Marriage to non-member

Can a member of a WELS church marry a non-member of the WELS church.

Answer: 

If you are referring to yourself as a potential bride or groom, congratulations! If you are asking the question on behalf of someone else, we join you in wishing the best for them. And I commend you for asking important questions as part of wedding preparations.

You ask if a WELS member is allowed to have his or her wedding service in a WELS home church if they marry a person who is not a fellow member of WELS. Answer: Normally, Yes, because WELS membership on the part of both bride and groom is seldom a firm requirement for this. The Bible does not require that marriage partners necessarily share the same doctrinal convictions or public confession, and we have no desire to establish rules that go beyond Scripture in such things.

Our pastors seek to serve their members faithfully and for their spiritual benefit. If you elect to marry someone whose public confession of faith is different from your own, your pastor will gladly discuss the potential or probable impact of this on your spiritual well-being into the future. You and your pastor will eventually base your decision about wedding plans on these more important issues. And if the potential marriage partner is not a Christian at all (you did not confirm or deny this), then you will especially want to sit down with your pastor to consider yet another set of issues that will likely surface in your marriage.

May God give you joy and contentment as you move forward in considering options that reflect God's best for you!


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