Posts Tagged ‘Courtship Betrothal’

What Is “Dating” And What Did Josh Harris Supposedly “Kiss Goodbye?”

February 27, 2009

I read a blog entry written by John that asks that same question.  I would encourage anyone to read this link:

What is “dating” anyway?

That certainly is a good question.  What is it that Harris is supposedly “kissing goodbye?”  If one decides they want to follow what Harris is teaching, wouldn’t they want to know that means and what they shouldn’t do.  The word “dating” can mean a lot of things.

There appears to be some confusion in Christian circles as to what dating is and what  they are “kissing goodbye.”

The different meanings that I see with dating along with subcategories are as follows:

DIFFERENT TYPES OF “DATING”

  1. Going out and doing something with someone of the opposite sex (with no commitment implied). This could either be:
    1. Doing something as friends to enjoy each other’s company.  There can be quite a spectrum here of what is done on these dates.  .  “Enjoy” can mean anything from doing some with the purity God commands us to to couples engaging in casual sex.
    2. Spending some time to get to know someone to see if there is possibility that there might be a “connection” to have a relationship.  One might think of this as going out on a number of dates somewhere in the range of 5 dates.  This again can be done with purity or have all the sin issues pointed out in 1a above.
  2. Seeing each other exclusively for a period of time. It might be called “going together” or “going steady” or being someone’s boyfriend or girlfriend. This could either be:
    1. Something relatively short tem such as the repeated hook up and then break up that happens with some high school students.  According to Harris, this produces multiple broken hearts in a person and being at ease with breaking up.
    2. Two people that are seeing each other for a long time period with “no real purpose” in mind as Harris mentions.  .
    3. A couple exploring a relationship to see if they might be a good match for marriage.  Most would call this at least at some point during this stage “courtship.”

As I indicate above, it is quite possible for a couple to be involved in any of the above scenarios and do it in the purity that God commands us to.  Conversely, it is also possible for a couple be involved in the same activities without that the purity called for in scripture.   I am just trying to define the various types of dating.

My study of Harris’s book seems to indicate that what Harris is really opposing is category 2a or 2b: short term boyfriend/girlfriend situations.  Writing from the perspective of his teenage experiences, Harris decries the pattern that some people do (usually teenagers) of being a “couple” for a short period of time and then breaking up.  He also feels it is wrong to be “coupled up” before one is ready to pursue marriage.

Even if one does believe and follow Harris’s thoughts on all of this he unfortunately doesn’t make it clear what he is “kissing goodbye.”  This leads to what some call a “shotgun affect” to where all dating is decried as being wrong while his alternative “courtship” becomes the only thing that is acceptable reason for 2 singles to be together.  This makes all the other categories except 2c seem at least not as “godly.”

One alternative that Harris’s church has pushed for a number of years is singles doing things in groups vs. “dating” someone of the opposite sex until one is ready for marriage and meets someone they are ready to pursue “courtship” with.

This is just something to think about.  There is a broad spectrum in what constitutes dating.  Just know what you are “kissing goodbye” if you choose to do that.

Josh Harris did indicate in his latest IKDG “update” message, “Romance Revisited”, that the title of his book was “confusing.”  He said that he could have said I kissed “short term premature selfish directionless romantic relationships” goodbye but that would be too long of a title for a book.  This confirms what I am sharing above that Harris didn’t really indicate he wanted to kiss all dating goodbye, just  a certain type of dating goodbye.

IKDG Blog One Year Anniversary

December 25, 2008

Well on internet time (terms of blog stats) it is now 12/26 and this day marks the one year anniversary for my blog.

I am almost at 18,000 hits for this blog which is far more than I ever thought would happen when set up this blog.

The fairly constant hits that this blog gets shows me that there still is some need for this type of blog. If my blog does nothing more than make people think about if/how they apply IKDG vs. blindly following then my blog has served its purpose.

Though I am not making that many new entries, I will continue to look for new topics that I can post on this blog.

I want to give an especial thanks to Kris of http://www.sgmsurvivors.com. I am sure that the large number of hits to this blog have been due to “riding on the coat tails” or her blogs popularity.

Thanks also to everyone who has posted comments for this blog.

