating goodbye” leads to one learning to avoid relating to those of the opposite sex vs. learning how to properly do it.

      • Jessica Says:

        That is the thing, though. I don’t think anybody accepts IKDG blindly…why would anybody do that? It’s natural to question things, mull them over in your mind, and decide what is best for yourself. It’s not the Bible; you can pick and choose what fits your life. All Harris is offering is advice using his point of view as an example. His view of courtship isn’t a cult or something; just an idea.

        The gist of the book is to come away from the “normal” kind of dating that normally doesn’t work all too well…and then he encourages a different way of going about relationships that he believes is a better way. No two romances are going to be alike, and he knows that.

        Do you know people who have blindly accepted his doctrine or something? Where does this idea come from, if not? And have you ever read “When God Writes Your Love Story” by Eric and Leslie Ludy? I consider it better than Harris’ books. If you’ve read it, what do you think of it?

      • steve240 Says:

        Jessica

        Welcome to my blog.

        Have you seen my entry about the “kissing dating goodbye” fad?

        http://ikdg.wordpress.com/2008/12/01/one-persons-historical-account-of-the-kissing-dating-goodbye-fad/

        Reading this account it sure seemed like a lot of people blindly or pretty much blindly accepted this.

        In some churches, questioning what leadership says is looked down upon. I have seen that in various groups I have been involved with. When that is the case, people seem to blindly accept it and either don’t see, or are intimidated by the culture to bring up the problems.

        If you read some of my other blog entries you will see where I show how Josh Harris has seemed to ignore the problems that have occurred with this approach that has been in place since 1978 in the church where he is now Sr. Pastor.

  52. John David Blair Says:

    Hey again Steve,

    As you know, my friend Rob and I maintain a blog focusing on the application of Bible truth in the lives of Christians. We once wrote an blog entry on dating, which was how I originally heard of your site. I linked to that article in my comment above. I think the Jessica that commented on our dating post is the same Jessica that commented here, so I thought you might be interested to read Jessica’s comments on our dating post and our reply to her comments.

    Jessica’s comment may be found here:

    http://appliedtruthandinterest.blogspot.com/2009/01/what-is-dating-anyway.html

    Our reply, which was too long to be done in comments, may be found here:

    http://appliedtruthandinterest.blogspot.com/2009/09/reply-to-jessica-on-dating.html

    I hope this is interesting and/or useful to everyone here.

    Be blessed,

    John

  53. drew Says:

    This is a great site and I just stumbled across it…and I’ll be reading more of what you all have written in the next few days…but here’s my review on the book at Into the Book, just to prime the pump…looking forward to diving into this discussion!

    http://www.intothebook.net/2009/03/i-kissed-dating-goodbye-joshua-harris.html

    • steve240 Says:

      Drew

      Welcome to my blog. Thanks for the compliment.

      As the name implies, I believe there is both wisdom and foolishness in “kissing dating goodbye.” Unfotunately too many people have almost blindly embraced this “alternative” without analzying what is right for their situation.

      Also, “kissing dating goodbye” has caused various problems but those who promote it are reluctant to share these problems

      I am glad you are willing to take a look at what is said here.

  54. Jaime Mauger Says:

    Outstanding site. You have gained a new reader. Please maintain the fabulous posts and I look forward to more of your amusing writings.

    • steve240 Says:

      Jaime

      Welcome to my blog and thanks for your compliment.

      I am assuming that you have read through my older blogs posts. I have already said a lot of what I feel I have to say on this subject but as I occasionally get new thoughts I will post new entries.

      I am glad you are enjoy reading my blog.

      Thanks again.

  55. A.Roddy Says:

    I just found your blog I have heard of I kissed dating goodbye but never read it There are stories about courtship marriages that ended in divorce and in some cases they never made it to the alter. I read a sad story of one young lady who did the courtship and married at 16 and now at 20 had ot leave her husband because of abuse. This young lady is scarred for the rest of her life because of twisted beleifs. Another courtship dissolves because of religous differences. I feel so sad for these kids. They didnt get protected from broken heart syndrome. I cant see how anyone who led a sheltered life write a book on relationships. Their views obvioulsy came form their upbringing and not experiences.

    • steve240 Says:

      A. Roddy

      Thanks for your comments and welcome to my blog. That is one of the biggest problems with those who promote courtship. They are quite vocal in the problems that they feel dating causes but silent about the problems that courtship has caused. Courtship and “kissing dating goodbye” has caused its own share of problems.

  56. A.Roddy Says:

    Quote from Jeff [quote] Fathers….who do you want your 16 year old daughter(s) kissed by? Who do you want them snuggling with? How many young men do you want to enjoy these types of moments with your daughter(s) before they identify the man for their lifetime (spouse)? Are you comfortable with your 15 and 16 years old daughters being intimately handled (I’m not necessarily meaning physically /sexually touched, but kissed passionately / snuggled with / cuddled with / held close in intimate ways) ? Where is your comfort zone as a dad? How are your daughters to hold “a line” at any one point in this type of intimate activity. A kiss can be a pretty potent and powerful thing!

    Im pretty sure all decent parents think this way. I would like to ask extreme Christian conservatives the same thing when they marry off their 16 year old like my example above or 20 year old with no experience with the oposite gender, like Josh and Anna Duggar. Like the poster said, you trust your kid to a point. Chapperones are ridiculous for legal adults like Josh and Anna. If you raised the kid right they will know how far to go. Keeping them in a bubble can do as much damage.

  57. Bianca Juarez Says:

    This is great stuff, Steve :) Keep it up!!!!!

  58. Elijah Says:

    Hello everyone. So, I just sat here and spend the last couple hours reading through all 71 of the comments on this page! Steve, I have yet to click on and read any of your other above-shown links, but I’ve saved this site to my Favorites list, and soon I hope to read through some of them.

    For starters, here’s my background on this subject. I’m 26 now. My first experience with the “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” series was in the year 2000 at the age of 16, when my cousin — who at the time was a Youth Pastor — showed Joshua Harris’s video series to his youth group (I normally went to a different church, but attended his youth group that night). I came back the next week to watch the second part of the series. I didn’t actually get around to reading the book until 3 years later, at the age of 19. I was 20 when I read the sequel “Boy Meets Girl”. Both were very good books! I feel as though I learned a lot from both.

    Like many other (in fact, probably MOST) Christians out there though, my biggest bone to pick with the book was the general overriding message that all Christians needed to stop dating and revert to courtship. Harris had a lot of good to say in his books, but unfortunately, I believe he came down a little too harshly on dating. The problem amongst Christian young adults and teenagers at that time was not the fact that Christians were DATING; it was the fact that too many of them were dating without the implementation of any biblically-based boundaries! Now, I don’t completely disagree with his ideas about courtship, but I think he made 2 distinct mistakes in those books:

    1.) He bashed dating a little too harshly.
    2.) He insinuated that dating is inherently wrong. (Or did he actually outright say so?? Like I mentioned before, it’s been several years since I read any of his books, so my memory of some of the specifics are a little rusty.)

    What do I believe?? I believe that NEITHER dating NOR courtship is inherently wrong for a Christian to participate in. I believe BOTH can potentially have their benefits, and BOTH can potentially have their downfalls, depending on how they are handled. They both have their pros and cons. In deciding which of the two routes to take, I think we as individuals need to first be informed of the pros and cons of each, take into account our own personalities and circumstances, and be sensitive to the Holy Spirit as to which path to take. I say again, both dating and courtship both have their respective pros and cons, but no matter which of the two you choose, you must still remember to PROCEED WITH CAUTION — neither one is 100% foolproof in and of themselves!! Also, neither one is BETTER for everybody than the other — it’s different for each individual!

    MOST IMPORTANTLY, no matter which of the two methods of finding your spouse you choose to use, the key is to remember to INCORPORATE BIBLICAL PRINCIPLES into your relationship!! Contrary to what some people may believe, this can be done in either a dating OR a courtship situation. That is why I personally have gravitated toward other Christian relationship books that put more emphasis on how to implement Biblical principles in a practical manner into our dating lives. Which books?? My all-time favorite Christian dating/relationship book was “The 10 Commandments of Dating” by Dr. Ben Young and Dr. Sam Adams. Now, I haven’t even seen that one on the shelves at the bookstore in a long time, but you might still be able to find it somewhere. If you see it, BUY IT!! It consists of simple, practical, down-to-earth biblically-based dating principles, and in my opinion, if you were a youth pastor who wanted to do a book-study in your youth group, THAT is the book that should be used as the basis for talking to youth groups about Christian dating principles. Also, as someone else mentioned previously, “When God Writes Your Love Story” by the Ludy’s is a good read, and from what I remember, a very well Biblically-based book. That’s just to name a couple — there are a few others.

