Is it OK for Christians to date non-Christians?

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Re: Is it OK for Christians to date non-Christians?

Post by jimwalton » Tue Oct 15, 2013 2:41 pm

Good question. You know that people didn't date in the Bible. Their world was one of arranged marriages, and so our practice of dating, getting acquainted, deciding, engagement, and marriage is very foreign to the world of the Bible. But as far as this question is concerned, Tim Stafford, of Campus Life Magazine (and his monthly article on "Love, Sex, and the Whole Person") had this to say about Christian/Non-Christian dating, and I think it's a good answer:

Q: I have always thought that dating a non-Christian was wrong. Now, I'm having second thoughts. I met a guy who shows interest in me, and I am attracted to him. But I found out from a friend that he's an atheist. I know it's wrong to marry non-Christians, but is it wrong to date them? It doesn't seem like dating one non-Christian will hurt me.

A: You're probably right. Dating one non-Christian might not hurt you. The problem is in what dating can become: love and marriage. The Bible says Christians should not be "yoked" with non-believers (2 Corinthians 6:14). Farmers used to "yoke" two animals together to pull a plow. But if the animals pulled in different directions, they didn't get much plowing done.
That's a great picture of marriage; two people joined together for some serious business. They make plans for their lives together. They create a home. They may raise children. If they are pulling in totally different directions—lacking shared ideas of what's important and what's right—they just create problems, discomfort and unhappiness. That's all likely to happen when a Christian marries a non-Christian, because they have fundamentally different philosophies of life. I know plenty of people who've tried to make such a marriage work. They had lots of love to start, and some of them have coped admirably with their differences, but I don't know any of them who would recommend doing what they've done.
Dating is a different case. When you go out, you usually aren't thinking seriously about marriage, you're just getting to know each other. You can certainly enjoy and admire someone who has different values from your own.
The problem is, once those romantic feelings start flowing it's hard to turn them off. The longer you wait to break off the relationship, the harder it gets. Many people have found themselves having to choose between God and someone they've fallen completely in love with. That's a heart-rending dilemma I hope you never have to experience.
So should you date this guy? Ultimately, that's up to you. There is a lot of temptation and much confusion when romance brings together two people who have fundamentally different values. So as you make your decision, think about which will be harder; saying "no" to a date, or eventually breaking up with someone you really care for because of your faith difference."

And here's what Tim says about "Missionary Dating" (dating with the idea that you are going to convert your future husband or wife):

Q: I started dating a friend of mine two months ago. We have been best friends for almost seven years. I know he is a terrific person with a warm, loving heart, but he is not a Christian.
He told me (before we started dating) he would like to learn more about Christianity and join a church. Since then I have tried to provide him with Christian books and magazines. He seems to agree with what he reads. But now I'm afraid that the fact that he's in love with me will affect the way he looks at Christianity. I'm afraid he's doing it for me and not out of his own desire to know God better. But at the same time I think God can be using me. I am so confused and afraid I'm doing something wrong and messing up God's plan for him. What do I do?

A: This may sound harsh, but I think you should stop dating him. Not only is he falling in love with you, but you may be falling in love with him. Either way, you are headed for pain. As long as the foundations of your lives do not match, you are not suited for each other. That's why the Bible tells us, “Don’t team up with those who are unbelievers” (2 Corinthians 6:14, NLT). Those words are not to hurt us. In fact, they are there to save us the deep pain of not being able to share the relationship closest to our hearts with the ones we love.
You will accomplish two things by breaking up with your boyfriend. One, you will preserve both of your hearts from the sorrow of mismatched love. Two, you will show your friend how serious a matter it is to follow Christ. Perhaps that is what he needs to know.
Let's say you've made it clear you're interested in friendship and not romance. What’s the next step? I'd encourage you to put him in touch with your youth pastor. Maybe your Youth pastor could meet with him regularly, or at least get him connected with a small group of guys. The ideal situation would be to get him involved in an evangelistic Bible study. Again, it would be best if this were with a group of guys. If he's serious about faith, he'll stick around and want to learn more. If he's just there because you are, then he'll probably soon drift away.
Make no mistake: It will hurt to break up with this guy. He sounds nice, and it's clear you really care about him. But it's important that you not mix evangelism with romance. It just gets too confusing; motives easily get messed up. But do keep praying for your friend and ask others to pray, too. After all, God is very eager to answer these kinds of prayers. As the Scripture says: 'The Lord isn't slow about keeping his promises, as some people think he is. In fact, God is patient, because he wants everyone to turn from sin and no one to be lost' (2 Peter 3:9, CEV)."

So saying, missionary dating is just a bad idea. I know some couples where conversion did happen, but many others where it resulted in great pain when they broke up, or they got married and the Christian fell away from the Lord, or comes to church all by themselves, and it's always a fight about the children: will they attend church, or not?

Dating between Christians and non-Christians may seem innocent enough, but it's not long before it's not innocent at all, and creates a situation of increasing problems for the relationship. Each person must decide for themselves, but I vote against it.

Is it OK for Christians to date non-Christians?

Post by Newbie » Tue Oct 15, 2013 2:25 pm

Here is a bit of an oddball question, but how should Christian's approach dating and people who are non-Christian? As of right now, I feel like that to simply say to someone's face "You aren't Christian thus you and I are un-marriageable in my eyes" may come off a little harsh. Then again, I know it is unwise to become entangled with someone who is not walking in the line of faith, not to mention all of the times where a husband or wife converts their spouse.