This past week Pastor Bland gave an illustration to demonstrate an example of community helping us through temptation. In it he mentioned how a woman in his Community Group was dating a non-Christian, that things had gotten physical, and that the community group had supported this woman in ending the relationship.
After discussing the sermon together, we realized that there was the possibility that illustration could have been received as regarding dating a non-Christian as an act of sin.
To clarify, the sin (and the temptation) in this particular situation was that the relationship had crossed boundaries for physical intimacy that we believe are only reserved for within the bonds of marriage. It was not the relationship itself.
We do not believe that a relationship with an unbeliever is inherently sinful, since the Bible does not have a specific prohibition on this.
However, all of the pastors do agree that for a professing Christian, dating someone who is not also following Christ is an unwise decision. To pursue intimacy that finds its ultimate culmination in marriage with someone who does not acknowledge Christ as Lord often can end in difficulty, pain, and make an important decision like life-long commitment to another person extremely hard to discern.
All this to say, the grace of God is sufficient. Many in our midst came to know Christ because of someone they were dating that was a believer, and we celebrate that! But I also believe that God’s grace does not mean we should make such decisions lightly. I myself have seen many a person begin a relationship with a non-believer, only to find themselves drifting away from the Lord and His people.
I hope that this explanation shows why we believe it is unwise take such a risk and to plunge into such intimacy with someone who does not follow Christ, while we affirm that the Lord often uses even our unwise choices for His glory!
Grace and peace,