    All that being said, I have no intention of slamming Joshua Harris, or anything about his character. Despite the somewhat extreme and questionable nature of some of his writings, I still maintain a lot of respect for him. While he and I may not agree on a few points, I think he’s got a great heart for the Lord, and I believe that his heart and his motives (as far as I could tell) were completely pure when he wrote his books. One very good purpose that his writing of those books served is that it DID get Christian teens and young adults at that time to check themselves, and start thinking about the way they were conducting their own dating lives. He awoke an awareness to the subject of dating — something that may have been very necessary at that point in time.

  59. Elijah Says:

    wow…. I’m sorry, I knew that last post was gonna be long, but didn’t realize it was gonna be THAT long!

  60. tabithalydia Says:

    Steve, this is interesting. I’d come by often. =)

  61. amanda robb Says:

    Hi, I’m a writer working on a book about the purity movement for Scribner’s and I’m hugely interested to know about people’s experiences with courtship — especially when the courtship did not end in marriage. (I’ve already spoken to several couples whose courtships did lead straight to the alter.) This discussion seems very smart and lively. If anyone is willing to speak with me, I’d be hugely grateful. Amanda 212.787.7988 or amandarobb@me.com

    • steve240 Says:

      Amanda

      Welcome to my blog. Maybe someone on here who has the experience you are looking for will give you a call.

      I am sure you know that “courtship” can mean a lot of things and has quite a spectrum. It can include arranged marriages where the couple gets married without even knowing the person they are marrying to something similar to the traditional dating.

      One thing many courtship advocates won’t share typically is the problems that courtship has caused. Not all courtships result in long term marriages.

  62. steve365 Says:

    I’m surprised how critical you all are on this site. Do you think your words please God? Don’t you have anything better to do?

    • steve240 Says:

      Steve365

      I am not sure how you get that I am “so critical.” I have tried to give a fair analysis of this “alternative.”

      Do you think it pleases God how Josh Harris and others who promote “kissing dating goodbye” conveniently forget to acknowlege and mention all the problems of IKDG and the effect that has on young people including marriage?

      I have put together my thoughts here. It isn’t like a spend a lot of time writing more posts.

    • John David Blair Says:

      Steve365,

      Your comment is internally hypocritical. You just criticized the people here for being critical. Do you honestly believe the negative, aggressive, an CRITICAL words please God?

      If you have a position, then calmly explain it with respect for your host. I doubt God is pleased with your bad manners, regardless fo what does or does not please Him on this site. There is no excuse for a Christian to slam his host without so much as a “hello.”

  63. steve240 Says:

    John

    Thanks for your support.

    I just glanced at your linked post on your blog and found it good reading. I like your idea of “group dating” vs. doing things in groups for those that are so afraid of dating. You make some good points there.

    As I have shared before, unfortunately in most groups that promote “kissing dating goodbye” singles learn how to avoid relating to those of the opposite sex vs. learning how to relate. Singles nead to spend time learning how to relate. Sadly those who promote IKDG don’t admit these problems.

    It is sad when you have people like Steve365 who doesn’t want to talk and discuss the issue. As my blog name implies there may be some wisdom with “kissing dating goodbye” but there sure is foolishness also. If people were more open to talking about the problems IKDG has created then maybe some of these problems could be reduced or eliminated.

  64. John David Blair Says:

    Steve240,

    Glad you enjoyed the article. The truth is, while I don’t believe the Bible expressly mandates one method for approaching the opposite sex, I do believe that there is a lot of guidance to be found on how not to approach the opposite sex. When Christians pursue marriage, however they choose to do it, there is quite obviously going to be opportunity for sin. However, this is true with everything we pursue from the moment we step out of bed in the morning.

    So, the key seems to be, while exercising discipline and sel-restraint, to pursue mrriage by the wisest, most logical means available. God will not be mocked: we reap what we sow. Sow nothing, and you can expect to reap nothing. However, sow just a little, and God may just bless your harvest. This advise I believe is in Galatians, unless I am mistaken, but the concept of reaping/sowing applies in a lot of areas. I believe it applies to opposite sex relations too.

    If you want to reap a happy marriage, then you have to sow some effort in the appropriate field. This is true for both sexes, but I find women love the “wait and pray approach.” If God does bless someone who sits around waiting for Him to do all the sowing, then it would be out of mercy, as he’s clearly indicated that he wants his children to actively participate in pursuing their goals. My entire view of dating, relationships, and marriage is based largely on this concept. We have to invest our time and efforts, in addition to prayer, to reap an appropriate harvest.

    People will resist that way of thinking because it suggests that we cannot just pray and receive a miracle. I believe that it is firmly within God’s discretion to work miracles, regardless of our efforts, but God clearly would prefer us to work towards obtaining the things for which we pray. We do deliver concern over those things to the Lord in trust, but the common way of thinking in the Church today seems to be that, once you pray for somnething, that you should stop and wait for God to do the rest without any further effort. If that is true, then we would have a God who rewards sloth – does that sound like the character of the God we know.

    All good things and blessings come from the Lord, regardless of the extent and character of our efforts. However, that reality does not relieve us of our obligation to work and labor for the things we seek in prayer.

  65. steve240 Says:

    John

    You make some good points about effort. I think that sometimes the IKDG and “courtship” teaching develop too much of a meditate in a field and wait for your spouse to appear vs. having to do some action yourself.

    Have you seen my entry talking about about this?

    It really shocks me when you see Steve365′s comment. Hopefully he is not typical. Can’t people discuss the problems with IKDG without being “crtical” in a bad way.

    One of the reasons that IKDG/courtship has caused so many problems is that IMO it becomes so unassailable. People can’t even bring up and talk about the problems. When you have this type of environment where a system is unassailable it is nearly impossible to work to correct the problems.

    • John David Blair Says:

      Honestly, I believe I have read most of the material on this site at some point or another. This has always been one of several issues facing Christians that has fascinated me. It may be due in part to the fact that, when dating/in relationships, I personally suffered a lot of setbacks, and even a “failed” engagement.

      The thing I learned is that none of those heartbreaks were wasted efforts. As corny as it sounds, every date/relationship taught me at least something. I made mistakes, but I learned from them. I was a slow learner, but eventually I married the woman of my dreams. If I hadn’t had the guts to talk to her at our mutual friends’ wedding reception, if she hadn’t had the guts to respond so boldly, if she had chickened out before emailing me a couple years later when moving back to town, or if I hadn’t had the guts to ask her out after receiving that email – if any of those things hadn’t happened – my wife and I wouldn’t be married today.

      Most people who are married share one thing in common at a minimum: they took a risk at some point. Set aside the “guarding your heart” nonsense (this is the most oft misinterpreted scriptural reference as it pertains to matters involving opposite sex relations) and consider this: marriage in itself is a risky proposition. Some people try to “play it safe,” and though caution is often wise, a HEALTHY marriage is rarely forged in fear. Marriage requires two people to set aside their fears of rejection and heartbreak long enough to take a risk on love.

      I am grossly over simplifying this, but “victory favors the bold” is often accurate in matters of the heart. It is no a Biblical concept – or is it? We know about reaping/sowing (effort required), but what about “be anxious for nothing…”? That’s Philippians chapter 4, I think verse 28. Are we called to a spirit of fear or courage?

      The bottom line is that most people don’t want to risk rejection or heartache, and, unfortunately, many people misconstrue scripture to rationalize their inaction to be Bible mandated. I believe much of the appeal of Harris’ courtship system is that it trades the fears associated with dating (risk of rejection and heartache) for the fears associated with arranged unions and marriages following a lack of dating/time spent alone with one’s intended spouse. Logically, the latter should be far more frightening that the former. However, some people believe the certainty of arranged marriages or marriages that are based on “recommendations” without any time spent alone by the couple together investigating their feelings/potential to be attractive. It allows people to “pass the buck” by following a scripted system that shares responsibility for the decision among family and church leaders. Taken to the logical conclusion, if the union is unhappy, then the couple at least has the comfort of knowing it wasn’t entirely their fault. Many couples do take solace in this, blaming Harris for the problems in their marriage. It is not Harris’ fault, though. Regardless of what we may think, responsibility for our decisions cannot be so easily transferred to others: we choose whether to follow Harris’ advice and whether to marry someone, regardless of how highly recommended s/he may come.

      Both dating and courting CAN produce happy marriages, but as flawed as dating is, it lacks many of the flaws inherent to Harris’ alternatives (I say “alternatives” plural because his recommendations fluctuate from book to book, making it nearly impossible to pin down what it is he actually does recommend). It might seem scarier/riskier at first blush to date, but while I know of seemingly less scary alternatives to dating, I do NOT know of any less risky or more effective approach or approaches.

