Taking the Missionary Position

Is it OK for Christians to date non-Christians?

Christians spend a massive amount of time trying to discern God's will in their lives. Since it can be difficult to understand and hear God anyway, why do we wrestle with questions He's already answered? In the Bible, God makes it clear that Christians and non-Christians shouldn’t marry and He gives us a myriad of stories and lessons as to why this isn't good for either the Christian or the non-Christian.

Over and over again, the Jews in the Bible were told not to intermarry with other nations who didn’t share their faith in the one true God. King Solomon ignores this and marries a whole slew of women and eventually watches himself and his kingdom drift far from God. Samson found himself in messes because he continuously went after women who didn’t share his faith. In 2 Corinthians 6:14, Paul bluntly says Christians shouldn’t be, “yoked together with unbelievers,” a passage generally understood to refer to marriage among other things.

Since God strongly discourages interfaith marriage, should this affect interfaith dating?

When deciding to date someone of another faith, someone with no faith or someone who does not have any definitive beliefs, the first question to answer is: “What is the purpose of dating?” In our opinion, the purpose of dating is to find a spouse. Dating is a process where two people begin to mesh their lives together by sharing experiences and conversations, then move through stages of commitment that can ultimately culminate in marriage. The main problem with dating someone of another faith or no faith, is that differing beliefs can cause discord in the relationship. There can be respect for your diverging opinions, but faith is something that affects too many aspects of life (or at least it should) for it to just be a casual "agree to disagree" issue.

Think about some of the issues that a dating relationship between people of different faiths would create:

  • Should we have sex or not?

  • Should we live together?

  • Should we go to church, or temple or to the mosque together? Do we go separately?

  • What are our respective moral beliefs? Can we agree about cheating, alcohol, drugs, porn, lying, gender roles, etc.?

  • Will we consult a higher power when deciding to get engaged? Whose higher power do we pray to?

  • Where should we get married and whom should marry us?

What about two people who are casually dating? Does faith need to be an issue then? The focus in casual dating wouldn’t be on anything long term or deeply committed, but more about dating numerous people at a shallow level. If this is where you are with dating, we would suggest that you be cautious about whom you date. Casual dating does provide opportunities to learn about relationships and interactions as well as providing a context for witnessing and sharing Christ. But, at the same time, the natural progression of dating often leads to deeper feelings. If you don’t want to find yourself in a relationship with a person of another faith, then it would be wiser to date people who have the same religious views even at the casual level.

This leads to the topic of “missionary dating.” According to Wikipedia, missionary dating is “when a person of one religion dates a person with differing beliefs for the purpose of changing that person's beliefs or religion.” No one would argue that as Christian we shouldn’t be spreading God’s Word, but is missionary dating really what God had in mind?

Why would someone consider missionary dating to begin with? Usually it’s because he or she can’t seem to find another Christian who wants to marry them and so they get a bit desperate. On his blog, The Urban Pastor, Richard Perkins explains it this way: “[A Christian will] take on an unbelieving boyfriend [or girlfriend] in the hope that [he or she] respond to the Gospel and become an eligible option for marriage. Most people know at least one person who did this for whom it all worked out brilliantly. Some even married and the [person] was converted. Praise the Lord ... But no one really talks about the marriages that began to resemble car crashes.”

Many people (but not all) who enter into a missionary dating type of relationship have made marriage an idol. Marriage becomes something so important and necessary in their lives that they ignore God’s warning about being yoked with someone of an opposite faith. If you find yourself considering missionary dating, you should be asking yourself some serious questions.

Why do you have to date the person in order to share your faith with them? What's wrong with being friends and sharing your faith? Is marriage more important to you than God? Do you feel you need marriage to validate who you are? Do you truly place your trust in God or are you trying to take things into your own hands because you’re 35 and the clock is starting to tick?

These are hard questions to deal with. We all face things in our lives that don’t work according to plan. Missionary dating, dating someone of another faith, marrying someone of another faith ... these things all come about because trusting God is extremely difficult when life becomes less than we expected, when frustration sets in because things aren’t happening the way we think they are supposed to.

God makes it pretty clear Christians aren’t to yoke themselves with non-Christians in marriage, but disappointment, loneliness and heartbreak can make even the strongest Christian question if God’s rules are really hard and fast. We all need to remind ourselves that God has our best interests at heart. He wants us to have good lives. Even though Melissa and I are leery of saying there are any sort of definitive rules about how to date, we agree that when God does give a clear direction, it’s best to follow His guidelines. Prayer, wisdom and following biblical principles should be factors in discerning whether to start any kind of dating relationship and be a consistent part of your relationship as it progresses. Even though following and trusting God can be difficult, it results in the most rewarding relationships and lives that are constantly redeemed and renewed.

Jake and Melissa Kircher write about marriage and relationships at:  www.holymessofmarriage.com.

