Posts Tagged ‘joshua harris’

Does Kissing Dating Goodbye Lead to Kissing Marriage Goodbye?

August 14, 2009

One a few different blogs that I read about Sovereign Grace Ministries:

http://www.sgmrefuge.com
http://www.sgmsurvivors.com

I have heard Carolyn McCulley’s name discussed and her book titled Did I Kiss Marriage Goodbye? mentioned. This book is written by an older single woman and is especially written for single women who may think that marriage has passed them by. She uses the term “kissed marriage goodbye” as reference to Josh Harris’s “kissed dating goodbye” book.

I happened to find a portion of her book online at Google Books:

Did I Kiss Marriage Goodbye?

Reading the book’s preface, I found something quite interesting. Carolyn McCulley talks about “eagerly devouring” Josh Harris’s I Kissed Dating Goodbye book when it first came out in 1997. She also talks about going through the book with a group of “girls” ages 13-35 and how they connected with it. Carolyn McCulley even says about the “kissing dating goodbye” book that she finally realized that this was what she should be doing.

She then talks about 7 years later (doing the math), most of the women in this bible study group were still surprisingly being single. Notice she says “surprisingly” still single. It is as if she is quite taken aback that most of these women didn’t get married or that in normal circumstances most of these women should have been married. Of course for the younger women in the group, that would only be 20, one wouldn’t expect them to be married. Still her tone is being quite surprised that most of these women weren’t married.

Looking at this one would ask, maybe there is a connection between these women “kissing dating goodbye” and “kissing marriage goodbye.” It certainly is something to consider. Is the fact that most of these women didn’t get married when Carolyn McCulley thought they should have been a cause and effect of “kissing dating goodbye” or are they just coincidental? That is, did “kissing dating goodbye” lead to this situation or as my title indicates cause these women to “kiss marriage goodbye?”

The book’s foreword was written by Josh Harris who authored the “kissing dating goodbye” book so was I doubtful that Carolyn McCulley would be critical of the approach Josh Harris championed. I obtained and read through the rest of the book and didn’t see where she even asked the question. Maybe she is ignoring the obvious? Maybe being so sold that “kissing dating goodbye” is the “superior alternative” to dating (as a lot who teach that approach seem to be) that seeing this type of connection would be impossible for her?

I do realize that in most Christian circles there are typically more single women than single men. With this type of situation, it is probable that at least some single women won’t get married but that wouldn’t lead to most not getting married as Carolyn McCulley observed happening with this group of single women.

For those who haven’t read my other blog pages, when I use the term “kissing dating goodbye” I am talking about the approach to single men and women that Josh Harris championed/promoted in his first book. Though it may have some application for teenagers, it many times has lead to older singles almost being “afraid” of those of the opposite sex. Usually in this type of environment, singles are told strongly encouraged to do activities with those of the opposite sex in groups.

Those who promote “kissing dating goodbye” typically are quick to point out the problems with dating but “forget” to mention the problems “kissing dating goodbye” has caused over the years. From what I have seen it leads to single learning to avoid relating with those of the opposite sex vs. learning how to. If you want more information on my thoughts on KDG, please see me other blog pages. I have no doubts that this culture where singles are afraid of each other makes it harder for at least some to marry. It could very well cause at least some singles to “kiss marriage goodbye. “

One other thought I have is those that the more one has

    invested

in an approach like “kissing dating goodbye” such as with time and past opportunities the harder it is for one to see the problems with it. It is hard to admit that one is wrong. It is even harder to admit the problems when one has invested a lot and thus past up other means and opportunities.

This certainly raises some questions. I will be curious to hear what comments anyone has on this.

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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.

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

July 27, 2008

One discussion topic about courtship/dating that recently occurred on SGM Survivors (www.sgmsurvivors.com) was about the affects of socially isolating single men and women. One person put it this way:

It left these young people (and some not-so-young people) with immature and underdeveloped abilities…which in turn, of course, leave them more vulnerable to being led and controlled, even as they are pumped full of themselves and their own maturity for “doing it right.”

It has been reported that in some courtship circles including Sovereign Grace Ministries there is a lot of social “segregation” of the single men and. That is the pastors and parents don’t allow single men and women in their teens and older to interact much (with those of the opposite sex). This includes limiting this interaction even in group settings.

