Archive for the ‘Marriage’ Category

Personal Life — Marriage (Colossians 3:18-19)

June 27, 2010 Comments off

Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.  Colossians 3:18-19

Personal Life – Marriage

v     These verses introduce a new way of relational thinking

  • Christianity consists of reciprocal arrangements
    • Wives, husbands
    • Children, fathers
    • Servants, masters
  • This is because of Christ

v     God commands to our nature

  • The Bible is the first psychology book
    • God knows what human nature is like
    • Psychologists can study, but God knows
  • When God commands something, it is because that’s what we need to remember.
  • When things go badly, work on what you’ve been commanded, not on what’s easy.

v     Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.

  • Ephesians tells us the husband IS the head of the wife.
    • Indicative, not imperative
    • Submit – as Sarah, who called Abraham lord
    • Own – women are not to be subject to all men, wives are to be subject to their own husbands
    • There are principles involved here, but the particulars are such.
    • As it is fit – marriage works this way.

v     Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.

  • Love
    • Love as you love yourself
      • Illustrate by pointing out how hard it is to get gifts for men. Why? They’ve already taken care of themselves.
      • Look at what your wife does that’s loving, do that to love her.
  • Not bitter

v     Wives – submit, be lovable

v     Husbands – love, be respectable


Sons Go Because the Son Was Sent

July 8, 2008 Comments off

I expect Kent to bump my post soon.  But only because I am so late in getting something up for Monday.  Wednesday is normally his day.

In the past few weeks we’ve had quite the discussion about how to find a life partner.  It actually got me to doing more than maintenance of the jackhammr.  Actually, it was my “drive-by” post that stirred the waters or fed the fire.  Now most of you have just sat by the fire watching the three jackhammrs spar with each other and put up with an occasional burst of ammunition from the “Soldier of War.”  I don’t mind that.

I said briefly in my post that sons go (I intend to also show that daughters are given).  This was first taken as an affront to Kent’s thorough exegesis and historical study.  In his best example, he has said that the Father chose the Bride for the Son.  This is true.  He says that in the model he follows, the father chooses and the son approves.  This is good; because no earthly father is going to know his choice is perfect like our heavenly Father would.

I’ll admit that I have not developed a “WAY” as Kent has, but this month has helped, and yet I still think sons go.  The reason is that even in Kent’s best example, the Son went.  The Father chose, but the Son was sent.  Because the Trinity is Divine, the arrangement worked out cleanly (although when the Son came, he was at first rejected–John 1:12).  When human nature is put into the equation, Kent puts the father and son into the choosing.  More fatherly input, but the son approves also.  In my mind the next step continues in the same manner, father and son.  Rather, son and father.  Because the Son actually was sent and the Father approved, we should follow this same pattern in finding a life partner.  Sons go because the Son was sent:

But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son.  (Matthew 21:37)

Having yet therefore one son, his well-beloved, he sent him also last unto them, saying, They will reverence my son.  (Mark 12:6)

For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.  (John 3:17)

That all men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He that honoreth not the Son honoreth not the Father which hath sent him.  (John 5:23)

And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.  (John 6:40)

Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?  (John 10:36)

Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.  (Acts 3:26)

But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,  (Galatians 4:4)

In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.  Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.  (1 John 4:9-10)

And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.  (1 John 4:14)

The Father did not abdicate his responsibility by sending the Son; He had already chosen.  The Son could not have fulfilled His responsibility if He had not gone.  While the Father chose, he did not hand the prize to the Son on a platter.  The Son was sent from the comforts of Heaven to seek his Bride (Luke 19:10).  This reason, from the best of all examples, is why I believe sons go–the Son was sent.

Categories: Marriage, The Family, Voegtlin

The Bible Way to Obtain Your Spouse part four

Does Genesis 24 present a unique pattern for obtaining a life’s partner?  Or is it just one of many examples that together indicate there is no particular way of finding a wife?  One argument is that we’ve got other illustrations, such as the one of Jacob in Genesis 28, that offer another legitimate and parallel method.  It seems that Jacob is the only one referenced as an alternative.   It seems like only a bad alternative.   I quote John Calvin as a basis for what men thought of Genesis 24 as a pattern, and he writes this on the first few verses of Genesis 24, available many places online:  “Abraham here fulfils the common duty of parents, in laboring for and being solicitous about the choice of a wife for his son . . . Now this example should be taken by us as a common rule, to show that it is not lawful for the children of a family to contract marriage, except with the consent of parents; and certainly natural equity dictates that, in a matter of such importance, children should depend upon the will of their parents.”  But what about Jacob?

