Dating or Courting?

Humorous yet insightful article; here are some highlights.

“As a pastor, over the years I had my fair share of people approach me to find out if we were a “courtship” church or a “dating” church. The people invariably would tell me that their approach was “the biblical way.”

“Perhaps you’ve seen this list floating around the world-wide-web, but it’s worth reviewing because it makes a very important point. So here it is… ways to find a wife according to the Bible:

  1. Find an attractive prisoner of war, bring her home, shave her head, trim her nails, and give her new clothes. Then she’s yours. (Deut. 21:11-13)
  2. Find a man with seven daughters, and impress him by watering his flock. —Moses (Ex. 2:16-21)
  3. Purchase a piece of property, and get a woman as part of the deal. —Boaz (Ruth 4:5-10)
  4. Go to a party and hide. When the women come out to dance, grab one and carry her off to be your wife. —Benjaminites (Judges 21:19-25)
  5. Agree to work seven years in exchange for a woman’s hand in marriage. Get tricked into marrying the wrong woman. Then work another seven years for the woman you wanted to marry in the first place. That’s right. Fourteen years of toil for a wife.—Jacob (Gen. 29:15-30)
  6. Become the emperor of a huge nation and hold a beauty contest.–Xerxes or Ahasuerus (Esther 2:3-4)
  7. When you see someone you like, go home and tell your parents, “I have seen a woman; now get her for me.” If your parents question your decision, simply say, “Get her for me. She’s the one for me.”–Samson (Judges 14:1-3)
  8. A wife?—Paul (1st Corinthians, chapter 7)

Obviously, this list was written with humor in mind, and some of these “ways,” are not prescriptive but descriptive of the sinful ways that God’s people have conducted themselves in the past—they are in no way exemplary. But this does demonstrate an important point—people often want the Bible to say certain things, such as how to find a spouse and marry, but they ignore portions of Scripture that don’t fit their paradigm. The Bible has more to say about arranged marriages, for example, than it does “courtship” or dating. So then, how do we proceed?

We also have the clear biblical command that a Christian is free to marry whomever he or she chooses, so long as the prospective mate is “in the Lord” (1 Cor. 7.39). But in the end, choosing a spouse calls for wisdom…where God has spoken, we are bound, but where he has not spoken we are free. We are not bound by the commandments of men.

We should also note that in its collective history, the church has never addressed the issue in its creeds or confessions about how to find a spouse. Perhaps this should tell us that it is a matter of Christian liberty and that in the end, we should rely on God’s grace, wisdom, prayer, and godly counsel rather than make claims that the Bible has never made.”

 

Source: https://www.beautifulchristianlife.com/blog/16-ways-to-find-a-wife-according-to-the-bible

What We Don’t Want to Hear

Things not to say to your single friends:

“YOU WILL MEET SOMEONE WHEN YOU LEAST EXPECT IT.”

“YOU MUST HAVE SO MUCH TIME ON YOUR HANDS!”

“SO, WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO MEET PEOPLE?  ARE YOU PUTTING YOURSELF OUT THERE?  HAVE YOU TRIED ONLINE DATING?”

“IF BEING MARRIED IS A DESIRE OF YOUR HEART, THEN GOD WILL GIVE IT TO YOU.”

“YOU’RE JUST TOO PICKY.”

 

Source: https://www.gimmesomeoven.com/life/ten-things-not-to-say-to-single-people/

Holiness of God

Statement: Even the smallest sin deserves eternal damnation.
Finding: 61% of all participants strongly disagree with this statement.

“The results jump off the page as the strongly disagree column spikes to 61%. That conviction is fundamentally a conviction about the character of God. If he is perfectly holy and just, he cannot let sin go unpunished. But God is no longer holy—in the minds of six out of ten Americans.”

Source: https://thestateoftheology.com/

Confronting Issues

Lost in Transition: The Dark Side of Emerging Adulthood
Christian Smith with Kari Christoffersen, Hilary Davidson and Patricia Snell Herzog, Oxford University Press (2011)

Book Findings: Young adults are unable to think coherently about moral beliefs and problems. Young adults have an excessive focus on consumption and materialism as the good life.


America’s Changing Religious Landscape

Pew Research Center (2015)
Study Findings: As the Millennial generation enters adulthood, its members display much lower levels of religious affiliation, including less connection with Christian churches, than older generations.

