© 2018 by William H Schnakenberg IV

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Audio - Weddings
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Audio - Same Sex Marriage Response
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                                            Weddings

I have had the honor to officiate many wedding ceremonies.  I took a break from doing ceremonies for a while, but was asked to do one for a dear friend of mine at a small, private, and intimate location on Saturday December 2, 2017.  It was then, I realized how much I missed doing them!  It was such a special day and it actually was the 50th ceremony that I personally wrote and officiated. 

 

After that experience, I just knew that I have been longing to do them for awhile, so with that being said, I am now going to get back into officiating weddings! :-)

I have helped brides and grooms coordinate both large and small venues in five states. Every wedding is different, and what’s perfect for one couple might not be for the next. Some important things to consider are that having the wedding of your dreams, where it takes place, surrounded by however many or however few guests are chosen can be a painful task. First and foremost, where you say your “I do’s” and to whom that witness this event should have great “meaning.”

 

With large weddings, there is one downfall compared to smaller weddings that I have noticed. They are less personal.   Fewer people invited means a more intimate celebration; plus there is more time for the bride and groom to spend with their guests and all who are invited can really get to know one another.  Smaller is not synonymous with simpler. When the wedding is small, every detail is noticed, so careful attention to detail is called for.

 

Intimate celebrations, it seems, have certain advantages, and what I have come to discern is that it is not about the “quantity” of people attending, it is about the “quality” of people.  This, of course, is only my opinion, so heed my advise with a "grain of salt," I am just sharing what I have observed over the years.

Questions from me to you to ponder

What is Marriage?

 

Define marriage.  What is its purpose?

 

Do you believe that marriage is a contract?          Why or why not?

 

What is your own personal definition of love?

 

Read 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Keeping this in mind...

Patient:  suffers long, it endures offenses, is not hasty, waits for the Lord to right all wrong.

 

Kind:   is not inconsiderate, seeks help, is constructive, blesses when cursed, helps when hurt, and demonstrates tenderness.

 

Does not envy:  is content, is not jealous of another person’s success or competition.

 

Does not boast nor is proud:  is reserved, does not show off, try to impress, and want to be the center of attraction.

 

Is not rude:  is courteous, humble, not haughty, but lowly and gracious.

 

Is not self-seeking:  is not selfish, but selfless, and self-forgetful.

 

Is not easily angered:  is not irritable, but good tempered, and humble.

 

Keeps no record of wrongs:  is not vindictive or wrathful, but generous.

 

Does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth:  does not delight in bringing another person’s sins to light, but rejoices when another person obeys the truth.

 

Always protects:  is not rebellious, but brave, conceals rather than exposes another person’s wrongdoing to others.

 

Always trusts:  is not suspicious but trustful, not cynical, makes every allowance, and looks for an explanation that will show the best in others.

 

Always hopes:  is not despondent, but hopeful, does not give up because it has been deceived or denied.

 

Always perseveres:  is not conquerable, but invincible - can out last problems.

 

Is this the kind of love that you have for your fiancée?

Gift for Gift Program

I take great pride in creating a "personalized wedding ceremony," and I have always had happy couples that have had nothing but great things to say about me and my services.  Most of the weddings I have done were from referrals, which is great!

Charging money has always been such a painful task for me to decide...

 

When I first started officiating weddings, I only asked for a "love offering," or a "gift" with no set charge.  After awhile, I saw myself spending more money to officiate weddings, than actually leaving with any "love offering" or "gift" at all.  The offering of love was only a one way street and I was paying for it dearly.  This is because of the time that it takes for me to write up a personalized wedding ceremony, meeting the bride and groom, driving, using gas, paying tolls, taking a vacation day or missing a days pay from my regular 40 hour a week job, coordinating a rehearsal, officiating the wedding, and signing and sending back the marriage license to the proper courts by way of paying for UPS. It was just costing me too much money and time. With all that being said, I now have set a Gift for Gift Program.

It truly pains me to see that a lot of wedding officiants, even Christian ministers, are charging close to $1000.00 for a single wedding.  I could never in my right mind charge such an outrageous fee!  It is one thing to be taken advantage of, but when you are taking advantage of someone knowingly, I do believe that this fits into an entire new field of not being professional. 

In exchange for my gift to you for making myself available to serve you, you are giving me a gift in return:

 

*    $ 350 .00 - Wedding Ceremony

 

*    $ 450 .00 - with rehearsal

 

*    Anything outside of a 25 mile radius from where I live there will be an additional gift of 40 cents per mile and all toll charges.

This is not tax deductible. 

I am not doing a service for a church.

This is not an offering or a donation

This is not a charge or a fee for a service

I am a ministry providing a gift for you, in return for a gift for me.

I cannot accept credit or debit cards

I can only either accept cash or a check.

