Often (but not always), those who are pondering this question readily acknowledge that the Bible says a Christian cannot marry a non-Christian.Nevertheless, they believe they can move down this path because (1) the Bible does not forbid dating an unbeliever; or (2) their romantic relationship can serve as a means of evangelism to the unbelieving boyfriend or girlfriend; or (3) their situation is unique; (4) a combination of some or all of the above. In answering the question, Can a Christian Date a Non-Christian?In the words of one woman who was married to a perfectly nice man who did not share her faith: “If you think you are lonely before you get married, it's nothing compared to how lonely you can be AFTER you are married!” Really, this might be the only effective pastoral approach: to find a man or woman who is willing to talk honestly about the difficulties of the situation and invite them into a counseling ministry with the about-to-make-a-big-mistake unequal couple.I suspect that this would be an inferential conclusion, and thus would have to be considered a matter of personal conviction, rather than as a clear biblical prohibition.One could certainly ask, “If a Christian cannot marry an unbeliever, why would they ever date one? I think one can have a friendship relationship with an unbeliever of the opposite sex, without entering into a dating relationship.
If only I could pair those sadder and wiser women—and men—who have found themselves in unequal marriages (either by their own foolishness or due to one person finding Christ after the marriage had already occurred) with the blithely optimistic singles who are convinced that their passion and commitment will overcome all obstacles.
As you know, there are some Christians who believe that any dating is inappropriate.
It seems to me that one has trouble defending this view from Scripture.
That way, I could skip all the Bible passages that urge singles only to “marry in the Lord” (1 Corinthians ) and not “be unequally yoked” (2 Corinthians ) and the Old Testament proscriptions against marrying the foreigner, a worshiper of a god other than the God of Israel (see Numbers 12 where Moses marries a woman of another race but the same faith).
You can find those passages in abundance, but when someone has already allowed his or her heart to become engaged with a person outside the faith, I find that the Bible has already been devalued as the non-negotiable rule of faith and practice.
Within the context of a friendship relationship, the Gospel can surely be shared.