Tuesday, June 14, 2005In a great review of an interesting new book on Christians and sex, Challies makes the following remark:
"Part three deals with "Men and Sex." Mark Dever and several co-authors challenge single men to live lives of sexual purity. They encourage men to adopt courtship as a model, for they feel it is more biblical than dating. I am not entirely convinced of this, but when I think of my daughter beginning a relationship some day, I certainly hope she courts instead of casually dates. This chapter is very similar to what one would read in any of Josh Harris' books."
Now, I'm not attacking Challies or Mark Dever, but can someone please explain to me the difference between courting and dating? I'm serious. I am twenty-three years old, and I am totally confused when I hear pastors and authors try to make some grandiose distinction between the two. Is the implication here that dating, by its very nature, sexual? I don't think my generation got that memo.
If dating is defined as dinner, a movie and some naked playtime, then yes, dating is bad. But even among the more promiscuous of my generation, I don't know too many people who consistently view dating in that light. Certainly the Bible has much to tell us about chastity and purity. But once a believer has some strict guidelines for sexual behavior, what's wrong with going to a movie? I want to think that part of the anti-dating ideology is acknowledging that random dating with lots of differents girls/guys can be emotionally manipulative if not physically so. But I don't really think that's what they mean. This is especially true in a mobile society where young people are often relocating due to jobs and school.
I think Dever's heart is in the right place, and certainly Tim Challies is right to be cautious concerning his daughter's future dating habits. That said, someone needs to clearing define dating and courting as unique and seperate ideas. Otherwise, I'm going to establish my own ground rules, write a book and make a ton of money at speaking engagements.
On the topic of chastity, I'm looking forward to reading Lauren F. Winner's new book, Real Sex.
(HT: iMonk, a la BHT)
Steve McCoy also has a good review up of the Piper-edited book, Sex and the Supremacy of Christ.