We didn’t follow the Bible, and it didn’t work, so let’s try any alternative other than the Bible

My brother, Wulf, sent me this link.

My impression upon reading it was that it was a jumbled mess of both good and terrible points and advice. What especially got my attention was this:

Most of the moral arguments for courtship are actually arguments for arranged marriage. The arguments for the strong involvement of parents fit arranged marriage much better than they fit courtship.

I don’t see Arranged Marriage taking off in Western Culture.

We need a system to help young people make good decisions. Fortunately, we have one: Traditional Dating.

Traditional Dating fits our culture like a glove. Most of Americans already intuitively know how it works because it is part of who we are as a people. If you don’t know how it works, ask your grandparents and they will tell you of the glory days when men were free. Watch the twinkle in their eye when they tell you of a time when men and women could fall in love and pick their own spouses.

I’ve never read the author before, so I sent off a quick couple tweets to give him an opportunity to explain further.

If more develops of this conversation, I will add it. Meanwhile, lets look at both the good and the terrible in his article, starting with the good.

I’m not sure why Mr. Umstattd is laser focused on homeschoolers. Regardless, his point stands. Many fathers today discourage, rather than encourage, the timely marriage of their daughters.

Again, solid point. Free Northerner has covered this in excellent fashion here and here.

Next up, we have a couple mixed bags of advice:

Points 1-4 are decent advice, despite the patronizing tone of the preceding paragraph. But point 5 is a wrong as can be. Telling women to “let men down gently” only leads to ambiguity. Tell him “I’m not interested in you” in those exact words. He’s a man, he can take it. What’s more, he’ll (later) be grateful to you for not wasting his time with ambiguities.

Again, some of these points are common sense. The glaring exception is point 3. No need to next a girl simply because she submits to her father’s Biblical headship. Rather, find out if that is really what is going on, or if she is just taking Mr. Umstattd’s advice to “let you down gently.” Simply say “I don’t want to waste my time here. Are you interested if I get your father’s permission, or are you just trying to say no without actually saying it?”

The last thing I want to address from his article is this:

Umstattd’s point is that this “variety” of Biblical precedents justifies modern dating. Note first of all his insistence in using the word “romance” rather than the word “marriage.” This is a perfect illustration of what Dalrock was talking about here:

But, even if we replace the word “romance” with the more appropiate “marriage,” there is still an issue with Umstattd’s point: he’s wrong. The listed examples don’t show the variety of precedents he claims. The marriage of Boaz and Ruth was machinated by Naomi but was arranged between Boaz and a relative at the gate. The marriage of Jacob and Rachel was arranged between Jacob and Laban. The marriage of Isaac and Rebecca was arranged between Abraham and Issac on one hand, and Bethuel and Laban on the other, through the proxy of a servant. And David’s marriage to Mical (the only wife of David Umstattd listed that was not a widow) was arranged between Saul and David. These precedents do not give cover to modern dating, because, unlike modern dating, in every instance the marriage was arranged between the prospective husband and the male guardian of the woman, not between the man and woman themselves.

Which brings us around full circle to the arranged marriages that Umstattd admits are the Biblical model, and his claim that this somehow validates our dating culture because certainly no one would actually apply the Biblical model in the US. This is the typical position of the “Christian” who follows the religion of progressivism rather than the religion of Christ. It’s just another example of the “sure the Bible says that, but we know better than that now” attitude that is so pervasive today. They adopt the form of Christianity, but deny the power of the Word. From such men turn away. 

3 thoughts on “We didn’t follow the Bible, and it didn’t work, so let’s try any alternative other than the Bible

  1. I have several daughters. All of our children have been homeschooled. We have frowned on the traditional dating process and encouraged our children to follow a different path. Yesterday, while packing for a move, I ran across my oldest daughter’s diary from when she was 13 and was very surprised by the boy-centric focus of it. She hated the restrictions we had placed on her. She pursued young men behind our back and was a sucker for guys who had pretty eyes and were “soooooo cute!’ She seemed to have fairly high standards herself, and years later bemoaned the character of the young men in the homeschooling circles we ran in.
    In any case, she moved out on her own as soon as she came of age, as we were too “restrictive” for her. She met a young man at work, from a rough background, but nominally a Christian. A reformed “bad boy,” with a felony DUI conviction under his belt and aspirations to work with troubled inner-city kids. On a personal level, we liked the guy. But he wasn’t spiritually mature.

    Since my daughter didn’t like hearing our opinion about her relationships, she didn’t let on that it was getting serious. I found out when she invited me to lunch and announced that they were moving in together. That they had prayed about it and felt that it was OK. By the end of that lunch, I had convinced her otherwise. Two days later, I had lunch alone with the young man. I actually used the words, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to stop having sex with my daughter.” He asked for permission to marry her. I said that I would agree that they could marry in the spring if he would commit to meeting with me regularly so that I could help prepare him for that step and he agreed. Man, I could see the potential in this guy!

    Long story short, they couldn’t wait. Moved the wedding date up to a few months away. We withdrew our blessing (one of the hardest things I have ever had to do), they married anyway. Before their first year anniversary, they were divorced, both having committed adultery (revenge sex, no less). There was lots of conflict that I won’t go into, but her mother and I fought for the success of their marriage, even though we objected to it.

    My next daughter has fully trusted me with helping her to choose a husband. She just turned 16. I just received an email from a young man who requested permission to communicate with her via email outside of church. So I actually am in the midst on this whole process.

    As to the original article you mention, it is revealing that the author assumes that it is a “controlling” father who is at the heart of this. As if a young woman could not determine on her own that it’s in her best interest to have an older man whom she loves and trusts and has a vested interest in her happiness and success be a part of the decision-making process for one of the biggest decisions of her life. Thankfully, his advice to young men, if taken, will self-eliminate many who would not respect her, her family or her parents from the process.

    If it were me getting shot down by a bunch of dads as viable husband material for their daughters, I’d be asking WHY. I wouldn’t assume it was a problem with them first: I’d assume it was a problem with me.

  2. @ KingProphetPriest:

    If it were me getting shot down by a bunch of dads as viable husband material for their daughters, I’d be asking WHY. I wouldn’t assume it was a problem with them first: I’d assume it was a problem with me.

    True enough. Yet it is also true that many fathers have adopted a late-marriage model, and actively discourage their daughters from thinking about or pursuing marriage In other words, if the young man has been weighed in the balance and found wanting, that’s a problem with him, but if the father runs off all young men without bothering to weigh them, that’s a problem with the father.

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