Kevin DeYoung on the dating scene in churches

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John Yap

Puritan Board Freshman
"
As I speak at different venues across the country, one of the recurring questions I get comes from women, young women in particular. Their question usually goes something like this: “What is up with men?”

These aren’t angry women. Their question is more plaintive than petulant. I’m not quite sure why they ask me. Maybe because they’ve read Just Do Something and figure I’ll be a sympathetic ear. Or maybe they think I can help. They often follow up their initial question by exhorting me, “Please speak to the men in our generation and tell them to be men.”

They’re talking about marriage. I have met scores of godly young women nearby and far away who wonder “Where have all the marriageable men gone?” More and more commentators–Christian or otherwise–are noticing a trend in young men; namely, that they don’t seem to be growing up. Recently, William Bennett’s CNN article “Why Men Are in Trouble” has garnered widespread attention. The point of the post is summarized in the final line: “It’s time for men to man up.” Sounds almost biblical (1 Corinthians 16:13).

Virtually every single single person I know wants to be married. And yet, it is taking couples longer and longer to get around to marriage. Education patterns have something to do with it. A bad economy doesn’t help either. But there is something even more befuddling going on. Go to almost any church and you’ll meet mature, intelligent, attractive Christian women who want to get married and virtually no men to pursue them. These women are often in graduate programs and may have started a career already. But they aren’t feminists. They are eager to embrace the roles of wife and mother. Most of the women I’ve met don’t object to the being a helpmate. There just doesn’t seem to be a lot of mates to go around.

What’s going on here? Why are there so many unmarried, college graduated, serious-about-Christ, committed-to-the-church, put-together young women who haven’t found a groom, and don’t see any possibilities on the horizon?

Maybe women have impossible standards. That is a distinct possibility in some circumstances. I’m sure there are guys reading this thinking to themselves, “I’ve pursued these young women, Kevin! And they pushed me over the edge of the horizon.” Some women may be expecting too much from Mr. Right. But in my experience this is not the main problem. Impossible standards? Not usually. Some standards? Absolutely.

On the other end of the spectrum, some women may be so over-eager to be married they make guys nervous about showing any signs of interest. There is a fine line between anticipation and desperation. Men don’t want to spot the girl they like inside David’s Bridal after their first date. The guy will panic–and be a little creeped out.

This path of prolonged singleness is a two way street. But I think the problem largely resides with men. Or at least as a guy I can identify the problems of men more quickly. I see two issues.

First, the Christian men that are “good guys” could use a little–what’s the word I’m looking for–ambition. Every pastor has railed on video games at some point. But the problem is not really video games, it’s what gaming can (but doesn’t always) represent. It’s the picture of a 20something or 30something guy who doesn’t seem to want anything out of life. He may or may not have a job. He may or may not live with his parents. Those things are sometimes out of our control. There’s a difference between a down-on-his-luck fella charging hard to make something out of himself and a guy who seems content to watch movies, make enough to eat frozen pizzas in a one room apartment, play Madden, watch football 12 hours on Saturday, show up at church for an hour on Sunday and then go home to watch more football.

I don’t think young women are expecting Mr. Right to be a corporate executive with two houses, three cars, and a personality like Dale Carnegie. They just want a guy with some substance. A guy with plans. A guy with some intellectual depth. A guy who can winsomely take initiative and lead a conversation. A guy with consistency. A guy who no longer works at his play and plays with his faith. A guy with a little desire to succeed in life. A guy they can imagine providing for a family, praying with the kids at bedtime, mowing the lawn on Saturday, and being eager to take everyone to church on Sunday. Where are the dudes that will grow into men?

The second issue is that we may simply not have enough men in the church. Maybe the biggest problem isn’t with nice Christian guys who lack ambition, maturity, and commitment. Maybe we have lots of these men in the church, but they’re all married and there aren’t enough of their brethren to go around. I don’t know which is the bigger problem, the lack of good men or the lack of men in general. It’s probably a combination of both. The church needs to train up the guys it has. And by “training” I don’t mean “clean ’em up, plug ’em in the singles ministry and start matching them up with a spouse.” I don’t believe most unmarried Christians are looking for a church community full of Yentas. But a church full of godly, involved, respectable, respected, grown up men? That’s a project worth undertaking.

So, what can be done about the growing tribe of unmarried women? Four things come to mind.

