I know it has been a little while since I made an entry but I am not one to just keep posting unless I have something to say.
After leaving SGM Brent Detwiler has produced a number of documents showing multiple problems that exist within SGM and especially the hypocrisy of C.J. Mahaney. As a result of these documents becoming public Mahaney stepped down as leader of the group.
The following blogs are good sources of information about what is going on:
I have the highest respect for Brent having the courage to release these documents. Hopefully they will result in needed changes in SGM.
I was reading some comments on another blog called SGMSurvivors (www.sgmsurvivors.com) and someone posted the following link:
If you download this pdf file it indicates it is the handout for a message given by Brent Detwiler at “The Summit Men’s Retreat” on September 21-23, 2006. He is calling the message “Getting Ready” as in getting ready for courtship.
For those who don’t know, Brent Detwiler isn’t just a another pastor in Sovereign Grace Ministries. He is in the higher leadership of Sovereign Grace including at times having responsibility for oversight of a number of churches. Thus this teaching shouldn’t be regarded as the teaching of just one of the regular SGM pastors but by someone in upper leadership.
Just like I have commented before on Josh Harris’s books, this handout has both wisdom and foolishness.
Listed below are some of points Brett Detwiler teaches about Courtship/Dating that caught my attention. I have inserted my comments below each “point.”
- Courtship is not for fun.
If courtship isn’t fun I wonder what it should be. Should it be mundane or a chore? Sure it should be taken seriously and will be some work but shouldn’t a couple have fun exploring whether they are a good match for each other? Is this a good way to start a marriage? I question of the wisdom of wanting to get married to someone that I can’t even have a fun experience with.
- Dating is about personal gratification and an end in itself. It brings all kinds of temptation to sin.
It looks like Detwiler is convinced that someone can’t date without it including all of the above. It is one thing to promote or think that “courtship” is a superior or more holy than dating. It is another thing to make a generalization like this.
I know of couples that have dated and wasn’t about the above. It was done with integrity. I can’t believe Detwiler’s audacity to make this judgment about dating.
At least Detwiler is out and open about his beliefs vs. writing a book that decries problems with dating but then claims they aren’t against dating.
- Keep Courtship Brief
- The longer a courtship goes the greater the likelihood a brother and sister will get involved emotionally and physically in ways that are inappropriate or sinful.
- By keeping the courtship brief (e.g. 3-6 months) you are trying to prevent this from happening. There is a balance between getting to know the person better and escalating temptation.
I have heard of couples that being under pressure to either get married or cut off seeing each other. Some couples in response to this pressure would get married before they had spent enough time to get to know each other and fully “explore” the possibility of a marriage. They would then get married and discover they weren’t as good of a match as they thought. Imagine being married to someone that isn’t the best of match when God wants this to be a commitment for life.
I guess if you listen to what Detwiler says here and other places in this handout, there is only one way to do things?
- Marriage will not prosper and may not survive apart from wholehearted involvement in a local church.
Though it always good for a couple to be involved in a local church I am not sure how one can make this generalization.
- Role oriented marriages – the reason why arranged marriages work.
- Man – priorities as a husband, father and provider
- Woman – priorities as a wife, mother, and home worker
(I added the underline and italics.)
Well at least Detweiler is being honest about this. He is promoting “arranged” marriages. It sounds like he wants the children’s parents to arrange a marriage. I wouldn’t want my parents deciding especially without my input on who my mate should be.
In conclusion this teaching may show the real heart and what is really behind what Sovereign Grace Ministries believes and teaches on courtship and dating including how bad they consider dating to be. At least it is nice to know what their views are so that one can make an informed decision. It is shocking that Detwiler teaches that there is only one way to do something.
Detwiler’s message may also show the real heart behind what Joshua Harris believes on courtship. Harris may claim that he doesn’t have strong views against dating but when one sees something like this it really makes you wonder if Harris’s views aren’t this extreme also. Of course there could be differing views in SGM.
According to one blog, Brent Detwiler has stepped down from being a pastor in Sovereign Grace Ministries. You can read about it on the following links. The recent church plant he started has been cancelled. You can read about it on the following links: