To Date or Not to Date...That is the Question? : LUSENET : A.M.E. Today Discussion : One Thread

I recently read the book "I Kissed Dating Goodbye."

Should single Christians date or not? Why do you think your opinion is valid?

I have read a number of books that believe the Scriptures do not speaking of anything specifically related to dating.

-- Anonymous, August 07, 2003


I have not read the aforementioned book. Nonetheless I would like to make the following observation about 'dating'. First, I have an expert opinion on this topic because I am male :-) Second, I have an expert opinion because I dated many women before my marriage :-) Dating is nothing more than a search activity designed to ascertain whether or not two individuals share basic areas of compatibilities in culture, politics, social recreation, etc. Like any search endeavor, information is often imperfect and the problem is compounded by the ambiguity in understanding a partner's preferences. Ideally, dating is a precursor to marriage. As a basic need, heterosexual companionship requires some type of sorting mechanism to minimize the risk of making the wrong mate selection. This suggests that disclosure of preferences is important so that no party is 'surprised' or intentionally misled. As a risk-prevention tool dating for Christians should therefore be encouraged, not discouraged. No one will buy a new car or a new home without test- driving the vehicle or inspecting the house. Somehow I get the feeling that last sentence will get me in trouble :-) QED

-- Anonymous, August 08, 2003

Another juicy topic!

It depends on what you mean by "dating".

If, as my erudite brother points out, you are using it as a sorting mechanism to test compatiblity, it is a good thing. If you are testing sexual compatibility, it is not a good thing. If you are dating non-Christians, stop; you are starting off unequally yoked. If you are living together (in my day they called it shackin'), you are outside of God's plan, and statistically you will get divorced faster than someone who didn't

My opinion is valid because a) I am a married man who dated Christians and non-Christians before I got married, b) I married my wife after dating for 3 months (amazing what can happen when you trust in the Lord), and c) she and I counsel couples who are dating, married, or trying to divorce.

My wife says I talk too if you want to stop reading here, it's o.k.

It looks like we are going to have to write some books to combat the heresy being foisted upon our people

As to the Scriptures not talking about dating:

1) In the Old Testament, we know that under Jewish law, there were marriage contracts and betrothals (promises to get married when the time was right). But it appears that no one dated in the Bible, because your father or older brother usually found you a wife. Some exceptions: Jacob had to work 14 years to get the right wife (which allowed both of his wives to be see he was committed, and strong, and able to get along with their father). Boaz had to lose a relative to get one (but he watched Ruth and commented on her virtue). David killed a man to get one (had to put that one in there - sorry).

This brings up interesting cultural points: Not only did your parents choose your spouse, you had to secure their permission to marry, and their blessings on your marriage. This The Jews HAD to attend worship service. So you knew that your husband/wife-to-be shared the same societal and religious views you did. 2) Paul in the book of Corinthians, told singles that it was better to marry than burn with passion, i.e. before you step off a cliff into prostitution (risking disease), adultery (risking death), and/or fornication (risking your chance of getting married to someone else and your relationship with God), get married.

3) The Bible says to test all spirits that approach us. That includes ths spirit of love (which lust can fake pretty well). If you cannot see any fruits of the spirit on your man, you are barking up the wrong tree.

Here is a book that can help you:

Dating Secrets of the Ten Commandments by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach - ISBN 0-385-49620-6

[Yes, a minister reads the writings of a rabbi. Yes, he is Jewish, but so are we...I will let THAT one walk around....]

One of his points: Sexual Compatibility is a myth invented by a bunch of lazy and impatient men.

On a final note: I do not recommend reading books about dating from someone who isn't an ordained minister. With very few exceptions, the books take a secular tone, and edge God out of the picture. You need him to build a successful relationship and marriage.

-- Anonymous, August 08, 2003

Rev. Harper, I was really beginning to appreciate yur comments until that part about reading dating books authored only by ordained minsiters. Since I am of the strong opinion (if you may) that the Holy Spirit inspires all of us who seek him and God's will and discernment, and since ordained ministers also are human, excuse me if that part of you advise I chose to ignore. I have read a few books about dating which have put God's standard upfront and personal and they were not by ordained ministers.

