Messages from Young Adults

Adventists + Dating // OVERRATED

Overrated. That’s the word I use to describe this whole discussion.

Seriously, the social club that is the SDA church has become like the English nobility of old when it comes to the topic of marriage. We’re inbred. We all go to Andrews, Oakwood, Loma Linda, Southern, Babcock, Valley View and then marry each other and inbreed. There, I said it and if you were 100% honest with yourself, you would agree that this is true on so many different levels.

As someone who is a third-generation born and bred SDA church-going sanctified saint, I have been a party to this to marital philosophy for so long and it ends today. There is only one verse in the Bible that we use to defend our position, I don’t even need to quote the whole thing, all I need to say is “Do not be unequally…,” and anyone over the age of 15 in the Adventist church will be able to finish it for me.  Right about now I can almost see the blood rising to your face and the fumes coming out of your nose as you pick up a stone and try and stone me, the Adventist heretic, but hear me out.

  1. Bible verse: Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers: What does this mean to you? The Bible does not say, “Do not marry someone who isn’t an SDA,” but it says do not yoke yourself to someone who is not a believer.  A believer is not limited to SDAs, but instead is a person who BELIEVES that Jesus Christ is the son of God. End of story. Stop trying to add more to scripture, because in Revelation 22 it tells us that those who add to scripture, God will add to him the plagues described in the book of Revelation (i just had to throw that in there).

  2. Numbers don’t lie: The divorce rate for Christians and Non-Christians are only a couple of single digits away from each other. The General Social Society (GSS) recently released a study that puts the divorce rate outside the church at 48% and divorce rate inside of the church at 41%.1 So please stop limiting your options by stressing over a 7% window of happiness, because that is all you get if you just pick someone based on the fact that they go to your church. When it comes to percentage of actual divorces, 34 % of Christians interviewed had been divorced in comparison with 30% of atheists. So with all our bible thumping and professing, atheists have a better marriage record than we do.2

  3. Sabbath, who cares? The day you go to church means absolutely nothing if you are screaming at each other the remaining days of the week. Love trumps religion, if you and your spouse go to church on the same day but can’t stand each other during the week what does it really say about your relationship with Christ? You show your true love for Christ by loving those in your life so let’s stop pretending that sitting next to your spouse in church fixes your problems. If we do that we are only skirting around the major issue.
  4. Pretense: The social club church is a dying institution that fails to meet the challenges of the 21st century, as the numbers in the previous point show. The church is not immune to divorce, child abuse, pre-marital sex, drugs, alcohol, abortions, pornography? These all occur within the walls of our social club church, and in most situations we are too scared of being unsacred to ask for help and those who see it choose to ignore the issue until it becomes public and then our cure is to convene the BOARD to dis-fellowship the individual instead of dealing with the major issue. We wrote the book on hiding your sins so why would you want to align yourself for the rest of eternity with someone who has the same problems as you do (pretense). As a whole, we are fake so wouldn’t you want someone who doesn’t have this disease?

    Wouldn’t you want to be with a person who complements your need to keep up appearances with their need to be real?

    Why in the world would you want to marry someone else that would also approach your marriage like a PR event, only caring about what the outside world thinks?
  5. Fortress cycle: The average SDA church is like a fortress – we are adverse to the outside world and only admit a few people who have agreed to jump through our hoops. That is why we encourage our grown children (18+) to attend institutions of higher learning where they will be surrounded by people who talk exactly like them, eat like them and read the same literature. We say it’s because we want them to have a deeper relationship with Christ, but is that the whole truth? It is like on some level we are scared to allow them to mix with the world for fear of contamination and so we tell them lies that all they have to do is marry within the church in order to stay happy while ignoring the major issue.

Let me wrap this up. I know SDA pastors that married within the confines of our denomination and are miserable. I know women in our church who physically abuse their husbands. I can name 3 “aunties” right now who have their social club status but are miserable with their spouse. It really will not take me too long to tell you all their business because as a pastor’s kid, I’ve been privy to the real story that isn’t talked about within the boundaries of the sanctuary.

