14 Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? 15 What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? 16 What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God
(2 Corinthians 6:14-16)
This weekend while at Campus Challenge, I experienced firsthand the devastating effects when a Christian dates an unbeliever — more specifically, what happens to the Christian after that relationship ends. Whereas the Christian falls away from church and fellowship during that dating relationship, the consequences are devasting to one’s personal and spiritual health. When one choses to satisfy their own selfish desires over satisfying God’s desires, their relationship with God is amputated. After the dust settles and nothing is left but a war-torn ruined heart, praise God that He is faithful to forgive and give life to His children who were lost — the Lord Himself unilaterally seeks after those whom are His and rescues us from the pits of our own self-centeredness.
Scripture is very clear on the issue of dating/courting for Christians: we are not to have such intimately romantic relationships with non-Christians, unbelievers. Plain and simple. Period. Where God has been clear about the issue, we therefore must not be unclear about it.
However, when we get passed this as devoted Christ followers, we also need to live out the biblical principle found in 2 Corinthians 6. Even within the household of Christ, I believe Christ calls us not to be unequally yoked.
There is a 3-fold meaning in this principle.
Firstly, for men: Do not date/court a girl who is significantly spiritually less mature than yourself. She will pull you down and keep you from growing unhinderedly in Christ. In as much as we want to be a MAN and do the right thing, be a leader to the girl and have her learn and follow us as leaders, if you are not strong enough to keep on running the race swiftly then you probably should not be with her. I can say from first hand experience that even if you think you can, there is a very high probability that when she stumbles in her faith & ability to resist the temptations of intimacy, your strength can only go so far until you give in to your own fleshly temptations.
Furthermore, it is quite unbiblical for the man to be dating a significantly more spiritually mature woman. For if we consider Christian dating/courting as a relationship that should be seeking to discover whether the couple is right for each other in marriage, we must also consider headship in the dating/courting relationship. This is not to say that the boyfriend is the head of the relationship to the girlfriend, but eventually, he must be the head in the relationship once marriage ensues. In the home, Biblical headship is the husband’s divine calling to take primary responsibility for Christlike leadership, protection, and provision. And so it is quite the usurping of biblical headship for the girl to be the spiritual leader in the relationship.
For women, this means you must find a strong, spiritually mature man who can and will lead you in the dating relationship, and in the future once you’re married. For if we consider that the wife’s divine calling is to honor and affirm her husband’s leadership and help carry it through according to her gifts, she thus should be dating a man who will allow her to exercise her God-given gifts of service. (I am very hesistant to say “submission” here because, like Rob Bell has rightfully put it, our culture has completely misunderstood this biblical term; furthermore, I would even add that Bell’s emerging interpretation has missed the point.)
I am not saying that in dating a spiritually mature man means completely surrender her will to him, nor should such be the case in marriage. Rather, I think it is about being in a proper position of biblical femininity to yield to her future husband’s guidance and her inclination to follow his leadership (as he in turn first submits to Christ’s authority in his life). Hence, it is here that I see tremendous importance that my Christian sisters be seeking for a man — a leader in the church, and one who is building himself to be a responsible man in his own household in the future.
22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.
25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.
For relationships between us Christians, we thus must to be relatively more equally (than unequally) yoked. Not that he cannot be a younger Christian than her, or that she cannot be an older Christian than him — but that he should love her and give himself up for her, as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her. If he cannot sanctify her, or cleanse her by the washing of water with the word — who else can we expect to do this?
Furthermore, I am finding it very important for the man — even if he lives out a good form of biblical manhood — to believe and uphold hisotric Christian orthodoxy. These 3 words stringed together have a whole bunch of connotations and meanings, but without going further into the nitty gritty details, I think it is of utmost importance for the man as a leader in the church to be a true Christian who bears the fruit of Lordship Salvation, and a Christian who goes to a true Church.
By this I am very well implying that there are Christians who do not bear the fruit of submitting to Christ’s Lordship, and there are those who do not attend a true Church. Such include those Christians with aberrant beliefs about faith that do not align with the mainline denominations, and those who are not baptized confessing believers of an protestant, evangelical church. I say this because I do not want a new kind of Christian in evangelicalism–the evident influx of these “non-Christians” is rampant in todays mega- / giga-churches and too many have only confessed their belief in God in order to get a ticket to heaven.
Where true, confessional Christians who have submitted their lives to Christ’s Lordship and accepted His free grace of redemption by faith, many still are members of cults and occults that are inaccurately grouped into the term “church”. These churches do not bear the characteristics of a true church and do not hold to the justification by faith alone through the Scriptures as God’s authoritative and inerrant Word. (I reckon many of these churches to be known by their acronymns.)
In short, we need men and woman of God who uphold biblical manhood and womanhood in creed and in practice, who bear the fruitful of true followers of Jesus and who are committed members of a true church. And from here, the glory of God will continue to fill the earth and we will more effectively change our society into one with a Christian worldview.