Saturday, February 15, 2014

Should Pastors Marry Couples Who've Been Living Together? (re-run)

Well! If you ever think the Internet has a short shelf-life, here's proof against that idea. Fortunately, it's not something like an ancient Facebook posting warning the invasion from the planet Zargon was already manifest at the New York Stock Exchange or a blog entry from the time when I believed that when you die, your soul goes to a used-car lot in Buffalo. It's a guest article I wrote on Ron Edmonson's blog back in 2010 about the question of couples who'd been living together, deciding to get married: should a pastor perform the service?

I actually think the answer is a slam-dunk: yes, he (or she) should. My reasoning is spelled out in the blog, but it boils down to two passages in Scripture:

  • (Peter said), "Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?" (Acts 10:47)
  • (Jesus said), "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost." (Matt. 28:19)
A couple shacks up, then decides to make a permanent commitment; and if they want to do so in front of God and a gathering of witnesses, why turn them away?

The posting generated 50 comments, most of which were very thoughtful but the discussion often moved into the question of whether couples should live together prior to marriage at all. Not sure that I'd recommend that for a couple who came to me for advice, especially given the statistics on such marriages. But there didn't seem to be a clear consensus on what to do when the couple had already been together.

So while I wrote the piece to try to firm up some ideas in my own mind, the final answer, for me, remains: "It depends".

ANYWAY ... on Friday (Feb. 14), I got an email from the producer of a program, Up For Debate, on the Moody Radio Network. 3-1/2 years on, they discovered my blog posting and have asked me to take part in this week's show. It's on between 8 and 9am Central Time, or you can get more information and listen to the podcast here.

And it's another good reason to be VERY careful with your online postings!

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