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The Art of Dating #1

Lots of Changes have come!


From some old "Good News" magazines, published by the Worldwide
Church of God,  before they moved into theological apostasy. The
series started in January 1987 - (Keith Hunt).

Unmarried people in every age group face a bewildering array of
choices in personal relationships. Yet few possess right
knowledge about dating. Beginning this issue a major series of
Good News articles will examine this subject.

By Greg R. Albrecht

     Family life in the Western world is crumbling. Broken
marriages, mate and child  abuse, juvenile delinquency, sexually
transmissible diseases, frustration and loneliness affect
     Yet the very foundation of any stable civilization is a
solid family structure. Today's civilization, with its foundation
disintegrating, is on the way out!

     Why this crisis in family life?

     Nothing in this world is more important than a happy home
life, with father, mother and well-taught, happy children - a
close-knit family. The human family was designed by God to
picture God's own spiritual Family. We are made in God's image
(Genesis 1:26).
     But Satan the Devil, the god of this world (2 Corinthians
4:4); hates God's plan and purpose. He does everything possible
to thwart and pervert what God intends.
     Thus, in this end time, the family is under attack from
every side. The institution of marriage itself is no longer
cherished as the basis of family life.
     Where does that leave dating, which, in its proper context,
is a basic key to success in marriage?

     Most people today do not date for the right reasons. They
have no idea what dating is supposed to accomplish. What do you
expect from dating? Why do people date? What is "date"?
     Whether you are a teenager, a younger single, person
re-entering the dating scene after previous marriage or the
parent of a young person who need to be taught the right way,
it's time you asked yourself questions like this!
     Dating should be a fresh, exciting, constructive activity
that is mentally stimulating and physical upbuilding. It should
lead to positive personality development. It should be, at the
right time and the right way, the basis leading to a strong,
happy marriage. And dating should be plain fun - the kind of fun
that is fun not only today but tomorrow too.
     That kind of dating is what this series of articles in The
Good News will be about.

Traditional values discarded

     Dating, traditionally a part of the courtship process, has
undergone great changes in the past few decades. New generations
of young people have redefined the concept and practice of
     These new directions in dating have produced a bewildering
world of personal choices for the unmarried. When should young
people start dating. What about "going steady"? Is there anything
wrong with sexual experience before marriage? What about dating a
member of another race? What about age differences? Religious
differences? What if parents don't approve? How does one go about
choosing a good future wife or husband?
     Today traditional values are discarded in favor of "modern,"
more permissive ideals of behavior. But look at the results!
     Today's world is filled with widely differing alternatives,
opposing forces and values. The teenager as well as the older
unmarried single deal with a confusing blur of concepts, ideas
and sexual choices.
     One young adult put it this way: "You know the blender in
the kitchen that we use to make juices, soups and mixed drinks?
It's like all the beliefs I've heard about at home, in school and
at church have been dumped in and blended together. I don't know
what I believe."
     Listen to a senior editor for a major magazine: "Conditions
are changing so fast that the established moral guidelines have
been yanked from our hands. No single authority rules our
conduct. No church lays down the moral law for all... We are
heading into danger. We are in the midst of a moral crisis -
because the majority... no longer can be certain what is right
and what is wrong."

Coming - a time of reeducation

     The Bible prophesies that the Second Coming of Jesus Christ
to the earth will usher in a time of renewal and restoration
(Acts 3:20-21). What will be restored to the earth is the perfect
government of God! At that time Satan will be dethroned and God's
law will begin to be enforced around the world.
     The Worldwide Church of God is actively involved in
preparing for this "restoration of all things." We are
commissioned to warn this world about where its evil ways are
leading us, and to announce the good news of the coming Kingdom
of God (Matthew 24:14).
     This world has no greater need than right knowledge about
family relationships - about dating, courtship and marriage
(Malachi 4:5-6). Right dating is a rare art that must be

Dramatic changes

     Let's survey several dramatic changes in dating and
courtship that have come in this 20th century. Until this time,
limited mobility allowed greater parental involvement and family
interaction. Most courtship took place within the home and
     Modern transportation, namely automobiles, changed all that.
Cars not only increased mobility, but removed dating from the
home and parental involvement. Cars, sad to say, became bedrooms
on wheels, with obvious impact on dating and courtship.
     Thus, in one generation, technology supplied people with the
ability to act out the revolution in morality that had been
espoused by European scholars and philosophers during the 18th
and 19th centuries. Young people developed a high degree of
independence from parents, casting off traditional restraints. Of
course, other factors besides modern transportation contributed.
     This 20th-century approach toward dating was made possible
by a drastic change in the approach to God and His inspired Word.
While new technology - actually, the misuse of it- opened the
floodgates, the free-thinking professors and scholars of
permissiveness continued their assault on traditional values.

