Evangelistic Dating?

Discussion in 'The Pilgrims Progress' started by buggy, Feb 17, 2010.

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  1. buggy

    buggy Puritan Board Freshman

    We all know the Scriptures instruct us to "marry only in the Lord".

    What does the Scriptures say then, about evangelistic dating (e.g. dating a Catholic)? I have heard of many instances of believers who did that.
  2. Tim

    Tim Puritan Board Graduate

    It is a very foolish thing, and dishonest. Whether dating itself is wise is another question.
  3. buggy

    buggy Puritan Board Freshman

    Thank you. I say this because I see many professing Christians today do this. Many do it because they like the person and want to be with them; whereas others do it out of fear because they cannot find like-minded believers and are desperate to get rid of their single status.

    This is especially true for smaller churches and also where the gender ratio is heavily imbalanced towards one side or the other.
  4. Bern

    Bern Puritan Board Freshman

    A friend of mine dated and married a Roman Catholic, and they seem to be happy. However it is certainly not a wise move, because once feelings get involved, you don't think rationally. I think people who do this do it in hope that the partner will become a Christian through their influence... and while this is possible, I can't find anything in the bible that permitts us to view non-christians as potential marriage partners.

    I know quite a few people who have done this, and they end up either being pulled down to the partners level and compromising on all their decisions in life, or they end up with constant conflict because they try to stay faithful to the scriptures... either way its a bad idea.
  5. plandazuri

    plandazuri Puritan Board Freshman

    It is a very serious issue. I have witnessed many cases like the ones described above. None of them have ended well.
    I would not recommended it.
  6. CIT

    CIT Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    I have always viewed dating as a means to find the one you are going to marry. Dating for the sake of not being single or alone is not a reason to date. If you are single and alone, get friends.

    So I believe that we should only date believers because we are suppose to only marry believers.
  7. Tripel

    Tripel Puritan Board Senior

    It all depends on whether the catholic in question is actually a believer.
  8. Beoga

    Beoga Puritan Board Freshman

    For most evangelicals today, I don't see how they would view dating a papist as evangelistic dating or against Biblical teaching since many believe Roman Catholicism is another flavor of Christianity.
  9. Andres

    Andres Puritan Board Doctor

    :ditto: One would really have to begin at the root of the issue and ask, "what's the point of dating?" Not intending to hijack this thread, but "dating" now a days seems far too heavily influenced by culture, rather than by Christ. Young people date because they think they are supposed to and it's "fun". Rarely are the considerations of marriage brought into play. When viewed as something that should directly lead to marriage, then yes, dating someone of different faith is not a wise choice.
    Second, for a person to use the reasoning that they are dating a non-believer for the sake of evangelism is a poor excuse at best and even possibly sin. It's an excuse because if the concern of the gospel is really the issue, then evangelism can certainly be done without entering into any dating relationship. I try my best to share my faith daily, but I only date one woman and that's my wife. I say it could possibly be sin because I believe the person who says they are dating a nonbeliever for the sake of the gospel is lying, no way around it.

    Finally, as for the debate of "are Catholics Christians?", that is for another thread.
  10. Idelette

    Idelette Puritan Board Graduate

    I have some very strong opinions about this because I have seen many people enter into such relationships and the result was never good! I think dating an unbeliever is disobedient to God's commands, and not only places oneself in a compromising situation but also compromises their own faith. The Old Testament is filled with warnings against intermingling with pagan nations and marrying outside of Israel. God chastised His people when they did so, and often times those that married outside of Israel began to worship false gods.

    "Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? 15What harmony is there between Christ and Belial[a]? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?" - 1 Corin 6:14-15

    If a believer is interested in someone that is not a Christian, then I would question where their heart is because the Lord should be the foundation of that relationship and not just some peripheral value. And if someone is considering an unbeliever out of desperation, then clearly they lack trust and faith in the Lord to provide for them and know what it is best for them. Personally, I think there is a greater spiritual problem that needs to be addressed in these cases! And, I don't think it's our place to enter relationships, and call it "missionary dating" as a disguise for disobedience...there is no such ministry in the Word of God! It is not our place "to save people" so that we could be them! As believers we should not be misleading or enter into relationships that have no future. These relationships are far from godly, because ultimately they are self-seeking and disobedient! As believers, we need to recognize that marriage is not just for ourselves but for the honor and glory of God and the reflection of Christ and His Church. To enter into such ungodly relationships would be to defile the very purpose and intent for which God made marriage!

    I have had so many christian friends that have dated unbelievers, and in EVERY single situation the end was not good! Some of the friends I knew turned away from the Lord, and many relationships ended in adultery and divorce. I truly believe that if you disobey God's Word, He will chastise you if you are one of His! I have seen the Lord chastise many of friends, and I tell you it's a dangerous place to be! Many of them regret the choices they made, and many of them will live with the consequences for the rest of their lives. I think the Word of God is very clear on this subject, and any compromise would be disobedient!
  11. buggy

    buggy Puritan Board Freshman

    I must say that I have indeed observed some situations where the couple in the end did marry but only after both sides made a profession of faith in Christ. But this would be the exception rather than the rule and would not be very safe. And who knows whether the profession of faith was genuine or not?

    As for myself I do not intend to start any relationship with someone who does not know the Lord. Besides I am not ready for a relationship yet (me being just a college freshman). The pressure to date now is very great when everyone around you already has so many ex-s.
  12. timmopussycat

    timmopussycat Puritan Board Junior

    Although grace can happen in this situation, it must not be presumed upon.
    I loudly reject the practice of evangelistic dating, having seen many burned by it, including myself. Yet my rejection is tempered by the fact (known to me from seeing conversions happen on two occasions) that the Lord does not always bar Himself from working regeneration in the non-Christian partner when a Christian marries an unbeliever.
  13. SolaScriptura

    SolaScriptura Puritanboard Softy

    The notion of "evangelistic dating" is naive at best.
  14. awretchsavedbygrace

    awretchsavedbygrace Puritan Board Sophomore

    And Its even better not to date Arminians :2cents:- Just my opinion.
  15. ubermadchen

    ubermadchen Puritanboard <strong>Outlaw</strong>

    You don't think that's narrowing the field a bit too much?
  16. awretchsavedbygrace

    awretchsavedbygrace Puritan Board Sophomore

    No I dont. I've dated Arminians before. Its too much. You have her church feeding her one thing and me telling her another. Its not for me. I've had bad experiences with that. Like I said I wouldnt do it. Im sure others have and have had success(marriage). My experience didnt go well.
  17. Edward

    Edward Puritan Board Doctor

    Why would you date someone that you couldn't marry?

    III. It is lawful for all sorts of people to marry, who are able with judgment to give their consent. Yet it is the duty of Christians to marry only in the Lord. And therefore such as profess the true reformed religion should not marry with infidels, papists, or other idolaters: neither should such as are godly be unequally yoked, by marrying with such as are notoriously wicked in their life, or maintain damnable heresies.
  18. dudley

    dudley Puritan Board Post-Graduate


    Both of the above may be true, however if a reformed Protestant is dating a Roman catholic or a non believer it does become a chance to evangelize the person. We recently had a young man who was Roman catholic and engaged to a Presbyterian girl make a decision to become a Presbyterian before they are married this June in the Presbyterian church. At first he was intending to remain Roman catholic. He had requested a dispensation from his bishop to be married in the Presbyterian church of his fiance in a Presbyterian ceremony. They both attended the Roman catholic pre canna conference last fall and after that we invited him to attend our family classes in the Presbyterian church. A short while after that he attended a service one Sunday and decided to join an inquirers class and after a thorough study of the Westninster confession and our reformed Protestant faith a few weeks ago he stated he believed in the Protestant doctrine of Justification. He was examined this week by the elders and will be received into the Presbyterian church by public profession of faith on March 7th which is also the monthly celebration of the Lords Supper and he will be also received at the Lords table as a Presbyterian Protestant the same day
  19. Mushroom

    Mushroom Puritan Board Doctor

  20. ubermadchen

    ubermadchen Puritanboard <strong>Outlaw</strong>

    Wow. I didn't know there were actual groups that did that. We used to joke in Campus Crusade before our outreaches that we needed to "flirt to convert," it even became a joke chant that we used to rev ourselves up.
  21. AThornquist

    AThornquist Puritan Board Doctor

    That is sick.

    What!? :wow:
  22. kjat32

    kjat32 Puritan Board Freshman

    I agree: there is no ministry of "missionary dating", there is only missionary friendship. Anyone being tempted to take a friendship to the next level should ask themselves if the recipient can reasonably be called a "marriage prospect" by God (of course, He already knows who we'll marry, but you get the point). If not, then stay friends only! Your purity is more attractive to the right person than any "soul" you may "win" in missionary dating! I speak from regretful experience. Although I do have to point out, the man I dated for two years was more moral than pretty much any of the Christians I knew, myself included. That can make it confusing to young believers. Still, if you stick to "Can I marry this person in good conscience?" before dating you'll be in God's hands.
    As to the Arminian comment, don't rule them out! I had no idea I was one until meeting my husband-to-be. A few R.C. Sproul books later and I was like, "Hey, what I've been believing is all wrong!" and my husband breathed a big sigh of relief. :p ;)
  23. Edward

    Edward Puritan Board Doctor

    If I understand you correctly, it appears to be a Presbyterian church where the elders didn't subscribe to the Westminster standards, or at least took a large exception to one of the paragraphs.
  24. ubermadchen

    ubermadchen Puritanboard <strong>Outlaw</strong>

    As is common in any large group of college students, there were a few in Campus Crusade that were unusually attractive. Those were the people who tended to receive more people coming up to them and then "making a decision for Christ." We would joke that their converts may have only converted to get a date but nonetheless "flirt to convert"
  25. TimV

    TimV Puritanboard Botanist

    Were you one of those Patricia :)

    We had a woman who admitted she'd done that in our church, and ended up marrying the guy. Didn't work out at all.

