Error Does Not Go Away

I remember when I was a child, I was told a story a very interesting story about the ninth commandment. The story was about a young girl who ended up telling something false about one of her friends. Needless to say, as teenagers usually do, all of her friends and classmates ended up spreading the falsehood all around school. When she realized that what she did was wrong, she went to a wise, older lady in the church, and asked her what she could do to make it right. The lady told her to go and get a basket of feathers, and dump it along the pathway at a certain spot in the woods. After that, the wise old woman told her to go home, get a good night’s sleep, and come back to her tomorrow. So, she did as she was told, and came back to the wise old woman the next day. The woman told her that now she must go back to that spot along the pathway in the woods, and pick up all of the feathers that she had dumped out of that basket. The girl did as she was told proceeded to go to the spot, and pick up the feathers. However, she found that she did not have but half of what she had yesterday, and, in trying to find the other feathers, it took her well off the path. She worked until nightfall, when she finally gave up hope of ever recovering all of the feathers. She went back to the wise old woman the next day, and told her that she had failed. She asked her, though, what the feathers and the task she gave her had to do with making her slander right. The wise old woman told her that slander is just like those feathers. Bearing false witness against someone can start out with only one person dumping the lie out in one place. However, it never stays there, and it is almost impossible to clean up the mess once it has gone for even a day.

It is my contention that erroneous teaching has the same nature. When you teach something that is false, you can be sure that it will get out there, and people will start repeating it. That is why I tremble at the task before me as, not only a blogger, but also as someone who is going to be a teacher one day. I know if I teach something wrong, it will be repeated again and again, and I will not be able to pick up the mess.

I don’t think that those of us who were involved in the Delay of Marriage controversy two or three years ago ever thought that either. I don’t think we ever realized that what we were going to say would be repeated and linked to on blogs. This was hit home to me when Amir linked to the discussion on the Boundless blog [starting here] that we had with Debbie Maken where she absolutely crashed and burned. When he linked to that, it hit me that anyone reading that thread could click on that link and read what I said, even those who were simply doing a Google search for “Debbie Maken.” Not that I no longer believe Maken is wrong [I still do], it is just frightening at how easily what we say can be read by anyone, and be of benefit or of harm.

I say all of these things to point out that the radical followers of Debbie Maken may be insignificant now that Maken’s book is nothing more than an audio book in Douglas Wilson’s Canon Press catalog. However, that does not mean that they do not have the ability to influence those who have not or are unwilling to look at both sides of the issue.

The case in point is this blog which I ran into today. I found it when the author posted something on another blog in which we are discussing the delay of marriage. The first thing that gave me an idea of where this person was coming from was on the side bar. Apparently, she has a Twitter account, and, only a day ago, she tweeted the following:

I absolutely love The Gift of Singleness blog. It’s the voice of reason for me in a sea of craziness.

Yes, we all remember The Gift of Singleness blog. We all remember how that blog was anonymous, with not so much as even a first name, and how downright nasty she got towards Ted Slater and others. When we finally found out that it was Deanna Holmes, the head of London Christians, it was only a few posts later that the Gift of Singleness blog had its last post.

Now, what do we find with this new blog? Well, like the Gift of Singleness blog, it is anonymous. The author only has a pen name: Miss. Pen & Paper. Like the Gift of Singleness blog, there is a lot of nastiness all in the name of “righteous anger.” On her information page, she says:

Oh….do be warned: At times my tone maaaay seem a little heated. I apologize now. That’s the revolutionary side of me coming out in response to living in the midst of a culture that often ridicules those who desire to be married and my having been fed some unbiblical teachings that have led to generations of Christian singles falling victim to unwanted indefinite singleness. When people finally do speak out against such things, you have to be prepared for a little righteous indignation to come out. We can’t always be gentle, can we? Sometimes even Jesus over turned tables and correctly labeled some as a brood of vipers. But I’ll will try not to go overboard, however sorely I am tempted .

