Controversial Dating Site Seeks To Recover Dominion Mandate
We're on a mission to re-enchant our generation with the goodness of God’s design for sex, marriage and family, by reconnecting these gifts to their creational purpose—the dominion mandate.
I hate online dating! That may sound surprising, given I’m the founder of Dominion Dating. But honestly, dating sites should be your last option. In the ideal world, we’d all love to meet our spouse locally, through trusted networks like church, family, and friends.
Sadly, we’re far from ideal. With so many churches and Christians confused on biblical marriage and sexuality, it is increasingly necessary for many singles to look beyond their local context for a godly spouse.
When all else fails, many godly singles want to know they’re not alone; that someone sees their dilemma and is actively working to help them. Just as Abraham’s servant traveled a great distance to find Isaac a suitable spouse (Genesis 24), so today’s Christian singles need someone who will go the distance for them.
I spent 10+ agonizing years on a dozen or so dating sites. The only thing I hated worse than online dating was being stuck in a static state of singleness! At one point, around age 32, I felt so richly afflicted by the “gift of singleness” that I put out a $500 bounty on social media for whoever introduced me to my future wife. Prolonged singleness began to feel like an inescapable prison.
In the movie Shawshank Redemption, Andy, the protagonist, spends years of his life incarcerated. Not one to lose hope, he toils tirelessly towards freedom, eventually tunneling through his cell wall with a tiny rock axe and bellycrawling half a mile through a waste-filled sewage pipe to make his escape. I think, for many, that’s what today’s online dating can feel like—a non-stop chipping away at the ever-growing mound of monotonous dating profiles, swiping “next” late into the night, till your thumbs cramp up, and you wonder, How much further?
Then you have to bellycrawl through the cesspool of scantily clad women, creeps lurking behind fake profiles, and an overwhelming majority of worldly singles who evidence neither a biblical worldview, nor a godly lifestyle—and I’m referring to the average Christian dating profiles!
Who in their right mind wants to pay for that?
By God’s grace, and against all odds, I met my wonderful wife on a Christian dating site. Four months, and two trips to Brazil later, we were married.
A year into marriage, Amanda became very ill. Then I lost my pastorate. Then the shutdowns hit; jobs were scarce.
I had to do something. As a wise man once noted, “Civilizations are built by men with families to feed.” Why not do something that I knew was needed?
And so, the idea for a new dating site was born.
I decided to take my extensive online dating experience, with its many frustrations, disappointments, and hard lessons learned, and combine it with biblical and pastoral wisdom, to build a dating pool and process that biblically-faithful singles have been waiting for.
“Dominion” is God’s word
This past year, Dominion Dating made headlines when our homemade promotional video went viral, landing us, as a laughingstock, in Relevant Magazine and The New York Post. Critics lambasted us for the name Dominion and for our convictional stand on marriage—accusing us of subjugating women, propagating white supremacy, and everything in between.
The NY Post reported, falsely, that we used “black face” in our promo. Relevant Podcast bizarrely tried to link us to the January 6 Capital Incident while ruminating on whether we were, “a dating site for serial killers?”
We discussed changing our name, to make a softer appeal, but at the end of the day, our vision is much bigger than launching another dating service. We’re on a mission to recover the dominion mandate and fuel a marriage reformation. To that end, we’ve not shied away from polarity—purposefully driving singles to either love us or hate us, based on their convictions around marriage and sexuality.
As one of our founding partners put it, “Let the thorn poke!”
Dominion is God’s word, given to us in Holy Scripture. If we don’t define and defend it, then the world will steal and distort it, like so many other words and ideas. The dominion mandate—or cultural mandate as it has also been called—is our original, God-ordained purpose, revealed in Scripture. God bestows His high and holy blessing upon marriage as he commissions mankind to "Be fruitful and multiply…fill the earth…and exercise dominion” (Genesis 1:28; cf. 2:24).
Dominion is essentially mankind’s delegated duty to fill and fashion God’s world, God’s way, with God’s blessing, for God’s glory!
While there are certainly a multitude of faithful ways to engage this mission (including celibacy), the normative, foundational paradigm for accomplishing the dominion mandate is through fruitful marriage. As our founding partner, Pastor Bnonn Tennant puts it,
The purpose of the dominion mandate is to extend God’s image into the whole world, which is done by having children (image bearers); by forming homes that reflect God’s loving character.
