Is the dating of non-believers by Christians a matter that should be brought through the steps of church discipline in Matthew 18 (i.e. up to excommunication)?

I have not seen any Church apply church discipline to the dating of non-believers. I suppose because it's hard to define "dating" these days. Many of the young people call it "Hanging out together" and claim that it has nothing to do with love or affection--so they claim.
I would say that once it becomes apparent, to any member of the church, that another member/attendee is becoming involved in a romantic and/or love relationship with an unbeliever, that they must go to the person as step one of the Matthew 18 process, and then follow the rest of the process if necessary.

Here is how Grace Community Church (John MacArthur-Pastor) handles the situation:

"Here at Grace, we believe that the Bible teaches that believers should only marry other believers. We also view dating as a path to marriage. Thus, we would strongly discourage any believer from pursuing a dating relationship with a non-believer.

In keeping with Matthew 18, we would confront a believer who is involved that an "unequally-yoked" dating relationship. If they refused to repent (and terminate the relationship), we would continue down the path of church discipline. [Some of this, of course, would depend on the age of the individual in question--regarding what role their parents should play in the discipline process.]

How much time is allotted during the process would be considered on a case-by-case basis, according to the discretion of the elders involved. We would try to include, in the confrontation process, as much biblical counseling as possible--so that the believer in question could be shepherded so as to see why dating an unbeliever is such a big deal.

Added to Bible Bulletin Board's "Tony Capoccia's Questions and Answers" by:

Tony Capoccia
Bible Bulletin Board
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