In Genesis, Moses placed Jacob’s deception of Isaac within the larger context of marriage. The last two verses of chapter 26 inform us that Esau was 40 years old when he had married two Hittite women, causing Isaac and Rebekah great grief.  Isaac was 40 when he married Rebekah (25:20).   Wifeless Jacob is also 40.   The covenant blessings of Abraham will pass through Jacob and his descendants. Genesis 24 is a very detailed description of how Abraham obtained a wife for Isaac from among his own relatives, rather than from among the Canaanites.   There Abraham strongly emphasized that under no circumstances was Isaac to return to Padan-aram.

After Jacob deceived his father and stole his brother’s blessing, Esau planned to kill Jacob and he waited for his father’s death.  Rebekah heard of Esau’s intentions so set out to save Jacob’s life.  She said nothing to Jacob about marriage (Gen 27:42-45).  She warned only of Esau’s plan to kill him and then urged him to flee to her brother Laban in Padan-aram to stay for “a few days” until Esau’s anger diminished.

Marriage was mainly a pretext for sending Jacob away to spare his life.  When Rebekah spoke to Isaac, she said nothing of Esau’s plan to kill Jacob.  Instead, she pointed out that Esau had married the daughters of Heth and that she couldn’t live if this were to happen to Jacob.  Isaac responded by sending Jacob to Padan-aram to acquire a wife from the daughters of Laban. Isaac did not seek to keep Jacob from going to Padan-aram, as Abraham kept Isaac from going there. He does not warn him not to stay there. He simply sent him on his way.

Here’s the point.  Neither Isaac nor Rebekah took this marriage matter very seriously.  It was more of an excuse than a reason. Granted, Isaac and Rebekah hated Esau’s marriage to two Hittite women, but they hadn’t given Jacob any instruction, leaving him to figure it out on his own (Gen 28:6-9).  Esau was married, Jacob wasn’t, but his parents still did nothing to secure a wife for him.  Only after Rebekah learned that Esau planned to kill Jacob did she and Isaac send Jacob away.

Jacob’s deceit of Isaac and theft of the blessing was the reason why he went to Padan-aram. Jacob didn’t acquire a wife in a godly manner. His circumstances forced him into a situation in which he providentially obtained his wives from his mother’s family.  This contrasted drastically with chapter 24, where Abraham so purposefully sought to obtain a wife for his son. It was circumstances, not faith, nor obedience, which caused Jacob to obtain his wife in Padan-aram.  If God had not compelled Jacob to return to Canaan, he would have stayed on in Padan-aram indefinitely, away from the land of blessing.

Principles from the Pattern in Genesis 24 Continued

Principle Three—The Agency (Genesis 24:9-11)

The trusted servant acted on behalf of Abraham.  When a father is unable or there is no father, a surrogate of the same belief and practice may and should step in for the dad.  This isn’t to remove a father’s God-ordained responsibility.  It does say that a family can attain aid from others and that there is room for stand-in authority.

Principle Four—The Asking (Genesis 24:12-14)

Like the servant here, we should pray for the life’s partner.  To pray, we should know what we’re praying for, based upon Scripture.  When we obey God’s Word, we can pray in faith, so that in the end, God gets the credit for providing.  I hope most parents are praying for the future life’s mate for their children.  A prayer of faith starkly contrasts with the machinations of two young people working it out in concert with their lust.

Principle Five—The Answer (Genesis 24:15-27a, 50)

When you pray, then you can wait on God for the answer.  The servant did look.  Faith without works is dead.  However, he watched and waited, resting in the provision of God.  If that is the way that you operate, then at the end, you can give praise to God, which is what the servant did.  If you did it your way, then God doesn’t get the praise.  This is the “honor God” part of “sanctification and honor.”

