Tuesday, January 09, 2018

The Purpose of Marriage

The following post is excerpted from the chapter, "The Purpose of Marriage," in my book, Marriage, Family, and the Image of God.

At some point, all the practical questions about marriage find their basis in the central question of what marriage is supposed to be all about. One might think that we should begin with that question, but in reality none of us do. Ask most couples when they’re about to get married, and they will tell you that they’re getting married because “We’re in love.” Doubtless at the time, that is true. Ask a couple on the verge of divorce why they got married in the first place, and sometimes they’ll say the same thing, and say that later on they fell out of love. If they’re being sincerely reflective, though, they’ll acknowledge ulterior motives. She wanted to get out of her parents’ house and couldn’t afford to be on her own. He wanted sex, and for religious or other reasons didn’t want simply to sleep around. She wanted the security of a committed relationship. He was afraid he was going to lose her if he didn’t lock in the relationship with a ring. She hadn’t had a lot of guys interested in her, and felt that this was the best she could do. He had been scared to death of marriage, until he ended up being more scared of ending up alone. She wanted children and didn’t want to raise them alone. There are a multitude of reasons. Feel free to swap the pronoun genders around: none of these reasons are specific to men or to women in particular.

So which is true? The romantic version at the time, or the jaded version from years later? Most likely, both are. People are complex beings, and we all have ulterior motives, whether we think we do or not. It doesn’t make the love we feel at the time any less real.

But the important issue is not what we think marriage is all about. Rather, it’s what does God think marriage is all about? Why did he create marriage? What is it for? How is it supposed to function in our lives?

Sunday, January 07, 2018

New Analysis of Building a Discipling Culture

Update: it appears that the links below to a critique of Building a Discipling Culture and 3DM by Michael Irwin no longer work, and I don't have a way of finding out if the text is still available. To my knowledge, it was never published except as a Google doc. I leave the post here in case anything may be gleaned by what was written here, as well as to leave the comments up.

Little did I know back in 2013, when I wrote a brief review of Building a Discipling Culture by Mike Breen, that it would spark such a response. I could describe it here, but if you don't already know what I'm talking about, just go to the link above and check out the comment section. I have been grateful that that post has served as a meeting place for so many people who have been adversely affected by their churches adopting 3DM principles.

I have written, both in a newsletter and in another post, that I haven't written anything else on the subject largely because I have little else to say. However, I have had profitable correspondences with others who do have a lot to say. One of these is Michael Irwin, who has written an excellent, detailed commentary on Building a Discipling Culture, describing the weaknesses and dangers, as he sees them, of Breen's approach. It is my honor and pleasure to make his commentary available to anyone who would like to read it. You may download it by clicking this link.

While the work is entirely Mr. Irwin's, he has kindly given me the opportunity to review earlier drafts of this work, and cited some comments I made in our correspondence. I concur wholeheartedly with his assessment. He correctly

  • refutes Breen's insistence on a new "discipling language"; 
  • points out the problematic nature of populating "huddles" with "persons of peace" who are unlikely to challenge the content of what they are receiving (and are required to commit, before they know what they are into, to participating over an extended period of time and starting their own huddles); and
  • challenges the exegesis by which Breen claims biblical basis for the principles BADC advocates, especially Breen's use of "Covenant" and "Kingdom" as the key concepts for interpreting scripture as a whole.
If you have concerns about 3DM, or even if you are a 3DM advocate and wonder what the problem is, I invite you to download this commentary.

In addition, once the comments on my brief commentary exceeded 300, the limits of my Blogger platform began to be apparent, and it is now difficult to access the more recent comments. Therefore, I invite everyone who would like to continue the conversation to migrate over here.

Once again, many thanks to Mr. Irwin for his dedicated work on this commentary.