There are a number of post which start out much the same way:

Ok, I’m warning you up front, this post is gonna rub some people the wrong way. You’re either gonna like it or not like it, but my main concern is that what I share is the truth in love. Alright, here we go.[link]

That one is in the context of how women relate to men. However, it was not the last statement of this kind:

I find myself in a situation in which there is something that urgently needs to be said, loud and clear, that the men of our time need to know. I am at the point where I am willing to face the consequences for speaking up, because the need to deliver the message is greater than my need to remain comfortable. So here it goes.[link]

I’m going to have to ask for your forgiveness up front on this one. I get the sense that this post might have an angry tone to it, but I’ll do my best to keep it civil.[link]

(Ok, perhaps that was taking my sarcastic nature a little too far. But I think you get my point. Single people and their feelings get no respect in this culture. I’m just showing it for the ugly that it is. My apologies if anyone was offended.)[link]

I could go on and on, but my point is obvious. Just like the Gift of Singleness blog, this woman is using anonymity to spread nastiness in the guise of “righteous anger.”

However, the similarities go beyond this. Remember the attitude that “Captain Sensible” [aka Deanna Holmes] had towards those who disagree? Did she listen to their arguments? Did she realize that our arguments were changing to respond to them? No, anyone who would even dare to talk about anything other than the delay of marriage would will get assaulted. What do we have on this blog?:

It would probably do me a lot of good to stop reading what naysayers, players, and misogynists think about marriage. My immediate family is mostly women, and most of my friends are women, so sometimes I like to search the internet to get a glimpse into the male perspective on these issues.[link]

There are certain teachings that have made their mark on our generation of Christians, and if I could singlehandedly tear them down I would do it today, because of the bad fruit they have produced.[link]

I need to learn to ignore fools. Not everyone or every comment is even worthy of a response.[link]

Obviously, this woman has been deeply influenced by The Gift of Singleness Blog and Deanna Holmes, in probably more ways than one. She has this link on her blog, which is a link to a British website. Is she British, and that is how she had contact with Deanna Holmes? I don’t know. Also, she neglects that the whole notion that folks like Deanna Holmes made marriage an idol doesn’t come from their desire for marriage, but from the things that they connect it to, such as connecting the need for marriage to the need for food, or saying that marriage is the only way you will be able to be sexually pure. That is where the idolatry shows up.

In fact, she only recently reviewed Debbie Maken’s book, when it has been out of print for a while now! Does she not know this? Is she also not aware that Andreas Kostenberger now has a refutation of her work in the new edition of his book God, Marriage, and Family? My best guess is “no,” and she probably doesn’t care.

Now, you might be saying, “Wow! You are really being hard on this girl!” Actually, it is not really this girl that I blame for this. When Deanna Holmes decided to do what she did, she left the door open for others to read what she wrote, and do the same. When Debbie Maken wrote her book, and gave support to this kind of thinking, she dumped feathers that her and her followers will never be able to totally pick up. Hence, although Debbie Maken and Deanna Holmes are no longer relevant today, they have left a mess behind. All it takes is for one girl to have a deep desire for marriage, and maybe even be taught that it is wrong to pursue marriage. She will then find Maken’s materials or the Gift of Singleness blog [or both in this case], and she will go from one extreme to the other extreme.

I also would like to make this a warning to us. When we are blogging, it is very easy to write things that are nasty, and it is very easy to endorse something without thinking. I would suggest that we take a couple of hours before we post something, to make sure that we are not just reacting to something. I have to be honest and say I have not been perfect in that at all. It has hit me that people can read what I write, and I must blog in a way that honors God’s truth. We all must. That means that we must speak truthfully, in a God honoring way. I pray that we will all do that. The world is watching, and if someone comes to our blog looking for help on an issue we have addressed, we must be honoring to God both in the way we present the information, and in the truthfulness of the information.

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19 Responses to “Error Does Not Go Away”

  1. ladyelaine80 Says:

    I think such a reaction is common. However, I will say this: I think the tough thing about this scenario is that too often those who look at such information are lumped into a certain category and easily misunderstood. I know the person of which you mention, and I fully believe that she desires to help, not harm others. I think the problem is that when it comes to many within the walls of Church, very few people are willing to be straightforward and honest about the issues involved and just be clear. It’s easier to tell a single person who desires marriage to give the answer to “wait on God,” than it is to tell them that they don’t know. It’s easier to tell them to “wait to be found” and “let God write your love story” than it is to tell the person that their behavior is coming off as extremely needy and desperate. It seems that many Church leaders choose to be passive-aggressive in their teachings instead of being honest and saying, ” I don’t know how to help you, because I’ve never experienced this.” It also seems that many churches fail to acknowledge, respect, and take celibate singleness (and singles in general) seriously. I also believe that many in American churches fail to take responsibility for their behavior and manner in which discipleship and community occurs(i.e. being so family focused that it leaves those who don’t fit the traditional family framework out).

