Puberty is the time of life when a child’s body begins to turn into an adult body. It is a very dramatic and exciting time of life. As your body matures and you come of age, you will be attracted to the opposite sex. In many cases, this attraction will be compelling and you will have to deal with it. How you deal with it will make a major difference in the quality of your life and your service for the Lord as long as you live. The Biblical convictions, or lack of them, which you develop now to deal with the opposite sex will have far reaching consequences. Believe it or not, they will reach through you to the next generation, to your children and eventually to your grandchildren.
A STANDARD MUST BE SET
You must realize that as you come of age, someone or something (a group or philosophy) is going to set a standard or lack of one for how you deal with the opposite sex. A standard does not mean a legalistic system or a social straight jacket. A standard is a set of moral and social guidelines that you go by. You could have a very low standard or a very high one. When you go out socially or romantically with someone, some set of moral and social guidelines will guide your conduct. Everyone has standards, some low and some high.
For example, the local public school superintendent once challenged our Christian school dress code. He said, “You have no right to dictate to your students how they dress. ” I replied that I had not only the right, but the responsibility as well, and that he had a dress code in his school as well. He denied that ! So I said, “Well, I guess a female student could go to class topless ?” He said, “She certainly could not!” Therefore, I said, “See, you do have a dress code.” It is just not a very high one. Everyone has some standards no matter how low they are. If you are going to have some standards, they might as well be God’s standards for yourself according to the Word of God.
Like the public school dress code, the world has low standards and expectations for dating and marriage. The truth is that some of the world’s standards are down right immoral. When I use the term world, let me explain to you what I mean in a Biblical context.
When something is not of God, that is, it is not approved in the Bible by word, principle or example, it is of the world. Therefore, it is either of the flesh or the Devil. When I say “world ” I mean the fallen, social system governed by Satan “The god of this world…” (II Cor. 4:4), which appeals to the flesh and works on principles that are opposed to God. When I say something is “worldly, ” I want you to know exactly what I mean. Here is my definition of the word world as in: “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world.,.” John 2:15).
1.Worldly is that which is sinful, that which breaks the commandments of God.
2.Worldly is that which is satanic or evil such as rock music (much of which is dedicated to Satan and also uses many satanic symbols and signs), spook and booger movies, New Age music, drugs and occult.
Worldly is that which is sensual, that which stimulates, titillates or inflames the flesh. This includes many dating activities such as kissing, touching (forerunners to sex), petting (sex with your clothes on), or dancing (sex with your clothes on standing up). It also includes how you dress. Certain dress and hairstyles are sensual because they make a sexual statement and stimulate the flesh. Christian young ladies need to understand that certain sensual dress and frizzy hairstyles say to a boy, “Try me, I might. ” They are a subtle offer of sex. That is what makes them popular and exciting, isn’t it? 4. Worldly is that which is selfish. It is worldly to use someone to gratify yourself, or ruin your testimony or someone else’s just to satisfy yourself. It is worldly to dishonor God, your family, and your church, just to enjoy some sensual pleasure.
THE WORLD’S STANDARDS ARE A FAILURE
Here are the latest figures for the U.S.A. that I copied out of The Word of Life Annual for 1989 that proves the world’s standards for the relationship between unmarried teens and young adults is not only wrong, but also a tragic failure. 1. By age 14, 30,000 girls become pregnant. 2. By age 15, 1 in 5 girls admits having sex. 3. By age 16, 1 in 3 girls admits having sex. 4. By age 17, almost 60% of boys and girls have had intimate relations. 5. By age 18, 40% of the teen-age girls, who attend conservative, evangelical churches admit to having lost their virginity (Our personal experience has been that it is no longer uncommon for girls, who graduated from a Christian School, to conceive out of wedlock). 6. By age 20, 4 out of 5 unmarried males, and 3 out of 5 unmarried females admit to having premarital sex. 7. By adulthood, 1 out of 4 will seek treatment for a sexually transmitted disease.
Here is more. In 1986 the Cincinnati public school board reported that I out of ll girls in the public school was pregnant and that in the next three school years, 1 out of 4 would be. That means that I out of 4 girls who started school in 1986 will be pregnant by 1989.
Although dating may eventually lead to marriage, it is not intended to lead directly to marriage. The main motive behind dating is some kind of sexual stimulation and satisfaction. If someone would argue that point, I would say, “If it is just the company of the opposite sex you are after and not sexual stimulation, hold your sister’s hand ” Dating, as I have defined and described it, is not in the Bible in word, principle or example.
Therefore, It is Worldly.
2.Courting= Courting is young men and women seeking each other out, under their parents’ or guardians’ supervision, for the purpose of finding a spouse. Christian courting is the same, except I would add, finding a spouse in the will of God. This is scriptural. It is found in the Bible in word, principle and example.
