Comments

  1. KayBee says

    Uh, wow! This is one scary video. I’m assuming he’s on the family integrated church wagon? But, there’s nothing in God’s word that says the MAIN problem for the CHURCH or any other area is people being unmarried. This short 36 second promo is REEKING with Unbiblical scenarios.

    The problem is not that Christians aren’t getting married a young age (what age does he think is appropriate anyway weirdo????), but the problem that is CLEARLY stated in Scripture is APOSTASY…a falling away. It is stated more than any other sign of the end times. THAT, Mr. Swanson is the problem with the Church. I’m just wondering WHAT kind of twisting he’ll have to do to God’s word to make THIS idea work? I shudder at the thought!!! I know, I should be more straight-forward! 🙂

    I will say I heard him talk on his radio show once about home churches being wrong and evil (last year sometime). So, another band wagon these folks are on?? (Voddie Bacham had a WHOLE session at last year’s home school convention about this ridiculously UNBiblical topic too). Thus, my view of Kevin Swanson was already on Def-con 5, so I guess this puts it up to 10. I would be very leery of any of his teachings sweet sisters. We must be discerning!! 2 Peter 17 You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; 18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

  2. Jessica says

    I’m Catholic and do not know my way around the Bible as well as most of the readers here. But doesn’t the Bible write about singleness being a higher calling then being married?

  3. kh says

    So where exactly would that leave my 28 yr.old daughter, 25 yr.old son who are not married yet? My 23 yr.old is engaged and will be married next year.

    Who are these people and why do they think it is okay to make statements like this?My unmarried kids would love to meet the right one but it just hasn’t happened yet.I do believe it will for them because it is a desire of the heart on their part but until that happens they are not pining away!

    My 28 yr.old daughter works at a Christian School.Yep..she still lives at home with us.Hey..why not! Right after Thanksgiving dinner she says to me..”Mom..I want to go out on Black Friday but I don’t need anything for myself.I want to get something for ..so and so and her mom.This teenage girls mom has stage 4 cancer.She is having her over this weekend to bake Christmas cookies with her! She loves this girl and her mom and wants to minister Christ’s love to them! She loves on and shares the Lord with the children she cares for and their parents!

    My 25 yr.old son is a Pool Guy..hey we live in Florida! He loves it and he has more opportunities to tell people about the Lord they you could imagine.He loves to go to book stores and hang out and start up conversations with people about the Lord.He has even bought a few Bibles there to give to the people he’s talking to!

    I don’t say all this to brag..Hey..we are all human BUT I see the Lord using them in so many ways right now.Someday..they probably will get married but until then….uggg…They are Not Wasting Their Lives!

    Okay..I’m finished with my tangent!! Please Put Up More Cookie Recipes!!!!!!

  4. says

    kh – I was 29, teaching in a Christian school, and living at home when I met my husband (online, of all places, in 1996). I got a gem of a man, the man God chose for me, after years and years of praying and waiting. I pray the same thing happens for your daughter. 🙂

  5. Granddad says

    In my church there is a 40+ single woman (she would like to marry, but has not met anyone…she does have a severe hearing problem) who will share the gospel with a cat, if they stood still long enough.

  6. HoppyTheToad says

    Umm, I guess in Swanson’s mind, Paul and Jesus were stuck in adolescence? (I didn’t watch the video.) What about Isaac not marrying until 40?

    The cynic in me says that these people want everyone to marry and have kids by 20 because then they are easier to control, especially the women. Once a woman has kids, her options for almost everything decrease, at least in our culture.

  7. says

    My thoughts? Now that I’ve been searching around, I believe it is an agenda to push singles into marriage to populate the earth.

    What grieves my heart is thinking about all of the singles who are not single by choice, but who will listen to this nonsense. Hearing this message will not give grace, but guilt.

  8. Heidi says

    I do believe that Mr. Swanson is discussing prolonged adolesence. He loves to state that “40% off all men are not grown up by age 30”. He is referring to men that are living in their parents basements and playing video games all day. He would not be talking about young people who just have not found their mate yet. I am not sure how accurate this protrayal is but that is what he espouses.

    I am sure that “teenagers” as a new invention by our society will also be discussed. That young men in bygone eras would not have had the luxury of spending time with peers but would have been working on the family farm (a.k.a. family economy). They would have been workig alongside their fathers and gleening his godly wisdom. Mr. Swanson will say that men whould rise up start a family economy, court a young girl, get married, and “lead” his family. This will be the solution to the problems we are seeing in the church today. This idealic scenerio is protrayed over and over again.

