Josh Harris Discontinues the Publication of ‘I Kissed Dating Goodbye’

Joshua Harris, I Kissed Dating Goodbye, Courtship, Dating

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Josh Harris, former senior pastor at Covenant Life Church – the flagship church of then Sovereign Grace Ministries church – has posted a statement  at his website (statement follows). After considerable thought has decided to cease publishing his very influential book, I Kissed Dating Goodbye. 

I Kissed Dating Goodbye became wildly popular in Christian communities. While, Josh Harris and his family were key influencers in the Christian Homeschool Movement, this book also crossed into mainline Christian circles and gained popularity.

Josh Harris was only 21 years old when he wrote the book. He had dated before, and it didn’t end well. Amazon reviews of the book showed a mixed bag of opinions. They reminded me of the herb, cilantro; people either loved it, or strongly disliked it. Some thought it was too legalistic and not Biblical. Others thought it was a good way to remain pure before marriage without the harmful effects of baggage from broken relationships.

I have to commend Josh Harris for reaching out to people and listening to their stories about how his book affected them. Not everyone was hurt by the book, but some were, and it is because of that, he has decided to stop publishing the book. I respect his choice.

For many years people have asked whether I still agree with my book I Kissed Dating Goodbye. In addition to this question, some readers have told me the book harmed them.

Two years ago I began a process of re-evaluating the book. This included inviting people to share their stories with me on my website, personal phone calls with readers, an in-depth study of issues surrounding my book overseen by one of my graduate school professors, and finally, creating a documentary film that captured the conversations with people who were reshaping my thinking.

For me, it’s been important for this process of reevaluation to engage other people and other voices. It has been drawn out because I did not want to be superficial in my response, and I have made it public because I think my reevaluation should be commensurate to the public reach of my book.

While I stand by my book’s call to sincerely love others, my thinking has changed significantly in the past twenty years. I no longer agree with its central idea that dating should be avoided. I now think dating can be a healthy part of a person developing relationally and learning the qualities that matter most in a partner. I recommend books like Boundaries in Dating by Dr. Henry Cloud and True Love Dates by Debra Fileta, which encourage healthy dating.

There are other weaknesses too: in an effort to set a high standard, the book emphasized practices (not dating, not kissing before marriage) and concepts (giving your heart away) that are not in the Bible. In trying to warn people of the potential pitfalls of dating, it instilled fear for some—fear of making mistakes or having their heart broken. The book also gave some the impression that a certain methodology of relationships would deliver a happy ever-after ending—a great marriage, a great sex life—even though this is not promised by scripture.

To those who read my book and were misdirected or unhelpfully influenced by it, I am sincerely sorry. I never intended to hurt you. I know this apology doesn’t change anything for you and it’s coming too late, but I want you to hear that I regret any way that my ideas restricted you, hurt you, or gave you a less-than-biblical view of yourself, your sexuality, your relationships, and God.

And to those of you who benefitted from my book, I am so grateful that something I wrote helped you. The fact that a flawed man could write a flawed book and somehow that could help some people is amazing to me. But, to borrow an analogy from the automotive industry, if a car serves some people but a flaw in its design causes damage to others, good intentions by the carmaker and even the endorsement of other customers don’t override the problem. I cannot recall all the copies of my book that have been published. However, my public critique in written and documentary form, and the numerous media interviews I’ve done in the past two years, are my attempt to both apologize and spread the word of about the problems I see in it.

In light of the flaws I now see in I Kissed Dating Goodbye, I think it’s best to discontinue its publication, as well other supplemental resources tied to it (this includes the two books I wrote after it whose content is similar). My publisher, whose encouragement in this process has been deeply meaningful to me, supports this decision and will not reprint the books after the current copies in their inventory are sold.

Whether you agree or disagree, I hope you’ll think for yourself and be compassionate toward those whose experience has been different than yours.

Thanks for reading. I wish you all the best on your journey.

— Josh

90 comments on “Josh Harris Discontinues the Publication of ‘I Kissed Dating Goodbye’

  1. My wife’s family bought into that book and I think it hurt our marriage early on – we thought was better to go from essentially zero physical contact and zero emotional attachment to the opposite on the wedding day. We weren’t really prepared for the physical and emotional issues that came up when our relationship was essentially rational and “transactional”.

    I’m thankful that he has recanted of his harmful naivety.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Mark, I know a few people who were also harmed by the book. I’m sure he meant well, but he also came from a Patriachical and legalistic upbringing.

    It’s interesting that it became a best seller considering he was so young. You’d think people would be more discerning.

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  3. You can’t discount his parents in why his book sold so well! Greg Harris was a BIG name in the 1980s and 1990s as homeschooling took off. He wrote books, spoke at conferences around the country, etc.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This whole idea (IKDG) sounds like lunacy to me and I’m really, really glad it missed me. I was afraid of risk/too serious as a teenager already.

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  5. It always reminded me of how homeschooling parents want their kids to repeat certain things. We really had no life experiences or choice not to say what our parents wanted us to say. Basically, everything we said was fake. The adults we knew had no idea what we REALLY thought. It is so stupid to read a book by an isolated brainwashed child and conclude he or she has all the answers.

    Is this one of C.J. Mahaney’s minions?

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  6. If I understand Harris’s thesis correctly, much of his impetus and reason for writing the book was to promote ‘sexual purity’.
    I’ll make a statement here that I’m sure will generate some push-back, but that’s okay too, we can agree to disagree agreeably:

    Nowhere, let me repeat that, NOWHERE does the Bible explicitly teach ‘sexual purity’.
    It’s a doctrine that’s derived from proof-texted bits and pieces, spun and re-spun.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. My problem with this “apology” is that he still hasn’t talked about what happened at Sovereign Grace while he was there. He was being mentored by CJ and then in leadership himself while some of the abuses were going on. It’s hard for me to believe he’s truely repentant about hurting people if he hasn’t addressed that issue. My thought is that he’s waiting for statute of limitations to be up before he addresses that mess.

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  8. Muff, depends on what is considered sexual purity.

    Harris took the now typical Evangelical viewpoint that hormone-driven boys and girls are unable to control themselves sexually, and thus there are three prescriptions that are given to counteract that. First, parent-driven courtship – the idea that especially the father of the girl ought to be the one who is most aware of the situation of the relationship, and often physically present (chaperone) to prevent the inevitable result of hormones. Second, no physical touch. Again, the idea that certain things lead inevitably to sex leads Harris to claim that the “Biblical” ideal is no contact before marriage. Same with emotions, and this is what I think hurt our relationship the most. Harris has this idea that any sort of emotional attachment during the courting process, and especially before engagement must be wrong. The idea here is that once there is an initial mutual attraction, the only thing that should prevent marriage is some sort of moral failure, and that emotional attachment would tend to blur the need to be decisive in the face of moral failure.

    Unfortunately, swinging the pendulum the opposite way because of fear of dating caused just as many problems. For example, couples who were intellectually compatible, but not physically or emotionally compatible. Or even worse, psychopathic men who knew all the ‘right’ answers.

    As far as “Biblical” sexual purity – I probably agree with much of Evangelicalism in terms of the limits, but I disagree when it comes to things like the “Billy Graham Rule” – I think like the pendulum swing, the church thinks that they can create sexual purity by separating the sexes, but I think it has the opposite effect. Interestingly, the most successful piece of abstinence-based sex education has been encouraging and promoting communication, and that has now been incorporated generally into sex ed. I think that the church-enforced separation of the sexes has led to poorer communication, which leads to more issues.

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  9. I fear this about rehabilitating his “brand”.
    He needs to come clean on the CLC child abuse scandal to be taken seriously.

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  10. Why does his apology remind me of Hitler’s in this fictional interview from heaven with Kurt Vonnegut:
    “Dr. Kevorkian has just unstrapped me from the gurney after yet another controlled near-death experience. I was lucky enough on this trip to interview none other than the late Adolf Hitler.
    I was gratified to learn that he now feels remorse for any actions of his, however indirectly, which might have had anything to do with the violent deaths suffered by thirty-five million people during World War II. He and his mistress Eva Braun, of course, were among those casualties, along with four million other Germans, six million Jews, eighteen million members of the Soviet Union, and so on.
    I paid my dues along with everybody else,” he said.
    It is his hope that a modest monument, possibly a stone cross, since he was a Christian, will be erected somewhere in his memory, possibly on the grounds of the United Nations headquarters in New York. It should be incised, he said, with his name and dates 1889-1945. Underneath should be a two-word sentence in German: “Entschuldigen Sie.”
    Roughly translated into English, this comes out, “I Beg Your Pardon,” or “Excuse Me.
    Kurt Vonnegut, God Bless You, Dr. Kevorkian

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  11. 2002 I was new in the church world and my church had a meeting for parents of teens. It was about installing this book as the new “Bible” for the youth group. I thought it was the stupidest thing ever. I walked out with a couple other parents.
    Dodged a bullet!

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  12. Didn’t he come into leadership at CLC after all this went down AND led the church out of the SGC non-denominational denomination?

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  13. Josh Harris stepped down from his position as senior pastor at CLC some few years ago as I recall, expressing in his resignation speech concern for those hurt by the actions of C.J. and others in relation to the terrible scandal in SGM. The last I heard of him, he was attending a seminary or Bible School, I think it was somewhere in Western Canada – Vancouver, B.C. perhaps? I was in the IKDG generation, although I never read the book myself, and it certainly influenced my peers’ concepts of how to go about getting married, and not in a beneficial way. There was a ridiculous amount of fuss made about insignificant matters, such as not kissing before one’s wedding day. But then, being an ATI apprenticeship student meant some of those ‘courtship’ practices were already being enforced – I always wondered if the Harris’s had been influenced by Gothard, or whether SGM and ATI simply had similar origins in a certain rigidly conservative mindset. I recall Josh’s younger brothers held youth conferences, called something like “Do great things”. By the time I heard about those conferences, I was becoming more doubtful of the whole conservative Christian youth empowerment movement of the late 90s, early 2000s. It seemed to have very shallow roots, and was beginning to burn itself out as the enthusiasm of youth was quenched in bitter life experience. I once heard part of an interview with Greg Harris, and as I listened to how the interviewer poured praise on Mr. Harris for his sons’ leadership and how Harris lapped it up, I was thinking, “Those young men are only starting out in life and have much to learn. They may well change their ways and their views by the time they reach middle age. It is too early to boast of what they have done.”

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  14. I applaud Harris’ step here; it is my prayer that more “fundagelical” leaders realize that some of what they say, socially speaking, really doesn’t arise as much from Scripture as from the traditions of men and pragmatism. I also know some couples who have suffered from a perversion of purity teaching–couples who woke up after their wedding night thinking “my dad is going to kill me” because the Biblical teaching on sex–wonderful in marriage, sinful otherwise–was not actually taught. Interestingly, some of these couples got married before 1997, so we cannot blame Josh Harris for that!

    Regarding Harris and the CLC scandal, he was a kid when the abuse was happening in the 1980s and 1990s, but he was on staff when the scandal broke in 2004. I would welcome it if he encouraged his former church to invite GRACE or someone else to go through their files to figure out what went wrong, why, and how to fix the problem.

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  15. Muff Potter, I’m with you on this. Don’t cheat, that’s terrible. But responsible and loving unmarried people aren’t hurting anyone, imo. And even if they weren’t, it wouldn’t be with kissing or ’emotional closeness’.

    I had a friend who is my age ask me about ‘soul ties’ and I was so shocked at her comment because I had not heard the term before. I told her any emotional ties I had in (this particular relationship) were mental, not physical.

