Are they obviously inappropriate, or undeniably essential in healthy church community?
To start, multiple What do these friendships look like? Does God prohibit them, or are they vital to the body of Christ?
” we must realize that each new possibility of a friendship between a woman and a man may require a “no” or “yes” in various circumstances, or at various stages of life. But even between single people, the dangers are significant. This is called “the friend zone,” and it’s very easy for tectonic plates of desire to create exciting and heated friendship when that heat is, in fact, caused by motivations moving in opposite directions.
Since any godly male-female friendship will be friendship between two disciples of Christ, the first step in building that friendship is to “count the cost, whether [you have] enough to complete it” (Luke ). Male-female friendship always brings the possibility for awkwardness, for conflict, for heartache. Whether we’re the desiring or the desired, let’s be honest with ourselves: do we both want the same thing from this friendship?
In marriage, romantic/emotional and physical intimacy has several purposes: (1) to express love and pleasure between a husband and wife (Prov.-19, Song of Songs), (2) to become emotionally and physically united as husband and wife (Gen. Gen. indicates that Adam and Eve were married and were naked and felt no shame (no disgrace or humiliation).
The reason that they felt no shame was because they were "innocent." They had no sin in them, nor was their sin in the world.
Adam and Eve were not to exist together without being married. a Christian marriage was also used as a picture of intimacy between Christ and His Church.
But for most, the issue of dating involves "romantic attraction and desire." Therefore "dating" must be approached by what the Scripture says regarding romantic desire and marriage, the only relationship in which romantic desire is to be fully expressed.
If "dating" is defined as two single friends of the opposite sex doing things together for fun without any attraction or romantic desire or intimacy involved at all, there is no issue to discuss regarding dating. The Bible describes and gives directions concerning friendship.
Those who immediately answer “yes” can hurl as many barrels of anecdotal evidence as those who scream “no.” Few treat this as a legitimate issue — opinions are given in a tone that implies that the very question violates common sense. As we ask the question, “Can women and men be friends? Between a married person and anyone other than their spouse, the friendship should end immediately.
It seems to me, after considering the biblical evidence, that male-female friendships lean even more heavily on a process that exists in all friendships: We usually undergo this process subconsciously with each new relationship: evaluating whether the relationship will be detrimental to ourselves or disobedient to God, and if it is not, identifying healthy parameters to make the relationship as fruitful as possible, and finally enjoying the ongoing benefits of the relationship. One person has completely innocent or friendly intentions, and the other falls in love.