19 Comments
Apr 1Liked by Dani Treweek

You are a breath of fresh air, Dani.

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Those who know me best would say not always! But thank you Caleb :)

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Apr 1Liked by Dani Treweek

I have definitely seen young men and young women marry because it elevates their status in the church. (I grew up in an environment strongly influenced by Biblical Patriarchy and Doug Wilson). Often the ladies of the church took little notice of me other than my marital status (or lack thereof). I have several unmarried friends who are in their 30s of great maturity and excellent character who simply outclass all the men. I don’t think a wise man wants a woman who “just wants to get married” and no wise woman I know wants a man who “just” wants a wife to make babies. These attitudes instrumentalise one another and are no foundation for a godly partnership. Marriage and parenthood in many ways exacerbate immaturity, not resolve it. And if you don’t accept input before you’re married (or only choose to follow unwise counsel), you’ll likely do the same afterwards. (I’m watching that happen now with a couple friends). Parents can be especially defensive in this way. (Ask me how I know 😏)

I’ve seen women run after unbelievers because they simply want a man. I know a woman who was encouraged by her church leadership to marry a man with a criminal record. I’ve seen women wrestle with their desires and God’s goodness and emerge with a maturity and settled identity —while we assume that the man has all the agency and so he doesn’t wrestle with these things. I would like us to do a better job of the discipling the men rather than asking to women to be less than they are.

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Apr 1Liked by Dani Treweek

"Wives are not the ready-made solution to those men’s immaturity. They are not an off-the-shelf remedy for those men’s lust." 🔥

Such an excellent piece!

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Thank you for pushing back on rhetoric and thinking like this. It’s so pervasive and exhausting. I appreciate your voice so much.

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Apr 4Liked by Dani Treweek

Hey Dani, thanks for this. You make some really insightful and important observations.

You do criticise DeYoung for both (1) blaming men and removing agency from women and (2) calling women the problem, and I think this reflects a slight misunderstanding.

I think DeYoung (right or wrong) is consistent in identifying immature men as the problem. The reason his framework (right or wrong) doesn't include much talk of female agency seems to be that he is convinced that it is men who are primarily responsible for the "problem", because they are misusing their agency. Basically, I think you're right about #1 and #3 in your article, but not #2.

Thanks again for sharing your perspective on this. I think you've highlighted a bunch of serious issues.

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Hi Eliot - thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts :) I appreciate it!

I actually think we may not be in much disagreement here on the point you've noted. I think DeYoung says it is a "problem" when too many (however many that is!) unmarried Christian singles who want to be married aren't or can't. The statistical data is that women form the majority of this group. So by implication there are a large number of single women whose situation is a problem in and for the church. But, yes, I agree with you that he is"squarely" blaming men that this problem exists. He identifies them as the problem.

However, my argument is that in claiming these men are "forcing countless numbers of young women" into a situation they don't want he is *indirectly* removing - or at the very least, not factoring in - female agency from the equation.

For example, many women have said no to dating or marrying men who have asked (for good or bad reasons!). Many women have chosen not to continue in a relationship with a man (for good or bad reasons). All women have their own sinful and sanctified patterns of thinking and behaving which also contribute to the situation in which they find themselves.

So it seems to me he does regard too many single women as a problematic reality (which, to the individual woman communicates that she is a problem) while also rendering them as passive participants whose situation is only acted upon. by men, rather than something they also act into. Hope that clarifies!

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Apr 8Liked by Dani Treweek

Thanks so much for that clarification, Dani.

I see now what you meant by female agency – not just agency to pursue maturity as a potential wife, but also agency to pursue celibacy, to reject a potential partner, etc.

In fact, it's possible my original comment's assumptions implicitly proved some of your general commentary about the way we think about singleness in the Church 😬

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That's such an important distinction, as it can be dangerous to teach or imply that women have no agency in this area. When I was in my 20s, I was on the receiving end of a considerable amount of unpleasant behaviour from single Christian men in church, who had absorbed the notion that all single women were desperate to get married to the first man who asked them, and that therefore, a man had only to make a decision to marry to be accepted - as you can imagine, any refusal to comply with their decisions was not well received. It's one of the reasons church was the place I felt least safe as a single woman.

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Apr 4Liked by Dani Treweek

Thanks as always.

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I read this book a few years ago. I almost forgot about this section. I am partly alarmed that I glossed over it! You are spot on in your response!

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Apr 1Liked by Dani Treweek

In my teens and 20s, I grew up in a church which put tremendous pressure on single girls to marry immature young men in the belief that this would make the guys develop spiritual maturity and leadership skills. (Naturally enough, this mostly ended in disaster a few years down the line)

Nobody ever seemed to find it odd that they were assuming a young man with Jesus in his life couldn't become spiritually mature, but a young man with Jesus + a wife could be... Since when has Jesus needed anyone else's help to grow us in maturity?!!