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  16. Second, no physical touch. Again, the idea that certain things lead inevitably to sex leads Harris to claim that the “Biblical” ideal is no contact before marriage.

    Mark, this was not my experience as a young person. Men and teenage boys and girls for that matter are completely in control of themselves. If they choose to do things they would like to do with each other, it’s just that, a choice, but it springs from the mind. Boundaries are helpful, of course, if you wish to avoid a thing. But kissing does not inevitably lead to sex.

    Harris has this idea that any sort of emotional attachment during the courting process, and especially before engagement must be wrong.

    From what I’ve read from a lot of people who practiced ‘courting’ Harris’ approach did not even work at avoiding emotional attachments. Many said they formed an attachment and when the courtship broke up it was deeply felt. Because we are human. We cannot get rid of these emotions and just because you call it ‘courtship’ instead of ‘dating’ will not change who we are as people.

    I think keeping couples from dating others gives them no way to compare between terrible and good relationships. I know I appreciate the man I’m with now so much more for knowing the difference from my previous bad experiences.

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  17. “My publisher…supports this decision and will not reprint the books after the current copies in their inventory are sold.” Joshua Harris

    Oh yeah, keep selling those remaining copies that generate author royalties and publisher profits.

    Harris is willing to apologize and admit that his book was harmful to many people. A good start. But regarding the statement ” I cannot recall all the copies of my book that have been published”…

    It’s obvious he would never be able to eliminate old copies of his book that were published and sold into circulation. However, wouldn’t it be possible to arrange a business transaction with the publisher to return enough royalty funds to cover the costs of destroying the remaining, unsold copies of his book?

    It seems to me, that if he were really serious about the damage his book has done, he would make a personal financial sacrifice to make things right (i.e. not put this book into the hands of anyone else from this point forward).

    It’s like writing a cookbook with a harmful recipe in it that causes illness, and sometimes irreversible damage. Does the author just say “sorry my book hurt some people, and we’re discontinuing publishing this cookbook after the remaining copies in the warehouse have been sold”!!!!

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  18. A couple months ago, the following one-liner surfaced in an Internet Monk comment thread:

    “Evil seems to be the side most obsessed with Purity.”

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  19. Regarding pulling it from the market, I think the publisher is concerned about the “sunk costs” of printing more than about the damage to its reputation by keeping a book on the market whose author denounces its contents.

    I’d boycott Multnomah, his publisher, but sad to say, I’ve not seen a terrible lot coming out in the catalogs CBD sends me that I’m interested in getting.

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  20. Lea, “But responsible and loving unmarried people aren’t hurting anyone, imo.”

    I’ve definitely waffled a lot on this concept. I think as far as our government is concerned, there should only be legislation against “public” crimes – for which there is “harm” caused. I think we’ve long crossed the line where society bears no responsibility, for example, for a child born to an unmarried couple. Statistics are much higher that the unmarried couple will separate and the child, will need government services. Government safety net services is the guise under which a lot of laws are passed due to public financial interest. For example, if I don’t wear a seatbelt and I get severely injured in an accident, the government may eventually have to provide support… meaning that now the government is interested that I drive safely.

    For purposes of “sin”, though, the “harm” is between me and God, and there are definitely many things that should not be illegal that are sinful. For example, I don’t think that one’s religion should be a matter of law. There are weird corner-case things, like sex before marriage, like suicide or other self-harm where they are not 100% private – that is, they can have public impact through the safety net.

    While I hold a pretty conservative definition of “sin”, I don’t think that it’s okay for the church to obsess over private sins as a way of trying to force them to be public. (Especially when it is hypocritically picking and choosing what sins should be important based on what political party the person caught in sin is!). It seems that the church obsesses far more over private sins than public sins. Why is the church, for example, so much more obsessed with consensual gay sex than it is with domestic violence?

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  21. ““My publisher…supports this decision and will not reprint the books after the current copies in their inventory are sold.” Joshua Harris”

    Last I looked there were multiple copies of used IKDG books on the internet that could be purchased for basically a few dollars (mostly postage and handling). It has been that way for quite a while. Thus I doubt there are many new copies of Josh Harris’s books selling these days.

    The book was a fad that during the fad sold a lot of copies. Now there is a large surplus.

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  22. I should add that I have had a blog critiquing IKDG for quite a while. I had some email discussions with Josh Harris a long time ago in 2009. I am glad he is finally admitting some of the issues with IKDG. I had wished that Josh had been willing to at least admit say on his blog the problems with IKDG including those he observed at Covenant Life Church when he was pastor there:

    https://ikdg.wordpress.com/2008/04/30/what-problems-joshua-harris-acknowledged-about-how-singles-relate-at-his-church-but-doesn%E2%80%99t-share-on-his-website/

    This went back to 2008. Sadly a large block of Christian groups seemed to be so focused on IKDG being so much better than dating and weren’t even open to the idea that IKDG caused its own sets of problems. Had Josh Harris opened some discussion on his blog then maybe the changes we are finally seeing would have occurred much earlier.

    Also Josh Harris never really explained what he was “kissing goodbye:”

    https://ikdg.wordpress.com/2009/02/27/what-is-%E2%80%9Cdating%E2%80%9D-and-what-did-harris-supposedly-%E2%80%9Ckiss-goodbye%E2%80%9D/

    I will say that you really can’t blame it all on Josh Harris. Why was there so little questioning of the practice and almost blindly following? It was almost as if so many had been told how bad dating was (problems exaggerated) that even if IKDG had problems it was still better than going back to dating.

    Why did so many people almost blindly follow and adopt what worked for one person who had too much emphasis in his life with those of the opposite sex?

    My guess is that both confirmation bias and group think was going on with this.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Josh Harris’ apology may be sincere but it doesn’t sound sincere to me. It’s been 21 years since I read IKDG and several years since I read Boy Meets Girl so I may not recall all that Josh wrote accurately. In IKDG he wrote that he had dated casually and was mostly interested in the physical aspects of dating relationships, that he had unfairly treated girls that he dated and was sorry. In Boy Meets Girl he wrote about meeting his future wife. He describes a time when they were ‘courting’; it was something about her lying in a hammock wearing shorts and he had to keep himself from thinking wrong thoughts. Somewhere in BMG Josh relates the time his fiancé (now wife) told him she wasn’t a virgin.
    A couple of years ago I read that Josh Harris came forward with the fact that he was sexually abused as a child. If true then that may explain why at the age of 21 he felt the need to write a ‘courtship rule book’.
    Anyway I know IKDG was harmful because we belonged to a Gothardite church when it was published. The church pushed the book and courting. Years later we’re able to look back and see the lives courtship adversely affected. When our daughter was 14 we moved to Kenya. She finished high school there and a family from our former church sent her a copy of IKDG – probably because we had homeschooled her up to then and she was suddenly attending an international school. I guess the reason they sent the book was in case she was tempted to date!
    10 yrs later when she was engaged (ended in breakup) someone from that same church and family had the nerve to give her the harmful book Love and Respect by someone whose last name I can’t remember! I know Love and Respect has nothing to do with IKDG but it has done and still does harm to those who follow its teachings.

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  24. Why did so many people almost blindly follow and adopt what worked for one person who had too much emphasis in his life with those of the opposite sex?

    Did it even work for josh Harris? My understanding is he did date before coming to this ‘revelation’ so some of the benefits of dating he would have gotten already. But this is just my understand because I never read the book.

    Mark, not all relationships lead to children.

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  25. “Did it even work for josh Harris? My understanding is he did date before coming to this ‘revelation’ so some of the benefits of dating he would have gotten already. But this is just my understand because I never read the book.”

    We Josh Harris did date before he “kissed it goodbye.” One point that people have brought up is that Josh Harris did spend time dating and thus developed social skills with those of the opposite sex and then turned around and told people they shouldn’t date at all (so so his book was interpreted).

    One point that many who question “kissing dating goodbye” and one person who “regretted kising dating goodbye” is that he ended up a single man in his 30’s with limited social skills with the opposite sex. That is one problem that “kissing dating goodbye” has seemed to lead to where people don’t have social skills that they need. Also some may almost be born with these skills like Josh Harris was while others may not and with IKDG they lose the opportunity to develop them.

    My experience has been that where IKDG is promoted the single men and women more learn how to AVOID relating to those of the opposite sex vs. LEARNING HOW to relate. Sadly no one really has pointed out this issue.

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  26. “My experience has been that where IKDG is promoted the single men and women more learn how to AVOID relating to those of the opposite sex vs. LEARNING HOW to relate. Sadly no one really has pointed out this issue.”

    Steve – that is a good point and one that I have heard before. I’ve heard both young women and men say the book taught them a fear of the opposite sex. Any male/female relationship was put under the lens of IKDG, and so they had difficulty experiencing normal friendly relationships (with no strings attached). That’s too bad!

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  27. “Josh Harris’ apology may be sincere but it doesn’t sound sincere to me.”

    One other item you might find of interest is this TED talk that Josh Harris did:

    You might find interesting what Josh Harris struggled with in trying admit what he wrote was wrong.

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  28. Dear Cindy,

    Josh Harris’ apology may be sincere but it doesn’t sound sincere to me.

    I think I can understand that. I really want to believe that Harris is trying to mend and make things right, and I don’t want to assume the worst of him. At the same time, reading his statement, I couldn’t shake the feeling that was shifting the blame just a tad. Phrases like this caught my attention:

    “To those who read my book and were misdirected or unhelpfully influenced by it, I am sincerely sorry.”

    The wording here suggests that Harris thinks his book hurt people, rather than that he hurt them. I don’t want to over-analyze his words here, but it’s possible that Harris is still struggling to come to terms with just how harmful his words and actions were. The man has a long, long way to go yet.

    …the harmful book Love and Respect by someone whose last name I can’t remember!

    Ah, yes. “Love and Respect” by Emerson Eggerichs. Haven’t read it myself, but from the excerpts I’ve seen on Nate Sparks’ blog, I have no doubt that Eggerichs’ teachings have left scars on multiple spouses and marriages.

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  29. The book was a fad that during the fad sold a lot of copies. Now there is a large surplus.

    Isn’t the usual solution for that to unload them at list price during Christianese Celebrity Conferences? Buy or be Spewed out of Christ’s Mouth on J-Day?

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  30. My experience has been that where IKDG is promoted the single men and women more learn how to AVOID relating to those of the opposite sex vs. LEARNING HOW to relate.

    Which fits right in with Patriarch-Arranged Marriages as the only way to get any.
    Feature, not Bug.

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  31. It seems that the church obsesses far more over private sins than public sins. Why is the church, for example, so much more obsessed with consensual gay sex than it is with domestic violence?

    Simple.
    That’s the OTHER Guy’s SIN SIN SIN, not mine.

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  32. Lea, “Mark, not all relationships lead to children.”

    No, not saying that, and maybe this is my personality, but I don’t think it’s wise to take a course of action without being willing to accept the consequences. It’s not something I’ve had to consider in a long time because I’m out of the dating scene.

    I think I was too conservative growing up – thinking that it wasn’t wise to be in a dating relationship unless I was willing to take the relationship where it might go. I do believe in some sense there is wisdom, but I also think that two people can date and be upfront that they have pretty significant boundaries. That’s what I’ve objected to the most – there was just someone talking about this on the radio – a man who wanted advice. He had been dating for five years a woman he really loved, but then met someone online who was much better. My take on that is that he was stringing a girl along for five years because he was not honest about the relationship. She was someone he might settle for, but he was actively looking elsewhere. Where she, by being with him for five years was thinking he was THE ONE. So there was a complete lack of trust and respect.

