Tuesday, February 23, 2010

raising purity

I've not read a lot of dating books, but I have a pretty intense theology of dating (just ask any of the kids in my youth group.) I am convinced that modern dating is unhealthy and in most cases unbiblical. So, when I picked up Gerald Hiestand's book Raising Purity for review I was a little surprised that he agreed.

As always, the biggest idea to keep in mind when trying to figure out how to keep relationships pure is how they reflect Christ. Hiestand nails this in a number of aspects. On page one of the intro is this line, "...we will be searching for the heart of God, expressed fully in the person of Christ. We will be searching for a Son-exalting purity that is not defined by what it isn't but by what it is. Ultimately--though perhaps you didn't realize it--we will be searching for the gospel."

Hiestand delivers on his promise. This book is all about exalting the name of Jesus in our relationships.

One of the main cornerstones of the book is defining relationships biblically, leading to two choices: married or unmarried, neighbors or spouses. If you aren't married to the person, then you should treat them as a neighbor. He gets this from a variety of texts and expounds on what that means for "dating." If you wouldn't do it with a family member or your next door neighbor, you shouldn't be doing it while dating. That makes things pretty clear doesn't it?

Where does he get this exalted view of marriage and this low view of dating? He gets it from this idea that "in a very real sense, we Christians are currently engaged to Christ." Only with engagement does real commitment occur. Dating offers no promise of a future, therefore, dating (in the modern sense) is dangerous because it offers a false sense of security.

Beyond the practical advice on how to seek relationships biblically is some sobering wisdom on lust and sin. Based on several passages of Scripture he makes this statement: "Spontaneous emotional responses are not morally neutral; they reveal the conditions of our hearts. When we spontaneously respond in rage to the rude driver, in condemnation to the fallen saint, or in lust to thee attractive woman, we reveal the agendas of our hearts are not as aligned with God as they should be."

Wow. That's powerfully convicting.

I'd recommend the book to anyone with children and anyone who deals with youth. There is a lot of wisdom packed into a short 150 pages that will help you think clearly about relationships and helping kids wade through the minefield of modern dating.


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