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That's what I hope this column will be about — applying God's Word to the topic of dating, finding a spouse, and getting married. After this column, you have my word that I'll spend the next several months answering your questions (that is, when I have answers). I have to start by explaining the theological doctrine that drives the approach I want to outline (and advocate).That doctrine is called the sufficiency of Scripture.by Scott Croft If you're reading this, you're interested in dating. In our society, dating has become something of an obsession. It's just something you do if you're single and of age (and that age is quickly dropping) in America. In fact, depending on which statistics one believes, the divorce rate for professing Christians may actually be higher than for Americans as a whole.You've done it, you're doing it, you'd like to do it, or you need to teach somebody else how to do it. It is considered the natural precursor to marriage, and is generally considered something to be desired, whatever form it might take. If you were to Google the word "matchmaker," you would receive something in the neighborhood of 12,100,000 responses — with a few of these outfits claiming to be Christian, but most making no such claim. As evangelical Christians, we're called to be distinct in the ways we think and act about all issues that confront us and those around us. Granted, not all of these people are evangelicals, but we're not doing so well either.Don't spend your time in wild parties and getting drunk or in adultery and lust, or fighting, or jealousy." Dating should not include a sexual relationship. "But sexual sin is never right: our bodies were not made for that, but for the Lord…That is why I say to run from sex sin. When you sin this sin it is against your own body." Keep yourself pure. "And everyone who really believes this will try to stay pure because Christ is pure." To keep from hurting ourselves, sexual desires and activities must be placed under Christ's control. "For God wants you to be holy and pure and to keep clear of all sexual sin so that each of you will marry in holiness and honor—not in lustful passion as the heathen do, in their ignorance of God and his ways." If you have already gone too far physically, what should you do? Don't toss me aside, banished forever from Your presence. Restore to me again the joy of Your salvation, and make me willing to obey You." Third, Believe that God has indeed forgiven you and quit feeling guilty. "What happiness for those whose guilt has been forgiven! What relief for those who have confessed their sins and God has cleared their record.There was a time when I wouldn't admit what a sinner I was. "Run from anything that gives you the evil thoughts that young men often have, but stay close to anything that makes you want to do right.Have faith and love, and enjoy the companionship of those who love the Lord and have pure hearts." It is unwise to date someone who doesn't love God. "Don't be teamed with those who do not love the Lord, for what do the people of God have in common with the people of sin? And what harmony can there be between Christ and the devil?

There are many contexts in which to do evangelism—dating isn’t one of them. If you’re a committed disciple, only date committed disciples.In a dating relationship don't be exclusive—care about others too. "Next, learn to put aside your own desires so that you will become patient and godly, gladly letting God have his way with you. Don't keep looking at my sins—erase them from Your sight.This will make possible the next step, which is for you to enjoy other people and to like them, and finally you will grow to love them deeply." What to avoid on dates. "Be decent and true in everything you do so that all can approve your behavior. Create in me a new, clean heart, O God, filled with clean thoughts and right desires.I do mean that you must seriously contemplate and establish your boundaries.I had to have this talk too, and I probably did it a little late.