Home > Mallinak, Marriage, The Family > Is Betrothal the ONLY Way to Find a Wife?

Is Betrothal the ONLY Way to Find a Wife?

July 2, 2008

First, I want to be clear in this post that I agree with virtually every statement that has been made about the modern catwalk program called dating.  I Thessalonians 4:3-5ff should settle that issue for every believer.  I believe that parents are in charge of their children throughout this process, and that children must submit to and follow the guidance of their parents.

I agree with Pastor Brandenburg all the way up to the point where he says “only.”  I think that betrothal is one way that a man finds a wife, but I cannot argue, as he has, that every way of finding a wife besides betrothal falls under the heading of “the lust of concupiscence.”  There are other legitimate points that can be made about this process, and I want to make those arguments in this post.

I don’t mind strong positions, and I most certainly appreciate Pastor Brandenburg’s strong stand on this issue.  I will say that this is the first time I have seen him lay out his case for it, and I am glad to read it.  And, so far as I know, based on discussions we have had on this in the past, he isn’t trying to line up a mate for his children while they are still under thirteen — which is a refreshing difference from the betrothal crowd I knew when I was growing up.  I don’t mind saying that I much prefer his way of doing things to theirs.  The only other betrothal people I ever knew of had contracts on their children by age five.

That approach has no basis in Scripture, no matter how many texts one might bend and stretch to make their case.

Pastor Brandenburg is absolutely correct that betrothal was commonly practiced in medieval times.  Anyone who reads literature from that time period will know this.  And, like many customs of that time, the practice has been caricatured beyond recognition, giving it very scarecrow-like qualities.  Certainly, like anything else, the system can go wrong.  We are, after all, a fallen race, and whatever we touch we mess up.  But in many cases, the system was marked by a loving father seeking the best interests of his children.

So, no, I don’t believe that betrothal is a WRONG way to find a wife.  Certainly, we see examples of it in Scripture.  I see that it has been argued that betrothal is the ideal way to find a wife.  Perhaps so.  The principles behind the betrothal idea are certainly good and right, and therefore are ideal.  I will reserve judgement on the practical aspects of it until Pastor Brandenburg has laid them out in his promised fourth post.

My point in this post (with apologies for the lengthy introduction) is simply to say that there are other ways that fall under the heading of “ideal.”  And to say that those other ways are also lawful.  But before I do so, I need to answer the claim that betrothal is the ONLY way for a man to obtain a wife.

Are You “BO” (Betrothal Only)?

The key argument that has been made for betrothal is that God gave a wife to Adam, and to Christ.  Without this argument, the arguments from Abraham are completely without weight.  The example of Abraham can only be argued as authoritative given the argument that God gave a wife to Adam and to Christ.  And, certainly, it is undeniable that God gave a wife to both Adams, the first and the Second.

I hate to over-qualify, but it bears repeating that I am not arguing against betrothal as a way of finding a wife.  It is a legitimate way.  However, we should also point out that God did not search among the possibles for a wife for either Adam.  God created a wife for each.  So, while the example remains intact, the application of it to our situation in this world is clearly different.  The fact that God created a wife for the two Adams makes these  unique and special cases.

God has created a wife for each man.  Godly parents (and their children) will be praying that God will guide them to that wife.  And, by faith, we believe that God will.  When we find that one, we believe that we can say with Adam,

This is now bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh.

And with Christ,

What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

To say then that God’s choice of a wife for Adam and for Christ relates to our situation takes the example beyond its primary meaning.  Clearly, God has made a wife for each of the Sons of Adam.  He instructs us that we are to search for and find who that is.  But this does not tell us how he intends for us to find which one he made for us.  Nor does it limit us with Abraham’s example.

So, does God’s giving both Adam and Jesus a wife make this the universal pattern for marriage?  Yes.  And no.  Yes, because God gives a wife to every married man (What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder), and no because it does not follow from this that God requires every man to take a wife for his son without the son’s involvement.

The argument extends from God’s giving of a bride to his two sons, to Abraham’s giving a wife to Isaac.  Pastor Brandenburg says,

In the story of Isaac, the two marriage candidates aren’t involved with each other at all. They must fully trust authority in their lives. This is pictured as the ideal.

Do we have any Scripture to tell us that this is the ideal?  None has been offered to tell us that Abraham’s way of doing this was the ideal.  In fact, the only evidence that has been offered to prove that this is the ideal has been the fact that God gave a wife to Adam and to Jesus.  Since we have here another father finding a wife for his son, therefore we are told that this makes it a universal pattern.

However, a few points should be made on this.  First, if this was God’s ideal way for finding a wife, Isaac apparantly was not aware of this.  Either that, or Isaac rebelled against it in disobedience.  When it came time for Jacob to find a wife, Isaac made no attempt to find him one.  Isaac sent Jacob to take a wife.  We will get into Jacob’s folly in a few paragraphs.  But for the time being, we will merely note that Isaac did not follow the pattern, and we will further note that God did not rebuke Isaac for this rebellion against the pattern.  In fact, not once in Scripture do we find a place that tells us that we are transgressing God’s law if we send our sons out to find their own wife.  Abraham sent a servant to find a wife for Isaac, Isaac sent Jacob to find himself a wife.  And God says nothing about it.

Of course, at this point we can fully expect the famous rebuttal… “that’s an argument from silence.”  This particular rebuttal is a curious thing, to say the least.  The argument for betrothal relies heavily on arguments from silence.  One might even argue that the entire premise rests on what isn’t said in Scripture.  Nevertheless, the “argument from silence” rebuttal continues to be used arbitrarily as it suits.  But the fact remains that we cannot condemn what God does not, lest we make ourselves more holy than He.

We certainly can claim that betrothal is a lawful way for a man to find a wife.  But we cannot claim that for Jacob to find his own wife at all was sin.  We cannot claim that Isaac was in sin to send Jacob to find his own wife.  And to argue that the result proves it to be sin and wrong is to assign a false cause.  We cannot argue conclusively that Jacob’s folly resulted from Jacob leaving his father’s authority to find his own wife.  First, Jacob went to find his own wife with his father’s full blessing, and under his father’s authority. Secondly, Jacob’s folly was the result of Laban’s fraud.

And that brings us to another comment that needs to be answered.  Earlier in a comment thread, Pastor Brandenburg made this statement:

You say that Jacob’s pattern was the same as Abraham’s. Laban gave Jacob Leah. Laban, the authority for the daughters, wanted Jacob to have Leah. I believe that the troubles for Jacob show the problem with the son taking the intiative. And so he takes another wife. And another. And another. I can’t take anything as a pattern of what to do from Jacob. He didn’t even follow Laban. Laban gave Leah, but he had to have Rachel.