      Dating is the best way to weigh one’s options between multiple people before exploring a one-on-one, exclusive commitment. People may not be comfortable with that reality or with the social implications of “playing the field a bit” before commiting to one person, but our discomfort doesn’t change that we really ought to consider more than one person in making such a life-changing decision. It’s increasingly harder to do that the faster we commit to a person, and courting really emphasizes commitment sooner and without investigation (of the options). Does a wise person commit quickly or easily? Commitments, I believe, are something we should be slow to make and quick to keep.

      Staying in our comfort zone, or attempting to let others make our decisions for us in the area of relationships/marriage, is not wise. Whatever advice we receive, we must asusme responsibility for acint on it or for not acting on it.

  66. Bethany Says:

    I just found this site, off of related discussions about the patriocentric and other movements. Below is a comment I posted on a blog discussing the book Before You Meet Prince Charming, by Sarah Mally. There are some perhaps-relevant points in it, so I’m just going to post it as-is. Note that BYMPC is targeted exclusively to girls, so there are some issues that aren’t relevant to everyone. Her take on courtship is far more dogmatic that Harris’. I haven’t ever really done an in-depth review of IKDG, because I generally only do so when there are things I deeply disagree with.

    I was required to read this book (Before You Meet Prince Charming), as well as Beautiful Girlhood [by Karen Andreola, I believe? Or edited by her?] and Raising Maidens of Virtue [Stacy McDonald] in my early teens. If anything, these books alienated me somewhat from Christianity, and from the courtship movement, something I deeply regret. Only in the past two years or so have I more fully embraced God and the idea of a courtship-based approach to marriage [and I still consider that the last needs to be carefully handled, a la Josh Harris].

    I found myself continually taking issue with the points raised, probably because I felt convicted of my own failings [and of their truth? I'm still not sure]. For a girl who has always been over-fond of the company of boys, almost everything that I read in these books felt as though it was aimed at me.

    My mom realized that I would probably never fully embrace all the philosophies in Before You Meet Prince Charming, and sold the book at a homeschool book sale last year, so I unfortunately do not have it to refer to here. But I remember arguing [in my own head] with the idea that if girls live outside of the home [i.e. college], they will become used to independence and feel stifled when it comes time for them to marry. The idea was that this would be prevented by a girl’s living under her father’s roof until marriage.

    My arguments were 1) that if a girl feels [and probably knows she will feel] ‘stifled’ by marriage, it is not yet TIME to get married! There comes a time when a woman [or anyone, IMO] becomes lonely with a solitary life, and I think that maybe one cannot appreciate the companionship of marriage without a previous time of ‘freedom’. What would be more submissive than a woman entering into a marriage contract when both she and her husband know she is giving up what the world calls freedom FOR this one man?

    and 2) that if one is afraid that a girl will become used to feeling independent and enjoy it, how fragile must be the ‘benefits’ of eschewing that independence! ‘The truth needs no strength to sustain it’ [probably a mis-quote on my part...]

    There is, in all three of the books I mentioned, a concern with girls guarding the hearts of the young men around them, something I heartily endorse. [I personally am enraged at some girls' careless and selfish behavior with young Christian men.] However there is always mention of some behaviors as incorrect or even sinful, which I have indulged in and hope to be innocent.

    The most hurtful thing I ever remember one of my girl friends saying to me was at the age of 12 or so, in a tone of disgust at what she must have thought to be my purposeful attention-getting: ‘Bethany, why do you always make such a show of yourself?’ It so happened that at the time I had NO idea I was ‘making a show of myself’, but it certainly looked that way, I will admit. I was also once nicknamed ‘Peacock’ for a [short] while. All of this going on in a small Christian homeschool co-op group… Anyways, my point is that some girls feel horribly offended and hurt if they are told they are trying to get attention. Books [Beautiful Girlhood, which I know is not the topic of this post] often mention girls who ‘do their hair in new and daring styles’ [that IS a quote, at the time I read that I was about 11 and enjoyed braiding my hair in new styles and so on...I memorized that darn phrase] or are fond of being in town, in negative lights [usually the harlot's-feet-abiding-not-in-her-house comes up].

    My other major concern is with the concept of courtship, only as portrayed by Sarah Mally in this book.

    Please correct me if I am wrong on this though!

    At least in the allegorical story which is woven through the book, the Princess finally marries a Prince who approaches her [or rather her FATHER] in the appropriate way, and who is also a courageous and caring young man. BUT BUT BUT…I can recall little or no time with the young couple shown getting to know each other! Did I just miss this? It certainly was not harped upon in the accompanying text. How did they know that they shared the same interests? Ideals? Did they at least know where the other stood on important issues, even if they didn’t agree? Just because a person is ‘good’, even just because they are a strong Christian, does not mean that they will automatically make YOU a good marriage partner.

    I do not consider that dating is a good choice for most people, certainly not in any form of ‘dating around’ just for fun. But on the other hand, surely getting to know members of the opposite gender, however little dating actually performs that task, is preferable to being close friends with NO ONE! I recall now another book [Emotional Purity, by Heather Paulsen I believe] which made the case that it is dangerous to be close friends with anyone of the opposite gender. It referred to ‘emotional fornication’ which, if I recall correctly, was not lust as we would think of it, but instead the sharing of one’s MIND with another person. Having in-depth talks about one’s faith were to be avoided. There was something to the effect of, you only want to share your spiritual life with your spouse, isn’t it emotional fornication to do anything else?

    My main concern is that young people may wind up marrying each other without knowing each other very well. Sure, they may get better acquainted during courtship and engagement, but isn’t it a little late to be finding out important stuff about your significant other at that point?

    I am amazed and thankful to find that this view of courtship is not the only one. Josh Harris’ is, I think, much better. One of my very close Christian friends ascribes to a courtship ideal which I consider extremely sensible. It involves being very clear with people on where your relationship with them stands, and not dating just for fun. The plan is to be allowed to get to know lots of people very well, but be open and honest with all of them. When you know who the best choice for marriage is, you hopefully already know a LOT about them…and one would hope that one of the first criteria is being compatible in faith, interests, and personality.

    It seems that girls who follow some of BYMPC’s guidelines will miss out on many good and innocent relationships. Friendships that is. [for me personally at least. Some girls do connect well with other girls, I tend to have trouble doing so with all but a few. In addition, my scholastic/career interests put me in contact with chiefly guys. While I would hate to appear to undervalue female companionship, I also frequently find it easier to give and receive help in spiritual and faith-based areas with young men.]

    I know this is getting long, so I will wind up after just one more [heh heh] personal testimony. Had I followed some of BYMPC and Emotional Purity’s guidelines, I am pretty sure I would have missed out on one of my deepest friendships: more importantly, I very well might still be in the fairly lukewarm Christianity that I was a few months ago. Conversing with a young man who deeply loves God helped me in so many ways that I hate to think of the sort of person I was even a few months ago. That provided a sort of springboard to pursuing God more strongly than I have in all my years of being a Christian. While God might very well have opened my heart in other or better ways, the fact remains that whenever purity has been a focus of my friendships with young men, nothing but good has resulted.

    Hum. Almost done now. I would like to say that I highly support many of the principles outlined in Sarah Mally’s book. Purity before marriage is a very important topic but I feel that this book has some worrying ideas and perhaps fallacies in it.

    • steve240 Says:

      Bethany

      Welcome to my blog. Thanks for sharing your experience here. I am not sure I can answer all of your questions.

      One problem I see with IKDG and those who follow that teaching is that single men and women become almost afraid of each other and any interaction. It is almost as if they become separated from each other until one decides to get into a courship with someone.

      With regard to courtship and getting to know each other, most who teach courtship don’t assume that just because a couple enters into a courtship that means that they are engaged and thus have to marry. I thought the purpose of being in a courtship was for the express purpose of determining if the two people want to get married. I thought that if the couple after spending some time together in courtship and getting to know each other decided they weren’t a good marriage match then it wasn’t that big of a thing.

      What I have seen and heard is that with courtship sometimes there is pressure for a courting couple to either get engaged and married or break off the courtship. This has resulted in couples getting prematurely married including before the were ready and some that did this found out they weren’t the best of a match.

      With the courtship model I also wonder how much it makes sense for a young man to first have to get permission to see young lady and court her before even getting time to know here. Having to approach the father and sometimes spend time with him seems like a lot to go through if you haven’t had much interaction with the young woman to know that there might be potential. How does the young man know he wants to go through all of this.

      Thus this situation might work well for some couples when they are in the right situation to meet someone that is a good match for them. Unfortunately not all people are in situations where the have the pool of social interactions with good potential mates. Thus just cause it might work for some singles (who are in better situations such as their families being well socially connected) it might not work for all singles.

      Welcome again and thanks for your comment.

  67. Samantha Coronado Says:

    Wow my eyes got tired of reading comments, everyone has a good point. Personally, i’m an 18 year old new christian and much of what joshua harris wrote is new to my ears but not to my heart. somehow “guarding my heart” has always been something i desire and IKDG reassured me that those standards are valid and i’m not some sort of an abnormal kid.

