Posts Tagged ‘Sovereign Grace’

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.

Advertisements

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.

Did Joshua Harris “Forget” His Own Church’s History With Courtship/Groups?

February 25, 2008

As I ask myself why did I set this blog up and do all of this writing one of my big drivers: “forgotten” history.

I am one that has seen the “kissing dating goodbye” in practice long before Joshua Harris wrote his book. This includes seeing it implemented in the church Harris now pastors (Covenant Life Church) as well as in other churches. I both saw and heard directly from others mentioning the problems that occurred with the group/courtship system that he promotes. Thus, despite Harris’s failure to mention this his approach had its own problems and still does. Having seen this, I am sure you can understand my shock when I read his book and saw that he left this out of his book.

Harris had no problem saying how defective dating was but failed to acknowledge any of the problems his even his own church had with the system he promoted. In fairness to Harris I should add that Harris wasn’t the pastor of this church when Covenant Life Church first implemented these practices. He was only 21 when he wrote the book but the other pastors at his church certainly knew about them or should have been. Did they not share these problems with Harris or did he choose to not mention them in his book?

When attending the church Harris now pastors in the early to mid 90’s, I would repeatedly hear singles complain about problems with how the single men and women related. The number complaining were more than just an isolated few. Some would say that that the single men and women were “afraid” of each other. Despite this sentiment among the singles, the pastors seemed to think there were no problems. One former lay singles leader indicated that the pastors heard what they wanted to hear about this vs. hearing the truth. Maybe the leadership of CLC is still in blissful ignorance of what problems dating/courtship causes?

I am not sure what to think when I see someone write a book promoting his alternative to dating and doesn’t write about the history or acknowledge the problems that occurred when this was implemented. Have the pastors failed to ever acknowledge these problems? Maybe they truly think it went and was implemented without problems. Of course there being misinformed would be better then purposely hiding the problems with “kissing dating goodbye.”

Maybe not sharing these problems has contributed to his system being used legalistically? Maybe had these problems been mentioned people would have taken more of a realistic view of his system?

Return to Main Page

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.

Return to Main Page

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?

Return to Main Page

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.

Return to Main Page

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?

 

Return to Main Page

 

Update Friday 1/11/08

January 11, 2008

I am certainly getting more “hits” and “views” of this site than I thought would happen. It appears that I am “riding the coattails” of another blog that is receiving a lot more hits than the blog creator thought would ever happen. I have been spending time posting comments on this blog. I would encourage you to check it out:

Sovereign Grace Uncensored

This is the group that Joshua Harris is a part of.

 

 There is even one post discussing  Sovereign Grace’s approach to courtship on this bog plus discussion about kissing dating goodbye and courtship intermixed in the discussion about other posts.

Courtship & the Gospel

I will try to post something new later today.

Universal Courtship: If so, would you be here?

January 7, 2008

In one discussion list that I was on that discussed the pros and cons of courtship along with kissing dating goodbye, one person made a good point. Very few of us are here because our parents courted. Another way to put this, is that very few of us would have parents and thus exist if our parents were forced to meet and marry through the courtship “model.”

There may be advantages as well as disadvantages to the courtship model but just something to think about. This was your short thought for today.

Return to Main Page