    The teenage pregnancy epidemic was, in large part, due to a lack of thinking it through combined with the typical teenage invincibility complex. I agree that not all relationships lead to children, but I think that, with respect to dating, that there ought to be common sense that certain limits are in place to protect both parties. For example, the CDC reports male condoms have about an 18% effectiveness rate. (That is out of 100 women using that as their primary method, 18 will be pregnant within a given year) The pill is 9%, so if a couple is having sex, they ought to have talked through the scenarios.

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  33. SKIJ: The wording here suggests that Harris thinks his book hurt people, rather than that he hurt them.

    I think that’s a useful distinction, he probably does feel that way. I think to a certain extent it’s probably even true, people ran away with this idea it appears and no one should have been listening to this very, very young man who thought he knew it all. I’m not sure how much of this was him being essentially a mouthpiece for his father because I don’t know the dynamics firsthand. You would have thought that a bunch of adults who were pushing this as the only way to date/not-date would have known better and not pushed it but I think they benefited from it in that they found a way to further control young people and kids. It all added up to a big mess.

    But Josh has been grown for a long time and he certainly benefited from the book itself that harmed others and I don’t see him saying enough of that for my taste.

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  34. I don’t think it’s wise to take a course of action without being willing to accept the consequences.

    Yes, Mark, but I specifically indicated ‘responsible’ single adult couples. Responsible includes planning for the possibility of children, if that is a possibility.

    I think going from adults being together to children is a leap that kind of avoids the point I was trying to make, though. BC exists. Some people can’t have children. Etc.

    I think you are thinking of teenagers and young couples here. That’s not all couples. I was addressing the issue as a stand alone.

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  35. HUG, “Which fits right in with Patriarch-Arranged Marriages as the only way to get any.”

    This rings true – the church definitely did not encourage these sorts of things growing up. There were large youth group events, but they were typically very structured without a lot of down time. Smaller groups tended to be discouraged, and discussions were typically gender-segregated, so people didn’t get to interact much except for in large group activities.

    So, then there was this huge hurdle talking to a relatively unknown girl about dating or whatever, and many of the stories I heard coming out of the church were in the form of authority-led matchmaking. The pastor or pastor’s wife would serve as a go-between and ‘recommend’ people. Part of the problem was that we attended smaller churches within a relatively exclusive group, meaning that there was ONE girl my age at my church in high school. We were decent friends, but neither was interested in a relationship. So, the only time there were chances was at larger gatherings that happened 2-3 times a year.

    HUG, “Simple. That’s the OTHER Guy’s SIN SIN SIN, not mine.”

    I don’t think it’s so simple. For example, Ted Haggard was preaching strongly against homosexuality while in a gay relationship himself. I wonder if there is something profoundly evangelical about being more against sin when the parties are fully consenting vs. sin when one party is harming the other. That would definitely fit with what I’ve read of Piper – somehow he thinks that being in an abusive work situation is God working on some sin of ours, and that we ought to learn to find joy in the abuse rather than seek to change jobs. So, it’s not surprising that he believes the corollary – that a situation that is sinful, yet enjoyable, must be the worst thing ever.

    There seems to be something demonic about the first because it seems very widely held. Seems like we naturally find ourselves in either the stoic camp or the epicurean camp, and the church has chosen stoicism (and the hatred of epicureanism) over Christ.

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  36. For example, the CDC reports male condoms have about an 18% effectiveness rate. (That is out of 100 women using that as their primary method, 18 will be pregnant within a given year) The pill is 9%, so if a couple is having sex, they ought to have talked through the scenarios.

    Your numbers here seem off. that would be an 82% effectiveness rate for condoms and the thing I read said 98% if used properly. Antibiotics don’t react well with the pill and that hurts its effectiveness but it’s still pretty good. But, you know, having a hysterectomy, being in menopause, a vasectomy, etc, tend to make the chances of having children pretty unlikely 😉

    I think when I was kid we were scared to death about STDs, particularly HIV. But now I know a lot more than I did. Education is very helpful here.

    As for your other scenarios about a man dating and still looking on the side? You’re talking about people. They may very well have had an understanding but people aren’t always as represented. Married men cheat too. You can’t just say it’s because they had a sexual relationship that bad things happened. I was raised fairly conservative too, but I didn’t get married at a younger age, so I have a different perspective than you do I think.

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  37. Lea, https://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/contraception/unintendedpregnancy/pdf/Contraceptive_methods_508.pdf

    18% effectiveness rate is the incorrect wording – it would be 82%. However, I believe the difference is between “typical” use and “proper” use, as well as this being use for a year vs. single use. But, assuming 99% effectiveness per use, then there are approximately 20 uses in a year, on average, that are “risky”. (.99)^20 ~ 82%

    “You can’t just say it’s because they had a sexual relationship that bad things happened. Married men cheat too.”

    No, completely agree. I believe in the case I mentioned that a bad thing happened (a woman being strung along for five years) because the man had a significant lack of integrity. He presumably acted as if the relationship was worth keeping for five years, yet he was looking on the side. Even if no sex was involved.

    I used to think that marriage was just a covenantal wrapper that protected sex and procreation, but I think there is much more to it. That’s why complementarians get baffled when people ask about whether “marriage” is legitimate in cases where no sex or procreation was possible – and many end up at least suggesting that a sexless marriage is not a marriage.

    But, yes, there are many stupid relationship things that I could do that don’t involve sex that could destroy my marriage.

    re: ‘responsible’ – I wasn’t sure how extensive that responsibility was. I can still see a couple engaging in “safe sex”, having a condom manufacturing defect, and not being really prepared for the consequences of that. And that’s the limit of where I really want to take that part of the discussion – I do believe that the Bible is very negative towards sex outside the bounds of marriage, and my view of God has grown to understand that this isn’t just some archaic prohibition to a culture that didn’t understand safe sex, but that instead we have a loving God who is saying it’s harmful. I don’t mean harmful in the typical comp. talking point ways, like somehow sex before marriage is going to make women frigid or that men are just going to take advantage and run at the first hint of commitment. But… the other aspect of this is, is a ‘responsible’ adult couple in a monogamous sexual relationship really unmarried? Does it really take a marriage license and vows in front of a pastor and family to be married?

    But…. I think that taking the IKDG viewpoint that pharisaically drawing increasing bounds around relationships and calling them wise and Biblical, such as “no physical touch”, “parent-led”, “chaperones”, has caused great harm, not only to couples in relationships, but all male/female relationships, which are now assumed to be improper and leading to sex, causing things like the “Billy Graham Rule”.

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  38. I don’t see how there’s any getting around that the Bible says that sex is reserved only for married couples.

    I’m saying this as a single, life long celibate, adult who thinks the Christian church treats single adults like second-rate (or defective) citizens, and they treat celibacy like a joke or aberration (though many claim to respect it).

    The pro-Non-abstinent types I’ve seen online like to argue that the New Testament uses the word “porneia” (or whatever the word is) in the Greek, which they love to assume must not mean or include “two consenting, responsible adults” – but that is included.

    If you look over Old Testament expectations of sexuality and other verses in the NT pertaining to sexual activity, the Bible indicates that sex should be for a married couple only, otherwise NT Bible verses that talk about not defiling the marriage bed and marrying as one possible solution for those who ‘burn with lust’ would not be in the text.

    I’ve already decided in years past that if I become sexually active prior to marriage (something I am considering, if I meet a decent guy, and we end up in a committed relationship), I am going to acknowledge (by what the Bible teaches on the subject), I would in fact be committing a sexual sin (by having sex outside of marriage).

    I’m not going to try to dismiss it or gloss it over by saying,

    “Well, the Greek in one passage about sexual ethics is really super vague, it could just as easily refer to looking at dirty stuff on the internet, so it cannot possibly mean two consenting adults,” or,

    “Virginity- until- marriage is nothing but an oppressive- to- women patriarchal construct meant to keep straight who a Baby Daddy is; God himself really doesn’t care if women (or men) boink prior to marriage!,”

    -both of which tactics is how I see this argument phrased by anti- sexual purity Christians (and / or by liberal Christians) when the topic has come up on other sites.

    Our culture has a lot of problems with sex – and a lot of it is this cheap, spread it around, don’t worry or think about consequences (emotional or physical) type philosophy.

    If our culture once more erred on the side of supporting “wait until marriage” rather than this hedonistic ideal (of do whatever you want, nobody should judge anyone else’s behavior in this area, etc), I don’t see how anyone could argue that would be detrimental to culture.

    If culture went back to an expectation of singles refraining and a respect for celibacy, we’d probably have a decrease in women feeling used by men, teen girls wouldn’t feel pressured to engage in sex acts they don’t want to do, maybe STD rates and out- of- wedlock pregnancy rates would go down.

    Further, maybe teen boys would feel more comfortable not having to “score” with girls, if celibacy and virginity were more widely supported rather than mocked as they are.

    Based on what I’ve read in media coverage (which includes psychological explanations and reports) of those of those virgin, 20- year- old men who go about shooting up women or running them over with their cars, do so in part (among other reasons) precisely because they feel ashamed of being virgins at age 18, 20, etc, because our culture shames people who “aren’t doing it.”

    There is no longer any value placed upon being abstinent. There is no respect for people who refrain from being sexually active.

    Having sex is considered “the norm” and the “manly” thing to do (if one is a man), so if you’re not sexing it up (if you are a woman not having sex, you are considered frigid, cold, repressed – other derogatory things), you are shamed or ridiculed about on TV shows and online.

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  39. About ten years ago, I read a book by a man who got relationship questions from women – I think at one time he hosted a radio show about relationship problems or something(? – been a long time since I read the guy’s book), and at other times, I do remember that he said women friends would just confide in him with their dating and boyfriend problems and questions.

    He would re-print letters or e-mails or questions to him from women he had gotten through the years.

    (This is a secular relationship advice book, by the way, not a “Christian” one. I have no idea what the religious views of the male author is.)

    One recurrent theme I saw in the book – most of the women wanted a stable, healthy relationship with a caring male partner (most wanted marriage).

    -However, many of the women were into giving sex away to men prior to marriage, with some even having (what they even felt to be) sleazy hook-ups in bathrooms with the men they knew and with whom they were were hoping to develop into a steady relationship.

    Many of these women assume that the way to get a steady boyfriend (or a marriage proposal) is via sex.

    -Or, to put it another way, many of the women I read about in this book (and I’ve seen this from real life women friends over the course of my life), many women fear if they DON’T “put out,” that the men will dump them.

    So, they run about giving out sex acts to men in the hopes the guy will stay with them, even participating in sex acts they find degrading, humiliating, or physically painful.

    -And these are grown women in their 20s, and it’s consensual. (And from what I have read, these are NOT even Christian women who were raised in Christian sexual purity culture with any baggage that may come along with that.)

    What happens is these women (according to the relationship guru guy who wrote this book, who gets e-mails, etc, from women) is that in spite of giving these men all the tawdry sex they want, that the men dump these women anyway, or the marriage proposal never arrives, and/or the women end up feeling terrible about themselves.

    From what I recall, some of the advice this secular dating advice guy gives in the secular dating advice book is similar to what you may find in Christian material:
    If you’re a woman and you don’t want to put out, then do not put out.

    What the book conveys-
    If the guy you’re seeing is decent, and you turn down his request for a sex act, he will respect your boundaries and your wishes and will stay with you.
    If he’s a selfish horn dog who pressures you for sex, or acts pouty, when you will not put out, dump the loser.

    So occasionally, you will find secular writers echoing what Christian writers have to say about sexual behavior, sexual boundaries, and sexual ethics.

