by David and Tim Bayly on August 17, 2004 - 1:06pm
My friend, Kevin Offner, an InterVarsity Christian Fellowship staff member working with grad students and faculty in the Washington DC area, passed on a link to the following interview of the University of Virginia sociologist, Bradford Wilcox. The interview is fascinating and here's a bit of a teaser to encourage our good readers to follow this link and read it in its entirety.
In the popular imagination, conservative evangelical fathers are power-abusing authoritarians. A new study says otherwise. Sociologist W. Bradford Wilcox of the University of Virginia works within walking distance of the Rotunda, the temple of knowledge that Thomas Jefferson modeled after the Pantheon. Wilcox, a native of Connecticut, arrived at the school as an undergraduate, earned a master's degree and Ph.D. at Princeton, and returned to Virginia to become an assistant professor of sociology. The University of Chicago Press published his first book, Soft Patriarchs, New Men: How Christianity Shapes Fathers and Husbands, in April. Both in the book and in earlier essays for academic journals, Wilcox has challenged stereotypes about evangelical family life. Wilcox, whose father and grandfather were priests in the Episcopal Church, is a Roman Catholic layman. CT contributing editor Douglas LeBlanc interviewed him in his office and by e-mail.
You quote feminist sociologists Julia McQuillan and Myra Marx Ferree as saying that evangelicalism is "pushing men toward authoritarian and stereotypical forms of masculinity and attempting to renew patriarchal relations." How does your work challenge their conclusions?
McQuillan and Ferree--and countless other academics--need to cast aside their prejudices about religious conservatives and evangelicals in particular. Compared to the average American family man, evangelical Protestant men who are married with children and attend church regularly spend more time with their children and their spouses. They also are more affectionate with their children and their spouses. They also have the lowest rates of domestic violence of any group in the United States.
Journalists such as Steve and Cokie Roberts and Christian feminists such as James and Phyllis Alsdurf have argued that patriarchal religion leads to domestic violence. My findings directly contradict their claims.
Domestic violence is an important problem in our society, but we should not confuse the matter by blaming conservative religion. The roots of domestic violence would seem to lie elsewhere.
Now, it is true that evangelical fathers take a stricter approach to discipline than most other fathers. For instance, they spank their children more than other fathers do. But their disciplinary approach is balanced by their involved and affectionate approach to fathering. In my view, this neotraditional style of fathering can in no way be called "authoritarian or stereotypical." Indeed, I describe it as innovative in my book.
Why do many scholars have prejudices against evangelical men?
When most scholars and journalists look at evangelicalism and family life, all they can think about is evangelical gender-role traditionalism. They fixate on the fact that a majority of evangelicals believe that husbands should be the heads of their households, and that husbands should also be the primary (but not necessarily sole) breadwinners....
And one final excerpt:
Thus, churches are one of the few institutions in American life that actually foster male familial involvement. Churches push men away from their preoccupations with work, leisure, and sports and toward the needs of their families. This is why I argue that religion domesticates men. It helps men focus on their families.
by David and Tim Bayly on August 24, 2004 - 10:17pm
Last night during a campaign appearance with his wife, Lynne, in Davenport, Iowa, Vice President Dick Cheney publicly acknowledged his opposition to President Bush's support for a constitutional amendment outlawing sodomite marriage. The Washington Post reports that the Vice President said:
"Lynne and I have a gay daughter, so it's an issue our family is very familiar with. My general view is freedom means freedom for everyone... People ought to be free to enter into any kind of relationship they want to." The question of whether that relationship should be given the status of marriage, Mr. Cheney, said, is "a matter for the states to decide."
Is there a single person outside the Beltway who would be surprised to find out that the lead line of the Post's editorial on the matter was, "Good for Vice President Cheney"?
This whole episode is sad because it can't help but further confirm the mass perception that morality is relative, particularly sexual morality, and that even the most principled men sacrifice their principles when those principles would cause pain for their family members.
In the years to come, most of us will face a similar moment and the way we respond to our own family's sins will be the evidence by which the world judges whether we serve the True God or an idol.
Setting aside Vice President Cheney's conniving at the public policy side of this sin by talking of states rights, how sad to see such a manly father choosing not to love his daughter by calling her to repentance, but instead accepting that daughter's sin as an unalterable reality and making his peace with it. Has he no fear of God, either for himself or for his daughter? Has he never heard or read these words from Scripture:
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God. (1Corinthians 6:9-11)
Make no mistake: it is no more possible to love our sons and daughters and wink at their sodomy than it is to love them and wink at their adultery, fornication, or pedophilia. Like every other sexual sin that used to be illegal across our country, sodomy destroys lives. And souls.
by David and Tim Bayly on September 1, 2004 - 5:41am
As every Christian should know, in vitro fertilization (IVF) normally involves, in Jerome Lejeune's apt phrase, keeping little babies in the fridge awaiting implantation in the mother's womb; and then, eventually, disposing of those babies who turn out to be extraneous.
For this reason I am opposed to IVF. Why would followers of Jesus create multiple living babies, keeping them in the fridge, so that one or two of them could win the lottery and be implanted in their mother's womb (while their siblings who lose that lottery are killed)?
But take IVF and add to it sodomite marriage and national health care and you produce a witches brew.
It's reported in The London Observer that there's a growing debate in the UK over whether the national health care system must provide these new sodomite couples with the same fertility assistance provided heterosexual couples already; and specifically, whether the old criterion of an IVF child having both mother and father in the home has now been rendered obsolete? Suzi Leather, head of the Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority, says, "The debate over whether IVF children need a father is controversial, with the British Medical Association's ethics committee understood to be divided."
Campaigner Ben Summerskill...said, "There is no evidence that this legislation (requiring the presence of a father) ... has actually protected anyone from anything, and there is a range of US research which suggests that children who grow up in gay families are just as well balanced and developed as children who grow up in heterosexual families."
...Professor Alison Murdoch said, "We have to stand back from it and say, what is the evidence that there is any harm to anybody from them having a child? Children need to be brought up in a loving, caring environment: it's the loving care that is important, not the sexuality of the parent," she said.
I do wonder whether PCA teaching elders who publicly called for the repeal of anti-sodomy laws have arrived at remorse yet? Sadly, I bet not. Rather, they're likely denying any necessary connection between...
the legalization of sodomy, and
the legalization of sodomite marriages, and
the necessary provision of IVF to sodomite couples, and
the intentional and state-sanctioned robbing of children of their father?
by David and Tim Bayly on September 27, 2004 - 4:35pm
Milking the "Sunday Styles" section to the bitter end, these summary statements concerning the view of fathers promulgated by the sitcoms this fall appeared in the article, "Beta Male: Father Eats Best," by Rick Martin:
As a former television critic, I'm no longer required by law to spot fall-season trends, but some are too disturbing to ignore. Like how all family sitcoms--virtually all sitcoms now--are about a fat guy with a hot wife... And they're not just fat. They're lazy beer-and-TV slobs who never lift a finger around the house, have barely met their kids and think an emotion is something you only express on the Back Nine.
Fall sitcoms paint the modern dad as a bulky buffoon.
