Debut author Johnson explores the history of courtship and romance, condemns modern dating culture, and offers a Christian alternative.
Dating can be a complicated and often brutal affair. According to Johnson, a self-described “scientist by profession and…philosopher at heart,” one reason for this is because of rampant selfishness on the parts of many of the participants: “We shop around for relationships in…a ‘meet market,’ with one eye on what we want and the other on what we think we can realistically get.” The author paints a grim picture of contemporary dating, offering well-supported, annotated criticisms and drawing on the research of social scientists, such as Dorothy Holland and Margaret Eisenhart. He then takes a step back and explores the history of romance in the Bible and through the last several centuries. Finally, the book wraps up with the author’s practical advice on how to date in a way that’s consistent with Christian principles, including how to stay “Sexually Pure.” Johnson’s main premise is that romantic relationships, like platonic ones, should follow two great commandments of the New Testament: “We are to love God, and we are to love our neighbor.” So instead of being caught up in the fickleness of romance, he asserts, couples should seek to build their relationships on a solid foundation of friendship. By doing so, they may avoid many pitfalls of the dominant dating culture. Johnson’s prose is polished, powerful, and to-the-point. His observations about the defects of the current dating scene are spot-on, and his faith-based ideas on how to mitigate them are clear and well defined. The historical section, however, doesn’t fit as neatly into the book; although it’s engaging and educational, it seems more suited to history buffs or social science students than to young Christian readers eager to thrive in the dating realm. For the latter, the author includes thought-provoking reflection questions at the end of each chapter, which adds great value to the book.
A dating guide that will enlighten, encourage, and instruct Christian readers.