So here’s the conclusion of it all. The major issue, which I have been alluding to all this time, is the truth that a relationship with God isn’t osmosis. It doesn’t happen just because you marry someone in the church or go to church; this relationship with Christ isn’t defined by the label you stick on your forehead, your church attendance, or position on the church board. Our churches today are FULL of people who profess to be followers of Christ but are empty. Looking for a spouse in the world is a tad bit easier, in a sense, because those in the world don’t pretend to love the Lord or dance to our tune of pretense so it is easy to spot a genuine soul. Finding a spouse in the SDA church is harder, because we have been indoctrinated to always put up a good front and some of us are really good at it. The result? Tread softly and slowly because it is hard to distinguish the knock-off from the original. I’m almost done with this rant so I’ll stop typing soon.

Marriage is a union created by God which can only reach its full potential if the 2 major parties have a relationship with Christ and are continually seeking His will above their own. If you find this in the SDA church, congratulations but if the person isn’t a member of our social club his/her desire to be like Christ will continue to evolve as they uncover deeper truth about Christ. So men look for a women who loves God more than she loves you and ladies look for men… (oops I forgot we aren’t suppose to search ‘cuz King Solomon tells men to find a good thing, and ladies are just suppose to sit there, be cute and become the Prov. 31 lady).
Okay let me try one last time to summarize this rant. God is not concerned with the label you give yourself , but with the life you live,
so marry a person whose heart is so lost in God, that you must seek Christ in order to find them. Anything else is a waste of your time.

1,  A summary of this report is available at

2 Barna Group 2008 Study

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  • Janice A. Becca (Author) said:

    good rant.

    i think it’s important to note that these same labeling deficiencies are not exclusive to the Adventist denomination. whether you widen the search circle or limit it to one particular denomination, you have to sort through counterfeit to find the real thing.

  • Prerna Wilson said:

    I think it is also important to consider the sacred writings given to us by God Himself through Sister E. G. White before going into any decisions. I don’t really agree with the article above.

  • Jonathan said:

    What a write-up. I see this as an expression of a heart ache of the writer and i don’t sopport it in any form. the w ay the writeup ended, have you ever considered the stroy of SAMSON carefully in the contex of your write-up how much more turning to ISAAC. So i encourage the writer to check these Bible account bearing in mind what the writer aims at. I believe that the BIBLE is the TRUE guide and GOD’s counsel through E.G White most not be neglected. I Also desire that the writer also see or check-out this counsels.

  • em Eaee said:

    thank you for writing this article. I totally support this and as an adult raised in the adventist church, a preachers kid, No less a female preacher has her M Div and who was not allowed to be ordained for reasons that are stilll not logically explained other than she is not a man. This resulting in nothing more than a highly educated missionary, why even go to the seminary if you as a female are not allowed to have a church and preach….But i digress. This spoke to the heart of why the Adventist church are loosing their youth. Christianity should be a faith in which all are welcome to come and worship thier Lord, but Adventism has ended up being an instutution of exclusivity in which all are shunned unless they conform, where doctrine and EG white comes before the bible and your relationship with christ. I being raised in the Adventist church, having gone to AA Academy and Andrews know first hand that we are raise in a way that forces us to lead double lives. If we are on a journey to know our Lord and have human question or dont agree with all of the doctrine, we are made to feel shame for even questioning this religion. None the less it has become more about rules than about your relationship with God. I do not want to have a debate on bible verses which is the first thing that is done when someone challenges this religon. I myself married a Christian who genuinly loves the Lord in a way all the young men i went to school with did not possese. there was not that Church face and the after church face that i saw so much in my Adventist schools, praising God hand out streached in church chior, crying Amen speak at any given occation, and sabbath night cursing drinking and clubbing it up. Mind you i was at the club too, but i wasnt hiding when someone i knew saw me, because i saw nothing wrong with dancing. Anyway i could ramble all day, but to close… when i found love with a man that loved the Lord and was told i could not be married by an adventist minister that when i knew my church is in the business of keeping people out, not welcoming them in.

