In recent years my pastor (and husband) has had some unique opportunities with weddings. There is nothing unusual about a pastor performing a wedding ceremony. However, Tony has done several weddings in recent years that I consider out of the ordinary.
One of these opportunities presented itself when we got a phone call at the house one Saturday morning. The young man on the other end of the line asked Tony if he would come to his house and marry he and his fiance that very afternoon. They had already done the necessary legals. As the conversation went on Tony inquired about their spiritual condition. You see he is of the Biblical opinion that saved people are not to marry unsaved people. Of course, the verse for this is 2 Cor. 6:14. If the couple were both unsaved, he would marry them, or if the couple were both saved, he would marry them. That is if they were not divorced (but that is another issue we will not deal with today.) Continuing the phone conversation, the young man told Tony that his girlfriend was saved, but he was not. He also said they had been living together for several years, and they have a child together. Seeing that the depth of the conversation was growing, Tony decided that he needed to meet with the couple and have a brief counseling session before deciding whether or not he could marry them.
The young man was saved during the counseling session, and Tony performed an informal ceremony that afternoon at the couples residence. There were a few family members present, including the child of the couple. My daughter, two men from our church, and I also attended. As I watched the child at the ceremony, I couldn't help but be delighted for her. She apparently knew that this was a special occasion; she had worn a pretty dress for the ceremony, and changed into more casual clothing immediately after. Did she somehow know that now her home was becoming one that could be blessed of the Lord? Tony told the "congregation" that this couple has chosen to enter the honorable institution of marriage. They were moving from dishonor to honor. Hebrews 13:4 states, "Marriage [is] honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge." We are pursuing this family, hoping to baptize them, the wife had made a profession at another church but was refused baptism because of their living arrangement at that time. The child has already been saved and baptized. So we hope to gain their membership and help them to grow in grace.
This was not the first time my pastor/husband had a situation like this. With the moral climate of our society, we are seeing more "unusual" situations in the ministry. However, we have to meet people with the gospel wherever they are in life. We need to stand on the Word while at the same time showing compassion. We must have the attitude, "There, but for the grace of God, go I." Though not a verse in the Bible, that principle is supported by several passages, such as Prov. 16:18, Gal. 6:1, and 1Cor. 6:11. We thank the Lord for allowing us to have a part in helping couples to move from dishonor to honor.