January 15, 2020 Standard Bearer preview article

Marital communication—The sweetest words

Let me hear thy voice; for sweet is thy voice.—Song of Solomon 2:14

There are many interpretations on the Song of Solomon, yet most would agree it contains lovely communication between a bridegroom and his bride. The two sing one another’s praise. They speak with love and respect. Their speech involves sharing personal thoughts, including inmost longings, in safety. There is mutual trust. This level of communication is a giving of oneself, a way of saying, “I want to know you and I want you to know me.” There are no substitutes for heart to heart talks in marriage.

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"Radically different in that it seeks the glory of God in our dating relationships"

The world in which we live continues under the lie, the lie with which Satan tempted Eve and the lie which the heart of the natural man continues to indulge. This lie says that man is as God and can know all things, good and evil—even about dating.

And what if we don’t know?

Just do what everybody else is doing. Or at least Google it.

Dating Differently, subtitled A Guide to Reformed Dating, is radically different from what is above described.

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It's here!

Dating Differently: A Guide to Reformed Dating by new author, Rev. Joshua Engelsma
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October 15, 2019 Standard Bearer preview article

In a world that has perverted and idolized sex, we need to have a proper attitude toward sex. God has made each of us a sexual being, either male or female, and each of us will either use or abuse the gift of sex.

Only the Scriptures can give us a proper perspective on human sexuality. God created us with this gift, and God knows our sinful inclinations with regard to sex. The Scriptures speak plainly and purely about sex, powerfully warning us against the dangers of its abuse, as well as extolling its blessedness when used as God in­tends.

Because there is not a word in Scripture that can be harmful to the believer, and because Scripture speaks openly about sex, we must also discuss this subject openly and biblically with our children. If we do not do this, then they will inevitably learn the wrong lessons about sex from peers and culture.

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Arriving in one week!

Pastorally and accessibly, Joshua Engelsma answers the practical questions of Reformed, Christian dating based on the truth that we must date differently—with marriage as the goal and scripture as the guide.
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Announcing a new book for teens on Christian dating!

 

DATING DIFFERENTLY:

A Guide to Reformed Dating

by Joshua Engelsma

Coming October 2019!

We’re bombarded with antichristian messages everywhere in life, and from casual hookups to casual sex, our culture’s messages on dating are no different.

But Christians don’t have to follow these norms. The Bible gives us a better way.

It’s a way of chastity and wisdom. A way that understands that marriage—the end goal of dating—is for life. The person you marry will shape who you become spiritually. And that person will also be the father or mother to the children God is pleased to give you some day.

Pastorally and accessibly, Joshua Engelsma answers the practical questions of Reformed, Christian dating based on the truth that we must date differently—with marriage as the goal and scripture as the guide.

 

Joshua Engelsma is a minister in the Protestant Reformed Churches of America. He lives in Doon, Iowa, with his wife, Courtney, and six children. He has served as pastor of Doon Protestant Reformed Church since 2014.

 

160 pages
Softcover
Retail: $16.95 
Book Club: $14.41

***This book will NOT be sent to all book club members. You must order this book to receive it.

Gold Star members will receive this title.

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Dating Differently chapter preview: Who's the One?

In many ways this chapter gets right to the heart of Christian dating. What I write here is devoted to helping answer the question, “Whom should I be dating? What do I look for in a boyfriend or girlfriend?” Once you’ve answered the questions raised in the previous chapter—Why do you want to date? Are you ready to date?—then you’re ready to ask yourself the next question: “Who’s the one?”


I’m not sure it’s possible to overstate the importance of this question and its answer. What makes marriage the most important decision you might ever make is that you are going to be living with that person for the rest of your life. You’d better be quite sure before you enter into the lifelong bond of marriage that you know exactly the kind of person you are marrying.

