To date or not to date. That is Scott Croft’s question in a provocative article in the Boundless Webzine titled, “Biblical Dating: An Introduction.” Scott Croft is an elder at Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., and in this article he contrasts modern dating practices with what he calls “biblical dating.” What follows is a teaser that I hope will entice you to read Croft’s entire piece.
OK. Let’s take care of some basic definitions. We may define biblical dating as a method of introduction and carrying out of a pre-marital relationship between a single man and a single woman:
- That begins (maybe) with the man approaching and going through the woman’s father or family;
- that is conducted under the authority of the woman’s father or family or church; and
- that always has marriage (or at least a determination regarding marriage to a specific person) as its direct goal.
The Scriptural support for the idea of biblical dating is largely by example and implication. . .
We may basically define modern dating as a method of introduction and carrying out of a pre-marital relationship between a single man and a single woman:
- that begins with either the man or the woman initiating with the other;
- that is conducted outside the formal oversight or authority of either person’s family or church; and
- that may or may not have marriage as its goal and is often purely “recreational” or “educational.”
Now, the biblical support for the modern approach to dating … (insert crickets, tumbleweeds, person whistling here)…. That was it. There isn’t any. The very idea of extended romantic or sexual involvement outside of marriage doesn’t even appear in Scripture unless it is described as illicit (sinful). Furthermore, it doesn’t even appear in any society, western or otherwise, in any systematic way until the 20th century! While the principles supporting biblical dating have their beginnings with the very structure of the family, modern dating has its origins with the sexual revolution of the 1960s. It is brand new, and yet, seemingly, it is all we know.
Thanks to David Mills of Touchstone magazine for bringing this article to my attention. I hope you will go read the rest of it for yourself.