Marrying Unbelievers

Recently I had coffee with a good friend and the discussion came up about whether pastors should perform marriages for those who aren’t Christians. As of yet I do not have a firm committment one way or the other, but after having read Russ Moore’s article on the subject, I admit that I lean towards not marrying unbelievers. Here are a couple of quotes that I found thought provoking:

For unbelievers the church has no right to hold a couple to their vows through church discipline. They are not, after all, members of the church. A church that isn’t able to hold a couple to their vows (through discipleship and discipline) as witnesses to the covenant made (through discipleship and discipline) has no right to solemnize these vows in the first place. What would the church do if the unbelieving non-members were to break these vows?


Almost every pastor I’ve ever heard who performs weddings indiscriminately appeals to the evangelistic potential. Every community has the “wedding chaplain” pastor who will marry anyone. He is rarely the soul-winning firebrand of the community. As a matter of fact (though I’m sure there are exceptions), I’ve not once met an unbelieving couple who were won to Christ by a pastor who was willing to marry them regardless of their belief in Christ. I know of several couples, though, who came to Christ because a faithful pastor lovingly told them no, and told them why.

Check out “Should A Minister Officiate…


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Filed under marriage, russ moore

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