 

Book Findings: There appears to be no shortage of teenagers who want to be inspired and make the world better. But the version of Christianity some are taught doesn’t inspire them “to change anything that’s broken in the world.” Teens want to be challenged; they want their tough questions taken on. “We think that they want cake, but they actually want steak and potatoes, and we keep giving them cake,” Churches, not just parents, share some of the blame for teens’ religious apathy. “…The gospel of niceness can’t teach teens how to confront tragedy. It can’t bear the weight of deeper questions: Why are my parents getting a divorce? Why did my best friend commit suicide? Why, in this economy, can’t I get the good job I was promised if I was a good kid?”

 

 

Source: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2018/are-young-people-really-leaving-christianity/

Ethics

“What we believe shapes how we behave. As we see evangelicals slipping away from foundational beliefs, we also see them rejecting biblical teaching on Christian living. Convictions about the key ethical issues that previously defined evangelical ethics, especially in the public sphere, are weakening as church attendance slackens.”

Statement: Sex outside of traditional marriage is a sin.
Finding: Only 52% of self-identified evengelicals who attend church once or twice per month strongly agree with this statement.

Statement: Abortion is a sin.
Finding: Only 48% of self-identified evengelicals who attend church once or twice per month strongly agree with this statement.

 

Source: https://thestateoftheology.com/

Beliefs of Christian Young Adults

Findings about the spiritual life of young adults.

The State of Theology
Ligonier Ministries and Lifeway Research (2015)

Study Findings: In this survey of theological beliefs, researchers asked self-professing Christians to respond to a series of statements related to classic, historic Christian doctrine. In every answer offered related to these theological beliefs, young people between the ages of 18 and 34 consistently held heretical views at a higher percentage than older respondents. Young people who identify themselves as Christians, are far more likely to hold views that aren’t Christian.

 

 

Source: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2018/are-young-people-really-leaving-christianity/

Mothers

“The impression that a praying mother leaves upon her children is life-long. Perhaps when you are dead and gone your prayer will be answered.” – Dwight L. Moody

“Only God Himself fully appreciates the influence of a Christian mother in the molding of character in her children.” – Billy Graham

Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. -Proverbs 31:30

History of Dating

“When one tries to understand how dating has changed over time, and most importantly, how we arrived at the system of courtship and dating we have today, one must realize the monumental cultural shift that occurred during the 1940s, primarily due to World War II.”

“In the late 1940s, Margaret Mead, in describing this pre-war dating system, argued that dating was not about sex or marriage. Instead, it was a “competitive game,” a way for girls and boys to demonstrate their popularity. Men’s popularity needed outward material signs: automobile, clothing, fraternity membership, money, etc. Women’s popularity depended on building and maintaining a reputation of popularity: be seen with popular men in the “right” places, turn down requests for dates made at the last minute and cultivate the impression that you are greatly in demand.”

‘So, that is the system in place prior to World War II. After World War II the norms within the dating system began to change. By the late 1940s and early 1950s demographic realities began to sink in: There was a shortage of men. After World War II, due in part to the fact that 250,000 men never came home, for the first time in the United States, women outnumbered men.”

“Due primarily to this scarcity of men, two things happened in the United States after World War II pertaining to marriage: Marriage rates climbed, and the average age of those marrying went down. However, the most striking change in postwar courtship and dating was the ever-earlier age at which children and teenagers entered the courtship and dating system.”

“One sociologist wrote in a July 1953 New York Times Magazine article that each boy and girl ideally should date 25 to 50 eligible marriage partners before making his or her final decision. At the center of this 1950s youth dating culture was the act of “going steady,” according to Beth Bailey.  In her book, From Front Porch to Back Seat: Courtship in Twentieth Century America, Bailey says that,

[I]n earlier days going steady had been more like the old-fashioned ‘keeping steady company.’ It was a step along the path to marriage, even if many steady couples parted company before they reached the altar. By the early 1950s, going steady had acquired a totally different meaning. It was no longer the way a marriageable couple signaled their deepening intentions. Instead, going steady was something twelve-year-olds could do, and something most fifteen-year-olds did do. Few steady couples expected to marry each other, but for the duration of the relationship, acted as if they were married. Going steady had become a sort of play-marriage, a mimicry of actual marriage. (p. 49)

So, during the 1950s, going steady (or going out) had completely supplanted the former dating system based on popularity. And this new system had its own set of rules and customs. For instance, there had to be some visible token (class ring, letterman’s sweater or jacket) given to the one with whom you were going out. Additionally, the relationships were exclusive: Neither boy nor girl could date or pay much attention to anyone of the opposite sex. Obviously, most of these steady relationships did not result in marriage, oftentimes not lasting more than a few days or a few weeks.