And is anyone else concerned by the advice to the young man to talk to the girl's PARENTS and then marry her...if she's too immature to make up her own mind, then she's too immature for marriage.

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I appreciate this post because as a single woman, I would agree with Kevin DeYoung's statement at first glance. But your response addresses misgivings I have bubbling beneath the surface. It helps me see that I have a role in the church and in my own life. I am thankful for you engaging with this more deeply with scripture on this and showing others (me) how to do it too

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Apr 1Liked by Dani Treweek

This is excellent, Dani. I am so thankful for your voice. Praying just now for you and for all those with God-given platforms and gifts who are pointing the church back to what Scripture truly says about singleness.

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Thank you Sarah!

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Apr 1Liked by Dani Treweek

Excellent!

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First off I'm going to assume that if you had a concern about the theology of a paster as prominent as Kevin Deyoung you have already contacted him (and hopefully his church's session) about this "theologically troubling" excerpt. Since you have almost surely done this I'm sure you don't need to hear from me why your concerns are wrong. But for the sake of the others reading this article who have not received helpful insight from Kevin and the Christ Covenant elders I will take a stab at what I think Kevin would say.

Let's begin with the problem of overabundance. You do ask a good question, "Who can tell when many single Christians become too many single Christians?!" Well I'll tell you how he knows it is an overabundance. If we look at Revelation 19:9, "And the Angel said to me, "Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb."And he said to me, "These are the true words of God." The marriage here refers to the marriage between Jesus and the Church. This is the great hope of the church, and it is the reason for marriage. Christians earthly marriages point to that marriage. So this is a way of bearing light to the world. Now, Isaiah 62:5, "For as a young man marries a young woman, so shall your sons marry you, and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you." Similar imagery to the Revelation text. We have rejoicing, we have God's people as the bride, and God himself as the groom. It's a very rich passage but I would like to focus on that first line. "As a young man marries a young woman", why doesn't Isaiah just say man, and just say woman? There is a special emphasis on being married young. So the issue in our current age is that young men are sinning, are unwilling to mature, unwilling to be decisive, and unwilling to be committed. Kevin isn't saying that we need to force young men to marry, he's saying we need to help young men to be decisive, and to be committed, and as a result of being decisive and being committed, they will become mature. The issue is not that God no desires for young people to imitate the great marriage but that young men refuse to be married.

The second paragraph is unfair to Kevin, his general statement that most young woman have less interest in going to collage and working than getting in married is a very fair generalization to make, and in no way an objectification of women. Sure there are outliers, but I would wholeheartedly agree that i my experience young women want to get married and raise kids, not work full time in a corporate office. She's not "nowhere" she's not a "ghost" in this paragraph, she's just ready to marry and the men aren't. The men get more attention here because the men are being the problem. Not because she's an object.

Here we have the first of the third paragraphs. 1 Corinthians 7 dismantles your first few paragraphs so I'd encourage you to just go read that, if you want more on this topic I'd point you to here-https://www.desiringgod.org/interviews/will-marriage-cure-my-lust. I'll never be able to handle this topic as well as Piper does.

Second of the third paragraphs. "The Problem That Isn’t Recognised". Kevin is finite, he isn't going to over every topic in a short paragraph. This paragraph is directed to men, you didn't attach the post but I suspect it is directed to men. This book is not a replacement for the book, the bible. The bible does address marrying with the nations. It has strong warning against this, I can't see how a woman could read this and then think "gosh I need to go marry a pagan".

I appreciate the tone of this article, I really would encourage you to email Kevin Deyoung if you haven't. Overall I think you missed what Kevin was saying and am sad that you wrote an article what took his words out of context.

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There is a small subset of Christian single men who I would encourage to more actively seek out marriage: men who are faithful followers of Christ with good stability in their lives and no opposition to marriage, but simply aren’t taking an active approach to looking because they’re pretty much ok with how their lives are now. I would encourage them to open themselves up to the possibility that maybe God intends a greater goodness in marriage. But I would never push it as a command, and I would never give such advice to all men. And like you said, there is a basic demographic problem: more women attend church than men. When I look at my own circle of faithful Christian friends, there just aren’t many single men fitting the situation I mentioned. Those inclined toward marriage tend to find spouses early because the odds are in their favor. I am of course generalizing - every person is unique. But as for DeYoung, this is part and parcel of his thinking. He believes marriage and having lots of children is how we need to be counter cultural and therefore win people to Christ.

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It is easy: DeYoung is TGC. TGC is bad (see from @21:40 here: https://youtu.be/pbUK5SOQ5sM?si=ONddXmIttFvY4aan&t=1302). Therefore, DeYoung book is bad.

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