Sex dating and relationships a fresh approach
We mark these as distinct relationships based on the observation that each relationship carries with it an explicit sexual ethic.
As you’ve noted, in our book we argue that Scripture recognizes three distinct types of male-female relationships—the “family” relationship, the “marriage” relationship, and the “neighbor” relationship (by “neighbor” we mean anyone who is neither a blood relative or a spouse).
The great compromise of contemporary evangelical sexual ethics is that we have justified foreplay as a legitimate part of pre-marital relationships.
This doesn’t hold up theologically or scripturally, and it certainly doesn’t work pragmatically.
We work primarily from 1 Corinthians 7:9, where Paul instructs non-married individuals to pursue sexual fulfillment exclusively in marriage.
Since sexual activity must still be reserved for marriage, it is incumbent that an engaged couple exercise wisdom regarding the extent to which they “fan into flame” sexual desire through physical touch, spending time alone, discussing sexual intimacy, etc.
139), what tensions will Christians experience who asking: How far is too far before marriage?
In many respects, the entire book is a theological and exegetical attempt to answer this question.
In either case, the legitimization of dating relationships as a distinct category of male-female relationship has introduced an enormous amount of subjectivity into Christian pre-marital relationships.
A main problem with contemporary dating relationships is that they tend to grant license to sexual activity that we would otherwise intuitively deem inappropriate. In our book, we argue that a dating relationship is really just a subset of the neighbor relationship, and thus must be governed by its sexual guidelines.