Greetings MOL Family!
Welcome back to our study – Guidance to a Home Sanctuary! In today’s lesson, we will seek to gain a better understanding of what Christian courtship is…
Step 5 – Christian Courtship
And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron. So also Christ glorified not Himself to be made an high priest; but He that said unto Him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten Thee. – Hebrews 5:4-5
A man does not call himself to be a priest. He must be called of God. In the sanctuary of the home, there must be an anointed priest. Men may make a building; men and women may go through all the legal forms of getting married; they may set up housekeeping; they may have success (good, bad, or indifferent); but we are studying something more than that: how to have heaven on earth – how to build in this world a copy of the heavenly Temple.
You can’t have anything greater or more wonderful than that. And it’s a shame to settle for any less. This is the destiny of the children of the King. Since it is something quite different from what the world envisions, the method of arriving at the goal is very different. Christian courtship is not for fun – just to get thrills. It is not a game to see who is going to win. It is not a net to try to catch something or somebody. Christian courtship is not any of those. Christian courtship is the sincere endeavor of two young people to find out whether, in God’s plan and purpose, they are to be companions. That’s what Christian courtship is. So, we will put that down, step number five – Christian courtship.
We have found the text that says, “A prudent wife is from the Lord; and whoso findeth such a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favor of the Lord.” In Christian courtship counsel has already been entered into with God, with Godfearing parents, and with God-fearing, God chosen counselors. A real foundation of faithfulness and obedience and love has been laid in the home. There is a conviction based on all these preliminary steps that the time has come to seek a companion, that there is that measure of readiness that indicates that it is time to
proceed, and there has been counsel over the question of who.
Notice I emphasized the point that a young man should seek counsel not only from his own counselors, but of the guardians and protectors of the young woman. I would like to give you a couple of instances. In the 40 years I have been engaged in pastoral and evangelistic work, I have seen quite a bit of human experience. I will tell about an experience that I witnessed several years ago. A couple of young people were married. Several years later, after a child had been born, they went to another state. One day the husband disappeared. Presently, one of the relatives was confronted with a claim for forged checks. By this time, the FBI was looking for this young man. When he was picked up, they found that he was an escaped convict of several years before. He not only had to meet the charges of the forged checks, but he had to go back and serve the term which he had escaped.
How did this young woman marry this young man with that kind of a record? Did she know he had that record? No, she didn’t know anything about it. That’s the point – she didn’t know his record. You say, “Everybody makes mistakes. Maybe he was trying to turn over a new leaf.” Yes. He was trying to turn several of them over and cover them up. But is a Christian young woman at the mercy of that sort of a thing? If a young man moves into a community, is it his right or privilege to just ask any girl he wants for a date and eventually they get married? What about it?
Before giving her hand in marriage, every woman should inquire whether he with whom she is about to unite her destiny is worthy. What has been his past record? Is his life pure? – Messages to Young People, pg. 439
Before a young woman gives her hand in marriage, before she says, “Yes I will accept you as a companion,” she is to do what? Inquire whether he with whom she is about to unite her destiny is worthy, and what has been his past record. Of whom should she inquire? The young man? Should she say, “John, before I go any further with us, I want to know about your past record”? Do you think if the young woman had asked the young man that question he would have said, Well, really, I have a criminal record. I’m an escaped convict”?
Then how is the young woman going to find out? That’s what she has counselors for; that’s what she has protectors for; that’s what she has guardians for; that’s what she has a father or brother or somebody who can act in her stead. They are the ones who are to do the detective work if any needs to be done. It is her parents, or those who stand in their place, that God has not only given the privilege but the duty of finding out whether that young man is worthy. If it were your daughter, wouldn’t you want some sort of protection for her?
Over in England, they have the royal family. There comes the time, like everybody else, when they are of marriageable age. Do you suppose that when the present Queen, Elizabeth, got of marriageable age that somebody saw her on the street and said, “Elizabeth, what are you doing next Saturday night?” Do you suppose that just anybody called her up on the telephone and said, “How about going somewhere with me?” Do you suppose that any young man who took her out even once had to pass the royal scrutiny? Of course. Do you see what I am getting at?
You are valuable. You are precious. It is your privilege to value yourself accordingly. And before you give away the most wonderful thing that you can control – yourself – remember, there are a number of steps to be taken and a number of questions to be asked. And God in His providence has or will arrange, if you want it, those who can act as your guardians, protectors, God-fearing parents, or others who will stand in their place.
Let me tell you about another experience. This was a widow – she had already been married; she had a child or two. As somebody was telling me the other day, all this instruction about young people needing counsel is just for young people. If you get in your twenties, or at least in your thirties or forties, then you don’t need that anymore; you are an adult – you’re mature. Well, this woman was a widow and had experience. She wasn’t a teenager. She fell in love with a man, and as it turned out, the man happened to be an alcoholic. It’s wonderful sometimes what the influence of courtship can be to help a man to quit drinking, at least during the courtship. The man himself may be deceived. He may tell the girl and his friends, “I’ve met somebody who has really changed his life.” He’s infatuated.
This man married this widow, but turning back to the bottle was only a matter of time. He began to take a very unkind and even, at times, a cruel attitude toward her children. One of them was grown. The others were in the home. Finally, the older child had to come and rescue his mother from a situation that had become intolerable.
Both of these experiences that I have told about could have been avoided if there had been what? Counsel. When? Before. Believe me, there is a lot of counseling today that’s like trying to lock the barn after the horse is stolen. The time to counsel is before. It is often too late to counsel; it’s seldom too early.
The reference we have just read says that a woman should inquire, before, what has been his past record, is his life pure, and so forth. And the more of this that can be done before courtship even begins the better. But it shouldn’t stop once courtship has begun. Pre-courtship counsel is for the purpose of sifting out as many undesirables as possible. This relates not merely to escaped convicts or alcoholics. This relates to everybody.
I was counseling with some folks a good many hundred miles from here not too long ago. The question was about a certain young man. Parents were counseling with me in this case. This young man was interested in their daughter. The three of us discussed a number of things. There was one outstanding disadvantage. But, as we studied the thing, we came to this conclusion: it wasn’t just “that one thing” (that one thing might be changed), but that these two young people simply weren’t suited for each other. Somebody says, “Brother Frazee, how do you know whether they were or not?”
Maybe if they would try it, they would find out that they were. Yes, maybe they would. That is the problem, my dear friends. Many young people who are not suited for each other at all think that they are when they go together, but they see a mirage. It’s an illusion; it’s a delusion. This is why frank counsel with people who have no axe to grind is so important. And it is so important for it to be before the heart is involved.
As I say, I have been watching this thing for a number of years. I thank the Lord that I have seen the principles we have been studying in this class work out, both in keeping young people from that which would be a disappointment, and also in finally bringing them to successful, Christian homes.
It’s a wonderful thing when a Christian young woman has the opportunity to decide whether or not she is interested in courtship with a certain young man before her heart is involved at all. The way things are run in the world today, a pattern that many young people follow is this: they are going together (and youngsters today start not in high school, but maybe it’s in junior high school, sometimes even before is the pity), but the young people who finally marry in that mix up, many times, at the time they started the friendship that ends in marriage, neither one of them had serious intentions. Somewhere along the line, they find themselves “in love;” and in quite a number of cases, that leads to marriage.
I believe you are mature enough for me to tell you a plain fact. One fourth of the brides who are married today are pregnant when they stand at the altar. That’s right. That is what we are dealing with in American society today. So, when we come to a method entirely different, we have to keep going over these references and seeing how different these methods are. We cannot follow the conventional pattern in which young people simply fall in love. We are dealing with something infinitely better.
In Christian courtship, two young people who have been properly screened by their own counselors and each other’s counselors enter into a serious endeavor to find out for themselves whether God has called them together. I want to stress that the beginning of Christian courtship does not in any way indicate that either party is sure that this is God’s choice. It simply means that they think it may be, and there is a lot of difference between the two.
A Christian will not even begin courtship if he or she knows that the other party is somebody who shouldn’t be considered. Take this matter of being married out of the truth. Do you know the reason that people marry out of the truth? Because they go with somebody out of the truth. It’s that simple. If a Christian young woman never went with an unbeliever, she would never marry him. Isn’t that right? The problem is in the beginning.
Make it a rule of your life to never go with someone whom you wouldn’t marry. That doesn’t mean you’re going to marry anybody you go with. It just means you are not going to even go with someone whom you wouldn’t consider marrying. Why would you? This is not for flirtation; this is not for play.
Some wise person said this: “He who marries a child of the devil may expect to have trouble with his father-in-law.” The Bible says:
Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers. – 2 Corinthians 6:14
So, a Christian won’t even consider courtship with an unbeliever. And there are plenty of people in the church whom you wouldn’t consider courtship with either, if by courtship you mean a serious attempt to find out what God’s will is. Do you know one of the biggest problems in courtship? It’s haste.
Be Not In Haste
“Be not in haste. Early marriages should not be encouraged.” – Messages to Young People, pg. 438
I want to tell you something, and I speak from watching things over many years. There are young people who enter into courtship with a serious purpose to take plenty of time. But after they have been in the courtship for just a little while, the tendency is to accelerate the process, unless the answer is negative. The more certain is the purpose of God in two young people being married, the more desirable it is for them to take plenty of time. It is not merely to find out if these two are for each other. It is to give time for acquaintance that can come only in this way.
No matter how much you have observed another young person in school, in Sabbath school, in the home, and in missionary activities, at work, and a dozen other ways, there is an acquaintance that can come only in visiting, just the two of you together. This is for Christian courtship; that’s what it’s all about. It is the serious endeavor of two young people to get acquainted, to find out as they compare their principles – their convictions, their attitudes, their vision of life work, their standards, their ambitions, their likes and dislikes and burdens – whether or not they are two whom God has planned to be together. And our reference says to “be not in haste.”
Next week, we will seek to understand more principles on establishing (and maintaining) a home after God’s divine plan. Invite a friend, and we’ll see you then…
Did you know that we have more online classes available (and posted daily)?
- Country Living
- Courtship & Marriage
- The Christian Home
- Child Guidance
- Army of Youth
- The School of Health
- Other Present Truth Studies
* This study has been adapted from classes taken by Elder W.D. Frazee.