It was discussed what are some of the effects of this “segregation.” One clear affect of this “isolation” is that it doesn’t allow these single men and women to develop social interaction skills with those of the opposite sex. In other words, it leaves these young people with immature and underdeveloped social skills with those of the opposite sex. This would include the young men having problems approaching and talking to a single women and single women being shy and “unapproachable.” Put another way the singles become afraid of any interaction with the opposite sex.

When singles don’t have these social skills it makes them more dependent and easily controlled by their parents. Without having the opportunity to develop the interacting skills needed to meet a mate, they can become dependent on their parents and others in finding a mate. I value the opinions and input of others on finding a mate but seriously question if parents should be the ones deciding who you should marry.

I am not one to say that there doesn’t need to be some controls in place especially when singles are younger but what I hear reported seems to be going to quite an extreme.  This is another example of how courtship and “kissing dating goodbye” may have started with the best of intentions morphs into something that is more about control than its original intent.

Comments?

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What Another (Now Former) Leader In Sovereign Grace Ministries Teaches About Courtship & Dating

July 21, 2008

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.

7/14/11 Update

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:

http://www.sgmsurvivors.com
http://www.sgmrefuge.com
http://www.wartburgwatch.com

I have the highest respect for Brent having the courage to release these documents. Hopefully they will result in needed changes in SGM.

Original Post

I was reading some comments on another blog called SGMSurvivors (www.sgmsurvivors.com) and someone posted the following link:

http://audio.kingswaymedia.cc/pdf/4GettingReady.pdf

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.

8/31/09 Update

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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Definition of Terms: Dating, Groups & Courtship

February 20, 2008

Now that I have been blogging on this topic for a while I think it is more than appropriate that I define some terms, especially as they have been applied in Sovereign Grace which is the group Harris is a part of.

Here is a summary of the three stages I have seen:

DATING

This is what a lot of people do. It can be a casual date doing things as friends where a person dates different people to see what personality works best for them. It could be a long drawn out thing with no intention of marriage. There is quite a spectrum here. SG moved away from this early in their church history. Incidentally, in Joshua Harris’s “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” book he doesn’t seem to make a distinction between casual dating (as friends) and a long term dating.

GROUP APPROACH

This is what Sovereign Grace Ministries started promoting early in their church history (1978). With this approach, singles are encouraged to do things in groups vs. two single people of the opposite sex going out on “dates.” Dating might not have literally been forbidden but it might as well have been. Only after having done a lot of thing in group situations and in that context gotten to know each other was a couple allowed to pursue a relationship and do things one on one.

COURTSHIP

This system is something SG gravitated to around the mid 90’s. It especially worked well for children growing up in the church. This is an extension of the group approach and goes even further.

With this approach an interested young man must first approach the young woman’s father and gain his approval to court or “woo” as they like to say his daughter. Getting the father’s approval may take some time and is done before the young man can spend any significant time with the young woman to determine if she is even a good match for him.

At one time this approach was introduced as having prospective couple do things around each other’s family where they couldn’t put on a facade for their potential partner but now has moved toward getting the father’s approval first before much contact between the two single people. To me the having to get the father’s permission to “woo” his daughter before you can spend time to get to know her to see if she is a good match is like putting the cart before the horse. How can one know if they want to court a girl until after spending time with her? It’s almost a Catch-22.

I will be curious to see what comments people have about this. Correct me if I am wrong about my definitions.

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Revised 2/25/08

“Sovereign Grace” & Courtship: A Contradiction?

January 26, 2008

If you have read my previous post about Courtship being a means for parents extending control of their children then you should have a good idea of where I am coming from.

Courtship: Extending Parents “Protection” Beyond Home Schooling?

Sovereign Grace Ministries, the church association (some would say denomination) that Joshua Harris author of I Kissed Dating Goodbye is a senior pastor in teaches the Calvinistic belief. Harris’s group uses the title “Reformed” and not “Calvinism” though most say they are synonymous. In fact, their name “Sovereign Grace” implies they are Calvinistic/Reformed.

The Reformed Doctrine is based on a strong emphasis on God’s Sovereignty. Some including myself would say that this doctrine takes God’s chosen Sovereignty too far. Their strong emphasis on Sovereignty leads them to believe that God chooses who will be saved and that man has no choice or control in the matter. Put another way God provides an “irresistible grace” to some and those he gives this to are assured of being saved. Putting this another way, man has no free will in his salvation and it is God who decides who He will save including when.

