Lutherans/Marriage in the church


I grew up in the Evengelical Lutheran Church but raised my children in the Missouri Synod Lutheran Church.  My daugher is getting married and her fiance has no religious background and has not been baptized.  My question is...Can they be married in the Missouri Synod Church without him being baptized?

Hello, Chris,

As far as I know, Missouri Synod won't refuse to marry a baptized Lutheran to a non-baptized person. I am aware of at least one case. It probably varies with the pastor, though, and he's the one to ask.

That said, your daughter is probably violating the Scripture that says, "Do not be unequally yoked to unbelievers." I could write a BOOK about what a difference it makes when the spouse is a believer! I am talking about decades of personal observations on my part, in close contact with such a situation as with your daughter, and the profound change for the better in the relationship when the unbelieving spouse embraced Christ. Yes, God gives a special measure of grace to the unbeliever, but I think it matters whether the believer honestly thought the unbeliever was in Christ, or whether she knew otherwise. The earthly consequences can be severe, regardless. An unequally yoked marriage also can have a very detrimental impact on the children, especially when it is the wife who is the believer, and the husband doesn't take his designated role as the leader in faith of the household. The unbelieving spouse will not be guided into cherishing his believing spouse by the inner work of the Holy Spirit, and very few people are truly capable of cherishing without this help. Since it is your daughter, there is probably nothing you can do about this, but you should warn her.

Baptism is vitally important, but only as a means to faith. A person can have faith without being baptized, and can even be saved without being baptized. Think of the thief on the cross who asked Jesus to remember him. It isn't the baptism that concerns me per se. I know that Lutherans generally get the baptism of adults question backwards. That is my opinion, anyway. A person who is not a believer is a spiritual infant, and should be treated as such. Baptism can enable faith in a person who simply cannot bring himself to believe. Remember, faith is a gift of the Holy Spirit. Baptism does convey the Holy Spirit. So I would hold that it is incorrect to require a confession of faith as a condition to being baptized as an adult. Asking for it is one thing. Requiring it is another. If the person WANTS to be baptized, then it should be granted. Again, I am speaking from personal observations. There is no warning about baptism as there is about Communion (about taking Communion unworthily). Instead, baptism is a gateway into the Church, into becoming a member of the Body of Christ.

Baptists deny tiny children access to Jesus, since the only way we can give an infant access to Jesus is through baptism. This is criminal in my opinion! Lutherans deny adults access to Jesus, since generally they will withhold baptism from a person who is struggling to believe. Since only the Holy Spirit can place faith in the heart, denying access to the Holy Spirit through the means of grace is self-defeating.

All of that said, there is always a danger when a person seeks to marry someone who has a background of not being a believer, and is still in that state. It is too easy for the unbelieving person to will himself to acquiesce to the Christian faith because of his love for his intended, and not even realize what he himself is doing. And the believing person may not realize that this isn't from the heart, or that the person has not been regenerated. This is partly because, in my opinion, the Lutheran Church is poor at explaining how to discern who is a believer. Because we cannot know the heart, we can never know for sure. However, there will be fruit to observe, and we can judge the fruit. This still isn't definitive, but if a person doesn't even CONFESS the Lord, it would seem to indicate that the person isn't yet right with God. We pretty much told our children that we wouldn't stand in the way of their decision of whom to marry; however, if that person wasn't a Christian, that needed to be dealt with before marriage.

I hope this helps. I hope and pray that your daughter's marriage will be after the manner of God's intended will for marriage.


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Pat G


I am a lifelong Lutheran, a member of the Missouri Synod. My theology is conservative, orthodox, Lutheran. I can answer questions about other sects, cults, and religions from a Lutheran perspective. Fine points of Lutheran doctrine are not my specialty, but I may sometimes be able to explain things in a different and perhaps more understandable way. I can also discuss the scientific problems with the theory of evolution and tie that in with the account of the Bible. I have ministered to women online as well, when they face difficult life situations. I read enough Hebrew and Greek to make use of interlinear translations. I can help people who are interested in turning to a more natural lifestyle for healing and health, from a Christian perspective. I can answer questions about homeschooling and natural childbirth from a Lutheran perspective. As a woman, the ministry is not open to me, so I will be unable to answer questions from a minister's perspective.


I have studied many different religions for many years, and have taught courses in my local church on cults. I have also spent time witnessing to cult members. In addition, I have developed an on-line ministry through my web site, that explains the Gospel message in multiple languages. I have also spent significant time studying alternative medicine, to determine which modalities are compatible with the Christian faith, and grounded in God's design of the human body and the medicines He provided in nature.

I have a bachelor's degree in another field, but in the area of religion, I am largely self taught. I have done extensive reading in apologetics, including non-Lutheran writers. I have also done extensive reading in the area of origins, including scientific creationism, intelligent design, and evolution. My study and experience span decades.

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