    The problem I see is that it sets up this perfect, unattainable Christian life. It leaves little room for real families with real problems. I often feel marginalized because I was saved AFTER I got married and my husband was not. As if the Bible does not discuss this exact situation. The ideal is a father leading his family and if he is not then…your children will never be saved. Salvation does not come through the earthly father. I graciously say that I am raising 3 Timothy’s. Despite his father’s unbelief he was mightily used of God. Praise God that the gospel can go forth despite not having “perfect” families. Tongue in cheek.
    The answer to the world’s problems is not an extreme backlash the opposite way. It is the GOSPEL. Salvation through Jesus Christ alone.

  9. Susan T says

    Absolutely true Heidi! “The GOSPEL – salvation through Jesus Christ alone”. Thank you for your testimony 🙂

  10. Adam says

    Karen, KayBee,

    This rhetoric is nothing new. Here is a short Bibliography of online articles, books, and interviews if you want to see how these people argue their position from the scriptures:

    Articles:

    http://www.boundless.org/2005/articles/a0001199.cfm

    http://www.boundless.org/2005/articles/a0001254.cfm

    http://www.albertmohler.com/2004/08/19/looking-back-at-the-mystery-of-marriage-part-one/

    http://www.albertmohler.com/2004/08/20/looking-back-at-the-mystery-of-marriage-part-two/

    http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2009/august/16.22.html

    http://www.boundless.org/2005/articles/a0001135.cfm

    http://www.boundless.org/2005/articles/a0001145.cfm

    Books:

    http://www.amazon.com/Get-Married-What-Women-Happen/dp/0802458297/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1354240432&sr=1-1&keywords=Get+Married+Women+help+happen

    http://www.amazon.com/Getting-Serious-About-Married-Rethinking/dp/1581347413/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1354239210&sr=8-1&keywords=Debbie+Maken

    http://www.amazon.com/Young-Love-Challenging-Unnecessary-Marriage/dp/B0064XFDOK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1354244899&sr=8-1&keywords=Young+in+Love+cunningham

    Audio:

    http://www.sbts.edu/MP3/Mohler/NewAttitude2004-1.mp3

    http://www.sbts.edu/MP3/Mohler/NewAttitude2004-2.mp3

    http://www.centeredonline.org/Today_2part/CT_2009_12_06_%20interview_Maken_Debbie.mp3

    http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=313121224471

    So, there is a possible line up for this movie:

    Kevin Swanson
    Mark Regnerus
    Albert Mohler
    Ted Cunningham
    Debbie Maken
    Candice Watters
    Danielle Crittenden
    [Possibly] Kay Hymowitz
    [add any Vision Forum affiliated speaker]

    So, there are quite a few people who could fill up a documentary like this. In fact, Kevin Swanson had Candice Watters on his show to discuss this very issue [the last link in the audio above]. There are connections between Kevin Swanson, and the others I listed.

    So, ya, their writings are vast and numerous, as can be seen by all of the bibliography I gave above. My question is whether there will be anything new, or whether they will find other ways to try to get from the Bible to the notion that “delay of marriage” is wrong. Remember too that these folks believe that a person is not to be considered an adult until they are married. That is why they say that single men who are unmarried are in “extended adolescence” because, to them, marriage=manhood.

    Anyway, those are my thoughts. This is nothing new; there is plenty of bibliography I can give you to prepare for the arguments you will hear in this movie. It is sad that these refuted ideas keep on resurfacing, and are continually recycled, when they have failed exegetically over and over again since Albert Mohler introduced them at the New Attitude conference in 2004. The are simply exegetically weak.

    Let me be clear. There is a problem in this area. However, the issue is far more complex then simply talking about “extended adolescence” and “delay of marriage.” There are many factors we can talk about, and many things the church as a whole can do to correct this problem, and many things singles can do to put themselves in a better situation to marry. This kind of misuse of scripture is utterly unhelpful in solving any of these problems.

    God Bless,
    Adam

  11. Granddad says

    To Adam,
    I read Al Mohler’s articles. You’ll have to elaborate on your objections to it.

    While I do not think every Christian MUST marry, nor think every married couple MUST have children (and certainly not a dozen or so), I am not sympathetic with those who are forgoing either for selfish or hedonistic reasons. Not having kids so I can afford a new Mercedes S500 is unacceptable, in my view. There are legitimate reasons for delaying married or children; I suspect there are far too many Christian young men and women who do so for less than biblical reasons.

    I do think scripture is pretty clear that God likes families. Do I think he favors the Swanson/Phillips/Baucham model? I rather doubt it.

  12. Lori says

    I will definitely not be contributing funds to this video.

    However, I do not believe that Al Mohler should be included in the list seen in one of the comments listed above.

  13. Jerzy says

    Sigh. I wish I could pop this man’s hot air balloon! But I guess when you make your living peddling this stuff, you have to continue making something to peddle.

    Singles are wonderful! There are days when I miss that season of life.

    I live in a neighborhood FULL of kidults who continue to live as if they’re single. Marriage is not the cure-all for immaturity.

