Friday, October 19, 2007

Scott Croft Keeps Throwing up Circular Arguments

Most people are aware of Scott Croft, the attorney who has wandered into Biblical Studies. A while back, Scott Croft presented this argument against premarital kissing:

I believe the Bible to teach that all sexual activity outside of marriage is sin, and all romantically oriented physical activity is sexual activity. In my view, this includes premarital kissing.

His argument appears to be in this form:

1. All sexual activity ouside of marriage is sin.
2. Premarital kissing is a romantically oriented physical activity, and therefore, a sexual activity.
3. Therefore, premarital kissing is a sin.

Of course, we can easily challange premise #2. First of all, what does Mr. Croft mean by a "sexual activity?" His language is ambiguous. However, his definition could only take on one of two descriptions, sinful or not sinful. If he means "sexual activity" in the sense of something romantic that is not said to be sinful in the Bible, then he refutes his own argument. However, if he means a "sexual activity" in the sense of an action which is said to be sinful in the Bible, then he would be under obligation to prove that premarital kissing is sinful sexual action from the text of the Bible. I am pretty sure he wants us to take the second interpretation, however, he retreats to ambiguious language so he doesn't have to prove this interpretation. He can then go off quoting all of these passages which talk about extramarital sexuality being wrong, and no one will bother to challange him to prove that his definition of a "sexual activity" is consistent with how the Bible uses such terminology. Thus, I would say Mr. Croft is wrong to say that a romantically oriented physical activity is a sexual activity, as the Bible never defines it as such.

Also, he uses a really bad argument that says that, if we are not married to someone, then we are to treat them like a biological brother or sister, and then cites passages talking about spiritual brothers and sisters as if it had any relevance. If we want to go that route, we could use the following argument:

1. If we are not married to someone in the church, we are to treat them as biological brothers and sisters.
2. Biological brothers and sisters are not allowed to attend marriage counciling with each other, since it is immoral for brothers and sisters to get married.
3. Therefore, if you are unmarried, you cannot attend marriage counciling.

Or even better yet:

1. If we are not married to someone in the church, we are to treat them as biological brothers and sisters.
2. Biological brothers and sisters are not allowed to marry each another.
3. Therefore, no two Christians are allowed to marry each other.

Of course, now Scott Croft's argument has destroyed marriage altogether.

Now, I keep on wondering how it is that Mr. Croft could make such bad arguments. I mean, what is the modivating factor for such horrendus argumentation? Well, Mr. Croft has now penned an article allegedly proving that relationships that are over a year long are somehow wrong, and I think it is very telling.

His arguments are, again, assuming things that have yet to be proven. He assumes that long relationships are the cause of sexual sin, completely ignoring James 1:14 which says that it is by our own evil lusts which we are tempted. He also tries to quote 1 Thessalonians 4:6 which has absolutely no relevance whatsoever since the context is about sexual sin, and has nothing to do with how long it takes to get to marriage. Worse than that, he, again, assumes that it is somehow "defrauding" someone because you have not made a commitement to that person. The problem is that Mr. Croft, and virtually everyone else in the modern courtship movement, makes the mistake of thinking that commitment can only occur in marriage. Thus, all I need to do is hold that commitment can occur outside of marriage, and the problem is gone.

The reason I bring this up is that Mr. Croft has pretty much admitted that his entire series has been one long circular argument. In the very same article, Mr. Croft writes:

To put it simply, "not acting married before you're married," perhaps the sum total of the principles we've discussed in the rest of these columns, gets exponentially more difficult the longer a pre-marital relationship persists.

Now, where in his entire series did he ever prove from the scriptures that premarital kissing and long relationships are "acting married before you are married?" I hope he does not mean that they are acting like you are married because it is something that married people do. Married people do a whole lot of things that even modern courtship advocates do. I think what he means is that these actions that he is saying are wrong are inherently marital. However, where does he ever bother prove from the scriptures that these things are inherently marital? He doesn't, and what that tells me is that this entire series of articles were nothing but one long circular argument. His fundamental premise assumes that these things are only to occur in marriage, and low and behold, when we get to the conclusion we find that the fundamental premise is that these things are only supposed to happen in marriage.