The truth is, Laban committed a fraud against Jacob. If Laban, as the daughter’s authority, wanted Jacob to have Leah, he should have said so, not snuck her in at the ceremony. I have a feeling that if a man did this to Pastor Brandenburg’s son, there would be cries of “foul.”  The polygamy that resulted from Laban’s fraud is another discussion for another time.  I will only point out that polygamy was a social custom of the time, and was perfectly acceptable.  Jacob could have demanded that he be given Rachel, and that the marriage to Leah be annulled.  Instead, he did the honorable thing and kept Leah.  And the Genesis account of this event shows that Laban suggested that Jacob take Rachel as well (Genesis 29:26-28).  We can hardly place the blame for this on Jacob, and we certainly cannot say that this was caused by Jacob’s rebellion in leaving the authority of his father.

Jacob’s problems were caused by sin… a sinful father-in-law in particular, and they demonstrate that even when we follow parental authority, things can still be messed up.

There are only two other minor arguments for the BO (Betrothal Only) position that must be answered, and then we can move on to making a case for alternative methods.  First, the argument has been made that a boy is not a man until his father says he is.

There is the assumption in Scripture that a Dad has this kind of authority over his son as well.  We read this in Galatians 4:1-2

Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all; But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father.

When does a boy become a man?  When his Dad says that he does.  A Dad is to understand manhood, inform his son how to get there, and then tell him when he’s arrived.

Now, first, we should point out that Paul’s major point here is not to say that the son is not a man until his father says he is.  Paul is illustrating something else, using a cultural custom.  But this verse, which certainly is not written to say that a boy is not a man until his father says he is, does not undo what Scripture clearly says about a boy reaching manhood.  Consider…

Ex 30:14 Every one that passeth among them that are numbered, from twenty years old and above, shall give an offering unto the LORD.

Ex 38:26 A bekah for every man, that is, half a shekel, after the shekel of the sanctuary, for every one that went to be numbered, from twenty years old and upward, for six hundred thousand and three thousand and five hundred and fifty men.

Le 27:3 And thy estimation shall be of the male from twenty years old even unto sixty years old, even thy estimation shall be fifty shekels of silver, after the shekel of the sanctuary.

Nu 1:3 From twenty years old and upward, all that are able to go forth to war in Israel: thou and Aaron shall number them by their armies.

Nu 1:18 And they assembled all the congregation together on the first day of the second month, and they declared their pedigrees after their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, by their polls.

Nu 1:20 And the children of Reuben, Israel’s eldest son, by their generations, after their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, by their polls, every male from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war;
(see also vv. 22, 24, 26, 28, 30, 32, 34, 36, 38, 40, 42, and 45)

Nu 14:29 Your carcases shall fall in this wilderness; and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward, which have murmured against me,

Nu 32:11 Surely none of the men that came up out of Egypt, from twenty years old and upward, shall see the land which I sware unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob; because they have not wholly followed me:

According to the Old Testament then, at the age of twenty a young man was responsible to pay his own offering, was old enough to go to war, and was numbered separately from his father’s household.  In other words, he was a man.  And at that point in life, he was free to leave his father’s house.

We can argue as we wish that the pattern in Scripture is father’s finding a wife for their sons.  But the Bible makes a very clear statement in regards to sons and marriage, and we find this statement repeatedly throughout Scripture.

Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

The second minor argument to answer is the argument that the historical practice among Christians was for the father to find a bride for the son without the son’s involvement.  Pastor Brandenburg has said,

In the story of Isaac, the two marriage candidates aren’t involved with each other at all. They must fully trust authority in their lives. This is pictured as the ideal.

In this day and age, we have placed way too much emphasis on things like “compatability,” “romantic interest,” and even “love.”  A dating couple loves dating.  They love being with someone else who shares feelings with them.  They love romance and flowers and chocolates and activities together.  Do they also love each other?  They will say that they do.  Today.  Tomorrow that might change.  But one thing is sure.  They love to date.

Whether they really love each other or not is debatable.  I thought that I loved my wife before we married.  We felt like we were “in love.”  We told each other that, probably too much.  But that all seems so childish and immature now.  So, I won’t argue too vehemantly against limited involvement.  I will only say that historically, even when betrothal and arranged marriage was common, there was not an utter rejection of romantic interest.  In fact, I am told that the Puritans did not utterly reject romantic interest.

…the Puritans did not consider romantic unions the wayward by-product of “affectionate individualism,” for it was a pairing of both body and soul.  The Reformers too did not believe that anyone should be forced to enter marriage.  They actually executed fines, and even imprisonment, on parents if the consent of their children upon entering a marriage had not been freely given.

– from Debbie Maken, Getting Serious about Getting Married, p. 49.  She sites John Witte, Jr., From Sacrament to Contract: Marriage, Religion, and Law in the Western Tradition. And Leland Ryken, Worldly Saints: The Puritans as They Really Were.

The reason to answer those two minor points is simply to show that young men are not bound to their fathers in the same way that young ladies are, and that a rejection of “dating” does not require a rejection of all romantic interest.  Romantic interest is good and necessary for a proper start to a Biblical union.

And having said all that, we move on to show that other approaches to marriage are equally lawful.

Around the Parents, Not the Couple

The question has been raised whether or not the Bible shows Dad’s involvement in any way in a son’s individual pursuit of a young lady.  The answer is, yes.  Of course.  Proverbs is full of counsel to a young man in pursuit of marriage.  And, I would argue, the father is teaching the son the importance of listening to his father.  I am not, nor will I argue that a young man need not listen to his father, or seek fatherly counsel if circumstances prevent him from getting his father’s involvement.  But what we see in Proverbs is a father advising his son, pointing out the wrong kind, warning against disastrous pursuits of marriage, but all the while assuming that the son will be pursuing marriage.

This is a pattern in Scripture.  As we pointed out earlier, the son leaves his father and mother and cleaves to his wife.  But there is one argument that I believe sets the courtship model over and above the idea of “arranged marriage.”  And that is simply this.  While there is one example in Scripture of a father finding a wife and bringing her to his son, the Bible is full of commands to a father regarding his authority over his daughter in her marriage interests and sexual purity.  Numbers 30 would be an example.  Deuteronomy 22:13ff would be another.  And I Corinthians 7 would be another.  We also have historical grounds for saying so, as the long-standing custom has been for the father to give the daughter in marriage, as symbolized at the wedding.  It would be a strange thing to see the groom’s father walking him down the aisle.  The wedding ceremony starts with the bride’s father walking her down the aisle and giving her in marriage.  And this is a picture of what has been happening in the events leading up to the ceremony.

The Bible clearly states that Fathers give their daughters in marriage, and says nothing about the father of the groom.  The plain statement of Scripture carries more weight than Biblical examples, and this leads us to the point about Biblical “courtship.”  One parent has to be in charge, when it comes to seeking a wife. The Bible makes it very clear that the one in charge is the father of the bride. He gives her in marriage, and not the other way around.

The mature son then should approach the girl’s father, and should work through him towards marriage.  And so long as he is no Laban, he will be protected, he will be directed, and he will find the wife God has prepared for him.

