Romance?

By Mrs. Joseph Ortega


There is grave danger lurking in one of the most attractive and enticing forms of media today, the “Christian” romance novel.

“What could possibly be wrong with all those sweet ‘love’ stories?” you ask.

Let us begin with Scripture, the measure of all things.

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

Philippians 4:8  (ESV)

Christian romance novels encourage just the opposite, filling open minds with the desire to experience the same passions, sensations and gain the same flesh-gratifying responses that the main character of the book experiences.  It is a path of desire that leads the mind to focus on self and inevitably begin to dream of satisfying one’s own recently stirred lust of the flesh.

“Wives, submit to your husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. 

~ ~ ~ ~

“However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.”

Ephesians 5:22-24 and 33 (ESV)

These verses paint a lovely portrait of the wife as a woman of such character that she is counted upon to be a picture of the church as it should relate to Christ. What an honor!  When our focus is on the Biblical picture of marriage and our efforts work toward meeting God’s standard we are contented and fulfilled.

Christian romance novels work to undo that contentedness, convincing many that true fulfillment is found in the passion of a single kiss and the promise of another lingering look.  My daughter (at the tender age of 12) made an insightful observation as I was writing this, “That is really sad.  You can’t spend your whole life being looked at and kissed.  Besides, who would want to?”  She is right; in reality, it would get rather tiresome.

However, Christian romance novels, in providing endless descriptions of perfect moments; stirred emotions and nearly flawless characters, lead the flesh to be discontented with reality.  In this an unrealistic, unbiblical expectation of the office of husband is born and grows with each novel read, producing the fruit of discontentedness and, eventually rebellion.   In embracing this false expectation, young girls begin dreaming of a “prince charming” that does not exist.  This prince will live as an alluring phantom in the minds and hearts of girls blurring their vision, tempting their passions, and binding their hearts with chains of false hope.  These chains keep them from walking in the delightful freedom of contentedly waiting for God’s provision of a godly, yet imperfect, husband.

Reality is that God has called wives to love, serve, submit to and cherish flawed husbands.  Flaws in others call for an ongoing exercise of charity and forgiveness ~ the real loveliness of a true Christian.  A Christian lady is well aware that she is as flawed as her husband and her delight in his patience with her flaws is evidenced in her respect and sincere affection for him.

To be honestly loved and relied upon by a faithful husband is a wonder to the heart of any woman.  To be treasured far above all other women is a faithful, humble wife’s reward.  This is true romance.

To love one’s husband regardless of his shortcomings; to gently submit to him regardless of his errors; and to treasure him regardless of his lack, these are the ornaments of beauty that adorn the life of a contented wife.  This is true love.

“Keep thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life.”

Proverbs 4:23 (ESV)

We experience contact with the world and battle the flesh every day.  The enemy works to break through our guard moment by moment, seeking to steal, kill and destroy.  Evidently, his methods are effective, judging by the vast number of destroyed marriages in the church today – a measure of his success. Christian romance novels are just one of the many demons, portrayed as “angels of light” that the enemy employs to entice Christian women into discontentedness and gratification of the flesh.  Guard your hearts and stay as far as you can from these sweet candies that lure your thoughts into the halls of sin, drawing you far from the proper place of the children of God.

Keep your hearts; guard your minds, for we are not of this world.  All girls dream of their future.  Let me encourage you thus ~

Dream of building a home that will be a haven of peace and joy to all that enter;

Dream of raising God-fearing children to be arrows in the hand of our Mighty Warrior;

Dream of a thousand ways to be an encouraging, serving and supportive wife.

Dream of honoring God in all your ways!


A few last thoughts:

1. Christian romance novels not only support but glamorize the doctrine of dating.  This type of book leaves the parents completely out of the process of choosing a spouse.  In fact, they are usually the last to find out what is happening.  For those who adhere to the doctrine of courtship, it makes no sense to continually read such an opposing doctrine under the guise of entertainment.

2. It would be nice to include an all-inclusive list of authors to avoid ~ but I had only to read a few authors to see the problem ran throughout.  Let me just say this:  I would confidently advise my own daughters to avoid anything classified as a Christian romance novel, even those by authors considered most respectable and conservative, such as Janette Oke, Lori Wick and Grace Livingston Hill.  It is my experience that the “milder” books are the most dangerous as they appear to be harmless and mix in a greater amount of truth with these dangerous mindsets. Though this is not the intent of the authors, the effect is still disastrous.

3. There are many wonderful, engaging stories available that promote Christian character, purity and virtue.

One of our favorite authors is Isabella Alden.

A few of our favorite titles by other authors would include:

Princess in Calico, author unknown

Probable Sons by Amy Le Feuvre

The Basket of Flowers, author unknown

Rosa of Linden Castle by Christoph Von Schmid

Little Corners (and other short stories)

Enoch Roden’s Training by Hesba Stretton

Daughters of Destiny by Noelle Wheeler Goforth

Alone Yet Not Alone by Tracy Leininger

Amazing Love by Corrie Ten Boom

If by Amy Carmichael

 

 

Author ~ Mrs. Joseph Ortega ~ living in Northern IL with her treasured husband of over 20 years and their five blessings (ages 6 to 13).


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