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Christian Marriage

As head of the wife the husband must love his wife even as Christ loved the church and gave himself for it (v. 25). In the love of God the husband must love his wife. Love never seeks to hurt or destroy, but always seeks the salvation of its object. God so loved us that he gave his only begotten Son to atone for our sins and give us everlasting life and glory. That love must be reflected by godly husbands. Loving his wife as Christ loved the church, the husband will never be a ruthless tyrant. He will lead his wife in the way of the word of God. Together husband and wife will bow before that word in all of their married life. God's word will be the foundation for their marriage. In God's love the husband will provide both the earthly and spiritual need of his wife. Just as Christ gave himself for the church, so the husband will love his wife. With the self-sacrificing love of Christ the husband will seek his wife's welfare in this life and for the life to come. A godly husband lives for his wife. She is first in his life. He is not harsh or bitter towards her. He is tender and kind. He nourishes and cherishes her as Christ cherishes the church. He rules not with an iron hand expecting to be waited on hand and foot. His wife is no harried, tired slave who lives in fear of him. As the church has all of the love of Christ so the wife has all of the love of her husband. He loves her so much that he will not only put up with her weaknesses and bad habits, he loves her so much he is willing to die for her.
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The Grammatical Gymnastics of an Advocate for Divorce and Remarriage: Active Voice

We have seen that the use of the passive (or middle) voice in the Greek of Matthew 5:32, 19:9 and Mark 10:11, 12 (even if we accept the translation in the passive or middle, which we do not) does not justify remarriage after divorce (at most it increases the guilt of the man who divorces his wife, but it does not permit the divorced woman to remarry). Luke records the teaching of Jesus on divorce in a different context, and in the active voice.

Since in Luke 16:18 Christ uses the active voice (and moicheuoo instead of moichaoo), a different argument is required to justify remarriage after divorce. In Luke 16:18 our advocate for remarriage clings to the present tense of the participles and the verbs: “Everyone putting away…and marrying…commits adultery.” This supposedly refers to the Pharisees who “were continually divorcing and continually marrying…The actions of divorcing and marrying resulted in continual adultery, actively destroying the very institution of marriage.”

Perhaps, to capture the fullness of the present tense, we could render it thus, although it would be an over-translation: “Everyone (who keeps) putting away his wife and (who keeps) marrying another (keeps on) committing adultery and the one (who keeps) marrying her who has been put away from (her) husband (keeps on) committing adultery.”

Nevertheless, I do not see how an appeal to the present tense helps the case of our remarriage advocate. In Matthew 5:32a the same phrase appears: “Everyone (who keeps) putting away his wife…” The point of the present tense is that when remarriage occurs the relationship that results (the second or subsequent marriage) involves the remarried persons (both of them!) in continuous, ongoing adultery. This is true whether the remarrying person is a Pharisee on his second or seventeenth relationship or whether he or she is a modern Westerner (even a church member or officebearer) on his or her second or third marriage. If the original spouse still lives, any subsequent relationship (second, third, fourth marriage) is adultery.

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The Grammatical Gymnastics of an Advocate for Divorce and Remarriage: Passive Voice

The first argument concerns the “voice” of the verbs in Matthew 5:32, 19:9, and Mark 10:11–12. In grammar the voice of a verb describes the relationship of the action of the verb to the subject of the verb. For example, “John eats an apple” is in the active voice, for John performs the activity of eating (John is the “subject” of the verb “to eat”). On the other hand, “The apple is eaten by John” is in the passive voice, for the subject of the verb (the apple) does not perform the activity of eating. Instead, the activity happens to the subject, for the apple is eaten.  

Our advocate for remarriage writes,

The verbs in Matthew 5 translated “to commit adultery” are passive. The woman put away and the man who marries her are passive. The original husband is the only active agent in the adultery. He commits adultery against them… To say that the woman commits adultery is as false as can be.

If we attempted to translate Matthew 5:32 with passive verbs, it would read something like this: “Everyone putting away his wife [active]…makes her to have adultery committed against her [passive] and if anyone marries [active] the divorced woman he has adultery committed against him [passive].” This would make the remarried woman (32a) and the man who marries her (32b) the victims (rather than the culprits) of adultery. Our advocate for remarriage writes:

God is principally protecting the innocent. The wife who is put away for any reason other than fornication is wronged. God protects those. Adultery is committed against them wrongfully in that the dismissed woman and the man who marries her are made to appear as adulterers.

We should notice that in the mind of our remarriage advocate, the remarrying people (the divorced woman and her second husband) are not adulterers; they only appear so in the eyes of others. Only the divorced woman’s first husband actively commits adultery. If this were true, it would mean that the guilty party in the divorce is an adulterer and it would forbid him from remarrying. It would not forbid, so the argument goes, remarriage to the innocent parties. Sadly, few advocates for remarriage limit remarriage to the innocent party; they allow remarriage for the guilty and the innocent party.

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