The dominion mandate has been lost on this generation. Pastor Michael Foster and others have spoken of a cultural tsunami that has swept away our biblical foundations. After decades of being steeped in feminism, androgyny, and expressive individualism, this generation is massively confused about what it means to be a man or a woman.
Pastor Doug Wilson cuts straight to the point when he writes, “If boys don’t learn, men won’t know.” The same goes for girls, and women. We’ve had our God-given purpose stripped from us. Marriage and family has taken a back seat to college and career. The average age of marriage has been delayed by a full decade (32, compared to 21 in 1950), and the birth rate is at a historic, and alarming low—well below replacement level.
As Kevin DeYoung notes in his Book, Do Something:
In 1960, 77 percent of women and 65 percent of men completed all the major transitions into adulthood by age thirty. These transitions include leaving home, finishing school, becoming financially independent, getting married, and having a child. By 2000, only 46 percent of woman completed these transitions by age thirty, and only 31 percent of men…
Today, half that timeframe again has gone by—and the line on the graph has continued to nosedive. As DeYoung goes on to observe,
Our grandparents built. Our parents boomed. And my generation? We tinker… We are seeing a generation of young people grow up (sort of ) who tinker with doctrines, tinker with churches, tinker with girlfriends and boyfriends, tinker with college majors, tinker living in and out of their parents’ basement, and tinker with spiritual practices no matter how irreconcilable or divergent… We’re not consistent. We’re not stable. We don’t stick with anything. We aren’t sure we are making the right decisions. Most of the time, we can’t even make decisions. And we don’t follow through. All of this means that as Christian young people we are less fruitful and less faithful than we ought to be.
I’m persuaded the displacement of the dominion mandate, in large part, explains the failure of the “True Loves Waits” campaign of the 90s and early 2000s. An entire generation of Christian young people, surging with a God-given sex drive, were compelled by pastors and parents to sign “purity” pledges and then told, in the next breath, the “wise” thing to do was put marriage on hold for the next decade or more while they pursued a degree and established a career.
Sadly, this generation, by the tens of thousands, dove headlong into predictable and rampant porn addiction, casual pre-marital sex, and widespread apostasy from guilt disillusionment.
Bonhoeffer saw us coming when he wrote, “The essence of chastity (purity) is not the suppression of lust, but the total orientation of one’s life towards a goal. Without such a goal, chastity is bound to become ridiculous.” And so it has, for an entire generation divorced from the purpose for which we’re designed. To quote popular podcaster, Eric Conn, “Delaying marriage during peak sexual years seems to be a catastrophic cultural error.”
Consequently, we’ve become a bitter, barren, apostate generation, popping birth-control pills, and celebrating abortion as our sacrament.
As the founder of Dominion Dating, I believe men and women are made for the soul-enlarging, God-glorifying duty of dominion. This good, innate drive for fruitful oneness should propel most godly singles toward maturity and marriage.
For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be united to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh. (Genesis 2:24)
To that end, we’re on a mission to re-enchant the Lord’s church with the idea that dating should be reimagined as a wise, intentional pursuit of purposeful marriage.
In his book, A Different Shade of Green, Dr. Gordon Wilson writes,
Look at how wonderful dominion can be when it is done according to the pattern God gave us. Christlike dominion rules through loving sacrifice, not tyranny. Too many Christians have conflated dominion with oppressive rule: “Let’s see how much we can exploit those we rule over, with brute force.” But Christian dominion is servant-like; giving, and not exploitive. It cleanses, and washes, and beautifies. A husband that exercises this kind of headship makes his wife thrive, and flourish, and become more fruitful. Through his sacrificial love and leadership, she also grows more radiant and beautiful… We are to exercise dominion over the living world…so that whatever is entrusted to our care can thrive, and never languish, or be ruined or squandered. It should be made more beautiful, and flourish, just like a cherished wife.
At Dominion Dating, we’re working hard to create a better alternative to conventional dating sites, and to go the distance to connect godly singles. Our stated mission is guiding biblically-faithful singles to find biblically-faithful spouses. So far, we’re the only dating site to commit to vetting users for a commitment to historic Christian orthodoxy and biblical gendered piety. Our networking focus is pastors, churches, and communities committed to biblical marriage and sexuality. And our straightforward dating guide will lead singles through every step of the online dating process, laying out a clear biblical path to marriage and helping them navigate the obstacles and traps of modern online dating.
Saying the quiet part out loud
Perhaps the thing that raises the most eyebrows is not our bold name, but rather our unapologetic return to biblical gendered piety. For most of church history, the notion that male and female function corresponds with male and female nature has been as obvious to the Lord’s church as the birds and the bees.