  68. John Says:

    Hey Samantha,

    I urge you to check this post out: http://truthapplied.blogspot.com/2009/09/guarding-your-heart-it-doesnt-mean-what.html.

    The “guard your heart” passage in Proverbs is frequently taken out of context, and while it does apply to you, it many not apply in the way you think it does. “Guard your heart” was not advice given about dating, but advice froma father to his son reminding him to keep evil from his heart by walking the straight and narrow path. It doesn’t mean guard your heart from risk, but to guard your heart from sin.

    • Samantha Says:

      you have a point in saying that the passage needs some close reading:) but i was referring to guarding my heart against sin and not emotional suffering. as christians we are bound to suffer just as christ has suffered because we are in the world. of course we are not to avoid suffering but to guard our hearts against sin

  69. Sammie Says:

    Dear Derek,

    I am Sammie, and I have to say that I can’t simply bring myself to agree upon Joshua Harris’ I kissed Dating Goodbye at all.
    I am 18, and the first time I read the I kissed Dating Goodbye completely was after my first breakup in highschool.The breakup broke my heart devastatingly, and I devoured upon Harris’ message after that heartbreak. However, when I began to get along well with my ex again, I began to distance myself from his message. I was terribly grieved at myself, and I felt awful for I felt myself as sexually impure, sinful and that I turned away from God. I hate to say this, but his message at times made me bitter against the bible and even find the gospel stifling. I really loved and still care for my date,but I don’t think that I am done justice by simply assuming that I am acting out of “sexual pleasure,” and “selfishness.” After reading Harris’ book, I did check my own behavior towards my boygriend, and it did help me.But should I really be accused for being in love with someone? Is it that bad…?

    • steve240 Says:

      Sammie

      Welcome to my blog.

      I would first suggest you realize that what Josh Harris wrote was just his opinion on this and what worked for him. Not all of what he decided to do is a biblical command. It is sad that so many people have taken Harris’s message as a biblical mandate.

      I would also disagree with where Harris seems to have an issue with a person having “given their heart” to more than one person is an issue.

  70. maceybrumbelow Says:

    Everyone has a person spicifically picked out for them by God. So, what’s the point in dating around anyways? When it’s time for you to meet that person, You will. Whether you be 15, 25, 40, or 80. When it is time, and if it is God’s will, you will meet that person. Josh Harris didn’t make that up, he didn’t just make up everything he put into “I kissed dating goodbye” Everything in that book is Wisdom from God, and the Bible. And to call a Man simply writing a book about what the Bible teaches a fool, now that just seems low to me. If you’re calling Josh’s word’s “foolish” then you’re calling what the Bible teaches to be foolish as well.
    We should follow the commandments that God has laid out for us in the Bible, we can’t just sit and pick around and decide which one’s we’re going to follow and which one’s we think are “foolish”.

    • steve240 Says:

      Macey

      First welcome to my blog.

      You might want to look at my blog name again. I don’t call KDG foolishness I was whether it is wisdom or foolishness. To answer that question myself succinctly I would say KDG has both wisdom and foolishness.

      It doesn’t look like you have read man if any of my blog entries about Harris’s book.

      One reason for “dating around” or at least socializing with those of the opposite sex is to develop social skills with the opposite sex.

      While I agree that the bible is the source of widsom for all and is pure I question your statement that all of what Harris wrote is “s Wisdom from God, and the Bible.” Harris like all of us is an imperfect man and there must be at least some imperfection in what he wrote. I don’t think Harris would even make the claim to it being “perfect” what he wrote. Most of what Harris wrote about isn’t backed up biblically and is a choice he made for his life. It is sad that so many people assume that this is the model all should live by despite differences in age and maturity.

      I would suggest you read my blog entries more.

    • John David Blair Says:

      Macey,

      To say that God has 1 person for everyone is a massive leap to make given that this is not stated anywhere in the Bible. In fact, Ruth herself was married once before Boaz. Many godly old testament men had multiple wives, and though I am NOT a polygamist or supporter of polygamy, obviously this implies what you are saying is incorrect. I’d love to know how you came to such a massive leap from the scriptures?

      I am not trying to be critical, but your theory pretty much destroys free will. Certainly God knows who we will marry, but to suggest he is arranging our marriages through divine power implies that we have no decisions to make in this area – that we can sit around and do nothing then the perfect spouse will be delivered. I remind you that God will not be mocked – a man (or woman) reaps what he sows, meaning that God blesses our EFFORTS, not our inaction. God gave us free will and expects us to exercise it by making decisions of which He approves. Think of it in terms of your Earthly parents: they do not want to pick your spouse (presuming your parents are of sound mind), but they want input because they want you to be happy with and loved by your spouse. This is true, I believe, of the Lord as well.

      It is possible that the Lord sometimes preordains a marriage. In the Bible, Eve was certainly meant for Adam, and the Lord compelled Joeseph not to abandon Mary. However, it would be difficult to imply that the Lord forced Ruth and Boaz together, but He did bless their efforts to win each others’ affections. On the other hand, how many marriages in the Old Testament were disfavored by the Lord? Was Jezebel intended for Ahab?

      Be careful not to make God the divine architect of all that transpires in the World. If God micromanages every marriage, then where does this micromanagement end? People would be no more than puppets on divine strings. If the Lord wanted this, then He would have made us better puppets I think. If God chose everyone’s spouse, then marriages would be happier. If God picked every political leader, then the world would be at peace. God gave dominion over the world to man. Certainly He wants us to do our utmost to make decisions consistent with His character, but to suggest there is only one godly choice in marriage demonstrates a clear and fundamental misconception of God’s character.

      Don’t worry though – we all see through a mirror darkly at times.

      • steve240 Says:

        John

        Good comments about God supposedly having only one partner selected for a person.

        Marcey

        I would also add that one big problem I see with Josh Harris is how he doesn’t acknowledge the problems or “foolishness” that “kissing dating goodbye” has caused though he is quick to point out all the problems he sees with dating.

  71. JD Says:

    On reading some posts here, I think a couple assistant pastors at the church of my youth took so much stock in Harris’ book to the point of possibly making claims even Harris never did. They were presenting the courtship model at a college-age group meeting. The weird thing is, they didn’t spend much time on it, maybe 20 minutes at most, and didn’t really go back to elaborate anything. People ask questions, but the public comment was more or less to just read the book. Even back then, I was suspicious of mostly being told to read the book. Besides, the things they talked about didn’t sound like anything I found in the Bible, unless maybe they picked a couple verses here and there, patch them together with bubblegum and call it the “Bible Way”. I wasn’t going to pay $19.99 ( and conveniently available in the Church bookstore I might add ) whatever for the equivalent of a fad diet book where you get five pages of content of dubious lasting value, and 195 pages of empty fluff to back up the five pages of content. I have no problem paying for knowledge, but there’s a certain feel to how a lot of informational and self-help books are promoted where I feel like they’re promoting schlock.

  72. van Rooinek Says:

    Of all the people I know personally (ie, not on the Net), who adopted IKGD when it came out, and stuck with it, to my knowledge not one has ever married. I’ve lost touch with some over the years, so maybe some got hitched that I didn’t hear about, but, still… as far as I know, ZERO…. And as best as I can tell, IKDG was the reason. To be fair, however, IKDG was not really new, it was the distilled essence of all the romantic advice being handed out over the prior decade or so by Evangelicaldom; Josh Harris’ main original idea was simply dropping the word “dating” out of the equation, which in retrospect strikes me as poignantly accurate.

    Anyway…. many of these girls were highly desirable (it was the Malibu Vineyard, with all that implies), and most of them badly wanted to get married, but they invoked IKDG as a talisman to turn down me and every other guy in the church: “I don’t date”. And there was no courtship mechanism in place either; so these women had rendered themselves utterly unattainable, despite their professed desire to be attained. This highlights a basic problem: Courtship philosophy presumes (without realizing that it presumes), that you grew up in church and that you and your family have a lifetime’s worth of social connections there. What is a young-adult convert supposed to do, coming from an unchurched family and therefore lacking this social infrastructure? Perhaps this objection means little in the Bible belt but in Southern California, MOST of the singles in any typical church are in that position! How are they going to set up courtship under those circumstances? Their non-believing parents are no help in courtship; there’s nobody else at church who knows them well enough to be willing to serve as an accountability couple, there’s nobody there with a lifetime knowledge of them to vouch for them in the face of the skepticism of the opposite sex, and so on. How are you supposed to ask a girl’s father for permission to court if he’s uninvolved, unsaved, divorced, lives 500 miles (or in one case, 11,000 miles) away….? Oh, ask a pastor to intercede, right… what a way to come off as a wimp who couldn’t speak up for himself; that worked really well for Myles Standish….

