There are thousands of Godly young people who want to get married, are ready to get married, and should be married… indeed should have been married long ago… who are not married. Their church, their friends, and their families have all prepared them for marriage, for early marriage, for early, fruitful marriage… and they are not married. There is no persecution, no law, there are no physical infirmities that prevent them from being married… but they are not married. This is not a ‘panic’, it is a crisis. We have many of the very best and brightest of our Christian young people who are already well past the flower of their age, and they are not married. That is beyond a crisis, it is a catastrophe.
Scripture provides clear answers to this crisis: which we have ignored because they run counter to our culture. It is time that we began to take every thought captive to Christ, and throw off the chains of bondage to this world. It is time we... More > ‘let them marry’.< Less
I have often been tempted to write a book on covenant, Christian marriage that I would call, "I Kissed Courtship Goodbye." The reason for the title would be to address a particular definition of courtship that in essence, operates as two families "dating" each other. It subconsciously goes something like this, "we'll let our children court for awhile and see how things go, but if things don't go the direction that we want to, or we discover that they just aren't "compatible" we can just cut it off and there is no harm done." As a result, a young man or woman can easily go through two or three, or more courtships before becoming married. My question, considering the veracity with which the "courtship crowd" trashes the "dating crowd," is how is this any better? I find this logic to be disturbing and destructive. At its core, is a horrible misunderstanding of what commitment/covenant really is. While I would still like to write... More > more extensively on this one day, I feel less of a need to after reading "What are you Doing?" Vaughn's simple, conversational, and scriptural approach to this topic leaves little room for misunderstanding or conjecture and can be easily comprehended by young and old. I was blessed to have parents and now parents-in-law who were wise enough to see through the courtship model's lack of a leg to stand on. My wife's and my relationship and attraction grew naturally and as time went by after our covenant making we both revealed and discovered how we, over time, came to the point where we could not see ourselves marrying anyone other than each other. That simple. Relationships are complicated. They are complicated because we complicate them. But as we grow spiritually, mature, and become more like Christ and wisely meditate on the words of God which were not spoken vain, we apply the principles resulting from this learned understanding to gradually and incrementally casting off the complications that man creates and simultaneously embrace the simplicity and beauty of God's created order. "What are you Doing?" is a casual, and I believe, effective tool of exercising our minds to think more biblically in the realm of how two people covenant together in marriage. I highly recommend it to your gentle reader.< Less
I am manuscript review and theology editor for Nordskog Publishing. Vaughn kindly undertook to review some of our books. I here reciprocate. Mr. Ohlman’s What Are You Doing? is a morality play treating of the interlinked problems of young adult sexuality, marriage, and getting there from here. It treats of dating and a current, Evangelical form of courtship that claims often to leave young people without mates. First, this is one of the most important topics of our time. Christians have foolishly followed the pagan world’s pattern of declining morals and population reduction. Out of the notion that the Law of God is somehow inferior to contemporary moralism, we have largely replaced the Bible with humanism, when we need true moral direction. What Are You Doing? in a sometimes humorous, but always pointed fashion, reverses this pattern with a relentless appeal to Scriptures. This is a must-read for all parents and young adults to guide Biblical thinking toward marriage and our... More > generational responsibility before Christ. To comment more on the substance of Mr. Ohlman’s conclusions would constitute an untoward spoiler. One should consider the arguments before entertaining the conclusions. Having said this, as with many issues confronting us these days, drawing dogmatic conclusions without a track record of good fruit is dangerous. In our fledgling efforts to make God’s Law our standard, we still seem to do so largely on a speculative basis. Theology is by nature a science. All knowledge is circular, as Van Til declares, and sound knowledge must be proved knowledge. The Word is the Seed. It must bear fruit. It took several hundred years to establish for good the doctrines of Christ, which we now take for almost for granted. Let us not be in a hurry to establish Biblically derived dogma over human issues when we haven’t yet acquired the skill from good practice. I recommend careful study of this issue. Here is an exellent starting place. The author’s conclusions in What Are You Doing? apply to a very specific situation, one where the parties involved, in a kind of reverse engineering, come to accept and live out the Biblical conclusions that they work out within the story. The context of the Biblical argument here is a mature Christian covenantal community, and wise parents. Christians need to learn to apply Biblical wisdom when the ideal is not available, though certainly we ought to aim for the ideal. As a dad of five mature children, and many growing grandchildren, I confess that however much we pursued Biblical righteousness, God required faith. No checklist can compensate for wisdom. To wisdom, add faith. Only God brings the increase in human affairs. I thank God, for our family’s successful experiences.< Less
This book addresses the confusion regarding Christian Courtship. In a Socratic style dialog, problems are accurately diagnosed and solutions boldly proposed. Many footnotes to modern courtship literature and various scripture passages are supplied. Some readers will judge the offered solution - betrothal - as archaic and unworkable in modern society. But those who have seriously pondered the marriage crisis should welcome a fresh approach. The basis of the book's betrothal solution is that any man and woman who are not celibate and are willing to "do good" to a mate are eligible to be married to one another. Further, since this sexual interest is present, they should not seek a potential spouse themselves since that will inevitably lead to some sort of sexually charged relationship. Even a merely verbal relationship will lead to sexual thoughts that defraud the couple if they do not eventually become man and wife. Therefore, the fathers should be the ones to initiate any... More > possible discussions of marriage. The man and woman can certainly have a friendly relationship, but considering each other as potential mates leads to trouble. Some will decry the involvement of parents in the choice of a spouse as "arranged marriage". But careful readers will understand that the author is not proposing a medieval plot where a young girl is chained in a dungeon awaiting puberty and marriage to a toothless old man. Rather, sensible families will welcome a reintroduction of a multi-generational vision in which parents guide their children through life's major milestones. Today's culture demands that a young couple stand on their own, living alone, working along, raising children alone - distant from wiser, experienced parents. The book directly challenges this assumption and offers the advantage of wise fathers leading, not dragging or forcing, the next generation throughout the steps of marriage and establishing a vocation and household. The book proposes no list of qualifications a father may have in judging a suitor - insisting only on confirming the suitor's non-celibate status and desire to 'do good' to the potential mate. Since 'good' is not explained in detail, the book leaves the impression that the qualifications are minimal and that any sexually interested young man or woman of basic competence is ready for marriage. However, as the father is involved in the process, he can determine if a possible spouse can 'do good'.The father can rightly inquire regarding any requirements he feels necessary to a healthy marriage. This book moves the courtship/marriage discussion in a more biblical direction. It should encourage families to share a common vision between generations - a vision that motivates early marriages and sustains those new marriages within a biblical church community and extended family context.< Less