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I wasn't originally going to post this, but it appears that many are still interested in the subject.   I originally wrote this because I am applying to be a mentor in a conservative youth mime/drama troupe (they are, at this time, under an umbrella that upholds courtship as the only way to go), and they require a statement on courtship versus dating.  So, without further ado, I present my statement/letter.

When I was younger (in high school, early college years), my parents did not want me to date.  Rather, they chose to embrace the idea of courtship, which they never got a chance to use very well, because no one legitimately expressed interest in me.  I have read I Kissed Dating Goodbye, Waiting for Her Isaac, Boy Meets Girl,  When God Writes Your Love Story, and countless other books on courtship.  I am now on my late twenties, have lived on my own, have gone out on dates, and have come to realize that courtship is not for everyone.
“Courtship” is the general process whereby a man pursues a woman.  Method is not important, as a man who is “dating” a woman could easily say “I am courting _______.”  Back before women gained more independence (early 20th century and before), courtship was used in a broad and specific sense because a man would court a girl at home under the supervision of parents, and “dating” had not yet arrived on the scene.
The term “courtship” has been more recently associated (mostly in the home school circles) with an alternative to “dating”  as a throwback to the old-fashioned way of doing things, per se.  Usually, when a guy is interested in a girl, he would speak to her father.  If the father approved, then the guy would be given permission to visit the girl at home, in the company of her family.  Restrictions vary from family to family, but the main goal is to “court” with the ultimate intention/goal of marriage, under the strict guidance of the parents, as opposed to “dating”, which does not usually involve the parents as much, and does not often have the goal of marriage.
Courtship (from hereon as defined in the second paragraph), is very often  purported  to be the “biblical alternative” to dating, implying that dating is not biblical, but that idea has been sorely misconstrued.  First, courtship is found nowhere in the Bible.  Anyone who knows the Scriptures well knows that couples were married by betrothal.  Secondly, it is not guaranteed that every courtship will end in marriage.  The purpose of courtship is to seriously consider the possibility of marriage; to guarantee a marriage would be to utilize the method of betrothal.
Dating (and here I am referring to a case in which a girl gets asked out by a guy, without going through her father)  has a different approach  than courtship, but, for the most part, serves the same purpose.  Most people in their twenties and beyond who are looking for a serious relationship leading to marriage will use dating as their approach.  And again, as with courtship, it is not guaranteed to end in marriage.
Based on the above, I do not believe courtship is superior to or more biblical than dating.  They both serve the same purpose, and marriage cannot be guaranteed by either one.  For the Christian who wants to please God, s/he will date or court for God’s glory, and will seek wisdom no matter which method they choose to use.  To say that courtship is more biblical than dating is a fallacy.
I do not recommend courtship as the only way to go for everyone.   For the girl or guy who is still in high school, still living at home, I certainly do not recommend one-on-one dating.  For the woman who has established a singular identity, no longer living at home with her parents, dating would be more convenient.  In both scenarios, however,  it would be remiss not to seek wise counsel, and in some instances, I would advise against either approach, because a person must have his/her life right before God before pursuing a relationship with anyone.  In short, I have a tendency to use pragmatism combined with the counsel of God’s word.
In the case of AIM/CIA, I would do nothing to usurp the ultimate standards put in place by those in authority.  To do so is disrespect, and that would never be my intention; however, if someone were to ask me if dating were wrong, I would simply have to reply with a “no.”   There is nothing inherently wrong with dating, and there is nothing wrong with courtship.  Each can be used to the glory of God.
When I was younger (in high school, early college years), my parents did not want me to date.  Rather, they chose to embrace the idea of courtship, which they never got a chance to use very well, because no one legitimately expressed interest in me.  I have read I Kissed Dating Goodbye, Waiting for Her Isaac, Boy Meets Girl,  When God Writes Your Love Story, and countless other books on courtship.  I am now on my late twenties, have lived on my own, have gone out on dates, and have come to realize that courtship is not for everyone.

“Courtship” is the general process whereby a man pursues a woman.  Method is not important, as a man who is “dating” a woman could easily say “I am courting _______.”  Back before women gained more independence (early 20th century and before), courtship was used in a broad and specific sense because a man would court a girl at home under the supervision of parents, and “dating” had not yet arrived on the scene.

The term “courtship” has been more recently associated (mostly in the home school circles) with an alternative to “dating”  as a throwback to the old-fashioned way of doing things, per se.  Usually, when a guy is interested in a girl, he would speak to her father.  If the father approved, then the guy would be given permission to visit the girl at home, in the company of her family.  Restrictions vary from family to family, but the main goal is to “court” with the ultimate intention/goal of marriage, under the strict guidance of the parents, as opposed to “dating”, which does not usually involve the parents as much, and does not often have the goal of marriage.

Courtship (from hereon as defined in the second paragraph), is very often  purported  to be the “biblical alternative” to dating, implying that dating is not biblical, but that idea has been sorely misconstrued.  First, courtship is found nowhere in the Bible.  Anyone who knows the Scriptures well knows that couples were married by betrothal.  Secondly, it is not guaranteed that every courtship will end in marriage.  The purpose of courtship is to seriously consider the possibility of marriage; to guarantee a marriage would be to utilize the method of betrothal.

Dating (and here I am referring to a case in which a girl gets asked out by a guy, without going through her father)  has a different approach  than courtship, but, for the most part, serves the same purpose.  Most people in their twenties and beyond who are looking for a serious relationship leading to marriage will use dating as their approach.  And again, as with courtship, it is not guaranteed to end in marriage.

Based on the above, I do not believe courtship is superior to or more biblical than dating.  They both serve the same purpose, and marriage cannot be guaranteed by either one.  For the Christian who wants to please God, s/he will date or court for God’s glory, and will seek wisdom no matter which method they choose to use.  To say that courtship is more biblical than dating is a fallacy.

I do not recommend courtship as the only way to go for everyone.   For the girl or guy who is still in high school, still living at home, I certainly do not recommend one-on-one dating.  For the woman who has established a singular identity, no longer living at home with her parents, dating would be more convenient.  In both scenarios, however,  it would be remiss not to seek wise counsel, and in some instances, I would advise against either approach, because a person must have his/her life right before God before pursuing a relationship with anyone.  In short, I have a tendency to use pragmatism combined with the counsel of God’s word.

In the case of AIM/CIA, I would do nothing to usurp the ultimate standards put in place by those in authority.  To do so is disrespect, and that would never be my intention; however, if someone were to ask me if dating were wrong, I would simply have to reply with a “no.”   There is nothing inherently wrong with dating, and there is nothing wrong with courtship.  Each can be used to the glory of God.