-"Beta Male: Father Eats Best" by Rick Martin, September 26, 2004, New York Times.
by David and Tim Bayly on October 15, 2004 - 9:16am
This poem came from a little, battered volume owned by a friend. Edgar Guest was known as the "People's Poet." His poems were sentimental, but this one rings forever true...
Who has a troop of romping youth
About his parlor floor,
Who nightly hears a round of cheers,
When he is at the door,
Who is attacked on every side
By eager little hands
That reach to tug his grizzled mug,
The wealth of earth commands.
Who knows the joys of girls and boys,
His lads and lassies, too,
Who's pounced upon and bounced upon
When his day's work is through,
Whose trousers know the gentle tug
Of some glad little tot,
The baby of his crew of love,
Is wealthier than a lot.
Oh, be he poor and sore distressed
And weary with the fight,
If with a whoop his healthy troop
Run, welcoming at night,
And kisses greet him at the end
Of all his toiling grim,
With what is best in life he's blest
And rich men envy him.
by David and Tim Bayly on October 30, 2004 - 5:53pm
Here's an interesting excerpt from an interview of the op-ed columnist of the New York Times, Maureen Dowd, that appeared in Rolling Stone. As Election Day draws near, Dowd explains why Americans are going to vote for President Bush. Something about fatherhood...
"Maureen Dowd isn't simply a Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times op-ed columnist. She's also the preeminent Bush-basher in the country..."
Rolling Stone: "You've written all these columns ripping the Bush administration, yet it doesn't seem to be changing the public mind. Is that discouraging?"
Maureen Dowd: "I think the American public is brilliant. They get it. But we all succumb to certain things, and presidential races are about proving who is the strongest father. And Bush is just doing it better. I'm not like other commentators who say, "The public isn't getting it." People have great responses, and if they respond, then it means the politician is doing something effective."
-Colapinto, John. "Ms. Bush-Bash:Does anyone understand Dubya better than New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd?" Rolling Stone. 960 (Oct. 28, 2004)
by David and Tim Bayly on November 21, 2004 - 6:02pm
Want to see an impressive example of male leadership in action? Take a look at this video of President Bush pulling his Secret Service agent through the blockading Chilean police at the entrance to Friday night's APEC dinner.
The president seems to have been aware of some form of prior tension between the security services--his return to the door came too quickly for it to have been otherwise. Yet, in the midst of a charged atmosphere, his patient insistence on his guard being allowed through was most impressive. He simply stood at the back of the arguing clot in the doorway and, reaching over their shoulders, pulled on his agent's arm until it became clear to the Chileans that this president wasn't going in without his agent.
Immediately upon the agent's release President Bush returned to his host with a warm smile after a very slight dismissive shake of his head as he left the doorway. You can see video of the incident here.
President Bush's self-control and graceful extrication of his agent from the midst of a tense situation were striking. So it was shocking to read this description of the incident by Dana Bash on CNN:
According to a videotape of the incident, Bush turned around and saw that one of his Secret Service agents was being forcefully restrained from entering by Chilean security guards.
The president dove into the crowd, where people were arguing and pushing one another, and pulled the agent through the door of center.
After the successful rescue, Bush turned around, cocked his head proudly at his maneuver and began to greet his hosts.
The president "dove" into the crowd?! He "cocked his head proudly at his maneuver"?!
This reporter saw nothing more of the event than you can see yourself on the MSN video. She was watching the same APEC video feed available to the whole world, yet she characterizes it as a presidential mosh-pit-lunge followed by a schoolboy smirk. Someone should fire this woman. This is not reporting. This is a woman who thinks that because her mother gave her a confusingly androgynous name she can comment authoritatively on the world of male conflict. She's so confused by her name that she can't see quiet masculinity in action without shrilly screaming "Abuse! Pride! Arrogance."
Would that this woman's mother had named her Betsy... Perhaps then she would be less inclined to make asinine assumptions about how men are behaving in the midst of conflict.
by David and Tim Bayly on December 2, 2004 - 8:53am
One of the liberal-leaning journalists I respect is Charles Peters who was founding editor of a small but influential magazine called The Washington Monthly. Since giving up the editorship a short time ago, Peters has maintained his monthly column, "Tilting at Windmills," which contains short blurbs on whatever strikes his fancy--usually social policy matters.
In his November column, Peters commends Jason DeParle's "important new book," American Dream, in which DeParle documents the growing vulnerability of women and children that has been one of welfare reform's principal fruits. I've been encouraged to see both Peters and DeParle pointing to the fatherlessness of the children of the poor as one of their greatest vulnerabilities. Summarizing DeParle, Peters writes:
The biggest thing missing in the lives of these women is reliable men. DeParle believes that our most important unacknowledged social problem is finding effective ways to both help and challenge inner-city men to overcome the patterns of self-destructive and irresponsible behavior in which society's prejudices and their own attitudes now trap them.
At the heart of the deterioration of the fabric of Negro society is the deterioration of the Negro family. It is the fundamental source of the weakness of the Negro community at the present time. ...It is more difficult, however, for whites to perceive the effect that three centuries of exploitation have had on the fabric of Negro society itself. Here the consequences of the historic injustices done to Negro Americans are silent and hidden from view. But here is where the true injury has occurred: ...Both as a husband and as a father the Negro male is made to feel inadequate, ...The Negro wife in this situation can easily become disgusted with her financially dependent husband, and her rejection of him further alienates the male from family life.
Negro children without fathers flounder--and fail.
Sadly, liberal-leaning senators, journalists, and policy analysts recognizing (and even writing about) a problem is a far cry from their taking any substantive action to end that problem.
But fatherlessness is a problem God promises to address:
He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that I will not come and smite the land with a curse. (Malachi 4:6)
by David and Tim Bayly on December 24, 2004 - 1:08pm
A Psalm for Christmas Eve
Praise God for Christmas
Praise Him for the Incarnation
for Word made flesh.
I will not sing
of shepherds watching flocks
on frosty night
or angel choristers.
I will not sing
of stable bare in Bethlehem
or lowing oxen
trailing distant star
with gold and frankincense and myrrh.
Tonight I will sing
praise to the Father
who stood on heaven's threshold
and said farewell to His Son
as He stepped across the stars
And I will sing
praise to the infinite eternal Son
who became most finite
who would one day be executed
for my crimes.
Praise Him in the heavens.
Praise Him in the stable.
Praise Him in my heart.
by David and Tim Bayly on February 9, 2005 - 8:41am
When I first saw the galleys of the New Living Translation at my in-laws home in Weaton, back in the mid 90s, I was sickened to see that adelphoi (which over the centuries has always been translated "brothers") was changed to "Christian friends" throughout the New Testament Epistles. This was my introduction to Evangelicals neutering the text of Scripture and it came long before I had any association with "World," Focus on the Family, or CBMW in opposing the NIVI--the TNIV's predecessor.