    What makes matters worse is that many fail to speak respectfully, truthfully, and respond Biblically—literally, we don’t walk our talk. Here is a young woman who wants to help women who have a desire for marriage AND aren’t wasting their single years away waiting for marriage to complete them, and she’s trying to do something about it. My challenge is for you to reach out to this person and address her face to face regarding these things, not simply put up blog postings condescendingly talking about her Scriptural naivete and how quickly error spreads.

  2. otrmin Says:

    LadyElaine,

    Actually, I am dialoguing with her [on the other forum I was talking about]. And, I agree, I think she does want to help people. The problem is that she has ran into some very bad material that she is just eating up. That is what I am saying. If none of this material from Debbie Maken or Deanna Holmes had ever came out, then it would be a whole lot easier for her to help people, rather than getting caught in this stuff.

    God Bless,
    Adam

  3. Miss. Pen & Paper Says:

    Well I guess if I’m going to have a blog where I share my views, I have to take criticism like a big girl don’t I.

    Adam, a few things. If I am right, in that marriages are not happening on a massive scale in the church, and this is leading to problems for both men and women, then the issue must be addressed. If I’m right, then there is nothing wrong with me addressing these issues passionately, as it would be righteous anger. So far, the masses of Christian women being sweet and nice in the midst of injustice has not helped anyone.

    The question is why do you find my posts nasty as supposed to merely expressing righteous anger? Because I often point out the fact that men aren’t pursuing marriage, and that this has the effect of causing their future wife anguish? I am a believer in everyone owning up to their own actions. If women are doing things to sabotage their chances of getting married, then we need to point it out, so they can make the necessary changes. Where men are at fault, it should be pointed out. We can’t pretend that people aren’t in error just to let them feel good. As I said on the other blog, if there was a shortage of Christian women, and the majority of the few of them were not interested in marriage, I’m sure Christian men would be writing books, blogging, etc because they were being negatively affected. And they would have every reason to do so. And, when I read or hear men voicing valid concerns about the issues they encounter when trying to pursue women, I don’t get upset, because I recognize that they’re telling the truth. As long as they don’t think that all women are like those few that they’ve encountered, I don’t have a problem with it.

    I talk about the delayed marriage issue from a women’s point of view, because I am one. But in my posts I do acknowledge that in some cases, both men and women are frustrating the process. You must not have read my post called “Giving Them a Better World Today” or “Male Bashing”. I believe I addressed the issues concerning both genders and external factors fairly. But if you disagreed, I wouldn’t be at all surprised.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems to me that the reason you find my comments nasty, and the content of my blog to be in error, is because you believe that men and women can choose to get married if and when they want to. It is their own personal decision, that the bible and nature do not provide us with a pattern or guidance in this area. I think that is our basic difference. I see marriage as being, yes, a need for both men and women, unless God has gifted them otherwise, and you see marriage as something you can delay or reject without any consequences. From there each of us sees the other as being in error.

    I have read both The Gift of Singleness blog and Debbie Maken’s book (and blog). Both of those works validated what I and others have already felt for years. I was not a blank slate that simply allowed those sources to tell me what to think. Also, I am aware that Debbie Maken’s book is out of print. Big deal. Just because she angered a lot of people doesn’t mean the message of her book was wrong. Though it may have affected book sales or the publisher’s decision to keep the book in print.

    If it makes you happy, I will admit that I idolize marriage, because I said it’s a need, if you can honestly say that you can get along perfectly fine without food, water, air, clothing, shelter, and other human relationships because Jesus is all you need. Just because we have needs outside of God himself, does not mean we are idolizing those things. If using the word “need” about anything other than God makes a person an idolater, than we’re ALL idolaters.

  4. otrmin Says:

    Miss. Pen and Paper,

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems to me that the reason you find my comments nasty, and the content of my blog to be in error, is because you believe that men and women can choose to get married if and when they want to. It is their own personal decision, that the bible and nature do not provide us with a pattern or guidance in this area. I think that is our basic difference. I see marriage as being, yes, a need for both men and women, unless God has gifted them otherwise, and you see marriage as something you can delay or reject without any consequences. From there each of us sees the other as being in error.