    What I find odd here is that people who often slam all of Christian sexual purity beliefs as being harmful will probably agree with the secular guy’s advice on this stuff, but will get infuriated when the same exact type of advice is given from a Christian author, or from a pro-sexual purity type of Christian.

    Published to the Christian Post site:
    _C.D.C. Findings: Virgin Teens Much Healthier Than Their Sexually Active Peers_
    – (from a 2016 study, I believe)

    I’ve seen a reverse, negative side to the “anti (religious) sexual purity” advocates, in which they are so resistant to defend adults (or teens) choosing to be abstinent, or even in defending the concepts of virginity / celibacy….

    (because they are tired of being policed by Sexual Purity Culture, or they tend to equate any (religious) teaching that includes boundaries on sexual behavior as being sexist),
    ….they do equal damage to people or to the subject matter but in the opposite direction.

    The anti- Sexual Purity side ends up playing a role in pressuring or shaming people into having sex they’d rather not be having, creating confusion in those people, or unfortunately defining healthy adulthood to mean, “you must have sex, and if you’re not, there is something defective about you,” etc. etc.

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  40. Regarding the Scriptures and sexual purity, part of this arises from some real ambiguity of how to use Strong’s 4202, porneia. Is it strictly the “selling” or prostitution, or should we, as did the ancient Jews and some Greeks, argue that it’s a keyword for all kinds of sexual immorality? I’m firmly convinced of the latter, but honesty compels me to admit this difficulty.

    The place this leaves us is that we need to go beyond the New Testament to see how the word was used, say to the Septuagint (Greek OT) and Jewish writings from the Diaspora, to really “nail down” how things were used–and we then need to appreciate that presumably a portion of the theological left won’t concede that point anyways. It’s tough, no easy prooftexts unless you concede the definition of Strong’s 4202.

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  41. Mark: I do believe that the Bible is very negative towards sex outside the bounds of marriage

    Eh. Are we talking old/new testament? Are we just talking about Paul here? Because how many concubines did Solomon have? We just did a lovely study on Song of Songs and there is a strong probability that that couple wasn’t married. There is actually a ton of non one male/one female married stuff in the bible. I don’t want to go down too much of a rabbit hole on that though. Just saying I’ve changed my mind on this stuff over the years.

    But… the other aspect of this is, is a ‘responsible’ adult couple in a monogamous sexual relationship really unmarried? Does it really take a marriage license and vows in front of a pastor and family to be married?

    Now I do think this is an interesting question, Mark, and I go back and forth. I don’t think marriage was terrible complicated in much of biblical time, maybe for the very rich but probably not for most. In modern times, a significant period of time cohabitating might result in a couple being considered married by the state for the purposes of property splits and so on.

    re: ‘responsible’ – I wasn’t sure how extensive that responsibility was. I can still see a couple engaging in “safe sex”, having a condom manufacturing defect, and not being really prepared for the consequences of that.

    You’re still stuck on the kids thing. Consider an older couple with no possibility of kids.

    I believe in the case I mentioned that a bad thing happened (a woman being strung along for five years) because the man had a significant lack of integrity.

    Yes. Regrettably, there are many people in relationships who lack integrity. I think teaching them to be good people is better then teaching them to ‘court’ or that marriage will magically make things work because you can’t get out of it. It doesn’t.

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  42. However, many of the women were into giving sex away to men prior to marriage

    Daisy, I have a lot of thoughts about your comments but I’m not sure how much I want to get into it, however I did want to address this. It’s not always about ‘giving sex away’. Women want sex too. I think this way of thinking about it is not healthy. If you are going to have sex with someone, it should be because you want to. Period. Not because of pressure from them, or pressure from society.

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  43. Lea, “Because how many concubines did Solomon have?”

    I had someone claim that polygamy was okay because Abraham and Jacob were polygamous and they were patriarchs – the very example of godliness. I think we have to read the OT more carefully because it is more historical and less commentary vs. the NT being more commentary and less historical.

    Jesus himself refers to Genesis when he talks about marriage, and he says the two become one flesh. It then becomes odd to talk about what happens when three or four are joined.

    Solomon had many wives and he had many concubines. Concubines were female sex slaves. If we simply justify everything Solomon did because he loved God, then we get into this weird place of trying to justify sex slaves, or we try to justify multiple wives and in the same breath condemn sex slavery.

    Genesis, for example, distinguishes between the godly line of Seth and the ungodly line of Cain. It is the line of Cain that invents polygamy, and it is Lamech – who proudly murdered two people who did it. By the time Abraham comes along, polygamy is pretty well established.

    Where we get into trouble in reading the OT is similar for all sorts of things. Just because something is dealt with in law doesn’t mean that God approves of it. The year of Jubilee was a requirement because Israelites would take advantage of each other and poor people would have to sell themselves into slavery. Then there were all sorts of laws about what happened if one slave married another slave and then he was able to buy his freedom or was set free (his wife and kids stayed behind and remained slaves!).

    So, yes, the OT allowed polygamy and faithful men in the OT had multiple wives, but that is not approval. In most instances, there were conflicts. For example, Leah and Rachel competed with each other for Jacob’s favor. Hannah’s co-wife taunted her to tears because she was barren. Solomon’s many wives led him to worship foreign gods. Even with the cultural acceptability, it still seemed there were many godly examples who remained monogamous.

    “Consider an older couple with no possibility of kids.”

    I did include that. What I’m saying is more that marriage is an exclusive, permanent relationship. While I think it’s wise for that relationship to be publicly acknowledged, I don’t think it is a Biblical requirement. For example, today, you can have two senior citizens. If the woman is widowed, she could be collecting her husband’s Social Security. So, if they are legally married, as a couple they would lose that income. If I were in that situation, I would seriously consider some sort of unofficial marriage. I regret that there are these circumstances where our government laws penalize couples for doing the right thing.

    “Women want sex too.”

    I think this is an important point. My experience is pretty limited, but it seems once I got married there was a world opened up of the prevalence of mismatched sex drives. And typically, it’s the man with the higher drive, but that is not always the case. I think the “men trade relationship for sex and women trade sex for relationship” saying is more along the lines of the love and respect complementarian teaching and we should get away from that.

    Interestingly, there has been an increase in sex tourism, and that has resulted in somewhat of an epidemic of STDs. Essentially, there are senior women who fly or sail off to foreign countries and hire male prostitutes.

    All this said, though, I think there is significance when Jesus says (quoting Genesis) that the two become one flesh. And Paul seems to be clarifying it to be around the act of sex by saying “Or do you not know that the one who joins himself to a prostitute is one body with her? For He says, “The two shall become one flesh.””

    Maybe not a proof, but the Catholic church has always granted marriage annulments around the failure to consummate.

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  44. I think we have to read the OT more carefully because it is more historical and less commentary vs. the NT being more commentary and less historical.

    I am not just talking about Solomon and I did not say that everything in the bible is ok. There are other examples that are celebrated. Song of Songs, as I mentioned, is an unmarried couple out in the field having a good time and that’s in there too. Ruth is pretty much a sex to marriage situation, with no negative consequences.

    It’s just too black and white to say only one way of being in a relationship is ‘biblical’. That’s why I asked if you are only making a NT reference.

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  45. Just related, but I think it’s interesting how people treat the OT vs. NT in general. The OT is there. We don’t follow all the rules, but how interesting that where sex is concerned, we treat the NT rules as more narrow, and where other things are concerned, the rules broaden.

    I think the “men trade relationship for sex and women trade sex for relationship” saying is more along the lines of the love and respect complementarian teaching and we should get away from that.

    Absolutely we should get away from that. There was also a FotF quote I saw the other day about microwaves and ovens that makes these massive distinctions between men and women and they really aren’t accurate. Many women warm more slowly to relationships than men. Many women want more sex. It’s very personal and we are doing people a disservice not telling them this.

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  46. Lea, “There are other examples that are celebrated. Song of Songs, as I mentioned, is an unmarried couple out in the field having a good time and that’s in there too. Ruth is pretty much a sex to marriage situation, with no negative consequences.”

    You say that SoS is “an unmarried couple”. I think it’s the same sort of cultural stereotype that would suggest that two people having a good time must be unmarried. I don’t think there is anything in the context that suggests they aren’t married. In fact, most commentators say that SoS is, as other Jewish prophetic literature, a juxtaposition of two things – the more immediate being the love between Solomon and one of his wives, and the more perfect being the love between Christians/the Church and Christ.

    Ruth is also very unclear. What she is doing is definitely a marriage proposal, which is glossed over by many/most Evangelical pastors because of similar cultural stereotyping (how dare the woman propose to the man), but I think this is the same sort of liberal criticism that says that David and Jonathan must have had a homosexual relationship because David said of Jonathan, “your love was greater than the love of many women”. It’s completely taking our modern understanding and culture and then applying it to the text, rather than the other way around, and interestingly, it’s the same sort of cultural garbage that the Evangelical church is teaching that then gets turned on its head.

    So, in the case of Ruth and Boaz. The Evangelicals say that closeness must inevitably lead to sex. Therefore, the liberal critics take that to the logical conclusion and say that because Ruth and Boaz loved each other and they slept next to each other that there MUST have been sex. Aren’t they just agreeing with the complementarian definitions here?

    And… Ruth and Boaz are a very intriguing insight into OT law. It doesn’t make sense on a number of levels. First, Ruth is a Moabite, and Moabites and their descendants to multiple generations are barred from the public worship. Second, Boaz is a “kinsman-redeemer”, thus their first male child, by law, would have been considered the son of Ruth’s first husband, to continue the line that was cut off with his death. Yet, neither of those things happened – Jesus’s heritage is through Boaz. So, that makes one wonder if those laws were really God’s perfect plan for the Israelites, or a concession to stiff-necked people bent on genocide and property inheritance.

    Same with Jonathan/David. Evangelicals have a very very difficult time separating the different kinds of love, so much so that more conservative churches put all sorts of pharisaical rules around men loving women and women loving men. Our church’s worship director has struggled through some similar issues as I have, and I think we could help each other through some of our present issues, but… the director is female and unmarried. So, even though my pastor wouldn’t have a problem with us meeting and I don’t think she would either, the Evangelical baggage says that we can only have an arms-length “professional” relationship, anything more personal might raise eyebrows. So, in the same way, liberals turn the Evangelical stupidity on its head and say that because Jonathan and David loved each other, it MUST have been sex.

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  47. Lea, “We don’t follow all the rules, but how interesting that where sex is concerned, we treat the NT rules as more narrow, and where other things are concerned, the rules broaden.”

    I think that in the OT culture, women are treated as sex toys and property, thus the OT laws could not narrow much how women were to be treated. In the NT culture, women are still treated poorly, but there is additional raising of women’s rights and lowering of male entitlement.

    So, for example, in the OT, women did not generally receive an inheritance, but there was a specific law that allowed daughters to receive an inheritance if there were no sons. In the OT, polygamy was allowed, but the husband could not give preferential treatment (food, sex, clothing) to the second wife at the expense of the first. In the NT, it’s a requirement of elders that they not be polygamous. Maybe that is a strong hint that an elder who thinks of women as sex slaves is not welcome in church leadership, and rather elders should treat women as sisters and men as brothers – equals, not inferiors.

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  48. You say that SoS is “an unmarried couple”. I think it’s the same sort of cultural stereotype that would suggest that two people having a good time must be unmarried.

    We just went over it in a class with a professor who is an expert on it, so no, that is not where I’m coming from. There are many interpretations, sure, but this seems most likely to me.

    Therefore, the liberal critics take that to the logical conclusion and say that because Ruth and Boaz loved each other and they slept next to each other that there MUST have been sex.