Everyone, pray. Pray for a joyful accepting of God’s providential care, believing that godliness with contentment is great gain. If you are single, pray more for the sort of spouse you should be than for the sort of spouse you want. Pray also for the married couples and families in your church. If you are married, pray for the single people in your church, for those never married and those divorced or widowed. All people everywhere, pray for ways to start serving the Lord now, no matter what stage of life you are in or wish you were in.

Women, don’t settle and don’t ever compromise on requiring solid Christian commitment in a husband, but make sure your list of non-negotiables doesn’t effectively exclude everyone outside of Mr. Darcy.

Churches, don’t make church one giant man cave or machismo, but think about whether your church has been unnecessarily emasculated. Do you challenge and exhort? Do you sing songs to Jesus that men can sing with a straight face? Does “fellowship” at your church always focus on activities men don’t typically excel at, like sitting around and talking about how you feel? Does your church specifically target the discipling of men–particularly young men in high school and college? Grab them young and get them growing up in their teens instead of their twenties.

Men, you don’t have to be rich and you don’t have to climb corporate ladders. You don’t have to fix cars and grow a beard. But it’s time to take a little initiative–in the church, with your career, and with women. Stop circling around and start going somewhere. It’s probably a good idea to be more like your grandpa and less like Captain Jack Sparrow. Even less like Peter Pan. Show some godly ambition. Take some risks. Stop looking for play dates and–unless God is calling you to greater service through singleness–start looking for a wife." - Kevin DeYoung


Any thoughts on this?
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
Women may be complaining about "what's up with men" but the BIGGER change since the 1950's has not been men, but women. Women initiate 70% of divorces and the courts still heavily favor them. Most have been indoctrinated with at least a mild form of feminism. Men are tuning out because they cannot win. Churches harangue men for not wanting to commit but the question needs to be asked what is wrong with Western women that men are going their own way?

For those women out there begging, “Please speak to the men in our generation and tell them to be men.” I would respond, "Please speak to the women and tell them to be women..."
 

Doulos McKenzie

Puritan Board Freshman
Women may be complaining about "what's up with men" but the BIGGER change since the 1950's has not been men, but women. Women initiate 70% of divorces and the courts still heavily favor them. Most have been indoctrinated with at least a mild form of feminism. Men are tuning out because they cannot win. Churches harangue men for not wanting to commit but the question needs to be asked what is wrong with Western women that men are going their own way?

For those women out there begging, “Please speak to the men in our generation and tell them to be men.” I would respond, "Please speak to the women and tell them to be women..."

It goes both ways. Modern women need to be women, modern men need to be men. It's not a gender issue, it a sin issue.
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
If you are talking about American men, here is the problem. According to the US Census, 25% of children are being raised by unwed mothers, and those numbers are growing.

As my grandmother used to say, “Mothers can raise boys, but they can’t raise men.”

Just more fruit from the ‘sexual revolution’.
 

Cedarbay

Puritan Board Freshman
Pastor Joshua Engelsma, of the PRCA (Protestant Reformed Churches in America) has written the first of a series of articles entitled, "Wanted - men for the times", in the Standard Bearer magazine, dated January 15, 2018. He is the blessed father of four little boys.

I am quite impressed by the quality of writing from Beacon Lights, a Protestant Reformed Youth Magazine. They reflect what they have been taught by their parents, teachers and pastors.

We pray that our Reformed youth, and young adults will hold firmly to their faith and choose their mates wisely.
 

arapahoepark

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
I am glad he qualifies some of his stuff. I am still a little befuddled as to the 'ambitious' part though. Not completely sure what is wrong with entertainment hobbies and having a job while living with your parents. Has he been to Colorado, Oregon or Washington lately?
 

py3ak

Unshaven and anonymous
Staff member
I think ambition may be an unfortunate word choice, that only partially captures the genuinely Christian virtue of zeal. Ambitious people work hard, prioritize, and arrange their time and effort so as to sustain and enable the pursuit of a goal. But by itself, "ambition" doesn't say whether that is a worthy goal or not; and clearly some people work very hard at their gaming or other hobbies. So the nuance that ambition conveys is something like strong desire for mainstream success, and people don't recognize that the commendable qualities of ambition show up in other areas as well.