This false translation of 'adelphoi' in the NLT caused serious exchanges with my father-in-law, Ken Taylor, and my brother-in-law, Mark Taylor---respectively Chairman of the Board and CEO of the NLT's copyright holder and publishing company, Tyndale House Publshers. In our discussions, I explained that my opposition to their action went beyond the matter of the loss of the sex marking of adelphoi. Of even greater concern to me was the loss of the family context and identity at the heart of the Church...
by David and Tim Bayly on February 21, 2005 - 8:42am
If there can be something more evil than abortion, it is the civil authority allowing minor daughters to abort their babies without their parents' permission. This is a deliberate attack upon the family by the state, a very evil thing in itself, but infinitely compounded because this particular attack leaves a baby dead and that baby's mother with blood on her hands. Her father is impotent to protect her; the state has replaced her natural sovereign and Satan is free to destroy both the daughter and her baby.
Christians today don't meditate enough upon the state's malevolent relationship with the family. If there is such a thing as systemic evil, this is it. Beyond birth control and abortion, the state assumes authority over our children's education, their discipline, and their work.
Jude Doty is a Christian father who used to make a living moving houses. But in 2003 the state of Washington's Department of Labor and Industries fined him $34,000 for "employing" his eleven and thirteen-year-old sons. Later the state added $20,000 in unpaid workers' compensation insurance and another $87,000 in fines.
Doty, God bless him, thinks God approves of sons working next to their fathers, and despite having lost almost everything--with his house about to be auctioned off at a sheriff's sale and legal fees piling up now in excess of $40,000--Doty fights on for his, and by extension, every father's God-given responsibility to their children. At the end of the article detailing his battle, Doty says:
We've lost our business and this week it may be our home. But when it comes down to losing the opportunity to work with our youth, we will stand. If we do nothing, we will surrender our constitutional God-given right to apprentice our youth, and our children's rightful inheritance of being with their fathers. Satan wants to rob children of their fathers' influence, but Scripture encourages: "He shall turn the heart of the fathers to their children, and the heart of the children to their fathers." (Malachi 4:6) They're not my employees, they're my children!
By the way, one of the jobs the Department of Labor and Industries said Doty should not have allowed his sons to do because of its danger was riding on the peak of the house as it went down the street, lifting low-hanging traffic signals.
Note to the Reader: Commenting on the fact that the Hebrew word 'adam' is used throughout the Old Testment to refer to the human race, one poster of comments who served with Wycliffe Bible Translators for many years writes: "The removal of the male semantic meaning component of ...words like 'adam' is impossible, because there was never a male semantic meaning component in this word in the first place. This is made very clear in Genesis 1:27: from the very beginning 'adam' (humanity, not the individual) was male and female."
I've been waiting a long time for a supporter of neutered Bibles to make such a clear statement denying what I (and I trust the vast majority of Bible-believing Christians) see as self-evident: that the Holy Spirit inspired the human race to be called 'adam' partly in order to make it clear to us that the man-as-man, Adam, was our representative in the Fall.
The Apostle Paul prohibits the exercise of authority over men by women by saying "I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, for Adam was created first, then Eve." (1 Timothy 2:12a, NAS95) With this simple statement Paul explicitly affirms what is implicit throughout God's Word, that the order of creation establishes patriarchy as God's pattern for leadership in human relationships. Addressing the matter of propriety in prayer, the Apostle Paul again emphasizes this order: "For man does not originate from woman, but woman from man; for indeed man was not created for the woman's sake, but woman for the man's sake" (1 Corinthians 11:8,9, NAS95).
Imagine a new believer, thoroughly confused by the sexual anarchy of today's culture, discovering the truth inherent in passages such as 1Corinthians 11:3-16, 14:34-35, Ephesians 5:22-33, 1Timothy 2:9-15, and 1Peter 3:1-7. What a deep sense of relief to discover that the order of creation establishes timeless principles for the relationships between men and women. But while the facts of Eve's creation are instructive for establishing proper roles for men and women, Genesis goes on to reveal another important biographical note about Adam and Eve. Like the facts surrounding God's creation of Eve, the significance of this biographical detail is revealed more fully by the New Testament...
One of the defining aspects of our culture is father-hunger and I collect quotes that point to it. If you find a quote or illustration you think pertinent to this theme, would you please send it to me at tbayly at earthlink dot net? I'd be grateful.
Meanwhile, this sad glimpse into the life of Madeleine L'Engle, of A Wrinkle in Time fame:
For L'Engle, the truth is in the telling. In the long dream of her fiction, in which the search for the father is central, that figure changes from an ineffectual father to a fraudulent--or absent--father. In some later novels, the father is dispensed with altogether and replaced by an Anglican priest...
She turned to look at me. "I think I'm less judgmental now. I accept people as they are. And I'm able to think more freely about my childhood." Later, she added, "my father was glamorous, and he seemed that way because, I think, he was pretty glamorous. Just because I know his faults now doesn't mean he wasn't glamorous..."
In fiction, she is freer. "If I'm working on a piece of fiction," she told me, "I do not write from life. I think that my characters came to me because I didn't have any family, and I wanted to have a family, and it was the only way I could get it."
-Zarin, Cynthia. "The Storyteller: Madeleine L'Engle's Inventions." In The New Yorker, April 12, 2004.
R. C. Sproul Jr. writes a wonderful little reflection on growing up the son of R. C. Sr. here.
It's not uncommon in the Evangelical/Reformed world for sons of famous fathers to be shipwrecks, or perhaps worse yet, leeches on the body of Christ. And it's hard, at times, not to see something of the ministry of the father in the tragedy of the son.
So R. C. Jr.'s faithful service in the Vineyard is testimony both to his own walk with the Lord and to his father's character.
In the early days of division between Judah and Israel following the death of Saul and Jonathan the armies of Ish Bosheth (son of Saul) and David met for battle at the pool of Gibeon.
There at Gibeon Abner, general for Ish Bosheth, and Joab, general of David's army, met across the pool from each other. "Let the young men arise and compete before us," Abner suggested to Joab. It was arranged: twelve men of Benjamin for Ish Bosheth and twelve of Judah for David arose. Each gripped his foe by the head, plunged his sword into the other's side and fell dead.
We're told by Scripture that the ensuing battle was fierce but that as the day progressed the forces of Joab and David prevailed. As the army of Judah chased the forces of Benjamin, Asahel, brother of Joab and Abishai, who was fleet of foot, pursued Abner with singular zeal. Abner urged him to turn aside to a younger man--"Why should I strike you to the ground? How then could I lift up my face to your brother, Joab?" Abner asked. But Asahel would not turn aside.
Finally, in exasperation (and perhaps desperation), Abner turned and thrust the butt of his spear at the younger man. The spear went through his stomach, out his back, and Asahael fell dead.
Joab and Abishai continued their pursuit of Abner into the evening, but as night was falling the forces of Benjamin rallied behind Abner on a hilltop. Abner cried out to Joab, "Shall the sword devour forever? Do you not know that the end will be bitter? How long will it be before you tell your people to turn from the pursuit of their brothers?"
Joab blew the trumpet in response. Judah ceased her pursuit of Benjamin and irreparable bitterness was avoided. Remarkably and beautifully, in God's providence, when Israel was next divided--between Rehoboam and Jeroboam--Benjamin stood with Judah.
But we learn from this story certain timeless spiritual truths. First, it is the nature of young men to seek to outstrip their elders. It is the nature of sons who love their fathers to try to go twice as far twice as fast as their fathers.
