Remembering that the "Church" is the body of Christ.
Eph 5:23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. 24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. 25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. 28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. 29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: 30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. 31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. 32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.
Neil, you make an extremely good point ‚ĚóūüĎć Russell Moore agrees with you.
Russell Moore wrote: .... In the New Testament, the marriages of church members are the business of the church community. Throughout the Scripture, the marriages of the members of the believing community are addressed to entire congregations (for instance, 1 Cor 7; Eph 5). At the same time, Paul tells the church at Corinth: ‚ÄúFor what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside‚ÄĚ (1 Cor 5:12-13).
...A church that isn‚Äôt able to hold a couple to their vows (through discipleship and discipline) as witnesses to the covenant made (through discipleship and discipline) has no right to solemnize these vows in the first place. What would the church do if the unbelieving non-members were to break these vows?
In the case of unbelievers, a minister of the state (such as a Justice of the Peace) is perfectly appropriate to officiate because it is the state, not the church, that will hold the couple accountable for any breaking of the vows made....
excerpt from, "Should a Minister Officiate at the Weddings of Unbelievers?"
This begs a big question: Where do Protestants get the idea that pastors/elders must officiate weddings? I think this is a holdover from the Catholic sacraments, for I can find no evidence in the NT for this.
Now if one wants to have a pastor as MC for a wedding, or counsel the couple beforehand, that's fine, but it's not required and no more legitimate before God than if done before a Justice of the Peace or even Notary Public. As I see it, the essential point is that it's witnessed (both families) for accountability, and in good faith by both parties, like signing a contract.
CNA staff wrote: ‚ÄúImams should not be forced to officiate Christian weddings they object to or write vows they disagree with,‚ÄĚ her complaint states. ‚ÄúNor should LGBT artists be forced to sing at church services or draft church pamphlets condemning same-sex marriage. Likewise, Kristi should be free to officiate and celebrate the ceremonies she believes in.‚ÄĚ