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Why Driscoll Thinks Missionary Dating Is a Terrible Idea

God says “No.”

When it comes to Christians marrying non-Christians, God is opposed. There are many passages in Scripture that make this clear. I’ll share one from the Old Testament and one from the New Testament.

Malachi 2:11-12 says:

Judah has been faithless, and abomination has been committed in Israel and in Jerusalem. For Judah has profaned the sanctuary of the Lord, which he loves, and has married the daughter of a foreign god. May the Lord cut off from the tents of Jacob any descendant of the man who does this, who brings an offering to the Lord of hosts!

In this passage, God is addressing his people (“Judah”) through the prophet Malachi. They have been “faithless” and committed an “abomination” that has “profaned” God’s glory. What is it that has God so concerned? Believers marrying unbelievers.

In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul puts it this way: “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness?” (2 Cor. 6:14). In the Old Testament, God’s people profaned his temple by uniting themselves with his enemies. Following the work of Jesus in the New Testament, now “we are the temple of the living God” (2 Cor. 6:16).

Dating a non-Christian is a bad idea.

There are numerous reasons why the theological restrictions against marrying a non-Christian make practical sense.

Since marrying a non-Christian is ill-advised, getting emotionally involved through dating is pointless and only leads to sin and/or heartache. Since Jesus is at the center of your life, a non-Christian will not even understand who you are. Because you submit to Scripture and non-Christians do not, your relationship with one has no court of arbitration in which to resolve your differences. A non-Christian is not in covenant with Jesus, so he or she has no covenantal framework for any relationship with you.

If the man you date or marry is not a Christian, you will have no means of dealing with the sin that will come between the two of you, because you do not both believe in the gospel of Jesus’ death for sin.

To make it clear: A Christian should not marry a non-Christian.

I can’t tell you what to do … but God can.

You (or others reading) may ask, “What right does anyone have to tell me who I can and cannot marry?” And through Scripture, God essentially says, “I do. I created marriage; I created you; and if you belong to me, you need to listen to me.”

Since you cannot marry a non-Christian, getting emotionally involved is pointless and only leads to sin and/or heartache.

God is a good Father, and I promise you this: If any of my children ran off and married someone against Grace’s and my counsel, we would be heartbroken because our kids would likely end up in a devastating relationship. We know our kids, we love them and we’re here to help them make this crucial decision.

Likewise, God is a Father who cares about his kids. Because he loves us, he gives guidance and boundaries through the Bible, our consciences, wise counsel and the Holy Spirit.

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Pastor Mark Driscoll is the Preaching and Speaking pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle. He is one of the world’s most downloaded and quoted pastors. His audience—fans and critics alike—spans the theological and cultural left and right. Follow his updates at twitter.com/pastorMark.