129 Comments

85,364

dogging commented…

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- currently putting the finishing touches on a follow up to Diamonds in
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Edit, ... You taking a break anytime soon? JEFF ANGELL:
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another day in your life"? Well, what do they know? Success is a lot
like religion, it's the idea that there is some magical ...

85,364

Leilawo commented…

Dating someone who has no faith or an atheist (I've never experienced dating someone with a different faith so I cannot attest to that) is extremely difficult for someone with faith. Relationships are complex enough without the added complication of conflicting morals, values and reasons for doing things ("Why should I serve the person I'm dating if I don't feel like it?"[well....because we are called to serve one another according to the Bible. When you think that way (serving) dating/relationships are that much easier as there is a higher meaning for things we do]). I've found it hard to date non-Christians and I'd say I've wavered in and out of the Christian faith myself. It becomes evidently clear what beliefs you do have when dating someone with a different outlook or grounding on life.

It's like this, when the Bible says (or something like this) "Don't become unequally yoked", it's as if you are exerting extra energy to dragging the person you are dating to the end of the row you are plowing when they really don't want to plow at all (become a Christian...you really cannot make someone change their beliefs unless they really want to). You could be using that energy to improve your relationship with God and others, but instead you could (not in all circumstances) be finding yourself farther and farther away from God...or stuck in the same spot.

85,364

Anonymous commented…

What has more or less confused me with this issue is that Paul seems to send us conflicting message. ie in his first letter he states that its no big deal to marry a non-believer 1 Cor 7 13-16. But then in his second letter he gives us the do not be yoked message. So its kind of confusing like do we take the second as more prominent because it came after? On a personal lv I feel that it makes tons of sense to include faith as key component in the search for partner and it is something I plan on doing fully.

William Jorden

34

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Watching “Major Crimes” On The Tube. Pretty Good Show. Wouldn’t You
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Two Lovers Are Snuggling There Watching The Show? Then You Two Love
Birds Can Get Into Each Others Drawers After this Episode Goes Off.
That’s Sure What My Love A I Are Contemplating As We Eat Our Second
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Anita’s KLP Will Light Her Candle And Make Her Hard To Handle.
Guaranteed That She Will Get A-Hold Of You’re Handle Too….Your Boy
Elwood Says,….”AH”, The Magic Of Anita Pelaez ..And Her Key Lime Pies!
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Everyone Has Heard Or Read By Now That Consuming Her Wonderful Key Lime
Pies Has The Ability To Cause The Male Penis Length To Increase 50% Or
More. And The Girth Of The Erect Male Penis To Increase To Six-Inches
AROUND!….”WOW”, And Add To The Fact That Her Pies Have Been Known To
Make Males Multiorgasmic /One Orgasm One After Another With Little Or No
Reflationary Period In Between Ejaculations Is Nothing Short Of
Awesome!. Why, It’s A Miracle If You Ask Me.. ..You Can Count Me In On
That,… That’s For Damn Sure!,….Mrs. Anita Pelaez Is Surely The
Undisputed Queen Of Key Lime Pies That’s For Sure……Yes, There Was A Time
For Decadent Key Lime Pies And That Time Is Now At…..”Anita and
Kutchie’s Key Lime Pie Factory And Grille’, Conveniently Located In
Asheville, NC., Near The Biltmore House And Estate….Yes The First Lady
Of Key Lime Pies,..”Mrs. Anita Pelaez” States “For You’re Pies Only”.
…Count Us In Darling, Sweetheart, Please Wrap-Us Up A Dozen Pies
To-Go!…We’re Gettin The Band Back Together……………..Thanks,….Elwood.

I Know That Your Not Going To Believe This When You First Read It.
Don’t Worry, I Didn’t Believe It Either At First. My Dear Wife Insisted
Or As She Said, That She Was Going To Cut Me Off. Now I Like My Nooky As
Well As Anybody But When She Starts talking About Cutting Me Off. Well,
Lets Just Make A Long Story Short, If You Want To Continue Eating At
The (Y), Then You Had Better Listen To What Mama Is Whispering Into Your
Ear. Get The Damn Pies, Enjoyed Them With The Little Lady And Die A
Happy Man. End Of Story.

People, If You Want To Have A Lot More Sex Then You Need To Start Eating A Lot More Of Anita And Kutchie Pelaez’s Key Lime Pies!

…One Eyed Willie…Smooth Willie…Be Good Willie!…Elwood Blues…Darling,..Don’t Go Breaking My Heart!

Honey, What’s the number to the Key Lime Pie Factory?…We’re Out Again!

William Jorden

34

William Jorden commented…

Hello Ladies, Please Take A Few Minutes And Enjoy My True Stories About The Wonderful World Of Key Lime Pies As Well As The Magic Of The Most Beautiful “Mrs. Anita Pelaez” Wife Extraordinaire And The Beauty Queen Of The Key Lime Pie World! “Oh”, What An Honor That Must Be.