Principle Six—The Attractiveness (Genesis 24:16)

Does physical beauty come in?  That gets mentioned in this task, meaning that it is a consideration.  It shouldn’t get left out of the equation.  A parent will probably know better what a match is.  However, God is a good God and He doesn’t do ugly.

Principle Seven—The Award (Genesis 24:22)

The servant brought an expression of the potential bride’s worthiness.  Gifts might be traditional, but they also communicate the value of the woman and this endeavor.  These tokens expressed a commitment to her as a candidate for marriage.  Doing this kind of thing makes it all more landmark.

Scripture accentuates the woman’s beauty above the man.  Rebekah didn’t bring fashion accessories for Isaac.  She was naturally good looking, but that didn’t mean that her prettiness couldn’t be accentuated by external means.  Adding physical embellishment and ornamentation from among God’s created products does not contradict faith in God’s design.

Principle Eight—The Axiom (Genesis 24:27)

“I being in the way, the LORD led me to the house of my master’s brethren.”  The Lord leads those who are already in the way.  We seek the Lord and we’ll collide with the one God has for us.  When we are out of the way, we can’t run into the one in God’s will.  One way we get out of the way is by taking a different process than Scripture examples.  The one we will marry is in God’s will with us.  So, we get in the path and then we look for someone in the same path we’re in.  If we already love God’s will, then He’ll lead us in His will.

Principle Nine—The Acclamation (Gen. 24:28-33a)

We can celebrate a marriage when we’ve acted in God-honoring fashion.  When we take things into our own hands, we can find trouble and vexation.

Principle Ten—The Accounting (Gen. 24:33b-49, 66)

When you do it right, there is a testimony to tell afterwards that will glorify God—you did it His way and He blessed.  You won’t be embarrassed by any of the details when you act in faith.  Your story can be a help and encouragement to others.  You won’t have to say, “Do what I say, not what I did,” when someone asks.

Principle Eleven—The Arrangements (Gen. 24:50-61)

We see two major principles in the arrangement.  They work through the daughter’s father and Rebekah is given veto power or consent.  The father or the brother gave her away, so men were involved in the protection of the daughter.  They gave her a choice not to go.  She wanted to, but she could have said no.  We don’t see a situation where the daughter is forced to marry anyone.  In the arrangements, respect is shown to both families.  There is agreement, coming to terms, resulting in good relations between the family.  No one has been defrauded.

Principle Twelve—The Alliance (Gen. 24:67a)

Isaac took; Rebekah became.  She took a new identity, wife of Isaac.  When the man and woman come together in marriage, they become a new family.  They aren’t a new family until then.  They shouldn’t be like they’re already husband and wife before they are.

Principle Thirteen—The Adoration (Gen. 24:67b)

Isaac loved her.  Love wasn’t dependent on his having seen her before.  A husband loves his wife because this is the role of the man.  God is love and they that abide in Him can and will love.

Principle Fourteen—The Afteraffect (Gen. 24:67c)

Isaac is fulfilled through completion and companionship, replacing what was previously there from his mother, Sarah, who had died.  The man should learn how to relate with women by his relationship with his mother.   When he cleaves to his wife and they become one flesh, his relationship with his mother changes to some degree.  The groom’s mother shouldn’t ever think that she has a position like she did before in her son’s life.  This is the way it should be.

These are most of the principles we can incorporate into our lives from this Scriptural pattern.  Every situation will look different, but the principles should be the same.  In following the model, we can honor God in obtaining our spouse.

How Does This Compare With Other Means?

Any form of dating is not the same as the Scriptural way of acquiring one’s spouse.  History tells the tale of a change of a reliance on a Scriptural manner to one invented by the world.  It wasn’t a group of Christians getting together or a church that originated the dating method or its spin-offs.  If we are going to change the Scriptural and historic manner, there should be some exegesis of Scripture that should initiate it.  That was not the case.

