JACKSON, Tenn. – Feb. 10, 2006 – James Emery White believes that God has a perfect mate for every Christian.
“If you’re a Christian, it’s that the other person is a Christian,” White said. “That’s God’s choice for your perfect mate.”
White, pastor of Mecklenberg Community Church in Charlotte, N.C., and newly-elected president of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, spoke at Union University Feb. 8 for the annual Crabtree Family Life Series. He is also the author of 10 books, including “Serious Times,” “The Prayer God Longs For,” “Rethinking the Church,” “Embracing the Mysterious God” and “A Search for the Spiritual.”
White first spoke in chapel and then at a luncheon, where students asked him questions afterwards. In chapel, White compared the dating styles of Christians and non-Christians.
Using examples from popular reality shows, he warned students of the dangers of playing the “dating game” like so many Americans do.
In “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette,” sex is as much a part of getting to know someone as asking them about their interests and background.
White said that premarital sex offends God and violates those who practice it. Instead, he said that God created sex as a special gift reserved for marriage. Only in marriage can it fully be enjoyed and appreciated.
“God designed sex to be that which is given to another person, shared with another person, something that is a part of the deepest nature of community and intimacy,” White stated.
If the couple is not married, sex will cause problems for them, he argued. This is why God instructed couples to wait for marriage, in order to protect the man and woman and save them from pain.
“Sex outside of marriage overwhelms the relationship,” White said. “Physical intimacy becomes a substitute for emotional intimacy. Electricity and stimulation gets confused with love and commitment.”
White further said, “The separation of the one into two always will rip apart your soul.”
If two people connect on a spiritual level, that is more important than any other compatibility they could have, White sad. When two people’s souls connect, God can use them as one strong entity for his purposes. v“Sex is as much spiritual mystery as it is physical fact,” White said.
Later at a luncheon, White encouraged students, especially when in leadership positions, to surround themselves with Christian friends and mentors.
When looking for a leadership team to support him, White said that he valued a confident, catalytic person of character and highlighted the importance of having chemistry in relationships.
“If you’re not careful and don’t intentionally have some people in your life that put emotional fuel into your life, you will not last very long as a leader,” he said.
The generation gap bothered White, who said that relationships with older leaders were crucial in order to learn from each other’s experiences. White attributed miscommunication between older and younger generations as the reason for this gap’s existence. He believes both generations would like to spend time together but do not realize this shared interest.
White also said that Christians must be culture makers and not despisers. He explained the need for reform in seminaries and universities, because in his experience, non-Christians are now asking questions that Christians are not prepared to answer.
Furthermore, he strongly believes that leaders must not create a dichotomy between scholarship and ministry. Rigorous academic standards and spirituality can coexist, he said, citing examples of such scholar-ministers as Jonathan Edwards and Martin Luther.
To close, White reminded students and faculty to participate in the Great Commission.
“The early church shared the gospel like it was gossip over the backyard fence,” he said.
By Katie Beth Kelley (’08)