    This seems like a knee-jerk reaction to Hollywood to me. I find Kevin’s approach to cultural problems alienating and ineffective.

  14. says

    re: Al Mohler: Here are some of the things he said that troubled me:

    “According to the Bible, marriage is not primarily about our self-esteem and personal fulfillment, nor is it just one lifestyle option among others. From Genesis to Revelation, the Bible assumes that marriage is normative for human beings.”

    That word “normative” is troubling. In another context I wouldn’t have reacted so strongly but in this context, given the use of it so frequently in patriocentric circles, it gives the message that NOT being married is abnormal.

    “This generation of young Christians must lead the way in the recovery of the biblical vision, and build a Christian counter-culture that puts marriage back at the center of human life and Christian living.”

    He is equating marriage with the Gospel, which is the real “center of human life and Christian living.” Again, in another context this wouldn’t seem as bad but the complementarians in 2012 have gone out of their way to make the case that Christian marriage and the Gospel are a package deal. In fact, they have stated repeatedly that married Christian sex is the gospel.

    “and the completeness that comes with the gift of children.” Really? children make a marriage complete? I can’t think of a passage of Scripture that makes that claim.

    “Paul’s discussion of celibacy indicates that this gift is marked by the absence of lust and sexual desire that would compromise or complicate ministry as an unmarried person. Accordingly, those who have been given the gift of celibacy find in Christ the satisfactions others are given through marriage.”

    Hhmmm…What about those who struggle with homosexual temptation? Heterosexual marriage is not the solution for them, celibacy is.”

    “I shared with those who attended the conference my concern that this delay–the deliberate putting off of marriage even among some who intend some day to be married–was “the sin I think besets this generation.””

    I think the sin that besets this generation is idolatry not the delay of marriage. I know many who plan to marry who have delayed it for God-honoring reasons. This statement is manipulative.

    “Continuing, I also made clear that this is primarily a problem that should be laid at the feet of young men. While some young women may neglect the call of marriage, a far greater problem is the unwillingness of many young men to grow up, take responsibility, lead, and find the woman God would have them to marry. As a rule, young women show far greater commitment to marriage, far greater maturity about marriage, and far greater frustration about the fact that marriage has been delayed. I thought I had made that point clearly–but perhaps not.”

    At least this isn’t all a woman’s fault as some believe. In fact, Mary Kassian just attributed this to women not being as feminine as they should be in order for young men to want to marry them. I also think that mature young women recognize that marriage comes with great responsibilites and they would like to enjoy some reasonable experiences before they make those committments…education, travel, ministry, etc. I still do not understand how that is sinful. In Luke 8 we read of women who traveled with Jesus and helped to financially support him and his ministry. We do not know if they were married to any of the 12 disciples, married to anyone at all, traveling with their fathers, or single women. All we know is that they were part of the ministry of Jesus and that they could earn their own money for ministry. There is no mention of this being sinful.

    “Most specifically, Ms. Courtney was offended by my suggestion that, except for those given the gift of celibacy, marriage is the God-given context for the achievement of maturity in adulthood.”

    Well, we do not know if Paul was married or not during his years of ministry; many Bible scholars believe he remained single. Repeatedly he compares the maturity of the believers to whom he writes to his own maturity in the Lord. Obviously he was spiritually mature. What an offensive statement to make, insisting that marriage is the means of maturity for all people!

  15. says

    Julie Anne, you are spot on. Not only does the “everybody must be married to be mature” statement offend but the whole “women shall be saved in childbearing” message that comes along with not only marriage but militant fecundity.

  16. Adam says

    Granddad, Lori,

    I would echo Karen’s objections. Also, you need to understand that Mohler has allied himself with these people. He endorsed Debbie Maken’s book; he wrote the forward to Candice Watters’ book; he wrote with strong approval of Mark Regnerus when his article came out in Christianity Today. It is Mohler who has allied himself with their message.

    I might also add that Mohler was the beginning of all of this. If Mohler doesn’t preach that message at the New Attitude conference, this stuff doesn’t get off the ground. This is the perfect example of “ideas have consequences.” I have seen nasty fights between the sexes over Mohler’s views on boards and forums; Debbie Maken said that she wanted churches to start taking male singleness into preaching, such that they “squirm in their seats.” It has divided the singles community into men vs. women, with church leaders seeking to manipulate men into doing what they want. It is very, very ugly.

    Also, one can forgo getting married and having children, and not be hedonistic. The whole question is what you are using your time and resources for. Are you using it to serve God, or your own desires? The answer to selfishness is not marriage; it is the transformation of the heart. If we can get people to take themselves out of the center, and put Christ in the center, I could care less whether they get married or have children.