    Again, that is not where I’m coming from. The whole show up at night, ‘uncover’ his feet thing is apparently a euphemism. Also, come on. You have to work hard to make this not be at least a bold sexual move.

    I don’t personally think it’s the ‘liberals’ who are taking interpretative liberties here with these stories. Many people want to not see them as sexual because they don’t conform very well to strict conservative standards, but I don’t see those as the best interpretations.

    I’m not asking you to agree with me. I’m just making my point. At least take my motives at face value. You have a different background/mindset on this and that’s ok. I simply disagree.

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  49. I don’t think there is anything in the context that suggests they aren’t married.

    Regarding SoS, there 100% is. Go read it again.

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  50. Regarding establishing whether a couple is married or not, the actual distinction in many languages, including Hebrew and German, between the words for “woman” and “wife”, and between “man” and “husband”, is more or less possession–“my woman” word for word means “my wife”, more or less, and vice versa for the man. Since in Song of Songs, they obviously possess each other, they’re married.

    Regarding the idea that they’re just out in the fields having a good time, um, their friends are there, too. So you’d have to argue that they’re not just having a good time, but they’re also putting on quite the X rated show for their friends. Not.Very.Likely. What’s really going on is wedding songs, and the context is an old style Jewish wedding where the marriage is actually consummated under the chuppah, or canopy/tent.

    I’ll concede it’s a little more subtle than a sledgehammer prooftexting argument, but we’re not talking something about which serious theologians actually differ much.

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  51. Lea, point taken. I read some articles on both sides of both books and I don’t think it’s worth dragging the blog through a back-and-forth reiteration…

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  52. (part 1)
    Hello all. Haven’t read any posts since I was last on here.

    It’s getting late, and I need to turn in soon.

    Be aware that there are some real sexist Christian crackpots out there who really twist the Bible to support their disturbing agendas, like the people at the “Toad’s Hall” blog.

    Below, I will link you to one post of theirs (I read most of it).

    They seem to feel that anyone who disagrees with their views (especially any woman who identifies as Christian) is a “feminist.”

    I myself do not identify as feminist (for reasons I’ve explained on previous threads on this blog), but I disagree with Mr. Toad’s Hall blogger.

    The author (and many of his readers) have very regressive views of women. They don’t believe there is such as thing as pre-marital sex or fornication…

    They teach on their blog that “virgin women do not have agency” and must be under the rule (not just “authority”) of their fathers and later, their husbands. I’m not 100% clear if the blog author feels all this is applicable to Christian women in the USA in the year 2018, or he’s saying these were cultural truths in the days of the Old Testament.

    Quite frankly I find his views and his blog so repulsive, at this stage, I do not feel like reading more of his blog to arrive at a deeper conclusion.

    Anyway, Mr. Blog Author (and I’ve seen this view before from other self professing Christians) thinks that when a woman has sex with a man, that it is the sex act that constitutes marriage – not a marriage license or a marriage ceremony.

    Ergo, if you are a single gal and you are boinking your boyfriend, this dude would say that according to the Bible, you are married – your boyfriend is your husband.

    He (and his commentators) also make many other strange comments on their blog.

    I shall link you to one post and paste in some quotes here and there:
    (Warning: the following blog appears to be severely complementarian or hyper patriariarchal):
    _Fornication, Premarital Sex and the Easter Bunny_ – from “Toad’s Hall” blog.

    Do consider skimming some of this dude’s other bizarro posts on his blog (the links to these other posts are in a column on the right hand side of his blog), such as, but not limited to these barfy nuggets:

    “Feminism and Bible Translation”
    “Women’s Opinions On Submission and Discipline”

    Excerpts / quotes from that blog, from that post and others on that blog-

    From the 2016 post, “Fornication, Premarital Sex and the Easter Bunny”-

    This created a problem because there is no prohibition anywhere in the Bible that forbids what is now known as “premarital sex”. The reason is simple.

    When a virgin has sex for the first time, that is her marriage ceremony and with that act she’s married.

    Whether she knows it or not. If she has sex with any other man, that’s the crime of adultery. The reason there is no Biblical prohibition on “premarital sex” is because sex is how marriage begins. Sure, you can have a wedding celebration and exchange vows, but the marriage occurs when the couple has sex.

    …The reason is there is no prohibition anywhere in the [Old Testament] Law that says a man cannot have sex with any woman who is eligible to marry him. If a man (whether married or not) has sex with a virgin, he has consummated his marriage to her and that is not a sin.

    …The reason it’s not a sin is because the way God designed things, the man (any man) has the authority to initiate marriage to any woman he is eligible to marry at any time.

    However, this word “fornication” was part of a restructuring of the language and it reflects what the church taught about sex and marriage, not what the Bible teaches. The reason is the church usurped the man’s authority to initiate marriage and claimed there had to be a ceremony in order for there to be a marriage.

    That meant that sex prior to the Easter Bunny definition of marriage had to be classified as a sin called “premarital sex.”

    You will have to visit his blog post there to read his biblical “reasoning” as to how he arrives at some of those conclusions that he does. The post is quite long.

    (continued in part 2…)

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  53. (part 2)
    I’m wondering if this Toad blog is a pro-polygamy blog (judging by the photos at the top and so on)?

    Years ago, I used to moderate a Christian forum (with mostly mainstream, normal Christians), but at one juncture, we had a group of self-professing Christian men show up to argue that it was God’s design and intent for each man to be married to more than one wife at a time.

    These kooks really see what they want to see in the Bible.

    More clues as to what this guy believes: check out the blogs he follows under his Blog Roll on the right hand side of the page (just a sampling):

    -Women for Men
    -The Big D_ck Chronicles
    -Notes From a Red Pill Girl
    -Hawaiian libertarian
    -Vox Popoli
    -Alpha Game
    -The Rational Male
    -Donal Graeme
    -JudgyB_tch
    -The Honest Courtesan

    From Artisanal Toad’s blog’s “About” page:

    I am opposed to feminism, cultural Marxism, political correctness and the current war on men and boys.

    …I am opposed to idea that we need to get permission from the State to do that which we have the right to do, such as get married.

    … Specifically, I’m opposed to marriage licenses and any involvement by the State in marriage.

    5. Marry multiple wives and put them to work.

    There is not a “war on men and boys” going on.

    Anyhow, after seeing that and the rest of his blog, I’m grateful I walked away from most of the Christian faith and don’t feel obligated to listen to or go by what men like him claim the Bible says.

    I’m free to make my own choices in life.

    Some guy named “technovelist” left a comment on Artisanal Toad’s “About” page in the comment box that says (bold face by me):

    Would you mind if I copied the post
    ….(snip URL).. .
    to a relationship board I post on?

    It’s brilliant and I think it will stir up a storm of harpies.

    To which Artisanal Toad’s replied in part:

    Go for it, and just for giggles let me know where you post it. Might be amusing to watch.

    As a matter of fact, I was thinking of going back through Dalrock’s blog and pulling out some of my epic rants / fights and archiving them all here along with commentary.

    The most recent comments about marriage and adultery would probably do you more good in terms of stirring the pot if that’s what you’re after.
    …(snip URL)…
    Not that Harpies care much about the Bible, but there’s enough there to p_ss off just about everyone.

    Lovely.
    “Toad” and his sexist buddy “technovelist” refer to women (and maybe men?) who disagree with their views in the midst of a casual chit-chat on Toad’s blog as “harpies,” and apparently thir only motive is to offend women intentionally.

    If the men behind these comments are looking to add more sister wives to their harems, I do wonder how they think they will manage to do so by being off-putting and abrasive towards women?

    (There are only a small percentage of women who would put up with any of that attitude or behavior from men, and those are not women who are mentally healthy.)

    I know Mr. Toad and his friend live in some fantasy land where they imagine most to all women enjoy men who behave like sexist, rude, controlling, condescending ass clowns, but no, not so.

    (continued…)

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  54. (part 3)
    From a 2017 post on Toad’s Hall blog by the blog owner, Artisanal Toad, from a post called
    _“Women’s Opinions On Submission and Discipline” _

    ‘A Request For Women’s Opinions On Submission And Discipline’

    As regular readers here know, I’ve had several posts on hypergamy from a Biblical point of view [hypergamy = the action of marrying a person of a superior caste or class.].

    I have taken the unpopular position that hypergamy isn’t an evolutionary development in women, but is rather part of God’s judgment on women contained in Genesis 3:16.

    I’ve posted multiple times on this, The Reason Feminists Don’t Talk About Eve and more recently, Hypergamy and Genesis 3:16 A Man Must Be Fit To Rule.

    … Based on my understanding of what Genesis 3:16 says, I believe it’s incumbent upon a man to develop himself and become fit to rule because God said that a woman’s desire will be for a man who is fit to rule over her.

    Er, no.

    Where the Bible mentions in Genesis about God discussing men ruling women – that was a result of sin entering humanity, it was not God’s intent;
    God is saying that is a bad thing.

    But the dude at this Toad blog is behaving as though it’s a good or healthy thing, so that men who want to attract a submissive little doormat for a wife should start practicing acting all tough and decisive (and take Toad’s other dating tips), etc.

    Mr. Artisanal Toad is basically saying on his blog that the Bible is supporting
    _Codependency for Women – which is it not_.

    Oh, I assume Toad may also be into wife spanking (based on other content on his blog), a topic which Julie Anne blogged about before?
    (Sorry it’s late, I don’t feel like reading post after post on this Toad guy’s blog to find out). Another quote from his blog:

    Specific to physical discipline, in You Need To Be Spanked I made the point that Women are attracted to dominance and men are attracted to submission.

    Attraction is the coin of the realm and as a rule, a woman chooses to submit to a man based on her attraction to him.

    The willing submission to physical discipline is the ultimate expression of both dominance and submission. All other things being equal, if he has what it takes, she will choose to submit herself to that. If he does not, she will not willingly do so.

    Really, the only men who are attracted to this are men with abusive / controlling natures, who don’t want a healthy relationship with a woman;
    the only woman who claim they want this sort of marriage are women who have come from an abusive background (they don’t know what a healthy relationship even is),
    codependent women,
    and/or women who have been indoctrinated by Christians into adopting this sexist biblical interpretation, who think it is “godly” etc

    The dude at that Toad blog totally misunderstands the Bible regarding men, women, marriage, and other topics.

    He has a completely incorrect and skewed lens though which he’s reading the Bible.

    (He invites women readers to go “argue” with some other guy named “Cybersith1” on some other thread at that blog – I can tell you as an ex-complementarian that would be a waste of time, these guys are so thoroughly brainwashed you cannot argue them out of their positions.
    They’re using the Bible for their own ends, cherry picking it and distorting it, to favor their personal preferences and hobby horses.)

    More from that post (this clown actually is suggesting that women like to be treated like doormats, that they are turned off by “beta” males, so if your honey ain’t puttin’ out enough, you need to domineer her even more):

    Even though his argument is incoherent (is he advocating beating them into submission?), it’s a common theme amongst a certain flavor of churchians.

    They can’t understand why women find them unattractive, they claim women should be attracted to them because they’re “godly men” and then they get upset when it doesn’t happen.

    And the ones who managed to get married get really upset when their wife won’t submit to them, which usually means “have sex with him”. As a rule she doesn’t want to because she finds his “servant leadership” and “mutual submission” repulsive. Castrated males are simply repulsive.

    The author stops short, I guess, of recommending that men beat their wives into submission, but he definitely seems to be plugging the idea that men should behave in a controlling, emotionally abusive manner – which no woman wants or finds attractive.

    Sorry, but most women want a man in-bewteen: most women don’t want an “alpha” (domineering) or a “beta” (doormat) man, just a guy with healthy self esteem who won’t control her or be a doormat to her or to others.

