Saturday, April 28, 2007

Carolyn McCulley Says...

exactly what I have been saying all along. If any of you are familiar with my dialogue with Debbie Maken, you will know that my main argument was that God ordains the ends as well as the means. Hence, while there is nothing wrong with a man or woman who wants to be married going out and persuing a man or woman in whom they have an interest, they have to trust that, if they fail to find a spouse, God is still guiding them by his soverign hand. As you can see, the argument caused Debbie Maken no end of trouble, because I was able to hold both that people are supposed to go out and pursue marriage if they desire it, and yet still hold that God can reject their request at any time.

Now, Carolyn McCulley, who is associated with Joshua Harris and Soverign Grace Ministries, has come out with practically the same argument. Candace Watters, a well known Mandatory Marriage Advocate, wrote a piece called Misguided Compassion. In a rejoinder, Carolyn McCulley has come out with a piece found here. The interesting thing is [barring some of the courtship undertones], this is exactly the same thing I said to Debbie Maken.

However, while I applaud Carolyn for writing what she has, her views of the Mandatory Marriage Movement are naive to say the least. For instance, notice how she says:

But as this dialogue ensues in various corners of cyberspace, my biggest concern is the pitting of one concept (trusting God) against another (get out there and DO something!). Advocates of either position often paint the perspective of the other in broad strokes. So I'd like to express my appreciation to Candice for raising this topic and then amplify some points in a way I trust will be helpful to both sides.

The problem is that, while Carolyn is certainly right, she is not recognizing that this is not the way the folks from the mandatory marriage movement are thinking. For instance, in another article, Candace Watters writes:

Why is this book necessary? Because a generation of singles are at risk of believing they've all been given the "gift of singleness" quite apart from the biblical conditions for celibacy; because a generation of singles are stuffing their discontent and starting to believe that it's their discontent, and not their protracted singleness, that is their sin; because a generation of Christian singles are at risk of never marrying and having children, thwarting God's desire for a godly seed (Malachi 2:15).

Aside from not working through the multitude of issues of exegetical issues involved in Malachi 2:15, Candace Watters says that being in a protracted single state is, not just undesirable, but sinful! That is a far cry from someone who says, "Get out there and do something." It is more the sign of someone who says, "If you don't do what I say, you are engaging in sin."

The movement has, indeed, started splitting. You are finding some that are not as into it, and some, like the folks over at the gift of singleness blog, that are so irrationally involved in promoting the manditory marriage movement, that they, apparently, have not had any time to announce their engagements or weddings. And yet, notice an interesting admission from these folks today:

Having expressed some exasperation with Boundless before for the mixed messages they send out, and the confusing way in which they may write a valuable blog post and then let it get lost amidst a sea of contrary comments until the reader's brain is so scrambled that they are left more muddled than ever ... I am now delighted to eat humble pie -- and it tastes soooo goood!

They are saying, "We want to be the only ones talking. We don't want to have to answer criticisms from the other side. That just scrambles the brain and confuses people. Basically, just shut up, and believe whatever we tell you." This is the mark of a cult, not of someone who is honestly and faithfully proclaiming the word of God, because if you really believe you have the truth, then you shouldn't have to worry when it gets attacked by error. In fact, you should be willing to say that truth is most clearly seen against the backdrop of error. I am not afraid to have my beliefs challanged because I firmly believe that they are truth.

I can honestly say that, while I disagree with the folks over on the Boundless Blog on several issues, they are at least willing to allow the other side to be heard through articles from people of various perspectives, comments, and e-mail. The folks over on The Gift of Singleness Blog, however, clearly cannot do that. Hence, they just cannot understand why the Boundless Blog would ever allow for opposing comments. That is just one of the multitude of examples I could give you from the Gift of Singleness blog demonstrating how biased, and utterly irrational these folks are.

In fact, to show you just how radical these folks are, Ted Slater, who is the editor at Boundless, actually commended Carolyn McCulley's article. Also, the folks over at The Gift of Singleness blog have actually called Carolyn McCulley a false teacher!

As I said, I can only hope that we don't have the makings of a new cult...but this kind of post is not encouraging.


Anakin Niceguy said...


I have to agree that marriage mandate theology is nuttier than a Payday bar. What truly baffles me is how it can take hold on religious media outlets, a seminary president, family bookstores, etc.

Songbird said...

I hope you don't mind me commenting :). I found your blog through your comment on boundless. Your comments are always interesting. For the whole thing with as far singleness as a gift from God is concerned, I'm frankly not sure where exactly I stand. However, I don't like the spiritual elitism/cynicism Christians put themselves into. I fear that the pursuit for right doctrine or a biblical worldview on stuff like marriage, life and other things is being tarnished by spiritual elitism/cynicism. That's why I don't have an exactly standing this whole debate.

PuritanCalvinist said...


Yes, I allow anyone who wants to comment to do so! I only request that the comments not be anonymous, mostly because I write on controversial issues, and I don't want anonymous posters doing a hit and run.

Anyway, ya, some people cannot stand the hot fire of theological debate. There are many times it can get out of hand. I have been in those situations. Not everyone can handle it, and I don't think that is a problem.

However, part of being a Christian is thinking with discernment. The Bible tells us we are to "Test all things. Hold fast to that which is good [1 Thessalonians 5:21]. We are also called to be lovers of truth.

Therefore, while you might say that theological debate is not your area, do examine the arguments from each side, and test them against the scriptures. You might never debate the issue, but with every truth you discover in the pages of God's word, you think God's thoughts after him more and more.

God Bless,

PuritanCalvinist said...

Hey, anakin,

Hummmm, nuttier than a Payday bar. I'll have to remember that one. I think that it holds peoples attention because it is so different. People want difference in their lives, they never want the same old stuff.

However, as you and I both know, we as Christians should never grow tired of having "just the Bible." The truths in it are timeless, and when I go around dialoguing with atheists, and secularists, I really learn to appriciate the glorious wonders of God's word.

God Bless,

PuritanCalvinist said...

BTW, when I say I don't think that is a problem, I mean I don't think that it is a problem that not everyone can handle it. I definitely DO think it is a problem that such things go on.

God Bless,