    Even harder is the question, “How do you find someone to court?” I posed this question to courtship advocates many times and NEVER got an answer. If there’s nobody in your own natural circle of acquaintance (church, work, neighborhood), per courtship philosophy you’re not supposed to look around, you’re supposed to wait “on G-d” (supposedly), forever. Or your parents — unsaved, uninvolved, unchurched, divorced, 500 miles way, or all of the above — are supposed to look around and find a good Christian girl for you…right. Another useless piece of advice from courtship advocates and churchies in general, is to hang out in groups… get to know each other in groups… become friends first, in the group context…. Nothing wrong with that, it’s much better than sitting home alone on a Friday night , but it very seldom leads to a romance. You spend 6 months, a year, getting to know some girl in the group setting, find yourself interested, make a move…. “Oh, no, let’s just be friends!” Congratulations, you’ve just been LJFB’ed. The secular “pickup artist” community, unfortunately, has a better grip on this problem than the churchies do; whatever their moral flaws, at least the pickup artists understand the psychology of getting a woman into bed — which is exactly what every decent “save-it-till-the-wedding-night” Christian young man ultimately wants.

    In the end, I explicitly REJECTED everything that the courters and the churchies said about romance/dating/courting — everything except the Scriptures themselves (no premarital sex, don’t be unequally yoked, etc). Sola scriptura… where have I heard that saying before? I started internet dating on Christan websites and soon met a good Christian woman, married her, lost my virginity on my wedding night….and now, 8 years and 3 kids later, couldn’t be happier. All this goodness came my way because I specifically rejected IKDG/courtship.

    Final note… Someone took a really fun shot at courtship as an April Fool’s joke, over at Freerepublic a few years ago: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-bloggers/1375254/posts

    • steve240 Says:

      Van Rooinek

      Welcome to my blog and thanks for your perspective on “kissing dating goodbye.” I have noticed something similar where in groups that practice IKDG a lot of singles either don’t get married or get married later that normal.

      From what I have seen, those who promote IKDG won’t admit this issue let alone find some way to correct it.

    • steve240 Says:

      Van Rooinek

      You might also find my blog entry “Does Kissing Dating Goodbye Lead to Kissing Marriage Goodbye?”

      In this entry I comment on Carolyn McCulley’s book about her wondering if she (and agroup of single women) kissed marriage goodbye as being a result or her kiErlssing dating goodbye. She talks about how these women embraced “kissing dating goodbye” and never mentions the possibility that “kissing dating goodbye” could have lead to kissing marriage goodbye.

  73. duder-dudenstein Says:

    I’m male, mid-twenties, working on a second degree, expecting to start a new six figure job soon, have had fantastic adventures exploring the world as a single man with some slightly risky outdoor hobbies.

    I have received plenty of interest from worldly girls, so I know I’m not entirely a wimpy beta male, though I fight some beta tendencies.

    I gave this background to explain that I’m not a little high school boy, nor am I entirely clueless.

    And I just got LJBF’d with a “let’s do stuff in groups so we can guard our hearts” conversation. Oh come on now— we’re grown ups.

    Also, why should I have to talk to your dad anyway? It’s not him that I want to date.

    If you want to set yourself up for a broken heart, then go ahead and make dating some huge ordeal where each party has to invest tremendously just before they even get a chance to visit with each other – human being to human being.

    You know what? I have plenty of friends. I don’t need any more. I ask girls on dates because I want to find a Godly WIFE. If I want a friend, I’ll call up another dude and we’ll chill.

    Ladies, guarding your hearts doesn’t mean foreclosing scary new emotions… unless you want to die old and alone. Experiencing the highs and lows of life, all wrapped under the transcendent peace of Christ is not necessarily a sin. Let’s not confuse causation and correlation.

    The more you date, the less important any one date becomes and the less likely that single date is to crush your heart. Just keep your pants on. I know plenty of girls who my Christian brothers and I could sin with, but we ask YOU out and not THEM because that’s not what we want.

    Come on an adventure with me, it’ll either be awesome, or it’ll be painful, but it will be real. If it fails, at least we will have learned something about ourselves. Some intimacy is indeed sinful and one’s heart should be protected against it. Some is not. Please understand that.

    Something’s wrong when a stubborn Christian man can do better as the sober, non-horny guy at house parties than he does at church.

  74. John Says:

    I don’t know if I agree with 100% of what you wrote, but I did agree with at least 95%. I understand your frustration, though. It seems like Christian girls often make the mistake date non-Christian (or non-serious-Christian) guys, experience a little hurt and pain, then foresake dating in favor of Harris’ approach.

    First off, dating people we meet at church is a great idea. Sinning with people we meet at church (or anywhere), however, is not. So I recommend, whatever people do, that they do it safely and with some common sense. Stop investing yourselves so completely in every date and just have fun. The more a person dates, the less serious an enterprise it becomes. That much is true, and dating should not be so serious. It should be fun. Eventually, with the right person, it leads to something more serious. Introducing Harris’ ritualistic approach isn’t necessary. Taking risks, slowing down, and having fun are the best way I know how to approach dating and relationships.

    Regardless, any time we take a risk, there is the potential for hurt. God did not design us to avoid hurt. “Guarding our hearts” has nothing to do with dating/relationships. I am tired of seeing this scripture misconstrued and abused – did anyone citing it in favor of Harris’ proposition actually bother to read the entiure proverb? It is wise advise about avoiding the pitfalls of sin. It does not stand for the proposition that we should guard our hearts from “scary new emotions.”

    People will abuse the Bible to support any course of action that involves staying in their comfort zones. If you are too afraid to be proactive, then so be it, but don’t blame the Bible or God for your inaction. I am offended by the very notion. Did God tell David to stay in his comfort zone when Goliath came marching up with iron armor and weapons like the Jews had never seen? No -God sent him to the river to pick out 5 good stones. He only needed 1. Don’t blame our God for your cowardice. Our God is a God of courage and strength, not one of timidity.

  75. steve240 Says:

    duder-dudenstein

    Welcome to my blog. I would echo what John just said about your comment. I am also not sure that I agree with everything you said but you certainly raise a lot of good points and points similar to the points I make on this blog about Kissing Dating Goodbye.

    You make an excellent point when you said “want set yourself up for a broken heart, then go ahead and make dating some huge ordeal where each party has to invest tremendously just before they even get a chance to visit with each other – human being to human being.” That certainly would be my thought.

    One big comment I have about “kissing dating goodbye” is that it was mostly designed for teenagers and not for older singles such as yourself. Sadly that is one thing Harris won’t admit or really even broadcast that what might be appropriate for one age isn’t necessarily appropriate for another age etc. Want to see where single men and women in their 20′s and older are almost “afraid” of each other then you will usually find it at a church where “kissing dating goodbye” is taught.

  76. dude Says:

    Steve,

    Thanks for making this resource available. This whole experience is a new one for me, and your blog is a great tool for folks like me- sideswiped by the movement- to get up to speed on what even the basic terms mean. Your blog is helping me learn how to talk nicely and intelligently with adherents.

    I regret that my comment was too snarky and was written in a moment of aggravation (see the snotty moniker I chose.)

    It just seems like things should be simple. You spend explore the possibility of partnering with a woman in your walk toward eternity, to join your lives as one flesh. That exploration entails a lot of the dynamics that a good, solid friendship entails but it encompasses more— it encompasses the contemplation of long-term focused metrics that are absent from simple, platonic friendships. It seems like immoderate allegiance to this idkg procedure says that I must excise any opposite-gender attraction dynamics from the interaction. I must excise any exploration of that dynamic until I sign a courtship contract or something.

    Suddenly one loses his motivation. After all, it is easy to find friends. That’s why attraction is a key component to keep the nascent relationship moving.

    Gotta keep the system guided by moderation.

    Attraction is a good thing! Sin only arises when you act out inappropriately on attraction. Attraction is necessary for lust, but it’s not sufficient. Attraction is not lust.

    Getting married is the ultimate DTR. Why does courtship seek to push parts of the marriage commitment back to the beginning of the relationship, forcing guys to go sign some agreement with some other man promising allegiance to a girl he doesn’t even know?

    But, maybe courtship is just a speed bump intended to slow down aggressive guys who might act badly and hurt feelings. Maybe courtship seeks to ensure that everyone knows what they are getting into, that there will be no fooling around, and make sure everyone knows before they get in deep.

    Too bad for the guys who aren’t so aggressive. Too bad for the guys who have lots of options and get the courtship LJBF DTR before they have gotten to spend enough time with a girl to know if she’s different enough from every other girl to be worth the extra hoops to making an INITIAL evaluation of whether or not they work together.

    Too bad for those girls who give the LJBF DTR too soon and never learn what kind of real man they actually like.

