August 30, 2007


In the previous post, I had left the impression that some on the Boundless site were making the same misapplication of Hosea as Debbie Maken. Ted Slater has taken me to task on my statement. It seems my memory was not correct and so I issue a retraction here. I probably had these posts in mind, and they make different applications of Hosea (although I still think they are out of context - Hosea's actions are actually an object lesson for the Israelites--like Ezekiel lying on his side, Ezekiel not mourning the death of his wife, etc.):



August 29, 2007


Thanks to my readers from pointing out this comment Debbie Maken added to her latest post at her blog:
Just an FYI, my husband and I both changed each other for the better. He was quite the metrosexual, well read, well schooled, geo-politically inclined businessman when I met him, and some of his bourgeois tendencies rubbed off on me. It was I who changed on the social adeptness front, and I am so glad everytime we go to the Naples Ritz Carlton for weekend trips and take all of our many luxury vacations. And yes, if I could recommend to women elsewhere to follow my path and land a wonderful Indian Christian like my husband, I would gladly do it. Because guess what, my husband because of Indianness (which you think is synonymous with socially awkward behaviour), is actually brilliant enough to make money in very creative ways, so that I can be a stay at home mom in one of the most expensive zip codes in the country. (Figured out yet why jobs are floating away to India???; there are some major clues in here for you-- grow up, quit blaming others, get a real education with real earning potential, have a vision for success that is outside of the box of what either the church sells you (in its excuse of mediocrity for false piety) or what Wall Street/government sells you, get married and have children, so that the population increases and so does trade). Just remember, there is going to be another name for the socially awkward boy-- "boss."

Marriage and achieving it isn't supposed to be a fairy tale. (Yet another faulty assumption, you intellectual buffoon). It is a serious venture for those who have the maturity and internal fortitude to weather its storm and labor to make the "sweet honey of life." My road may not be the one traveled by many in the West, but it is one that actually achieves marriage to an "equally yoked" partner. I tried your serendipitous fairy tale route, and it got me redneck wannabes, poor men justifying their professions with spirituality, men with legitimate degress that didn't want to succeed in real careers but flirt with serial temporary employment, men with serious debt and money mismangement issues, men who were well below the par. So, anon, men have changed greatly in the last forty years. But I am sure that the Feminists and their inroads into churches made them all such unaccountable, unanchored, socially boring, late blooming bachelors.
Weekend trips at the Naples Ritz Carlton?!!! Take note, my friends--I quote from the ESV (put out by Debbie Maken's publisher):
"Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world." (1 John 2:15-16) [emphasis mine]
It is astounding and sad. We have seen the fruit of the marriage mandate movement and it is truly disturbing. I have serious concerns about Mrs. Maken's spiritual condition and pray that she will get in a right relationship with God before it is too late. Albert Mohler, Boundless (and Focus on the Family), Crossway Books (and Good News Publishers), Tim Challies, Alex Chediak, and others who have endorsed Mrs. Maken need to rethink their position and reflect on how their endorsement may have a negative impact on their witness as Bible believers.


By the way, in the main post, Mrs. Maken mentions something about Hosea and Gomer, implying that men need to redeem women from their plight. I wonder if the marriage mandate movement would allow for men to (a) not take a wife because the culture is doomed (see Jeremiah) or (b) refuse to morn the passing of their wives if they should die (see Ezekiel). Anyway, for more on this point, see Puritan Calvinist's response to Mrs. Maken.

August 24, 2007

Response ... or Repetition?

Well, Debbie Maken finally gave her long-awaited response to Farmer Tom. The catch is that she covers no new ground in argumentation, but simply rehashes some talking points from her book and/or points I have already addressed in my review of her. To wit, she alleges:

1. Sexually irresponsible men is one of the main problems--if not the problem.
2. Women have no choice but to work because of men, and besides, men prefer it that way.
3. We should praise women for their accomplishments in traditionally male fields of endeavor, and such shouldn't intimidate men from pursuing women.
4. Divorce and feminism is not a problem that should keep men from pursuing marriage.
5. If women divorce men, there is usually an understandable reason for it.
6. When women go astray, we must hold men accountable for failing to provide leadership.

For the newer readers of my blog, I suggest that you read part 5 of my critique of Debbie Maken's book (if you have not already done so). It addresses the above assertions made by Mrs. Maken.

EDIT: Triton has fisked Maken's reply. Check it out.

August 21, 2007

The Positions on Marriage vs. Singleness

Below are the positions on marriage and singleness I have seen among Bible believers. I list them in order to show where I stand on the issues. The statements I placed in quotes for each position are not actual statements made by individuals, but they are meant to illustrate how each position could be expressed:

1. The Gift-of-Singleness Position

"You must remain single until you get some clear signal from God that you can marry. You might have to demonstrate in some self-sacrificing way that you are not too enthralled with matrimony before God allows you to enjoy it. You have no choice in the matter."