 

Checks can be made out to:

 

Pay to the order of: William H Schnakenberg IV

Memo: Gift

 

I require half of the gift upon our initial meeting, all if possible, and the rest of the gift at the rehearsal.  If there is no rehearsal, then the rest of the gift at the wedding, before the ceremony takes place. 

*It is understood that situations arise in which some flexibility might be appropriate.

In exchange for your gift to me, I will give you your gift:


*    Officiate your wedding

*    Time and labor

*    Filing of paper work

*    UPS shipping (I'll provide you with the tracking information) of marriage license to the courts

   Initial meeting in person

*    Additional biblical marriage counseling upon request

*It is understood that situations arise in which some flexibility might be appropriate.

If you like what you are reading so far and are interested in using me as an officiant, then read on! :-)

BCBPA Wedding Policy

Because of the numerous and varied requests an officiant receives to perform weddings, it is necessary to have policies in place concerning whom they will or will not officiate a wedding for. I do not expect all who read this to agree with every stand I take, but at least to understand that with these three statements I am attempting to avoid both the misunderstandings and the arbitrariness which could arise without such  statements. 

Furthermore, it is hoped that all who read these three statements will appreciate my attempt to base my personal convictions squarely upon God's Word, my authoritative guide, as well as my belief that each person also has the right and the responsibility to study and obey God's Word for himself or herself, it is not the church’s responsibility.

 

Please understand that I am more interested in establishing Christian homes than I am in simply officiating weddings.  In light of this, I have adopted three guidelines. The first two are pretty self explanatory.  The third one is one sentence containing a question with only seven words, a one word answer, which is self explanatory too, but for some "sensitive" people it may need further clarification.

 

1.  It needs to be understood that no commitment to officiating a wedding will be made until I personally meet with the couple before the wedding.

 

2. As a Christian, I believe that both "the soon to be" bride and groom must be a believer in order for me to officiate a wedding. During the ceremony you are not only publically acknowledging that you are going to be man and wife, but more importantly in the presence of God.

3. Will I officiate a same-sex marriage? No 

If you like what you have read so far and would like me to officiate a wedding, please contact me at your earliest convenience. 

 

E-mail: bcbpa.com@gmail.com

There is no reason to keep on reading, unless of course  you would like to know why I will not officiate a same-sex wedding, then by all means, read on...

 

Pennsylvania same-sex marriage became legal on May 20, 2014 in the state my family and I currently reside in:

 

“We now join the twelve federal district courts across the country which, when confronted with these inequities in their own states, have concluded that all couples deserve equal dignity in the realm of civil marriage” - U.S. District Court Judge John E. Jones III

Most of the wedding requests I receive are from Pennsylvania and New Jersey.  I have been asked to officiate same-sex marriages due to Pennsylvania and New Jersey's decision to legalize them. 

 

Now, before I am labeled a "homophobe" or a "bigot," if you do not agree with my stance, please do me the honor in taking the time to read why I cannot, in good conscience, officiate a same-sex marriage.

Before I begin to elaborate my position, I want you to know that I have family and close personal friends that struggle with same-sex attraction.  Some have given into the temptation and approval of the life style, and others do not approve of giving into their temptation and it is a constant struggle.  Because of this, this is a subject that I do take very seriously.  I have cried many tears along with some of them, and I do understand the power of this emotional subject. 

 

I have studied about it for the last 9 years and have given countless hours of research of my time with an open mind on the subject.  I have read many books on both sides of the argument, as well as listened to so many debates that it would be impossible for me to calculate the exact number, but trust me, it is a subject that I look at with much compassion.  Every argument that I have ever heard or read that is in support of same-sex marriage that has any power to them and sound persuasive, have only attempted to manipulate an emotional response, which in return is in place of a valid or compelling argument.  This is a logical fallacy, an error in reasoning, commonly known as an "appeal to emotion."  It's important to note that sometimes a logically coherent argument may inspire emotion or have an emotional aspect, but the problem and fallacy occurs when emotion is used instead of a logical argument, or to obscure the fact that no compelling rational reason exists for one's position. Everyone, bar sociopaths, is affected by emotion, and so appeals to emotion are a very common and effective argument tactic, but they're ultimately flawed, dishonest, and tend to make one's opponents justifiably emotional.  It is so common, many of us, especially parents do it without even realizing it!  I watch my mother in law do it on my kids all the time when they will not eat their dinner.  She will say, "Chesney, eat your dinner.  There are starving people in China who are not fortunate enough to have any food at all."