Advertisements
Categories: Mallinak, Marriage, The Family Tags:
  1. Soldier of War
    July 2, 2008 at 5:48 pm

    QOUTE: “. . . without the son’s involvment”

    Actually, Pastor Brandenburg would say that the son is involved. The son and the father communicate to each other, both knowing exactly what to look for in a wife. They have an agreement between each other. Adam knew that there was nothing there suitable for him; he recognized it. Christ knew the Father and His will.

    Maybe Pastor Brandenburg can help me out with this part.

    I think also his recent comments point out the son’s involvment.

  2. July 2, 2008 at 11:37 pm

    Isaac was not involved in Gen. 24, but I would argue that involvement and consent are based on Biblical principle. I have mentioned that in the comment section as well. I believe the Father chooses, but he is working with his son. I think the major difference here is saying that the son initiates. I don’t see that as the model in Scripture. Is the door open for it by other examples? I don’t see it. If I could see it somewhere in Scripture, positively presented, I would, but I don’t. And then we have the historic position backing it up.

    By the way, Pastor Mallinak was very gracious in his disagreement here.

  3. Soldier of War
    July 3, 2008 at 6:54 am

    Indeed, the son does not initiate. I believe it would be good for the father and son to communicate and work together throughout the process. Of course, we don’t see Isaac involved at all in Genesis 24. One thing to note is that Isaac really trusted his father, especially from reading the account in Genesis 22.

    How would you support involvement and consent based on Biblical principle?

    On a side note: Some time ago, I did a personal study on Samson’s way of obtaining a life’s partner. It seems that Samson knew that his parents were supposed to be involved in his choosing his wife. Yet he took the initiative to go and pick his own and forced his parents to get her for him. It makes it seem to me that it was understood for the son’s parents to be involved in the choosing.

    For any pastor: What do you think of my evaluation of Samson?

    On a humorous note: I thought it was funny that Pastor Mallinak pointed out the father giving away his daughter at the wedding ceremony, and not the son’s father giving away his son. Good point, but I stiil need Scripture to convince and mold my beliefs. By the way, if the son’s parents are not important, then when I was part of a wedding ceremony not long ago, I should have seated the son’s parents with the regular audience. But I did not. They were given special attention for some reason.

    “Gracious” Yes, I agree.

  4. Don Heinz
    July 3, 2008 at 10:31 am

    In spite of Dave’s defense of other methods in this issue, I still agree with Kent that because betrothal is the best way, it is the scriptural way. However, I have a question for Kent. If Genesis 24 is the perfect pattern and this excludes the son’s initiation, as in Jacob’s case, then why in all of Proverbs is their no positive statement of the truth you are presenting? In my imperfect opinion, it would seem much easier for Solomon to positively state to his son that he and his mother would find him a wife, instead of listing the characteristics of good and bad women. The presence of these long passages to Solomon’s son give the impression that the choice was ultimately the son’s, who needed the discernment of his father to make the decision.

  5. July 3, 2008 at 11:25 am

    Proverbs 31 is one of the places that make room for involvement with the child. Second, is giving Rebekah veto power in the Gen. 24 story. If the dad would give the daughter veto power, then I apply that to the son as well. I didn’t take the time in my post to explore why Isaac wasn’t involved at all, but it was definitely an important safety precaution that Abraham was taking because he didn’t want his son being the one who was around the people back in PandanAram (I didn’t look up the spelling). Of course, Jacob did go and helped prove the point by what happend when he went.

    Don, In my second part of this series (four is coming on Friday; it’s finished), I talked about that briefly. Repeatedly in an amazingly redundant fashion, Solomon says, listen to dad, listen to dad, listen to dad, so I think he is backing up the pattern. In one way too, he’s saying, “Don’t take things into your own hands.”

    I know that some of you out there reading think, “this takes too much from Scriptural examples.” Scriptural examples are authoritative. It is one of the ways that God presents His message. I recognize nowhere says, “Here is the exact pattern.” That does mean something, but I believe it means, “Not every one of these is going to look exactly the same. Plus, if you do it exactly right, that’s not going to guarantee a good marriage. However, the principles are the same in every case, if God is going to be honored and it is going to be done in sanctification.”

  6. July 4, 2008 at 4:42 pm

    Not only did I give Scriptural examples and arguments for a son initiating, I also gave Scriptural arguments for the father of the girl being in charge of the process, none of which were answered in any of these comments. Which simply goes to show that you don’t think my arguments are arguments at all. You’ve interepreted with a Betrothal Only Hermaneutic, and therefore everything turns out to be Betrothal Only.

    Meanwhile, I say that the son must initiate if he is to take his place as a man in this world. He must be a risk-taker, and as a father of two daughters, I want to see that he (the future husband of my daughters) is willing to take the risk, or he will have no part with my daughters. Hiding behind daddy is safe and convenient, and he will never need to hear a “no,” but it isn’t manly on his part. I want to see that he is prepared to “leave his father and mother, and cleave unto his wife.”

  7. July 4, 2008 at 8:58 pm

    Pastor Mallinak writes that this was the method just in medieval times, i. e., before 1500. He falls short on his timing: This is the method until the late 19th century, when dating came on the scene.

    I thought this was a curious set of statements by Pastor Mallinak: “I will only point out that polygamy was a social custom of the time, and was perfectly acceptable. Jacob could have demanded that he be given Rachel, and that the marriage to Leah be annulled. Instead, he did the honorable thing and kept Leah.” I’m not going to assume that you believe polygamy was acceptable. I wouldn’t know from what you write here. At one point in your post, you mention that God didn’t say that Isaac or Jacob were wrong for what they did. In so doing, you are saying that God was saying that it was permissible. That is also your major argument against Genesis 24 being a model, that is, that God didn’t make it one. A lot in the Genesis 24 story says that it is a model. I talked about these in my posts. When Jacob went to choose, he based it on looks and we know he chose an idolater, based on the later story of Rachel.

    I think with your list of verses from the Old Testament, you have done a good job of showing that 20 year olds had responsibilities. None of them say that he was actually ready to be a husband. I think he should be ready at 20, but I don’t take that as meaning that he is ready. You say that he could leave his home at 20. Maybe that was true, but you don’t prove that from the text. You make the assumption that he was on his own. If that is the case, then what difference does your Isaac permission make for a Jacob who was 40. You can’t actually have it both ways. You can’t say that Jacob is an alternative pattern and yet a man didn’t need any permission from his parents when he was 20.

    What I see in Galatians 4 is the validation that a dad was to judge whether a son was ready or not.

    Regarding the Puritans involving themselves in Romantic interest or that being encouraged, I don’t see that in your quote. Consent of children I haven’t argued against. I’ve argued for that. I don’t trust Ryken, the English professor from Wheaton, on the Puritans. These sources, if they actually are saying that the Puritans believed in Romanticism, were engaging in revisionist history.

    Regarding the proof that you give that men circumvented fathers as “risk-takers,” Deut. 22 makes no point to this regard, I don’t see it in 1 Cor.7, and I don’t see it in Num. 30. Besides those and Jacob, I don’t see where you are making your argument from. Just giving me a chapter of Scripture and essentially asking me to look it up and study it, isn’t making an argument, unless you are looking for me to make your argument for you. People are going to have to judge the Jacob argument.