That said, it wouldn't surprise me if a lot of Christian people lack zeal, and this renders them somewhat unenergetic, aimless, and haphazard in how they pursue serving the Lord. Greater zeal for God's service would mean some things fall by the wayside (different things for different people) depending on whether or not that thing fit with a lifestyle of committed service that seizes the opportunities presented. One way this often appears is by an effort to make "down-time" still profitable time.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
I do agree with the part that says:

"Do you sing songs to Jesus that men can sing with a straight face? Does “fellowship” at your church always focus on activities men don’t typically excel at, like sitting around and talking about how you feel?"

I've seen it even in some homeschooled boys that grew up in church. They are passive, docile, nerdy, and weak.

The last time we went to the states my son got in trouble at a church activity at a church we were visiting because they were trying to get him to sing and dance at some skit with lots of frilly hand movements, and he absolutely refused, simply saying, "I don't dance...leave me out of it."
 

ZackF

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
The whole thing is a mess. I'm grateful that I'm married, Lord willing the rest of my life. I hated the process of 'dating' or 'courtship' or whatever you want to call it. Counting high school it was nearly 20 years of frustration, misery, heartache and sin to be frank.

With that TMI-disclosure aside, it's tough for both sexes. I've two daughters and I pray that the are the right women as much as they find the right men. My consolation is God's sovereignty working through an excellent example of godliness in their mother. I'm working hard to build relationships with each girl. I for sure don't want to lose them to a some cliche like a third rate bad-boy let alone reject the Faith. God willing they will want their parents' input and approval out of love.

As far as advising single people, I stay away from kitschy-cutesy phrases like 'it will happen when you least expect', 'follow your heart' or the worst 'God has someone special for you (He may not).' It can hurt to be alone and at the same time seem hopeless to a Christian with high standards. If the Holy Spirit can still replacing stony hearts with flesh hearts then he can pair off His people.

I want my daughters first and foremost to insist on a believer. That goes without saying. After that, I don't think it is that hard to tell if some dude is over the top or obsessed with gaming or sports. Can he keep a job? Does his career, whether white collar or blue collar, have a positive trajectory? Can he go without spending his entire paycheck? Does his give? I want my daughters to know their potential spouses' sexual history including p0rn. They shouldn't be afraid to ask them about it.

Overall, I don't think it is that complicated. The whole process got a lot simpler for me when I ditched the idea of some perfect way to marriage. Pray and work to be chaste and honorable. That's all one can do.
 
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BuckeyeGirl

Puritan Board Freshman
I've been lurking on this board for years, but I guess I'm coming out of "lurkdom" now. :wave:

This post hits close to home because I belong to the club of "unmarried, college graduated, serious-about-Christ, committed-to-the-church, put-together young women who haven’t found a groom." My church is filled to the brim with godly, lovely women in their mid-to-late twenties who want nothing more than to be married. However, my church (and the other reformed churches in my area) have a corresponding deficit of single men.

De Young's article is fairly accurate overall, but I think he focuses too much on the problem of immature men. My experience is that within reformed church circles (I can't speak to the broadly evangelical churches) the problem is not so much immature men as it is a disproportionately small number of young men. Of course, it is possible that other parts of the country/world may be teeming with young christian men who are spending all day playing video games. I doubt it though.

Whether the surge of single women is immediately caused by the immaturity of young men or a shortage of men, ultimately it is because God has ordained it to be so. In that respect, De Young's first piece of advice is on the mark: pray and learn contentment.
 

Afterthought

Puritan Board Senior
My experiences in reformed churches have shown that some congregations have an abundance (but not many) of young women and some have an abundance (but also not many) of young men (for some years I knew exactly zero eligible young women in the reformed church of my "flavor," and I had travelled a fair amount; I knew exactly two if I included those outside of my "flavor;" but I knew a fair amount of young men), but due to reformed people being scattered (exasperated further by the difficulty of one "flavor" of "reformed" being able to make progress in courtship/dating with one who adheres to a significantly different other "flavor" of "reformed;" and exasperated further by many geographical areas of reformed congregations being on the "frontier" of reformed churches), it is difficult for people to find each other.

Other factors to consider are 1) the going away to college. Not all young people raised in a reformed church consider going to a college near a reformed church. But even for those who do, for reasons I do not know or understand, going to college seems to have a draining effect on the populations of congregations that are not always refilled by those who have left or by others who are also going to college. 2) Due to the difficulty in finding suitable mates, some young people leave the reformed church to where there are more young people. Some others will marry those who are outside the reformed church, shrinking the number of eligible reformed people overall.
 