    Finally, I don’t mean any of this to be a knock on what Mohler has said on other issues. Mohler is excellent when it comes to liberal theology and the defense of the five points of Calvinism; however, when it comes to this issue, Mohler’s views are very eccentric. While he has convinced many people in the popular church level culture, he has been unable to convince scholarship, both evangelical and liberal. Everyone has their blind spots, and I would say this is one of Mohler’s blind spots.

    God Bless,
    Adam

  17. Hester says

    “God began a unique work in the midst of this movement”

    Maybe he’s referring to declining marriage rates in the patriarchy movement? Because it’s not at all unusual to find girls, at least, still single in their 30s in patriarchal homes. The solution, of course, is to bring their overly strict standards for courtship/purity down to normal levels (fornication = sin; kissing and emotions = not sin). However, this would require ditching most of their “heart guarding” rhetoric, which would pretty much single-handedly destroy the courtship/purity industry and lose them big $$$. So…not gonna happen.

    If he’s talking about declining marriage rates in the broader culture – I don’t think you can make the case from Scripture that marriage is “normative” (for Christians or anyone else). Common, yes. Required, no.

    I wonder sometimes if the patriarchy movement isn’t running scared, now that the second generation is coming of age and many of them are not only abandoning their upbringings, but posting the finer and more disturbing points of their culture/doctrine on the internet for public viewing. A few years ago the Botkins came out with a DVD about making sure the second generation doesn’t fall away (can’t remember the title right now), so maybe this is becoming a theme?

  18. says

    He suggests marriage as if it solves immaturity. It does not. It just enables the immature to make a spouse unhappy with his/her immaturity.

    And this is essentially speaking in favor of judgment by outward things: “If you are married, we will regard you as mature. If not, you will be seen as immature” is the subtext.”

  19. HoppyTheToad says

    So the controlling dads can’t find anyone good enough for their little princesses, but yet are surprised no normal woman has married these “losers” yet?

    These men are stuck in their imagined version of the 50s – 1950s or 1850s…take your pick. In their mind, nobody needs until 22 to finish college, let alone go to grad or medical school. Nobody needs 10-15 years after graduation to save up a down payment on a house.

    If everyone followed their plan, families would be impoverished, as most couples would have 8-10 kids by the time they hit 30. The wife would have no career training or backup plan in case the husband was laid off or disabled. She’s also be stuck if the marriage was abusive, because she couldn’t support herself, let alone the kids.

    The wife herself would often be “used up” by 30 from the stress of contstant pregnancies and nursing. Hunger and overcrowding would increase. Problems finding enough water for cities would skyrocket. We’d end up looking more like third world countries.

    Doesn’t it seem odd to these men that all over the world, as contraception becomes available, women decide they only want 2-3 kids? Maybe it’s because so many of then have seen the suffering or lived it themselves. They’d rather have a small family that they can feed and keep healthy than a large one with people dying of hunger.

  20. says

    Karen, could you provide a link to Mary Kassian stating that the onus of the blame rests on women for not being feminine enough so men will want to marry them?

  21. Monique says

    Are they trying to invent “crusades” so they can jump on their soapboxes? Unless this issue is addressed, “There’s NO future for the CHURCH” ~ Really???
    These people take themselves way too serious. The doorslam/closeup affect at the end of the clip would seem comical if it weren’t for the fact that Kevin Swanson and his ilk wield much influence is some homeschooling circles.
    For the past year I’ve been educating myself about these patriarchical groups in the homeschooling communities ~ much thanks to you Karen for your voice. My poor sister, who is not a homeschooler, has listened to me rant/whine regarding this patriarchical craziness.
    With this last Kevin Swanson clip (thank goodness only 36 seconds long), she just looked at me like a deer caught in the headlights and asked, “Who ARE these people?”
    Ummm, there’s quite a few in my local homeschool group 🙁
    Maybe it would help if these people would get out and travel the world and see the Body of Christ in different cultures. Perhaps then their version of what a healthy church looks like would be seen for what it is: patriarchical men with agendas and egos to feed.

  22. HillaryM says

    I am weeping after watching this brief clip. They did it to themselves…. this ideology dug its own grave and they have finally looked up and are seeing the ramifications. No marriage means no children, either. I want to be gentle with them through this disillusioning process. At the same time I am deeply grieved for the young men and women who are, truly, “living a life of prolonged adolescence, with no hopes of marriage in sight”. I think of my siblings who fit this description, who range from early 20s-early 30s. All unmarried and without suitors. I weep and I pray. This isn’t what we dreamed about as little girls or prayed for, earnestly, as young men and women, or prepared for with diligence, practicing the arts of homekeeping over and over, year after year (dare I humbly suggest that some daughters are more capable in the home than some mothers? After all, the mother has already accomplished the beautiful dream of marriage and family) for that inevitable course of events, married life, that seems not so inevitable anymore. And the only way to cope with this heady disappointment is to sanctify it, place it on the altar day after day believing that this is God’s will and calling. But is it? Or is it the natural consequence of placing doctrine over person, following the letter of the law vs. life in the Spirit? I know that not everyone is destined for marriage. But the glaring reality is just what Kevin Swanson himself has noticed, and that the patriarchal world is finally acknowledging it shows just how serious this is.