By the 1950s and 1960s in the United States, social scientists, who studied American courtship, found it necessary to remind the American public that dating was a “recent American innovation and not a traditional or universal custom” (“Some Expert Opinions on Dating,” McCall’s, August 1961, p. 125.  Quoting Professor Ruth Shonle Cavan).   “Dating not only transformed the outward modes and conventions of American courtship, it also changed the distribution of control and power in courtship.  One change was generational:  the dating system lessened parental control and gave young men and women more freedom” (p. 20, From the Back Porch to Back Seat:  Courtship in Twentieth-Century America, by Beth L. Bailey.  Baltimore:  The John Hopkins University Press, 1988).  The sociologist Willard Waller, who studied campus life in the 1930s, concluded that dating “is not true courtship, since it is supposed not to eventuate in marriage; it is a sort of dalliance relationship” (p. 289, Hands and Hearts:  A History of Courtship in America, by Ellen K. Rothman.  New York:  Basic Books, Inc., Publishers, 1984).  In Puritan New England, the law had given parents “the care and power . . . for the disposing their children in marriage” (p. 26, Rothman).

What happened?   We were guided by a Scriptural and historical model for obtaining a spouse. First that changed in the world.  Then it began to change in churches.  The world’s method became the church’s method, except with some Christian garnish.  What was the change?   It was a change from Parental Control to Personal Choice under Peer Pressure, an alteration from Serious Marriage Intentions to Intended for Personal Pleasure and Fun, an amendment from Spiritual Maturity to Feelings/Desire/Hormones, a revision from Protection from Physical Involvement to Emotional and Physical Involvement, a switch from Respect for the Bible to Ignorance and Disregarding of the Bible, a modification from In the Home around the Family to Exclusively out of the Home, and a transition from The Qualification of Character to Physical/Emotional Attractiveness.

What’s Bad about the New Way? (“as the Gentiles which know not God”)

  • Sin or Impurity (Prov. 6:25; Mt. 5:27-30; Col. 3:5)—Emotionally and Physically, it is God’s will for men and women to save themselves wholly for their life’s partner, and when they do not, that is sin.  John Holzman in Dating with Integrity, in 1990, makes this excellent statement, “When we begin to develop intimacy with someone, there’s going to be a natural tendency toward a sexual expression…Any time you become emotionally involved with a person, you’re moving into the arena of sexual temptation.  You’re touching one of the springs from which our sexuality comes to surface.”  We would do well to look at the trek to fornication outlined in Colossians 3:5:

Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:

You look at it in reverse order.  Covetousness is idolatry.  It starts with just wanting more without the regard of God.   We separate God from our pursuit of a thing, a relationship, or a feeling.  Evil concupisence describes that desire outside of the bounds of what is right.  An unmarried young man does not possess the young lady.  He can’t have her until he is married to her.  He cannot have a married desire until after marriage.  Until then, that desire is defiled, an evil desire, evil concupiscense.  Inordinate affection comes when the passions are stirred, some heat is involved.  Uncleanness turns it all into an unclean action still falling short of fornication.  Obviously fornication involves all of these that lead up to it, but someone can be unclean and yet not fornicate.

The means by which someone obtains a life’s partner should not violate Colossians 3:5.  If the means tends towards violation of this verse, it can’t be the Scriptural way.  I contend that any form of dating tends toward a violation of Colossians 3:5.  Dating stirs instincts intended for marriage.