Elwood…..

Elwood
Blues Here, How Are You All Doing? That’s Great, I’am Just Setting Here
Watching “Major Crimes” On The Tube. Pretty Good Show. Wouldn’t You
Just Love To Be Eating A Nice Big Slice Of Anita’s Key Lime Pie As You
Two Lovers Are Snuggling There Watching The Show? Then You Two Love
Birds Can Get Into Each Others Drawers After this Episode Goes Off.
That’s Sure What My Love A I Are Contemplating As We Eat Our Second
Slice Of Pie. Well Eat Your Hearts Out, Better Luck Next Time!

“Ah”, Yes, My Little Chickadees, May Each One Of You Enjoy Your Very
Own Key Lime Pie Baked by The Lovely And Most Gracious,…Mrs. Anita
Pelaez and Her Handsome Husband ….Captain Kutchie Pelaez. Together The
Proud Owners Of Asheville’s Own

Anita And Kutchie Pelaez’s Key Lime Pie Factory And GRILL Conveniently
Located Near The Biltmore House And Estate In That Beautiful City. Known
As Heaven On Earth Whenever Mrs. Anita Pelaez Is Anywhere Near. “AH”,
The Magic Of Anita Pelaez And Her KEY LIME Pies. Voted The Country’s
Favorite For The Past 27 Consecutive Year!

…..That Babe Can Bake Me A Pie Anytime She Wants To.

Elwood Blues

Turn You’re Ladies On In Extra High Heat Mode Easily Just By Seducing
Her With “Anita Pelaez’s” Ultra-Sexy Key Lime Pies! You Know The Pies
That Her And Her Famous Husband Kutchie Have Been Baking The Last
40-Years Over Too Their Key Lime Pie Factory Near the Biltmore House and
Estate In NC.,..Yeah, That’s The Ones, You Dirty Mind! Shame On You.

Anita’s KLP Will Light Her Candle And Make Her Hard To Handle.
Guaranteed That She Will Get A-Hold Of You’re Handle Too….Your Boy
Elwood Says,….”AH”, The Magic Of Anita Pelaez ..And Her Key Lime Pies!
“Yeah”, You’ll Be “AH-ING” Too!…Put Your Faith In Anita’s Pies.

Is what they are all saying true about how eating those World Famous Key
Lime Pies Baked In The Carolina Mountains By The Former Miss Florida
USA And High Fashion And Swimsuit Model …”Mrs. Anita Pelaez”, ….Surely
Everyone Has Heard Or Read By Now That Consuming Her Wonderful Key Lime
Pies Has The Ability To Cause The Male Penis Length To Increase 50% Or
More. And The Girth Of The Erect Male Penis To Increase To Six-Inches
AROUND!….”WOW”, And Add To The Fact That Her Pies Have Been Known To
Make Males Multiorgasmic /One Orgasm One After Another With Little Or No
Reflationary Period In Between Ejaculations Is Nothing Short Of
Awesome!. Why, It’s A Miracle If You Ask Me.. ..You Can Count Me In On
That,… That’s For Damn Sure!,….Mrs. Anita Pelaez Is Surely The
Undisputed Queen Of Key Lime Pies That’s For Sure……Yes, There Was A Time
For Decadent Key Lime Pies And That Time Is Now At…..”Anita and
Kutchie’s Key Lime Pie Factory And Grille’, Conveniently Located In
Asheville, NC., Near The Biltmore House And Estate….Yes The First Lady
Of Key Lime Pies,..”Mrs. Anita Pelaez” States “For You’re Pies Only”.
…Count Us In Darling, Sweetheart, Please Wrap-Us Up A Dozen Pies
To-Go!…We’re Gettin The Band Back Together……………..Thanks,….Elwood.

I Know That Your Not Going To Believe This When You First Read It.
Don’t Worry, I Didn’t Believe It Either At First. My Dear Wife Insisted
Or As She Said, That She Was Going To Cut Me Off. Now I Like My Nooky As
Well As Anybody But When She Starts talking About Cutting Me Off. Well,
Lets Just Make A Long Story Short, If You Want To Continue Eating At
The (Y), Then You Had Better Listen To What Mama Is Whispering Into Your
Ear. Get The Damn Pies, Enjoyed Them With The Little Lady And Die A
Happy Man. End Of Story.

People, If You Want To Have A Lot More Sex Then You Need To Start Eating A Lot More Of Anita And Kutchie Pelaez’s Key Lime Pies!

…One Eyed Willie…Smooth Willie…Be Good Willie!…Elwood Blues…Darling,..Don’t Go Breaking My Heart!

Honey, What’s the number to the Key Lime Pie Factory?…We’re Out Again!

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