As the FFF, which I at this moment still link to on my weblog, seems to not offer any substantial discussion, I am glad to have friends who like to "discuss" (heh heh) Biblical and Christian matters.
To court or not to court? Or should we date? What is the relationship between friendship, dating, courtship, and marriage? Some act as if all interaction with an unrelated member of the opposite gender is tantamount to dating. Surely that is the extreme end, I would hope. However, if I recall my high school days at the church school, and to even see Joe and Jane speaking privately meant something was going on. It quickly got passed around that they were in l-o-o-o-ve. Of course this was high schooler behavior and some would argue that those who are still in high school shouldn't even think about dating yet.
However this brings me to my point- that people confuse friendship and dating and courtship and marriage, and in doing so negatively effect the development of a proper perspective of the opposite gender. Must the only friends of the opposite gender I can be anything more than an acquaintance with be a marriage prospect? This seems to be the opinion of many who take this logic to it's conclusion and say that married men, for example, should keep away from friendships with other women.
The answer is for God's people to see a difference between friendship and courtship, for relationships between the genders to be more natural, rather than as an inevitable step toward marriage. Single men and women who heed the Bible command to guard the heart should be OK, along with the fact that, well, they have a number of friends. No dating, just a good circle of friends. People need to stop assuming the nature of other people's friendships.
It might be said that a friendship that is close enough to tell if the other is the right one is too close. The answer to this shows us where courtship fits in. Courtship fits in where a man and woman take the relationship farther than normal for the purpose of seriously considering marriage. For a Christian man or woman this step involves specific prayer and yes, counsel.
There is a fine line perhaps but if a Christian is walking after the Spirit, so what? It is a fine line crossed only with prayer. If a Christian is not walking after the Spirit, there are greater problems.