Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Part Two Getting Serious about Getting Married

One of the great failings of the "church" is the continual habit of taking a principle out of a passage of Scripture without the entire context of that passage. Ms. Maken uses I Corinthians 7 in defense of her position "that marriage is a good thing" while failing to include the whole context of the principle that is taught in the passage.
So before we can properly understand I Corinthians 7 a short Bible lesson. The chapter and verse numbers were added years after these books were written. I am not condemning the use of chapter and verses for finding a particular place in the book, rather we should be careful to make sure that just because verse one starts a new chapter, we know what the subject was in the last verse of the previous chapter.
In I Corinthians 6 Paul is rather harsh with the Corinthian believers. vs. 5 "I speak to your shame", vs. 8 "Nay, ye do wrong and defraud, and that your brethren." Then he reminds them who they were, in V's 9,10,11. He is trying to impress on the believers the importance of being different than they were before they accepted Christ. "Ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified," vs. 11 vs. 19 and 20 say "What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price, therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's."
And what were they supposed to avoid, what sin were they to resist, because it would make the members of Christ a harlot, vs 15? "The body is not for fornication," vs. 13 "Flee fornication" vs. 18. Without doing a long thesis on porneia, let's use the following definition. Sexual immorality of all kinds.
The faithful follower of Jesus Christ is to avoid sexual immorality. To flee it. Look at chapter 6 vs. 9, the sexually immoral will "not inherit the kingdom of God". He was emphatically telling them that sexual immorality was not compatible with the lifestyle of a believer. He is making it as plain as possible that the gratification of the sexual urges normal to mankind are not to be acted upon by a believer.
Then we can proceed to chapter 7, this is where Ms. Maken starts, she failed to give context to what Paul is saying in chapter 7. I'm going to sum it up in a few words, I quote from Paul, "To avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband,...if they cannot contain, let them marry, for it is better to marry than to burn."(with passion)that comment is from me.
So lets be clear, in God's plan, the solution for the sex drive built into humans, by God, is marriage. "Marriage is honorable in all and the bed undefiled." Heb. 13:4 If you have a normal sex drive, you are to satisfy that drive only in the marriage relationship. If you're using a hooker, pictures on the net and self-gratification, steamy romance novels, soap operas, heavy petting, what ever you are allowing to feed and/or quench that sex drive other than a marriage relationship is wrong.
BTW, I dare anyone to find a Biblical passage that says that God will stop your sex drive with prayer and fasting. I'm getting outside of a review of this book but this is one of my pet peeves. God's solution for sexual desire is marriage. You're having trouble with controlling your urges, find a marriage partner.
This is why Ms. Maken asked a guy on the first date what kind of eunuch he was? A somewhat rude and impertinent question I know, but the point was a valid one. What kind of normal man with a normal sex drive has remained chaste until he is 37? God's solution for a man with normal sexual urges is to find a wife. One can only assume that someone who had not had those kind of urges by the time he had reached the age of 37 must be a eunuch, right?
Now the problem is, that in our culture today, most of the men and women have long since succumbed to the urges and have been engaged in fornication, something that Paul and all other scripture expressly declares to be sinful.
If you have fallen into that sin, then the solution for a believer is to confess your sin, and find a marriage partner, now. Not when the bank balance is bigger, not when you are less stressed, not when a "10" comes along, now.
I think Ms. Maken makes a fine case in the following chapters that men who delay marriage are stealing from women, by delaying the commitment to marriage past the years when women are able to bear children. It is theft, because men want the female companionship, they date regularly, to often pushing for sexual activity, but refuse to commit to marriage out of selfish reasons tied to materialism and love of self. This is why several passages in Scripture talk about "the wife of your youth". Marriage is to be entered into by young people, woman of child bearing age, men who have the energy and stamina to deal with work, family, and serving the wife, while at the same time maintaining a Godly home. Too many men in our culture are only interested in themselves.

My greatest disagreement with anything in Ms. Maken's book is in the chapter titled, The Lack of Male Leadership. Now I hope I am able to articulate the problem I see in a clear fashion. I believe she reaches some correct conclusions, ie, The Lack of Leadership in the Home, and The Lack of Leadership in the Church. I believe that both of those things are probably true. Her mistake is a total lack of understanding of the destruction the feminist movement and no fault divorce have had on men. She also completely skips the facts concerning women and education. I simply do not have time or space here to argue all of these things. Suffice to say that in writing what she did, she shows a total lack of understanding about the current state of the male mind when it comes to marriage. In a culture where any normal man can be figuratively and literally raped by the courts in a no fault divorce. When women are unrepentant whores,.....

I'm going to insert a joke right here to illustrate the problem. A man walks up to the bar and sits down next to a beautiful woman, after a few minutes of small talk, he suddenly asks her if she would sleep with him for a million dollars. The women acts offended, but after a few seconds pass she whispers, yes. He then asks is she will sleep with him if he buys her supper. She slaps his face and says, "What kind of woman do you think I am?" He replies, "We have already established what you are, now we're just negotiating price!!"

When women are unrepentant whores, who use their bodies to catch a man, then deprive him of the marriage bed after she catches him. When it is possible that 50 percent of all marriages will end in a theft of a man's hard earned labor, depriving him of his home, financial stability and in most cases his children. It's no wonder that men are running in fear from women. And I might add even faster from educated women, since the evidence clearly shows that the higher the level of education a women has, the greater probability she will be divorced. In summary Ms. Maken does not understand the multitude of problems which are causing men to chose to remain unmarried.

Let me say again that I believe that she made an effective and clearly Biblical case that marriage is God's plan for the vast majority of men and women, she just misses the boat on why those marriages are not happening.
I find the remainder of the book useful. I personally rejected the dating scene during my single years, when I realized that it was not useful to the goal of finding a wife. I like her use of the Biblical account of Issac and Rebekah as a pattern for the concept of agency. Someone whose goal and desire is to help the single person find a Godly mate. If we as Christians believe that the family was ordained by God as His first and most important societal structure, and I do. Then the search for a proper life mate without the input of the family, and especially the God ordained leader of the family, the father, is destined to fail. And the evidence is that we are getting exactly that.

Overall I believe that Ms. Maken has written a useful book. While her complete lack of understanding of the problems leading to the current low levels of marriage in the church is rather obvious, a return to Biblical patterns and principles is always a good thing. I believe the solutions she suggests are clearly Biblical and worthy of our consideration.