  23. says

    Hillary, I completely agree with what you said so eloquently!

    We have said so many things about this topic over the years and I do believe the extra Biblical teachings and legalism is coming home to roost. Young women have been taught to have so many expectations on young men, as have their parents. Just yesterday I was showing the 164 questions from McDonalds’ to my family and we were discussing how ridiculous and full of legalistic thinking so many of them are. Parents are being taught that they can have control over things that are not theirs to control and the bar has been set so high that young men, especially those who are really young as they are encouraging, cannot ever meet their manmade standards. Clay and I were discussing how many of the things on this list mean absolutely nothing to the majority of couples and how many of those things are things that can only be considered after years of marriage and through the life circumstances that are particular to each situation. They also could disqualify many wonderful young men (and women) who have know God’s grace in profound ways but perhaps only after many mistakes. And then young men have expectations on young women that perhaps are only convictions based on knowing nothing outsid4e of a patriocentric paradigm. Maybe they have gifts and talents that have never been awakened because they have been told there is only one nonoptionql normative role they are to play. There is just so much that is setting young people in Swanson’s paradigm up for failure!

    http://yoursacredcalling.com/blog/courtship-questions-for-potential-suitors/

  24. says

    Monique, I hear ya! I can’t tell you how many times I have gotten that same deer in the headlight look from people, some even within the homeschoolng world who have never ever considered the ramifications of these teachings.

    And you are absolutely correct that what Swanson advocates is all over the homeschooling community. I can’t tell you how frustrating it has been for me to see even my local homeschooling group open the door to these teachings, especially in the last couple years. They are culpable for all that I see coming down the road. You know, a while back this subject came up in a circle of homeschooling curriculum suppliers and convention organizers I observed and was dumbfounded at the willful naivete. Not losing money on selling your own products and keeping your reputation as wht4ever speaker or curriculum producer you are seems to be much more important to too many of these “leaders” than the lives of young people and their unwitting moms and dads. It breaks my heart.

  25. Adam says

    HillaryM,

    I actually can understand what you are saying. I have been dealing with the arguments of the Botkin girls for some time. I will never forget the first time I saw a picture of these girls. Now, I approach this issue academically, and I have Asperger Syndrome, so this is not something I usually say. But I am single, and I have to say that the first time I saw a picture of the younger dark haired Botkin girl, something leaped inside of me. I was very impressed with how beautiful she was [is]. She has the kind of beauty that, in any ordinary setting, would allow her to have *any* guy she wants. Yet, it was interesting to read this article at about the same time I first saw a picture of these girls:

    http://visionarydaughters.com/2010/10/greater-expectations

    In that post, Anna Sophia writes:

    This month is also the fifth anniversary of the release of my sister’s and my first book, So Much More. Many speculated that time and experience would dampen our idealistic notions, and change our convictions. Some have asked if I still agreed with the naive 17-year-old me who started that book eight years ago. After all, haven’t I changed?

    Well, yes, I have: By God’s grace, my grasp of the Scriptures and the issues is firmer, my communication skills have been sharpened through combat with an onslaught of criticism, and an acquaintance with hundreds of young woman and their unique situations from around the world has broadened the scope of my vision and taught me to have more compassion. But one thing I hope never changes — that I never grow out of — is a child-like faith in the plain teachings of Scripture and youthful zeal in proclaiming them.

    I have changed, but the Bible hasn’t, and I still believe it means what it says. Time and experience have further proved to me that God is a much better Author of a woman’s destiny than she is. Her plans will go awry. His can’t.

    Now, on the one hand I can admire her for saying this. We should never abandon the word of God just because things don’t turn out the way that we would like. However, I think it is sad that this girl really believes that something is the word of God that is not the word of God, and is willing to hold onto it, thus giving herself self-inflicted wounds.

    The main problem is the confusion of counter-cultural thinking with Biblical thinking. The two are not the same thing. Just because something is part of popular culture doesn’t mean it is wrong. The problem is, when you confuse these two things, it will have major consequences, because you still have to live in the popular culture you are seeking to counter. If you keep pushing against that culture, don’t be surprised if, eventually, you end up unable to relate socially to that culture, including the social relationship of marriage. We are called, as Christians, to be in the world but not of the world, and when you seek to go against culture to the point where you are no longer in the world, it completely destroys any ability for you to relate socially, and, in this case, ultimately defeats the purpose of the whole movement.

    The early Christians were well known for being in the world, but not of the world. They participated in the culture of ancient Rome, but when it came to things that contradicted the Bible, they were unwilling to participate. Christianity is not counterculturalism; it is a recognition that popular culture is under the authority of God, and that God has a right to regulate popular culture. Thus scripture *regulates* popular culture, and does not simply contradict whatever popular culture says.

