Here's a conversation I found off a blog by a Christian male. A, B and C are talking about dating, while I (JH) will insert italicized comments.
A: "So how much does Christian faith play a role in starting a relationship?"
B: "Well, my mom's concerned that I have too many non-Christian friends, but I don't think I should filter my friends out just based on whether or not they're Christian. That just seems really superficial."
A: "I agree, I don't think there's anything wrong with having non-Christian friends. It's a great opportunity to spread the gospel. I mean, it shouldn't be the only reason why you're friends with them, but we are called to go forth and make disciples of all nations. We're not just supposed to live in our own little Christian bubbles. But in terms of dating relationships, how important is faith?"JH: Amen. Isolationist Christianity is not true Christianity at all.
B: "What do you mean?"
A: "Well, speaking for myself, I think it's highly important to know whether or not the girl is a Christian. That would be like the first "filter" for me. If she doesn't share my faith, that's it. She's out. We're done."
C: "Wait, what do you mean by 'Christian'? Do you mean 'baptized'?"
A: "No, she doesn't have to be baptized, but at the very least, she has to be someone who acknowledges that she's a sinner and is saved by Jesus."
B: "But there are a lot of non-Christian girls who share many of the same moral and ethical values that we do. Are you going to automatically exclude them just because they aren't Christian? Conversely, there are a lot of Christians out there who don't share those same morals, those same values. In fact, some of them don't even seem to really be living the 'Christian life'...they just seem to be going through the motions. Are you saying that you would rather date these people?"
A: "Absoutely not. It's not enough that someone's a nominal Christian. She needs to show moe than that. Is she growing in her walk? Is she growing in her faith? Is she growing in her understanding of grace?"
B: "But why wouldn't you date a non-Christian who shares those similar values?"JH: B, you equate being a Christian with simply holding a certain set of beliefs. While that is true on one level, the Bible makes it clear that being a "Christian" is to live life righteously not simply because 'good deeds' and 'right beliefs' get you good standing with God, but because Christ's sacrifice empowers and renews us, calling us to obey God's perfect law.
A: "Well, for starters, I think the Bible makes it abundantly clear that believers shouldn't be yoked with non-believers. More than that, a relationship between a husband and wife is supposed to mirror the relationship between Jesus and the church. If one of the people in the relationship doesn't believe that Jesus died for our sins, she can't possibly grasp that concept."JH: So A is quoting from the 6th chapter of Paul's first letter to the Corinthians and the fifth chapter of his letter to the Ephesian church. While the Ephesian quote is apt and deserves more blogspace than this post, some clarification is needed about the first reference. Paul's specific frame of reference in that passage is a striking rebuke against certain individuals who approved of sex with temple prostitutes. That passage is taken (ever so slightly) out of context too often to argue for an isolationist Christian faith (which, A, you denounce very lovingly) and to warn young Christian youth not to date non-Christians.
B: "Say the girl wasn't a Christian, but was interested in the Christian faith. Couldn't you use dating as opportunity to share the gospel with her and hope that she eventually comes around?"
A: "Sure, I would certainly share the gospel with her...as a friend. I don't believe in 'missionary dating'. I think you're going down a slippery slope if you do that."JH: Missionary dating isn't just a slippery slope, it's plain selfish - you're dating a girl/guy so that you might convert them, and you want to convert them so you can continue dating them. We'll revisit selfishness later...
B: "So even if the non-Christian girl was totally compatible with you, you would have absolutely nothing to do with her just because she isn't Christian?"
A: "No, I'd still be friends with her. Just because she doesn't share my faith doesn't exclude us from being friends. I just wouldn't date her."
B: "Well, if you had to choose, which one would you date? The girl with a totally compatible personality who isn't a Christian now, but shares all your moral values and could potentially become a Christian later on; or the girl who claims to be a Christian, but doesn't really live a life that's consistent with her faith?"
A: "I would continue to be friends with the non-Christian girl and continue to share the gospel with her in hopes that she'd eventually come to faith, but I wouldn't date her. As for the other girl, I'm not sure I'd even be friends with her in the first place. So yeah, I don't think I'd date either one."JH: Wow, A, you're walking the high road. I guess singleness is closer than cleanliness, no?
B: "So you're telling me that if there was this girl who had everything you could want: looks, personality, all your values...but she wasn't a Christian, you would just walk away from all that?
A: "[sigh] Pretty much. Look, I've met plenty of non-Christians who I get along with just great. But I wouldn't ever consider dating any of them because they don't share in my faith. Really, it comes down to someone having the complete 'package': do I find her physically attractive, do our personalities mesh, does she get my sense of humor? And being a Christian also plays a large part in that package.
B: "That sounds like a really tough standard. I think it would be really hard to find someone who fit all that criteria."JH: See, A and B, here's the fundamental problem. You are approaching dating from the wrong angle - the "me" angle. So much of modern dating is infected with the notion of satisfying my desires and expectations. A, your Ephesians 5 shoutout should be more than that - it's an entire dating manifesto wrapped up in 10 lines. The whole point of marriage is a reflection of Trinitarian unity and Christ's love for His body - the church. And the hallmark of that kind of love is sacrifice, sacrifice that seeks the best of the other person. That kind of love drove Jesus to tears in Gethsemane and kept the legions of angels at bay when He hung dying on Golgotha.
Marriage, then, isn't simply about 'compatability' or 'meeting my expectations'. It's all about learning to love, not falling in love. And dating has to be a precursor to marriage, because dating without marriage in mind is again simply selfish.
That's not to say you should marry the next person you date, but I think that all that emotional euphoria and tender words and held hands that come with dating doesn't seem to make sense if the two of you aren't seriously taking into consideration a life spent together.
Read the original post here: http://www.xanga.com/thebigwang/628731096/item.html