Saturday, June 22, 2013

Future Men

A young man ought to follow the pattern of biblical courtship. But words by themselves protect nothing, and nowhere is this more evident than with words like courtship. Calling something by the right name is no protection. Living before God with a right heart is our only protection. Unless wisdom governs, words are like proverbs in the mouth of a fool--like the legs of a crippled man (Prov. 26:7). So it doesn't matter if it is called courtship, biblical courtship, or covenantal dating. What matters is more intangible. Unless wisdom governs, as I am fond of saying, courtship means that six idiots are involved instead of two. In dealing with mysteries, wisdom is essential, and a set of wooden rules is useless. 
 ...A young man who wants a wife needs to remember certain key principles as he approaches the whole matter. What are some of the essential principles? The first is that attitude is first. In the arrogance of youth, one of the things which potential suitors demand is "a checklist" so that they can be in control of the process. But an attitude of wise submission shows deference and humility to those in authority. 
 Secondly, maturity matters. The conservative Christian world is generally consistent in creating "marriage nerds." In the secular realm, "worldly wisdom" is certainly immoral, but is far more cautious about the responsibilities of marriage than Christians are. As a general rule--not in every instance--but as a general rule, marrying before adult maturity is very foolish. 
 Third is the principle that young men have to know their limitations. Like a twelve-year-old boy who believes he can compete in a basketball game with grown men, many young men think they have a high view of marriage when they only have a high view of themselves. But one of the most essential characteristics of a husband is one of the most difficult combinations for men to achieve--confident humility. This is very hard to find in young men, and in our midst, it is not yet abundant. 
 A fourth principle is that of preparation: if you were going to live in a foreign country, would you prepare? If you were going to become an astronaut, would you prepare? If you were going to become a concert pianist, would you prepare? And so how do your sons prepare for the mystery of marriage?
 ...In all this, parents of daughters must be prepared to exercise a judicious authority. Parents of sons must be prepared to give godly and restraining advice. ...We live in a fallen world in which God works redemptively. This means that nothing can be assumed to be in submission to God. But it can be assumed to be in submission to Him or not. It must be one or the other. Consequently, we must consider all things as a blessing, or as a curse, depending upon its relationship to the Word of God.1

1.  Douglas Wilson, Future Men [Moscow, ID: Canon Press, 2001], pp. 145-148

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