Should a minister officiate at the weddings of unbelievers? This is the question that Dr. Russell Moore answers in his latest Henry Institute blog. I respect the way he offers straight talk on a confusing issue for many young pastors (including me). Here’s the quote:
A minister of the gospel shouldn’t officiate at the weddings of unbelievers. . . Refusing to place your ecclesial imprimatur on a Christless marriage is among the least dangerous things a minister will ever be called to do.
The wedding ceremony is one more place where we don’t need Masters of Cermony or civil servants. We need ministers of the gospel, those with the courage to let their yes be yes and, when necessary, their no be no.
He’s also right to call for courage on this issue. Following this advice is a career killer in many small mom-and-pop Baptist churches where they expect you to be the town chaplain.
I recall the advice from Dr. York’s pastoral ministry class. He said have a clear written statement on who you will marry. Present this to the pulpit committee, deacons and anyone inquiring about getting married. Otherwise, people will consider it a personal affront when you don’t marry their unconverted children or grandchildren. Then you’ll be sending out your resumes in a hurry.