I will not perform the wedding ceremony for persons who are not, both by profession and by practice, Christians. Because of this, I have been regarded by some as a strange sort of clerical animal, unkind at best, cruel at worst. Yet no matter what the reaction, my convictions are firm.

How did I reach this position? Partly through the realization that a very large percentage of the marriages I had performed had ended in divorce! At the outset of my ministry, I married any couple who asked me to do so. I counseled them before the wedding. Courtesies were exchanged among all concerned. The manners were well polished both in the study and in the sanctuary. However, often something disastrous happened after all the hoopla died down. As time passed—in some cases only a brief time—the vows and prayers of the ceremony were forgotten, and the marriage crumbled.

This happened time and time again among those who had little or no real spiritual commitment to begin with. I was pressed to the conclusion that I was wrong in officiating at a wedding of two unbelievers.

The more I thought about it, the more it seemed a charade. Was I called of God to perform marriages for people in the house of the Lord when those persons had not committed their lives to the Lord? Was I to say prayers for two people who did not pray? Was I to read passages from the Bible to a bride and groom knowing full well that they did not intend to build their home upon that Bible? Was I to ask these two people to utter their promises in the presence of Jesus when they did not regard Jesus as the Lord of their lives? Was I to conclude the ceremony by earnestly beseeching God’s blessing upon their new life together when they were not founding that life on the rock of salvation? ...

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