2. Conditional Celibacy Position

"You must remain single up until the point you fail to be chaste. Then you can marry. You have no choice in the matter."

[I have been accused of taking this position more than once because I believe 1 Cor. 7:9 was addressed to people already caught up in the sin of fornication. However, I do not believe that one has to show a failure to be chaste before they can marry. I merely believe 1 Cor 7:9 teaches that marriage is better than being caught up in sexual immorality.]

3. Marriage Mandate Position

"If you do not have the gift of a low or absent sex drive, then you must marry. You have no choice in the matter."

4. My position (the one I think is Biblical)

"If you have never been married or are scripturally loosed from a previous spouse you may marry. If you don't want to marry, that's fine as well. God basically gives you a choice in the matter" (1 Cor 7:27-28, 36-37).

August 17, 2007

Steve Watters' Misrepresentation

Over at the Boundless Line, Steve Watters wrote:

In a recent comment, "Justin" wrote, "If I don't want to get married until I'm 40, then that is between me and God. Not me and the congregation."

I think by this statement it's fair to say Justin's concept of marriage fits into a category researcher Paul Amato describes as "individualistic" ...

We believe at Boundless that God created marriage to be larger than us as individuals, larger than any one couple and larger than any children that couple has. That "institutional" view puts us at odds with the individualistic zeitgeist.

I wonder if those who are primarily motivated by an individualistic view of marriage realize how much that drive is at odds with sentiments like "marriage is a reflection of Christ and the church" or "for better or worse, for rich or poor, etc." Those ideas end up being like the terms and conditions we so quickly accept without reading as we download software or sign up for a new online service -- things that we know are probably important, but ultimately have little influence on our daily lives.

Let me get this straight: Because Justin affirms that the choice to marry at a later age is between him and God, and doesn't involve the congregation, he is taking a view that puts him at odds with sentiments like "marriage is a reflection of Christ and the church" or "for better or worse, for rich or poor, etc." I'm sorry, but Steve has clearly misrepresented the position of a poster and burned a useless straw man in the process. Justin's position is quite biblical inasmuch as there is no divine law setting timetables for marriage. In the light of such, some people should heed the Bible's admonition to not be "meddler" in people's affairs or unfair judge of their religious brethren (1 Peter 4:15; Romans 14:4).

August 14, 2007

Shrinking Churches and Single People

The Boundless Line blog has a post on the supposed relationship between single people and shrinking churches. Among other things, the post noted:
Dr. Wilcox explains that even while family formation is central to the life of a church, many churches are instead trying to fill empty pews by compromising Biblical positions on family.
I tried to respond with the following comment:
If churches are shrinking, is it really the problem of unmarried people, or is it the problem of complacent congregants and church-leaders who couldn't look beyond their comfort zones and heed the message of Luke 4:15-24? The last time I checked the wording of the Great Commission, it didn't say anything about having babies.
However, the website rejected my comments and informed me that I am not allowed to post.

August 9, 2007


At, Thabiti Anyabwile writes:
But biblically, it seems that mature adulthood is defined by marriage and parenthood. In other words, the Bible reserves adult status for those who leave mother and father and cleave to a spouse (Gen. 2:24). Until that time, young men and women are generally under the authority and protection of their parents — which brings us to another recommendation.
So the Apostle Paul had to live at home until he got married??!!!!

*Yours truly shakes his head and sighs*

August 4, 2007

In Case You Missed It (Another Marriage Mandate Brouhaha)

In case you missed it, there was post on about the "gift of Singleness." Here is a relevant quote from Ted Slater, the author of the piece:
God wants people married. I'm not a "marriage mandate" advocate by any means, but I do see how God expects people to marry. He's commanded it in Scripture (Genesis 1:27-28) and affirms it by putting into the vast majority of us the passionate desire to "know" (in a sexual sense) another person intimately. [emphasis original]
In the comments, Chizadek asked Ted the same question that came to my mind:
Ted, what's your understanding of the marriage mandate position? You say that those who burn with passion should marry, so I'm not sure what distinction you are making [about not being a "marriage mandate" advocate--A.N.]
Unfortunately, we have yet to get answer to that question.

In the comments that ensued, one fellow ("David") had the temerity to suggest that some at his church have found that marriage isn't all that it is cracked up to be and that the single life isn't so bad. The marriage mandate proponents predictably excoriated this poster for simply stating the obvious. Ted Slater went so far as to declare:
David -- thank you for writing.

