Disclaimer: As far as I know, Joshua Harris hasn’t used the following Scripture to justify “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” or courtship. I have seen it used by others.
Scripture Used: Genesis 24 with emphasis on:
And Isaac went out to meditate in the field toward evening; and he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, camels were coming. 64 And Rebekah lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac she dismounted from the camel. 65 And she said to the servant, “Who is that man walking in the field to meet us?” And the servant said, “He is my master.” Then she took her veil and covered herself. 66 And the servant told Isaac all the things that he had done. Then Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent, and he took Rebekah , and she became his wife; and he loved her; thus Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.
Long before Joshua Harris appeared bringing his book “I Kissed Dating Goodbye”, others taught and promoted doing things in groups over dating. I use the term “promoted” loosely. Sometimes they did more than just “promote” groups.
One favorite scripture to quote was the story of how Isaac found Sarah. Many would quote the above Scripture example and use it state Christian men should be passive about finding their mate. That is they should follow Isaac’s “example” and be “meditating” and God will drop your mate into your lap.
Building Doctrine on a Bible Story?
One thing that always amazed was how they would use this account as a way to build “dating doctrine” or use it as the pattern to find a mate. Just because it happened that way this one time doesn’t mean it should be a pattern or model for everyone to find their spouse.
A good example of this is the story of King Jehoshaphat and Judah’s defense against the Moabites. God’s answer in this case was to go out with praise and singing. Most of the time God’s instruction to Israel was to go out and fight (knowing that God was helping them etc). See Deuteronomy 20:10 and Joshua 9:2 for examples of where God specifically mentioned he expected Israel to fight. It would be quite incorrect to use the Jehoshaphat story as the only approach when adversity happens.
Thus we need to be careful about using a particular story as a pattern to follow.
A Passive Story?
Even if one could argue that Isaac’s story should be a pattern, I would question how this same story shows we should be passive in looking for a mate.
Sure, Isaac was in a field meditating when God brought him his mate but Abraham was very purposeful and ambitious in getting a wife for his son. Other people have commented on that same passage described it as being very driven vs. passive as some read it.
We no longer have fathers who will send their servant out to find us a mate. Doctrine could be built using the same story and give the following steps:
- Know when it is time to find a spouse.
- Go to where God’s people are (Church/Singles Events)
- Ask God to show me who my spouse is to be.
Again I question building a doctrine from one event that happened in the Old Testament but I use this to shows how this same passage could be interpreted quite differently than how some use it. I question the “sitting in a field and meditate” mentality some will promote. This same story could be used to show that we should be “driven” in our quest to find a mate vs. “passive” as some claim it shows.