God bless

-- Anonymous, August 08, 2003

Dating only Christians?

That's like associating with only Christians. As Christians isn't it in our mission to bring non-christians in. It just amazes me how we as Christians can become so arrogant.

-- Anonymous, August 08, 2003

Shaunna, this is a great question! I am single, my daughter is single, my best girlfriend in bozeman is single, she is a lutheran minister and we have several friends who are single. I have to share a funny story with you. A couple of weeks ago my daughter and I were at the farmers market and we sat down at a picnic table to have a bite to eat. There were lots of picnic tables around us that were all empty. Five minutes later this man sits down at the picnic table with us, he sat at the opposite end. He introduced himself, we said hello, he then began to talk, about his business, etc. I look at Danielle who is laughing because he was interested in me. And I wasn't he was nice enough but I was not interested. he tried harder and harder, he talked abour religion, etc. Danielle was just enjoying herself. He wanted to know if he could call me. I said no.

Now the turn off for me was when I asked him did he go to church, he said yes, but he only goes because he is suppose to go. He said he was presbyterian but he didn't really care about the denomination and God was just o.k. He is a successful business man in town, attractive but. God was not a priority.

One of the biggest mistakes I made when I was younger and dating is that I left God out of the picture. I did it my way. I have learned that if your partner does not have a relationship with Christ it will not work, no matter how cute he is. As a clergywoman the road we walk is hard for not only are we dealing with issues of racism but we are dealing with issues of sexism. Your partner will have to understand your call to ministry and if he does not then that is not the partner, that has been one of my biggest challenges, finding a man that understands my call to ministry.

I have seen your picture and you are gorgeous! Be selective in your dating, before your first date, tell prospective suitors your goals, be honest about pursing the ministry. Turn to God, and keep sharing with your christian girlfriends. They will keep you on track. As for me I want a man who is A.M.E. so don't rule out our A.M.E. brothers they are out there. Have fun!

-- Anonymous, August 08, 2003

You Go Girl! Rev. Rogers, I cannot agree with you more. The first time when I picked a mate I messed up terribly and I am not going there again. I finally realized the seriousness attached to finding a mate, and the perils incurred sometimes in dating. I enjoy dating; however, I've become very selective because the Lord does not intend for His children to be with just anyone, and the temptations are great.

On my way to church one morning walking through the park, I met one of Philadelphia's finest, and let me tell you.... brother was fine!!!! He was a very nice gentleman with a Denzel smile, approximately 6'2" and worked out the gym regularly. I just knew the Lord sent this brother to me. As we walked, I asked him about the church he attended and His feelings about God and spirituality. This fine looking policeman had absolutely no clue of what I was talking about. I tried to fool myself into thinking that perhaps he and I could just go out to dinner or a movie with no future ties after that, but the Spirit said to leave him alone. There was a temptation there too great for me to overcome. I kicked myself all the way, but I knew it was the right thing to do.

I do believe in dating, but I believe we must allow the Spirit to lead us. Here is an opinion from "not an expoert" because of my feminine gender, as Brother Dickens stated earlier. :)

-- Anonymous, August 08, 2003

Why is it when women start bonding on this issue (like Denise & Mary) the discussion ALWAYS makes reference to Denzel??? What about ruggedly-handsome men like say, the late writer/author James Baldwin, former basketball star Dennis Rodman or even political gadfly Rev. Al Sharpton. Why are they NEVER mentioned in reference to "good looks"? I'm a bit uncomfortable with all of this talk about fine looking gentlemen, working out in the gym, etc., etc., etc. Seldom will you find men of my cohort group gawking about attractive women because we are generally indifferent whether the person looks like Angela Bassett or Moms Mabley (show me a woman who can make me laugh and.......) I guess men are truly from Mars since we place greater priority on the inner-person than the outer-person. Does anyone agree with my expert observations (tongue-in-cheek)? :-) QED

-- Anonymous, August 08, 2003

Now brother Bill, we all know sister Jenny married the last good looking man in the universe. You! But I do want to say honestly, I do think the A.M.E. brothers are the best looking men in the world. And in terms of Denzel, I would rather have L.L. Cool J if he was single. And he is A.M.E.!!

