Guest / Limited Access /

A recent poll conducted by LifeWay Research found that 58 percent of Protestant pastors would perform marriage ceremonies for cohabitating couples; 31 percent would not, and 10 percent were not sure.

"If I believed them to be in sin, why wouldn't I help get them out? The apostle Paul addresses that; if you're having trouble keeping your hands to yourself, then marry her. Basically, I think it's over-scrupulous—overly pietistic—to refuse to perform a ceremony that gets someone from a morally questionable situation into an honorable estate."

"I will most likely officiate at a wedding for a couple who has been living together. The arms of the church need to be open, giving them an opportunity to know the grace of Christ and hopefully to become a part of the congregation. What I do with people is that when they come with a situation where they've been living together before they get married, I talk with them about engaging with the church. There are a lot of issues that we could worry about in the world. For me, that's just not one that's high on the list for me. I just want to have the arms of the church embrace them and I want them to sense the grace of God."

"Under most state law, cohabitating couples have no legal protection from such things as abandonment, adultery, property protection, or financial support, so marriage is clearly the best legal option to protect the person you love. So if a pastor refuses to marry the couple based on moral grounds, the couple is robbed of the benefits of marriage in a sense. However, social science research shows that cohabitating couples actually sabotage their chances for a lifetime of happiness by their premarital ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

From Issue:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
RecommendedMark Driscoll Addresses Crude Comments Made Trolling as 'William Wallace II'
Mark Driscoll Addresses Crude Comments Made Trolling as 'William Wallace II'
Mars Hill pastor says 14-year-old posts were 'plain wrong' and he 'remain[s] embarrassed,' but 'I have changed.'
TrendingWorship Songwriter Vicky Beeching Comes Out as Gay
Worship Songwriter Vicky Beeching Comes Out as Gay
The CCM worship world has its Jennifer Knapp moment.
Editor's PickHow Gaza’s Christians View the Hamas-Israeli Conflict
How Gaza’s Christians View the Hamas-Israeli Conflict
Baptist pastor Hanna Massad speaks openly about what he sees happening as he helps to shelter Gaza’s Christians and others during the current conflict.
Comments
Christianity Today
Should Pastors Perform Marriages for Cohabitating Couples?
hide thisOctober October

In the Magazine

October 2011

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.