    I like a lot of what you have to say, Pastor Mallinak. I’m not with you on every detail, but more than most.

    I don’t really get your risk-taker thing, unless you are talking about David for Saul and then Othniel for Caleb. Jacob certainly was a risk taker and so was Samson, as was Judah, and Shechem as well.

    I thought your “daddy” point was thought provoking, the thing about hiding behind him, essentially saying, I guess, that this point of view advocates scared boys being bossed by their macho Dads. I don’t think it helps your point. Strawman comes to mind.

  8. July 5, 2008 at 9:45 am

    We can spend more time on the history, if you like. Jane Austen would counter what you say about forbidding Romantic Interest. Her books were written before the late 19th century, and there certainly is not a lack of Romantic Interest there. Dismissing Ryken because he is a “Wheaton English Professor” doesn’t really make your case. It just proves my point that you don’t believe anything else because you don’t want to. It is an ad hominem argument. Promote the guys who say it the way you want, regardless of whether you trust them or not (e.g. Calvin, MacArthur, etc.), and dismiss the guys who don’t say what you want, because you don’t trust them.

    But when it comes to Romantic Interest, we have an entire book of the Bible showing that this is indeed an acceptable element of courtship. Solomon’s Song is a beautiful love poem that details the finding and obtaining of a life’s partner. Ironically, there is no mention of the man’s father, or of his involvement in the pursuit. But it has plenty to say about mutual attraction and Romantic Interest. Seems to me that this would at least allow for the possibility of these things.

    So, we can argue about whether or not Romantic Interest has any part whatsoever in a Scriptural model. You can give your historical examples, and I can give mine. It would at least be entertaining for our readers. But when it comes to Scripture, we find that Scripture certainly allows for these things. But of course, you will say that since David sinned with Bathsheba, having a Romantic Interest, Romantic Interest is sinful. After all, the only people we see in the Bible who had a Romantic Interest were bad people. Sorta like the only people who wore makeup in the Bible were bad people.

    My excuse for not taking the reader verse-by-verse through the passages listed was that the post was already very long, and I really do think the points are obvious already, and I simply wanted to give the readers a basis for the statements I am making. Plus, I know I don’t need to study it out for you.

    Regarding the time at which a boy becomes a man, let me quote you…

    I think with your list of verses from the Old Testament, you have done a good job of showing that 20 year olds had responsibilities. None of them say that he was actually ready to be a husband. I think he should be ready at 20, but I don’t take that as meaning that he is ready. You say that he could leave his home at 20. Maybe that was true, but you don’t prove that from the text. You make the assumption that he was on his own.

    On the contrary, I did prove it in the post. Maybe the problem is that you don’t agree with what I said. I quote it below for your benefit…

    According to the Old Testament then, at the age of twenty a young man was responsible to pay his own offering, was old enough to go to war, and was numbered separately from his father’s household. In other words, he was a man. And at that point in life, he was free to leave his father’s house.

    To help you connect the dots, I will point out that since he was numbered as his own separate household, therefore he was free to leave his father’s house.

    I’ll come back to this issue on Monday.

  9. July 5, 2008 at 12:08 pm

    Contrary to what you are telling me, I have no problem believing you. I took something closer to your position until I was preaching through Genesis years back and it set things in motion for me. My position isn’t the majority position. Taking the easier to fit-in position doesn’t bother me. I don’t take the can’t watch any TV position of our last topic.

    Regarding history, Ryken had an agenda when he wrote his book. Look at the title and then the university and its positions. Part of the schtick for Ryken was, “Look, this is completely different than what anyone would have ever thought.” I mention English professor because he isn’t a history guy. That does mean that he reads English literature for sure, but the Puritan position wasn’t Romantic interest. I think that the best way to determine what the Puritans believed is to read the actual Puritan preachers directly, rather than reading what someone says about Puritans or what someone says about what someone says about Puritans, which is what we have in this case. Of course, then we must define “romantic interest.” The Puritans drew the line at consent of parents. Read Gouge and “Of Domestical Duties” on this. It’s all over the internet. They were all for Colossians 3:5 being obeyed as seen in lots of their writings.

    Regarding the proof that you give to intimate that 20 year olds are now ready to go out and initiate the pursuit of wives, just because I don’t believe that it is evidence doesn’t mean that I look at things through a “betrothal only” (a term I’ve never used to describe what I believe, and it is one that you are obviously using in a pejorative manner to attach me the worst possible examples of this) lens. He was numbered separately from his father’s household at the age of 20. You can’t conclude from that statement that he was now separate from his dad in the initiation of the obtaining of a wife. One of your proofs against my point is that Isaac told 40-year old Jacob to go to Pandan-aram and Laban. Like I’ve already said, those two contradict each other. Even Samson understood he needed his parents to get him a wife, even though he took his risks with the women that he did. Where did he get that view, do you think? When you preach that, do you say, “What a wimp, standing behind his daddy’s pant legs, this Samson character, expecting his daddy to get him a wife.”

    What does fit for war mean? If I don’t believe “numbered as prepared for war” means “he’s now a man,” then I look at things through my “betrothal view lens.” The word “separately” isn’t used. As a matter, when you look at Numbers 1, they looked at him as still part of the family. He was counted as someone who should be fighting in Israel’s battles. If you didn’t want your kid to be killed, then you probably wanted him to at least be able to fight, since that 20 year old rule was in. Does that mean he could pick his wife? You say that if I say, “No,” I just won’t believe your heavy-duty proof. I believe your passages relate to manhood to some degree, but they don’t relate to what we’re talking about. I’ll wait for you to show me how that numbered as war-ready means that he could leave his dad’s house. And then you’ll need to go one step further to show me how that because he could leave his house, it meant that he could initiate the pursuit of the wife. If I don’t think you “connect the dots,” you will need to be prepared to tell me again, “that’s because you are looking through your betrothal lens,” and I will proceed to fall into the fetal position.

    As far as Song of Solomon goes, this is a description of married love. This isn’t a description of two people dating. My main opposition to your romantic love point is that it doesn’t show that the son initiates anything. You seem to be making that point, that something is going on romantically between two people, and that this is given as a model in Scripture somehow as it relates to the life’s partner.

    Oh, one more thing. I know that you gave your Genesis 2, God chose for Adam, so he chooses for us. And “God put together.” I agree that God chooses for all of us, that is, if we are led by God. So if God findeth a wife, He findeth a good thing. That kind of works against your argument too. God putting together is talking about the marriage, not the pursuit of the right one, how it is done. How the vessel is acquired is not the same topic as God putting together. I don’t agree. I showed Jeff how that “take a wife” doesn’t mean “son initiates.” It doesn’t. That is debunked.

    See you on Monday or earlier.

  10. Soldier of War
    July 5, 2008 at 4:02 pm

    What do both of you think of Ezra 9:12?

  11. July 5, 2008 at 9:05 pm

    Soldier of War, Ezra 9:12, backs up the father choosing position, or at least parental consent being a necessity.

