There’s not really much more that I want to add but I thought some final thoughts were in order as well as a couple of resources that could be helpful. I enjoyed the conversation and hope that it has been helpful to read and maybe jump started some conversation for you too.
In the very first post on courtship that I shared a couple of weeks ago, I stated that just because you do or don’t date doesn’t mean you love Jesus any less than those who do or don’t court. My aim has not been to draw lines in the sand and demand that we all do it the same way. What I want, what I’m after in these three post, is for us, the Church, to redeem the process of preparing for marriage. With recent court decisions and the way the political wind is blowing we must show that Christian marriage, and how it comes about, is sacred and holy. And that means we cannot do it the way the world does.
Here’s the thing: Whether it is a redeemed way of dating that rejects the casual shallowness of the world or a more structured courtship, we have been given freedom to shine Christ into a dark world that does not know Him or His ways. No matter which mode you use, the process should cause the world to pause and question. It should look starkly different from what they experience and practice.
We all should be starting at the same point. Our lives, everything we do, is to bring honor and glory to our King. Our first thought in the process of finding and taking a wife or husband is that we glorify Christ…that we seek His good pleasure and use godly wisdom in dealing with matters of the heart.
The building of a home has a common beginning…a strong structurally sound foundation. The layout, design and decorating of that home will not necessarily be the same as the one next door. I may not care for a particular floor plan in one house. Or I don’t like the design flow from one room to the next or the paint color in the kitchen. But if it isn’t my house it doesn’t matter whether I like it or not. I cannot insist that they move the front door over by six inches or use my favorite color of paint on the walls. There is no sin if their house just looks different from mine.
And there will be differences. Every family has a distinct culture that will shape the cultures that flow out of it. While there are some indisputable truths that should pass from generation to generation there is a lot that is just preference and “the way we’ve always done it.” We must be careful that we don’t judge one another based on those preferences but only take a stand when it contradicts those indisputable truths.
I say all of that because our hearts are prone to pride and self deceit. Our duty is to wage war against a world that says family doesn’t matter, that marriage is meaningless, that it doesn’t matter what we do with our bodies as long as we don’t hurt anyone else. The enemy sought to destroy the created order but Christ has come and through His death has put it back to rights. Our calling as His followers is to continue the now and not yet process of redeeming the culture.
I mentioned earlier that I would share a few resources that deal with dating and courtship. One of my favorite books on the subject is Her Hand in Marriage by Douglas Wilson. Several years ago Rob and Sarah read this together and we’ve all since reread it separately. This is a great book if you think that anyone who speaks of courtship automatically slams dating…Pastor Wilson doesn’t and it’s full of sound Biblical wisdom.
Another good read is Voddie Baucham’s What He Must Be…If He Wants to Marry My Daughter. This book is a good read whether you have a daughter and you want her to know what sort of young man to look for, or a son that you want to train up as a godly husband.
There is more that can and should be said on this topic. My prayer is that you will start the conversation in your world, with your family and your church…and that we would all enter the battle armed and ready to fight because family does matter, marriage does mean something, and what we do with our bodies is important.
Guarding Hearts Part One
Guarding Hearts Part Two