Should A Pastor Marry A Cohabitating Couple?

October 7, 2011

Tough question. Christianity Today asked a number of pastors what they would do if they were asked to marry a couple that was cohabitating. I realize that I’m as prone as anyone to man’s wisdom, but it seems to me that it makes sense to perform the ceremony. I’d ask that they refrain from physical intimacy until the paper is signed. Marriage is made up of two components. There is the public vows ceremony. Then there is consummation. If the latter has already taken place and the couple desires to “make things right,” it seems to me that a pastor ought to be willing to facilitate the former. Here’s Doug Wilson’s view (of course, I think he’s right)”

“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.”

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