1–Bible: The Bible does not say, as the Bible does not explicitly speak to most things. Each person must seek wisdom from God’s Word, the Spirit’s illuminations, the conscience, and the faith community.
2–Freedom: Christians have purposeful freedom where the Bible is unclear, but we must modify the word freedom with purposeful. A train can run at optimal levels within the structure of the rails. If you remove the rails, it will never be all it could be. Freedom without structure leads to horrific results. The Christian rails are fourfold: Canon, Comforter, Conscience, and Community.
3–Evidence: Some folks have found biblical relationships and marriage through these apps. Other folks have had disastrous results. I only mention anecdotal evidence because people will share their stories of success or failure. Anecdotal evidence is like eisegesis; you can read into it what you want, according to the desires of your heart.
4–Options: There’s more than one way to find a spouse, e.g., arranged marriages, so we can’t have a one-size-fits-all mentality. Different cultures and individuals do things differently. The operative word is caution: Proceed with caution.
5–Motives: Identify motives of the heart, e.g., marriage for the wrong reason. The transcending reason to get married is, “I believe we can glorify God more effectively by becoming one flesh than by being two independent entities.”
6–Disinhibition: Recognize the disinhibition effect, a lack of a social filter when online, tempting a person to say or do anything their heart desires, including all the nefariousness in our imperfect souls.
7–Transparency: The folks using these apps should be willing to show their conversations to a friend. Covenant Eyes has been doing this for years by setting up accountability that receives a report of the sites a person visits. The gospel-affected soul has nothing to fear, protect, or hide, releasing them to be open with at least one appropriate friend.
8–Diligence: I do not recommend making a lifetime decision based on online discussions. It would be foolish to do so in light of all we know about online deception. The person must do more due diligence when/if the time is right, e.g., theological understanding, meeting the parents and other family members, etc.
9–Leadership: “When you discuss dating apps, could you elaborate on the role of women, especially in the context of being pursued by men? I’m curious how this dynamic aligns with the Holy Spirit’s guidance in finding a life partner. I wonder if using a dating app would be contrary to the concept that women are traditionally pursued by men and, therefore, in a more passive position.”
10–Real v Good: Nancy Pearcey talked about the difference between a real man and a good man in her book, The Toxic War on Masculinity. A real man is what you might find in a “blow-em-up” movie: a John Wayne-type macho man. A good man aligns with the fruit of the Spirit. And though the world bashes men too often, the best men are good men, and the number one place to find them, according to her research, is in the local church—a warning to all of us who talk about evil Christian men. However, she did say the worst men are “real men in the church,” a danger for sure.
One of our supporters gave me this CTA as we discussed this topic in our Leaders Over Coffee forums. She was unsure where she got these things, so if you know, please let me know so we can accredit adequately.
Self Disclosure: I would not want our daughters to advertise themselves on a dating app. Also, I did not discuss in the episode the role of fathers, but someone should ask, “Where are the dads? How are they leading their families, specially their daughters?”
Rick launched the Life Over Coffee global training network in 2008 to bring hope and help for you and others by creating resources that spark conversations for transformation. His primary responsibilities are resource creation and leadership development, which he does through speaking, writing, podcasting, and educating.
In 1990 he earned a BA in Theology and, in 1991, a BS in Education. In 1993, he received his ordination into Christian ministry, and in 2000 he graduated with an MA in Counseling from The Master’s University. In 2006 he was recognized as a Fellow of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC).