Saturday, May 26, 2012

Open Discussion: Pre-Marital Classes & Redemption Groups

I received an email from some heartbroken parents.  Their daughter and son-in law are distancing themselves from the parents. I was not married at Mars Hill, so I am opening up these questions to the masses. 

They are wondering the following:

  • Do you have any idea what these Marriage Classes are instructing these couples?
  • Where do you think all this is coming from? Are my daughter and son-in-law being brainwashed? 
  • How can I approach them in a loving manner & help them see this church is "bad news"? 
Please answer in the comments!!!

1 comment:

  1. I went through the Pre-Marriage classes at MH Ballard (but was not married there or by a MH pastor) about 5 years ago. Everything they taught was pretty synonymous with conservative Evangelical theology- purpose of marriage, headship/submission, sexuality, sin, etc. I did find it interesting that a husband and wife team essentially "taught" it together as I never saw any other women "teach" in this manner (unless it was an all-female setting). Officially the husband did the teaching but the wife was on-stage with a microphone and would share her thoughts during his teaching.

    While I know there were a few times that I disagreed with something that was said, only one of those sticks out in my mind. At one point the wife of this husband/wife team stated that it was important for women to take care of their bodies and dress well because their husbands were going to their jobs and working alongside other women and could be tempted by them. I was livid when I heard this and brought it up with my fiance that evening and he tried to talk me down and suggested that what I heard hadn't been what she meant (though he'd understood it the same way I had and agreed that was not Biblical). I told my fiance that if he really thought that she had just misspoken or been unclear that I wanted him to write down a question and submit it as we did in each session.

    He did so and when the questions were answered the wife gave the same response that women need to put a lot of effort into looking good for their husband because of the well-dressed women he encounters at work. As far as I was concerned this response was equivalent to the blog post that Pastor Mark had made regarding Ted Haggard's wife several years before. This type of sentiment is a way of instilling fear in women that there husbands will leave them if they don't act or look a certain way which is completely unbiblical. There are plenty of good reasons, I believe, that both husbands and wives should take care of their bodies and do their best to look good, but this is not one of them.

    Another thing I felt uncomfortable with was having to fill out a long questionnaire about my life (including any abuse history, drug use, sexual activity, etc.) which was to be used in the three pre-marital counseling sessions that accompany the pre-marriage class. I did choose to fill it out honestly, though.

    With regard to the pastor who did the class and our premarital counseling sessions, I did not think we gained anything from his sessions with us. As someone who was working towards a counseling degree at that time, he definitely seemed to lack any proper training but I don't think he did any harm either.