    One final thought. While polygamy is a possibility with this movement [although, not a likely one considering the political ramifications it would have in the wider evangelical community they are trying to convince], I would also wonder if the possibility that parents will determine who you will marry is not to far in the distant future for this movement. You already have the authority of the father wildly out of control in this movement. Would it not be possible that parents [and especially the father] could end up determining who a child will marry, and when their child will marry them? Not only is that the way it was done in the Ancient Near East [hence, it would fit the “Biblical pattern”], but the eerie thing is, it could be seen as a solution to this problem. If parents set their child up with a spouse, then they must marry them when they say they must marry them, and that solves the problem of delay of marriage.

    It sounds creepy, but it may end up becoming a reality. It fits, not only with their counterculturalism, but with their hermeneutics as well. While I know most of them support the courtship model, could it be possible that they would be willing to give this up in favor of a model that allows parents absolute [allegedly “Biblical”] authority over who their children marry and when they marry in order to get them married, and producing children? I don’t know, but, as with civil government, one always has to consider the possibility that this movement will continue to solve their problems with more authority. When you live by authority, you can also die by authority, and that is where I believe this movement is headed: the very human authority they are relying upon being their undoing.

  26. Granddad says

    I found the list of questions from James McDonald eye-opening and distressing, while also valuable (in a significantly reduced form) for learning some things about a potential son-in-law. I think, however, many of them could be talked about in a manner that does not need to resemble the Inquisition and could be discerned by the potential father-in-law if he is astute and listens well.

    My biggest concern is with the doctrinally-direct questions. He doesn’t ask the kind of doctrinal questions that I believe are essential, such as those regarding the nature of Christ, the Virgin Birth, the physical return of Christ, or the inspiration of the Bible. His questions clearly reveal his unstated prerequisites regarding the sacraments (i.e., baptism and communion) and the role of the Old Testament (a theonomic position).

    Questions about vaccinations, sleep habits, the physical or mental health of grandparents, or whether or not a suitor is a vegetarian are simply bizarre.

    My guess is that most people who read this list will miss the implications of the questions and the presuppositions Rev. McDonald is operating under.

    I can agree that there would be some issues for a daughter raised in Presbyterian/Reformed home, and who had been catechized thoroughly, dating -whooops, I mean courting – a young man who has a baptistic view of baptism and the Lord’s Supper. This difference is no small matter when it comes to future children. My question to McDonald is: “Whose business is it, yours or your daughters?” Unless he is willing to say that the baptistic view is heretical and that he must therefore do all he can to protect his daughter, I don’t think he could legitimately prevent his daughter from continuing such a courtship. But, I do think he would have an obligation to address the implications of this difference with both parties.

    (I think I may write something about the underlying presuppositions I see in these questions.)

  27. Hester says

    @ Adam:

    “I would also wonder if the possibility that parents will determine who you will marry is not to far in the distant future for this movement.”

    Some practice this already…and as you say, it would solve their problem. They historically haven’t had any qualms about coming up with new doctrine to push their own hobbies/interests (see the Reformation of Food conference this past summer), so “discovering” arranged marriage is Scripture is definitely a possibility. Though in the long run, it would probably be their death knell, as rigid patriarchal arranged marriage would be nearly impossible to sell to even most conservative Christians, let alone the average American. Hillary was right when she said they dug their own grave; committing to arranged marriage would be like climbing into their own coffin and having the lid nailed down on top of them (though they probably won’t see that until it is too late).

  28. says

    Two of my most favorite professors in college were single women. One remained single on purpose (the other I’m not sure about). This gave her time to focus on her students and her church. I think she’s in her 70’s by now and is still single. That’s one “prolonged adolescence!”

    I also recall two sisters who were college alumnae who remained single. They dedicated their long lives to overseas missions work. Would they be seen as not having purposeful lives because they chose to never marry?

  29. says

    (I hope you don’t mind, but I wanted to break my thoughts up over a post or two instead of placing them all in one, big post.)

    I’m a never married adult who is in her early 40s. I had hoped and expected to marry, but I never met the right guy, so I remain single (and celibate). I have also never had sex, because I believe the Bible forbids pre-marital sex.

    I have a blog (Christian Pundit on WordPress) where I discuss a lot of these topics.

    That Mom, you quoted Mohler as saying,

    “Paul’s discussion of celibacy indicates that this gift is marked by the absence of lust and sexual desire that would compromise or complicate ministry as an unmarried person. Accordingly, those who have been given the gift of celibacy find in Christ the satisfactions others are given through marriage.”

    Oh my goodness, this is a common fallacy among Christians about celibacy. I am in my early 40s and still a virgin because I have never married and was waiting for marriage to have sex.