The assault on morality

     Fundamental beliefs had been the target of liberal scholars
and philosophers for centuries. The offensive against belief in
God and God's authority was spearheaded by Charles Darwin and his
followers, who popularized the myth of evolution. European
"theologians" quickly followed this onslaught by loosening yet an
other brick in the wall  of traditional values. Building on the
works of recent and contemporary philosophers, these men applied
the scientific method of rationalism, and then positivism, to the
     Previously accepted as the inspired word of God, the Bible
was subjected to critical analysis based on the assumption that
it was nothing more than the writing of men. Eventually the Bible
was "debunked" and "de-mythologized" by the method of higher
criticism. All statements that could not be proved by physical
science were rejected. Healings, miracles, angels, demons and all
supernatural events were discarded.

     But the apostle Paul long ago predicted that this very
rejection of God and God's authority would occur! Notice Romans
1:22, 28: 

     "Professing to be wise, they became fools ... and even as
     they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave
     them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are
     not fitting."

     These great "thinkers" rejected the fact that humans are
made in the very image of God (Genesis 1:26) for the purpose of
qualifying to enter the God Family. They reduced man, in their
false teachings, to the level of the unthinking beasts, acting on
nothing more than brute instinct, having nothing other than this
physical life to look forward to, with no authority over them
other than their own drives and desires.
     Thus was the groundwork laid for the anything goes,
how-dare-you-judge-me, late 20th century in which we live!

The 20th-century slide

     The 20th-century revolution in dating and courtship began
with increased mobility, independence and greatly curtailed
parental involvement. This movement was supported by attacks on
the existence of God and the validity of the Bible.
     The result of the attack against these two fundamental
beliefs was an erosion of authority.
     The end of World War I provided a further impetus for the
rising mood of permissiveness. New voices began to speak of right
and wrong in the area of marriage and the family.
     Traditionally, religion teamed with the home as authorities
on dating and marriage. But after World War I, psychology and
sociology provided a respectable, scientific vehicle through
which the new voices could publish and teach their ideals.
Millions believed and followed the teachings of Sigmund Freud,
Margaret Mead and Alfred Charles Kinsey. These and other
authorities continued the quest to replace God and His inspired
Word as the authority in human conduct and in relationships
between the sexes.
     The eternal laws and principles of the Bible began to be
replaced by studies and surveys that revealed what the practices
of a "normal" individual were. Those who followed "arbitrary"
standards of church and family were compared unfavorably to those
who pioneered in changing public opinion and promoting public
acceptance of the "new" morality.
     Marriage was proclaimed obsolete. Trial marriages; open
marriages and progressive and permissive monogamy were all
advanced as acceptable alternatives. Dating as an institution
designed to lead to lifelong marriage was obviously irrelevant if
marriage itself was obsolete.
     Thus dating began to be spoken of by the new "authorities"
as primarily a socialization process between the two sexes.
Dating came to consist of nothing more than "having a good time"
- spending time together - rather than a broadening,
constructive, educational, recreational, enjoyable activity
designed to improve the whole person.
     What people do on dates, and how they do it - where they go,
and with whom, and why they go there - all became secondary
considerations to the mere expediency of "being together."

The rise of feminism

     With the advent of the 1960s and 1970s, dating as
socialization was redefined again by the feminist movement.
Building upon earlier concepts that had promised freedom from
marriage ("marriage is slavery," went one popular concept),
feminism promised a new agenda.
     According to this agenda, women were seen both as victims
and as self-styled saviors from their own victimization.
Traditional male and female role needed redefining. Women no
longer would accept the leadership of men. Women were seen to
need "liberation" and "equality," which, translated in the minds
of many, meant that women instead of men would now hold the power
(Isaiah 3:12).
     It is this dilemma over male and female roles that affects
dating and courtship. Both men and women are tentative.
Homosexuality is celebrated. "Straight" men and women wonder how
to act and react toward members of the opposite sex. Men have
become more passive and women more aggressive.
     And yet, in the midst of all this "enlightenment" the "war
between the sexes" seems to be escalating. Men have been the most
obvious casualties of this war. Single women plead, "Where are
the men?"

Now - this generation

     This world needs to be totally reeducated regarding the
purposes of dating. Decades of wrong teaching have sabotaged our
approach to this vital prelude to happy marriage.
     Happy marriages don't just happen. They are prepared for and
planned for like other major decisions such as career choice.
     Ironically, young people are often given a great deal of
education preparation to help them toward the world of work but
little or no training in how to choose a mate.
     Millions change marriages as quickly as others change
careers. Millions find that they were ill-prepared for marriage.
Millions find that they made their choice of a mate primarily on
the basis of fantasy or emotional impulse, or because they were
forced to by premarital pregnancy.
     When man abandoned God and His inspired Word, this world
lost its spiritual focus. God's laws leads to happiness and
fulfilment. They provide a guide to help us chart the course
through the troubled and confused times in which we live.
     The Good News proclaims a return to biblical values in every
area of life, and in coming issues will look more closely at what
the Bible specifically says about dating and courtship. We will
cover the instruction on dating, male and female roles, problem
of infatuation, singles and mate selecting.

     The good news is that dating and courtship  will undergo a
dramatic change at the return of Jesus Christ, But you can start
now to practice the biblical values concerning dating. 

(To be continued)

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