By Ingrid of Semper Eadem. Originally published here. Please remember that while the contributors to this website are united in our belief that there are problems with the teachings of Vision Forum, we come from a variety of different perspectives.
Maybe I’m idealistic but I keep hoping that the Botkin girls will eventually realise that their way of life is dysfunctional. So occasionally, I read their blog. Unfortunately, it never fails to sadden me and the article written by Anna Sophia and Elizabeth on marriage has to be one of the saddest and most disappointing articles I’ve ever read. Why Am I not Married? In this article and the defence of it, Is it my fault that I’m not married? the Botkin girls seem to suggest that marriage is in the future of every girl when it may not be at all! Lifelong singleness is given only a passing reference before it is suggested that marriage is the chief end and goal of life. Instead of pointing young women to Jesus as the fulfilment of every hope and the answer to every need, the Botkin girls suggest that 1: the problem lies with the young women and 2: still seem to suggest that marriage is the ultimate glory of life.* It is not.
Marriage is very important but it may not be God’s plan for your life at all. “The disciples said to him, “If this is the situation between a husband and wife, it is better not to marry.” Jesus replied, “Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. For there are eunuchs who were born that way, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others—and there are those who choose to live like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it.” Matthew 19:10-12. I wrestled with that verse a few years ago because I couldn’t understand why some people could be bound to a life of singleness. It seemed cruel of God to doom some to being single…or so I thought. Mostly I was just afraid that I was going to be single.
The meaning of Jesus’ words did not come clear to me for a long time but I finally realized that he honestly meant it when he said: “Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given…. The one who can accept this should accept it.” If you are meant to be single, you will be able to accept this and though it will hurt sometimes, you will be content. If that is what God has for you, it is not a curse. You have no “right” to marriage. God will place you in the path that He has chosen for you regardless of your own ideas. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9) Remember, Jesus wasn’t married either. God knows exactly what you need and He will be with you every step of the way. Married or not, you are to focus on Jesus and find your identity in Him; not in your relationships or home or family or accomplishments.
Sadly, the Botkin girls are misleading young women and telling them that they only need to perfect themselves rather than look to Jesus Christ and trust him completely with their lives. While it’s actually okay to prepare and become a girl that someone will want to marry; that is not your chief end and goal in life. Your goal is serving Christ and living for Him and loving Him so much that you are willing to say “yes, Lord,” if a young man never shows up. It’s not that what the Botkin girls say that is terribly wrong… it’s what they don’t say.
Once you’ve left Jesus out of the mix and stopped focusing on him it’s not Christianity, it’s Humanism. Worshipping your skills, father, mother, husband, or future husband is not going to bring you peace and eternal joy. Setting up a human being in God’s place only sets that person up for failure and you will eventually be disappointed. It’s regrettable that the Botkin sisters take a teachable moment, while discussing a real and painful issue that many girls face, and instead of giving true hope, only encourage these young women to try to perfect themselves and continue to further the idea that marriage is a right that all are entitled to receive.
“Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.” Matthew 10: 37-40.
* Of course, many would say that in the Botkin view of things, acknowledging that some women may never marry is detrimental to their worldview and their business. I mean, who would buy the Botkin books and tapes on how to prepare for marriage if they thought they were going to be single? For that matter, who would want to remain in their father’s household preparing for a marriage that may never come? The Botkin girls have to assume that all girls will marry because if they don’t, what is the point of everything the Botkin’s teach and sell? Since their teachings are so wrapped up in one area of life, they seem helpless to answer questions alternatives or other areas of life. I wonder how they handle these words of Jesus: “Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14: 25-27) Very likely, they just avoid them since they don’t fit into their own worldview.