Anakin broke some interesting news this morning. Everyone in the Christian community has been raving about the movie Fireproof. My fiance even told me she heard it was excellent. I have yet to see this movie, but would like to as it seems any movie that is an encouragement to struggling married couples, and helps them to avoid divorce is incredibly helpful in the cultural struggle for marriage. Now, I know Focus on the Family probably has a whole lot to do with this, but, apparently, the makers of Fireproof are promoting Debbie Maken's book. At first, I thought "shame on them," but you have to remember the situation in which they are. They are trying to promote a defense of marriage, and Maken makes her book appear to be pro-marriage [even though, as I have argued elsewhere, it is actually anti-marriage, because of the unbiblical misrepresentation of marriage found in the book], and thus, it is easy to see why they would go for it. Also, remember that these people are film makers, not scholars. Hence, it is more than possible that they do not know any better.
However, the marketing and political backing that this movement is getting is just amazing. You have the Albert Mohler program, you have Focus on the Family, you have Mark Driscoll, you have both Moody Publishing, and Crossway Books; you have so many popular names and organizations promoting this, that one wonders how much money is really going behind it. It must be at least a small fortune.
What is annoying about all of this is, with the exception of Ted Slater, the editor of Boundless, these folks are more than willing to say this stuff in public, and yet not interact in cross-examiniation with their critics. In what little interaction time we have had, the results have simply been amazing. Every time Debbie Maken dialogued with me, she had to result to avoiding my direct questions, and engaging in name calling. Albert Mohler, when challenged on his views of marriage relating to sexual purity, ran fast out of the text of Genesis 2-3, and went to a completely different text in 1 Corinthians 7, with a completely different context. Candice Watters will not even interact with me, and the reality is that these folks just seem to not like exegetical criticism of their position. Yet, what is amazing is the marketing power these folks have to keep putting these views out there. They know that Anakin, myself, Andreas Kostenberger, and others have criticized them, and yet, no effort is made to respond to us. It is just more promotion, and more spotlight, and more airtime for them to engage in a monologue.
What is amazing is the marketing job that has gotten Debbie Maken's book associated with Fireproof. Keep in mind, this is the same book that I have compared with Gail Riplinger's New Age Bible Versions. Maken's book is, by far, the worst book I have ever read in English. No one managed to get as many errors onto one page as Maken did, and no one managed to engage in as much ad hominem on one page as Maken did. This is the same woman who attributed an idea to the reformers, when they very source she cited said it was the radical reformers who believed this, and this same source then went on to say that the reformers did not believe this position! This is the same woman who conviniently ignored quotations from Luther, in the very same sermon from which she was quoting, and completely misused the works of John Calvin as well, even paraphrasing a quotation she got second hand, from a quotation that I to this day have not been able to find. This is the same woman who said that, because Malachi 2:15 has the phrase "wife of your youth" that therefore you are to marry in your youth. Keep in mind, this is the kind of material that is being marketed, and held up as honoring to marriage. I have always wondered how honoring you are being to something when you have to engage in dishonesty in order to talk about it.
Not only that, but as I pointed out last summer, Candice Watters does not know how to do exegesis. Her main area of study is public policy, and thus, she makes several simple errors with regards to the exegesis of the text. Now, do you want to see the marketing power of this movement? Even though these errors were readily available to anyone, Candice is coming out with a new book, coauthored with her husband Steve, called Start your Family: Inspiration for Having Babies. I hope that I am wrong, but my best guess is that we will see another eisegetical misuse of Genesis 1:28 and Jeremiah 29:6. We will hear about how children are a blessing, and are therefore required. We will likewise hear the fatalistic notion that we need to just simply trust in God, and thus, not use the resources God has given us. We will also no doubt not hear of the influence of gnosticism on this view of marriage and children. Again, I hope I am wrong, and I hope that Candice does take into account some of the things her strongest critics are telling her, but, again, I am not optimistic. This is what happens when marketing takes the place of seeking truth. When you put someone up to writing about what the Bible says, when they are not trained to be in that position of leadership, disaster is bound to follow.
Be that as it may, I still would like to see a round-table discussion with Anakin, Andreas Kostenburger, and myself engaging in an extended interaction with Debbie Maken, Candice Watters, and Albert Mohler. We could market it, and really get critical thinking going from an exegetical perspective on this issue. Until then, we will just have to keep responding to these folks, and let all of the marketing and political fluff speak for itself.
Finally, I would like to let everyone know that Kuya Kevin, a regular commenter on my blog, has started a new blog for discussing singles issues. He has some good stuff over there, and I will look forward to seeing what he will write.