    And, too bad for those who sign their courtship agreement, date each other with zero idea of what healthy opposite-gender interaction is, and then marry while still awash in the deceptive tingles of infatuation.

    Marriage is the real DTR. Courtship makes you decide before you decide.

    Aggressive guys will still do okay. Everyone else will get all these weird pedestalized fantastic notions of women, of dating, and generally be hurt with undeveloped, untrained socialization skills.

    What a weird place we’re in. We’ve come full circle. For those who court a lot, we’re exacerbating the emotional trauma IKDG sought to avoid by adding the formality weirdness. For those who don’t court a lot, either because they don’t attract a lot of attention, or because they are scared off, the opposite sex weirds them out and they don’t know how to think about the opposite sex, again, exacerbating the emotional trauma.

    Life is hard. Emotions can hurt.

    Those formal commitments are something serious and sacred. What a way to amp up the weirdness with a girl I barely know.

    I’m sure I’m repeating a lot of the same as is already on here.

    Thanks for the great resource, Steve.

    • steve240 Says:

      Dude

      I am glad you find this blog of help to you. I am glad to see more people thinking about this and questioning this teaching vs. blindly accepting it. As my blog’s name implies I find both wisdom and foolishness with “kissing dating goodbye.”

      Before courtship was pushed and before Josh Harris’s book, groups like SGM promoted doing things in groups. They claimed that doing things in groups help prevent what they called premature pairing off. When I heard about courtship, it sure sounded like courtship was creating premature pairing off similar to a problem they said existed with traditional dating.

      One thing I will agree with Harris is that it usually doesn’t make sense for a couple to be together for a while if eventual marriage isn’t the goal. The type of situation I am talking about is where the couple are exclusive etc. Sadly Harris portrays all dating to be like this. There is certainly other types of dating that don’t have that commitment and can include doing things as friends with someone of the opposite sex.

      With courtship, I always wonder how someone is to get to know a girl to decide whether to go through all the “hoops” required to be able to see a girl. It certainly seems like doing something backwards. Also the could signficantly limit your pool of possible mates if you could only see a girl from those you know from attending whatever church you go to.

      Welcome again and thanks for your compliment.

  77. Holly Says:

    Thank you for the link! There are many insightful resources here for me to continue my research on the subject after reading the book.

  78. rwzero Says:

    The fact that evangelical Christians published books by 19-year-old ignoramuses is enough of a testament to how clueless they (you?) are–let alone that they put them into the hands of dedicated kids like myself, all so they could end up single into their mid-20′s (as I still am), have a crisis of faith, lose everything, and then have to pick from an oversexed secular dating pool who lost their virginity at God-knows-what-age while Joshua Harris was off and enjoying his nice Christian marriage.

    Evangelical Christian relationship stupidity. It’s like a stock that you’re forced to put all your savings into since birth–and you’re told that it will go up, if you just wait. One day a hot tip comes down the pipeline, and everyone else sells their shares. But you don’t get the memo, and there’s a crash, and you’re left with nothing.

  79. Jenny B Says:

    I’m a 19 year old college girl, and I’m reading this book for the first time. I’m about 2 chapters from closure.
    I don’t think that all of the steps which are outlined in this book should be incoporated into my life. And I realize–after much consideration–they don’t have to be.
    Dating is a non-moral issue. Therefore, I think that we need to be examining the scriptures and speaking with God costantly. God tells us, “unless your faith is firm, I cannot make you stand firm”(Isaiah 7:9). Reading the bible helps us to grow in sprititual maturity and faith; when we know and love his word, he will equip us with good judgement and discernment in non-moral issues like dating.
    Its important to remember that “I kissed dating goodbye” bears no authority, and is only a book with some useful guidelines and expectations that can be assimilated into people’s lives.
    I’d say that you should obey God, walk with him, love the Lord, follow his instructions, and then date anybody that you want. Because if you are truly trusting and obeying the Lord, and walking in his paths, the Lord won’t be surprised or disgusted that you are attracted to them, because he made everybody, and made everybody’s hearts as well.

  80. JM Says:

    I’ve been meaning to post for a long time. Just a quick thought of my experience with this nonsense. The Biblical teaching at the SGM church I started to attend 8 or so years ago was a pivot point in my walk with the Lord. I hated the church after a horrible experience at my previous church. I don’t thank SGM for that, I thank God for opening my eyes to the Gospel and what it really meant for me.

    I had read both books before coming to this church, but it became apparent after a few short months that the whole dating/courtship thing was a big deal among my peers (late 20s folks). They all used the lingo, which was totally foreign to me. I asked a young lady out to coffee, she said no (which was fine), but a friend nearly confronted me about it, asking “how would that serve her?” Uh, what?! I was confused and angry and it took us a few weeks to resolve that “conflict” (he eventually apologized).

    From the beginning I decided that I was going to take what I found helpful from those books, and discard what i didn’t agree with. The whole “mob mentality” about there being “one godly way” to have a relationship sickened me. Then when a close friend came to me in a panic about not being able to reach a girl’s father to ask if he could court her, I paused. I asked him why it was so important. He seemed to believe he absolutely had to do that before he could ask her out. But her dad wasn’t a Christian and didn’t live nearby. He was freaking out about not being able to get in touch with him. I told him it probably wasn’t that big a deal but he insisted.

    In the end he finally reached the girl’s dad. Totally unsurprising to me the dad was confused and didn’t know why my friend was calling him.

    So you see folks, this is what happens when you turn one man’s practice into a denomination’s doctrine. One size does NOT fit all. Pray. Honor God in your relationship. Submit to the Bible’s authority, not some book on dating. Call it dating if you want. Call it courtship (if you dare). Heck, make up your own word for it. That’s actually really fun. Dateship is good. A friend used to say “Doubled up”. That made me laugh.

  81. Kristen Says:

    If I may….

    My life was radically changed when I read Josh’s book. To lable him foolish and call his book a problem causer is a bit over the top. I was 13 when I read his book and I made the choice to avoid the “pitfalls” of dating which, in my careful observations of nearly every friend I ever had, were very rightly named. A pitfall it was. It was a cycle of hooking up, breaking up, hooking up, breaking up. “I love you” then “gosh, he/she is such a looser!” Rinse and repeat. Friendships that COULD have been strong brother/sister relationships with a likeminded passion for the Lord’s service were shattered by the dating game. I saw this. I watched friends get pregnant. I saw STDs. I saw way too many broken hearts. I watched good, church-going friends who meant well and never intended to get themselves in trouble wind up living in sin, leading other’s away from God, and ending up with a bitter view of men/women.

    I think a big problem with those who are against him and his book is that he used the word “date” and many believe that he is “hating” on the word. Keep in mind that he is talking about what society has made dating out to be. Society has numbed us. We go through temporary relationships, get dumped or dump another, and put on a tough exterior, acting like it’s no big deal. It IS a big deal. God did not create us for this. He is a God of committment. Of loyalty. Of faithfulness. The problem Josh Harris addressed was that the modern dating approach does two things: 1) it leads our attention away from complete focus on Christ and His work to another human being; and 2) it offers temptation to give away far more than you should. That’s true. The man or woman that God has for you should lead you CLOSER to Christ, not away. Purity should be guarded and honored and sacred. The goal should not be to “make this person like you” but to point this person to the Lord.

    My parents played the dating game. Everyone I knew dated. But I wanted more. I didn’t want to have the regrets like my parents had. They were so much in love and I would often hear my Dad say that he wished his first **everything** could have been with my Mom. That’s what I wanted and that’s what Josh wrote about. I wanted to be able to stand in front of my husband on our wedding day with no baggage. I didn’t want to bump into a guy years later and say to my husband, “That’s my ex. I gave him my first kiss,” or “That’s my old boyfriend. He was the first guy I ever let touch me.” I didn’t want that. And by the Lord’s grace, I don’t have that.

    I am 25 and happily married now and I cannot BEGIN to tell you what an honor it was and what a blessing it was to stand in front of my groom on my wedding day and give HIM my first kiss. That night, HE was the first – and only – one who touched me, saw me, and knew me. And, on a side note, nothing about it was awkward or “geeky” or “stereotypical.” It was heavenly. It was not done out of legalism, but out of a desire to showcase the holiness and the purity and the faithfulness of the Lord. THAT is the message of Josh Harris’s book. That’s the beauty of purity that he wants others to experience as well. And I am all the more passionate now than I have ever been to spread the same message. Blessings to you…

    • steve240 Says:

      Kristen

      Welcome to my blog. First of all I am not specifically calling all of IKDG “foolishiness.” As the title of my blog indicates, I am asking if it is wisdom or foolishness.

      I am glad that IKDG/courtship worked for you. I have seen situations where it didn’t work and caused its own set of problems that sadly Harris and others don’t seem to be willing to admit. One of the big purposes of my blog is for people to realize that IKDG has its own problems.

