I’ve been asked this question quite a few times over the years and we even discussed it back when we were doing a podcast/radio show. I’ll share a few things from personal experience and give you some practical questions to consider.
Mare Cris was a member of Victory Christian Fellowship when we first met. I was raised and ordained in a Southern Baptist church. I actually had “Evangelical Christian” listed as my religion on Facebook when we first started communicating. She wasn’t 100% sure what I meant by that label, so she asked me some basic questions about my beliefs (smart girl). She wanted to be certain I believed in the basic, fundamental truths of the Christian faith (the Trinity, salvation by faith, etc.).
I’m mentioning the beginning of our relationship to highlight an important point: there’s a big difference between dating someone of a different denomination and dating someone of a completely different religion (that’s another topic altogether). You can read one of my posts on discerning the truth for some general guidance on genuine vs. counterfeit Christianity.
Let me define things just to be clear: interdenominational dating means being in a relationship with someone who is part of a genuine Christian church/denomination other than yours. Stated another way, you both worship the same God and believe in the same gospel.
Now let’s get to some practical guidance. I believe there are two crucial questions to ask yourself if you are dating someone who is part of a different denomination:
Question #1: are you compatible in terms of doctrine?
Denominations exist in part due to different interpretations on issues such as spiritual gifts, eschatology (the last days), church governance, order/style of worship, and the list goes on. You and your boyfriend/girlfriend should discuss your beliefs and see where you stand. Here’s a general rule: you’ll be more likely to have a successful relationship with someone who has similar doctrine/beliefs.
Questions #2: are you compatible in terms of dedication?
Are both of you equally committed to Christ? This is an important question in any Christian relationship, but I think it also factors in this discussion. You may meet someone who happens to attend a different church but seems much more passionate about his faith than the single guys in your own congregation. Equal levels of dedication can play a huge role in whether or not you have a successful relationship.
Here are a few final words of advice:
1. Talk over these issues and don’t assume they’ll just work themselves out “as long as we love each other.”
2. A husband and wife should be members of the same church (in other words, the two of you will need to agree on one church to attend once you are married). Keep this in mind since the whole point of dating/courtship is to find a spouse.
3. Never settle for someone who has serious problems with his/her character or doctrine.
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