Using “God’s Will” To Manipulate

I couldn’t agree more with S. M. Hutchens’s remarks about how some would-be suitors appeal to the “will of God” in manipulative ways.

“A young woman whose family I have known for years called me for advice. She had just been told by a young man that after long and earnest prayer, after seeking the face of God for days, the Holy Spirit had informed him it was God’s will she form a romantic attachment with him. With little deliberation and equal gravity I informed her she could tell her swain and his Spirit to go jump in the lake, and add a boot in my name to their collective backside with her good riddance.”

Since I am the Dean over a school of undergraduates, I would add my own specific application of this advice to Christian college students.

To the Gals: If a guy ever tells you that God has revealed to him that you are supposed to marry him, then you need to drop him like a hot potato. Head for the hills, and don’t look back.

To the Guys: If you ever feel the need to tell a gal that God has revealed to you that you are supposed to marry her, then you need to put your hand over your mouth and repent. It’s almost certain that your “revelation” is really just a baptized form of manipulation. Such talk reveals spiritual immaturity and is unbecoming of a man of God.

17 Responses to Using “God’s Will” To Manipulate

  1. Paul September 23, 2008 at 12:30 am #

    it’s the will of God that Denny buys my CD.

    Too manipulative?

    nah…

    well…

    😀

  2. Don September 23, 2008 at 8:39 am #

    I think it can be a wise idea to ask God about things applying to yourself, but if asking for others it can easily be manipulative as was pointed out.

  3. Joshua September 23, 2008 at 9:54 am #

    I don’t think God doesn’t tell people who they are to marry, but its obvious immaturity when you tell someone this. God will orchestrate it for sure if it is something that IS in his will. If you have to go do it, its your own manipulation.

    Thats how I see it as least, and would tell my church youth kids.

  4. David (not Adrian's son) Rogers September 23, 2008 at 10:24 am #

    How is this not a logical outgrowth of male headship? male leadership?

    Since our society does not regularly practice patriarchal arrangement of marriages, what’s wrong with the idea that God leads the “head” to pursue the female?

    Is the argumentation one of cessationism? God no longer gives “revelations” to believers?

    Since a marriage is one in which the male gives the “leadership”, why can it not precede the marriage in moving toward that possibility?

    Just asking questions.

  5. David (not Adrian's son) Rogers September 23, 2008 at 10:27 am #

    Oh, by the way, you can add my boot to the young man’s posterior. I do think that his claims are manipulation.

    But I do think the questions I ask do need a response from a complementarian and/or Calvinist perspective.

  6. Nathan September 23, 2008 at 10:46 am #

    Denny,

    Perhaps some clarification might be helpful. I am assuming the post involves a young man who had never previously spoken to the girl, right?

    Or are you saying that a young man, regardless of the length of time he has been dating a young woman should not make the statement in the post?

    Can you perhaps fine-tune the discussion please.

    Thanks!

  7. Jeff September 23, 2008 at 11:19 am #

    What does it matter if he knows her or not. The fact remains that this is manipulation by the young man. If he really felt this way, he would be willing to wait to let God work in her heart. This applies to all of us in any given situation.

  8. Truth Unites.. and Divides September 23, 2008 at 11:43 am #

    David (not Adrian’s son) Rogers:But I do think the questions I ask do need a response from a complementarian and/or Calvinist perspective.”

    Very well. Here’s a slight rewrite of Dr. Hutchens opening paragraph:

    “A young pastor whose family I have known for years called me for advice. He had just been told by an influential woman in his congregation that after long and earnest prayer, after seeking the face of God for days, the Holy Spirit had informed her that it was God’s will that women serve as elders in the church. With little deliberation and equal gravity I informed him he could tell his influential parishioner and her Spirit to go jump in the lake, and add a boot in my name to their collective backside with his good riddance.”

    Quenching the Egalitarian Spirit.

    😉

  9. Don September 23, 2008 at 11:51 am #

    Many people when questioning the wisdom of non-egalism get the left boot of disfellowship (instead of the right hand of friendship) and find it is God’s way to bless them by leading them out to a place that will welcome them.

  10. David (not Adrian's son) Rogers September 23, 2008 at 12:23 pm #

    TUAD and others,

    Um. . . Okay,

    So, back to the question.

    Why do complementarians consider this manipulative?

    How is this not progression toward “headship” in marriage?

    (Please note: I do consider it manipulative. And I think if complementarians can formulate a good response it only strengthens the comprehensiveness of their position.)

    Now, TUAD, I leave you to now convert this into an equivalent egalitarian question rather than actually formulating a complementarian response and thus showing that complementarians can formulate actual responses to legitimate questions.

    🙂

  11. Adam Omelianchuk September 23, 2008 at 2:58 pm #

    Why do complementarians consider this manipulative?