Doctrinal Basis For This Study
Worldly people like to deny any absolute authority and leave all matters of religion and morals up to personal opinion. They say things like: “Different strokes for different folks,” “That’s just your opinion, ” “That’s your interpretation,” or “You can’t legislate morality. ” When the truth is all legislation is morality.
This paper no doubt contains opinions and interpretations. However, it is a Biblical study and a doctrinal statement. Every place this paper is Biblical, it is doctrinal and authoritative. Doctrine is not opinion, it is truth. God made us and He made us male and female. God created sex and marriage. He has a lot to say about both. What he says in word, principle and example is doctrinal truth.
THE FALL OF ALL MANKIND IN ADAM
God made us; however, we are not as God made us. All mankind has fallen into sin in Adam.(Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” (Rom. 5:12)
Mankind is no longer innocent or naturally obedient to God. He is sinful and naturally disobedient to God. The sin nature of all men and women, boys and girls, has a great bearing upon the subject of dating or courting.
Man was created in the image and likeness of God. Therefore, man is essentially a spiritual being. However, unlike God, we live in mortal bodies of flesh. The fall affected man’s whole being, spirit, soul and body. Salvation “quickens ” or regenerates the spirit, saves the soul, but it does not regenerate or save the flesh, The flesh is the seat of sin. Paul said: “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing:…” (Rom, 7:18)
Even after we are saved, the flesh is still the seat of sin and lust in our lives. The flesh “is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts…”(Eph. 4:22) When we are not in the spirit, that is in submission to Christ, we are in the flesh or in submission to sin. If dating is worldly and not of God, it can not be governed by the spirit. Therefore, it will be governed by the flesh and:The works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness…” (Gal. 5:19)
The first four sins of the flesh are sexual sins, and if we let nature take its course, it will sin. When healthy young people of the opposite sex are put together unsupervised in a romantic situation, sooner or later, there will be serious problems. God asked this question on the subject: ‘(Can a man take fire in his bosom and his clothes not be burned? Can one go on hot coals, and his feet not be burned?” (Prov, 6:27,28) Can a boy and a girl, ,t the peek of their sexual development touch, embrace, kiss and not be sexually aroused? When we address the problems of dating or courting, we must consider our fallen, sinful natures.
Dating, as I have defined it, is not Biblical. That is, it is not found in the Bible in word, principle or example. Many young men and women in the Bible got married, but none of them dated. Therefore, any lesson on dating, from a Biblical point of view, always ends up being a lesson on sexual purity. That is, we try to sanctify a worldly practice with some good Bible teaching. That is a lot better than nothing, but Bible lessons on dating do not exist, because dating, as a subject, is not found in the Bible.
And what is with religious publications that seem to approve the contemporary custom of dating and write guidelines for it. Christian articles on dating usually are not on dating at all, but are almost always lessons on sexual purity. How can you write Bible lessons for something that is not on dating at all, but are almost always lessons on sexual purity. How can you write Bible lessons for something that is not in the Bible in word, principle or example? These religious publications take it for granted that all Christian teens are going to date. A funndamental publication said, “Dating is not wrong.” It does not give one Bible example why it is right, but it says that it is all right to date and to build relation-ships with the opposite sex, but not commitments. Commitments, according to the article, lead to sex. In other words it is all right to go swimming, but do not get wet. The authors of the article also know it is. Therefore, the article on dating is actually an article on purity because dating leads to intimacy. That is the purpose of dating!
The Biblical basis for courting is found in the Bible in word, principle, and example.
1. In word: “Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favor of the Lord.” (Prov. 18:22) Clearly the word “findeth” implies a purposeful seekin & looking process.
2. In principle: “Neither shalt thou make marriages with them (that is, the nations); thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son…n (Deut. 7:3) Parents are to be involved in supervising their children’s marriages.
3.In examples: Adam and Eve, Isaac and Rebekah, Christ and the Church.
Because the Principle and example of courting is found in the Bible, a Biblical doctrine of courting can be discovered, revealed and taught just like any other Biblical doctrine.
THE BIBLICAL MODEL FOR MARRIAGE
God created us male and female and by so doing He created sex. He not only created sex, but He commanded its employment when He said, “Be fruitful, multiply and replenish the earth.” Therefore, sex is not only part of God’s creative plan and purpose, it is part of the very nature of man. Man is a sexual being. God instituted marriage as His righteous answer to man’s sexual nature and need.
“Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge,” (Heb. 13:4)
After God created Adam and placed him in the garden to tend and dress it, He said: “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.” (Gen.2:18)
Therefore, God made Eve and brought her to Adam. This is the first marriage· God instituted marriage for man’s good and God’s glory. I think it is clear that marriage is the normal estate for healthy young men and women. It is natural that YOUNG men and women will be drawn to each other, and it is only right that this attraction should be governed by some principle in the Word of God.
