20 Theses for a Reformation in Christian Relationships
1. Christian authors are not infallible. Just because someone writes a book that becomes popular does not mean that it is Biblical.
2. Christian leaders need to train children, when they are young, to do basic, sound Biblical exegesis of the text so that people will be able to test how relationship authors use the Bible to make sure the exegesis is sound.
3. Christian authors need to, not only quote a text to support their position, but also show how it is that they arrived at that interpretation from the text itself.
4. Historical sources need to be cited with care. The issues that shaped a particular author's view of marriage and relationships must be discussed, and a complete examination of their position of their teachings expounded from a writing that is entirely about relationships and marriage.
5. People need to check the quotations of relationship authors to make sure that all of the historical and Biblical quotations are given in context.
6. Those commands not found in the scriptures are not binding upon the Christian. If it is a good work to teach that something is wrong, then 2 Timothy 3:16-17 tells us that the scriptures are sufficient for the proclaimation of that teaching. Thus, it should be able to be found in the Bible.
7. What works is not necessarily what is Biblical. You cannot bind something to the contience of a Christian just because it works. The only things that should be bound to the contiences of believers are those things which can be found in the Bible.
8. Only people who are qualified should write books on relationships from a Biblical perspective. This means that they are trained in how to handle the text of scriptures in a responsible fashion, being able to engage in detailed discussions about the meanings of texts.
9. The Hebrew Bible is just as much inspired scripture as the New Testament, is must be interpreted with just as much are as the New Testament. Those who write books on this topic must take the same care to discuss the meanings of each Old Testament passage in their historical, grammatical, and linguistic context.
10. The simple quotation of an author does not guarantee that the author in question is being quoted in context. Care must be taken by relationship authors to make sure that the necessary background work is done so that an author is not being taken out of context.
11. While feelings are important to the discussion in relationships, they are not the ultimate authority. Nothing should be determined to be right or wrong simply on the basis of your feelings.
12. Likewise, because of the stain of original sin, desires cannot be the ultimate authority. Nothing should be determined as right or wrong simply on the basis of someone desires.
13. God works all things after the council of his will [Ephesians 1:11], and thus, in whatever situation we are in, God is using it for our own good [Romans 8:28]. Thus, even "circumstantial singleness" has a purpose in God's plan to mold us into the children he wants us to be.
14. Because God is sovereign, he ordains both the ends and the means. That includes both whether or not we search for a spouse, and whether or not that search will be successful. No matter what God ordains, it will always be for our good [Romans 8:28].
15. Marriage has nothing whatsoever to do with your salvation, including our sanctification. Only God can save. Marriage is neither sufficient nor necessary for God to redeem anyone.
16. Relationships should be intentional. There should be no relationships with people you do not intend to marry.
17. Parents should take a more active role in the relationships so that there is accountability. Parents should give direction to their children in the areas of purity, and give them a roadmap as to how to get to marriage.
18. Priorities must remain in any relationship. God must always be number one in importance. Obedience to him should never be sacrificed. Next, related to this, we should always seek to honor our father and our mother in all that we do in our relationships.
19. Just as we never presume upon the grace of our dating partner, we should never presume upon the grace of God. Willful disobedience to insult God and disobey his law is only made worse by statements such as "God will forgive me."
20. While we will all make mistakes in discussing this issue, all books on dating and relationships need to be written to the glory of God. Thus, the only reason someone should pick up the pen to write on this topic is to glorify God in the proclaimation of his truth.