    As someone recently single I'm surprised at how often I get the missionary dating advice even from Reformed folks. It's like going around dispensing alternative health care advice to really sick people. What if they follow your advice?
  26. itsreed

    itsreed Puritan Board Freshman

    In a culture where the rates of fornication, adultery, and divorce are only slightly lower for Evangelical Christians than they are in the non-Christian community, I am mildly distressed at some of the casual thinking reflected in some of the comments here. I mean no disrespect, but some of you are just not reflecting seriously enough on the nature of the question here, and the seriousness of the sin issues involved.

    We need to begin first by reminding ourselves of God's purposes for marriage, especially his ultimate for the Christian marriage - it is a picture of Christ and His Bride the Church. That alone should squash most of our considerations at the edges what is acceptable or not.

    Some of you have talked positively about exceptions to the rule. Just because God has been merciful in the foolishness of a young man or woman who marries outside the faith does not in any way suggest we should not warn every single - stay away from even consideration of a romantic involvement of any kind with anyone you are not sure up front that they are a biblically acceptable partner. Do not presume on God's mercy - that is behavior consistent with worldly wisdom.

    If you are not ready to marry - don’t date! (I.e., no one-to-one situations.) Instead, as well said above, make some friends, from both genders. Spend time with them in group settings - do not place yourself or any of those of the opposite gender in any situation where even the appearance of impropriety might reasonably be asked.

    If you are ready to marry, seek God to lead you to a partner that most closely matches your doctrinal convictions. Do you believe God leads in providence? Do you believe God takes the 5th Commandment seriously? Do you believe vows to church membership are taken seriously by God? Then it is not accidental that you are spiritually where you are - do you really think God is going to lead you to a life-partner who is going to make you compromise what He has led you to? Instead, express your faith through these providences. If God has a rank pagan waiting for you to marry - He will lead through the ordinary circumstances of providence to make this person a biblically acceptable match.

    Even if you live in a destitute area - don't compromise your faith. Instead give yourself to serving Christ. Give your time to being discipled by your elders, and seek to witness to the community around you. Seek to put first His kingdom and His righteousness, and watch Him give to you all the other earthly things you need for your pilgrimage.

    Don't make even imagine the possibility of a plan to consider someone outside your faith. I'd even warn against intentionally looking outside your own doctrinal convictions. Instead give yourself to serving Him and His kingdom. In this way, if God brings a weak Evangelical, an Arminian, a RCC, or even a Muslim or rank pagan into your circles, you will be walking in a faith He will bless. Don't think, "I've got to win them so I can date them." Think instead, "I've got to win them so they can become God's child." Leave aside your own desires. Trust them to Christ - He will bless you!

    I remember a close friend of mine face this test of faith when we were both single. He had a group friends mostly from a professional setting. He was the only Christian in the group. They would take vacations together (a bunch of yuppies), and surprisingly they all had a level of morals that never put him in a compromising position.

    I remember coming into our house one day and seeing him crying on his bed. As I asked, he explained the God had convicted him that he was only interested in these friends because of what they did for him - he was only in it for the fun. He repented, and slowly and gently began to seek witnessing opportunities.

    In time God led one young woman in this group to come to know Christ and then reject my friend's interest in her desire to make sure she was trusting in Christ not because of my friend (she actually ended up moving 1,500 miles away for a while). It was only after some extended time that he was able to say, "Can we date?" with confidence that if it ended in marriage they would be equally yoked.

    (They're still happily married, actively serving in a Calvinistic denomination.)

    Far too many young folks are thinking with their flesh, expressing a lack of faith in God to satisfy what is arguably the most significant ordinary earthly need of individuals. Let's be careful that casual comments in an area fraught with such dangers be used by the Enemy to encourage fleshly thinking and choosing. Again, I mean no disrespect, implying anything about anyone's motives. I'm merely urging some more serious thinking and conversation.

    For what it's worth
  27. ubermadchen

    ubermadchen Puritanboard <strong>Outlaw</strong>

    Ha! I wish. No. I don't know if Crusade still does this but after our outreach events during our large group meetings we used to call out our conversion numbers and tally 'em up together. When they came to me, I always called out "zero." or "one." It was pretty sad and embarrassing but God did eventually use those experiences to lead me to reformed theology.
  28. Montanablue

    Montanablue Puritan Board Doctor

    Off topic, but wow... That is so horrible. Boggles the mind...
  29. dudley

    dudley Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    I think you might have misunderstood me.The young man was a Roman catholic and requested permission from the rc bishop to be married in the Presbyterian church in a Presbyterian ceremony. The Presbyterian church does adhere to the Westminster standards. However he is now going to become a Presbyterian and he is no longer a roman catholic.
  30. Edward

    Edward Puritan Board Doctor

    Perhaps so. Are you saying that at the time he went to his Bishop, the Presbyterian church where he wanted to marry had not agreed to host the event, and that the Presbyterian pastor had not agreed to perform the wedding?
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