The Seven Defects of Courtship/Groups

November 23, 2008

The 7 Defects of Groups/Courtship

As I have stated before, Josh Harris was quick to point out the defects of dating but didn’t list the defects of courtship though the church he now leads had years of experience with it including its defects. I thought I would work up a list of them

1. Those who promote groups/courtship rarely if ever admit the problems with groups/courtship.
2. Groups/courtship many times leads to avoiding relating with members of the opposite sex vs. learning to relate. This is shown in many groups where the single men and women are “afraid” of each other.
3. Groups/courtship many times forces couples on to a fast track marriage. This can and has resulted in couples marrying to later find they weren’t as good of a match as thought after the “newness” of knowing each other wore off.
4. It can give the single men an excuse for not approaching single women to pursue marriage with them.
5. When a group imposes a requirement for courtship/groups it many times results in legalism.
6. It is made to be a “one size fits all.” What might be appropriate for teenagers is assumed to be proper for singles of all ages.
7. It limits single men and women’s experiences with those of the opposite sex. This results in not being able to get to see appreciate vs. personality types and figure out which is best for you for lifetime partner.

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What Problems Joshua Harris Acknowledged About How Singles Relate At His Church (But Doesn’t Share on His Website)

April 30, 2008

I know that this has been mentioned briefly on various other threads on this blog but thought it merited its own thread and more discussion.

Here are some points that Joshua Harris made in a message entitled “Coursthip Smourtship: What Really Matters in Relationships” given on November 20, 2005. In this message he acknowledged that how some of single men and women in his church related:

  • Could be described as standoffis, overly reserved, a certain level of uptightness
  • Isn’t how relationships should work in God’s family

After acknowledging these problems Harris indicated what he thought was proper for singles:

  • Felt desire for God to bless single men and women with the good gift of marriage in his time.
  • Didn’t want the singles ministry to become a “meat market” but one in which godly friendships can lead to purposeful courtships and God glorifying relationships
  • Purposeful courtship can only happen when if mature men and women first feel the freedom to get to know each other in brother/sister friendships
  • Men not scared about initiating friendships with women
  • Felt there had been some confusion
  • It is ok for brothers and sisters to go out to lunch/dinner together, grab coffee, and email one another.
  • Should ok talk church lobby w/o asked when is the wedding date

Harris also clarified his views on singles “guarding one’s heart.” Harris even felt the word was misapplied:

  • One should not become self focused in attempt from ever being disappointed.
  • Not to guard your hearts from attraction (don’t run away from a friendship when there is attraction) God can help process that it in godly way;
  • If attempt guard ourselves against attraction/disappointment will cut ourselves off from the good gifts of friendship/fellowship that God has for us.
  • If not mutual attraction/interest God help you walk through that. There will be times of disappointment.
  • Some walk out courtships decide not to get married; successful if walked out in integrity;

I admire that Harris did have the courage to acknowledge problems at his church. Usually one is well on to solving a problem after the problem has been acknowledged. Hopefully this message at least brought about changs at CLC with how the singles relate. The message was given 2.5 years ago. For those of you reading this still part of a SG Church what change have you noticed at CLC or within SG as a result of this message?

It is interesting to note that even at Harris’s own church there were significant problems with how singles related. From reading his books and looking at his website you would think that only dating had problems. Harris doesn’t mention any problems with his system in his books. People say that there is never a “perfect church” but when I read his books one would think he has found perfect system for singles.

This is probably my biggest issue with the way Harris has presented his “kissing dating goodbye” approach; he fails to admit any problems this approach can have. In other words, he is setting people up for false expectations when he doesn’t warn of the problems with his approach. It is like saying he found the “perfect church” when there is no perfect church.

One problem I have with all of this is when I look at Harris’s website I don’t see these problems mentioned He mentions where he has added these messages to the DVD package he sells but doesn’t mention any of the particular problems on his website:

http://www.joshharris.com/2007/11/dvd_messages_old_and_new_1.php

Wouldn’t it have made sense to spread the word about the problems with his approach to correct the imbalance his books created by not mentioning any of these problems? I am sure they exist in other churches. If he mentioned these problems on his website maybe other groups could learn from the problems that occurred at Harris’s own church.

Some Harris defenders cite this message as when people criticize Harris and his books. The only problem is that he doesn’t seem to be widely sharing these problems he found in his own congregation with his approach.

One other thought on this is “so what else is new.” The problems he acknowledged have seemed to have always coexisted with the group/courtship approach. Sovereign Grace had been using Harris’s approach of “kissing dating goodbye” for almost 20 years when Harris wrote his book. At least in this message the problems were finally acknowledged by someone in leadership. My thought in the past was that pastors only wanted to hear what they wanted to hear about this approach (only the good).

One person on the Sovereign Grace Uncensored blog (now sgmsurvivors.com) conjectured that Harris was between a rock and a hard place on this. He has a large following among the home schooling crowd that admire the group/courtship model he has set up. It would be hard for him to come out and backpedal on what he has said is such a good system.

Update 11/24/2008

These messages are now again available for downloading (free of charge):

Kissing Dating Goodbye “Updates”

Enter “courtship” as the search term.

I am interested in hearing what comments people have on this.

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