"When I was 16, I got a purity ring. And when I was 25, I took it off."

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Wayne Wilson's picture

She makes some excellent points.  There is a problem when we emphasize "reasons" for right conduct over simple obedience to God based on our love for him.  Sometimes those reasons are just sort of "made up" and handed out as though they were Scripture.  The "poem" she put on her wall was someone selling her a bill of goods. 

Alex Guggenheim's picture

"The Divine Genie Syndrome". It is an extension of errant concepts of how God works in his people today and how we are to make decisions with respect to our expectations of God and our responsibilities and freedoms.

God's providence is his business but we are taught to try and decipher it so we can "know" that this or that is what God wants. Instead, we should be teaching our young people that we are responsible for our lives and that responsibility entails making decisions based on principles but accounting for them, ourselves, to God.

You are responsible to develop your constitution which includes your personality, your mentality and your spirituality and then socialize with others as available. You are also going to have to make some degree of concessions with regard to decisions all the time and live with them according to Biblical principles.

Waiting for God to send the one he wants us to marry instead of understanding God has given us the responsibility to make that decision with the divine intent we use maximum Biblical principles removes a person from unnecessary and spiritually damaging experiences.

Is God providential? Yes, God is but it is not our call or responsibility to justify our actions based on our limited capacity to determine if, indeed, a circumstance is one of divine providence. Rather, we are to see all of our life as one of personal accountability to God and all events requiring the use of maximum Biblical principles in order to make good decisions. The Bible is rather clear on this.

It is good to read, though, not of cynicism stemming from failed expectations and then a bitter attitude, rather that she matured in her understanding of God's Word and is living with that more illuminated perspective.

Of course one of the standard works of the last 30 years, "Decision Making and the Will of God" by Garry Friesen is without reservation, in my view, a very good foundation for all Bible Teachers in approaching this topic so they do not pass on the errors which are revealed by the the writer of the post.

 

Lee's picture

Of all the areas the new generation whines about traditions superseding Scripture, the arena of girls and marriage is one where change is hard in coming, traditions abound, and Scripture is downplayed.  If you don't believe me try to quell the furor in your church when one of its favorite daughters decides to get married in a bright red dress.

Scripture communicates truth in at least 5 ways: by doctrine, by command, by principle, through precedent, and by illustration.  The methodology of finding a legit husband or wife is mostly communicated through precedent in Scripture, and there is precedent for just about every scenario, from falling in love to marriages of sheer convenience. 

Traditional Christian Americanism has the poor girl sitting by the phone (or, more likely, laptop) waiting for Mr. Right to call.  And she will certainly be labeled as some sort of strumpet if she goes on the prowl herself. 

Better to lose the sentimentality and false understanding of God's providence and for some of these girls to move away from their laptops and pull a Ruth on some of these guys.  Face it, most single guys are morons that are more concerned about getting wounded in relationships than most anything else and need a little nudge now and then. 

Why should advice be any different from guys to girls?  If the right thing to do is to be married, then do all that is Biblically correct in being the right person, and then locating the other right person, be ye male or female. 

Lee

dmyers's picture

Alex Guggenheim wrote:

Of course one of the standard works of the last 30 years, "Decision Making and the Will of God" by Garry Friesen is without reservation, in my view, a very good foundation for all Bible Teachers in approaching this topic so they do not pass on the errors which are revealed by the the writer of the post.

 

Good to see Friesen's book getting a plug here.  When it came out my alma mater panned it, and it was certainly contrary to the uniform teaching I had received from IBF and other sources regarding knowing the will of God for my life.  Nevertheless, the Biblical saturation of the book, together with the input of the ministerial student who recommended it to me, persuaded me that Friesen was right, forever changing the way I approached decision-making.  Unfortunately, I was never able to explain "the Way of Wisdom" adequately to my wife, who had likewise been taught all her life that God had a specific will for every decision, or at least every "significant" decision, which we were responsible to discern.  She reacted violently against the concept that we each could have married other Christians and still been in compliance with God's moral will (though of course, by virtue of having married each other, we had proven God's sovereign will in the matter).  Ironically (paradoxically?), this issue became a fissure, feeding her distrust of my spirituality and ultimately (in conjunction with other issues) leading her to hold me in such contempt that she divorced me without a Biblical basis -- which of course was contrary to His clearly revealed moral will.

All this to say, the authoress of the posted article is absolutely correct:  what we teach our young people about knowing "God's will" has very real consequences in the long run. And if we teach them badly, as was done so much in the past and is still being done in some circles today, we may well cause them to go astray and/or to doubt the God whose will we want them to follow.

JohnBrian's picture

Alex Guggenheim wrote:
Of course one of the standard works of the last 30 years, "Decision Making and the Will of God" by Garry Friesen is without reservation, in my view, a very good foundation for all Bible Teachers in approaching this topic so they do not pass on the errors which are revealed by the the writer of the post.

This may only be the 2nd time I have agreed with Alex on SI, so maybe I'm getting soft! Smile

My favorite college professor recommended this book and my entire college experience was worth just reading this book. I had been taught (but not by my parents) that we needed to find the one-school-one-wife-one-ministry-for- life so that we could be in God's PERFECT WILL. if we failed at finding that, we would have to settle for God's PERMISSIVE WILL, riding to glory in Coach while others rode in 1st Class. 

Before one graduates from college one is supposed to have enough wisdom to make the 1st perfect decision upon which all the other decisions depend;

OR

you could let your IFB pastor tell you what HE thought God's perfect will was for your life!

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Alex Guggenheim's picture

John

You can always say it this way:

"Alex agrees with me on a second occasion, he must be getting soft"

But then no one would believe you because I am, after all, never willing to concede.

I went to a seminar with Friesen as its speaker in the early nineties. Only fifteen or twenty were in the room so there was a lot of Q&A. He told us at that time in every circle of Christians which he was invited to speak presumably evangelical and fundamentalist this was a problem at that time.