    Absolutely nothing in the Bible supports the notion that adult celibates such as myself have been specially graced by God to endure celibacy. I still experience sexual desire.

    God did not wave a magic wand and remove my libido, or my desire for a spouse.

    Christians needs to get over that false view that celibates have no sex drive – we most certainly do.

    Celibacy is the choice to refrain from sex in spite of having a sex drive, celibacy is NOT the same thing as asexuality. Many asexual testimonies I’ve read indicate that asexuals usually lack a sex drive or any interest in having sex.

    Asexuals and Celibates are NOT the same thing, but Christians lump the two together constantly.

    Many Christians (who, like Mohler, are usually married, I note without irony) assume that because they cannot fancy sex for more than five minutes or three days themselves, they cannot conceive of how anyone else can go without sex for a lifetime or for weeks or years.

    Yet, it’s done all the time.

    Military families where one spouse is deployed overseas ever for a year or longer manage to stay true to their partner over the course of time. Spouses where one cannot perform sexually because he (or she) is hospitalized for months also practice celibacy.

    It’s not as though it’s this totally foreign concept that people cannot abstain sexually for weeks, months, or years.

    Yes, it can be difficult at times to be celibate when you have sexual desire and want to have a spouse and have sex, but it can be done. It is not impossible to be celibate, but both Christians and Non Christian culture assume it is a heroic feat of mythological proportions that no man or woman can achieve.

    Christians are so bad with this faulty assumption that they wrongly believe God supernaturally removes all sexual desire from single adults, but God does no such thing!

    I chalk my celibacy up to sheer will power, self control, and self discipline. The Bible said not to have sex prior to marriage, so okay, I did not have sex prior to marriage.

    It makes a mockery out of my sacrifice in this area for guys such as Mohler, or preacher Mark Driscoll, to assume my celibacy must come super easy, and I don’t struggle with sexual urges at all. It is a deeply insulting view that makes light of my singleness and celibacy.

  30. says

    (Part 2)
    As I’ve written on my own blog, Christian gender role teachings, which usually insist women should aspire to be stay at home wives and mothers, are pretty much totally irrelevant to never-married (or even divorced or widowed) adult women, and to childless women.

    The vast majority of Christian gender complementarian or patriarchy blogs and views I’ve been exposed to in years past only opine and pontificate about MARRIED MOTHERS, about 99% of the time.

    Such sites have little to nothing to say about SINGLE, CHILDLESS women.

    This tells me there is an agenda at foot. If these groups really cared about “biblical womanhood” and all women in general, they would give EQUAL TIME to all life stations a woman may find herself in, not just motherhood and wifehood.

    About the only time patriarchy or gender comp blogs and speakers address adult singleness at all is under the assumption that all women will eventually marry, and at that, but they time they are 25 or 30.

    Meanwhile, I’m in my early 40s and still single, and no, I am not interested in “mentoring the younger women in how to be good wives and mothers,” which is one of the few other tid bits I’ve seen tossed at never married and childless women who are over 35. Usually, though, we mature never married and childless (or divorced and widowed) women are “persona non grata” in gender complementarian churches and Christianity and patriarchy.

  31. says

    (part 3)
    When adult singles are not being completely ignored by certain groups of Christians (e.g., Southern Baptists, Reformed churches, evangelicals, and fundamentalists), when we are taken note of, we are often insulted, shamed, and blamed – and all for merely being single.

    Christians also hold numerous stereotypes about adult singles and adult celibacy.

    One oft repeated stereotype:
    Unmarried women are depicted as being harlots who will try to bed a married man in a heartbeat, so a lot of Christian material and preaching about women, dating, marriage, etc, instructs married men to ostracize single women, to stay away from them, because if you, a man, are alone with a single women for five minutes, she WILL make a pass at you, or strip naked and perform a pole dance for you.

    I don’t know why so many Christians assume that single women have no standards and will bed any man, no matter how dumpy or unattractive he is. Some of the married men who assume this about single women, that all of us are out to bed any and all married men, no matter what the guy looks like, have big egos.

    We single women get treated like sleaze balls merely for being single (and remember, I’m in my early 40s and still a virgin. I find it deeply insulting when my sexual ethics are just assumed to be terrible by most Christians merely because I am single, when my sexual ethics are better than most married Christians, who have affairs or who look at dirty web sites.)

    Then there’s the stereotype that marriage (and parenthood) makes people more godly, mature, or somehow better than staying single.

    The Bible does not present marriage (or parenthood) as being better than singlehood (or childlessness) and even seems to suggest in some of Paul’s writings that remaining single may actually be slightly preferable in some ways to marrying – but do Southern Baptists and other Christians like to make note of such passages? No.

    I’ve seen some pastors try to “water down” such pro-singlehood passages.

