"Much of the modern resistance to chastity comes from men's belief that they "own" their bodies – those vast and perilous estates, pulsating with the energy that made the worlds, in which they find themselves without their consent and from which they are ejected at the pleasure of Another!"
C S Lewis
Dee and I were first attracted to the idea of blogging several years ago. Do you remember what life was like before Al Gore invented the internet? The world has forever been changed by this new form of communication. Although it’s tragic that some have used it for evil, we believe the internet has also been used for great good. Today we want to take a step back in time and share what led us to blog in the first place and why we have made it such a high priority in our lives.
Both of us served on the Community Panel of a regional newspaper, which gave us the opportunity to critique this liberal paper’s content at their request. The editors wanted our candid input so they could make needed improvements. What an incredible opportunity to share our faith!
This volunteer position lasted for a year, with me being chosen to serve first. Six months later Dee was invited to join the panel. We’ll always remember the six month overlap when we served on the Community Panel together. We were two passionate women who represented conservative Christianity to a liberal newspaper. Suffice it to say that the editors will likely remember us! During the time we served, the public editor (who moderated the monthly meetings we attended) wrote about the waves we were making in one of his articles. We greatly appreciated the fact that we were being heard and respected by those in charge.
We have come to realize that God in His sovereignty opened that door at the newspaper to enable us to hone our communication skills. Those very skills are now being used in this forum. As we remember back to that experience, it’s interesting to note that we first announced our intentions to start a faith blog while we were serving together on the Community Panel.
We kept dragging our feet, so to speak, and there were many times when we wondered whether The Wartburg Watch would ever become a reality. Then last summer something happened that propelled us forward and greatly influenced the direction we would soon take with regard to faith issues. That relatively insignificant circumstance opened up a whole new world that we had no idea existed within Christianity, and we are extremely grateful for God’s clear guidance!
What was that circumstance?
Dee was co-teaching Sunday School at her church, and a member of the church confided to her that she was upset because the pastors had advised her recently engaged daughter and fiancé to keep their engagement short. The parents of the bride couldn’t understand why there was such a rush to have the wedding. The young lady’s parents had made it clear at the outset of the “courtship” several years before that they fully expected their daughter to graduate from college before she got married. She was a rising college senior at the time of the engagement.
As the situation played out, it seemed the bride’s parents had very little input into the wedding plans because they wanted their daughter to have a longer engagement (is 10 months too long to be engaged?). Why are short engagements being encouraged in some Christian circles and how does one define “short”? Those were the pressing questions in our minds, and we were looking for answers. This couple followed their pastors’ recommendation and kept their engagement short. The happy couple began their married life together earlier this year, and we wish for them a lifetime of marital bliss.
There are two reasons why we believe this circumstance was providential. First of all, each of us has two single daughters, and we took it very personally. We have the same conviction as the bride’s parents, and this situation provided us with the opportunity to communicate our expectations to our own daughters. Is it unreasonable for parents who are paying for their daughter’s college education and wedding to request that she wait to tie the knot AFTER she completes her degree (even if it’s the same weekend as graduation)? College isn’t cheap, and parents who sacrifice to pay for their children’s higher education want them to finish with a degree in hand. Furthermore, college is a time of growth and maturity, and getting married in the early 20s is young enough (in our opinion) to bear the responsibilities that married life entails.
Secondly, God in His sovereignty used this circumstance to motivate us to research trends within Christendom. Initially, we explored the topic of early marriage. Our internet research resulted in more questions than answers, so we met with the pastors who recommended the short engagement. We were trying to understand the “Biblical” rationale behind such a recommendation.
The singles pastor explained that short engagements avoid the sin of fornication (sex before marriage) which he claimed was prevalent among church-based singles groups. Then this pastor confirmed that when Dr. Al Mohler, President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, spoke at the church several years prior he publicly called all singles ministries (this was confirmed by both the singles and college pastors) “an abomination”. It appears that he believes that young marriage should be the norm, and, if there are singles’ ministries in the church, there is something wrong with that church. Let us take this opportunity to once again thank Dr. Mohler for providing plenty of material for this blog.
As our discussion continued, the college pastor said something along these lines,( we have 5 witnesses to this statement) “It’s my vision that the majority of dorms on college campuses be for married students.” Apparently, this pastor’s dream is to send students off to college already married or get them hitched while they are completing their college degree. As parents, the logical question was — who will be paying the living expenses of these “adult” married couples attending college? Once “adults” marry, shouldn’t they act like adults and support themselves?
The singles pastor explained that he has already started a college fund for his kids, so we assume he’ll be using it to finance the college/living expenses of his children and their spouses if they marry while earning a college degree. It’s interesting to note that ,at the time of the meeting, both of us had a child in college, while the pastors, who were giving this advice, had children who were much younger than our own.
