Editor’s note: This article originally appeared at JohnSpencerWrites.com.
After reading the exceptional book Forbidden Friendships it is my absolute pleasure to have the author, Joshua D Jones, guest post on the topic of whether Christian men and women can ever be friends:
Having close friendships with members of the opposite gender is healthy, biblical and important for spiritual growth. Sadly, in the name of integrity, some churches construct walls that keep us from meaningful brother-sister friendships. These divisions are neither biblical nor in line with church history at its best. And contrary to their promise of safety, adhering to them actually puts us at greater risk of sexual immorality, not less.
Many churches employ the terms “brother” and “sister” but they are often empty of any real meaning. Some now teach that men and women should never be close friends, believing that mixed friendships will lead into sexual sin or emotional affairs. Others may admit that men and women can share friendship but then they let it die the death of a thousand qualifications. One well-known church website boasts of how none of the church staff ever has lunch with someone of the opposite sex or rides alone in the car with someone of the opposite sex.î Boundaries abound. Sadly, though these rules have become commonplace over the last 20 years, adhering to them does not appear to have made us any purer.
God designed us male and female. We need each other. Marriage and family are not the only places this need should be expressed. If that were the case, single people would be helplessly cut off from the love and fellowship mixed friendship brings. And letís be honest: we often donít know what to do with the singles in our midst. In other centuries, Christian celibacy was viewed as a gift and a symbol of the coming kingdom of God. Jesus was single. Paul was both single and thankful for it. Now we pray for single people in hopes they find the magical one and only – giving them advice that is more Hollywood than Holy Word.