Second, Scripture teaches us that in this tendency lies danger--the danger of junior officers framing the battle and thus governing the course of nations.
Generals must value young warriors like Asahel. They project power, they advance kingdoms, they win battles and wars. Even as Saul seethed at David's "tens of thousands," he knew he needed him.
But often young warriors must be restrained for the greater good. This requires self-denial and faith in God's providence over the outcome of the war. And at times, if a general cannot rein in his warriors he must disavow them. David is forced to do this later with Joab when Joab murders Abner to avenge Asahel
In the course of recent theological conflicts within the Reformed community it has been my impression that too little has been done by generals to restrain younger men. No doubt, generals feel grateful to the bright young men who advance their arguments and champion their cause. Yet if younger warriors are not cautioned and even, at times, held in check by generals, they will most certainly drag their elders and fathers into far wider and more all-consuming battle, the consequence of which will be bitterness between brothers as Abner warned Joab.
Young men have not learned what older men too often forget, that battle is not all of life, and that the day will come, if God is honored in the conflict, when both sides will once again unite in brotherhood. This reunification is much harder to accomplish, of course, when generals fail to govern and limit the course of the conflict.
These last few months as Dad Taylor lay in the hospital bed that had been brought into his study, these two pictures hung on the wall at the foot of his bed. The bottom picture is Lewis Sperry Chafer, president of Dallas Theological Seminary when Dad was a student there from 1940-1943. The top picture is a photo of my Dad, Joe Bayly.
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. (Hebrews 13:1-3)
by David and Tim Bayly on August 22, 2005 - 12:28pm
Speaking of the Christian vs. secular college debate, a valid alternative to choosing a Christian college is choosing a secular school based on the churches/campus ministries resident on or around that secular campus. For instance, my denomination, the Presbyterian Church in America, has a campus ministry called Reformed University Ministries. RUM's work is called Reformed University Fellowship on each campus. Of course, this work is better on some campuses than others. It's excellent at Vanderbilt.
This was a prominent factor in our encouraging our second child, Joseph, to consider Vanderbilt.
RUF is self-consciously church-based and biblical exposition forms the centerpiece of their on-campus weekly meetings. Much different than every other evangelical parachurch campus ministry (trust me), RUF doesn't just pay lip-service to the local church but it pushes its students to be committed to a church--and not as secondary priority after their involvement in the RUF campus ministry, but as foundational to Christian discipleship.
On to a story. Joseph narrowed his choice down to Covenant College or Vanderbilt. He and I visited both of them and Joseph still couldn't choose. When we visited Vanderbilt, Marvin and Susan Olasky's son (Joseph, I think) hosted Joseph overnight and gave high marks to his experience there. Eventually, Joseph chose Vanderbilt.
So with some fear (but always faith), in the Fall of 2000 our family piled in the car and took Joseph to Nashville. We stayed at our son-in-law and daughter, Doug and Heather's, on Friday night and Saturday morning got in the minivan to move Joseph into his dorm room about half an hour away.
The building had only singles and was a pit. It's never easy to let a child go so I was feeling some gloom as we finished carrying boxes and clothes up to the room. The time came to leave and, after praying and giving him a kiss and a hug, we walked out of the room and headed to the staircase. Turning left out of his room and starting down the hall (with tears in my eyes, I admit), I was startled to look in the next door and see, exactly at the same place in the bookshelf over the desk, the same two-volume set we had just placed in the same position in Joseph's room: the Banner of Truth two-volume set of the Works of Jonathan Edwards.
I did a doubletake and looked again, thinking I'd likely been doing the moonwalk and not actually moving down the hall at all as I walked. I must still be looking through Joseph's doorway. So I looked more closely and saw through the door a stranger and his mother. I walked straight into the room and asked the young man, "What in the WORLD are you doing with a two-volume set of Jonathan Edwards on our bookshelf!? Come here, I've got to show you something."
We walked out the door and, turning right, I had him look in Joseph's room and see what he had on his shelf. Then it was time for our new-found friend to do a doubletake. Joseph's next door neighbor then told me how he had an older brother who had gone off to college--a non-Christian school by the way--and been led to faith in Jesus, there. His brother came home and told him about Jesus, at which point he too placed his faith in Jesus Christ.
His brother also turned him on to John Piper, so this younger brother began reading Piper. And he noticed in the footnotes that Piper drank waters from Edwards' well, so he went out and bought this set of Edwards and brought it to school so he could read it. Cinching the matter, he told me his name was Joseph--my son's name, also.
Praise God for His loving provision for His children, even down to determining among thousands of students that two students matriculating at Vandy who love Him would have adjoining rooms and doctrine.
Both Josephs attended RUF which was absolutely critical in their spiritual lives while at Vandy; both grew stronger in their friendship and faith while at Vandy; and our family's faith was strengthened as we saw how much God protects those who belong to Him, including their children.
Incidentally, it turned out that their dorm was sort of a self-selective group of sold-out Christians because all the men living there had asked not to be placed in a co-ed dorm.
by David and Tim Bayly on October 17, 2005 - 9:42am
Several months ago one of Christ the Word's godly young fathers had a heart-to-heart with his son. For months his quiet elementary school-age son had been taunted by a boy on the bus. The bully frequently called him (and his family) dirty words and hit him.
The father told his son, "Here's what you have to do: the next time that boy hits you, punch him back. You have my permission to punch him once. That's the only way to stop a bully."
It wasn't a week before his son came home and matter-of-factly reported that he'd done it. "The boy slapped me so I punched him in the nose," he told his father.
"What happened?" the father asked.
"He went crying to the bus driver," the boy responded.
"What did the driver do?" the father asked.
"She told him to stop lying," the son responded.
The father told the story to a group of church leaders. We were shocked--first, at the thought of this son, a quiet innocent boy, hitting another child so matter-of-factly; second, that the father had so matter-of-factly told his son to do so.
by David and Tim Bayly on October 18, 2005 - 8:25am
It may be a bit of a surprise to David, but I have an installment in this series that I'd like to insert.
A few years back, our eldest son, Joseph, was being tormented at school. He was a freshman at Bloomington High School South and a few young men were doing their best to make his and others' lives miserable.
We didn't hear about it for some time but one day our stoic son let it slip. Joseph was in a public school, though, so the question was similar but different than the one Nate faced.
Joseph and I talked about it and couldn't come to a conclusion about the best method of responding. Punching the main instigator's lights out was definitely one option. Joseph wasn't the only one suffering. Knowing Joseph's temperament and personality, it was clear it wasn't his own mouth or attitude getting him into trouble. He wasn't the "troublesome meddler" spoken of in 1Peter:
Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler; but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name. (1Peter 4:15,16)
Still, what to do? We weren't worried about Joseph being able to handle himself in a fight. We knew it was likely he would win and the tormenting would stop, at least when he was around. But nagging questions remained. What of the soul of the young man--how would Joseph's handling the matter physically influence his Christian testimony to this young man and his friends? And what of those watching--would they learn anything other than that courage wins over cowardice? David in his first post in this series has done a good job summing up the biblical questions we went through.
