Saturday, June 18, 2011

Female Independence...In The Old Testament

I was reading on SGM Survivors about how Joshua Harris had apologized for some of the bad practices in the Sovereign Grace churches and found the following link in a discussion about the situation.

The Bondage of Betrothal

The article cites some passages in the Old Testament that openly contradict one of the sacred cows of the so-called "courtship movement" -- the notion that adult women must have some male figure in charge of them, be it their father if available, the pastor of the church or someone else if not, and he has veto power over their marriage decisions.

In I Kissed Dating Goodbye, Harris states that if one wants to ask a woman to marry him, he must ask permission of those "responsible for the girl"--until that point, I agreed with a lot what the book was saying about not dating stupidly, but that passage jammed down on my personal Berserk Button something fierce.  He later modified his position to be less controlling and reactionary in Boy Meets Girl: Say Hello to Courtship, but the principle is still there, albeit expressed in a more benign and good-intentioned way.

(The father as a means of deterring scummy, dangerous men, not as owner of property to be passed around.)

Although the Biblical passages are linked within the article, I'll post the links here as well.  After all, the Bible should be the standard, not the words of a charismatic speaker or writer on one side of the issue or another.

Numbers 27-Daughters come after sons (as was usual in the context of pre-modern societies) but before other male relatives in inheriting property.  The need for a male protector was much greater in those days due to society being poorer and more violent, but the passage does not say to give the property to male relatives and insist they provide for/oversee single daughters until they are married.

Numbers 36-In which fatherless daughters who have inherited property may marry whomever they like, provided it is within the father's tribe (to avoid land being transferred from tribe to tribe).  I don't think land is really an issue now.

As the article states, there is no reference to adult women being treated as being under the authority/protection of a related male until they marry.  No references to male "covering" or any of that un-Biblical nonsense.

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