Sisters let us lift up our A.M.E. brothers and let the rest of the world know we love our good looking, kind, generouse, wonderful A.M.E. brothers. i have told my daughter Bill's niece. My son-in-law better be ame;-)

-- Anonymous, August 08, 2003

Denise -

I'm all for giving my AME brothers their props but personally I require anyone seeking my daughter or niece's hand in marriage to be WME. Wealthy enough to supplement my early retirement, Muscular to defend all assets (including spouse) against invasion in their home and sufficiently Educated to appreciate his father-in-law's somewhat peculiar idiosyncracies :-) QED

-- Anonymous, August 08, 2003


-- Anonymous, August 08, 2003

Sis. Simms, pump the brakes!

With VERY VERY VERY VERY few exceptions, a strong Christian who marrries a non-Christian winds up becoming a weak Christian.

From a behavioral perspective, YOU cannot change anyone; they must want to change.

I say the followng with all due respect: There is nothing a woman has PHYSICALLY that will make a man become a Christian. In the same way, there is nothing a man has PHYSICALLY that will make a woman become a Christian.

I do not associate exclusively with Christians; Some of my best friends became Christians after watching me. Christ didn't come to minister to the well; he came to minister to the sick. In the same manner, I need to be in, but not part (Dating -> Emotional, Psychological, and Physical investments) of the world.

-- Anonymous, August 08, 2003

Bro. Bill,

I bet you thought I was going to let your last comment slide. I was going to, but too many puns popped up.

If buying a car WAS like dating, the minute you "put your key in the ignition", you would incur the cost of the loan.

Before I get crucified, let me back it up.....

1 Cor: 6:15-16 You know that your bodies are parts of the body of Christ. Shall I take a part of Christ's body and make it part of the body of a prostitute? Impossible! Or perhaps you don't know that the man who joins his body to a prostitute becomes physically one with her?

So to all of our singles, I say:

It's o.k. to walk around the car.
It's o.k. to pray on the car.
It's o.k. to kick the tires.
It's o.k. to look under the HOOD.
But don't try to take it off the lot until you have signed for it!!

P.S. I thought you were married. If you are looking for someone, come out here to California, and I'll get you hooked up in less than an hour. There is shortage of good men here, and if my wife and I had a dollar for every time someone asked to get hooked up with a single man, we would be rollin'

-- Anonymous, August 08, 2003

Hello Shaunna,

What an interesting and most appropriate topic you have raised!!! I passed the same book in the bookstore and I remember thinking that that title should certainly grab somebody's attention. However, I believe that Christian people should only date other Christians because they could be misled by non-Christians. The possibility also exists with Christians. I also believe that we Christians should not date because of lust or falling in love. It's a deception of the enemy. The Spirit told me the other day that when I get married I should not do so because of lust or falling in love. He said that I should seek the lady who loves God with all her heart, mind, and soul. He also told me that if I could not be friends for a while then I should not consider marriage.

I have seen many couples who were madly in love and then at about the 10 year point, the lady will invariably say something like" I can't stand him, I wish he would leave!!!" How could two people who were so passionately in love end up despising one another? It is because "lust" and "falling in love" are a poor foundation on which to have a marriage. Friendship with one another with God at the center of the marriage is a strong foundation to build a marriage.

I know that there is something wrong with the institution of marriage in this country when you have a 50% divorce rate. What about the other half of marriages?


-- Anonymous, August 08, 2003

Brother Dickens:

Why you have to go playa hatin on Brother Denzel? He loves the Lord, and apparently the Lord loves him a whole lot too.

Anyway, you brothers out there..keep the sistas posted on the next assembly of the Manpower revival!!!!