    Because it is.

    I’m going to take the comp’s side on this one, because fellowships that are intentional about male headship in the courting process have the young man go through the woman’s father or pastor. The idea of male headship puts the woman under the authority of father/pastor, and any kind of romantic interest must be approved or disapproved before the courtship process can follow.

    So while I would not subscribe to this since I am egalitarian, I certainly would not want to take such an inane “revelation” to a young woman’s father… especially if it was Mr. Hutchens. 🙂

  12. David (not Adrian's son) Rogers September 23, 2008 at 11:57 pm #

    Thank you Adam for formulating that response.

    Would actual complementarians agree?

    Would you add anything else?

    And did any here actually use that methodology in their courting of their intended?

  13. Caroline September 28, 2008 at 11:03 pm #

    David

    Having heard 30 years of teaching that women are “easily deceived” and conversely men are not, that God speaks to men and they are under God’s direct command and women are to obey their husband’s, it is no wonder the young woman had to consult a male pastor whether God was speaking to the suitor about her future.

    I had that one laid on me as well, and although I had no interest in the male suitor, assumed that God of course was speaking to him because I had long been brainwashed that God speaks to men first and foremost and men tell women what God says. So lets be consistent here. You reserve that men are God ordained in leading a wife, or a daughter as they are the head of the house. And if a son watches decades of his father telling his mother what God wants the family to do because of his superior ability to be lead by God, why is it inconsistent to think he can start that dominating process before they are married? You know get a head start on headship. Sometimes I think of women standing in front of the throne of God in the judgement day condoning a life being a bondslave of their husband and saying, but I obeyed my husband wasn’t that ALL I was supposed to do?

    In the meantime the child prostitutes and other victims of male lust did not get rescued because all the godly women were busy ironing their husbands shirts and saying yes dear, whatever you say dear, whatever your weak ego demands in terms of my total subjection to you.

    I wish you male theology people spent as much time opening opportunities for women to use their gifts to reach this world as you do tyring to keep them all in their place, ironing your shirts. You all forget we are in a war of light and dark, women better learn to be warriors instead of weak silly girls lead around men prone to deceive them–in the name of submission and “god talk”

  14. David (not Adrian's son) Rogers September 30, 2008 at 1:09 pm #

    Caroline

    You addressed your comment to me and in the body of your comment you used the pronoun “you”.

    I hope that you shifted the antecedent of your use of the “you” and directed it toward the “male theology people” and it was not directed at me as the antecedent of “you”.

    I do not hold to the concepts that you seem to attribute to “male theology people”. I was raising the question to see if the strict complementarians could provide a reasoned out response to calling the above incident “manipulative” while at the same time holding to a hierarchical concept of headship.

    It would seem consistent for the strict complementarian position to hold that hierarchical headship guidance can precede marriage in the courtship arena. But that is not what the strict complementarians here seem to be saying. I was interested in a formulated reasoning as to why they would reject such a practice.

    Adam offered a reasoning but he does not claim to be a complementarian.

    I would still like for a strict complementarian to respond to the questions:

    Why do complementarians consider this manipulative?

    How is this not progression toward “headship” in marriage?

    I once again offer to TUAD the opportunity to DODGE the questions by re-stating them in an egalitarian phrasing, while still hoping that strict complementarians will respond. 🙂

  15. Brittany October 8, 2008 at 11:57 pm #

    I tend to believe that God does not provide us with divine revelation concerning who we will marry … IMO, people could be in godly marriages with different people (obviously not at the same time!). That’s just my theological position.

    I agree that telling people that it is God’s will for them to marry (specifically a man telling this to a woman) is problematic and manipulative, because truly God-honoring women may worry – sometimes because of complementarian theology, admittedly – that their refusal is disobedient to God and to their supposed-to-be husband, instead of listening to the part of them that doesn’t want to marry this guy.

  16. asha July 21, 2011 at 11:29 pm #

    I am so glad you posted this. I have had three men in my life tell me this, and I have been wondering if they are using it to manipulate their own desires on me. There is a man pursuing me right now who believe he is entitled to me because it is God’s will for him. I get the “ick” factor after I spend time with him, and have told him I do not want to be his girlfriend. His response was that he didn’t want me as a girlfriend, but a wife. Now he says he will be just friends with me for two months while he gets to know me better. I think he will not back off so I plan to cut off all communication with him. Why do men do this to women like me who are so gullible and wanting to do the will of God?

  17. yankeegospelgirl July 22, 2011 at 10:42 am #

    This is funny, because I remember that Chris Tomlin had the opposite problem before he finally settled down and got married. Girls would come up to him and say, “I think God has told me I’m supposed to be with you.” Chris would have to gently break it to them that he didn’t believe God was telling him the same thing…

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