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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.And this doesn’t mean only abstinence from sexual intercourse, but abstinence from all sexual activity. The problem with viewing a dating relationship as its own distinct category of relationship is that—being a modern invention—it lacks any explicit scriptural boundary regarding sexual relations.Feeling left to our own devices, we have invented our own guidelines of sexual purity. Some are fairly conservative, while others are not.
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).
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.
Pastors and parents have, I think, dropped the ball here.
We’ve tended to push the burden of this dilemma back onto teens and singles.