  • ellamennopea (Author) said:

    Some math:

    (SDA == Christian) ?
    (Christian == SDA) ?
    (You == Christian) ?

    The question here isn’t even about staying within the SDA confines or not. The bigger issue is BEING a true Christian and then partnering with a true Christian. For some reason, people, SDA’s especially, I’ve found, are skittish about acknowledging that Christianity comes first BEFORE ANY OTHER LABEL. In a perfect world, “SDA” and “Christian” would be synonymous. Are they? We’ve got a lot of growing to do. Kemi’s got it right as far as putting forth the idea that what matters above all else is Christ in your heart. Be real, people: if you accepted Jesus Christ and He was truly living in your heart and you patterned your life 100% after His and you kept ALL of His commandments and you treat the Bible as the infallible Word of God and you were as humble as He was and you prayed and sought His will (and listened to it and OBEYED it) every step of the way and you had/exercised faith enough to truly move mountains and people didn’t see you but Jesus instead… would we even be having this conversation? I don’t know about you, but I want to be and date someone who has all the characteristics (and more) I just listed. Certainly, I pray that this magical person is SDA. But, there is merit in being cautious about simply dating a LABEL above all else.

    Oh, and Samson just picked that girl because she was pretty and “pleased him well”. While it’s true, and unfortunate, that he sought a mate outside the camp, I don’t see anything in Judges about him seeking out or even desiring the qualities of the person in light of her relationship with God. I think Kemi is calling us to go beyond someone who “pleases us well” even if they are within the camp.

  • Dee said:

    It’s good to see people waking up to the limitations of coming up within a cocoon. Unfortunately one can’t just leave Oakwood/Andrews and magically know how to read people after 20+ years within the cocoon so a significant portion head back to “what they know.” I think that SDAs would benefit by following the example of the “real world” and promoting young adults taking their time to get married. I*ve watched as my childhood friends started hopping into marriage from 18 (usually the pregnant ones), directly after college (and I mean directly) or soon thereafter. This tends to lessen the chances of a cohesive adult relationship since both parties are usually sheltered children still.

    Keep writing and challenging the norm because regardless of the knee jerk reactions some might have in the comments it’s good for people to step outside of our very, very, comfortable zone and see who we really are. I used to like to tell people that one thing I respected about being raised SDA was that we were taught to debate different ideas but the older I get the less I see discussion and more I see opposing ideas getting shot down. If you profess to be a Christian please follow the religions namesake and listen for once… you’d be surprised how much you learn with your mouth shut.

  • Jennifer said:

    Wow Kemi, I can’t believe that you had the courage to balk convention and speak the truth. I think the naysayers may have misunderstood what the article was saying…or didn’t read the whole thing. I applaud you on your brevity and insight.

    As a PK myself, I grew up living in the facade and pretense. I got baptized, went through the motions…but never had a personal relationship with Jesus. I prayed, I read the Bible everyday, I did everything one was supposed to do, but never felt the Holy Spirit. I can quote EG White, the Bible and verses to support my beliefs from now until Jesus came, and yet I still didn’t have a true connection with God. So I started faking it. Instead of admitting my failures, I did what was expected of me, took leadership in the church, attended all the services, sang in the choir etc. but I was not a Christian.

    I was approached by so many men, who wanted to marry me, merely for the image that I had concocted, and I was adept at hiding my true self. If I could rack up interest in me, as fake as I was…then how was I supposed to know who around me was fake versus who was real? I lived a sham for majority of my life, and it wasn’t until I hit the QuarterLife Crises that I was able to break free from ‘the expectations of the church’ and find a deeper spirituality.

    We are not taught to be real. We are taught what is right, and how to conform. Any naysayers are instantly branded as ‘bad’. Those that sin are shunned, or their sins kept secret lest we ruin the SDA image.

