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To Be One DVD Review by Heather JackowitzPeter Telian
To Be One is a DVD created by Peter Telian, a young Christian man with a desire to see "a renewed vision for holiness and honor" among believers in their journey toward marriage. The DVD opens with an introduction by the three young couples featured in the video, along with all their parents, as well as with Norm Wakefield of Elijah Ministries. Mr. Wakefield points out that Christian families often react to what they see around them rather than proactively pursuing what they believe is right. This introduction sets the tone for the whole video, which is not meant to be a prescriptive formula for courtship/betrothal/dating, but rather an inspiring look at how three different young couples made the journey to their weddings. The couples share three common goals: honoring God, honoring their parents, and honoring one another's purity. But how each couple reaches those goals is extremely varied, ranging from a more traditional dating scenario to a betrothal.
The first couple is Jeff and Ashley Baird. They meet at a film festival and begin a long-distance relationship. This couple has a strong desire to guard their hearts until they know they are going to be married, so theirs begins as a friendship and goes through many tests before they decide they want to be together for life. The second couple is Timothy and Brittany Lindvall. Timothy is the son of Jonathan Lindvall, a well-known proponent of betrothal. This relationship begins with a legally binding betrothal, guided by their parents, and then Timothy and Brittany spend time getting to know each other as they prepare for their wedding. The third couple is Max and Jenny Parish. They meet at church, and as their families spend time together, Max and Jenny fall in love and eventually decide to get married.
Peter Telian has done a great job putting together this video. It is professionally filmed and edited, and no one "method" is elevated above another. Each couple's story maintains the same three goals: honoring God, honoring parents, and honoring one another's purity.
My only reservation in recommending this video is the Lindvall story. I want to be gracious toward the Lindvalls, but I was quite troubled by their story. My first concern was the process of choosing a wife for Timothy. According to all the men in the story, the Lord had "told" each of them that Brittany was the one for Timothy. The process of winning Brittany appeared to lack any emotion or feeling on the part of the prospective bridegroom, because the Lindvalls believe love should follow commitment, not precede it. I had to wonder how honest it is to believe that we can truly guard our hearts from all feeling toward someone we are considering for marriage. I also question the method of decision-making based on personal revelation not given in Scripture.
Next, according to Jonathan Lindvall, when Jesus gave the cup to His disciples at the Last Supper, this was a wedding proposal according to the custom of the day, and this act informed the church's understanding of the marriage of Christ and His Church. Therefore, when Timothy gave Brittany a cup at a family supper, everyone understood that he was proposing. If she took the cup and drank from it, she would be accepting the proposal. Of course, she did accept, but I could not help wondering how she could possibly refuse since the Lord had "told" all the men involved that she was the one for Timothy. I also reread 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 and wondered how Jonathan Lindvall got the idea that the cup signified a marriage proposal:
For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, "Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me." In the same manner, He also took the cup after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me." For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death till He comes.
Lastly, many of the Lindvalls' ideas are based on examples found in Scripture, rather than on clear commands. For example, they went to great lengths to try to make the wedding as visual a picture of Christ and the Church as possible. Brittany and all the guests waited for Timothy to arrive at the wedding, because someday Jesus will return for His Bride, the Church. When everyone saw Timothy coming across the field, they starting shouting and blowing shofars. This, I suppose, is simply a matter of personal preference, but I could not help feeling sorry for Brittany as she stood there waiting for Timothy to come. There is something so beautiful about the bride, in all her radiance, being given to her loving bridegroom, and Timothy's arrival seemed rather anti-climactic. However, to his credit, Jonathan Lindvall does acknowledge that all weddings are a picture of Christ and His Church. So, while I disagree with much of what the Lindvalls believe and practice, I do respect their desire to honor the Lord.
Finally, to end on a more positive note, all three stories end with actual footage of the long-awaited wedding day. These are beautiful to behold and full of joy! The Bairds have a medieval wedding that is incredibly lovely. They wrote a beautiful wedding song to sing to each other, as did the Parishes. The Parishes' affection for one another is precious and made me excited about the future Wedding Feast all believers will someday share with our Lord. Be prepared to shed a few happy tears--I think I went through a whole box of tissues in the hour and a half I spent watching To Be One!
I am excited to recommend this video to Christian families and hope it will give young people a desire to honor God, honor their parents, and honor each other's purity as they pursue marriage.
To see a sample or to purchase To Be One, visit www.tobeonevideo.com.