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ZackF

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Hmm. I thought it was the Pentecostal churches that had the lopsided women to men ratios and not the Reformed.
 

ZackF

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
I've been lurking on this board for years, but I guess I'm coming out of "lurkdom" now. :wave:

This post hits close to home because I belong to the club of "unmarried, college graduated, serious-about-Christ, committed-to-the-church, put-together young women who haven’t found a groom." My church is filled to the brim with godly, lovely women in their mid-to-late twenties who want nothing more than to be married. However, my church (and the other reformed churches in my area) have a corresponding deficit of single men.

De Young's article is fairly accurate overall, but I think he focuses too much on the problem of immature men. My experience is that within reformed church circles (I can't speak to the broadly evangelical churches) the problem is not so much immature men as it is a disproportionately small number of young men. Of course, it is possible that other parts of the country/world may be teeming with young christian men who are spending all day playing video games. I doubt it though.

Whether the surge of single women is immediately caused by the immaturity of young men or a shortage of men, ultimately it is because God has ordained it to be so. In that respect, De Young's first piece of advice is on the mark: pray and learn contentment.

Best wishes young lady. I had to go to Ohio to get my bride off the Sovereign Grace Singles website. Conked her on the head, married her and dragged her back to Kansas. :) She's from Bowling Green.
 

Edward

Puritanboard Commissioner
Around Dallas,there always seems to be a 'hot' church for the educated, upper middle class singles. Right now, it's Watermark (soft Dispensational); before that it was the Village (semi-Calvinistic Baptist). Prestonwood (mainline megaBaptist) probably had the role at one point before they moved to the suburbs; Fellowship (strong Dispensational) a few years ago.
 

ZackF

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Around Dallas,there always seems to be a 'hot' church for the educated, upper middle class singles. Right now, it's Watermark (soft Dispensational); before that it was the Village (semi-Calvinistic Baptist). Prestonwood (mainline megaBaptist) probably had the role at one point before they moved to the suburbs; Fellowship (strong Dispensational) a few years ago.

Prestonwood....I think that was Zig Ziglar's church. How about a 'check up from the neck up?'
 

Jack K

Puritan Board Doctor
Around Dallas,there always seems to be a 'hot' church for the educated, upper middle class singles. Right now, it's Watermark (soft Dispensational); before that it was the Village (semi-Calvinistic Baptist). Prestonwood (mainline megaBaptist) probably had the role at one point before they moved to the suburbs; Fellowship (strong Dispensational) a few years ago.

I met my wife at a church like that, one that attracted educated, upper-middle class singles. Happily, it was the PCA church in town where I would have been anyway. There usually seemed to be a few more young women than young men.
 

Jack K

Puritan Board Doctor
I generally agree with what DeYoung has to say about many of the young men in our churches. However, I don't find it to be a particularly sharp insight. I thought it was a given that nearly every man marries a better woman than he deserves.
 

SavedSinner

Puritan Board Freshman
I've been lurking on this board for years, but I guess I'm coming out of "lurkdom" now. :wave:

This post hits close to home because I belong to the club of "unmarried, college graduated, serious-about-Christ, committed-to-the-church, put-together young women who haven’t found a groom." My church is filled to the brim with godly, lovely women in their mid-to-late twenties who want nothing more than to be married. However, my church (and the other reformed churches in my area) have a corresponding deficit of single men.

De Young's article is fairly accurate overall, but I think he focuses too much on the problem of immature men. My experience is that within reformed church circles (I can't speak to the broadly evangelical churches) the problem is not so much immature men as it is a disproportionately small number of young men. Of course, it is possible that other parts of the country/world may be teeming with young christian men who are spending all day playing video games. I doubt it though.

Whether the surge of single women is immediately caused by the immaturity of young men or a shortage of men, ultimately it is because God has ordained it to be so. In that respect, De Young's first piece of advice is on the mark: pray and learn contentment.

Maybe our 2 sons need to visit Ohio. What church in Ohio are are these nice women in?
 
T

TULIPsolas

Guest
I want my adult children to marry believers. Do I limit that to Reformed? Perhaps not at first. That may be the reason there are many singles who haven't found mates in Reformed churches. If you reside in or near Chattanooga, Birmingham, Louisville, Jackson and some areas in North Carolina where there are more Reformed churches to choose from, it's easier to find a church that may have more singles. In smaller metro areas, there just aren't that many. I'm not sure about the North and West, just know more about the South.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
My son is 13 now. In about 10 years I am going to put in a request with my supporting churches to send him a wife. Problem solved.
 