Again, the circularity of Mr. Croft's arguments just scream out the fact that he has terrible prejudices against long relationships and romantic physical activities, and these series of articles have been nothing more than an attempt to rationalize his prejudices. He has never even attempted to prove this foundational premise from the Bible, and he, and other modern courtship advocates assume it with every argument they make. Of course, this is this mindset of modern courtship advocates. While Mr. Croft may have gone to the scriptures in this series, he has not gone their to prove his basic assumptions, and thus, his basic assumptions must be rejected as unbiblical. If that is the case, then his entire argument comes down with them. Thus, Mr. Croft has not presented "Biblical Dating," because, at the crutial points of his arguments, he refuses to go to the Bible, and just keeps on throwing up circular arguments.

Mr. Croft is an attorney. Thus, it is unbelievable to see him throwing up arguments that would make him fail any class in first order predicate logic. Why does he do this? I think because he has a prejudice against premarital kissing and long relationships, and knows that he cannot defend that prejudice from the Bible. However, this is not a game. Because of the fact that the boundaries Mr. Croft is asking people to set up are unbiblical and irrational, he is asking people to set up boundaries which have no authority. What is the problem with this? The problem is that if you set up boundaries that are based upon unbiblical principles, then they have no authority behind them. Whenever you are tempted to cross these boundaries, you have no reason to keep your boundaries because they have no authority behind them. Once you cross them, the authority of your boundaries as a whole have been effectively undermined. However, if you build your boundaries upon the word of God, then you have boundaries that have the authority of the almighty king of the universe behind them. That is the only chance we have of remaining pure before marriage.

I would like to close with pointing something out from the story of Adam and Eve. God gave Adam a commandment when he first created him. As we all know, Adam and Eve disobeyed that commandment. However, I don't know if people have noticed that, when Eve tells the serpent what God has commanded, she doesn't exactly get it right. Here is a comparison between the commandment that was given to Adam, and the way Eve relayed it to the serpent:

Genesis 2:16-17 The LORD God commanded the man, saying, "From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; 17 but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die."

Genesis 3:2-3 The woman said to the serpent, "From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; 3 but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, 'You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.'"

Now, where did the bold phrase come from? The woman appears to be adding a phrase making the command much more rigerious than what God had actually commanded. However, did it end up working? Did adding a more severe command to the command God had already made in any way shape or form prevent Eve from eating of the fruit? Of course not! And if this didn't procedure didn't work in paradise where there was no sin, what makes the modern courtship advocates think that it will work now, when we live in a culture of sin? You see, Eve had an easy answer for the serpent. It was "Thus Saith the Lord." However, she refused that lordship of God over her life, and she fell into sin. That is where sin comes from. That is why boundaries must be set up with Biblical authority so that we can say that it is God who is Lord over our lives, and when temptation comes, we will recognize that the boundaries we have come directly from our Lord. That is the only chance we have of defeating temptation.

One of my pastors would like to see courtship simply defined as a relationship in which there is parental involvement. I agree. I know that most of the modern courtship advocates agree that parents must be restored to a more preeminent role in their children's relationships, and for that, I commend our modern courtship friends. I only wish they had stopped there. The rest of this stuff is nothing more than a relic of 19th century parenting. I propose that we, instead, go back to the word of God, and allow our relationships to be based upon the sound exegesis of the holy and God-breathed scriptures.


NJArtist said...

With utmost apologies: I cannot resist.
From my experience, I suspect many "Christian" women use the same syllogism:
1. If we are not married to someone in the church, we are to treat them as biological brothers and sisters.
2. Biological brothers and sisters are not allowed to marry each another.
3. Therefore, no two Christians are allowed to marry each other.

I repeat my apologies and return to your article.

NJArtist said...

I've been following this marriage mandating argument for the past couple of weeks. The question keeps arising: Where did these people come from; from what branch of false teaching did they arise?

How could these people get any traction amongst any group of Christians that reads the bible on a regular basis? Off the top of my head, I can surmise that their prey are church members who are legalistic, seeking "rules" by which to be holy, and lazy: not searching the scriptures to see if these doctrines are true.

Songbird said...

That's one of my concerns for this whole courtship vs. dating bologna. If you want my opinion, you can go to my post

Jo said...

I 100% agree. I like your methodical thinking, it makes me happy when people state what I'm already thinking with far more clarity than I can. :)

Croft also sets up a concept of 'emotional temptation' (where becoming too close emotionally before marriage is also sinful) without giving any scriptural references to back up his argument.

To be fair though, he does say that he's not speaking directly from Biblical authority, but giving what he believes to be wise advice. Still though, he needs to give far better scriptural reasons for his interpretation.

Loving your comments on Boundless, by the way.


Cheri Cheri Lady said...
Was this written by Scott?