  • Rebellion Against Parents (Judges 14)—Young people pull themselves away from parental authority to satisfy on their own certain perceived emotional, psychological, and physical needs. Young people learn to be adults by being with adults as their model, not other young people (an argument against the common socialization thinking of parents—this is really about fitting in with immaturity).  It is obvious when people follow the wrong model of obtaining the life’s partner, they are rebelling against parental instruction (Proverbs 5-7).  It is often called “independence,” but independence is a positive word, and something some young people think they deserve, but it is truthfully rebellion.  Young people are out from under Godly wisdom when making the most important decision in life, and can ruin their life in a short period of time.  The role of the parents disappears or at least greatly lessens with the world’s way.
  • Defrauding (1 Thessalonians 4:6)—Emotional and Physical
  • Searing the Conscience (1 Timothy 1:19)—It lends itself to rationalization and excuses to cover up, and in truth, sear and suave the conscience, damaging it severely.
  • Seduction Skills Are Developed (Proverbs 5-7)—Physical and Emotional Attraction becomes a ‘skill’ that must be developed to obtain the life’s partner of a woman’s ‘desire;’ both men and women learn how to flirt.
  • Wasted Time (Ephesians 5:16)—Instead of getting prepared and developing character, knowledge, and skills, the ‘search is on’ in the ‘dating game.’
  • Wasted Abilities (Matthew 25:14-30)—There is a loss of intellectual, social, and spiritual development.–ministry skills not honed.
  • Breaking God’s Commandments (The Ten Commandments-Ex. 20)—Idolatry, dishonoring parents, stealing (defrauding), adultery, and covetousness.
  • Accompanying Attitude Problems—Jealousy, bitterness, anger, etc.
  • Later Marriage Problems—Marriage starts out selfishly.  The break-up pattern formed results in easy divorce pattern.  There is a built-in loss of trust that occurs when the spouse has had multiple dating partners or even more in the past.
  • Difficulty in Forgetting Old Relationships
  • Perversion of True Love—Love is fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22,23).  Love is abiding in God (I John 4:16).  In the dating system, love is a feeling or emotion; truly lust. In this system good is evil and evil is good.
  • Loss of True Friendships—Instead of making lasting friendships, people are busy with the “dating game.”
  • Loss of Discernment—Judgment not based on character, but on economics and ‘looks.’
  • Lost Honoring God and Obeying God’s Word, and Lost Testimony
  • Other Problems
    • The Tongue—Gossip, Slander, Lies, Flatter
    • Diseases–sexually transmitted
    • Crime–Rape, Abortion
    • Unwanted Children

What’s Good About the Scriptural Way?

  • Pleasing God (1 Thessalonians 4:1,2; Hebrews 11:6)
  • Honoring Parents (1 Cor. 7:37-39; Gen. 24:1-3)
  • God’s Will Accomplished (Proverbs 3:5,6)
  • Time Invested and Skills Developed in Preparation
  • Takes the Flesh Out of It to Preserve Purity
  • Young People Learn Adult Behaviour from Parents
  • Protects Conscience, Emotions, Family, Society, Testimony, True Friendships, True Love

Is Betrothal the ONLY Way to Find a Wife?

July 2, 2008 Comments off

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 Read more…

Categories: Mallinak, Marriage, The Family Tags:

Sons Go (drive-by post)

June 26, 2008 Comments off

Jacob went to find his wife.

Joseph found his wife.

Moses found his wife.

Eleazar took a wife.

The priests were instructed to “take a wife.” — Leviticus 21:13

The pattern is continued in Jeremiah 16:2

Hosea went and took his wife.

Jesus went to find his bride.

Proverbs 18:22 says,

Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favor of the LORD.

it doesn’t say,

Whoso’s father findeth him a wife obtaineth favor of the LORD.

My point in this drive-by post is just to say a few things related to finding a mate, marriage, and complementarianism.

  1. Godly families rear their boys to be men and their girls to be ladies; therefore, the boys and girls should also find their mates in different (complementary) ways.
  2. Parental involvement is present with both boys and girls, but vastly different.  If your son has not been trained by you how to seek and find a wife on his own (but with your guidance), how is he going to lead the family YOU put together for him?
  3. Fathers, please recognize the huge responsibility you have to prepare your son to be able to find his wife. You are definitely involved, but the involvement shrinks as your son gets closer to marriage.

The Bible Way to Obtain Your Spouse part three

June 25, 2008 Comments off

All of Genesis 24, the longest chapter in Genesis, the book of beginnings, tells the story of Abraham obtaining the life’s partner for his son. To review that first line, what is Genesis 24 about? It is all about a man acquiring a wife. We should regulate our lives by Scriptural example. It’s not as easy as plain statements, but we’re supposed to gather some doctrine and practice from Old Testament narratives. Genesis 24 isn’t for nothing. It has some purpose.

Some have used Genesis 24 as merely a picture of Christ and the church. They usually do the same thing with Song of Solomon. I believe those efforts represent something closer to an allegorical hermeneutic. I take the position that types should be stated. If there isn’t some strong connection of the dots, I don’t see a type or a figure. I can say that the ark is a picture of salvation because of other statements in Scripture about Noah and the flood.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that Genesis 24 is about the man leaving father and mother and cleaving to his wife. A pattern is provided. We should judge that pattern by propositional statements found elsewhere in the Bible. We should look at other examples. Everything combined should form the doctrine and practice. I’ve already looked through Scripture at other examples. Principles flesh themselves out that we see modeled here in Genesis 24. Let’s see what they are.