I'm pretty distressed about your comment, frankly, that your pastor and the men in your church would have such a low view of marriage, and falsely ascribe that low view of marriage to Paul.

Paul, a single man, *highly* esteemed marriage. God has given us a gift in marriage, not a curse. I'm sorry so many around you feel it's a curse.

Consider leaving that church, if you are able to. Seriously. It sounds like a nightmare of heresy.
A nightmare of heresy? So those who don't find marriage to be "all that and a bag of chips" are now to be ranked with the Gnostics and Arians? Oh my.

But all was not lost. Wombatty and Adam (aka "Puritan Calvinist") stepped in to counter some of the faulty thinking. I, myself, was fortunate to have one comment published. I said this:


A few observations:

1. Genesis 1:27-28 is not a command for us today. Those who say otherwise must account for the following: (i) Similiar language in pronouncing blessings which contradicts any notion of imperative language (Gen. 1:21-22; Gen. 24:60); (ii) the context, which shows it was given to Adam and Eve ("and God said to THEM"); (iii) the connection with filling the earth and having dominion over it (which the Bible declares is a done deal: Gen. 9:19; Psalms 8:4-8); (iv) and as one person mentioned here, the fact that our Lord and Savior said some could "CHOOSE" to be "eunuchs" (Matt. 19:12).

2. 1 Cor. 7:9 - "if they cannot" is a misleading translation. The passage is better translated - "if they will not contain." Gordon Fee in his scholarly commentary on 1 Corinthians (which Debbie Maken cites, by the way) has the following to say:

"For many later Christians this has been the troubling verse. Paul is seen to be arguing in v. 8 for all singles to stay that way, then as making allowance for marriage for those who cannot remain continent, for it is better to be married than to be consumed with sexual passion. But it is doubtful whether Paul's point is quite so stark. In the first place, Paul does not say (as the NIV), 'if they cannot control themselves.' Rather he says, 'if they do not, or are not practicing continence (or exercising self-control).' The implication is that some of these people are doing the same as some of the married in vv. 1-7, practicing 'sexual immorality,' that is, probably also going to prostitutes. The antidote for such sin is to get married instead.

"With an explanatory 'for' Paul appends a reason: 'It is better to marry (or to be married) than to burn.' This final word is the difficult one. The usage is clearly metaphorical, but it could refer either to burning with desire or burning in judgment (cf. 3:15). Since both of these can be supported from Jewish sources, that evidence is not decisive. The question must finally be decided contextually, and by Paul's usage in 2 Cor. 11:29, which is almost certainly a metaphor for inner passion. Even though the larger context, including the warning in 6:9-10, could be argued to support the judgment metaphor, such an idea is missing from the immediate context altogether. It seems more likely, therefore, that Paul intended that those who are committing sexual sins should rather marry than be consumed by the passions of their sins.

"In this case, then, Paul is not so much offering marriage as the remedy for the sexual desire of 'enflamed youth,' which is the most common way of viewing the text, but as the proper alternative for those who are already consumed by that desire and are sinning." (Fee, 288-289)

I will also add that the Sexual Desire interpretation doesn't work for the simple fact the Paul speaks of the "burn" NEGATIVELY. Equating it with sexual desire means married people would have to stop wanting sex once they got married. Not a tenable position, to say the least.

3. Marriage mandate proponents often quote passages about marriage and children being a blessing and call into question whether or not others respect God's wisdom in that regard. However, this ignores Paul's statement that not all things that are lawful are expedient (1 Cor. 6:12). 1 Cor. 7:27-28 furnishes us with an approved apostolic example of turning down something that is a blessing in principal because of practical considerations ... and leaving that choice to the people involved. It's a principle that blows a hole a mile wide into any thinking that automatically translates God's "gifts" into a matter of duty.

I will also note that I do not see marriage mandate proponents chastising those who go on diets for refusing God's bountiful blessings of food and drink. Why? Aren't food and drink to be received with thanksgiving? But 1 Tim. 4:3 is only quoted against those who don't want to marry. Sheer inconsistency.

4. Marriage in principal may indeed be ordained of God, but so is the Church. Some marriage mandate proponents would have us condemn any admission that one's marriage is unhappy or that one wishes they were single. Any criticism of marriage in today's society is considered verboten. But a thing as it exists in this fallen world is not always the same as its ideal. Really, shall we time warp back to Luther's day and tell him that his criticism of the Catholic Church was wrong because he was insulting the bride of Christ? Marriage is indeed instituted by God, but the current configuration as it is seen in our Western society isn't.

[What answer did I get from the marriage mandate proponents? They kept on posting as if I had never even responded. Predictable, but sad.]