      You talk about applying it as a 13 year old. One of my points is that IKDG is more applicable to teenagers such as the age you describe you applied it to your life.

      I have seen situations where older singles (in their 20′s and older) are almost “afraid” of those of the opposite sex.

      I think one of the big problems with Josh Harris’s book is that he didn’t really define what he meant by dating. As on of my blog entries indicates, Josh really meant premature early commitments as the type of dating he was “kissing goodbye.”

  82. Kristen Says:

  83. Kajee Says:

    Josh did not really dwell in the “kissing dating goodbye thing.” He focuses on building a better relationship with God. It is not mandatory that you will never date until the “right time” comes but it is mandatory that you honor God in whatever you do. This is not about us. This is above all, about God and your relationship with Him. Before having the perfect relationship with your future partner, you must first have a perfect relationship with God. This book is not merely about dating, we must see the better side. We must honor God in everything that we do — even if it means to kiss dating goodbye.

    • steve240 Says:

      Kajee

      Welcome to my blog. I am not sure I agree with your opinion that “Josh did not really dwell in the ‘kissing dating goodbye thing.’” For example one chapter of his book talks about the defects Josh sees with dating. I certainly agree that we should honor God in all things as you say.

      A big reason for my blog is to point out the problems, including relationship problems. that “kissing dating goodbye’ have caused.

  84. Kwasaanga Says:

    Sometimes ‘extremes’ are just what’s needed to restrain when much hurt lurks on a certain path.

  85. Eve Says:

    Just a few thoughts,

    I think this book is a tremendous blessing to our generation, The bible tells us in the book of Romans to not be conformed to the ways of this world, but to renew our minds rather with God’s word, I think what Josh simply tried to remind us is God’s mind in the area of dating……I personally would not say dating is something God wants his children to practice, because look at how many of our dear brothers and sisters in Christ it has caused to stumble, to give so much of themselves away thinking that person was the one and only to end up heart broken or hurt….. We thank God that there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus but if we truly love God, then in all our ways we should seek to please him. God honours purity, there is a time for everything, one thing I always say to myself is that I will not under go trial and error in the area of relationships, why would you want to do that, when our Lord is inside of us to guide us through everything… On your wedding imagine if all those you dated were lined up, how many of them would their be, and with each one you would have given a piece of yourself away, so really depending on the number, how much of yourself are you really giving to your wife/husband?

    Like Josh says in the book, if we focus that time on buidling friendships that count and working on our relationship with God, we would be much better for it……one of my favourite quotes is this “work on bening, not on having, with who you are you shall have”

    I personally had a made a decision to say no to dating, because of my friends who had been part of the game but had come out hurt and trust me it has been amazing. If you want to learn about realtionships, have friendships that have a common ground, and also build your relationship with the HolySpirit, he has been in thousands of relationships with so many different personalities, let’s learn from him also, the Bible says he is our teacher…….I don’t think Josh is saying we should run away from individuals of the opposite sex but rather define our relation with them, so that there are boundaries. And if someone really loves you and states so, make sure they entirely love God, because the way they love God will say so much about how they will love you.

    Stay blessed and keep seeking and serving God with all your hearts and all your might.. Remember he is the embodiment of all wisdom so being closest to him is always the best thing.

    • steve240 Says:

      Eve

      Welcome to my blog. As the name of my blog seems to imply I believe there is both wisdom and foolishness in the book. If the book has been a “blessing” I would also say it has caused a number of problems.

      Josh may not have intended for those who adopt what he teaches to ” run away from individuals of the opposite sex” but it sadly has produced that effect in all the various Christian groups I have been in that promoted this approach.

  86. Ryan Says:

    This teaching is no different than the vow to celabacy that the Catholics enforce on their priests. Beware of false teachers.

    1 Timothy 4:1-3 – “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and DOCTRINES OF DEMONS, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, FORBIDDING TO MARRY, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.”

    • steve240 Says:

      Ryan

      Welcome to my blog. I am not sure I agree that this is like the celibacy vow to become a priest. I have seen where it does make it harder for some to get married.

      • Ryan Says:

        Hello Steve,
        Thanks for welcoming me. It’s makes you wonder though, that if there are so many problems with the teaching, how come the Bible has never been so clear about it. But, some things only becomes clear when you see it for what it is. Then the Bible can speak clearly about it.

        I think Solomon has said quite well, “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” But, when history repeats itself, do we notice?

        Really all it takes is the right kind of teaching to get people to follow it. This one of course has evolved overtime as it’s been backed into a corner as you’ve clearly pointed out, which is not uncommon among other New Age teachings. However, it is merely sleight of hand in an attempt to perpetuate the lie. For some the strict enforcement of not dating is not enough, so an incentive is thrown in like “God is going to send you the right person, and it will be the greatest thing ever.”

        So as you buy into the belief, and begin to faithfully and devoutly abstain from dating, and eventually relations with the opposite sex altogether, you cut yourself off completely. And if the articles you posted here ring true at all, you have pretty much been forbidden to marry.

        I used to be a big Barlow Girl fan, and I got into them mainly because of their beliefs in not dating til marriage. Mainly because I grabbed onto the idea as well. And an idea I saw get thrown around their forums was that you are remaining single to pursue God’s calling for your life. So I guess I somehow decided I needed to find a calling too to get the right kind of girl.

        Reading a lot of your articles really helped open my eyes within the last year.

        But, it wasn’t until I was reading “Petrus Romanus: The Final Pope is Here” this week, that something clicked. As I was reading the chapter about the priests being forbidden to marry, the author quote 1 Timothy 4. It was right then when I realized that this was happening in the Protestant world as well, and that I was a sucker for it. You see we just call ourselves “singles that are called”, but the the Catholics have “called ones” too: the Catholic priests. I see a stunning parallel here. I’m sure any serious eschatologist would agree with me on this.

        This is has been going on for a long time, and no one seems to have seen it for everything that it really is because everyone has fallen victim of the slippery slope where doctrines have been changed ever so slowly under our eyes. Kind of like the frog that slowly cooks to death in the pan, because he gradually adapts to the temperature.

    • Savvy Says:

      Ryan, it’s actually very different as the goal for the priest is to be celibate FOR THE REST OF HIS LIFE and cleave to God. There is a general discomfort level with the opposites sex in these courtship believers that is hard to comprehend. When someone wants to be a priest or my friend who wanted to become a nun, it was different. I have a friend who became a Carmelite nun and she was inspired to be celibate and dedicate herself to the Lord and the Lord’s work. She had boyfriends before she went in and even though she came from a very loving Catholic home, she decided that being married and having a family was not for her. As such, she took the veil, cut off her hair, and took vows. She crossed over to another place through this. Protestant celibates just do not have an equivalent, so if there is some brother or sister who doesn’t seem to be interested because he intends to devote him or herself to God and not be married, there is no specified role or separate and distinguished place for them.

      Look, no one likes to get tossed around by serial daters who can’t tell up from down, but you can’t know whether or not you want to marry someone without spending some time with them. These IKDG people have it all wrong.

      • Ryan Says:

        Hello Savvy,
        I understand for the most part where you trying to go with this. But, you have to think about it this way: Who really authored these ideas? It clearly wasn’t God. Satan had a goal from the beginning. If forbidding to marry is a doctrine of demons, then clearly it was Satan who was seeking to forbid to marry. With the priests, they are forbidden to be married while being a priest, even while 1 Timothy clearly teaches that a bishop must be married to one wife. It’s one thing to forbid another outright, how much better if Satan can fool you into forbidding yourself.

        This is what IKDG has sown into the minds of others. And if you have read much of this blog, you understand the the underlying problems that have come about. So you could say those who have fallen prey to these ideas have been pretty much forbidden. Some willingly. Others unwillingly. And some willingly at the beginning, and then unwillingly after waking up.
        I’m not criticizing those who take celabacy vows when they are not directly contradicting scripture (though I am beginning to wonder where those kind of things could be leading). Merely, I see the a spiritual agenda at work.

        And as you said about Barlow Girl, it seems the whole plan was about driving everyone away from the traditional institution of marriage. If feminism is the next step, then lesbianism couldn’t be far off.

    • Savvy Says:

      PS Ryan, if you think about it, Barlow Girl are feminists because they reject the idea that they don’t have a life until a man comes along. “We believe that God has one perfect man already chosen for us; therefore we have no need to worry ourselves in searching for him. When the time is right, we know God will bring us together. In the mean time, we are not hiding in a closet avoiding all males, we are still living our lives, just without the pressure of having to have a boyfriend.”

      Interesting when you think about it that way.

      • Ryan Says:

        Hello Savvy,
        I am currently trying to respond to you previous comment.