Principle One—The Authority (Genesis 24:1-2, 49-51)

The chapter starts with Abraham even as he is the patriarch, the one in charge. As the chief executive of his household, he exerts authority over the man who oversees the entire home business, a house manager, something like we see referenced in the some of the parables of Jesus in the NT (Matthew 24:45, “Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?”). The servant was the ruler over Abraham’s household, but in the chapter the servant repeatedly and subserviently refers to Abraham as his “master,” which is the word for “lord” (adone). The man is doing Abraham’s bidding all along the way, doing his lord’s will.

Later in the chapter Rebekah’s father Bethuel and her brother Laban stand in the way between the servant and Rebekah. They must decide if she we will go. In v. 49 the nameless servant makes it clear that they are dealing with Abraham in this circumstance. They decide in v. 51 that Isaac can have Rebekah as wife.

The Scriptural way depends upon authority for the obtaining of a life’s partner on both the man’s and the woman’s side. Following authority is the basis for making the right choice. The objectivity of the parent keeps it from emotions or hormones, deceit and defeat. Permission must be granted from the woman’s authority. Also, in the example of the family of Abraham, there is no independent adulthood between the two families. We have two homes in Scripture. In the first home, a man and a woman are under parental authority. In the second home, the man leaves his father and mother, the woman marries him, he becoming her head and she is help meet. There is not an in between marriage time when men or women operate unilaterally to parental authority. When that does happen in Scripture, it occurs almost unanimously to great harm to those who separate from the authority of their father.

The history of dating, essentially an English and mainly American phenomenon, is one in which the process toward marriage steps out from under the authority of parents. The children take the task into their own hands. Today parents are instructed to do so and often gladly do. Those who don’t do it gladly are most often marked as a kind of bigots. This history coincides with a radical cultural change that paralleled with the industrial revolution. Dad’s employment sent him away from home. School went from something small and close to home to something big and further away. Students far outnumbered adults. Boys and girls had more freedom to spend time relatively alone. The parents were less involved with their children. Boys and girls began announcing what they had taken into their own hands. Parents must accept. Now parents endorse.

Without parents initiating, the process took on all sorts of new dimensions. Feelings were now love. Love became the means of choice, but it was actually lust. With the kids taking charge, new dating skills were developed akin to the strange woman in Proverbs. Both boys and girls learned how to seduce at an early age. Less time was spent on skill, intellect, and spirit building and more on mating rituals. The music and fashion industries marketed to this. The young people bought what they were selling. Where we stand today, this has a stranglehold even on Christian college campuses. It is true that much of it is no longer about marriage, but about gratifying short-term physical and emotional desire.

When we see in Scripture this pattern followed of the children taking the authority in the choice of life’s partner, it is often embraced by rebels or godless pagans. Samson ordered his parents around and it lead to his downfall. Jacob, perhaps because he himself didn’t follow his parents instruction, didn’t restrain his own children enough, and this resulted in the sorry incident with Dinah and the Shechemites and then Judah’s corrupt dalliance with Tamar. A lot of problems in the Old Testament revolve around doing this the wrong way.

Dating today just imitates the worst examples in the Bible regarding authority. The whole history of dating contradicts the biblical, historical, and then really traditional way of getting a wife or husband. The point of dating has been for children to initiate the process. Even if the parents are closely involved, the young people are checking each other out and dressing and acting in a way to get that done. The kids then report back to their parents what they like and want. They take the Samson route or the foolish bread boy of Proverbs 7. The temperature goes up, the IQ goes down, and the relationship with the parents drastically changes. If the parents intervene, the kids resent it and the culture backs them up.

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. It is the way of faith, even as we will see later in the chapter. It is the way of answered prayer. The parents are the ones doing everything, including doing the checking out. Of course, to those who don’t like this way, that means the parents pick out someone ugly for their child. After all, they don’t care about the physical as much as character and other matters, so they ignore looks. This isn’t true. Parents want a good match for their children too, but they don’t have to be affected by the looks in the same way that their children will be, where lust is involved. It also allows the looks and character issues to be balanced off.