  12. July 5, 2008 at 11:28 pm

    QUOTE from comment #2–I think the major difference here is saying that the son initiates.

    I can’t speak for Pastor Malinak, but for myself I need to ask. What are you picturing with the son initiating? In the situation I describe in the comments to another post, I say the father and the son know what they are looking for and then the son goes to the father of the daughter. To me, that is the point I’m calling initiation.

  13. July 5, 2008 at 11:32 pm

    QUOTE from comment #5–Solomon says, listen to dad, listen to dad, listen to dad, so I think he is backing up the pattern.

    I think Solomon says listen to dad, listen to dad, listen to dad because it is the son that is “out there” dealing with the father of the daughter.

  14. July 6, 2008 at 12:19 am

    I picture the son initiating as any one of these situations:
    1. Son gets to know daughter enough to know he wants to date her, so asks woman’s dad if he can “officially” date her—dad says yes—son/woman date—son let’s dad know about woman and asks if he can bring her home, have them visit, etc.—dating couple agree they are serious about marriage so son goes to woman’s dad—he says yes—son tells dad he is going to marry this woman, dad says, “great!”—they get engaged.
    2. Son watches young ladies, he goes to dad of one of them and asks for a date—rest like #1.
    3. Son asks dad what he thinks of a particular young woman that he has been watching and talking to—dad approves—rest like #1.

    I haven’t written a post that fleshed out what my way would look like today. Mainly I’ve been doing the exegetical, historical work. My month is done.

    For your second question, I don’t assume what you are saying because that’s not what it says. What it says to me is that instead of taking things into your own hands, you should be listening to dad. Both of us have to assume what Prov 5-7 means with regards to who initiates, but mine is based upon my three main examples and then how it was historically lived out by Christians. I also don’t believe someone can obey 1 Thess. 4 or Col. 3:5 with any form of dating. I believe dating is designed to break many of the biblical principles, any form of it. Kids love dating though. No doubt.

  15. July 7, 2008 at 11:24 am

    Perhaps I am mistaken. You can correct me if I am wrong, but in reading your posts, I understood you to be taking the following position:

    “Betrothal is the only Scriptural way for a young man to find a wife.”

    If this is not your position, then I don’t know what we have been arguing about throughout this entire series.

    I call it the “Betrothal Only” position because, as I understand it, you believe that betrothal is the only Scriptural way. Again, as I understand your position, any other way of finding a wife violates Colossians 3:5, and therefore, any way other than Betrothal is sin against God.

    Please tell me whether I am mis-representing your position on this or not.

    I’m not sure what you meant by this…

    Taking the easier to fit-in position doesn’t bother me. I don’t take the can’t watch any TV position of our last topic.

    …so, I’ll let it ride. I don’t take the can’t watch any TV position of our last topic either, whatever that has to do with this discussion.

    And, for what its worth, I’m all for Colossians 3:5 being obeyed as well. I’m not persuaded that a betrothal model is the only way to obtain a wife and still obey Col 3:5. In fact, I might argue that betrothal, while certainly a much tighter filter, will still let a few bugs through.

    As far as the 20 year old argument, my point is this: first, that the Bible is very clear about the age at which a young man is responsible for himself and may leave his father’s house. And secondly, that the Bible says in very clear language that a man leaves his father and mother and cleaves unto his wife. That means that there is a time when a young man leaves his home in order to find a wife, and that at the age of 20, he is free to do so.

    Your focus has been on the father-son relationship in this, but for some reason, you seem reluctant to grant the position that it is the father of the young lady who is ultimately in charge of this whole thing. It was (for some reason) a problem to you that I said a girl’s father can go out recruiting young men to marry his daughter. But it is no problem for you to say that the father of a young man can go out recruiting a wife for his son. And yet, we find a much clearer argument in Scripture for the former than we do for the latter.

    I am curious about this statement:

    As far as Song of Solomon goes, this is a description of married love. This isn’t a description of two people dating.

    Especially in connection with this earlier statement:

    We’ve got a man, Solomon, and a women, the Shulammite (6:13). Song of Solomon portrays married love, the bed undefiled of Hebrews 13:4. However, it also talks about the virgin before her marriage. Listen to her brothers, before she’s married, in Song of Solomon 8:8-9:

    We do seem to have a mix of both married love and courtship before marriage in this book, don’t we?

    But before I delve into the question of Romantic Interest any further, I need you to answer some questions for me.

    1) Are you saying that there should be no Romantic Interest on the part of the son? Are you saying that it would be wrong for the son to get Romantically interested in the potential life’s partner?

    2) Are you saying that the son should not be with the possible mate – in any sort of social way – before marriage? In other words, he cannot sit with her, on a couch, at a basketball game, in an ice cream parlour, or in church, before they are married?

    To clear up a small matter, you said,

    My main opposition to your romantic love point is that it doesn’t show that the son initiates anything.

    I wasn’t using the romantic love point to show that the son initiates something. I am opposing the idea that a father should contract a marriage for his son regardless of his son’s feelings (romantic or otherwise) about the young lady.

    As far as the point about a boy hiding behind his daddy’s pant legs, you said,

    I guess, that this point of view advocates scared boys being bossed by their macho Dads.

    And I do think that this could be a pitfall. It is very possible that a dad would latch onto this position who is unwilling and unable to allow his son to grow up and be a man. In fact, I would further state that this position would be very attractive to some of the more tyranical fathers of the world. Does that mean I think this is why you are taking this position? No. But then again, I have the particular advantage of knowing both you and your family, and seeing how you all operate. I’ll look forward to seeing how you do it with your son. I’m quite convinced that you will set a good example, and that I will rejoice in the finished product.

    That being said, I also know you well enough to know that in real life, you are not nearly so hard as you sound on paper. By the way, for the reader’s sake, I’m not saying that Kent is soft. But he tends to say things much harder and more dogmatically than he actually believes. And Kent, some of the questions I have asked you about music come to mind on this.

    I happen to think that you are arguing theory here, and that reality will be a bit different. For instance, I think that Jeff’s description of how things would work if he had a boy will come a lot closer to what you will do. I think there will be a lot of communication between you and your son, and that the only difference will be that the first contact will come from you. I could be wrong, of course.

    But the way you might do it does not undo the fact that some dad out there will latch on to this position in order to maintain his absolute domination over his sons. Nor should we be surprised if some innerviated son gladly lets his dad do the asking. He’d have his sister do it if daddy wouldn’t.

    And I still stand by my statement — my declaration, if you will — that if a dad approaches me for his son, about one of my daughters, I will graciously give the dad permission to have his son talk to me about it. But I will not give an answer to the dad. My daughter will not be marrying the dad. She will be marrying the son. And I am in charge of that.

    The dad might be a fine man, but that doesn’t mean his son is. As we have seen recently with Mr. McMan’s son.