        Yes, that’s interesting you said that since I just finished reading someone’s blog that mentioned similarities in the ideas Harris discusses in IKDG and feminism.

        That actually makes more curious as to the spiritual origin of this whole thing.

      • anonymous Says:

        We believe that God has one perfect man already chosen for us; therefore we have no need to worry ourselves in searching for him. When the time is right, we know God will bring us together…. no need to worry ourselves in searching for him. .

        In my experience it is extremely rare for a person who thinks this way, to get married.

        The ones who end up married, are almost always the ones who searched, and dated around a bit, til they found a good match. Except for a few, rare, ultra-attractive individuals, who just seemed to draw in a mate with no effort.

        Adding premarital sex to the dating equation, however, does cause all of the problems Harris wrongly ascribes to “dating”. Apparently Harris doesn’t believe it’s possible to date without having sex.

  87. Chris Dagostino Says:

    “Harris could do a lot more to correct abuses but for some reason chooses not to.”

    One of the traits of the Pharisees was religious pride and an obstinate refusal to be corrected. Another was their urge to impose their hang-ups on those around them. Josh Harris and the other propogators of the legalistic dungheap that was the “Purity Movement” of the 90′s were met with great success in this regard. As a man to whom the phrase “God-given sex drive” still sounds like an oxymoron, I’ve done a lot of online searching and empathizing with others who’ve had similar struggles, and Harris’s book always comes up without fail. See Elizabeth Esther’s blog for reference.

    I pray that God will forgive these guys for worsening the already-complex ordeal that is Christian relationships.

  88. jackie Says:

    It’s really disturbing to me how the members refer to having a date night with their children. This puzzled me because as a pp said, it’s impossible to date without having sex, so why use this terminology when you are spending a day or night with your child to have one on one time. Why not call it one on one or something like that? I have been a part of this ministry for a while, but found this very disturbing. My husband and I had a hard time conceiving, and 7 months ago, we finally had boy/girl twins. I have always vowed that I would never, ever use the term date night with my children. I don’t get this at all. I doubt that these particular people are doing what is almost implied by that statement, given that they themselves teach courting and their children seem well adjusted children, but I can’t get past that terminology. I want to get sick every time a member uses that term since I have been entrenched in the teachings of Joshua Harris. I don’t agree fully with the principle of courting, but I do agree it should be intent for a commitment to marriage later, but to get everyone’s approval first?? No. I want feedback and to hear about any concerns cause marriage is a lifelong commitment, but to get their approval.. No. We were giving the trial a chance to see what would come out, but now that NM is charged, Sunday is our last time at our SGM affiliated church. The fact they remained silent and covers it up is a place I don’t care to be affiliated with.

  89. jackie Says:

    Btw, when I said it was impossible to date without having sex in the first part of my statement, I meant that in a sarcastic way and that’s the view held by Josh Harris. I don’t actually believe that.

    • steve240 Says:

      Jackie

      Welcome to my blog. I don’t recall Harris saying that its impossible to date without having sex. I can see you points thought.

  90. stcordova Says:

    I once taught a college Bible study 11 years ago. I was a nerdy engineer type guy, but for some strange reason the study was flocked by many 19-year-old girls by the end of the school year. A lot of them were cute and a few talented on top of that — a ballet dancer, an electrical engineering student, a student pilot….

    I discouraged them against Harris’ book. It was a daring step at the time to criticize Harris, and now that Harris himself is indirectly involved in sex scandal at his church, I’m glad I discouraged them against Harris’ writings.

    It seems to me Harris strains at gnats and lets camels through in his own congregation (a child molester in his church was apparently not dealt with, now the molester is sentenced to 110 years in prison, and Harris is now stepping down in the wake of this fiasco). I mean, he worries about girls hold a guy hands, but what about allowing child molesters to sneak into his church to become youth leaders? Cut me a break.

    There were people in a church I attended who proclaimed Harris way was God’s way. They practiced and preached it to the letter and then got divorced after swallowing their own medicine 4 years later.

    I didn’t like Harris’ insinuation that if one is single or lonely, then this implies they somehow failed to do things God’s way, or that if one does things God’s way one is entitled to happily ever after. John the Baptist, Ezekiel (who’s wife was taken home to be with the Lord), Jeremiah, Daniel (possibly a eunuch) — they followed God better than most. What of their love lives?

    Did Harris bother to do a survey of how God united couples? Queen Esther (basically was a sex slave in the King’s Harem), Hosea (told by god to marry Gomer, a prostitute), Joseph (given wives by Pharoah), There were many arranged marriages which no doubt were a source of unhappiness (several proverbs about being married to a quarrelsome wives). A good gravy, what about levirate marriages where men were forced to marry undesirable women! Elkanah (Samuel’s dad) loved one of his wives and not the other. Oh well, so much for Harris’ courtship model.

    I posed the question, “will God ever allow you to make a commitment (like marriage) that is to your hurt?”. Hosea is at least one example in the affirmative. And further God looks favorably to the individual who keeps his word to his own hurt (Psalm 15).

    Did he notice that there were marriages that were God’s will that were arguably not full of happiness. Consider the Levirate marriage, where a man must marry his dead brother’s wife and have kids with her. That was God’s will in the Old Testament, and that wasn’t always happy for each man, and God knew it would not always be happy, and given the description of Samuel’s dad, there was an unhappy marriage ordained by God between Elkanah and Peninnah. What about Jacob and Leah? Did God stop such an unhappy union from happening? And Jacob was loved of God. God allowed Jacob’s true love, Rachel, to die in childbirth leaving him stuck with Leah.

    Harris suggests his experiences are more authoritative as far as what God wants for His people!

    Harris has managed to sell ceremonial legalism as some sort of magic formula to landing Prince Charming for a girl or Miss Right for a guy. Not good.

    Maybe happily ever after in this world is not what God intends, but preaching such a message sure sells books and fills pews in church and gets people believing all sorts of things.

    Look at the book of Ruth. Ruth pretties herself up and lays down at Boaz feet at night alone. It’s obvious she was trying to convince Boaz that she’s a catch. That’s scandalous by Harris standards, but reading the book of Ruth, one does not get the impression Ruth was ungodly in her behavior. She had legal right to demand Boaz marry her, and she was doing what she could to encourage him to do his duty, and his duty was to make babies with her (the levirate marriage).

    I told the young ladies there is no magic formula to happily-ever-after on Earth. I’ve known too many young godly women who lost their husbands to death and were widows before age 30. I knew a very beautiful young woman who went to the mission field, and never married.

    What constitutes “God’s way” beyond chastity is quite individual. We note Paul in Timothy encouraging women (widows) to marry, and yet in Corinthians, he’s obviously cautioning against marriage. In Jeremiah, God commands people to marry in Babylon, but then commanded Jeremiah to remain single, and as far as we can tell Daniel might well have been a eunuch. Harris one-size-fits all about God’s way for uniting men and women is not what is taught in the Bible.

    Jesus pointed out some guys might not have all the plumbing functional (eunuchs), but there are subtle gradations beyond just physical emasculation. A guy could be unattractive, financially poor, etc. There may be barriers other than being a eunuch that make a man unattractive to women, and in the end that will be OK if such men love the Lord.

    ““To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths,
    who choose what pleases me
    and hold fast to my covenant—
    to them I will give within my temple and its walls
    a memorial and a name
    better than sons and daughters;
    I will give them an everlasting name
    that will endure forever.”

    Isaiah 56:4

    Women are obsessed with clothes, and I don’t think John the Baptist lifestyle would exactly endear him to the hotties in Jerusalem, but there is nothing wrong with that in the ultimate sense of God’s economy. It’s just extremely painful to one’s love life and natural needs.

    My simple advice to the young ladies in my Bible study 11-years ago: “happiness in this life is by God’s grace, not human methods. Learn all you can about a prospective partner. There are sensible lists of questions to ask. Ask the questions, and choose wisely. Jesus said, in this world you will have trouble. I don’t think dating and marriage are exempt from trouble just because someone follows the Lord.”

    To my knowledge, all the young ladies present when I gave my one and only talk about dating and relationships, of the ones that are married now, they are all in good relationships. Was it because of what I said? No. They were decent attractive girls to begin with and they attracted decent attractive guys. Simple as that.

    A few are still single, and still decent girls. Nothing wrong in God’s eyes with that either. They might occasionally be lonely and hurting, in fact they many agonize, but if they love God, God promises it will work for the best, if not in this life, in the next. That’s the most honest thing I could tell them.

    PS
    cross posted at

    http://tinyurl.com/m4fzsr8

    • steve240 Says:

      stcordova

      You make some good points. Josh Harris isn’t stepping down that I am aware of though had offered to. Also, Harris has only been the Sr. Pastor for a brief period of time. Most of the time is was C.J. Mahaney including when Nataniel Morales did the actions that Morales was recently convicted of.

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