I have read a lot of Christian dating books. A lot. I started reading them in high school, as a new Christian. And then when I became passionate about biblical equality, I read even more, in order to analyze their teachings on gender. Through my reading, I have found that the vast majority of books on the topic are unhelpful to egalitarians because they contain any or all of the following problems:
- A reliance on cultural assumptions about relationships
- A lack of strong biblical teaching and biblical references
- An overemphasis on differences between men and women
- An assumption that men are designed by God to initiate, lead, and protect while women are designed to submit, respond, and be protected
- An overemphasis on romance and a devaluing of singleness, especially when they are written to women
So here are the questions:
- What are other unhealthy teachings on gender that you see in Christian dating books? (Let’s please keep these comments respectful and irenic!)
- What other specific criteria should we look for when searching for quality Christian books on dating and relationships?
- Considering how few good resources we seem to have, what are the “non-negotiables,” i.e. the teachings that must be present (or must be absent) in order to recommend a book?
- What good dating books can you recommend?