    Actually, it depends upon what you mean by “without any consequences.” There are consequences, both good and bad, to everything we do. For example, one time I found a book on Linear B that was priced at around $79.95. It was kind of steep for me, so I decided that I would see if I could find the book at a cheaper price. To this day, I have never seen this book at less than $100.00 again. Now, was what I did in passing up that purchase wrong? No, because no one is going to argue that the Bible commands you to purchase a book on Mycenaean Greek. However, did it have consequences? You had better believe that it did! Hence, having consequences [even negative consequences] may or may not involve sin. I see marriage as being able to be delayed or rejected without the anyone being involved in sin. I might eat a spaghetti dinner, and end up getting heartburn, but that doesn’t mean that I have somehow sinned by eating a Spaghetti dinner!

    However, it is even more more complicated than that. It is not just that we differ on this point, it is that I believe the exegesis used to support these ideas is terrible. During my studies, I have focused specifically on dealing with many of the passages that are commonly used: Genesis 1:28, Genesis 2:18, Malachi 2:15, all the passages about the “wife of your youth,” etc. I have found that most commentators reject the interpretations that Debbie Maken and others give, and for very good reasons. For example, I have written and entire paper on Genesis 1:28:

    https://otrmin.wordpress.com/2009/06/24/exegesis-of-genesis-126-28/

    And I have written a review of Candice Watters’ use of scripture here:

    http://puritancalvinist.blogspot.com/2008/06/responses-to-candice-watters-book-part.html

    [unfortunately, this was back before I learned unicode, but the link to the Hebrew and Greek fonts is on the sidebar of my blog]

    My main issue with this movement is exegetical. I find their uses of scripture to be downright terrible, and, misusing the text of scripture in order to shame someone to get something that you want even worse. That is why I always challenge these folks exegetically. If there is no basis for what they are binding the the continence of God’s people from the text of scripture, then it is not “righteous anger,” it is “selfish anger,” because they are, not only are they putting their words into God’s mouth, but they are doing so to get what they want.

    If it makes you happy, I will admit that I idolize marriage, because I said it’s a need, if you can honestly say that you can get along perfectly fine without food, water, air, clothing, shelter, and other human relationships because Jesus is all you need. Just because we have needs outside of God himself, does not mean we are idolizing those things. If using the word “need” about anything other than God makes a person an idolater, than we’re ALL idolaters.

    Actually, I didn’t say anything about a “need” in and of itself being idolatry. The issue is what you elevate to the level of a need. What if you had a husband who told you that he needed that big screen TV in at Circuit City in the same way that he needed food, or in the same way that he needed water or air? Would you not say that he is idolizing this television set? God has created us to need food and water and clothing. We were not created to need marriage or a big screen TV, and to say that we have is to say that the way God created us is not how he has said in his word [Yes, I am aware of Genesis 2:18; see my response to Candice Watters]. Hence, we get to redefine who we are, and act as if we are the creator, and to do so on the basis of a desire for marriage is, indeed, idolatry.

    I have read both The Gift of Singleness blog and Debbie Maken’s book (and blog). Both of those works validated what I and others have already felt for years. I was not a blank slate that simply allowed those sources to tell me what to think. Also, I am aware that Debbie Maken’s book is out of print. Big deal. Just because she angered a lot of people doesn’t mean the message of her book was wrong. Though it may have affected book sales or the publisher’s decision to keep the book in print.

    First of all, in your statement you have described why I believe she made all of these mistakes. You said, “Both of those works validated what I and others have already felt for years.” Why are you doing exegesis of the text of scripture by your feelings? This is the whole problem.

    As I said on another blog already tonight, I have a friend of mine who studied under D.A. Carson here at Trinity. She relayed a comment to me that Dr. Carson said one time. He said that Evangelicals tend to confuse the idea that the Bible was written to them with the idea that the Bible was written for them. We take up the scriptures, and, without ever understanding what the background, language, and context of the passage actually is, we read the scriptures as if their context is our context, as if their background is our background. One of the greatest examples of this is when you read the text of scripture based upon your feelings. The whole goal of exegesis is to minimize the influence that things like feelings have in order to hear the truth so that we can then love the truth with all of our heart rather than letting the heart determine the truth.

    Also, remember that righteous anger may offend people, there is a line. Once you stop speaking the truth *in love,* you do not have righteous anger, but sinful anger. Hence, the *manner* in which you present the truth is just as important as the *content* of the truth you present. The kind of name-calling and ad hominem that you see from Debbie Maken, not only is not an argument, but, it is not even Christian.

