Samuel Rutherford was an important 17th-century Presbyterian theologian who had significant influence in the drafting of the Westminster Standards, still widely used as a part of the constitutions of many Presbyterian denominations.

Recently, during deliberations on marriage in my denomination, a speaker raised the point that Samuel Rutherford and others did not believe that Christian pastors should preside over weddings – that instead, it was the civil magistrate's role to marry people.

However, I haven't been able to find evidence that Rutherford believed this. I looked in his Lex, Rex, but a cursory search didn't turn up anything. I found a bit of background in J. V. Fesko's Theology of the Westminster Standards, which says:

In their deliberations over the creation of the [Directory for the Public Worship of God] some divines argued that marriage is merely a “civil contract,” but others, such as Rutherford, believed there is something divine about marriage, but did not regard it as formally part of worship.

This doesn't shed much light on the specific question of the Rutherford's view of the role of Christian ministers, however, and Fesko doesn't cite his source on this particular point.

What was Rutherford's position on the role of ministers in marriage, and where does he comment on this issue?

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    I have been poring over a volume of Samuel Rutherford's Letters and deeply rewarding it has been. His letters are full of spiritual material and the comforting of the bereaved but the subject of marriage ceremonies does not seem to be there. – Nigel J Jun 26 '18 at 11:10
  • Although I have been unable (so far) to find any credible source regarding Rutherford's views on the role of ministers in performing wedding ceremonies, I have been blessed by learning about this Christian gentleman. By far, the best article I've read so far is this one: crichbaptist.org/articles/samuel-rutherford – Lesley Sep 7 '18 at 16:15

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