Brian Croft has some great questions at Practical Shepherding on pastors and weddings. He asks “What are the boundary lines to determine whether a pastor can/should conduct a wedding?” That’s a great question for a pastor to really think through. I think Brian asks some good questions and offers some good advice for us to apply. When it comes to the question of whether or not pastors should perform weddings, the most common explanations I have heard are as follows:
- They won’t perform a wedding for a believer and a non-believer
- They won’t perform a wedding for people living together
I have no reservations about the first statement, as Paul seems pretty clear in 2 Cor. 6:14 that unequally yoked relationships are not something Christians should participate in, so I’m assuming pastors shouldn’t perform those weddings. That being said, how that gets fleshed out and what makes a couple “unequally yoked” may not be quite how many assume.
For me, the most helpful explanation of good wedding principles was written by D.A. Carson – Counsel to a Young Church Planter on Marriage. Carson lays out some really wise (and biblically informed) thoughts on why taking the “traditional” stand against performing weddings for “sinners” seems to be based on some assumptions that need to be challenged. You really need to read Carson’s article if you are interested in whether pastors should perform weddings under certain circumstances.
What do you think? What kind of guidelines do you think pastors should take, and why?