    The son needs to be the risk-taker. That is a part of his calling in life. I’m surprised that you don’t believe that sons need to be the risk-takers. I really shouldn’t have to prove it to you, but I would be glad to prove that a man’s calling is to be a risk-taker, if you need me to. But I tend to think it is more an issue of not giving even a millimeter in the debate to the opposing side, lest that millimeter cause a micro-crack.

    Blessings!

  16. July 7, 2008 at 1:35 pm

    This is how it works for me. I need to see Scripture teach it. I don’t believe we should start with a way that we like or that is presently being done and then start looking through Scripture to justify it. The Bible is sufficient on this matter. When I read something that I don’t see in Scripture, I question it. I do believe applications can be made by Biblical principle, but they don’t ever overshadow what the Bible already says about the matter.

    Scripture doesn’t say that Genesis 24 is the model, but that shouldn’t be enough for someone to go looking for a better way that isn’t in the Bible. Neither do I believe that a good argument is—well, we must get our wife from a different land and servant must be sent or we’re not following the model, so if you are not going to follow the model to every detail, then you don’t have to do any of the example. I’ve said that the reason I believe there isn’t the kind of propositional statement for the dad initiating versus the dad’s role for the daughter, that has a propositional statement (1 Cor. 7:36-38), is because there are some nuances of difference for each situation, but the principles remain the same.

    So why do I believe Genesis 24 should be the model?
    1. It fits with the multitude of examples of God the Father choosing the bride for His Son.
    2. It fits with God choosing the bride for Adam.
    3. Within the example of Genesis 24 we have certain landmark points: The servant was in the Lord’s way, the Lord was leading him, this was an answer to prayer.
    4. Colossians 3:5 is not violated.
    5. 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8 are not violated–this includes not defrauding, not as Gentiles which know not God, and not in the lust of concupiscence, in addition to the Col 3:5 aspects.
    6. Samson understood that his parents were supposed to choose his bride—where did he get that idea? (Judges 14)
    7. Ezra 9:12 backs up this view.
    8. In contrast to bad examples seen in Proverbs 5-7, “listen to your father” is placed in contrast.
    9. History shows that this was the way that it was accomplished. Sure it began to change, but changed from the established way. The Holy Spirit doesn’t change and He indwells believers.

    The arguments on the other side, as I have seen them, and you can tell me if I’m wrong, have been:
    1. “Take a wife” language, implying that the son does the initiation—I have answered this by showing that this language does not speak of the son doing the initiation. Even Isaac is said to take Rebekah as a wife.
    2. Jacob is another example besides Gen. 24—I have answered this in the comments but the most thoroughly in my fourth and last post on this issue.
    3. “Whoso findeth a wife,” so it must be the son doing the finding—I see this as not dealing with initiation or the manner of acquiring the life’s mate, but as the result. It isn’t make a statement on initiation.
    4. A man was counted in the military separately from his father when he was 20 so he was free to choose his wife—yes, I think this argues from silence on a couple of fronts: I still don’t see how it says that the man was now out from under his father’s authority; it doesn’t state that at all. Neither does it say anything about the son initiating the life’s partner choice. This would contradict the Jacob example too if someone were depending on both as a proof.
    5. God actually chooses the life’s partner, and that’s the teaching of God choosing the bride for Adam and Christ.—We could lean on this for every Christian activity and have men responsible for nothing. All it informs Christians is that this should be a matter of faith.
    6. 1 Thessalonians 4 doesn’t actually say there is one specific way—if we are to know how, then there is a how. So we look for that way and Scripture does show us.
    7. Some writers say that Puritans acquired wives with romanticism involved—even if I disagree with the “historians” quoted, doesn’t mean that it actually debunks fatherly initiation.
    8. Sons will be wimps if Dad chooses and Dad’s choosing will result in brutal, macho fathers abusing sons—this is speculation and it really is talking about Dad who isn’t obedient to God anyway; Dad’s choosing isn’t the only right principle involved in this.

    Cleaning up some points and questions by Pastor Mallinak above:
    1. Regarding Song of Solomon, the descriptions of the man/woman relationship are for marriage. Before that the sons have protected her virginity, leaving her beautiful garden intact for fresh exploration. That isn’t contradictory.
    2. My point about TV was that you intimate that I take the strong position and don’t move from it. I don’t take the most right wing television position. I’m showing you that’s not true and giving a recent example. Obviously I don’t take the most right wing women’s make-up position either.
    3. I don’t know what you mean by romantic interest. He might have it, but he doesn’t get to show it is what I say.
    4. I believe that all of the male-female companioship at least before engagement is within the supervision of the parents or their surrogates. They may sit together while this occurs.
    5. I know what “betrothal” is, it is the engagement, but I don’t know what the “betrothal view of acquiring a wife” is.
    6. I still don’t get risk-taker.
    7. I’m nicer than people may think I am from reading what I write, but I don’t think I take this differently than what I write.
    8. I give more latitude for other people’s practices regarding fellowship—that may be what Pastor Mallinak means.

  17. July 7, 2008 at 2:36 pm

    The question you still aren’t answering is this one:

    Do you say that betrothal is the only Scriptural way for a young man to find a wife?

    I don’t mind you qualifying your answer, but the way I am reading your answers, sometimes you say yes, and sometimes no. So, maybe you could tell me “yes” or “no” with a qualifier.

    By the way, you left off a major argument that I have made from the language of Genesis 2 – Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother…

  18. July 7, 2008 at 4:03 pm

    Let’s call my position “betrothal” and yours “dating.” So yes, betrothal is the only Scriptural way. I say that to illustrate my problem with the question. I believe the dad should always initiate the acquiring of a wife. Sometimes there is no dad and sometimes there is not a dad who will initiate. This doesn’t mean that the son can’t get married. He should obey the principle and place himself under the authority of a surrogate. I believe that a young man who initiates is not following the biblical pattern. Dad or someone in loco patris should initiate. It should be arranged by someone other than the son. I think it is better if the son goes through the daughter’s father than the son going directly to the daughter. My softness on the position is based upon patience with people’s ignorance on what the Bible and history reveals.

    Regarding Genesis 2, if your argument holds true, then a man circumvents the woman’s dad as well, because he isn’t mentioned there either. Genesis 2 says that the man’s side initiates. She takes his name. He becomes the authority of the household. No Sadie Hawkins day. This doesn’t show, however, the process of leaving. I believe it shows that a new family begins. He isn’t still in his first family; a new family has started.

    You say dad-initiation means the son is less than a man, as if obedience to authority and humble submission are not manly traits. I don’t get where you get that. I would like some Scriptural proof that a man who submits to his dad in this is less of a man, rather than more the man for it. As an adult 30 plus year old man, Jesus went about doing only the Father’s business. See how many times Jesus works by the mandate of His Father in the Gospels. Your assumption that Dads must be abusive seems to follow the typical picture of fathers as lamebrains or dimwits who should be circumvented as much as possible.

  19. David Warner
    July 7, 2008 at 6:05 pm

    What do both of you think of 2 Kings 14:9?

  20. July 7, 2008 at 7:30 pm

    Soldier,

    Even if these are not the best examples in the OT, they still have the understanding that the father initiates, so again, it fits what I’ve said.

