Response to Al Mohler’s Blog

I wrote this to Dr. Mohler in response to this:  (It’s actually a really good article you should read it)

Dear Dr. Mohler,

First I’d like to say thank you for your leadership and insight. I’m responding to your recent blog post referring to Mark Regnerus’ recent article in Christianity Today. I am a single thirty two year old and am full aware of the irony of commenting on a blog post/article about marrying young. In fact I fully agree with the article and what you’ve stated both in the past and in your latest post. (God’s will for some of us is inscrutable in denying what has been desired and pursued) However being an “adult” single man involved heavily in the church for the past ten years perhaps I have an insight into a factor that drives the current abstinence/marriage culture of Evangelicalism. While I believe both Mark Regenerus and your points were excellent I believe there is a glaring point that was missed, that being, the idolization and preoccupation of the Evangelical Church in America upon family. As Mr. Regenerus writes the population of America is now 50% single, yet within the church the majority of the ministry focus is upon family. Not that there is anything inherently wrong with focusing on the family, but when the identity of the individual believer in a given church within the church is validated more or less upon their having a family or being apart of a family I believe there is an unintended side effect. Namely, that the concept of being a mature adult in Christ, and the responsibilities to Christ and the church that that entails is undefined. To put it in a blunter way, the Evangelical Church as a whole doesn’t know what an ADULT is, with or without a family, and unfortunately we’ve justified the extended adolescence of a generation through the guise of “family”. On the ultra conservative, courting culture side you have young adults living under their parent’s ”authority” well into their mid twenties. On the other hand you have permissive parents who wash their hands of bringing up their children, “let go” and simply accept juvenile and promiscuous lifestyles all the while “loving” them and waiting for their children to grow out of “it” and come back to them, I mean the Lord. Both extremes allow parents to continue to “parent” well into their young adults life and absolve the young woman or man from accepting their own responsibility before the Lord. My fear in this discussion is that marriage fits all to well into the idolatry of family. For many parents it isn’t functionally Jesus Christ that saves and keeps their children in the church its marriage. For too many singles what would ultimately validate them as a believer and give them a sense of belonging within the church isn’t Christ, its marriage, and for many women, children.

Perhaps what is most needed within American Evangelicalism is an understanding and focus on what it means to be a mature Christian in all the relationships, callings and responsibilities that entails. This goes for parents and young adults as well. Perhaps if the church really set about discipling young single men instead of putting them into singles groups that are really “youthgroup 2.0” there would be more young men answering the challenge of an adventurous life in Christ. (And it might help to not berate those that are at least showing up and trying to grow that they’re immature, in this society I believe the church has to face facts with what it’s dealing with) Perhaps if the church helped young women to become more mature and not encourage romanticized relationships looking for “the one”, there might be more women acting in faith and confidence instead of fear or despair. Perhaps if parents relinquished their hold over their young sons and daughters and didn’t strive to shield them from disappointment and pain, there might be young men and women learning how to love, forgive, and reconcile in Christ. Perhaps when the church as a whole begins to teach people how to live lives of faith in the seasons and callings He has given them, we might see younger marriages


2 Responses to “Response to Al Mohler’s Blog”

  1. Well, okay, but if the evangelical church doesn’t know what an adult is, and neither does the world, what exactly is an ADULT, then? Is such a term ultimately artificial? Is there something ultimately of value in seeking to imbue value in the term apart from a familial context?

    I wonder if what we should be concerned about is not the formation of families that literally produce offspring, but in building the family of God in the kingdom and in particular in the local church?

  2. jaymallow Says:

    Sean, you have hit on a bit of the pith of my assertion. “Adulthood”/maturity for the Christian IS personally pursuing the kingdom of God even in the midst of ALL the relations God has given. I’m afraid that the church tends to obscure through an emphasis on “family” the greater call to the Church and the Kingdom. The call to every believer is to mature in Christ, regardless, because of, and through all the relations God has given. And I think there is the rub, we’ve ignored the “regardless, and because of” and made an idol out of the “through”

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