Posts Tagged ‘Sovereign Grace Ministires’

Does Kissing Dating Goodbye Lead to Kissing Marriage Goodbye?

August 14, 2009

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

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


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.


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:


  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 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.

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:

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 ( 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.

8/31/09 Update