    Hence, that is not why I think Maken is wrong. I don’t care if the message will anger people; Jeremiah certainly did enough of that. However, when you abuse the text of scripture, and do so in a nasty manner, refusing to accept correction all of the way, yes, you are *certainly* in the wrong.

    Finally, I can say all of this, and still believe that we should help people who want to get married to get married. As I said to you over on the other blog, you can reject all of this stuff, and still have a genuine desire to see people get married who would like to be married. An internet friend of mine by the name of Amir Larijani has even talked about going to seminary and studying singles ministry in order to do this, and he thinks the kinds of things that Maken and Mohler bind to the continence of God’s people are utterly unfounded from a Biblical perspective.

    The key is balance. Desiring marriage is fine, but not when you start putting it above scripture and God himself. John Piper has an excellent article on this topic:

    http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/ask-pastor-john/how-can-i-long-to-be-married-without-obsessing-about-it

    If knowing God and his truth is your ultimate desire, then, I believe you can desire marriage, pursue it, and still reject what Maken, Deanna Holmes, Candice Watters et al have said.

    God Bless,
    Adam

  5. Someone Says:

    Back when Maken’s book first came out, I felt attacked by it and got really involved in the online debates about it for a while before deciding that it was mostly a waste of time and that God was calling me to leave it alone and be about the business of living the life he had given me. Since the book has faded into semi-obscurity and the debate pretty much died out, I am convinced that this was the right decision. Having had time to get some perspective on it all, thought, I’ll share my thoughts here about why I disagree with Maken’s take on things and why I find her perspective unhelpful.

    The thing I always found most offensive about Maken’s view was her condemning attitude towards single Christian men, especially older single Christian men, when in most cases she couldn’t possibly know our stories or what had led to our singleness. We were pretty much just written off as a sub-par class of people, end of discussion. That is certainly how her fans treated us when we tried to engage them. A couple of her male fans that I interacted with were among the rudest, most self-righteous people I ever had the misfortune of encountering online. She just offered up a stereotype of lazy, self-centered, single Christian men sitting around playing video-games and shirking their responsibility to find a wife.

    For me, this stereotype did not fit my experience at all and certainly did not represent me. I always wanted to get married. I was never very good at the whole dating thing, though, and struggled a lot with self-confidence and generally knowing what to do. I tried though, especially when I was younger, but ultimately none of my attempts ever came to fruition. In some cases, I experience extremely painful rejections, like the girl who I asked out who said yes, but who before we ever went out came back and said that she had changed her mind because another guy she had always liked had asked her out and she wanted to go out with him more. After having a string off experiences like this, you start to wonder if you are somehow destined for disappointment and painful rejection. Anyway, the bottom line is that eventually the experience of trying to date people became so emotionally negative and disruptive of the normal flow of life that I no longer wanted to try. Day to day living is hard enough without all the emotional stress and complications that arise from dating and relationships. Aside from that were various difficult times in life that basically precluded dating for various reasons. So I just stopped trying.

    In 2009, after losing some weight, getting into better shape than I’d ever been in my whole life, and building some renewed confidence, I tried dating two different women from my church (not simultaneously, just to be clear). In both cases, I was rejected after the first date. The experiences were actually overall positive, we treated each other with respect, and I remain friends with both women, but after it was all over I realized that after nearly 20 years of failure I just didn’t have the heart for it all anymore. It was not an anger thing, but just an admission to myself that I was just tired and didn’t want to bother with trying date anymore. Since then I haven’t really tried to pursue anyone. It’s just not worth the disruption and emotional disturbance and anxiety that it always inevitably brings to my life, especially when it never results in anything.

    I don’t tell all this in order to paint myself as a victim. I have a blessed life, am part of a great Christian community, and I still hope that maybe I’ll meet someone in the right situation. But I’ve also accepted the possibility that I might always be single and that there are unique advantages to that situation that God can and will use. I also acknowledge that I’ve made my share of mistakes and dumb moves in regards to relationships and dating, too. Most everyone probably has, but some folks succeed in spite of this, while some of us don’t. My point here is that Maken’s narrative is simply false to the experience many of us have and it is also completely unhelpful in pretty much every way. Her message is one of condemnation and judgment that says that if you are a single man who hasn’t succeeded in getting married yet it is your fault because you’re a lazy loser who hasn’t tried hard enough and you would certainly be married if you really wanted to be. This message is disastrous, especially for people of sensitive conscience who, aside from struggling with the loneliness, frustration, and sadness that often come with failing to achieve relational success, will now have the added burden of guilt and wondering whether God is angry with them for their failure to obtain something many of them have always wanted but simply haven’t succeeded in getting. I don’t see any life coming from this message for most people, despite the two “success stories” posted on Maken’s blog.