Part of the attack on God’s way is also an attack on parental authority and ultimately the role of the Dad. Part of the conspiracy of Satan is to destroy the home and a great way to do that is to obliterate the role of the man in the home. He is succeeding at that and this is one of the ways. Dads don’t choose and then they don’t protect their daughters any more. They are a mere figurehead. They might get to choose what television channel the family will watch. Moms are often taking charge in the dating scene, feeling the emotions of their daughters along with them, role-playing, doing dress up, perhaps nostalgic of some of the best feelings they ever had in their life, when they were dating. So much emphasis is placed on dating and the wedding that the marriage is a several decade afterthought, if it lasts that long.

God is a good God, so His way is better, but it is His way. It’s understandable why kids want to be the ones involved all along, but that isn’t the pattern in Scripture. We are to be regulated by the pattern that God has given us for His honor and glory. Without faith it is impossible to please Him.

Principle Two—The Affiliations (Genesis 24:3-4)

Abraham is concerned first about what family she comes from. This relates to what she believes. The Canaanites were polytheists. Abraham’s family believed in the same God as Abraham. False religion was an immediate deal breaker. Abraham limited the possibilities to only the ones who would fit into his family’s belief system. Beliefs are the chief issue in a marriage. We don’t even approach people that don’t believe like we do.

Abraham utilized his servant. The servant was his networker. He went to look on behalf of Abraham, having the same thoughts about things. He went a long ways to get it done. We might need to go away from our own church and network with another church. The beliefs of the church and then the family are the first topics that should be considered in this search to find the wife. Since the church is the pillar and ground of the truth (1 Timothy 3:15), that makes the most sense today as an application of getting to the location where the qualified possibilities are. I believe the church is a far better perimeter than the institution of the college. Colleges often bring together varied belief systems that will clash in areas not important to college, but very important to a life’s partner candidate.

In the realm of affiliations, there are other passages that apply to this. An obvious one is 2 Corinthians 6:14-16. The candidate should be a believer. In the case of Abraham, it was a family of monotheists, what we would see in principle as limiting ourselves to believers today. Amos 3:3 says it with “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” One reason people get divorced is “irreconcilable differences.” Different beliefs can be that kind of difference. Peace in Scripture relates to belief and practice more than anything. A friend of the world could not be classified as a potential life’s partner (James 4:4). An “enemy of God” would be the wrong person to marry. Other qualities will enter in, but this relates to affiliations, and we look to where we will have the most peace, that is, our own church or a church of like faith and practice.

—more coming in part four

Finding a Wife

June 20, 2008 Comments off

Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favor of the Lord.

Proverbs 18:22

As a teen, this was my life’s verse.  Having celebrated fourteen years of “obtaining favor of the Lord” this month, I can add my own personal testimony to the truth of the verse.  Although I sometimes wonder if “a good thing” is meant as an understatement.

I’ll let Kent deal with the how’s and how-not’s of finding a wife.  I’ll simply say that I believe that the way the world goes about finding a wife is in the lust of concupiscence.  I believe that the average young person in the average church has been so heavily influenced by the world and the world’s cultural requirements (particularly through the slice of the world they observe on Television) that they really have no idea how to go about finding a wife without an element of the lust of concupiscence.  We would do well to study our Bibles on this issue, and to move away from the current model of recreational dating.

And furthermore, the Bible teaches very plainly that young people are to work through their parents towards finding a spouse.  Kent and I may disagree as to the level of involvement or the specific requirements of Scripture.  We do not disagree about the principle.  Parents have more than mere “veto power” (as some refer to it).  Parents have authority in this.  And their teens must listen to them.

That being said, it is not my purpose to parrot Pastor B.  He’ll do fine making his case, and we can hammer out our differences in the comments section.  I intend to address a different problem, one that, I hope, will expose another problematic result of our modern system of recreational dating.

Serious about Dating Is Not Serious about Marriage

The problem?  Contrary to what some of our readers might think, we aren’t serious about getting married.  We are serious about dating.  We are serious Read more…

Categories: Mallinak, Marriage, The Family