    Anyway.
    So you have some Christians who teach that there is no such thing as fornication at all, there is no such thing as pre-marital sex, because, (in their view), having sex with another person is supposedly the marital bond (not standing in front of a preacher and saying “I do.”)

    Very warped perspective…

    A marriage is just more than sex or having sex. There are some marriages that are sexless, where one or both partner lose an interest in sex for whatever the reason – physical health problems, job stress, whatever. Guys like this boil marriage down to the sex act and to male rule of women, very disgusting perspective.

    Mr. Toad also seems to argue that if a woman is raped, she is married to her rapist. (There is an OT passage that discusses that principle, but I don’t think that sort of thing is applicable past Israel in the ANE culture in which it was set.)

    As C C James has written (I hope I am recalling this right),
    ‘patriarchy is the backdrop of the Bible but it’s not God’s plan’
    (that would include all the stuff that Mr. Toad appeals to – like victims marrying their rapist, etc).

    I personally do not define or understand marriage to be constituted when a couple has sex with one another nor do I think the Bible is teaching that view, either. But Mr Toad wants it to be true so he can run about presenting himself as a “believers” and offering (flimsy) justification why it’s okay for him to have multiple sex partners.

    Emergent Christian author Tony Jones did the same, or similar – he wrote some wacko book years ago appealing to Bible verses to explain that God was really okay with him, Jones, committing adultery and having sex outside of marriage and dumping his original wife, because his second wife (his mistress who he later married, via ceremony) was his “spiritual wife,” or what not.

    These men, such as Jones and Artisanal Toad, will always distort and twist the Bible to support their warped, selfish, and sinful desires.

    Like

  55. (part 4)
    On the last, most recent post on that same blog (published Dec 2017), entitled _“Feminism and Bible Translation”_, is a big graphic atop the page that says “Feminism Is Cancer.”

    To the dude at that blog: I’m not even a feminist, and I find most of your content sexist and wacko.

    Here are excerpts from that page:

    …The post about Status had a good example of an issue that drives feminists crazy.

    A virgin has no agency. She is married to any eligible man who takes her virginity, whether she consents to marriage or not (Genesis 2:24).

    She may be forced into a marriage she does not desire and does not consent to by her father, as a free woman, or she may be denied marriage by her father (1st Corinthians 7:36-38).

    She may be sold into permanent slavery by her father to be the concubine of a free man (a slave-wife) or the wife of another slave (Exodus 21:7-11).

    She may be raped into marriage, against her will and over her objections (Deuteronomy 22:28-29).

    She may voluntarily enter into a marriage without her father’s knowledge and in the day he hears of it, he may allow it, or he may annul the marriage if he so desires (Exodus 22:16-17).

    Feminist churchians can’t tolerate what God’s Word actually says (or doesn’t say) so they constantly work to redefine words and change the meaning of things to fit their agenda.

    …The issue here is one of authority and that is exactly the reason feminists hate this passage. The text refers to “the virgin” and the man making the decisions about “the virgin” and her marriage must have the authority to make such a decision.

    Who has authority over “the virgin”? Only the father (before a betrothal) or the betrothed husband after the vows are made. There can be no-one else with authority over her.

    It should also be noted (again) that the virgin has no agency, her consent to the marriage is not required and her father has the authority to give her to the man he chooses.

    Contrary to modern ideas about betrothal and marriage, the virgin did not have the authority to “break off the engagement” after her father and her husband agreed to the betrothal any more than she had the authority to divorce her husband after he married her.

    Hmm. I’m an honest- to- God virgin over the age of 45, no p_nis has ever been in my v_gina, so going by this dude’s blog, that should mean I am not “married” to anyone.

    (I don’t share his understanding of what marriage is, though, anyway. Even had I been sexually active with any man, I would not be married to that man in any sense, biblically, or legally, or otherwise.)

    (My father does not have “authority” over me, either. Please, stop treating grown women as though they are children.)

    Remember, the blog guy claims if you are a woman and have had sex with a man that means you are married to that man – this Mr. Toad dude does not believe there is such as thing as fornication or pre-marital sex.

    I’m an American in the year 2018, and my male family members, male or female, do not have a legal, ethical, biblical, or moral right to make decisions for me, or to force me into relationships with men I do not want to hold.

    As a matter of fact, in the 21st century United States, forcing girls / women into marriages they do not want to enter into can land a father into jail. Example:

    _Father who had pregnant daughter marry her rapist sentenced_ – June 2018

    ST. ANTHONY, Idaho — An Idaho man will spend about four months in jail for taking his pregnant 14-year-old daughter to Missouri and having her marry a 24-year-old family friend who had raped her.

    The father pleaded guilty to injury to a child last week, and a judge put him behind bars for 120 days and ordered three years of supervised probation, the Idaho State Journal reported.

    Contrary to what Artisanal Toad believes, I do in fact have agency, as do other women.

    As I said above, this guy, Artisanal Toad, is recommending codependency for women – as though God wants women to be codependent, but through-out the Bible, God warns everyone (men and women, married or single, whatever culture) to refrain from engaging in codependent relationship behaviors.

    Outside of mutual submission in Ephesians 5.21 (“21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”), unmarried / virgin women are under nobody’s authority and are not called to submit to anyone
    – the Bible says that the only authority and priest for any woman (married, single, celibate or sexually active) is Jesus of Nazareth.

    But “Artisanal Toad” is trying to argue that a woman’s (even a virgin or single woman) is under a human male’s authority, which is a view the New Testament repudiates, not supports.

    Thank goodness I no longer buy into 99.9% of Christianity and all the kook-i-fied, sexist garbage that some peddle under its name.

    I’d be careful about arguing that having sex before marriage (outside of a ceremony of some kind or legal contract, or some other way of humans being able to recognize what your relationship status is) is not a sin, because if you do so,

    ….you’re basically in agreement with hyper-patriarchal nut-jobs like the guy on that Toad blog who says when you have consensual sex (or are raped?) that you are automatically married in God’s eyes to whomever that man is.

    Like

  56. Because of the sexual abuse and how perverted my father and grandfather were, as a young teen I was always analyzing all things sex. I was always asking my self why would she have sex with him? Why would she marry him? Why would any woman that cared about her child have a baby with him? Why is she so desperate and stupid? Shouldn’t she care enough about her little girl not to want her to have to grow up in the same house with a man like that?

    I noticed that none Christian men were more confident and cool towards women, women’s bodies, and sex. Christian men always acted like angry fourteen-year-old boys, pretending they know things they don’t, and pretending what they want to be true about women and sex is true. None Christian guys did not act hysterical if they saw a girl in a bikini.

    By sixteen I always asked my self. Is he worth sex? Is he worth marriage? Is he worth having a child with? And those questions explained so much about the men in my culture. No, they are not worth it. And that is why they have it rigged so women don’t have a choice.

    It became obvious to me looking over at my secular cousins and their boyfriends. Those are the men that are legitimately wanted and these men in my life are not. My mother and me had to be brainwashed to marry them. How embarrassing for them.

    I do not believe most women in my family has ever had sex with a man who loved and respected them or cared what they wanted or how they felt. Because they were having cruel only men matter Christian sex.

    As someone who was born and raised in hyper-conservative comp homeschool Christianity, I have known since I was twelve years old that Christian sex is extremely heartless and evil towards the woman. I knew at twelve that if I ever did have sex it would only be good with a none Christian man.

    Christians assertion that Christian sex is best and good is so selfish and an ignorant lie. Christian sex ruined my childhood and the beginning of my life. I think it is important for any good Christians to know the truth about what some of the crap they peddle does to some little girls.

    Growing up in hyper-conservative comp homeschool this is disturbing but this is what I thought about sex and was thinking even before the age of ten.

    Sex is only good for the man if it hurts the woman. If it doesn’t hurt her he feels insecure about his penis size and his manpower and he thinks she is a slut. These views about sex made my childhood miserable; especially considering I knew I had to get married and be f*cked against my will. Still to this day as an asexual atheist I consider Christian sex to be hateful and cruel towards the woman. In conservative Christianity, the woman is ALWAYS supposed to have physically and emotionally miserable sex. And I decided this at sixteen and still feel this way today; I would rather die than have Christian sex.

    As a survivor of a comp childhood I know bad sex is not worth having, a bad marriage is not worth having, a bad man is not worth having. Of course, men like my father and the child rapist I had the misfortune of knowing would preach otherwise.

    Most Christians have NO business telling other people what kind of sex to have and not have. I have been sexually used by a Bible-quoting, church-going, misogynistic Christian man and the two words torture and hell does not convey the miserable psychological feelings it brings. But, I feel so lucky that I have never been married because of what I was taught about Christian marriage.

    From what I have always seen Christians want women having a lot of sex that makes them feel miserable physically and emotionally. And no sex that makes them feel good physically and emotionally. These Christians also adore the idea of a man being able to beat and sexually assault his wife and her not be able to divorce him.

    Like

  57. Here in my deep south little town, the message to boys is still the same as it was when I was a kid.

    If he is a virgin on his eighteenth birthday it is because he is a fagot and not a real man.

    If he is a virgin on his wedding night it is because he is a fagot and not manly.

    If he has never had sex with anyone but his wife he is a weirdo fagot and has never had a real man’s life.

    My sister went fishing with our cousin a few months ago and he called every guy at the gas station before you get to the lake a fagot. At least our town has learned to stop saying the stupid N-word.

    None of the girls or women I know would ever marry a virgin man. They would say he knows he is going to be bad in the bedroom and he is hiding something icky.

    If a guy wants to marry a virgin it is considered either creepy or suspicious. Why? Does he not want her to know he is bad in the bedroom? If she has had sex with other guys she will know he is bad at it and they were better.

    And half of us are still creeped out by Al-Qaeda wanting to have sex with seventy virgins. If a guy wants to have sex with a virgin it is suspicious, a turn-off, and very creepy.

    I have always wondered how all these guys were going to have all this sex if all the girls needed to be virgins and they could not have gay sex.

    I have been p*ssed with Hollywood since I was thirteen for them trying to bully underage teens to have sex before they want to. I find it really creepy how Hollywood wants to promote underage sex and send the message that if you are a virgin on your eighteenth birthday you are a weirdo and should be an outcast.

    Since Hollywood wants to be pro LGBT they can be pro asexual rights also. There needs to be a TV show about someone who doesn’t have a sex drive and is supported about it.

    There are asexual couples who are in loving relationships but do not have sex.

    Pressuring people to have sex against their will is sexually abusive. And they should not be mocked or condemned if they chose not to have sex. It is really no one else’s business.

    Like

  58. “An Idaho man will spend about four months in jail for taking his pregnant 14-year-old daughter to Missouri and having her marry a 24-year-old family friend who had raped her.

    The father pleaded guilty to injury to a child last week, and a judge put him behind bars for 120 days and ordered three years of supervised probation, the Idaho State Journal reported.”

    This is a misogynistic ruling. The father and the child rapist should both go to prison for the rest of their lives.

    Of course, my sexually disturbed great grandmother thought girls should marry their rapist. Some pervert people just idolize rapist and want to root for them.

    Like

  59. @ Daisy,

    “Emergent c’hristian(?) author Tony Jones did the same, or similar – he wrote some wacko book years ago appealing to Bible verses to explain that god was really okay with him, Jones, committing adultery and having sex outside of marriage and dumping his original wife, because his second wife (his mistress who he later married, via ceremony) was his “spiritual wife” or whatever.”