I was about to tell Joseph to go punch the ringleader's lights out when it occurred to me that in a little while we were having an elders meeting in our home and this was a good group of men to get counsel from (smile)...
by David and Tim Bayly on October 27, 2005 - 4:07pm
Several weeks ago I wrote in defense of responding aggressively to bullying. Of course, the lesson we learn in our youth that we must at times respond in faith to physical attacks continues on into later life. There are times when we must fight to the glory of God in sessions and on boards, in workplaces, governments and families.
When we must fight certain basic principles should be resolutely borne in mind.
Principle No. 1: When fighting, do so to the glory of God.
Think of David not taking advantage of the sleeping Saul. There was honor to his behaviour beyond merely not laying his hand on the Lord's anointed. Joab slays Abner while pretending to embrace him and David laments that Abner died at the cowardly and sneaky hand of Joab rather than honorably in battle.
Fight cleanly. Don't mar the cause you defend by fighting dishonorably. Of course, what is honorable at one time is dishonorable at others: with Gideon, attack at night against a sleeping enemy was entirely honorable. Not so for David with Saul.
Sneaky behaviour, surprise attacks, weaponry incommensurate with the level of hostility are ways of dishonoring God when we fight. We don't ambush on schoolyards or in board rooms. We don't seek to garner others to our cause when the offense with which we deal is personal and private. The one who fights should reserve his greatest blows for those who blaspheme God and lead others into error. When we defend ourselves it should only be because a greater principle is at stake than our own honor or reputation. It is shameful when God-given authority is used for personal benefit. This is true when a master abuses a servant in a fit of temper, when a father rails at children for not meeting his personal expectations, and especially, for church leaders who use their authority to exalt themselves rather than the Word.
by David and Tim Bayly on December 2, 2005 - 12:50pm
A strong argument on a questionable debate topic on the PCA news site here by Jeff Meyers.
Jeff suggests the following as the primary reason for male leadership in the fundamental tasks of worship:
...pastors are called to speak and represent the Husband Christ to the Bride, the church. If we continue to marginalize the pastor in the liturgy of the church, we will increasingly wonder why women cannot be ordained as well as men. If women are going to read Scripture, lead portions of the service, etc., then the whole purpose of ordination will be lost....
Ordination is to a role, something a man does, not merely to a status or "profession." It gives him the authority to say and do things in the Lord's Name. Otherwise stated, the minister has an instrumental, ritual-symbolic function in the church service. He represents the Husband to the Bride. He acts for Jesus. He speaks for Jesus. He is authorized so to act and speak. And everybody should know it. This is key....
This is why the pastor who leads worship must be an ordained man. By virtue of his office, he must represent the Husband to the Bride. A woman cannot do so. It would upset the entire fabric of God-ordained role relationships within the church and home. The symbolism of male headship must be maintained in the corporate liturgy of the church.
Why female ordination is a topic of debate on the PCA's By Faith web site I don't understand. But Jeff's comment may redeem what seems otherwise an exercise in kicking at the foundations.
by David and Tim Bayly on December 5, 2005 - 10:15am
This weekend, my good wife, Mary Lee, sent this by Martin Luther to a young father just blessed by the safe birth of his fourth child:
Now observe that when that clever harlot, our natural reason . . . , takes a look at married life, she turns up her nose and says, "Alas, must I rock the baby, wash its diapers, make its bed, smell its stench, stay up nights with it, take care of it when it cries, heal its rashes and sores . . . ?
What then does Christian faith say to this? It opens its eyes, looks upon all these insignificant, distasteful, and despised duties in the Spirit, and is aware that they are all adorned with divine approval as with the costliest gold and jewels. It says, O God, because I am certain that thou hast created me as a man and hast from my body begotten this child, I also know for a certainty that it meets with thy perfect pleasure. I confess to thee that I am not worthy to rock the little babe or wash its diapers, or to be entrusted with the care of the child and its mother. How is it that I, without any merit, have come to this distinction of being certain that I am serving thy creature and thy most precious will? O how gladly will I do so, though the duties should be even more insignificant and despised. Neither frost nor heat, neither drudgery nor labor, will distress or dissuade me, for I am certain that it is thus pleasing in thy sight. . . .
God, with all his angels and creatures is smiling--not because the father is washing diapers, but because he is doing so in Christian faith.
I might add that last night our church had a number of Christmas parties in separate homes, each home hosting three small groups. Mary Lee and I hosted, with our small group, one of those parties here in our home, and I was inspired by the sheer number of children inside, outside, upstairs, and downstairs for four plus hours. What fruitfulness God has blessed us with!
But also, I was inspired by the loving care those children received from their mothers and fathers. One father in particular held his crying baby and, as the little one screamed, he told me how God is using his children's needs to teach him humility. I was humbled listening to him and thank God for the testimony of godliness that surrounds me.
We used to have in our Baptist churches substantial men who would as soon have brooked Satan at their own table as an unsound preacher in the pulpit. There used to be a company in the north of Scotland called "The Men." Why, if heresy had been preached before them, they would have been as provoked as Janet Geddes when she threw her cutty stool at the head of the preacher. They would not have endured these modern heresies as the present effeminate generation is enduring them. Let the new theologians have liberty to preach what they like on their own ground, but not in our pulpits.
Alas! the leading members in many churches are Christians without backbones, molluscous, spongy; snails I would call them, only they have not the consistency of a snail's shell. They are ready to swallow any mortal thing if the preacher seems clever and eloquent. Cleverness and eloquence--away with them forever! If it is not the truth of God, the more cleverly and eloquently it is preached the more damnable it is. We must have the truth and nothing but the truth, and I charge the fathers in Christ all over England and America to see to this. Get ye to your watchtower and guard the flock, lest the sheep be destroyed while they are asleep.
-Spurgeon, "Fathers in Christ," Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Vol. 29.
After reading the earlier post on Indiana University basketball, Brandon Dutcher, a fellow member of the Presbyterian Church in America, posted this comment which seemed best not to leave buried in the comments section. Thanks, Brandon, for adding your thoughts. This is a good encouragment to all of us to be better fathers. Happy Father's Day, early!
As a lifelong Sooner fan (and a PCA Presbyterian), I am disappointed in Coach Sampson for breaking the rules. Yet I have to say I genuinely like the guy and wish him the best at IU. I can promise you he does have some redeeming qualities, as you'll see if you read the column I have shamelessly inserted below. So give him a chance. Perhaps things will turn out better than you think.
Father-Son Camp: It's About Time
[This column was published on Father's Day 2003 in The Sunday Oklahoman.]
This is the third Father's Day in a row that I've woken up sore.
But it's worth it, because I love spending time with my 10-year-old son at Kelvin Sampson's annual Father-Child Basketball Camp, held on the University of Oklahoma campus over Father's Day weekend.
Lincoln and I are among the 100-plus campers living in Walker Tower, eating at the Couch Cafeteria and playing ball in the Sooners' extraordinary practice facility adjacent to the Lloyd Noble Center. We practice our shooting and ball-handling, engage in sadistic stretching exercises, and battle other father-son combos in the two-on-two "Cutthroat" competition.