Pilgrim

Puritanboard Commissioner
My son is 13 now. In about 10 years I am going to put in a request with my supporting churches to send him a wife. Problem solved.

Ironically, Calvinistic Baptist churches seem to be better at this than the Presbyterian ones, at least in my experience. I've come across "2 Kingdoms" type Presbyterian elders that insist that playing matchmaker in any sense is not in their job description.

What I'm thinking of is a Presbyterian pastor who has some single women of marriageable age who inquires if there are men in other churches in the Presbytery or elsewhere or like mind that may have young men who are ready to marry. I've heard of this being done, but I don't know how prevalent it is. And as noted above, many Reformed churches are quite small. There may be no "prospects" at all within one's own congregation. This is why Sovereign Grace Singles was started.
 

Afterthought

Puritan Board Senior
What I'm thinking of is a Presbyterian pastor who has some single women of marriageable age who inquires if there are men in other churches in the Presbytery or elsewhere or like mind that may have young men who are ready to marry. I've heard of this being done, but I don't know how prevalent it is. And as noted above, many Reformed churches are quite small. There may be no "prospects" at all within one's own congregation. This is why Sovereign Grace Singles was started.
in my opinion, "matching" and "finding" are a family matter, not an ecclesiastical one. A Presbyterian pastor could act as a Christian, friend, and brother in helping with the "finding" and "matching," but not as a pastor. Furthermore, because it is a family matter, the "finding" can be done by asking anyone really; not just the pastor. Asking the pastor or other elders may be useful because they have travelled or have more knowledge of other congregations. But oftentimes, others in one's congregation will have travelled some and have knowledge of other congregations too.

I have found that "matching" and "finding" can make their ways into the culture of members of some Presbyterian churches (sometimes with amusing effects and consequences! :)). This is helpful because it makes the "asking" for assistance in "finding" less of an unusual or awkward question to ask.
 

Pilgrim

Puritanboard Commissioner
in my opinion, "matching" and "finding" are a family matter, not an ecclesiastical one. A Presbyterian pastor could act as a Christian, friend, and brother in helping with the "finding" and "matching," but not as a pastor. Furthermore, because it is a family matter, the "finding" can be done by asking anyone really; not just the pastor. Asking the pastor or other elders may be useful because they have travelled or have more knowledge of other congregations. But oftentimes, others in one's congregation will have travelled some and have knowledge of other congregations too.

I have found that "matching" and "finding" can make their ways into the culture of members of some Presbyterian churches (sometimes with amusing effects and consequences! :)). This is helpful because it makes the "asking" for assistance in "finding" less of an unusual or awkward question to ask.

Viewing it as only a family matter assumes that the family is also Reformed. The situations I'm thinking of are ones in which one or both people are single members of churches where the parents are either not Reformed or may not be Christians at all.
 

Afterthought

Puritan Board Senior
Viewing it as only a family matter assumes that the family is also Reformed. The situations I'm thinking of are ones in which one or both people are single members of churches where the parents are either not Reformed or may not be Christians at all.
Ah, I see. That does make things more difficult; we run into similar situations in my denomination (and related ones). Nevertheless, I would still view it as a family matter--in contrast to--an ecclesiastical one. I am understanding "family" in contrast to "church" and as something broader than one's natural relatives: one could make use of one's spiritual family too. Or if one wishes, one could call it a personal "civil" matter instead of "ecclesiastical." My main point is that I can see how the Presbyterian elder making use of R2K to avoid helping may exhibit a lack of Christian charity for a member of his flock, but I don't see how one could lay "finding" and "matching" on a pastor or elder as a pastoral or elder duty (beyond the spiritual counsel and wisdom that goes into the process of searching, of course).
 
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Pilgrim

Puritanboard Commissioner
Ah, I see. That does make things more difficult; we run into similar situations in my denomination (and related ones). Nevertheless, I would still view it as a family matter--in contrast to--an ecclesiastical one. I am understanding "family" in contrast to "church" and as something broader than one's natural relatives: one could make use of one's spiritual family too. Or if one wishes, one could call it a personal "civil" matter instead of "ecclesiastical." My main point is that I can see how the Presbyterian elder making use of R2K to avoid helping may exhibit a lack of Christian charity for a member of his flock, but I don't see how one could lay "finding" and "matching" on a pastor or elder as a pastoral or elder duty (beyond the spiritual counsel and wisdom that goes into the process of searching, of course).