But suddenly, that is now enough to make everyone spew beer out their nostrils and send pregnant women to fly combat missions.
Our target demographic is patriarchal and thick complementarian. At the moment, we’re considered “niche,” but our numbers are definitely surging. Recently, author Aimee Byrd sounded her alarm that the pro-patriarchy book It’s Good To Be A Man (co-authored by one of our founders) was on Amazon’s best-seller list:
Do you know what the Amazon #1 Bestseller in Presbyterian Christianity is right now? All of you who keep saying this is a fringe few need to wake up.
— Aimee Byrd (@aimeebyrdPYW) August 4, 2022
By the next day, in response to Byrd’s tweet, the book had also jumped to #1 in the much larger Men’s Christian Living category.
Just a few short years ago, someone with Byrd’s clout could probably have shut down a book like this. But not now.
When I married 5 years ago, at age 36, I didn’t think of myself as “patriarchal.” Like most in our hyper-feminist day, I was trained to have a visceral, gut reaction against “patriarchy” as something decidedly bad, dangerous, irredeemably sexist. I grew up in an ostensibly conservative Southern Baptist world that fancied itself as complementarian; which is to say, we affirmed the distinctiveness of male and female roles within the home and church, but outside of that narrow purview, we basically functioned as androgynous egalitarians, with men and women being interchangeable in every way.
People don’t like to be viewed as fringe, or extreme. That goes for both the right and left, within the Church. There are many complementarians who align closely with biblical patriarchy, but fear being branded as misogynists. Likewise, there are many egalitarian feminists who want to maintain a measure of respectability while they continue overhauling the church to their liking—hence “thick” and “thin” complementarianism: two opposing parties fighting over who gets to keep the “safe house” of modern evangelicalism.
We want to invite thick complementarians—those who recognize and uphold consistent gender distinctions across the board—to consider that they have much more in common with biblical patriarchy than they do with thin complementarian-styled feminism. Regardless of what banner we choose to fly under, we can’t allow culture to make us ashamed of the way God has clearly ordered His world.
As the old hymn goes, “This is my Father’s world…” Patriarchy simply means father rule—and for most of history, it has been the church’s settled conviction that God made and equipped men for the normative function of wielding a masculine, protective, fatherly rule in the spheres of household, church, and state. Even as recently as 2006, Christianity Today’s now editor-in-chief, Russell Moore, argued in favor of patriarchy, writing,
Ironically, a more patriarchal complementarianism will resonate among a generation seeking stability in a family-fractured Western culture in ways that soft-bellied big-tent complementarianism never can. And it also will address the needs of hurting women and children far better, because it is rooted in the primary biblical means for protecting women and children: calling men to responsibility.
As Michael Foster and Bnonn Tennant put it in the opening to their book It’s Good To Be A Man, patriarchy is inevitable. God has built it into the fabric of the cosmos—you could as soon smash it as you could smash gravity. It is not a question whether men will be ruling, but which ones and how.
Bold move, cotton
Our marketing focus, for Dominion Dating, has skewed slightly masculine, because we believe if we can attract the best men, we will also attract the best women. Some years back, Mars Hill Church proved this principle. (There are many valid criticisms that can be made regarding Mars Hill, but that doesn’t negate this truth.) In his book, Confessions of a Reformission Rev, Mark Driscoll recalls how an unmarried lady pastor began routinely attended the evening services of the distinctly masculine Mars Hill. When asked why she was attending, despite her disdain for patriarchy, her response was revealing:
“Everyone knows all the best men are here.”
That’s what we’re gunning for! We want to attract the best men, and the best women, and scale up to a first-rate dating site.
Canon Press recently hosted a roundtable discussion on the biblical concept of dominion. As they so aptly summarized, at the end of the day, “It’s either dominion (God’s way) or domination (the devil’s way).” There’s no middle ground. As the church, we need to choose. Do we want our children devoured by 50 Shades of Gray, or do we return, wholeheartedly to the goodness of Genesis 1, Ephesians 5, Titus 2, and Proverbs 31.
Dominion Dating is on a mission to wrest the online dating game from destructive sexual conquest and gluttonous consumerism—and to return it to where it belongs: a wise, intentional pursuit of biblical, dominion-taking marriage and family.
If you believe in our mission, and want to help us succeed, back us at www.dominion.dating. If you’re a single who needs some help finding a spouse, give us a look before you swipe “next.”