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Indeed, the central issue we need to confront — and the reason I write and speak on this topic — is that when it comes to dating and relationships, perhaps more than in any other area of the everyday Christian life, the church is largely indistinguishable from the world.

That truth has brought immeasurable emotional pain and other consequences to many Christians.

This doctrine simply holds that the Bible is sufficient to guide and instruct us authoritatively in all areas of our faith and life, and that there is no area of life about which the Bible has no guidance for us.

The sufficiency of Scripture is taught explicitly and implicitly in many passages, but perhaps the most obvious is 2 Timothy -17: So how does the sufficiency of Scripture apply to our coming discussions?

* * * If you're reading this, you're interested in dating. In our society, dating has become something of an obsession. It's just something you do if you're single and of age (and that age is quickly dropping) in America. In fact, depending on which statistics one believes, the divorce rate for professing Christians may actually be than for Americans as a whole.

You've done it, you're doing it, you'd like to do it, or you need to teach somebody else how to do it. It is considered the natural precursor to marriage, and is generally considered something to be desired, whatever form it might take. If you were to Google the word "matchmaker," you would receive something in the neighborhood of 21,200,000 responses — with a few of these outfits claiming to be Christian, but most making no such claim. As evangelical Christians, we're called to be distinct in the ways we think and act about all issues that confront us and those around us. Granted, not all of these people are evangelicals, but we're not doing so well either.

If you're a Christian, that's the biblical life you're called to.

That's what I hope this column will be about — applying God's Word to dating, finding a spouse and getting married.

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The doctrine of the of Scripture assumes inerrancy but then goes a step further.Some of the messages we've presented have taken the position that Christians can apply their faith in such a way that they can still work within the system they've inherited.Other messages have stressed that Christians need to be much more counter-cultural.I have to start by explaining the theological doctrine that drives the approach I want to outline (and advocate).That doctrine is called the of Scripture (which states that the Bible is the authoritative Word of God, it's true, and it contains no falsity or error).

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