First off, we need to establish that Marriage Missions isn’t a dating web site. But we do believe that God has lead us to better prepare those who are “single, yet preparing.” We’re talking about singles who hope to meet that “special someone” to marry someday. For that reason we don’t want to ignore the subject of “missionary dating.” It’s often looked upon as a viable option for some Christians when he or she is “drawn” to someone who isn’t a Follower of Christ.
What is Missionary Dating?
“Missionary dating is a phrase used in a Christian context to describe when a person of one religion dates a person with differing beliefs for the purpose of changing that person’s beliefs or religion.” (definition given by Wikipedia.org)
And here’s something bloggist, Alexandra Foley, wrote as a definition:
“Simply put, ‘missionary dating’ is dating with the hopes of turning a promising frog into a virtual prince. As the word implies, it can have a religious purpose in mind, though it needn’t be primarily religious. And granted, probably every man and woman who dates has to some degree a ‘missionary’ impulse —a desire to convert or eliminate blemishes we perceive in our companion —so isolating it as a separate category may be a moot point.
“Still, it appears to me that the phenomenon is real enough to stand on its own. The big question, of course, is whether missionary dating actually works.”
Does Missionary Dating Work?
That’s a good question to a very controversial topic, since the Bible is very specific about not being “yoked with an unbeliever.” (We address this issue in the Single Yet Preparing topic. And for those who are already married, you can read articles in the Spiritual Matters topic, which addresses being unequally yoked in marriage.)
Does this mean that a Christian shouldn’t even date someone who isn’t a Christian —especially when he or she might be led to become a follower of Christ? Wouldn’t that lead to a “good” or an “equally yoked” marriage if they ever got to that point in their relationship?
Those are good questions; but they’re certainly not ones that are easy to answer. And they’re certainly not ones we’re able to answer without some help.
Articles to Help
To help you we’re suppling links below to several articles on this issue praying that as you read them, the Holy Spirit will give you wisdom. We encourage you to read all of them, because they each make different points that are important for you to consider.
This first link contains several different articles within it that are posted on the Hoe Koon Siong web site. They include something written by J.J. in which he states very emphatically:
“For every person you can show me who did this successfully, I can show you ten people who are married to non-believers and are miserable. It’s a really bad idea and it’s wrong.”
To learn more of J.J.’s of reasoning, as well as the reasoning of several other authors, please read:
Kris Swiatocho (the Director of Singles Network Ministry) has been on many dates where her main purpose has been to win the guy to Christ. But she learned some things that changed her original views on this type of dating. You might find the points she makes, interesting to read. Even though this is mostly written to women, much of it pertains to men as well, if they are missionary dating. I especially appreciate a point she brings out at the end of this Crosswalk.com article. She wrote:
“NOTE: Men, take extra caution. In general, males feel the need to rescue women. What is better than to meet a woman who needs you to lead her? However, God’s Word is the same for us all: be equally yoked.”
This is a really good point, because many men feel protective of women. But when this is your perspective, you need to be careful. It can sometimes backfire on you in a negative way.
To learn more, please read this Crosswalk.com article:
Who Influences Who?
Annagail Lynes, learned about this type of dating the hard way. She started to date a guy who wasn’t a believer thinking that she would influence him for Christ. But the reverse happened. He influenced her and she “slid deeper into the world” until they finally broke up.
To learn what she has to say about this, please click onto the Faithwriters.com link below to read:
Some people date others with a missionary goal. The following article, written in question and answer form, gives suggestions on what you should do if you’re concerned about his or her relationship with God. Please read the following Christiananswers.net article:
There is also a narrative, written by J. Buziszewski, that brings out additional points concerning missionary dating. Please read this Boundless.org article:
And finally, for a twist on the meaning of missionary dating, please read what Sharon wrote, who now sees it in an entirely different light. We pray you will as well, as you read:
“The Light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness did not comprehend it.”
(John 1:5 NASB)
Seek the Lord’s guidance on this issue. I hope you will listen to what God tells you to do as it pertains to missionary dating. May He bless you abundantly as you live your life God’s way!
Cindy Wright of Marriage Missions International wrote this article.
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Filed under: Single Yet Preparing