  21. July 8, 2008 at 2:14 pm

    My softness on the position is based upon patience with people’s ignorance on what the Bible and history reveals.

    That is an interesting observation. I suppose that the amount of study I have done on this issue still amounts to “ignorance,” seeing as how it doesn’t measure up to your standard.

    However, I can appreciate your patience with my ignorance.

    Whether it is ignorance or not, I cannot say, as you do, that those who initiate on their own are in sin. If the father commissions his son to initiate, as Isaac did with Jacob, I cannot call it sin. If you say that this father transgresses God’s law, I would like to hear the grounds for saying so.

    Regarding Genesis 2, if your arguments hold true, then leaving only refers to “moving to a new house” and certainly not to leaving dad’s authority. I say this because, on the basis of OT example, we find that adult sons remained under their father’s authority long after they had wives and families of their own. For example, Jacob remained in authority over his sons long after they had families. This kind of patriarchal arrangement was also customary.

    I reject this kind of patristic view of family on the basis of Genesis 2:24. And on that same basis, I would say that any grown man with his own wife and family who submits his God-given authority to his father is washing out. He is not taking his place as a man in the world.

    I do not say that a man is less of a man for submitting to lawful authority. I don’t find in Scripture any statement that tells me that a dad is the lawful authority of his 40 year old son, whether married or unmarried. Do we see examples of 40 year old sons obeying their father? Yes. Does that make it a Scriptural requirement? No.

    Again, if the authority is lawful, then the son is not effeminate to submit to it. So, if you believe you are right on this, then it shouldn’t bother you what I think of a son who submits in this way.

    I think that you as a father have a right to interpret things this way. I don’t think it is a requirement. But I still say that there is an obvious temptation for a son to hide behind daddy. If you and I were talking about this face-to-face, I think you would agree that this is a very real possibility. But since you are trying to make the case for it, and I am disagreeing, I understand why you won’t see it that way.

    By the way, for the reader’s sake, I have not argued that betrothal is wrong. Only that it is wrong to say that betrothal is the only way. I have not argued that betrothal was not a social custom in Bible days. But I thank Soldier for giving us more examples anyway.

  22. July 8, 2008 at 4:22 pm

    You made a point about my being softer about these kinds of issues in person sometimes than when I write. Often in person these issues aren’t discussed. I was simply explaining that the softness is patience with ignorance. You seemed to be offended with that in the start of your last comment, but you were the one that said you had never heard my explanation of the view. I don’t expect people to know what I believe. I often assume that people don’t know. That results in more softness one on one on matters that would take awhile to discuss. That’s all that I meant by ignorance, not that you hadn’t ever studied this out or preached it. I knew that you had a view and that you studied for it, so you aren’t ignorant on the issue. However, you have been ignorant of what I presented, based on your own testimony. I didn’t go back to find the quote, but I could.

    You wrote this:

    Regarding Genesis 2, if your arguments hold true, then leaving only refers to “moving to a new house” and certainly not to leaving dad’s authority. I say this because, on the basis of OT example, we find that adult sons remained under their father’s authority long after they had wives and families of their own. For example, Jacob remained in authority over his sons long after they had families. This kind of patriarchal arrangement was also customary.

    First, I would rather you based these types of conclusions on what I wrote. I wrote concerning Genesis 2:

    She takes his name. He becomes the authority of the household. . . . I believe it shows that a new family begins. He isn’t still in his first family; a new family has started.

    I made those statements in my comment. I said that Gen 2 couldn’t be teaching that the son himself, versus the dad, initiates, because if that were true based just upon that verse, then you would also have to believe that the son goes directly to the woman, because her father isn’t in there either. I believe that debunks that argument.

    The other thing that you said in your quote above (the first quote) is that Jacob’s sons were still under his authority even after marriage and that this was a societal custom. Where do you get that in Genesis? You are clearly saying that you reject it. So you reject that particular example of Jacob, but you don’t reject the other example of Jacob. How do you make up your mind when to reject and not reject examples? That would make it much easier for me to believe your position. Right now it seems that you like Jacob initiating because you like it and you don’t like Jacob’s sons being under his authority (if that is even true) because you don’t like it. For instance, I gave 9 reasons why the Genesis 24 example is valid to follow and I gave a very developed exegetical basis for why not to follow Jacob’s example.

    In order to defend your dating view, you seem to be sticking with your Jacob argument. I guess I should assume that you don’t like my exegesis at the begininning of my post four that breaks-down the whole Jacob story. You haven’t dealt with it. The reader will be left, I suppose, to judge for himself as to whether that is legitimate.

    You are correct to say that it doesn’t bother me who thinks that I or my son are effeminate. It doesn’t even matter whether I think that is the case. I’m confident about my and my son’s masculinity, however. I’ve never used that as an argument, so to inform those reading, I don’t use this issue as a standard for masculinity. Pastor Mallinak has made this one of his standards. So far, I think it’s because of what that woman told you in that book you quoted. 😉

    I am not familiar with sons hiding behind daddy. It probably happens, but not one person comes to mind as an example. The big problem today is with authority. What I know does happen in great amounts is effeminate sons taking things into their own hands because they think it is effeminate to obey or to submit to their dads. They also think it is effeminate to hug their dads. That’s what I see more of.

    Until this last comment, I don’t think that I knew that you believed that the dad choosing his son’s bride was only a social custom. See how I was ignorant of your position? So how is it that you determine when something is a social custom and it is actually binding as an example for us to follow?

  23. July 8, 2008 at 7:32 pm

    From Comment 14:

    I picture the son initiating as any one of these situations:
    1. Son gets to know daughter enough to know he wants to date her, so asks woman’s dad if he can “officially” date her—dad says yes—son/woman date—son let’s dad know about woman and asks if he can bring her home, have them visit, etc.—dating couple agree they are serious about marriage so son goes to woman’s dad—he says yes—son tells dad he is going to marry this woman, dad says, “great!”—they get engaged.
    2. Son watches young ladies, he goes to dad of one of them and asks for a date—rest like #1.
    3. Son asks dad what he thinks of a particular young woman that he has been watching and talking to—dad approves—rest like #1.

    And none of those are what I envision happening in my “model.”

    Here is what I said in comment #30 of part two:

    Your son is your oldest and so you’ve thought this aspect through most. I have not. I’m dealing with a daughter situation, but a consistent application of how I would foresee me dealing with a son would be that I have many conversations with him about what he is like, what he needs in a wife, what general and specific qualities to look for in a wife, how to judge whether those qualities are true or superficial, and then point out 2-4 young ladies that I percieve to be possibilities. He then would through informal situations (not even sitting at a basketball game) make a choice from the “short list.” If he saw another girl that he believed had the same qualities, we would talk about her and possibly add her to the “short list.” Once he’d made his choice, he would approach the girl’s father and work under his (the father of the girl) guidelines. If the father of the girl didn’t have any guidelines, I would step in.