    Oh, say it isn’t so Daisy! Another “preacher man” using the Name of the LORD our God’s Name is vain for personal glory, money and fame”…….plus a myriad of excuses to “spiritualize” his sins…..and writing and selling a book to boot about his “spiritual escapades?”

    Would rather pull milkweeds out of my bean fields (which actually results in blistered and bloody hands) than read, listen, or follow a wolf in sheep’s clothing such as this little man (?) Jones.

    Wow, and his jesus would be so “proud” of him. Bleh! Bleh! and more “Bleh!” I’m expressing myself in the truest form of a “non-harpie.” 🙂 Some of these pseudo-religious wing-nuts disguised as followers of Jesus Christ (the One of the Bible) need to go out and get real jobs and utilize, stretch and strengthen their critical thinking skills and quit blaming the “feminists” for all of their own moral failings.

    And to date, I still have not heard, read, nor discovered a clear concise definition to the word “feminist.”

    Thank-you Daisy, for all of your research! It is good to know what the pseudo-c’hristian folks are a peddlin’ out there………modern day snake oil!

    Like

  60. I’d be careful about arguing that having sex before marriage (outside of a ceremony of some kind or legal contract, or some other way of humans being able to recognize what your relationship status is) is not a sin, because if you do so, ….you’re basically in agreement with hyper-patriarchal nut-jobs like the guy on that Toad blog who says when you have consensual sex (or are raped?) that you are automatically married in God’s eyes to whomever that man is.

    No. That’s not it. I don’t ask anyone to agree with me, but this is nonsense. I don’t know who that crazy guy is but I feel confident that I agree with nothing he say.

    Like

  61. I once was denounced by name on Artisanal Toad because I used Scripture to defend the premiss that a man did not have the right to beat his wife. I’m kinda proud of that. :^)

    Notice as well that his blog has been pretty silent for nearly a year. Either he got bored of it, or perhaps arrested, as some of the things he’s advocated as a bitter ex-husband do violate the law. At least I can say I warned him.

    Like

  62. I’m a bit late to this discussion but I’ll go ahead and chime in.

    I was in my late 30’s when IKDG was published, so I wasn’t as directly affected as younger Christians. Still, the book muddied the waters for those of us who were single at the time and are still single today as I am. As others have pointed out, it has also contributed to the continued marginalization of singles in the evangelical church. In my opinion the book also set a precedent for books advocating the viewpoint that Christians had an obligation to marry unless they had a specific call and gifting for celibacy. The most famous, and dreadful, of these books was Debbie Maken’s Getting Serious About Getting Married.

    I’m grateful Joshua Harris has apologized, although I don’t believe he goes far enough. His apology is a first step. I’m also grateful IKDG is being withdrawn from publication. Harris isn’t responsible for those who elevated the principles of his book to the equivalent of holy writ in their respective churches and denominations, but he should have recognized sooner rather than later the damage that was being done. I’d also like to see Harris come clean about what he knew, and when he knew it, regarding the Sovereign Grace Ministries child sex abuse cover-up scandal.

    Liked by 1 person

  63. @Mark:

    Evangelical baggage says that we can only have an arms-length “professional” relationship, anything more personal might raise eyebrows. So, in the same way, liberals turn the Evangelical stupidity on its head and say that because Jonathan and David loved each other, it MUST have been sex.

    Communism Begets Objectivism — Total Opposites on the surface, Identical beneath, and Equally, Fanatically X-Treme.

    Like

  64. Lea said,

    No. That’s not it. I don’t ask anyone to agree with me, but this is nonsense. I don’t know who that crazy guy is but I feel confident that I agree with nothing he say.

    Granted, I’ve not read every post in this thread since every time I’ve visited this blog and then left, but from what I last saw, you were debating the position that the Bible does not forbid pre-marital sex or classify it as a sin.

    (The Bible, from what I can tell, does put limitations on sexual behavior for both men and women, one of them being it should be reserved for marriage.)

    Both you and that Toad guy are arguing that the Bible does not condemn pre-marital sex / consider it sin, though I would take it you disagree with that guy on different grounds and/or due to different motivations.

    Mr. Toad of the Toad blog is saying there’s no such thing as pre-marital sex, so he is arguing that the Bible does not argue against it, since there is supposedly no such thing.

    His motivation to argue that way appears to be he wants to claim to be a Christian, but he also believes in polygamy, and he wants people to think him marrying more than one woman at a time (or wanting to do so) is perfectly fine and “biblical.”

    It’s like with other types of Christians on other topics.

    Take complementarians, for example.
    Often times, their views about women and marriage sound about identical to Mormons or to Muslims – yet these same Christians will say that Christianity is different from other world religions (this is supposed to be one selling feature of the Christian faith).

    However, some complementarians believe that all women in the after-life (not just here on earth) will be subordinate to men in the after-life, which sounds very much like what Mormon believe.

    Some Muslims are into Sharia and what all, where women are not allowed out in public, unless a male relative accompanies them.
    There are honor killings of female Muslims fornicators / adulterers, etc-
    -and I sometimes see beliefs or shades of those type of gender stereotyped beliefs in Christian complementarians.

    I’ve said more than once on this blog, (and the other one), that once a Christian’s religious / moral views starting sounding similar to that of other religious groups or teachings,
    (or begin sounding like that of fringe Christian element groups that believe some far-out stuff),
    you may want to really re-examine those beliefs / moral stances and be absolutely dang sure that they’re accurate and the right thing.

    Toad Blog guy would agree with you that pre-marital sex is not sinful, but he would say if you are having consensual sex with your boyfriend (or have in the past), that you are already married to the boyfriend (no certificate or ceremony needed, is his view – having sex makes you “married’ to another person, is what he argues).

    Like

  65. Katy said,

    Oh, say it isn’t so Daisy! Another “preacher man” using the Name of the LORD our God’s Name is vain for personal glory, money and fame”…….plus a myriad of excuses to “spiritualize” his sins…..and writing and selling a book to boot about his “spiritual escapades?”

    …Some of these pseudo-religious wing-nuts disguised as followers of Jesus Christ (the One of the Bible) need to go out and get real jobs and utilize, stretch and strengthen their critical thinking skills and quit blaming the “feminists” for all of their own moral failings.

    My memory is hazy on all of the Tony Jones story.
    Many of the spiritual abuse blogs were covering his situation about three years ago.

    I found some blogs that discussed it, if you’d like more details:

    From Phoenix Preacher blog:
    _How To Dump Your Wife and Keep Your “Ministry”_

    From Weighted Glory blog:
    _I Now Pronounce You Man and Spiritual Wife_

    Snippet:

    This is old news to some, but around 7 years ago, emergent church leader Tony Jones had a dirty, nasty, filthy affair with the woman who would become his second wife, Courtney Perry.

    Only he didn’t. At least, not according to him and his friend, Doug Pagitt, the latter having called Tony’s then-wife, Julie McMahon, and said, “Julie, this is Doug. You and Tony’s marriage is just words on a piece of paper. You may be the legal wife but Tony has a spiritual wife now.”

    I am pretty sure that Jones at one time even had an electronic book on this topic.

    I think he wrote a book defending and explaining this view that God is okay with men having “spiritual” wives, but he later removed it(?).

    As for Josh Harris and his preference for courting vs. dating, I don’t know if either dating or courtship would make a difference in a Tony Jones type of marital situation.

    I do think that in some cases, abusive or perverse men do give off warning signs (red flags) in the dating / courtship process, but sometimes they do not.

    I’ve read plenty of stories in books and on blogs over my life by Christian women (and sometimes Non-Christian women) who say their husband seemed perfectly nice and loving until after the marriage.

    Some of these women say the abuse or controlling behavior happened on the very day of the marriage, after the ceremony and they were alone.

    Some women have said that the abuse and/or nastiness from their husband didn’t begin until X number of months or years into the marriage, and prior to the marriage, they had no clue what their husband-to-be was really like.

    Like

  66. Bike Bubba said

    I once was denounced by name on Artisanal Toad because I used Scripture to defend the premiss that a man did not have the right to beat his wife. I’m kinda proud of that. :^)

    Notice as well that his blog has been pretty silent for nearly a year. Either he got bored of it, or perhaps arrested, as some of the things he’s advocated as a bitter ex-husband do violate the law. At least I can say I warned him.

    Oh wow, you tried to talk to the guy? I am kind of impressed.

    I had the patience to only visit about three or four posts on his blog, then I had to give up.

    As I said up thread, I am an ex-complementarian, and I believe that it’s useless to try to dialogue with people such as this. It also tends to be very frustrating.

    Being sexist is one of this guy’s dogmas. Like, if he could re-write the Bible, he would add an eleventh commandment to the list of ten that Moses brought down the mountain, and it would have sub-points, such as:

    Toad’s Command #11,
    Thou shall be sexist against women,
    point 11.b. A man should and can control his wife.
    point 11.c. A man should and can be married to more than one woman at once
    –(etc)–

    Guys like that are too deep into their belief set, which tends to be motivated by selfishness….

    And, they are stuck in interpreting the Bible in a very particular way (a very flat, hyper literal way where they will cherry pick, proof text, ignore verses that contradict their hobby horse, ignore cultural context of a passage they are quoting, etc).

    These types of people have to under-go a paradigm shift, one probably brought about by a very painful life experience, that will cause them to question all their previous views and ways of approaching the Bible.

    I’ve not usually seen guys like this debated out of, or argued out of, their views.

    The Toad blog guy seems rather misogynistic to me, and what’s worse, IMO, he tries to use God to back up his misogyny. He thinks (or wants to think) that the God of the Bible supports his sexist views of women and marriage.

    He can’t just be sexist (which is already bad), but he’s a True Believer and a Fanatic about it, one who thinks God has his back. (If God is sexist, all of us should be.)

    “Hey, I can treat you as a sub-human, as lesser-than, and like a doormat, because it’s biblical, it’s what God wants! Observe as I mis-interpret or mis-apply Bible isolated verses to “prove” this to you.”
    -that is about 99% of that dude’s blog and his reasoning (and dudes like him). I’ve seen it before.

    Like

  67. singleman said,

    I was in my late 30’s when IKDG was published, so I wasn’t as directly affected as younger Christians.

    Still, the book muddied the waters for those of us who were single at the time and are still single today as I am.

    As others have pointed out, it has also contributed to the continued marginalization of singles in the evangelical church.

    In my opinion the book also set a precedent for books advocating the viewpoint that Christians had an obligation to marry unless they had a specific call and gifting for celibacy.

    The most famous, and dreadful, of these books was Debbie Maken’s Getting Serious About Getting Married.

    IKDG came out in 1997, according to one site. I was already out of college by that point.

    I’ve not read the IKDG book, but I’ve read many reviews and commentary about it, so I feel I have a good idea of what it’s about.

    Even though his book was not around prior to ’97, ideas it contains were already present in the 1980s. I would hear similar views on dating from other Christian sources when I was a teen.

    I’ve not read the Maken book, but I read about it several years ago, so I’ve got an idea about that one.

    Based on my recollections of reviews, blurbs, etc, I’ve read of the Maken book, she does put (IMO, rightfully) some responsibility on churches for declining marriage rates among marriage-minded singles (because churches put obstacles in the way of singles who’d like to marry and don’t help singles to get married),
    but, she, IMO of her book, also went too far by sort of blaming singles for being single.

    I am so sick of churches/ Christians who blame singles for being single. (Sometimes secular authors play this game too – they write dating advice books for single women who’d like to marry that the reason you’re still single is you are dumb, fat, ugly, or have 85 other character flaws.)