I am just waiting for my daughter to be old enough and I will teach her to say, "Mom, Mom,  you are attempting to manipulate an emotional response from me, to make me feel bad, and eat my dinner, which in return is in place of a valid or compelling argument.  This is a logical fallacy, an error in reasoning, commonly known as an "appeal to emotion."  It's important to note that sometimes a logically coherent argument may inspire emotion or have an emotional aspect, but the problem and fallacy occurs when emotion is used instead of a logical argument, or to obscure the fact that no compelling rational reason exists for one's position. Everyone, bar sociopaths, is affected by emotion, and so appeals to emotion are a very common and effective argument tactic, but they're ultimately flawed, dishonest, and tend to make one's opponents justifiably emotional.  This will not work on me.  Please give me good reasoning if you want me to eat my dinner."

My mother in law will be shocked and probably send her to her room, but Chesney would have been 100% correct.

 

Anyhow, among the many problems that plague America in general, one chasm continues to widen between those who wish to conform to Biblical authority, and those who wish to modernize, update, and adjust Scripture to a changing society. They say that the church has misconstrued the contextual meaning of relevant biblical passages pertaining to same-sex marriage.  As attitudes soften and biblical conviction weakens, Scripture is being reinterpreted to allow for a “changing society.” If someone studies a biblical text and concludes that same-sex marriage is permitted by God, they are hailed as one who engages in “fresh, scholarly exegesis.”

 

But the one who studies the text and concludes that God intended marriage to be between a “man and woman,” they are viewed as being guilty of prejudice and of being unduly influenced by “church tradition.”

This is quite a conundrum, especially for those who are trying to be “people pleasers,” or as commonly known nowadays as being “politically correct.”

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines “politically correct” as– “agreeing with the idea that people should be careful to not use language or behave in a way that could offend a particular group of people”

Let’s be realistic about this definition...

 

There will always be a group of people who will be offended about something, especially those who are opposed to a “correct” Christian world view.  I say this not to upset or offend anyone who is struggling with same sex attraction, but I say it in love, marriage should be between a man and a woman. There are no justifiable arguments against this that can present themselves otherwise, especially trying to use Scripture to argue in favor of approval for same-sex marriage.  

I share in red bold letter words of Jesus to bring clarity and "effect":

 

“Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?” - (Matthew 19:4-5)

Jesus was merely quoting Scripture in the Old Testament regarding the first man and woman (Genesis 1:27; 2:24).

There are many sincere "voices" asking Christians to view same-sex marriage in the same light, but that would be asking to reinterpret Scripture.

 

Many of these "voices" are showing a high standard of integrity by clarifying many points, but the fact of the matter is that they are not “new" points at all.  All the points that they address has clearly been proven heresy, and everything that is about to be stated, has already been addressed in many facets of biblical vs. secular understanding.

Some of the "voices" argue that since God declared “it’s not good for man to be alone,” then everyone should be in a marital relationship, and the relationship, not its nature, is the main purpose.  But having a legitimate need for intimacy cannot justify illegitimate ways of fulfilling that need and “legitimizing” something because it’s what a person “feels most naturally inclined to do.”

The L.G.B.T. community supports this view. 

L.G.B.T is an initialism that stands for:

 

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender

 

L.G.B.T. is also an initialism that stands for: 

 

Letting Go of Biblical Truth

So what is Biblical Truth regarding this matter and how do some "voices" work around Scripture that plainly says “same-sexual behavior is sinful?”

There are seven mentions of same-sex acts in the Bible:

 

Old Testament:

Genesis 19:5,

Leviticus 18:21-22,20:13,

Judges 19:22

New Testament:

Romans 1:26-27;

1 Corinthians 6:9-10

1 Timothy 1:8-10

The point of this document is not to examine all of them, but to help you understand why I cannot “embrace” same-sex relationships, acts, and especially same-sex marriage.  My purpose is to help you understand why I believe, what I believe, and how I stand firm in what I do believe. So, just briefly, bear with me, as I discuss the Scriptures from the New Testament:

Romans 1:26–27 states – “For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.”

The Apostle Paul (who wrote this) demonstrates that because of man’s rejection of the truth for a lie, God gave humanity over to their sin.

Five verses later, Paul not only condemns those who practice this behavior, but also those who approve of this behavior:

Romans 1:32 – “Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.”

So how do the "voices" work around these Scriptures that clearly state that this "behavior is sinful?”

Some attempt to damage the Apostle Paul’s credibility and characterize his statements as something other than the Word of God, which goes against his authority as an Apostle and what the Bible says about ALL Scriptures being “God breathed”:

2 Timothy 3:16 – “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:”

Anyone, therefore who says differently, then has a heretical view that accords divine authority to his or her own thoughts or feelings. 

Let me briefly discuss:

1 Corinthians 6:9–10 - “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.”

And

1 Timothy 1:10 – “For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;”

In the New Testament, two Greek words appear in reference to same-sex behavior: arsenokoitēs and malakos.