In a recent interview, Sampson told me he first got the idea for a father-son camp while running summer camps as a young head coach at Montana Tech. He even participated with his own son, Kellen.
On our way to a family reunion in Bristol, Tennessee, my wife, Mary Lee, our children Hannah and Taylor, and I passed this pornography store next to the southbound I-65 entrance ramp at the Indiana State Road 250 exit, just south of Seymour. We stopped and talked with the men picketing the store and expressed our appreciation for their work. These brothers have two tactics: first, they have signs all over the place telling prospective patrons that if they patronize the store their picture will be taken, posted on the internet, and sent to their employer (if they're a truck driver).
by David and Tim Bayly on February 2, 2007 - 4:19am
A friend directed me to a mini-discussion of feminism on a PCA blog. Surprise, surprise: we learn once more that though feminism may be bad, patriarchy is worse.
PCA pastor Phil Ryken writes,
There are errors on both sides of a biblical view of godly male leadership in the home and in the church. Authoritarian, domineering men who stifle the gifts of women -- or worse, who use their stength or their position to legitimate verbal, physical, or other forms of abuse -- are a reproach to the church and stand in opposition to the ministry of Christ.
Indeed, this is one of the reasons I am in strong support of the Danbury Statement produced by the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood: it is zealous to protect men and women from ungodly patriarchy.
I say "patriarchy" because the connotations of the word make me reticent to use it as the first-choice term to describe the biblical view of male leadership.
Typically I use terms like "servant leadership" or "spiritual authority," but never "patriarchy." To me the term would always need careful qualification because for many people today it already suggests the kind of overreaching use of authority that the biblical position opposes.
Sadly, this amounts to a staunch defense of male headship within the PCA: five apologies, four qualifications, three reservations, two reproaches of those who venture further and one whimpered admission. (It's not the foes of male headship within the PCA who convince me that the PCA will be as feminist as the PCUSA in another generation, it's the professed friends.)
Rick Phillips, a PCA pastor I respect and whose hospitality I've enjoyed, responds to Ryken on the same blog:
...I (too) am actually a bit reserved about the application of the term "patriarchy" to masculine leadership today. The reason I brought it up in an earlier post is that the book in question declares biblical patriarchy to be a sin. This is clearly wrong. But patriarchy is not the term I would most prefer for godly male leadership today, mainly because it too easily down-loads social arrangements that do not possess an enduring biblical mandate. If we want to highlight the permanent and enduring aspects of God's social ordering, it helps if we do not mix them up with those aspects that are not permanent and enduring. To me, at least, patriarchy is so associated with, well, the patriarchs, that it may not be the best term for our present use. Nothing wrong with Abraham and his boys, of course. It's just that the kind of male leadership demanded by the New Testament does not seem to incorporate all the social privileges and obligations that Abraham held.
Neither man seems to grasp the fundamental model for male leadership in Scripture....
Ryken thinks male leadership is based on the "servant leadership" (a term as rooted in eastern mysticism as Biblical teaching) of Jesus Christ. Yes, we all must agree that Christ's role as Head of the Church is Scripture's model for husbands in marriage. But is the Headship of Christ over the Church the sum total of what we learn of manhood from the life of Christ? What about Christ's role as King of heaven and earth? What about Christ's warrior triumph over His enemies? Are "servant leadership" and "spiritual authority" ALL we learn of perfect manhood from the life of Christ?
And though Rick Phillips is less embarrassed of Biblical masculinity than Ryken (he writes at one point, "the best remedy for feminism is a good dose of masculinity"), he too seems unsure of the ultimate Scriptural referent for male leadership when he writes, "the kind of male leadership demanded by the New Testament does not seem to incorporate all the social privileges and obligations that Abraham held."
In fact, Rick is right. Biblical manhood's foundation isn't Abraham. Patriarchy (or "father rule") is rooted in the nature of God the Eternal Father. We may as well apologize for the social privileges and obligations of God the Father as apologize for permitting Abraham's position to influence our understanding of male headship.
In fact, the headship of Christ over His Church is not the model Scripture routinely holds up for manly leadership. Complementarians focus exclusively on Christ to avoid confronting culture. But the mandate for manhood begins in the character of God. Reduce manhood to the life of Christ and we have no template for understanding fatherhood.
New Testament Scripture, indeed the teaching of Christ Himself, points time and again to the Father as our paradigm. Jesus argues from the nature of human fatherhood to the Fatherhood of God when He urges prayer: "What father gives his son a scorpion when he asks for a loaf of bread?"). We're told in Hebrews that just as earthly fathers discipline children, so the Heavenly Father disciplines all He accepts as sons.
The poverty of the "complementarian" position (and the PCA is complementarian at best in its approach to sexuality) is that it denies the Father by affirming only the Son.
The little child says
Here I am daddy
as he bursts
on father's sight
from behind the chair
where he's been hiding.
He doesn't say
What can I do for you?
How can I help you?
I want to serve you
to work and gain
the father's favor
He knows that they are his
without exhausting effort
They are his always.
Here I am daddy
just being your eternal son.
From a profile of Senator Barack Obama in the latest (05/07/07) New Yorker, here's an excerpt dealing with Sen. Obama's father who left his wife and son, eventually returning to Kenya to work in the government.
freedom, individualism, mobility--the belief that you can leave a
constricting or violent history behind and remake yourself in a new
form of your choosing--all are part of the American dream of moving
west, first from the old country to America, then from the crowded
cities of the East Coast to the open central plains and on to the
Pacific. But this dream, to Obama, seems credulous and shallow, a
destructive craving for weightlessness. When Obama, as a young man,
went to Kenya for the first time and learned how his father's life had
turned out--how he had destroyed his (government) career by imagining
that old tribalisms were just pettiness, with the arrogant idea that he
could rise above the past and change his society by sheer force of
belief--Obama's aunt told him that his father had never understood
that, as she put it, "if everyone is family, no one is family." Obama
found this striking enough so that he repeated it later on (in his
book), in italics: If everyone is family, no one is family.
Universalism is a delusion. Freedom is really just abandonment. You
might start by throwing off religion, then your parents, your town,
your people, and your way of life, and when, later on, you end up
leaving your wife or husband and your child, too, is seems only a
Contrast the statement of Senator Obama's aunt, "If everyone is family,
no one is family," with the title of Sen. Hillary Clinton's book on childrearing, It Takes a Village. Joe Sobran's response to Sen. Clinton's book was something like, "In the city, the village is a gang."
At least on the issue of family policy, Senators Obama and Clinton seem to be poles apart.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her… (Ephesians 5:25)
(by Tim) In the discussion of the current suffering and martyrdoms of our Korean brothers and sisters in Afghanistan, Valerie comments:
Here’s a thought I offer rather tentatively: What concerns me is… that the great majority of the (Korean) group’s members are women. Yes, we are all soldiers of the cross, but St. Paul didn’t take a wife on his journeys because of the danger.…
I’m reminded of an account I received a few years ago from a dear friend who is a pastor in my denomination, the Presbyterian Church in America. My friend recounted an experience he and his wife had while going through cross-cultural training under Mission to the World, the PCA’s mission agency. (MTW had subcontracted the training out to a company that specialized in providing this service to a number of evangelical mission organizations.)
Here's my friend's E-mail describing one day's training in which all the missionary candidates were captured by terrorists who then demanded that each group of missionaries provide volunteers to be executed. What follows is the account of the ensuing battle among the missionaries over whether Christian fathers should bear the primary responsibility of danger and death, or whether mothers should die so that fathers could live...
by David and Tim Bayly on October 23, 2007 - 9:34am
Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all. (Mark 10:15)
(Tim) My son-in-law just sent an E-mail telling me I "must" read this post by my nephew, Chris Taylor. He was right. My heart welled and my eyes teared. How we need such fathers and sons to quell the wave of father-hunger and hatred rolling across our land.
by David and Tim Bayly on January 20, 2008 - 3:19pm
(Tim)This VW Jetta commercial (it's the third one in) had both Mary Lee and me laughing out loud. No words needed between this father and daughter--they're on the same wave length. (And yeah, it said "father and son" before, but I'm color blind so chill out. Pink's really hard for me.)
Then the people of Nineveh believed in God; and they called a fast and put on sackcloth from the greatest to the least of them. (Jonah 3:5)
(Tim) Surrounding his book's arrival on the New York Times bestseller list, Tim Keller's buzz has expanded beyond the PCA. Lots of people trying to put their finger on what makes Pastor Keller brilliant observe that the center of his brilliance is his ability to ask and answer "the questions New Yorkers are asking."
Pastors such as Tim Keller and Richard John Neuhaus are speaking to a very narrow segment of New Yorkers--what Peter Berger refers to as "the Information Class" and others call "the Chattering Classes." These are people who make their living writing and editing and publishing and reviewing books. Or, transfer the principle to other segments of the word business--magazines, newspapers, TV, blogs, universities, and courts; together, we are the Chattering Class.
Tim Keller is PCA and we are a class-specific denomination...
Yet most I thank thee, not for any deed, But for the sense thy living self did breed That Fatherhood is at the world’s great core.
-George MacDonald (1)
(Tim) Some years back when I first entered the pastorate, I sat in a small-town café listening to the son of a prominent church member summarize his relationship with his father: “Nothing I did ever pleased him.” In his late twenties, the son was a neer-do-well; divorced and not able to hold down a job, his children were shunted back and forth, week-by-week, from one broken home to another.
He came to church only on Christmas and Easter so our breakfast appointment was about the only chance I had. His eyes revealed the last flicker of what once had been the bright flame of father-hunger—that hunger God places in the heart of every son. None of my seminary professors had mentioned this hunger to me and I was at a loss as to how to cure his soul. Not knowing how to respond to this great sadness, I was silent...
…Abraham will surely become a great and mighty nation, and in him all the nations of the earth will be blessed… For I have chosen him, so that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing righteousness and justice, so that the LORD may bring upon Abraham what He has spoken about him. (Genesis 18:18,19)
(Tim) When the Lord entered into a covenant with Abraham, He was pleased for that covenant’s fulfillment to be dependent upon Abraham “command(ing) his children and his household… to keep the way of the Lord….” Still today, it pleases God to use means to accomplish his will, and he has declared the Church should be built up, instructed, and guarded by men—not angels. Where those men are missing or their work is soft and effeminate, the Church has suffered the removal of her vital manhood; she has been emasculated. (n. 1)
When we speak of the emasculation of the church, though, we are not saying she has been robbed of her Bridegroom nor that her adoptive Father has cast her out of his household. Christ is “faithful over God’s house as a son” (Hebrews 3:6 RSV), (n. 2) and we have his promise that the gates of hell shall not prevail against her. So then, the Church can never be emasculated in any definitive sense, even though her officers may be characterized by a womanly softness and sentimentality.
Such, though, is the church of our time. About twenty years ago I heard Elisabeth Elliot Gren say, “The problem with the church today is that it’s filled with emasculated men who don’t know how to say ‘no’ to a woman.” At the time, I was floored by Elliot’s audacity, but now I realize she was guilty of understatement. Christian men today have a problem saying “no” to almost anyone—not just women. Preachers, elders, and Sunday school teachers place an overwhelming emphasis on the positive and have an almost insurmountable aversion to the negative.
In the mid-eighties, my father was asked to represent the pro-life side at a campus-wide dialogue on abortion held at the Stupe, Wheaton College’s student union. He began his presentation with the statement, “I am not here to represent the pro-life, but the anti-abortion side of this issue..."
(Tim) Within the church today, why are we so reticent to recognize sexual distinctions that go beyond God's command or certain "roles" the result of His command? Pastors and elders can bring ourselves to swallow the very specific biblical prohibitions against women serving as elders, and the equally specific commands for wives to submit to their husbands--even going so far as to defend those prohibitions with some small talk of the nature of sexuality (although we always call it "gender" rather than "sex" because gender is a social construct while sex is a hard biological reality); but still, despite this supposed submission to the biblical command, we show a complete absence of any biblical theology of sexuality.
Why? Why are we so chip-on-the-shoulderish when it comes to a discussion of the nature of man and woman beyond the obvious body parts (which are undeniable and very useful for advertising), and certain small aspects of authority in the church and home? Why do we read sexuality in such a mind-bogglingly narrow way? We claim to love diversity, right? So why such a penurious, such a tight-waddish reading of this one so basic to our lives?
A central part of understanding our culture is seeing the hatred for distinctions at its core, and few distinctions are more despised than this one present in the womb from our earliest days--male and female.
Typical believers in Jesus Christ will think we've seen the goodness of sex when we've decided to marry a woman rather than a man...
Register now for the Christ Church Ministerial Conference on Father Hunger October 16 & 17 in Houston, Texas. The conference is aimed at pastors, elders, deacons, and those aspiring to the work of these offices. David and I attended the conference last year and greatly appreciated it. We hope we'll see you there. (From time to time, I'll put this ad back up on the top of the page, so please look below to see if there are other more recent posts. Thanks.)
(Tim) Apparently, following the opening ceremony of the Olympics last night, in an interview with Bob Woodruff, Senator John Edwards admitted to a truth that the whole world already knew--that he had "made a mistake" attributable to an overdose of "self-focus" with an actress named Rielle Hunter. God have mercy on Senator and Mrs. Edwards, and their loved ones. Also, Ms. Hunter.
There's so much here instructive to followers of our Lord Jesus Christ. Read the article while comparing Senator Edwards' confession (if you can call it that) to David's found in Psalm 51. Of course, the argument can be made that the content of a confession made to God will always differ significantly from a confession made on Nightline, but the themes should at least be congruent...
by David and Tim Bayly on August 23, 2008 - 12:06pm
(Tim) From Joe Sobran's latest column celebrating the fortieth anniversary of "one of the most prophetic documents of the last century," Humanae Vitae:
* * *
Strange as it may seem, nearly all Christians used to agree that contraception is contrary to God's law. This began to change in 1930, when the Church of England decreed at its Lambeth Conference that married couples might licitly use contraceptives in cases of hardship. Other Christians were shocked, discerning that the floodgates had been opened by this first fatal concession.