Our Lord gave us the basic doctrine of marriage when He quoted what Adam had said in Genesis 2:24: “And he answered them and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?”(Matt, 19:4,5)If we thoughtfully follow our Lord’s statement, we can reason like this:
1. God created us male and female, or sexual beings. 2. God instituted marriage as His righteous answer to man’s sexual nature and need.
3. Courtship is the process that brings men and women together for marriage.
4. Therefore, courtship is part of the doctrine of marriage, and we can find principles and guidelines for courtship in our Lord’s doctrinal statement about marriage.
THE BIBLICAL MODEL FOR COURTSHIP
We will construct some basic guidelines for courtship from our Lord’s doctrinal statement on marriage.
“For this cause shall a man leave Father and mother, and shall cleave to a wife…” ~Matt. 19:5)
“A MAN..,” OR MATURITY
It is a “man” who is to leave his father and mother for a wife and not a boy going out with a girl. Think with me for a moment. Why did God wait to create Eve? Why did not God create Eve at the same time He created Adam? A wise Bible teacher said the delay was for Adam to prove himself in the garden by dressing it and naming the animals. Adam had both a proven vocation and an education before God gave him a wife. Adam and Eve were full-grown adults when God joined them husband and wife. Dating is almost always too much too young.
Today, we often see children going out with each other on dates. It is not uncommon for 12 to 14 year olds to be pushed into some kind of a dating situation by public schools or parents. Dating is almost always too much too young. When children start to date in the early teens, innocence is exhausted too soon. Dating is intimacy and soon creates familiarity and sexual pressure. When children start kissing and petting at 13 or 14, what are they going to do at 18 or 19? When pediatricians start diagnosing pregnancy, dating was started too young. Society has reached the point where elementary children are experimenting with sex. Sexual pressure has moved down from the colleges to the high schools, to the middle schools and is now entering the elementary grades. Some have said that innocence is dead!
At what age should young people be allowed to go out with each other on dates? I guess the age many conservative people set is 16. However, 1 do not think that I have ever met a 16 year old that was ready for marriage and parenthood. I know what some people think, but they are wrong and the figures on teen morality prove that they are wrong, Where did dating come from? I think it came about as a result of the industrial revolution which pushed the age of adolescence up from 16-18 to 21-25. Adolescence is the period of a child’s life that he spends in an adult body without having adult maturity or responsibilities. Adolescence ends when a child is able to support himself independently of his parents, family or society. As this age increased with the complexity of society, pressure for some kind of sexual stimulation and satisfaction outside of marriage became a way to provide teens with some sexual cutlet. Dating is sexual. I do not see how that truth can be successfully argued against. Just take almost any dating teens and try to restrict them to dating situations where there is no possibility of any kind of sexual intimacy and see what you run in to.
When young people ask, “When will I be grown up enough to be treated like an adult?” I answer that there are some reliable indicators. Young people start to show some real maturity, not when they can operate an automobile, earn spending money or look down and see the top of mom’s head, but when:
1. They begin to seek; respect and value the counsel of their parents and other godly adults, who love them. As long as you think adults are, “out of it,” and that poor old dad just does not understand, and mom is not “with it ” YOU are still in the junior department. The day you begin to seek and value the advice and counsel of mom, dad and the pastor is the day you take your first steps as a man or woman.
2. You are on the path to maturity when you begin to pick your friends by their character and not their looks, excitement or popularity.
3. You have your hand on the doorknob of maturity when you begin to take responsibility for your own mistakes, and begin to see your own character faults with a view to doing something about them.
4. You are putting your key in the lock of adulthood when you begin to see that you are responsible to others, and that there is more give than take to life, Suffering and sacrifice are part of life.
5. You are turning that key when you begin to set your ,, life goals and start working toward them without being pushed or reminded.
6. You are pushing the door to maturity open when you are ready to take the responsibility for your own life and upkeep.
7. When you are ready to accept the responsibility for someone else’s life, like a wife or child, you are an adult.
If you see some wisdom and logic in these seven guidelines, I think you can also see that there is no set age to consider a young person to be an adult. Some young people would begin to demonstrate these attributes at the end of the teen years, and others do not until the end of the twenties. Mental, emotional and spiritual maturity is a very personal thing. Usually it is like holiness. When you think you have it you do not!
Because dating is almost always too much too young, It is a serious mistake for churches and Christian Schools to have dating activities like “Sweetheart” banquets and hay rides where dating is required or encouraged. Church will not sanctify a worldly activity. Churches and Christian Schools should stick to group activities for their teens and refuse any worldly compromise with dating.
When children and young people are loved and appreciated at home, at school and at church, and when they are away from the peer pressures of public school, they are not as eager to date as their worldly counterparts, who do not have these blessings. Children and young people from a loving, Christian environment that meet their needs are almost always older than their counterparts in the world when they do get serious about the opposite sex.