    I know that’s not betrothal, but it’s a long, long way from your perjorative “dating game.”

    So you are not arguing against what I am saying is “THE” way to do it.

    For your second question, I don’t assume what you are saying because that’s not what it says.

    And I don’t assume what you are saying because that’s not what it says.

    We are both making our assumptions on what we believe other parts of Scripture teach. Now I know this sounds postmodern, but both our assumptions are consistent with the Scriptures that we look to to form our opinions.

    From Comment 16:

    Scripture doesn’t say that Genesis 24 is the model, but that shouldn’t be enough for someone to go looking for a better way that isn’t in the Bible.

    Now I’m glad to see you say that Genesis 24 is not proclaimed as a model by Scripture. But your qualification assumes that EVERY other “way” is not in the Bible. And in other places you also assume that EVERY other “way” is some form of the Gentile “dating game.” This is not honest.

    Your responses make me think that you think I’m a priest at a temple of Apaphrodite, rather than a pastor at a local, New Testament, Baptist church.

    From Comment 18:

    I believe the dad should always initiate the acquiring of a wife.

    In my scenario, the dad knows that his son will need a wife; the dad begins to teach his son at a very early age; the dad begins to “watch the landscape” and show the son 2-4 young ladies he thinks would be a meet help for the son; the dad begins to teach the son why those young ladies fit the qualifications he has for his son; after dad has done all this ALREADY the son decides he thinks young lady ‘C’ is one he would like to marry; the son then goes to dad ‘C’ and lets him know of his intentions and learns what the “ground rules” are.

    Is that dating?
    Is that betrothal?
    Is that almost betrothal? but not enough so it must be Gentile lust of concupicence (exasperated)

  24. July 8, 2008 at 7:55 pm

    I appreciate the give and take. What you write at the top in your long comment is close to what we do. It only differs in that I talk to her dad. It’s not because he couldn’t. “He can’t talk to adults”—that would surely be something woman’s dad would want to know. He doesn’t initiate because this is between parents, but this doesn’t assume that woman’s dad doesn’t talk to him. That’s an assumption that isn’t true.

    I was talking to someone reading this blog and he asked if this was a separating issue. I said, “yes,” and then directed him to my recent “How to Separate” sermon. I told him that parental authority is the place where we would separate. I see you as practicing parental authority.

    Regarding my pejorative, “dating,” usage. It’s mainly rhetorical. Dave labeled what I do, so I labeled what he does. I’d rather talk to what Scripture teaches instead of the pejoratives. They don’t prove anything.

    I say Scripture doesn’t say Gen 24 is a model, pattern, etc. I think it is the model, pattern, etc. I’ve explained why especially in the comment sections.

    What you present in the last two paragraphs are very similar to Gen 24. The only difference is son initiation. I think that father initiation is intended by God and it is part of the male role. Dads have something they are to do. That requirement keeps them involved in the process. Today we have mainly the opposite, that is, children taking the initiative, which is different than the Bible and Christian history. Nothing in your example smacks of lust. That depends upon the “ground rules,” which also should be regulated by Scriptural example and principle.

    I really don’t know how I could be exasperating. I’ve never said you believed in lust of concupiscence. I don’t think I’ve even implied it. I don’t know what comments I’ve given that would treat you other than two brothers hashing this out. I’ve presented Scripture and defended what I believe it teaches.

    What would you enumerate as your Scriptural basis for son-initiation? I heard the “take a wife” argument. I won’t even argue against what you give me. I’m just interested in what it is.

  25. July 8, 2008 at 9:47 pm

    I guess the exasperating part is the rhetorical “dating” term. In the give and take you imply that anyone that doesn’t believe and practice as you do, must be practicing “dating” and that means they must be in violation of Colossians 3:5 and 1 Thessalonians 4 and they must be doing “it” like the Gentiles in the lust of concupisence (however you spell that word!). This is why it’s hard to argue on paper. It’s also good for us.

    I couldn’t go to sleep after trying because your last question prompted my latest post. So the answer is there on the front page.

  26. Soldier of War
    July 9, 2008 at 8:31 am

    Pastor Mallinak,

    What is your position on this issue exactly? Do you think you can tell me in a concise paragraph or of some sort?

    Thanks.

  27. July 9, 2008 at 9:52 am

    The problem is that your “betrothal” model is being set up on one side of the line, and over against it everything else is being referred to as “the lust of concupiscence.” And I am arguing that a young man can initiate without it being in the lust of concupiscence. If a young man initiates without it being the lust of concupiscence, then I say that he is not in sin.

    David, to answer your question, I believe in a courtship model. The son works through the girl’s father in order to obtain her as his wife. That is the simplest explanation I can give. I don’t have a problem with the term “dating” — it is a term people use and understand, and I prefer to deal with a right way vs. wrong way approach to it, rather than playing the semantic game (i.e., we don’t call it dating). It is fine if someone has a conviction against the term, but it still doesn’t answer what is actually taking place. Before you all came along, all the “betrothal” people conducted themselves like they were in a rec dating league. It really was the lust of concupiscence, only they called it “betrothal.”

    Kent, I’ve clearly said that I don’t consider you or your son to be effeminate. I understand your need rhetorically to change it to that. But I will further explain my statement in one final attempt to clear it up.

    The fact that you have no experience with a father who squashes his sons does not mean it never happens. I would know on that, perhaps better than you. When a father squashes his sons, which he does through absolute control and nit-picking criticism, he will turn his son into one of two things – a rebel or a fish. My point is that the overbearing father is very likely to like the idea that he can keep his kids home as long as he wants, and HE gets to choose who they marry. And he will of course make the claim that his son is more manly because he “submits.” It will most certainly be easier for the son to go along with it.

    Now, since you insist on taking this personally, I will only point out that if a father comes to me about one of my daughters, it will be a priority for me to find out what sort of stuff the son is made of. I might be good friends with his dad, and have a great admiration for him. But that offers me no guarantee for the son. I want to see that the son is not afraid to be turned down. So, if it is important to his dad to do the initiating himself, that is fine with me. But the dad will not get an answer from me. The son will need to come talk to me, and find out for himself.

    If my son wants to pursue a girl whose dad believes as you do, I will be glad to discuss the issue with the girl’s dad. Who knows, I might even talk to him first. I’m not saying I wouldn’t. But I would only do this at my son’s request. Does that mean I’m leaving him to fend for himself? You bet. I practice that now, and I see no reason to change it later.

  28. Mike Marshall
    August 30, 2008 at 10:43 am

    Am I “BO”? Well….. No. I do not argue that the bible gives us the pattern for the best way to meet a spouse.

    I also dont argue with the related post about letting parents be involved in the selection process.

    But lets take my case. I got saved in my 20’s. My parents are not saved, and divorced. they have no understanding of the need for doctrinal separation, etc. So can I look to them for guidance in this? No, I cant. Can I look to my Pastor? yes, but he will not “match make”. Encourage yes, and I would definitely want his opinion on a prospective mate.

  1. No trackbacks yet.
%d bloggers like this: