Saturday, 21 June 2008

The Right Order

Can we at least understand the right order if we are in relationships with the opposite gender?

1. Meet
2. Get to know each other (some relationships hold here)
3. Fall in love
4. Marriage
5. Sexual Intimacy
6. Happily ever after

Many get the order mixed up. This is the order God has in mind. If you can do it this way, you'll undoubtedly be advantaged.

1 Corinthians 14:40 (NLT)
40 But be sure that everything is done properly and in order.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Jim,
Where does "live together" fit in the list?

Jim Knaggs said...

Living together happens after marriage. i should have made that clear.

I also want to clarify that God's forgiveness is available to all who get the order out of line. i don't recommend, however, going out of order in expectation of forgiveness.

Anonymous said...

Im sorry Jim, your list leaves a lot of room for Judgement on others.

It does not affirm cultures in our community who are bound by different structures where they do not decide whom they marry, rather their world view is to love the one your with. This one might argue is closer to the biblical world view.

Also in Australia it is the State that defines what marriage is and whom might marry and not the church. Casting doubt on how we even understand the term marriage.

Do we now say that God has cast judgement on those who have lived faithfully for many years in defacto relationships? Marriage for many is expensive and creates financial burdens that bring hardship from the beginning of a union. Are there many of these people present in our forgiving congregations? Is this a sign of God's Judgement or ours?

It would seem to me that there are bigger questions here about the nature of relationships and the role of God's people in our community.

Might it not be better to say, no matter the order, or the circumstances the bible afirms mutuality, faithfulness, forgiveness, and love. If these things are right then I suggest the advantage would be greatest!

There is a greater need in this world for these things rather than lists that seemingly speak to a higher moral order, rather they rebuke, judge, and demand guilt from others.

Jim Knaggs said...

Anon. - I don't agree with humanist conjecture. The truths of the Word of God can be followed and should be in respect to God.

Marney Turner said...

Dear Commissioner Jim,
All I can say is "AMEN" to this post. Oh that all people would build their relationships in the front seats of a 'CHRIST-CENTRED' church. According to God's value system,not our own!
MARNEY TURNER

Anonymous said...

Jim, Since you seem to have a direct line of communication with God and what he has in mind concerning relationships let me ask you this; how does God feel about the fact that my Salvationist boyfriend keeps showing up in print as the husband of another woman and yet he swears he is not? Who do you and God think is lying, her or him? Is he deceiving me or is she deceiving your church? Is it acceptable to lie in your church? I don't even go to church and I don't lie. There is no happily ever after when people lie in a relationship is there?

Anonymous said...

Jim,

Humanist conjecture? Not all humanist conjecture is based in secularism, it was a vital contributor to the reformation. It is a belief that says because we are created in God's image we have the God given ability to reason, which is apart of the Wesleyan Holiness Tradition out of which the Salvation Army comes. You might want to add that this Territory has a rich tradition of humanism that today underlies our social services and encourages us to employ people who for all intense and purposes are humanists. Additionally our mission values are also humanist values and backed by scripture and I guess you might add God.

So I say to you as one of many Salvationists trying to live out our mission of transforming lives, caring for people etc, there are bigger questions in response to relationships, than a simple list, as nice as it sounds, to wrestle with. Pastoral responses to human need don't begin with neat lists, rather they begin, and I repeat, with Love, mutuality, forgiveness and faithfulness.

Jim Knaggs said...

Anon. - I am trying to hear what you're saying. Would you be willing to talk on the phone or in person?

Anonymous said...

Jim,
I think that other Salvationists would benefit from public discussion on this subject. Many if not all struggle and battle with pastoral responsibility and ask and deal with difficult questions every day. Most situations are not black and white and require tact and care. So I would invite you to specify what you disagree with and engage in public debate so that others might be built up.

Jim Knaggs said...

Anon. - Truths don't need debate. They need to be followed. I do agree with you about the love and forgiveness of God. These are truths as well. In this day and age we seem to have difficulty with truth and want to bend, reshape and just plain ignore it for many reasons.

I'm not trying to frustrate you or exact an unreasonable understanding of God's plan. I want you to know that I attempt to do everything that God requires. This comes from a relationship which He initiated and which I have gratefully received.

There are definite requirements in the relationship as there are in all healthy relationships. He is the Lord. We are His followers.

Anonymous said...

Jim,

I am not questioning your faith or commitment to God; I am questioning your list. The Ten Commandments is a great list to follow and yes its God's law. But take "do not murder", if you follow it to the letter, you can still hate. So Jesus says “I say to you any one who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgement”.
Why? Well because a list does not bring life, just as your list does not make a happy relationship. How many relationships which follow this list end in Divorce? How many who follow this list remain in happy relationships with no love? The evidence is out there for anyone to see.
Following the list might bring you some good and avoid some dangers and many follow it today because much of western culture affirms it.
Rather I would say that even before the list, into any culture, and any tradition more life will be found with: Love, mutuality, forgiveness and faithfulness. I am not talking here about God's character but the character God calls us to. Without these things I would suggest a relationship is not healthy, holy or what God intends, no matter how it came to be.
Jim, you do not frustrate me, you scare me, because I think unbeknownst to you, you are in danger of preaching much guilt! This is something that I don’t believe you want. It maybe difficult to understand but there is a big difference between following God's law and following Jesus. The Pharisees and many others followed God's law but it did not bring them life.
To dismiss this as humanistic conjecture or away of bending the truth is something I do not accept. Those who have humanistic tendencies maybe closer to the kingdom than you think (see Mark 9:39-41). And by questioning we find the truth. I in particular am questioning not to find a loop hole or a way out of the things I believe I am called to. Rather I question because deep within my spirit, I am not satisfied with such a response, my faith & knowledge of God's word call me to something better.
It is time we gave people better tools for relationships than lists.

Jim Knaggs said...

Anon. - I'm glad you are seeking truth. As you look to the Word of God, you will find great satisfaction.

I get it. You're finding it difficult to live with clearly detailed instructions in God's word.

Take a deep breath and ask yourself,"Who is the Lord?" It's not us.

The counsel given in the original blog is intended to remind readers of God's plan for relationships between a man and a woman. In today's culture, little regard is given to people in a relationship. We need to honour each other (and God) in the relationship with holy regard, not carnal desires. Too often, the relationship of couples is defined as love, when it is regrettably only sexual.

This perspective is precisely how we are directed (not encouraged or recommended) to live. The results of following God will always be right.

Hebrews 13:4 (NIV)
4 Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.

David - Your questions about the proof of believers' lives in our world speak to grace, not disproof of God's influence. I truly wish the divorce rate among believers was lower than non-believers. There is no question that everyone in this culture is affected by the culture. Just know that God doesn't dismiss us when we come short of His holy standard.

Remember, people who have found it necessary to divorce have gone through significant trauma. We must be careful not to reduce their pain to statistical notation and comparison.

I celebrate the inclusion of such people in the plan of God. He desires to make them whole as He does for all of us, through their faith in Him.

David said...

"people who have found it necessary to divorce have gone through significant trauma"

Isn't this apparent charitableness misplaced?

What about the cost these selfish divorcees imposed on the wider society? Not only financial costs, but the increased chance of their offspring contributing to society in a dysfunctional manner?

Divorced people with children directly, purposely and knowingly increase the amount of evil in the world across generations.

Divorced people with children deserve social condemnation first.

Jim, it is your friendly, forgiving approach to this, that is part of the reason divorce is so prevalent.

Anonymous said...

Jim,
I don't think I will take you to task on the fact that you think I am struggling to live with clearly detailed instructions from scripture! Rather I would encourage you to the think about the difference between law and grace.
I have not argued that we don't need marriage, or even that people should consider relationships that appeal to fulfilling their own carnal needs and selfish desire. The problem with your list is that it just lets people know what they are doing wrong, just as the apostle Paul views the law, and Jesus says the law is not enough. I, like they, am suggesting that more is needed. Let’s use David who has joined the discussion as an example, by making lists and rules we make everyone “sinners”, so for David those who divorce become selfish sinners (Obviously David I Don’t accept your reasoning). Divorce in Jesus time oppressed women, they had no power, and by casting them aside they became even more powerless, it’s a justice Issue. So Jesus in Matt 19 and the Sermon on the Mount to which I have already referred deals with such men. The law left no room for grace as do many marriages today. In Matt 19 Jesus refers to the grace and concession Moses and God give in response to Divorce, but a grace that Jesus does not want abused. The law here is transformed!
Jim, your list works in the same way. Not only does it not apply to cultures who work through marriage and relationships differently to our own (and this becomes more valid as Aust. becomes more multicultural), following it will not make a happy marriage or a happy relationship. Something else is needed and that is why I have argued all along that transformation of character is the most important thing to bring to a relationship. Based in scripture Love, Faithfulness, Mutuality and Forgiveness are all divine qualities to which we are called. I am not sure why this is foreign to you as it is central to Wesleyan Holiness, and you seem to preach about it a lot?
Jim, Yes I agree that more attention be given to relationships, but I am calling for a different approach that does more than lead to judgement, rather than looking like a relationship is ordered, I would rather see it first characterised by Christ. There is a difference.