One of the points we made during our meeting is that if a couple can’t wait to be intimate during the engagement period, what guarantee do they have that they will not be tempted sexually during their long marriage. Dee made the point that sometimes in a marriage there are periods of physical separation due to a military obligation, job transfer, etc. Furthermore, there may be times when marital intimacy is simply not possible because of medical concerns. It seems to us that just getting married is not the remedy in these circumstances. If it were, there wouldn’t be a divorce rate in excess of 50 percent among Christians.
That interesting meeting took place almost a year ago. However, we now have a very public situation in which the bonds of matrimony, which these pastors claimed should prevent infidelity in a Christian marriage, did not deter Governor Mark Sanford from committing adultery. How naïve to assume that marriage will prevent such a sin. No, faithfulness to one’s true love is a matter of the heart both before and during marriage.
Since that time we have dug deeper into faith issues, and what we have discovered is truly alarming! That’s why we are committed to The Wartburg Watch. Incredibly, we are discovering that the issues we initially believed to be on the “fringe” of Christianity are becoming mainstream, particularly among the hyper reformed crowd (aka “Calvinistas”). Does the average Christian have a clue about what’s really going on in his/her congregation?
Besides the trend toward young marriages, another “hot button” issue that caught our attention last year was the “quiverfull movement”. If you’re not familiar with it, you’ll probably be hearing about it soon. The Duggar family subscribes to the quiverfull approach to family planning. If you haven't heard about them, here are some interesting links:
In a nutshell, birth control is out and babies are in! Don’t believe us? Wait until we post this idea making the rounds at Baptist seminaries.
Here’s an example of how the quiverfull movement might be promoted in your church. Recently, a college pastor at a local Southern Baptist church delivered a sermon entitled “The Gospel and Motherhood”. In case you’d like to hear the message, here’s the link:
Early in the pastor’s sermon, he explained that his wife had been pregnant for 36 out of the 58 months they have been married. Why would a pastor make such a bold statement in a public forum? Here’s the impression the message left on a male teenager in the congregation. He informed his parents (who were not in church that day) that he heard a strange sermon. The teenager then explained that the pastor, through his own example, implied that you’re supposed to get married young and have lots of children. During his sermon, the pastor stated that he and his wife have four kids under 4-1/2 years of age and that his wife “is a blessed woman”. The pastor then read from Genesis 1:26-28, explaining that we are to (1) rule this world and (2) be fruitful and multiply. The pastor and his wife are still very young, so they have quite a few more years to “be fruitful and multiply”. It’s no wonder this teenager took the pastor’s remarks as an endorsement for large families. This trend is called “the quiverfull movement” (more on that tomorrow).
Later in his message the pastor recommended a book entitled Radical Womanhood by Carolyn McCulley. He explained that this excellent book “traces the roots of feminism deep into how we think right now”. For clarification, this pastor is one of the ones who encouraged the couple previously mentioned to keep their engagement short.
Just who is Carolyn McCulley? How many church members who heard the pastor’s sermon know who she is? Because of our extensive research during the past year, we immediately recognized her name and already know quite a bit about her. Carolyn McCulley works for Sovereign Grace Ministries (SGM), and we identify her as “Miss SGM”. As a single woman, Carolyn presumes to advise all Christian women on her peculiar brand of Christianity, which includes the eternal subordination of the Son (Jesus Christ) to the Father. We have mentioned this heresy in previous posts. This is one of the ways Miss SGM and her cohorts in the Calvinista movement justify the eternal subordination of women to men (which Carolyn discusses in the book recommended by the pastor). To learn more about Carolyn McCulley, check out her website at this link:
Both of us have been stay-at-home moms throughout our long married lives, and we’re not buying any of this nonsense! If you’ve been reading our blog, you’ll know that we are far from feminists. We are conservative evangelicals who speak out against radical feminism as well as the radical Calvinista crowd, which includes Miss SGM. Sadly, Carolyn McCulley is making the rounds with her extremely narrow theology by speaking at SGM conferences and churches, PCA churches, and even Parkside Church where Alistair Begg serves as Senior Pastor.
It grieves us that evangelical leaders for whom we have great respect cannot discern God’s truth. We believe the following Bible verse directly applies to this situation: “You foolish Galatians. Who has bewitched you?” Galatians 3:1 (NIV) We firmly believe that those who label themselves as the newly reformed Christians have been bewitched by SGM. We’re praying fervently that the absolute truth about SGM will soon be revealed.
Tomorrow and Friday we’ll take a closer look at the Quiverfull Movement and reveal what we have discovered through our careful research. You may in for a shock.