Gotcha. I took family to mean one's blood relatives. What you describe regarding one's fellow church members is the kind of thing that goes on in the independent sovereign grace type churches that Pergy and I am familiar with, both on the part of the congregation and the part of the pastor. (Occasionally I've wondered if the parents haven't set it up since the kids were 8 years old or whatever. At any rate it isn't uncommon for those to marry in those circles who have known each other practically from elementary school years.)

I only brought in Presbyterianism b/c at least in an official sense you'd think they'd be more aware of other congregations and the "prospects" there due to the connectional polity. But in my experience from a practical standpoint often that is not the case. Sometimes it is because they are at loggerheads with other churches and sessions in the Presbytery because one is 2k and the other is a theonomist or suspected of FV or whatever whereas with at least some Baptist circles because it is a self-selecting group of likeminded people, there tends to be more harmony, although they have their divisions as well of course. A lot of these Calvinistic Baptist churches, especially the more rural ones, tend to be characterized by patterns of long established ministry over the course of 20-30 years in a way that you don't quite see among the Presbyterians. So a pastor who has been there for 25 years is naturally going to know the people better than a young seminary graduate who has been there for 2.5 years and may be moving on in a few years. (With regard to more broadly evangelical SBC type churches that may turn over pastors every 2-3 years, of course it is a much different ballgame, and that's not what I'm referring to here.)
 

ZackF

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
This may call for another thread but I would be interested to hear some thoughts on Josh Harris' 'I Kissed Dating Goodbye' and even other folks with similar approaches.

I read that book in the mid 90's and am the same age as JH. I thought his ideas were groundbreaking at the time as I was frustrated with the whole 'dating scene' mentality and gender confusion. Elisabeth Elliot endorsed the book of which no doubt helped its sales and circulation. My pre-marriage years had a lot of problems but as I reflect they would have been much worse without IKDG.

Many people here probably know that Harris' path has taken a few turns in recent years. He's doing a whole re-thinking of IKDG as a documentary. That's a whole other thing though. It seems many on hand attribute the success of their marriage to IKDG and at the same others their failures. Of course the whole 'discernment' blog culture weighs in mostly negatively from what I've seen. What are some thoughts of PB members?
 
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Pilgrim

Puritanboard Commissioner
This may call for another thread but I would be interested to hear some thoughts on Josh Harris' 'I Kissed Dating Goodbye' and even other folks with similar approaches.

I read that book in the mid 90's and am the same age as JH. I thought his ideas were groundbreaking at the time as I was frustrated with the whole 'dating scene' mentality and gender confusion. Elisabeth Elliot endorsed the book of which no doubt helped its sales and circulation. My pre-marriage years had a lot of problems but as I reflect they would have been much worse without IKDG.

Many people here probably know that Harris' path has taken a few turns in recent years. He's doing a whole re-thinking of IKDG as a documentary. That's a whole other thing though. It seems many on hand attribute the success of their marriage to IKDG and at the same others their failures. Of course the whole 'discernment' blog culture weighs in mostly negatively from what I've seen. What are some thoughts of PB members?

I read that book, or at least part of it, within a few years of its publication. My brief thoughts now are that his main points were correct even if he perhaps didn't guard against the legalistic lengths some may take such teaching. I don't know that the book represents something like full on Gothardism, (or the extent to which it is influenced by it) but someone more familiar with indy fundy type legalism may have to weigh in.

I don't really know who among Bible-believing Christians could seriously argue against his emphasis on guarding your heart and not giving it completely to someone to whom you are not married and to whom marriage is not even seriously contemplated in the near future.

There are worse embarrassments than not knowing how to french kiss or whatever before marriage, along with other similar things that apostate fans of the likes of Rachel Held Evans et al rail against. For many of them, hookup culture seems to be nothing compared to the horrors of chastity before marriage. Are there problems with "purity culture?" Sure, just as there are problems with other aspects of evangelical and fundamentalist culture. But it seems to me that many of the critics appear to reject purity itself, just as many survivors of church abuse now reject the idea of any kind of spiritual authority.

For those who think the book is legalism through and through, are you sure that you aren't more concerned with being thought weird by the world than you are by some questionable passages here and there?
 
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