One might mention countless baleful results, such as the current demand for sodomite "wedlock." The real sexual revolution, however, occurred not in the noisy or flamboyant homosexual precincts, but quietly, in the marriage bed. Everything else is an offshoot, a byproduct of the compromise of the marital act, a perversion that has become the norm in the "advanced" countries of the West. In view of this, the perceptive homosexual advocate Andrew Sullivan has gloated, "We are all sodomites now," and he is not far wrong. Gay activists are merely acting out the logic of non-procreative hedonism...
by David and Tim Bayly on August 23, 2008 - 2:30pm
(Tim) My friend James Altena has written this essay which I've found very helpful in understanding the order God gave sexuality. Most helpful is James' explanation of the similarities and differences between attacks Satan has mounted on this order through feminists and sodomites. Of course, publishing this essay should not be taken as indicating that
David or I approve (or even understand) every one of its particulars.
Similarly, Mr. Altena's allowing it to be posted here is no indication
that he endorses everything we've posted. Mr. Altena is Anglican.
Since the first third to half of the essay almost did me in with its technical vocabulary, I want to encourage our readers not to give up, but to persevere. Those who make it through the first half will reap ample rewards in the second, so stick with it!
But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. - 1Timothy 5:8
In a nation where the majority of citizens claim to have "a personal relationship" or to be "living a narrative" with Jesus at the center, how is it that babies keep being murdered at a rate of 1.3 million per year? How is it that women continue to take on more positions in which, by design and intent, they exercise authority over men? How is it that the family meal has died? That what my Dad called "that huckster" now owns the center of our living room and dying room? That no one practices hospitality any more—except perhaps at restaurants or hotels? That husbands love internet sluts instead of the wife of their youth? That one fifth of our nation's women now arrive at their early forties never having given birth to a child?
Really, the older I get the more sense it makes to me that the New Testament Epistles place such constant and heavy emphasis on simple (or should I say foundational) household matters. Do we really think that killing babies, women sleeping with women and men with men, children defying their fathers, mothers abandoning their children and home for a public life, husbands loving prostitutes instead of the virtuous wife God gave them, wives refusing to submit to their husbands and taking over the leadership of the church and state, smutty plays and drama and poetry, and spoiled cats and dogs are things unknown in the world of the early Christians?
by David and Tim Bayly on September 27, 2008 - 12:33pm
(Tim) Few things have been responsible for more souls rejecting Church of the Good Shepherd than our fencing of the Lord's Table according to the requirement of the Presbyterian Church in America's Book of Church Order, that those who come to eat and drink must have placed themselves under the authority of the elders of our church or be a member of some other Bible-believing, evangelical church.
Typically, we surround those words with some explanation of the words' meaning and intent, focusing particularly on the fact that we cannot claim faith in Jesus Christ while rejecting the authority of Christ's Church and her officers which He Himself has commanded us to honor and obey. Whew, do the sparks fly!
Travelling around the country, I've been discouraged to observe how few PCA pastors submit to this Book of Church Order requirement. It's such a good and necessary rule, perfectly suited to drive a dagger into the heart of the cheap grace and hatred of authority at the heart of the reformed church today. So why aren't shepherds faithful to fence the Lord's Table in any other than a pro forma way?
Well, surely the rule has escaped the notice of some. Not every PCA pastor spends his life looking through the Book of Church Order for more rules to obey. Such a life takes a special kind of guy.
And yet, there are many of us who know about this rule and still don't obey it. Why not?
Well, as I said at the beginning, few things have been responsible for more souls rejecting Church of the Good Shepherd than our fencing of the Lord's Table according to this requirement. In other words, most of us don't do it because we don't want to discipline the flock to love and obey the Church and her officers. In a day when Rob Bell is hissing hatred of authority to everyone who will listen, it takes faith and faithfulness to teach, let alone require, submission to authority.
A few years ago, I was part of a lengthy e-mail discussion within our presbytery over whether or not this requirement was biblical. And as the discussion proceeded, the issue went beyond how the Lord's Table should be fenced, to the discussion of church membership itself--is it even biblical?
This afternoon, I was reading Calvin's sermon on 1Timothy 1:1,2 and came across a section that makes our duty clear in this regard. If pastors and elders read this and still allow men and women to come to our Lord's Table while rejecting the Church, her officers and authority...
by David and Tim Bayly on November 26, 2008 - 10:30am
(Tim) On Thanksgiving, my sorrow over the absence of our brother, Nathan, is most acute. Food and table fellowship were Nathan's specialty.
In his home, I envied his ability to host a meal. Whether lunch or dinner, his enjoyment of his wife, Sandy, their children, the food, the sunshine streaming through their dining room windows, music, and you, his guests, was contagious. He was a gentleman so he told merry jokes. Just before the meal, Nathan clucked over the table, finished off the iced tea, chose the music (usually baroque brass leading up to the meal and something quieter while we sat and talked), took taste tests, spiced up this or that dish, kissed Sandy--oh the Christian joy!
Thanksgivings, too, were the day each year that Nathan pulled out his soapstones and sharpened the knives of whatever home we'd gathered in. He'd work on them in the kitchen. Were they sharp enough, yet? The test was shaving hair off the forearm or a clean vertical cut down through a piece of paper, leaving no ragged edges. (Here's a great account of the growing custom knife business.)
Then it was off to manhandle the turkey. Men do it in our family, but not because we don't cook. Nathan and Dad were both superb cooks, but regardless of the sex of the chefs, carving the turkey was man's work. (Here's a short video on carving the turkey--thanks, Jake.)
Speaking of carving the turkey, back in time to our childhood home for a minute or two. Mud and Dad always had a ton of people for Thanksgiving...
by David and Tim Bayly on January 1, 2009 - 10:12am
(Tim) I have tender childhood memories of sitting in front of the fireplace roasting my back, my two younger brothers lying on the floor falling asleep, while Mud (affectionate diminutive of Mother) read to us. Dad was on the road speaking at conferences much of the time those years, and when he was gone our evenings had a certain leisure. Not that we lived under joyless discipline when Dad was home, but like most men, Dad was sort of daddish.
So the Life without Father routine was that, following dinner and devotions, a fire was built, and as it crackled, Mud read to us by the hour.
Books were the main course in our home, just as they were in the homes of three other families whose children were all growing up at the same time within the same congregation, College Church in Wheaton: the Ken Taylors (Mary Lee's family), the Ken Hansens (ServiceMASTER's founder), and the Hudson Armerdings (Wheaton's prez). All the children of these homes loved to read.
by David and Tim Bayly on January 22, 2009 - 5:21pm
(Tim) If you and the brothers and sisters of your church were regularly standing outside of your local abortuary, offering help to the women going in to kill their little babies, you would have days of God showing His glory and mercy like this account of today's work sent out by the the souls of Church of the Good Shepherd who keep vigil at Bloomington's killing place.
Praise God that He showed mercy on two mothers and their little ones--particularly since today was the thirty-fifth anniversary of the legalization of abortion by the United States Supreme Court who, on January 22, 2009, issued their infamously cruel ruling, Roe v. Wade.
Now, for our correspondent's report on their work this morning here in Bloomington outside Planned Parenthood, saving two babies from being murdered...