My oldest daughter recently posted a link to an article from “Boundless” magazine, on “biblical dating”. The responses were…interesting. One young man pointed out that if you really want to be biblical you should advocate arranged marriages between the ages of 13 and 18. Ha! Can’t imagine that flying today. In fact, if I actually arranged marriages for my kids in that model today, I would probably face child abuse charges.
Actually, arranged marriages as we understand them today were not the norm in the Bible. The example of Abraham sending his servant to find a wife for Isaac was not normative, but came from the extraordinary circumstance of moving away from his family. Abraham did not want to send Isaac himself because he was afraid that Isaac might end up staying in Mesopotamia instead of the promised land. Even then the servant was instructed to only bring the girl back if SHE consented as well as the father. Jacob would be a better example. He traveled again to his relative’s home to find a believing wife for himself. He met Rachel, wanted to marry her, negotiated with her father a bride price and paid it. Laban’s actions notwithstanding, this was more the norm.
The goal at our house for relationships is a godly marriage with both the young men and young women not only remaining physically pure but inwardly (emotionally) pure as well. I want to present some young man with a virgin bride, who has kept her heart guarded and whole, to be fully given only to one man, him. I hope my sons will find that sort of young woman as well. I want some young woman to find that my son, her husband has done the same.
I know that’s old fashioned, but we Johnson’s seek “the old paths.” Paths worn smooth by generation after generation of God-followers. We homeschool because we believe it is the parents responsibility to educate their children. (See Deut. 6:4-9.) We don’t use birth control because it was the stated belief of the church for 1900 yrs, before eugenics invaded the church, that this was morally reprehensible. Our girls are encouraged to remain at home after highschool graduation until we can transfer protection of them to their husband. College is not a given. Much thought and prayer would go into that decision, male or female, as colleges are full of godless propaganda and indoctrination. And we are attempting to follow a courting model for marriage.
Call me old fashioned, call me nuts. We did not arrive at these decisions lightly. We have attempted to follow the whole counsel of the word of God, gotten advice from other godly men and women, and prayerfully come to these beliefs. We know we are swimming upstream, with a raging current trying to sweep us the other way. It would be so easy to go with the flow. But broad is the way to destruction and narrow is the path that leads to life and few are them that find it. Christians are always going to be swimming upstream. If we swim together it’s easier though. I don’t want to just follow the crowd. I want to study, what does the unerring Word of God say. These days you can not even follow what the church is saying blindly. You have to do as the Bereans and study the scripture for yourself. “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” 2 Timothy 4:2-4
Studies have come out recently that show most Christians even, would say that church and the Bible do not really impact their day to day lives. And statistically, evangelical Christians have a HIGHER rate of divorce than the general public. This is not bringing God glory. Maybe we need to take a look at how we go about getting into marriage. Maybe we need to take a look at our lives and figure out why our lives lack the power to change. Why aren’t we distinctively different? Christianity today has a form of godliness, but lacks the power of transformation that it should have. We SHOULD be different. We SHOULD be a peculiar people. The Holy God of the universe lives IN us! Shouldn’t that change us?!
I’m really getting into another whole topic here, but it’s all part of the same whole. Being a Christian, giving Jesus control of your life, should change everything. But it takes time and study in the Word to change your worldview, especially when you have spent many years being indoctrinated by the world. Every belief that you hold should be taken out and examined in the light of God’s truth. Is this truth, or is it a belief that I absorbed from the culture around me? Is this practice that I have of God, or the world? Am I doing this thing because I always have, or every one else is, or am I doing it because I’ve studied and prayed about it and believe it’s what God wants for me to be doing right now? Time and the renewing of our minds by the washing of the Word, that’s what’s needed. And make no mistake, you will have to make time, you’ll have to wrestle it away from something else. The more time we spend in God’s Word, in prayer, the faster and deeper the transformation.
Oh Lord, give us more of your Spirit, living in us. Help us recognize your voice and follow it. Help us examine our most closely held beliefs and give us strength to let go of those that do not glorify you. Help us make convictions out of beliefs, convictions that will stand the beating by the winds of this world, convictions that root us deeply into you, our foundation. May the works of our hands be as precious jewels, sent on to the heavenly builder, so that they will not be burned away when we give an accounting for our actions on that last day. May we find the strength in you to resist the current of our culture and point others to the narrow way that leads to life. May everything we do, bring you glory. Amen. God bless.
For a more complete discussion of biblical courtship, check out this link http://www.reformedonline.com/view/reformedonline/famdate.htm
For a more complete discussion of biblical reasons for homeschooling, see http://www.hslda.org/docs/nche/000000/00000069.asp