    Maken especially got ageist in her book, or in interviews marketing the book – I remember reading a blurb somewhere where she gets pretty cruel-

    I think she mentions a 45 or 46 year old single man in her book who wanted marriage but is still single…
    She then got into some kind of discussion that such as man is “too old” to deserve a wife, (she assumes) he was probably goofing off in his twenties when he “should have” been treating getting married like job hunting or applying for big colleges (working hard for it, dating every woman on the planet)-

    She was very cruel, sort of mocking the guy, from what I remember.

    Her attitude (from what I recall) was like, ‘screw him, it’s his fault, he didn’t get married “in time” so he deserves his life of loneliness and no companionship.’

    I’d have to re-read reviews and articles about her book to refresh my memory. From what I remember, some of her points I agreed with, but with others, no.

    Like

  68. singleman said,

    In my opinion the book also set a precedent for books advocating the viewpoint that Christians had an obligation to marry unless they had a specific call and gifting for celibacy.

    Most Christians are incredibly ignorant about adult virginity and adult celibacy (and singleness).

    There are plenty of adult singles, such as myself, who have a Libido, and we wanted to get married, but it just never happened (we’re single by circumstance).

    God did not “call me” (or singles such as myself) to permanent singleness, nor did God “gift” me (or those like me) with celibacy.

    -Those are really obnoxious, insulting, and infuriating assumptions, but many Christians bring them up all the time.

    There are a small number of never-married Christians I’ve met online who are genuinely happy to be single, they never wanted to marry, and they are sexually abstinent,
    and a smaller number I’ve run into who are in that group believe God designed them to be single / celibate (and they’re okay with it all the time), but they are in the itty- bitty minority.

    Most single adults would like to meet and marry Mr./Ms. Right, have that sort of companionship, be having regular sex with a spouse, etc.

    It grates on my last nerve when most Christians lump in the
    “single- by- circumstance- not- by- choice” singles in with the
    “those who are THRILLED at all times with singleness and feel God “called” them to it!” types.

    I suspect that part of the problem is that like with many subjects in life, many Christians do not want to admit that their faith does not work.
    Or, it does not work the way they assume it should, or it does not work the way they teach it should.

    When I was a teen (as a Baptist kid), I heard all the time from Christian preachers, Christian books, etc, that if I just followed Steps 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6, that God would send me a husband.

    I followed all that Christian advice from my youth to my adulthood, and I also went by my understanding of what the Bible teaches, and I find myself still single past 45.

    Obviously, Christian teachings, biblical promises, etc, do not work.
    Or, they don’t work as advertised.
    Or, they work for only some people, but not for all.

    -But do 99% of Christians want to admit to any of that?

    Nope, because it dredges up doubts, that their faith may be bogus, maybe the Bible is not so reliable and doesn’t have all answers for everything after all, or, maybe the atheists are right and there is no God.

    A lot of that would help explain why some singles are single in spite of wanting to marry and in spite of trusting God for a spouse, praying, attending and serving in churches, reading the Bible, trying dating sites, and going to singles classes at churches, etc etc.

    When you start mentioning any of that in front of Christians, though, most of them love to go into Victim-Blaming mode and explain if you’re single in spite of trusting God for a spouse for over two decades, why, you must have been praying wrong, not praying with right motive, you must be lacking some quality God requires, you are being too picky in man selection, etc.

    Christians have a million reasons to blame you for still being single.
    Some try to soften it by saying, “God must have called you to singleness and gifted you with celibacy!”

    As if that sort of rhetoric softens the situation for singles who get tired of being single at times (it does not, it actually makes me feel worse).

    And don’t get me started on the vapid, dippy Christian platitudes on singleness:
    “The LORD will be your husband!” and
    “Jesus is your boyfriend.”

    Like

  69. HUG said

    This Toad guy sounds like he is NOT thinking with the head above his belt, and Captain Bonerhelmet keeps screaming “I WANNA!”

    I had always wanted to be married, but then I see sexist clowns like those with super wacko views about marriage and women, and they make life long singleness look so much better by comparison.

    (I at first accidentally typed your screen name in this post as “JUG,” btw.
    Had to go back and fix that typeo.) 🙂

    Like

  70. Daisy quoted “The LORD will be your husband.”

    I have heard this phrase from a number of women on the charismatic/Pentecostal fringe of religion and thought to meself, “What a bizarre concept in the land of c’hristianity.” These phrases are used by the super psycho spiritual to elevate themselves to lofty spiritual platitudes that the rest of us lower laity sheep could never achieve….and I was told by a number of these women “you are still a baby Christian.”

    Baby Christian……..what in the world is a “baby Christian” pray tell…….never read that one in our Holy Scriptures……..guess I better go out and get some baby bottles and stitch up a few more baby blankets for the long winter…….and peruse the streets for a lord to have as “my husband,” or perhaps a “cool boyfriend!”

    The “c’hristianese speech” of the visible c’hurch system is quite humorous at times, in its description of those who choose Jesus (the One of the Bible) at their first and foremost authority in all things.

    Regarding Josh Harris…..one of the woman deacons/church board leader/controlling and manipulative woman at my former abusive Baptist c’hurch system approached me one Sunday following the morning service and brought up the topic of “courtship” (her daughters proudly wore their “purity rings” (I’m understanding that those rings hold super natural power in protecting the wearers against anything sexual) ). I wasn’t familiar with the “courtship concept” what-so-ever, and she brought up Josh Harris’ book, highly recommending that I read it so that I may bring up my children to be as “spiritual and holy” (perfect) as hers. She communicated to me that we should, in collusion, set up her oldest daughter with one of my sons and “do the courtship” thing with our children. Red flags were a wavin’ everywhere……in my heart, in my gut, and the critical thinking skills exploding in me brain were screamin’ “No, no, NO WAY!”

    So I did math/research via the internet concerning the plugs Harris was promoting and prayed about what the LORD would have me/our family do concerning our children and their “dating methods.” I am so incredibly thankful for many of the discerning folks out there who are courageous enough to speak the truth concerning the fads of the “evangelical industrial complex” with the right heart, and without shame.

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  71. Both you and that Toad guy are arguing that the Bible does not condemn pre-marital sex / consider it sin

    Mr. Toad of the Toad blog is saying there’s no such thing as pre-marital sex

    So, we are arguing completely different things? Which is exactly what I said. I’m not digging any further into the rantings of a crazy misogynist to draw other lines. Don’t lump me in with him, unless that lump is ‘people I, Daisy, disagree with in some way’.

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  72. Daisy quoted “The LORD will be your husband.”

    Katy: I have heard this phrase from a number of women on the charismatic/Pentecostal fringe of religion and thought to meself, “What a bizarre concept in the land of c’hristianity.”

    I think that’s insanely creepy. I do not want to think about God or Jesus or whoever being my ‘husband’.

    She communicated to me that we should, in collusion, set up her oldest daughter with one of my sons and “do the courtship” thing with our children.

    You know, in addition to the other oddities of ‘courtship’ (which thankfully you saw through and didn’t push on your own kids) is how involved the parents are the in sex lives of the kids. I don’t remember ever wanting my parents to pick out a SO for me! Sure, they know you well, but how could they know him well enough, really?

    That’s the dumb loop of ‘not dating’ where Josh gets off base. Dating is a process of getting to know someone, as a romantic partner (where they act differently than a friend generally) and seeing if you suit each other. You don’t make that process better and more effective by skipping it.

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  73. Daisy, even the complementarians (of which I am one) don’t want Toad. He’s more or less on the fringe of “bitter ex husbands”, and from what I’ve read–from him and not from his ex-wife–I’ve come to the conclusion that he is, sadly, a deserving bitter ex-husband. I do not say that lightly.

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  74. Daisy (and others who may be interested), here is an article Debbie Maken posted at Focus on the Family’s Boundless website in January 2006. It gives you a pretty good summary of what her book was about. It also illustrates her interpretation of I Corinthians 7, faulted by several biblical scholars, as well as her very low opinion of men.

    https://www.boundless.org/adulthood/rethinking-the-gift-of-singleness/?fbclid=IwAR1s5HdAzttpcYz_jFCVzZxE9ppSSWjpt5WkvoqDyh48MPJN5_7MF8W_ekQ

    Maken took down her blog and faded from the spotlight several years after her book was published. Today she serves as a member of the Florida Federal Judicial Nominating Commission, a commission charged with identifying and recommending potential candidates for the federal bench to Florida’s U.S. senators. Were I a Florida lawyer seeking a nomination as a federal judge, I’m not sure I’d want her vetting me.

    Like

  75. Lea,

    I completely agree with you via your 6:49 AM post. Yes, as parents, we do know our children well and pray for their well being in this life, however, as individuals, there has to be an attraction to that person of the opposite sex in the first place. This “woman of religious importance” subscribes to the Old Testament view of relationship desiring to rule over her children in a so called “godly” way, but in reality, she chooses to “be the lord” instead of letting go and allowing Jesus to fully be the LORD over all things.

    When c’hurch folks follow the Old Testament view of our LORD, instead of following our LORD Jesus Christ under His New Covenant, things can get pretty warped and ugly in a hurry…….I know, for I am wedded to a “complementarian” and there is absolutely nothing “complementary” about it. Another “warping/harping” of our Holy Scriptures.

    Like

  76. singleman, thank you for sharing that article! Digging in!

    “Perhaps it’s time to ask whether singleness in general — specifically protracted singleness (apart from “celibate service”) — has much historical or biblical legitimacy.”

    So if you don’t find anyone to marry you, what are you supposed to do then?

    The marriage mandate was considered universal in its application

    Nonsense. There have always been ‘lifelong bachelors’ and ‘unmarried aunts’. After WWI, many women remained single simply because so many men were deceased.

    Even Scripture five times hearkens to the phrase “wife/bridegroom of your youth,” not your middle ages

    LOL.

    Men were kept on a tight leash in these earlier systems.

    When people write stuff like this, I wonder if they ever picked up a history book from any era…

    Like

  77. More from that article:

    An unwed woman was pitied in terms such as “old maid,” for she had been the victim of poor opportunities in the unrelenting passage of time. And a few women were rightly considered “spinsters,” for their actions had frustrated any potential suitors.

    Again, from that article…is she making a distinction between women who didn’t get married for ‘acceptable’ reasons and women who couldn’t get married because of ‘character’ or something here? Weird. Also, see my point above about singleness being ‘legitimate’ or not.

    these messages dissuade young men from seeking marriage because of the false validation they receive for embarking on the less taxing challenges of mere service activities.

    BWAH. Pretty sure that’s not why dudes aren’t getting married, lady.

    •a low view of marriage, with the process to achieve it reflecting its value: the casual nature of dating ultimately reflects the casual nature with which we treat our marriages

    Wait what? Now we’re back on the Josh Harris track I guess? I think a low view of marriage is marrying any rando who will have you and then having a terrible time.

    Like

  78. Daisy, you raised an interesting issue WRT Toad…

    Many Christians today are cruel and they justify their cruelness by using prooftexts and “but the Bible says…”

    My former pastor was/is a really cool guy, and it seems his family life is worthy of emulation, but… as soon as he steps behind the pulpit, he is the “VOICE OF GAWD!” and says all sorts of horrible stuff. This, in part, led to my conclusion that many Evangelicals seem to be worshiping a different god.

    I think that’s also why stupid articles can be written, like the one above where marriage is some sort of Christian obligation because “the Bible says…”

    Like

  79. @Daisy:

    (I at first accidentally typed your screen name in this post as “JUG,” btw.
    Had to go back and fix that typeo.)

    Nah, I don’t look anything like the guy from Archie Comics.

    Like

  80. @Katy:

    Baby Christian……..what in the world is a “baby Christian” pray tell……

    Donald J Trump in all his Majesty?

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