    I’m sure that some folks who stumble across her ideas will continue to be attracted to them, mostly unhappy single women for whom her book offers both an explanation and a scapegoat for their unhappiness. I imagine, though, that with her book now being out of print and most likely destined for relative obscurity, most folks won’t even know or care about her ideas and many others, if they do come in contact with them, will find them wrong-headed and offensive (everyone I’ve ever talked to about them, both married and single has thought her wrong.) I think that most Christians not driven by some predetermined agenda are aware that the witness of the New Testament on this issue simply doesn’t support Maken’s strident claims, her attempts to torture scripture into saying what she wants it to notwithstanding.

  6. Anakin Niceguy Says:

    Well, Adam, I tried having a conversation with the lady blogger in question (see here). She utterly sidestepped my points about the (1) male-bashing and (2) elevating a basic provision God makes for people (marriage) to a law unto itself. You ought to read it for curiosity or amusement’s sake.

    Now, I should be clear, since I’ve softened a bit. I believe the “Gift of Singleness” crowd (and even John Piper and others) fail to appreciate that the desire for companionship with the opposite sex is a fundamental drive among human beings. It’s not fair to compare the desire for marriage to wanting a big screen TV. The Bible certainly indicates that it is much more integral to one’s existence than, say, even prosperity (Proverbs 15:17, Proverbs 19:14, Ecclesiastes 9:9). It may not be up there with food, water, and the such like. But it is up there on the list pretty close. We were born male and female for a reason. We go through puberty for a reason. We start getting urges for a reason. So, in this respect, I agree with the Marriage Mandate crowd.

    However, what they are doing when they say singleness is sin is the same as saying poverty is a sin or illness is a sin. That’s absurd. Nobody has to get married if they don’t want to. (I suspect most people want to get married but the social climate is so screwed up between men and women that people are rightfully apprehensive about jumping into anything too fast. A point the Marriage Mandate crowd hasn’t taken seriously enough)

  7. Anakin Niceguy Says:

    Correction on the last link.

    It is …

    http://marriageforchristiansingles.typepad.com/marriage-for-christian-si/2011/04/onanism-and-delaying-marriage.html#comments

  8. Someone Says:

    I’m curious why you haven’t approved my comments above concerning my experience and why I disagree with Maken’s take on things. Have I said something there you find wrong or offensive?

  9. otrmin Says:

    Someone,

    No, I just have not been sharp in publishing comments. I have had a rough semester personally and academically. Hopefully I will have more time for this blog once school lets out.

    God Bless,
    Adam

  10. Miss. Pen & Paper Says:

    I’m going to send you this comment even if you don’t post it, because I think you should know. I think you are slightly misunderstanding me and possibly Debbie Maken also on the issue of delaying and avoiding marriage. I don’t know her exact views on this, but I’ll speak for myself. Whether you agree that marriage is a mandate or not, you should know that most marriage mandaters aren’t angry at guys who desire to get married, and have put forth effort in trying to seek a wife, and have not been successful. Though I still believe in the dust yourself off and try again mentality. We’re understanding, toward men in this situation, and I’d say 99% of what we’d say or write on the subject doesn’t apply to these guys. From what I could tell of Maken’s book, it wasn’t aimed at those guys, so in my opinion, you need not feel attacked by it.

    The focus of the debate is on guys are aren’t equipped to remain single without falling into sexual temptation, but are CHOOSING to do nothing about their circumstances. They either aren’t initiating relationships at all or they’re just fooling around casually dating. Those guys are being asked to “step up”.

    Sorry to interrupt your guy talk, but I felt the need to clarify that.

  11. otrmin Says:

    Miss. Pen and Paper,

    Actually, I recognize what you are saying. That has been part of the regular presentation of Mohler and Maken for a long time.

    The problem is that almost all of it is exegetically questionable. I would argue that there is no such thing as a guy who cannot avoid sexual temptation unless he gets married. I would challenge that whole notion. I believe that, in every temptation, whether you are married or not, God always provides a way of escape [1 Corinthians 10:13]. No one is going to be able to give God the excuse that they fell into sin because they weren’t married. Sin comes from the wickedness of our own heart [Mark 7:20-21, James 1:13-15], not from our marital status.