    Many conservative Christian groups have truly made an idol out of sex, marriage, parenting, and the “nuclear family.” Many of these conservative Christian groups view adult singleness as an enemy to marriage and/or the Christian faith itself. Their views on singleness and marriage are unbiblical.

    Now, I will admit that there is a huge problem in Christianity today in regards to singles who want marriage:
    There are many Christian women ages 30 and up who are like I am: they want to marry but there are no Christian single men to marry.

    Many of us single women are not deliberately choosing to forgo marriage, but it is often assumed by social conservatives and Christians that we are doing so, or they wrongly assume we placed career before marriage, or wrongly assume that we got 100 million marriage proposals when we were 25 but turned them all down (also false), so we are to blame for our own protracted singleness.

    We single ladies don’t know why we are still single… we have tried having faith in God to provide a partner, we’ve tried prayer, dating sites, going to church, and nothing has helped.

  32. says

    (part 4)
    But I can tell you that the only Christian responses to this situation of unwanted, prolonged singleness I’ve come across so far that does not help:

    The talking head Christians, such as Debbie Maken and Al Mohler, who do things such as:

    1. blame young, Christian men for not asking women out on dates

    (there may be a grain of truth to that contention, that Christian men in particular seem very bashful or reluctant to actually ask women out – but bashing the unmarried men over these topics only seems to make them more hostile, and not more apt to ask women out on dates, I’ve read their blogs, and they are very angry at the “blame men” rhetoric spewed by Maken and Mohler),

    2. blaming singles (both male and females) for being single, making singlehood out to be disgraceful, or somehow “lacking,” or not as good as marriage, and

    3. pushing “early marriage,” that is, only caring about women who are ages 20 to 29 and single, and telling people to marry before they reach age 25.

    In other words, the “early marriage” advice is geared only towards women who are younger than 30.

    What about women such as myself, who are over the age of 30 (I’m in my early 40s presently)? What are churches doing to help 40 year old women get married?

    All they care about are the 20 year old women and getting them married by the time they hit 25. That is of no use to women ages 30 and up.

    Churches won’t help singles who want help getting mates to actually get mates.

    Many churches erect all sorts of obstacles for the single wanting marriage, by saying that helping singles get married would make church into a “meat market.”

    Why are churches willing to help other types of people get their needs met, like,

    Providing nursery classes for children of married people, or
    having food pantries to give food to local hungry residents, or
    having shoe drives to provide shoes for homeless residents of the city they are in,
    but they will not help singles to get married, like, by putting on regular social functions, playing match-maker for singles who want that sort of help?

    But no, churches makes excuses to not help adult singles, and they make singles fend for themselves in finding a mate. I never see churches do this side stepping and dereliction of duty in regards to orphans, homeless people who need shoes, etc.

    Other obstacles Christians erect for singles who desire marriage:

    They frequently lecture singles who desire marriage that we are supposedly “making marriage into an idol,” and they feed us cliches such as, “Jesus is all you need,” and, “be content in the Lord.”

    If a homeless guy said to a guy in a church, “I am hungry,” your typical church goer will give the man a sandwich to eat from the church’s kitchen, they would not retort with a heartless cliche of, “Jesus is all you need,” or, “be content in the Lord,” or, “stop making food and hunger into an idol.”

    Yet, Christians pull this nonsense on adult singles who want help getting married all the time.

    ~Sorry, but none of that, the shame, the advice, the lectures and cliches, helps me to get married.

    Also, I want a husband, not a cliche, and not to be shamed for a perfectly natural, normal human desire. Wanting something does not necessarily equate to making it into an idol.

  33. says

    That Mom,

    I just saw your post of Dec 3., 2013 at 10.22 am about the ridiculously long courtship list.

    I too have noticed that some Christians (and not just the patriarchy guys, but some IFBs and mainstream conservative Christians) have put so many hurdles and requirements in place for a single to get married, they are making it impossible for singles to get married, because their criteria list of what a single should demand in potential mates makes everyone disqualified.

    Christians used to just teach the “be equally yoked” view, but in the past several years, Christians have been telling single Christian women to add 456 million other requirements on to what to look for a in a man.

    It’s ridiculous. (I have personally give up on the “be yoked” teaching myself, as it is limiting my chances of getting married, and I have other reasons.)

    I’ve blogged about it in several post on my blog, such as,

    On Christians Marrying Non Christians -and- Unrealistic, Too Rigid Spouse Selection Lists by Christians

    Independent Fundamentalist Baptist College Kid Friendship Permission Form – Christians lowering marriage rates due to their own stupid teachings about sex, dating, marriage, etc

    Married Female Christian Blogger Whose Mate Hunting Criteria is Guaranteed to Keep Marriage Minded Single Christian Men Single Perpetually

    Preacher Mark Driscoll: ‘Christian Singles should not marry pro choicers’

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