Recent surveys suggest the use of online dating apps have gone mainstream with nearly one-third of U.S. adults last year utilizing some form of matchmaking service.

In fact, according to people seeking romance, the internet was considered the best place to meet someone – even ahead of friend referrals, concerts, and church.

Keep in mind, where people might think is best may not necessarily be the case.

From a standpoint of connecting with someone who shares your Christian convictions and worldview, it’s hard to improve upon your local worshiping congregation. At the same time, more and more Christians are happily and successfully meeting online. We’ve all been to weddings and then baby dedications of couples who first connected in the ether.

Ahead of Valentine’s Day, Thursday’s Wall Street Journal highlights the escalation of internet love connections but also leads with a warning:

“Many people using dating apps are on them looking for ‘the one,’ writes Katherine Bindley. “Increasingly, they’re running into profiles of people looking for a second, third or fourth.”

Translation: serial daters seeking so-called “ethical non monogamy,” i.e., individuals comfortable with having an open sexual relationship.

Dating sites like “Hinge” and “Bumble” are apparently filled with these people, who often even include the acronym “ENM” in their profile.

Lisa Anderson, Director of Young Adults at Focus on the Family and host of the Boundless podcast, has a candid reaction to this development.

“Non monogamy, whether ostensibly ‘ethical’ or not, is a non-starter for the Christian,” she says. “We see no examples of serial daters in the Bible. We see a lot of arranged marriages, family introductions, and even the occasional shady setup (Leah and Rachel, anyone?). But romantic connections are always for the purpose of marriage and family, never casual sex or an antidote to a lonely Friday night.”

For the sake of the ignorant and innocent, Bindley details other niche dating apps that appeal to the wide range of immoral and sexually perverted, including people interested in such designations as polyamory, homo and heteroflexibility, pansexuality, asexuality, aromanticism and even voyeurism. There are plenty more.

The attempt to normalize the immoral is precisely what social conservatives warned about when the same-sex marriage debate began in earnest over two decades ago. When you legalize one abnormal arrangement, there’s no logical way to stop the legalization of others.

Single Christians must decide for themselves whether to pursue online dating apps, but this latest trend falls into the category that being forewarned is to be forearmed.

“Seeking a mate is an active pursuit,” reflects Anderson. “If your end goal is a God-honoring lifelong marriage, start looking with that in mind and reverse engineer the process with the tactics that will best get you there. Begin with taking a long, hard look at yourself. Are you a person of character? Are you in a position to marry? Are others given permission to speak into your life, and you humbly act upon their advice? Are you growing in all aspects of maturity? Actively become these things and seek someone who is doing the same. Then initiate a date, treat that person with honor and respect, be yourself, be curious, and see where it goes.”

Where it goes is what brings us back to the beginning, which is this destructive trend towards anything but true, ethical monogamy.

“God has set His standard for romantic and sexual relationships, and His design stands the test of time,” cautions Anderson. “He’s still in the business of making good matches. Trust your heart, your future marriage — and even your online profile — to Him.


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