Question:

I wanted to ask you a question that kind of plays an important part in my life. IfI'mChristian and my boyfriend isSeventh-Day Adventist, then is it wrong for us to date? My parents think so, but I see no harm in it. I'm a littleconfused and needsome clearing up on this subject.

Answer:

To answer your question, I need you to think about why you are dating. If you are dating for entertainment -- that is, to have someone to go places and do things with -- then it won't matter what religion a person happens to be. However, dating is typically more serious than this. People usually date in hopes of finding a future spouse and this is probably what has your parents concerned.

There are good and kind people in all religions, so that is not the concern. Rather, think ahead to the future. If you do marry and he remains a Seventh-Day Adventist and you remain a New Testament following Christian, what will life be like?

A part of marriage is two people becoming one (Genesis 2:24). That will be difficult if you are attending your worship services and he his own. It means the two of you won't always agree about religious matters. It is not that it is impossible for such a marriage to work, I'm just pointing out that you would be signing up for extra hardships and points of continual disagreement. "And a woman who has a husband who does not believe, if he is willing to live with her, let her not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy" (I Corinthians 7:13-14).

Usually most marriages where there is mixed religious beliefs work up until children come along. Then there is a huge argument over how the children will be raised. He will want them to attend with him and you will want them going with you. The sad reality is that children raised in a household where the parents disagree over religion tend to grow up believing in no religion at all.

I haven't met you or your young man, but if you are like most young women that I know, you have dreams of "fixing" him so that he will become the ideal husband. Since I haven't met either of you, I can't tell if that is possible, but just to warn you up front it doesn't happen in most cases.

If this young man is willing to learn about true Christianity and willingly becomes a Christian, not just because he wants to marry you but because he truly believes, then date and learn the Bible together. But remember that if he isn't willing to change now (on any matter, not just religion) when he has every incentive to impress you, then know that he won't change after marriage. You should have a husband whom you respect and are willing to follow his lead in all matters.

He disagrees with his religion, but he still is there. He's not really open minded either. He still believes we live under the law and I don't. I tried showing him in the Bible, but he says he believes the laws we should follow are the moral laws. I really like him, but I'm just not sure about this relationship. To tell you the truth, he's a little confused himself.

He might say he disagrees with his religion, but in practice and in what he states, he remains a Seventh-Day Adventist. "You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them" (Matthew 7:16-20). Jesus' point is that actions speak louder than words.

What is making things difficult for you is the simple fact that you like this young man. Because of your person desire, you are excusing behavior that if you saw it in friend you would be asking her, "What are you thinking?"

Most young people tend to want to push relationships further than they need to go. It seems clear to me that you don't think he is marriage material at the moment. So instead of dating him exclusively, you ought to keep this relationship on the level of good friends. Keep studying with him, he might come around to seeing the truth -- that would be far more important than having someone to date. But until he does decide to following Jesus in truth, I would strongly suggest that you don't get serious about him.