What about those that don’t get this “irresistible grace?” They have no chance of salvation according to Reformed Theology. Either by default or also by God’s selection (depending on which variation of Calvinism taught) they will not be saved and hence eternally damned. This is the dark side of Calvinism that many times proponents choose to downplay.

Nevertheless Calvinism teaches that man has no choice with respect to salvation. God controls who will and who will not go to heaven. Thus this teaching promotes what some say is an extreme view of God’s Sovereignty.

A summary of Sovereign Grace’s teaching is summarized in one message on their web site:

Sovereign Grace & The Glorious Mystery of Election

Note: Many who question the Calvinistic doctrine will state that the use of the term “mystery” is another way of stating the contradictions in Scripture that conflict with Calvinism.

Now here is where I see a contradiction.

Why do groups such as Sovereign Grace Ministries promote a system such as courtship that seems to “over protect” their children while at the same time stating they believe how much God is in control and sovereign? That is according to their doctrine, if God wants to save their children he will do that. Conversely, if God hasn’t chosen to save them, there is nothing they can do to prevent that.

I am not downplaying the benefits of and that one should bring up a child in proper God fearing environment. I am just pointing out the contradiction. Others have shared my same concern. Also, if it is God’s sovereign choice, wouldn’t a Godly environment have no affect on whether their children come to Christ or not?

On a side note, I am always curious if leaders who promote Calvinism are willing to admit that God may not choose to save some of their children. It is easy to teach something like this when it doesn’t hit home and affect your family. It is much easier to say you believe this while pointing to crowd of strangers and not your own family.

One well known Christian author, Dave Hunt, has a book titled “What Love Is This?” That phrase sums it up. How could a God we portray as having a father heart not at least afford all individuals an opportunity to be saved?

Note: I do not hold to or promote a Calvinistic viewpoint though I don’t consider myself to be what is the opposite of the spectrum, an Arminian. If anything I would call myself a “Calminian.”

Tim Lahaye is quoted as saying that Calvinism is “perilously close to “blasphemy.” I would agree with Tim Lahaye. I am just seeing a contradiction. Maybe this should also be called “mystery?” 😉

Comments?

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Courtship: Extending Parents “Protection” Beyond Home Schooling?

January 19, 2008

Is courtship’s true motivation a way of extending parents “protection” of their children beyond what home schooling has done for them? This certainly is a good question. If so, is this “protection” wise.

These issues and others are discussed in the following online book written by Robin Phillips. It can be downloaded at the following link:

The Way of a Man with a Maid: A Response to the Courtship & Betrothal Movements

Robin Phillips makes some very good points and comments about the courtship and betrothal movements. I would strong recommend someone with an interest courtship or “kissing dating goodby” download and read this document.

A summary of the points are:

  • The courtship/betrothal movement seems to have its roots in parents wanting to further parents’ protection of their children like they feel they do when they home school their children. Robin Phillips is 2nd generation home schooled.
  • Phillips discussed the roots of courtship going back to Bill Gothard’s teaching especially Gothard’s teaching on family authority. Phillips discusses Gothard’s view on family authority including questioning it. View’s on family authority is provides the foundation for the courtship model.
  • He reviews and critiques Jonathan Lindvall’s teaching on courtship including showing some pretty shocking examples of it going awry.
  • Courtship’s “de-emphasizing of anything relating to romantic love.” He asks if this might be because its not something parents can easily “summon” and hence try to minimize its importance.
  • Questions how biblical “emotional purity” is that is so pushed by courtship advocates.
  • Explains “Why Dating Is Not The Problem And Courtship Is Not The Answer.”

Note: The author has an appendix where he questions whether Joshua Harris is a part of this courtship/betrothal movement he is critiquing in his book. Though Phillips doesn’t seem to think Harris is, Phillips does state that “people might be inadvertently sucked into the wider courtship movement through Harris’ writings as a result of the semantic similarity.” Phillips also states “Boy Meets Girl does present some disturbing parallels with the courtship movement, particularly in his emphasis on reaching a quality of character correctness before one is ready for marriage, and his rather mechanical approach to the operation of human emotions.”

Overall a good book with quite an analysis of what is driving some groups to push toward courtship. If nothing else, reading this book helps you see a motivation behind what is being promoted.

The author of this online book indicates his requests for discussion with Harris went unanswered. I guess I shouldn’t feel slighted that he also hasn’t answered my emails.

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Issac & Rebekah’s Story: Proactive or Passive?

January 12, 2008

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:

Gen 24:63-67:

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.

(NASB)

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.

Thoughts?

 

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