    The fact of the matter is such a solution will only get rid of fornication because we don’t call extra-marital relations involving a married person fornication-we call it adultery. If this view is taken seriously, it will result in the rise of adultery. If the marital status is changed, but the heart is not changed, it will not get rid of the sin.

    I think even more foundationally, our sanctification was already purchased at the cross of Calvary. We have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all [Hebrews 10:10, 14]. The only foundation of my sanctification is the death of Christ. Marriage has nothing to do with it. I will defeat the powers of sin in my life *only* because Christ died on the cross for me 2,000 years ago, and not because of marriage. His death ensures that I will be victorious over sin. Marriage has *nothing* to do with it.

    The other problem is, even if I recognize that there is a “gift of celibacy” [which I think you can only get by a gross misuse of 1 Corinthians 7:8-9], part in partial of Maken and Mohler’s presentation is that this gift is rare. That is something that no amount of misuse of any text is ever going to give you. Kostenberger challenged both of them on this, and has received no reply from Maken or Mohler to my knowledge.

    The problem is that I reject the entire paradigm that you are proposing. It is largely the result Middle Ages scholasticism [with a few Makenisms and Mohlerisms thrown in], and something that, I believe, is difficult to hold exegetically. That is why I said to you that the main issue I have with this movement is exegetical. It has to do with simply letting the text speak in its own context, and not glibly grabbing hold of a passage on the basis of tradition, or on the basis of pragmatism.

    God Bless,
    Adam

  12. Someone Says:

    Thanks Adam for the reply. I hope things get better for you soon.

  13. LadyElaine Says:

    well, she’s using the same argument again. This time, though, she’s saying that lack=temptation. smh.

  14. otrmin Says:

    LadyElaine,

    Yes, I saw that, as she has been over at Boundless as well. She has also written a comment about this:

    http://marriageforchristiansingles.typepad.com/marriage-for-christian-si/2011/06/one-reason-why-christians-should-get-married-salvation-is-not-a-substitute-for-avoiding-temptation.html?cid=6a013486720477970c01538f02ed67970b#comment-6a013486720477970c01538f02ed67970b

    in which she has grossly abused Proverbs 30:8-9. The context of the passage is not causation, as the wisdom literature is not concerned with some kind of deterministic causation. Also, the text seems to be referring back to Proverbs 6:30-31. Yet, this passage very clearly is not saying that everyone who is hungry steals:

    Proverbs 6:30-31 Men do not despise a thief if he steals To satisfy himself when he is hungry; But when he is found, he must repay sevenfold; He must give all the substance of his house.

    Also, this is put in the context of adultery, which is clearly meant to be both metaphorical [referring to spiritual adultery (i.e., idolatry)] as well as literal in the Proverbs. In other words, the temptation to steal when you are hungry comes, not from bodily desires, but from making those bodily desires and idol. Also, Proverbs 30:8-9 seems to be pointing back to the book of Deuteronomy:

    Deuteronomy 8:11-14 Beware that you do not forget the LORD your God by not keeping His commandments and His ordinances and His statutes which I am commanding you today; otherwise, when you have eaten and are satisfied, and have built good houses and lived in them, and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and gold multiply, and all that you have multiplies, then your heart will become proud and you will forget the LORD your God who brought you out from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.

    Notice how, very clearly, how both of these passages present as the background to Proverbs 30:8-9, *sin* as the cause of of theft in hunger and *sin* in the case of forgetting the Lord. The tempation comes from a “proud heart” [Deuteronomy 8:14]. The context of Proverbs 30:8-9 also tells us this, that it comes from a heart that denies the Lord, and says “who is the Lord” [v.9].

    Also, her interpretation is, not only contrary to the text itself, but also contrary to human experience. Are all poor people tempted to steal? Some poor people are the most Godly and giving people you ever could meet. Why is it that Christians who live in third world countries are so strong? It is partially *because* they are poor. In fact, Jesus himself said, “Blessed are the poor, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” [Luke 6:20]. When you are poor, you are forced to depend upon God all the more.

    As I said, the problem is that the Proverbs are not meant to be universal. There will be certain people who will struggle in times of plenty or in times of poverty, precisely because they struggle with idolatry. Proverbs 30:8-9 is a warning to people in those times to keep watch over their heart, and also an encouragement that they need to be praying that God would make himself their first love. However, what causes the temptation to deny God in those situations is not the situation itself; it is the sin that already exists in their heart, as the text itself says.

