Question #126

Do you have any information on dating non-Christians?

Do you have any sermons, materials, etc on dating non-Christians, influence & one's reputation.

The Answer:

There is no direct prohibition against a Christian’s dating or marrying a non-Christian. Since dating often leads to marriage, if one wishes to marry only a Christian wisdom dictates that only Christians be dated.

The passage most often used to teach that Christians cannot marry a non-Christian is 2 Corinthians 6:14-18. This passage does not mention marriage and it is not in an immediate context involving marriage. That, however, does not mean that it does not apply to marriage since marriage is certainly a “yoking” together. There are some questions, however, based upon passages that do have an immediate context of marriage, one of which is in the first letter to the same church, 1 Corinthians 7:12-13. Here Paul deals with Christians married to unbelievers and says that if the unbeliever is willing to remain married then the believer should not put the unbeliever away. Why would God forbid such marriage on the one hand and yet permit such a marriage to continue? The only answer that comes to mind is that the marriage addressed in 1 Corinthians was established before the conversion of either party and God permitted it to continue because of the sanctity of the home. This is reasonable since breaking up a marriage might lead to adultery through remarriage which God did not permit in the absence of fornication. If the unbeliever did not wish to remain married to the believer, God did not require that the marriage be maintained. 1 Cor. 7:15. [Note: this passage is sometimes referred to as the “Pauline Privilege” and urged as a basis for divorce and remarriage in the absence of fornication. A refutation of this false doctrine may be found in the Class Notes for Lessons 10 and 11 on 1 Corinthians on this website.]

For a discussion of 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 see class notes for Lesson 12 on 2 Corinthians on this website. As stated there, this passage may apply to marriage and is certainly broad enough to include marriage; however, given other Biblical considerations it is not an issue that should be bound.

That said, there still remains the issue of what is wise. Who can reasonably deny that it is better (wiser) for a Christian to wed (and thus date) a faithful Christian? This is not to suggest that all marriages to members of the Lord’s church are “sure things.” There have been too many bad experiences where Christian married Christian to believe that such a marriage cannot be a mistake. On the other hand, who can reasonably deny that such a marriage at least increases the odds?

Years ago the author of this answer preached for a rural congregation in Tennessee that had three Godly elders. Each of them had married a good Christian girl, was converted, and grew in the Lord.


God's Plan of Salvation

You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)

You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)

You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)

Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)