We met at a church in June, started hanging out more and more, and started dating in September, to cut the story short. He and I are both Christians, and definitely are on the same level when it comes to seriousness about loving, knowing and serving God. He's 31, to my 22, often garnering an "Oh!" from friends and acquaintances, but it isn't a concern inasmuch as I believe we're headed toward marriage, eventually ...In response to this, Candice Watters replied, "I don't believe fear is ever a good reason to do anything, even less so for a follower of Christ. Scripture says repeatedly, 'Do not be afraid.'" Candice then quoted several scriptures dealing with fear (You can read them for yourself at the link provided above, if you like.).
Recently we've talked about having children, and he's confessed that he doesn't think he wants any at all. Like I said, he loves kids, but he's scared of one, raising children in this world (all the mess, violence, trials they'll have to face), and then two, of raising kids that you love so much, only to see them not know Christ.
I've seen this train of thought before. When men raise some concerns about matrimony or having children, they are occasionally accused of being fearful and then lectured about how Christians aren't supposed to be afraid. It's a rather tidy way of dismissing men without having to delve into any meaningful defense of the things one is expecting men to embrace. It's also a shaming tactic.
The verses that Candice quoted are, in my opinion, taken out of context. Let us take note, dear readers, that the Bible also says: "A wise man feareth, and departeth from evil; But the fool beareth himself insolently, and is confident" (Prov. 14:16, ASV). Sometimes, fear is good. Or to put it another way: There is a difference between bravery and stupidity.
As it is, quoting Bible passages willy-nilly about "fear," per se, doesn't mean anything. Is Candice, as a woman, afraid of walking alone in a dark parking lot late at night? Will she adjure her fellow sisters sitting in the church pew to not give any thoughts to rapists, muggers and hoodlums in the shadows? What about women who push legalistic "courtship" rules because they are afraid of getting their feelings hurt? Will Candice shoot some verses at these women? I am not counting on it. Note what Candice has to say about the boyfriend mentioned in the correspondence above:
I do think you're right to be concerned about the seeming impasse with your boyfriend over having children. Were it not for this red flag, I'd spend my column cautioning you about your age difference posing a potential hurdle to clear on the way to marriage. (It's certainly not a given deal breaker, but it could cause trouble. As I mention in an upcoming podcast Q&A, I'd encourage you and anyone else dating someone that much older or younger than themselves to get the input and blessing of parents and trusted mentors before proceeding.)I see. When it's a question of a man hesitating to have children, it's called "fear", but when it's a concern about a woman marrying a man who is nine years older than she is, it's called "caution." To me, this shows why the accusation of "fear" is often so meaningless, being a subjective use of terminology.
I suppose fear is unhealthy when it is based on something that is not true (viz., when it calls into question God's power and wisdom). But just making bald assertions that men have an unhealthy fear of something is unpersuasive. A case must be made if charges are going to be leveled. To Candice's credit, she tries to show why the fear of having children is unwarranted when she cites Genesis 1:28 and Malachi 2:15. The problem is that she is misapplying these scriptures (scriptures I have dealt with elsewhere). It would be nice, for a change, if people of Candice's persuasion would actually deal with the counterarguments that people such as myself raise (Jude 3). However, I wonder if these people have a "fear" of that.