    Also, I found it very childish that David in Peoria was giving scores to the discussion. I don’t even know if he knows that there is a counter exegesis of 1 Corinthians 7:2 and 1 Corinthians 7:9. For people who are in this camp, I have found that they simply will not listen to reason.

    God Bless,
    Adam

  15. Thomas Says:

    But what if that way of escape (1 Cor 10:13) is marriage?

  16. Thomas Says:

    Furthermore, if “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth” is descriptive, then that leads to the conclusion that people will have sex; the virgin birth being a unique event. If people are going to have sex, then people ought to get married before they do so, as sex outside marriage is sin.

  17. otrmin Says:

    Thomas,

    But what if that way of escape (1 Cor 10:13) is marriage?

    Utterly impossible for three reasons. First of all, a clear exegetical reason:

    1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.

    Since when do people get married while they are being tempted? Paul very clearly puts the way of escape as something that he provides at the same time as one is tempted. Hence, exegetically, it is completely impossible.

    The second reason is that it is contrary to experience. Even if you want to say that God provides marriage as a preemptory way out of temptation, the problem is that such a position would require the spouse to be omnipresent. As I have said many times, what does one do when your wife is out of town for three weeks, and the slutty secretary at work starts putting moves on you? The simple fact of the matter is that one’s wife cannot be at the same place as you are whenever you are tempted. Such would require her to be omnipresent.

    I think another problem with this notion is what is sometimes called the “hedonistic paradox.” The problem with using marital sexual relations in this way is that one can easily imagine someone getting bored of sexual relations with their wife. In the hedonistic paradox, if you always get what you want, you get bored of it. How is that going to protect you against the temptations of other women who are more alluring?

    Furthermore, if “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth” is descriptive, then that leads to the conclusion that people will have sex; the virgin birth being a unique event. If people are going to have sex, then people ought to get married before they do so, as sex outside marriage is sin.

    Thomas, first of all, I don’t believe that “Be fruitful and multiply” is descriptive. I believe that the command is given to the human race, and not to individuals within that race. My Exegesis of this text is freely available online to read where I demonstrate this fact [you may have to download and stall the individual fonts here].

    Finally, Thomas, take a careful look at what you are saying. I don’t mean this as an insult, but I have heard your claim before, and am amazed that anyone could make it. I would simply ask how this sentence:

    If people are going to have sex, then people ought to get married before they do so, as sex outside marriage is sin.

    differs significantly from the condom based sex education crowd. They say, “They are going to have sex anyway; get them a condom.” You say, “they are going to have sex anyway; get them married.” If you simply replace condoms with marriage, you have what you have stated above. What if the whole notion that people are just going to have sex is flawed in the first place? What if the apostle Paul said that one of the fruits of the spirit is self-control, and thus, if we truly have the spirit of God, we have the power to never have sex at any time? That is what is so problematic about these ideas. They ignore that we as Christians are commanded to be self-controlled. Anyone who cannot control their desire for sex sins. It is not something that is just going to happen; it is sin. Period. To say anything less is an insult to the Holy Spirit who is working to produce in us the fruit of self-control.

    That doesn’t mean that the person who struggles in this area is not a Christian. Still, it is a struggle, and to take a short cut such as getting married as if that is going to solve something is to ignore the hard battle that we face against sin in this life-a battle to deny passions that are out of control, and bring them under control through the work of the Holy Spirit. Is that rough? Yes. However, true purity is. As far as I am concerned, the “purity” people say they have from marriage is a false and cheap purity, and is no purity at all. True purity takes work, and once the heart is truly changed, then one can handle those instances of being seduced by the slutty secretary while your wife is out of town, and the problem of the hedonistic paradox, because God is your ultimate desire, and your ultimate treasure, and hence, all other things are not that important to you, including those alluring sinful desires. If we do not learn to desire God above all things [including sexual desires], as I said, getting married to avoid sexual sin will simply increase the adultery rates.

  18. Thomas Says:

    Maybe you are underestimating how quickly one could (and possibly should) get married. Calvin said “let those who live outside of marriage be ready overnight to submit to God if he calls them to that estate.” (Sermons on the Ten Commandments, Sermon Nine)

  19. otrmin Says:

    Thomas,

    Can you argue that from scripture? I am, obviously, not committed to what John Calvin said, as I believe he was fallible. Please show me where scripture binds the conscience in this area.

    God Bless,
    Adam

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