-- Anonymous, August 08, 2003

Parson Harper - Thanks for the opportunities for a 'hook-up' but unfortunately my wife made it clear to me before she accepted my marriage proposal that I must burn my playa card since she requires sole and exclusive rights to matters pertaining to intimacy and affection :-) (Somebody please refresh my memory why it was OK for King Solomon to have 300 wives and 800 paramours). Talk about a playa!! Just for the record my wife's name is Jennie. Jerryl Payne of this BB can vouch for me as well as Denise Rogers. I have been happily married to the same woman for nearly 11 years and from this union we have produced two beautiful children ages 8 and 10. I know it's late in the week but recall I just returned from Philly where I attended my father-in- law's funeral. Perhaps the confusion about my marital status could have been avoided if I stated this upfront while outlining my credentials to comment on this topic. But, I thought I did. Anyway, Rev. Harper's car parts metaphors are not only insructive but entertaining. Your statement, "If buying a car WAS like dating, the minute you "put your key in the ignition", you would incur the cost of the loan.", is quite easily one of the most clever expressions I've read in some time. I am tempted to have a follow-up but then again I would be reacting just like Mary and Denise in their Denzel comments earlier :-) QED

-- Anonymous, August 08, 2003

Bill you did make it clear you are married to Jennie! And jennie is greatly loved by those that know you. I agree with Rev. Harper regarding dating someone who is not a Christian, I know I have tried in the past and it was just what Rev. Harper said it makes you a weak christian, for they start saying things like why don't you skip church and let's have a romantic brunch. You can miss wednesday night bible study just once let's go to a movie. But when you invite them to church or bible study there is always some excuse. And before you know it, you have walked away from God. A good relationship should be built on love and partnership. One of the things I have seen in my many years of counseling is to have a partner say "yes I knew there was a problem when we first started going out but I thought I could change them" People put their best foot forward at the beginning of a relationship, if they don;t want to go to church or be supportive of your relationship with God, it does not get better.

Some of us will remain single for our life time. I feel I am one of those people. I am fine with it for I love doing what I am doing and God has things for me to do for him, that I can do as a single person. My joy is waiting for Bill and Jennie's kids to grow up so they can spend summers with me. And yes ladies brother Bill is married. And he was a dangling thread until sister Jennie wove him into a beautiful tapestry;-)

-- Anonymous, August 08, 2003

Good topic...

I read up a little on the book at and before responding.

The book seems to focus on Christians striving to do God's will and when dating, doing it with the Christian intentions of finding the mate that God has for you. This will avoid Christians feeling so desperate to fit in with non Christians or to get a spouse, that they compromise their faith in exchange. I have seen a few studies on the effects of puberty on women and it is a fact that as they approach the age of puberty, women often trade in success in school for the attention of boys. In the same way Christians often trade in God as who they share their lives with for a man or a woman that. God intends for married people to both share their lives with him, not for God to be replaced by a spouse.

I think that the author is trying to show how singles should primarily be about God's purposes for their lives and not secular dating until God brings someone of faith into their lives. After speaking to a few foreigners, I am of the opinion that as we know it dating is a very western idea. Many societies group date or dont date until a certain promise is exchanged. It is taken much more seriously. Once that clock starts ticking and people begin getting intimate in a non physical way by sharing their inner selves with each other, then it is very difficult to stop it before it leads to some kind of sexual activity.

As for the author being ordained, His ministry seems to be centered on youth ministry, but since there are many lay people who are much more qualified and do a better job at Christian Counseling and Youth or Children's Ministry than many pastors, I don't see an issue there.

Rev. Michael M. Green

-- Anonymous, August 10, 2003

Just as an aside, I discovered that Joshua Harris is Executive Pastor of Covenant Life Church in MD now (

-- Anonymous, August 10, 2003

Rev. Harper I agree that you can not change a person. But as a child of God it IS my ministry to attempt to show them what God has promised his children not to shun those who have not seen away. I do so by living a Christian life. I let my light shine before men that they may see his great works in me.

After reading several of the post, I noticed that many people are "looking" for mates. I am single and not really "looking" for a mate. I believe that God has already found a mate for me. When he is ready for us to meet we shall.

I do "date" but not with "intentions" of marriage.

Shauna, this was an excellent topic. I'm glad you brought it up.

-- Anonymous, August 11, 2003

the response to this post indicates a need for ministry in this area. Let me try to summarize my position and what has worked for me. About seventeen years ago, I found myself divorced and after a series of relationships including sexual intimacy led painful breakups after discovering incompatiblities, I stopped dating and sought God. Jesus said, "Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all "these things that you need or want" will be added to you." Thsese things are in qoutes because I believe that means all material and spiritual things including a spouse. Dating is OK but should be celibate relationship. The Bible teaches that when we become emotionally involved with another person, we leave some of our spirit with that person and we receive some of the spirit of that individual. In a sexual relationship we are "joined" to that person. Secular teachers call that "baggage". When we have "baggage" as in divorce and remarriage, or sexual relationships outside marriage, it really never leaves us and lessens the possibility of future successful relationships including marriage. One can achieve a successful marriage or relationship with the "baggage" but it requires more effort on the part of both parties. Therefore, I teach my youth to remain celibate until marriage; also to refrain from exclusive friendships, dating one person only, but to feel free to socialize with all likeminded friends. On special occasions such as a Senior Prom, one would invite a friend (male or female)you without that person assuming exclusive rights to your companionship. In other words, you are free to invite whom you please to share any event with you, without sharing yourself. You must be comfortable in your own "skin" to invite someone of the same sex as your "date"; it can and is done. Remember the love shared between Jonathan and David. One who is "dating" using Bibical principles is free to socialize with any friends male or female because it is a celibate relationship enjpoying the company of each other. If a mutual attraction to each other begins to progress toward an exclusive relationship that could lead to marriage, it is time to seek God's guidance regarding whether this is the person He has chosen for you. If the attraction is not mutual, it is time to curtail the relationship. Funny things happen when you adopt a celibate lifestyle. I was told by more than one woman that "I never buy a pair of shoes without trying them on." The temptation is always there but God wil give you the strength to not yield. God sent a beautiful compatible lady into my life and now we are the parents of a lovely 15 year old daughter and 13 year old son; celebrating 17 years of marriage on November 1, 2003. This may not work ofr everyone but I'm happy.

Be Blessed, Pastor Paris

-- Anonymous, August 11, 2003

What is dating? It seems to me that many people confuse innocent dating with a sexual relationship.

Thanks Rev. Al for you posting.

-- Anonymous, August 12, 2003

Carolyn -

Earlier, I attempted to provide a modern definition of 'dating' applying the tools from informational economics. If you accept the premise of scarce information and search costs involved in 'finding the right person', dating is rational and makes perfect sense. Well, at least to most economists :-) QED

-- Anonymous, August 12, 2003

1) Reading materials: Michelle McKinney Hammond has an awesome singles ministry including the books: Secrets of an Irresistable Woman, What to Do Until Love Finds You, and others. Check her out at She has written a number of books.

2) Dating: A number of times I have either participated or facilitated group studies on dating/courtship and each time, the discussion always lead to more in-depth teaching concerning self- esteem.

3) Alot of pastoral counseling has emerged with young women that seek to date other Christians. There are so many women dealing with the after affects of rape, sexual assault, post-abortion stress syndrome, and flat out self worth issues.

-- Anonymous, August 14, 2003

As what I've undertand, before getting into "romantic" relationships, we should always first consult God about His "PERFECT WILL" for us. For me, things about "romantic" relationships are serious matters to me, that we should be guided properly. It's better for us to become friend first, at least along the way we have enough time 'getting-to-know' each other. I'm suggesting you read the book "BOY MEETS GIRL" by joshuaharris. I just finished reading it and it will surely answer that question on your head.

-- Anonymous, August 26, 2003

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