Paul uses these words together in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, and arsenokoitēs appears alone in 1 Timothy 1:10.

Based on solid historical research and textual criticism, the word arsenokoitēs refers to the active sexual partner in a homosexual act, while malakos refers to the passive partner.

The counter argument that these "voices" will use is the “translations” of these two Greek words. Some have tried to limit the words to adulterous same-sex relationships, while others have offered alternate definitions related to rape or sex with young boys (pederasty).  Some have also tried to translate malakos as “morally weak” and arsenokoitēs as “promiscuous.”  The first term, malakos, “means literally ‘soft’ … and in Paul’s day served as an epithet for the ‘soft’ or effeminate (i.e., passive) partner in a homosexual (pederastic) relationship.”

 

But anyone who has a basic understanding and is not "for" or "against" a same-sex lifestyle recognizes that in a same-sex act, one of the partners must act as the opposite sex—one of the males plays the female, and vice versa, which is an absolute inversion of the order set forth by a correct biblical understanding. 

 

The definition of arsenokoitēs provided in BDAG (a standard Greek lexicon) is:

“a male who engages in sexual activity w. a pers. of his own sex,” specifically, “one who assumes the dominant role in sexual activity.”

The Septuagint (LXX), the Greek translation of the Old Testament, draws on the word arsenokoitēs in its translation of Leviticus 20:13 (“If a man [arsenos] lies [koitēn] with a male as he lies with a woman …”), demonstrating that the word would seem to imply men in general who lie with other men.”

Arguments in favor of same-sex relationships using the Bible are simply not convincing...

In the very first book of the Bible, we read that God created a man and a woman for the first marriage and every marriage thereafter as Jesus reminds us with His words, in red bold letter words to bring clarity and "effect":

 

“Have you not read?”

Matthew 19:4-5 - “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?”

I must stand on the authority of Scripture in this matter, but I speak the truth in love.  Despite all of attempts to make it say otherwise, the Bible clearly condemns all forms of same-sex behavior with no exceptions.

As hard as it may be, If you therefore are “called” to live as a true follower of Christ and  have same sex desires, you are called to deny the part of yourself that you have become accustomed to indulging, with no guarantee of ever losing the desire for it, or of ever being completely satisfied with sexual union with a person of the opposite sex. This, as many have come to learn is as nothing less than the “cost of discipleship.”

If not, then you are following an unqualified obedience, and a gratification of the very “self” Jesus calls us to deny, therefore having a misunderstanding of a god who does not exist, who accommodates man on man’s terms, rather than the One true God who sets the terms and expects them to be revered, not revised.

Is it possible?

Yes it is. 

Remember what Paul states here:

 

1 Corinthians 6:9–10 - “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.”

The Scripture then continues...

1 Corinthians 6:11- “ And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”

The key word here is “were”. 

 

There “were” people who “were” dealing with the same “feelings of same sex attraction” and acting on them, but were “washed”, “sanctified”, and  “justified”, in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”

This means they stopped acting on their feelings and began to focus on Christ.

If you think it is not possible, then you do not “know” the power of Jesus.

There is a tendency to confuse same-sex attraction with acts of same-sexual intercourse, because the English word "homosexuality" is often used to describe both.  However, regardless of how we interpret the Bible's teachings about same-sex acts, it is important to note that the Bible does not condemn people for having same-sex attraction, it is the “indulging” in on or “acting” on the feelings that becomes sin.

There is no mistake about it, a man or a woman who has same-sex attractions are presented with great challenges, but great strength is often achieved by learning to deal with great challenges.

 

Same-sexual relations is only one of many departures from God’s will for human morality and sexuality that society is facing. The Greek term for fornication, porneia, is a broad term that covers every form of illicit sexual intercourse, including adultery, incest, bestiality, bigamy, polygamy, bisexuality, same-sex relations, pedophilia, necrophilia, and more.

God insists that people can, and must, exercise self-control, self-discipline, and moral responsibility. The Bible teaches that we are not to be self-indulgent. We are to put restraints on ourselves, controlling our sexual urges in accordance with God’s teachings.   There should not be so much as a hint of sexual immorality among Christians (Ephesians 5:3).

Please understand:

God loves all sinners—regardless of the specific sins they have committed. But it is imperative that we be about the business of alerting those who are engaged in sexual sin regarding God’s will, in an effort to “snatch them out of the fire” (Jude 23), and to “save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins” (James 5:20). One day it will be too late for both those who “not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them” (Romans 1:32).

May God bless you and I hope that you have a better understanding of what I believe and what a “true” Christian Church should and should not give blessings for marriage. 

So the answer is no, I do not condone and will not officiate a same-sex marriage.  Any so “called” Christian church or organization that will is only bringing condemnation on themselves and is contrary to the Word of God and should be labeled as heresy.