    For the fact that marrying ‘an outsider’ is still a huge taboo in the church, and inbreeding is the norm, this is a problem, and this has led to many Adventist singles feeling lost, or getting betrayed by the same flock they are a part of. We can’t keep looking at the world through rose tinted SDA glasses. Just because someone goes to church doesn’t automatically make them Husband/Wife material. Living in the Cocoon of Adventism, it becomes harder to spot fake people since we are all indoctrinated to ‘put on a happy face’.

    Just because someone leads the Sabbath school lesson, or sings in the choir doesn’t make them the right person for you. We need to stop using Adventism as a marker for relationships…and instead look to their relationship with God. And it’s quite possible for a non-Adventist to have a deeper connection to God than most of the Adventists in your church. That was what the article was saying. That being a Christian, is far more important in choosing a mate than being an Adventist.

  • Jojo said:

    Kemi, I agree 100%. I always love reading what you write because, I can actually hear your voice. This message should be read in all our churches, and in all our “Adventist Schools” . Why are we limiting what God can do through us? By sticking to our own? Matt 28: 18-20 urges us to preach to all the world. Not exclude ourselves from the world. If by marrying a NON-ADVENTIST, i can bring someone closer to christ…. WHY NOT?????

  • Janice A. Becca (Author) said:

    ummm…i was in a discussion this past sabbath where someone suggested the same thing. dating as an evangelistic tool. while, we should always strive to bring people closer to Christ, i’m not sure intentionally seeking out relationships with individuals who don’t have a relationship w/ Christ should be our primary objective. in fact, i think that’s the exact opposite of what we’re told to do – as this would actually constitute being unequally yoked. you place yourself in an non-neutral position, and the results can be damaging for you and/or the person you were trying to bring closer to Christ.

  • Kadia said:

    well the honesty of it is that we as christians make life bad for ourselves. Why do we need to analyse others lives and put down people’s religion and way of living. Everyone wants their teaching to be the correct one, and nothing is wrong with proclaiming it. the onus is on us whether to believe or not, but no where in this process should other’s should be torn down. Who cares if Adventist want to marry and have a inner circle, who cares if catholic want to beleive in hale Mary. Many of us act as if Christians are not to make mistakes and frankly i think we ravel in people’s mistakes that we build them up.
    I frankly, have no problem with your aticle because we all have freedom of speech, but for heaven sake, why the world these days have to know everyones thoughts. I think we need to take some of our thoughts and concerns to the Lord in prayer and let people live their their christians however they see fit. Whether that mean marrying people of your faith or not marring ect. After all God gave all of us choices

  • Mudiwa said:

    Maybe – because I know the author I am not taking this personally. What has been most interesting is that most people seem to be missing the point! Some who have read this article are so heated that their beliefs and comfort zone has been invaded that they missed the LAST PARAGRAPH!

    So note to readers – if you are not objective – read the last paragraph. If you are open minded – read the whole thing and let it digest. The bottom line is this: what God tells you to do – you do. In this context God really is the God in heaven and not the ‘god’ of lust, of ‘that man is too hott to ignore’, of my parents did it so why can’t I, of ‘he still believes in a higher power..just not Jesus’….

    nuff said…

  • Oniel said:

    Nice article, some points I agreed with, some I didn’t agree with. I must commend Kemi, for writing on this issue, as there needs to be more open dialogue on these issues within the Christian community. Christ Himself said “Come and let us reason together,” so He wants us to talk and reason things out with Him, so we shouldn’t be afraid to discuss the issues on our minds. It’s better to be true and ask for God’s help to make us better than to be a fake to both ourselves and the whole world.

    I’ve struggled with this issue time and time again, and have felt bitter at times for having to separate from a fine “outsider” girlfriend of mine. I’ve tried to be a regular friend to her but she wanted no part of that. Even though I’m hurt, I trust that God knows what’s best for me. I also agree with most of what ellamennopea and Jennifer said.

    I, however, thought a Seventh-day Adventist was someone who keeps the commandments of God and has the faith of Jesus, and not just a label. If you buy a bottle labeled “Pure Drinking Water” but when you consume a sample of its contents you discover that it has the taste, colour and smell of chocolate milk, does that mean it really is water, or is it chocolate milk? My point is, not all who say they are SDA’s are really SDA so I think we need to stop focusing on a label. We need to ask God to help us to find a true Christian partner who puts Him first, and more than likely that may be found within the flock of real SDA’s.

    I don’t think it makes sense being married to a person outside of your faith if the person and yourself won’t agree on something as basic as training up your children to obey all the Commandments of God and so on. There is bound to be disagreement somewhere. From my own experience, as a SDA you may make some simple Christian decisions even before kids come into play that may offend your non-Christian partner, that cause a strain to be made on your relationship as well. You may be making logically good decisions that may make no sense whatsoever to them because they don’t understand where you’re coming from.

    Some folks may get married for silly reasons, even if they wear the SDA label, and a marriage like that is more than likely bound for failure. So just like every other thing in life, we need to seek God’s guidance in everything, and to follow His direction laid out in His Inspired Word. He knows all and knows exactly what is best for us.

    Christianity is not about labels, its about following Christ’s example and our individual connection or relationship with Him, and just like in many other aspects of life, there are different levels of this – some may be closer to or farther from God, some may know or understand more, some may understand less, and pairing with people who are on different levels or who want to go in opposite directions has the potential to cause great trouble, just as if you pair two oxen that want to go in different directions.

    I hope this comment helps, but trust me Kemi, I think I understand what you’re feeling. Please keep the articles coming, but remember God loves us and only wants the best or us that’s why he gave us these principles to follow, as a guide or map through this cold and cruel world.

  • KM said:

    Dee spoke about “the cocoon” earlier. Well, a cocoon is great while you’re still a caterpillar. If you’re a butterfly trying to stay hunched up in that cocoon, you will have issues, and you will never fly. The question each person has to answer for themselves is “Am I a butterfly still in a cocoon, and if so, who’s benefitting from my stunted growth?”

    Partnering up with another person can be about social standing and the approval of family or congregation; I’ve seen that. It can be about wanting a socially acceptable outlet for sex; seen that too, and it’s a lame reason to marry anybody. But marriage can also be about forming the best possible team to carry out a 2-person calling or ministry. In order to get there, though, both people have to know who they are, and I promise you, they don’t teach that in Adventist colleges, and they don’t teach it in most congregations. You have to learn who you are and what you are here for on your own.

    To reduce spiritual compatibility to the 27-now-28-fundamentals is to miss so much about people, about faith, and about purpose. Sure, Sabbath is important to me, but I would have to ask — what about my observance of it would make it so unattractive to my friends that none of them would choose to join me of their own accord and interest? If my beliefs are consistent and logical, why would they not be persuasive?

    Dee also said: “I used to like to tell people that one thing I respected about being raised SDA was that we were taught to debate different ideas but the older I get the less I see discussion and more I see opposing ideas getting shot down. If you profess to be a Christian please follow the religions namesake and listen for once… you’d be surprised how much you learn with your mouth shut.”
    True word.

  • SybilTheGreat said:

    The Bible says, in the book of Joel, “In the last days I will pour out my Spirit (Holy Spirit) upon ALL flesh – not just the veggie variety! Men, women and children will be filled with the Spirit of God. Now while there is at least an instance or two of an ass and a Gentile being used by God, the point is that this homo thing we do (homo as in homogenization) is not what God had in mind when he told his people to come out of the world and be different. The whole idea was to be easily recognizable (as in the case of diet and rituals) so that the rest of the world could see how blessed God’s people are who are obedient to him.
    Now, from the time of the Patriarchs until Christ, God gave his chosen people some ritual behaviors to perform…things like throwing a heiffer on the barbee (altar); baking some bread, burning incense; dancing; singing; partying… actually – on a regular basis; cutting off the foreskin; etc.
    But in the last days, since the death and resurrection of Christ, the list of ritual behaviors has grown terribly short – love God, yourself and someone other than yourself – even relatives can count as an “other than yourself” person. (Once your were obligated to say that you loved your kin, but we do live in the last days!)
    Now Christ told God in his prayer to the Father in John 17 or so that the one identifying mark of his followers is unity – that is one of the other ritual behaviors. That whole thing about we all have to be homo, as in homogenized, is not unity. It is unity in purpose – to love as God has loved us. Unity in the Spirit.
    Now I have yet to read a place in the Bible where every body had to be a Jew. As a matter of fact Paul discusses that fact that Gentiles can do right by nature (by the power of the Holy Spirit) when the law of God is written in there heart.
    But BAdventist need a dim light to illuminate the brighter light and encourage us SAdventist to keep ranks with only those like us. Paul, if I am not mistaken, was inspired to tell us that the law of love is the greatest of these laws.
    Now if my agape love can be to every one, yet anyone, cannot my philial and erotic love be to anyone as well? But I could be mistaken because that heavy, hot, steamy, animal attraction would never be anything that an Adventist God would allow. You think?
    Or maybe its just the debil (devil) himself who set me up with this unshakable attraction to a heathen Christian.
    ADVventist think they can ADVance the kingdom of God by taking hold of a lable that gives them ADVantage over others. The ADVsary, the debil (devil) has conned us into believing that love is confined to a color, denomination, geographic location or vegetation.
    Our poor sisters, my poor sisters end up going to church hating on the sister who sits (most miserabley) in church with her man and thinks life would be better if she had one too. Maybe, maybe not – just depends on the man. Most ADVenturers that I know of the male persuasion are either so heaven bound that they are no earthly good or too busy trying to hide the addictions to drugs, alcohol, women, porno, gaming, gambling, lying, stealing (yes a couple of bank robbers have come out of OC), all the forms of abuse, and the list goes on, that you wouldn’t want to be bothered. But guess what? These poor souls are sinners and sinners come in ADVentist wraps, BAPtist wraps, APIstolic wraps, HOLiness wraps, CHUrch of God wraps, even WITnesse wraps! Oh, the list goes on and on and on, but believe that there is a difference between a believer and an unbeliever. We are all sinners, some of us just call ourselves Christians.
    But I digress. Hats off to the Author! Well said…aman…amen…mayhem! Its time for us to speak out about the hypocitical stance that we take about our demominational affiliations.
    I love men – thank God! And if God sends me a man who is not an Adventist then I say “A man that God sends me is better than the men that the church wants to stick me with. May him be a godly man…always. Amen

  • Who shall remain anonymous said:

    I’m sorry you feel this way….but you know Lucifer (Satan plus the 2/3 fallen angels) all believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God right? Read Mark 5 the story of the demoniac….Legion (Satan) says: “What have I to do with you, Jesus, you Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, don’t torment me.” So make sure you understand what a ‘believer’ in the scripture means before you conclude anything …. cuz that way you fall in the category of them who “add to the scripture.” Don’t take that risk…

  • Jennifer said:

    Anonymous 9/13@259

    You’re so quick to quote Bible verses. But no where does it say in the Bible that Seventh day Adventists are:
    1. the only believers
    2. the only ones going to heaven
    3. the only ones that are saved.

    Obviously you didn’t read the article in its entirety.

  • No label (lol) said:

    Good food for thought..well put together; teasing the minds of those who wish to agree, disagree or just be “on the border line.” However not until you try the union between being a Seventh-Day Adventist and other denominations will you realize the difficulties of your decision.
    The bible asks in Amos 3:3 “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” there are certain values that the Seventh- Day Adventist hold true in accordance with the bible. For the sake of this discussion the value (command) is the observance of the seventh day as the sabbath of the Lord in accordance with Exodus 20:8.
    1. The observation of the Sabbath requires that no work be done…no worldly pleasure.. those within thy gates also observe the sabbath…and so on. What if the partner does not want to obey the commandment of God? What will happen here? Conflict is inevitable, whether you want to believe it or not. Advice- AVOID THIS!!!!!.
    2. Imagine a union of this sort being sanctified and out of that.. here comes a child (see you know where I’m going, but hear me out). What will happen to that child when he or she is ready to go to church.. “He’s coming to church with me today” response… ” Ok.. fine..but he’s coming with me tomorrow…” Where is his free time..? Furthermore, what does the commandment say about the day of worship?Will you obey 9 and disobey 1…What will happen to that child when he grows older (assuming its a males). I believe he will feel like he’s being torn between two beliefs. Advice – AVOID THIS !!! God does not lavish in division!!
    These are but a few possible difficulties that one may face…
    The bottom line is that this is not the desire of the master who desires unity and oneness and if the two shall become one what happens when the “right hand offends you” in the context of this discussion Mat 5:30 And if thy right hand offend thee (yeah.. you know the text well) , cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. Advice “AVOID THIS!!!”
    It is out of love that we respect boundaries. Infatuation is blind..but love sees and examines… ADVICE.- Don’t Be Blinded Today… See the difficulties and examine!!!

  • KM said:

    I know that I’m unequally yoked with anyone who thinks that sabbath observance is about church attendance.

    “What about the children” is another weak argument that has been used to dissuade everything from marriages between social classes and marriages between ethnic groups. “But they’ll be confused” only when two partners haven’t learned to communicate. And if that’s the case there are much deeper issues and much worse consequences than Johnny doesn’t get to play football on Sunday morning because Papa wants to go to church again.

  • Kendall Turcios said:

    There are so many things I agree with in this blog and at the same time I find myself compelled to lovingly challenge a selection of the underlying assumptions.

    I Agree…
    …with the need to challenge our current and disastrous condition paralleling secular society in the nearly identical divorce rates. There has got to be something drastically wrong with the Christianity some people are living, when it doesn’t appear to make any difference between those inside ‘belief’ and those outside ‘belief.’ I also affirm our need to resist a ‘fortress’ mentality keeping ourselves so far from the ‘real world’ that we’re no earthly good in saving the lost.

    So what are we to do when considering prospective marital partners? Is there a ‘baby’ being thrown out in the dirty bathwater we’re trying to get rid of? (Crying heard in the background) I patently disagree that Seventh-day Adventist’s should date/court/marry outside of our faith! Why? Is it because of traditionalism, legalism, because I’m supposed to say so as an SDA minister? Not a chance! My conviction is based on sound biblical principle.

    You’re interpretation of the direct context of 2 Corinthians 6 is correct in that it speaks specifically about relationships between believer’s and unbelievers. (E.g. an SDA marrying a Buddhist/Hindu/Muslim/Mormon etc. – right now some politically correct proponent is fuming, because undoubtedly some would argue that as long as people are SINCERE in their belief who are we to pontificate. But alas where can we draw a line anymore in our era of relativism?)

    Is it possible that we can extrapolate an underlying principle from 2 Corinthians 6? Are we missing the fact that Paul is taking some things as a given? Remember who his audience is. He is speaking to the first generation of Christians! There are no ‘other’ believers! Of the 9 major world religions Christianity is today, nothing like its origin. It is the most fragmented religion of all having over 3000 different churches.

    Amos 3:3 says, “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” This passage adds to our understanding of the biblical principle of ‘spiritual unity.’ Mark 3:25 says, “And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand.” We need to look deeper to see God’s true biblical principles for ‘spiritual unity’ much the same as we do in the absence of any biblical prohibition on the use of CRACK! We don’t find anywhere in the bible it’s prohibition but we extrapolate the biblical principle of healthful living and avoiding harmful substances in 1 Corinthians 6:19, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own.” How can we not do the same for spiritual unity?

    The assertion that the most important thing you need is someone who ‘believes Jesus Christ is the Son of God,’ is incomplete. God’s direction for us is to live our lives faithfully according to the light WE have been given. It’s less about how Christian the other young man or woman is, and more about how we can remain faithful to our convictions by marrying them! I’m in no way advocating our young people merely marry an SDA. What I am unequivocally stating is that our young people need to marry someone who is completely surrendered to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ…and is an SDA.

    Having recently seen a case where a Catholic and an SDA were married for 25 years and after his conversion to Adventism, hearing the pain of how he and his wife had been spiritually separated all those years gives us a case in point as to the trauma of marrying other ‘believers’. Before you jump on the, ‘see everything turned out just fine’ band-wagon, don’t ignore the years of lonely nights and excruciating pain that is ‘spiritual disunity,’ as well as the majority of cases where things don’t turn out well. Having enjoyed 12 years of marriage with my SDA wife I can tell you the greatest unity isn’t physical but spiritual unity. Why would I ever want to condemn anyone to a life of spiritual disunity?

    Here and there…
    Although Adventism has several ‘ghettos’ (an area where ‘minority’ groups live – referring here to ideology rather than ethnicity) it’s inaccurate to portray our schools as ‘inbreeding’ grounds seeing that statistically we actually have close to 90% of our Seventh-day Adventist young people in non-SDA universities. How could this ‘inbreeding’ possibly occur? This assumption is flawed, as is the assertion of our primary motivation for sending our own to our schools by saying,

    “The average SDA church is like a fortress…That is why we encourage our grown children (18+) to attend institutions of higher learning…”

    to merely to perpetuate the ‘inbreeding.’ The tragic reality is that our youth and young adults are becoming an endangered species in the SDA Church. We are moving toward having a missing generation of the 18-35yr. olds according to M. Sahlin’s most recent study of the NAD. The stats don’t fit the argument.

    Final Thoughts!
    The reason why this blog really moved upon my heart is because in a great sense it echoes the dripping cynicism I find in my own experience when I look at the cognitive dissonance that permeates a lot of what we do as a church. Being a member of ‘Generation X,’ few people can trump my cynical view of most things, and so…I get it. Somehow God in his mercy has imbued me with an unbelievable amount of optimism, and idealism.

    I urge you to wait on God! Please don’t make the mistake of going out and LOOKING for your mate! Wait on God, and he will bring the most awesome life partner to you. It was when I stopped looking that I quit making immensely painful decisions and then God was able to bring my wife into my life. My wife can attest that her experience was identical. Also, keep questioning! Keep asking really tough questions! Do not let anyone stifle discussion and the heart wrenching probing that needs to continue to follow true believers and reformers. At the same time let’s remain humble, teachable and open to considering other explanations for our current excruciating experience of languishing in Laodicea.

  • KM said:

    “Remember who his audience is.”

    Good suggestion: look at the conext. Paul did not expect, plan for, or bank on 2,000 more years of people living, loving, birthing, and dying. Like most in his generation, he expected to see the end of all things in the near future, if not in his lifetime. He described marriage as a concession, “not a sin” (and what could have made anyone think marriage was a sin?). “It’s better if you stay like me, but if you can’t manage it without sinning, marry someone and have regular relations.” Hard to blame him really. I might have been loath to build a family during that period as well: It wasn’t a friendly time for anyone who was different.

    These believers were a unique sect of Jews and Gentiles who claimed a higher authority than Caesar, there weren’t that many of them, and they were in the Romans’ bad graces a lot. Paul’s pastoral advice to those who were already unmarried was that they should marry if they had to. His advice to those married to nonChristians was that they should not break their bond because, he said, the Christian partner sanctified spouse, home, and the children. The lucky ones were baptized in intact families, like Stephanus.

    Thanks, Kendall, for pointing out some of the contextual issues. Strange that we have a 2-millennium advantage over Paul and a lot more social liberty too — but are not much further along in our sense of God’s intention for ourselves, the church, or the world we’re a part of.

  • Pam Thompson said:

    Awesome message. Wish I had read it 15yr or more sooner. As the Church’s secretary’s Granddaughter.


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