The Problem with Pragmatism
Because I was "banned" from posting on the Boundless Blog, I could not enter the discussion today. However, I do still read the blog, and one of the discussions caught my attention. It was about my previous article on Scott Croft. Motte Brown wrote the following:
I understand that people have different opinions on this issue. But one of the main points Scott makes is that the long you date, the more prone you are to sinning physically.
No reasonable person would argue that physical temptation does not increase — a lot — the longer two people date who are attracted to each other and who grow to love each other. Sadly, statistics and anecdotal experience both indicate that even the vast majority of Christian couples who spend time in dating relationships of any length, sin physically.
I've yet to see any of the "From 'Hi' to 'I do' in One Year" detractors address this inconvenient truth of long-dating relationships. Is it simply a matter of self-control and accountability? Or do you believe a certain amount of sinning physically just comes with the territory of any dating relationship?
If this is one of Mr. Croft's main points, then it is easy to see why there are so many detractors. Allow me to be "unreasonable" here, and try to address Mr. Croft's [what I believe is] pragmatism. First, Mr. Croft says that "the statistics" indicate that, the longer the relationship goes, the better the chance for physical sin. I want to know, what statistics? There is no footnote, or citation for that. I think what I would probably get back is something like a survey in which the rate of premarital sexual relations would be shown to be higher in those who have dated for more than a year.
However, that is easily challangable. First of all, who was surveyed? Were only Christians surveyed? If only Christians were surveyed, then how committed were the majority of them to their Christianity? Were they people who only attended church on Sunday, and maybe singles ministry because it gives them a good time? How involved were their parents? How many of them were dating for the purpose of marriage? Did they already have problems with sexual sin before this? Were they still virgins when they engaged in sexual sin? You see, there are a huge host of questions, and it is funny for Motte to think that this is even a good enough point to bring up. The reality is that most of the time there is going to be more than one factor.
Secondly, I know more than enough people who have dated for more than a year and are still sexually pure. In fact, two of my best friends are about ready to graduate from college, they have been dating since High School, and are still virgins. My parents are, likewise, a good example of this. We also need to keep in mind that our generation never heard of this modern view of courtship before folks like Joshua Harris came out with it. There were many people who got married as virgins after long engagements before and after these books came out.
However, again, the fatal flaw in the reasoning of modern courtship is the idea that the physical can cause us to sin. The Bible does not tell us that our sin comes from our situation, but rather, from our heart. Worse than that, as I mentioned in my previous post, by adding unbiblical commands to the scriptures, the Lordship of Christ is thrown out the window. Again, I have to ask why it is that Joshua Harris, Albert Mohler, Boundless, etc. keep adding to the word of God. By doing so, they are setting up boundaries for couples that are not under the Lordship of Christ. Because the command "You must get married in a year" has absolutely no Biblical authority, and therefore, it is an easy one to break. Notice, as I said on my last post, Eve tried to do the same thing. They figured "Hey, we will be less likely to eat the fruit if we don't even touch it." If this reasoning didn't work in paradise, what makes them think it will work here?
In fact, here is a parody on this argument. 1 Corinthians 10:14 tells us we are to flee idolatry. Now, does that mean that I should not witness to a Hindu, because I will be more likely to be deceived, and thus commit idolatry if I witness to a Hindu? 1 Timothy 6:10-11 tells us that we are to flee the love of money. Does that mean that we are not to be rich because it is more likely that we will end up loving our money if we are rich? The problem with this is that 1 Corinthians 6:18 was never intended to be a command to not do things that might increase your chances of being tempted.
Worse than that, back in Biblical times, you would often times have the man work for the girl's hand, such as Jacob who worked seven times the amount prescribed by Mr. Croft in his article. Such could not be wrapped up in a year, and the couple would have to wait for it to be done. There simply is no Biblical evidence for this viewpoint, and, in this case, there is evidence against it.
Again, we have to ask ourselves the question. Where does sin come from? Why do people sin? That is the heart of the error of the modern courtship movement. James tells us in James 1:14 that sin comes from the heart. As long as modern courtship advocates keep focusing on environment rather than the heart, it will be impossible for them ever solve the problem altogether. The only consistent modern courtship advocate is the one who would be willing to go up to their girlfriend or boyfriend and tell them that they would hurt them in a second if they were ever in another environment. I do not know of any girl that would ever date a guy who said that to them.
Again, this is what happens when you go to pragmatism rather than trying to wrestle with these issues from the word of God. You will always end up with an inconsistent, irrational view of reality rather than allowing the scriptures to tell us about these things. That is the problem with pragmatism. What "works" is not going to necessarily be what is the most Biblical. For instance, if you are angry with someone, and want them to go away, threatening them with a gun will certainly accomplish that goal. However, is such Biblical? And if we would not accept a pragmatic, unbiblical solution to a problem such as that, why do we accept a solution that binds to the contience of God's people something not found in God's word?