Many cultural commentators have argued that this going steady system has greatly contributed to our modern culture of divorce.”

“So where are we today? Do we have a dating/rating system that values the number of dates, and has popularity as its goal, or do we have a going steady system that values what is called “serial monogamy” — a succession of exclusive and serious relationships, as a practice for marriage? Or do we have a combination of the two?”

“It appears that the “script” that has developed in the closing decades of the 20th century and beginning of the 21st is, “anything goes.” And, although for many years this was sold under the heading of freedom, I believe young adults over the past decade have discovered that, in fact, it has caused cultural and relational vertigo — not knowing for certain which way is up or down, and not knowing in which direction to move. For many it’s utter confusion.”

 

Source: All information was taken from this article
http://www.boundless.org/relationships/2007/a-brief-history-of-courtship-and-dating-in-america-part-2

 

Biblical Marriage

“Sensitivity demands that we understand the grief, frustration, and concern of Christian young adults….They are the inheritors of a culture that has minimized marriage and has sent mixed messages concerning sex, gender, marriage and all the rest. The full biblical vision of marriage was not, in the main, held before them from their earliest years at home, and was not encouraged and enriched as they grew through adolescence into adulthood. Many of them — especially many young women — feel victimized by this pattern, and they are frustrated by the reality.” -Albert Mohler

According to anthropologists, there is no society wherein marriage does not exist in some format (Montague, p. 240). The institution is, therefore, a universal phenomenon. Since every effect must have an adequate cause, there must be some reasonable explanation for this feature of global society.

Here is a crucial point. If it is the case that marriage was designed and inaugurated by the Creator, then he has the authority to set the rules. Men and women do not have the right to treat this sacred human relationship in a cavalier, self-directed manner.

The institution of marriage involves a covenant between a man, a woman, and God. Man and woman, by mutual consent, enter the arrangement. But the procedure, in order to be valid, must be consistent with divine law.

Traits of Marriage
-First, the marriage, is a relationship between a man and a woman.
-Second, marriage was designed to be a strictly monogamous arrangement.
-Third, marriage was designed with a hierarchial arrangement. (A husband who loves his wife will provide gentle leadership; he will not assume the role of a “tin god” who attempts to rule his wife with an iron fist.)
-Fourth, the marriage union was intended to be a lifelong arrangement.

Purpose of Marriage
-First, marriage accommodates our social needs. (As a general rule, it is “not good to be alone” (Gen. 2:18).)
-Second, marriage provides the means for the gratification of sexual desire — a virtuous, God-given inclination.
-Third, a home sanctified by marriage affords the ideal environment for the rearing of children.
-Fourth, the husband and wife arrangement was intended to facilitate the divine plan for human redemption.

Source:
Jackson, Wayne. “Marriage: As Designed by God.” ChristianCourier.com. Access date: May 8, 2018. https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/843-marriage-as-designed-by-god

Online Dating

A few struggles that online dating presents.

Some interesting thoughts taken from this article: http://timharford.com/2016/02/online-dating-swipe-left/

We badly want to believe that after giving a website a list of our preferences, hobbies and answers to questions such as, “Do you prefer the people in your life to be simple or complex?”, a clever algorithm will produce a pleasing result.

Because these pleasing results seem elusive, wishful thinking has gone into overdrive.

It is crazy to believe that someone’s eye colour and height, or even hobbies and musical tastes, are a basis for a lasting relationship.

A simple survey that Norton conducted with two other behavioural scientists, Jeana Frost and Dan Ariely, revealed that people were unhappy with their online dating experience in three obvious ways. The first was that the “online” bit of the dating was about as much fun as booking a dentist’s appointment. The second was that it took for ever. This was the third problem: people tended to have high expectations before the dates they had arranged online but felt disenchanted afterwards. To adapt a Woody Allen joke: not only are the dates terrible but there are so few of them.

Given that online dating tends to be tedious, time-consuming and fruitless, it is no surprise that we seem hungry for a better way.