With popular social mores widely accepting an attitude of sexual promiscuity, many husbands and wives have asked themselves, "What would I do if my spouse were unfaithful? Could I stand the shock? The pain? The humiliation?"
But too often the really crucial questions are left unasked: "How could this terrible sin be committed by people who love God and one another? Am I capable of infidelity? When and in what ways do I place myself in danger of crossing the line?"
Unfaithfulness in marriage is not just a physical act; it's a way of life. It begins innocently enough--sidelong glances, the light brush of a shoulder, an offer to help put up the storm windows--all little things. But little things quickly grow until we discover we're in a prison built by our own hands. Seemingly without warning, we find that our wife or husband is no longer at the center of our heart; someone has taken their place.
As a pastor I have seen how easy it is for us to convince ourselves that there is nothing dangerous about developing a close personal friendship with a member of the opposite sex outside our marriage.
Some time ago I was talking with a young mother. She told me her husband was threatening to leave her. She wanted him to stay, but she knew she might not be able to convince him. He was ready to walk out on her and on their children.
My initial question brought out the usual reasons people give for breakdown: "We were married young," "We fight all the time," and "He says he doesn't love me anymore." As we continued talking, though, it became clear that unfaithfulness was at the center of their breakdown...
by David and Tim Bayly on January 13, 2005 - 12:21pm
Note: The following essay is the fruit of research I've done on the history of marriage ceremonies, specifically their liturgy. I've asked the question "How can my work as a pastor officiating at marriage ceremonies be used by God to strengthen the commitment within our congregation to God's Truth in the area of the meaning and purpose of sexuality?"
I've been to too many weddings in which the presiding pastor didn't bother "improving" the time, by which I mean that the very areas of biblical doctrine our culture hates were carefully (or maybe even thoughtlessly) excised from the liturgy--the three purposes of marriage, the warning of the seriousness of vows, the word 'obey' in the woman's vow, any mention of the wife's duty to submit to her husband, and so on.
So this essay is my effort to think through this aspect of pastoral ministry biblically, and to record my new commitments concerning how I will preside at the weddings of our congregation. The essay is published in a collection of essays offered by...
by David and Tim Bayly on January 21, 2005 - 9:14am
This from a pastor-friend of mine. Note it's dated 1925--a fact I missed the first time around:
The Sanctity of Marriage Association launched a movement yesterday to bar absolutely the marriage of divorced persons in the Protestant Episcopal Church. The Sanctity of Marriage Association is headed by the Rev. Dr. Milo H. Gates, vicar of the Chapel of the Intercession, Trinity Parish, and its Executive Committee includes, among others, Bishop William T. Manning, Bishop Frederick Burgess of Long Island and Bishop Paul Matthews of New Jersey.
The proposed law is:
No minister, knowingly after due inquiry, shall solemnize the marriage of any person who has been or is the husband or the wife of any person living from whom he or she has been divorced for any cause arising after marriage. Nor shall it be lawful for any member of this Church to enter upon a marriage when either of the contracting parties is the husband or the wife of any other person then living from whom he or she has been divorced for any cause arising after marriage.
The association gives the following reasons why in its judgment the one 'exception' should be repealed:
Some of you have wondered where Tim has disappeared to in recent days. Well, part of the reason for his absence from the blog recently is due to an event we celebrated in Nashville, IN, last Saturday afternoon when Tim's third child, Michal, was married.
Michal Louise follows older siblings Heather and Joseph in marriage. Michal married Ben Crum, son of PCA pastor David Crum. The wedding was beautifully simple, with traditional vows and a bluegrass band at the reception.
Members of the family were disappointed that Michal's maternal grandfather, Ken Taylor, was not able to attend the wedding. Mr. Taylor's ill health kept him home--the first of his grandchildren's weddings he has been forced to miss. Tim took Mr. Taylor's place by pronouncing the father's blessing, a Taylor family tradition.
May God add His blessing to Michal and Ben's life together.
Also, pray for God's grace for Mr. and Mrs. Taylor in these difficult days. Mr. Taylor is one of the truly great men of the evangelical movement and his departure to eternity will be all our loss.
by David and Tim Bayly on September 7, 2005 - 9:52pm
The latest issue of Atlantic Monthly contains two letters to the editor commenting on a May article on Owen Allred, deceased leader of a polygamous Mormon sect in Utah.
The first letter is from an apparent Mormon, disavowing Allred.
The second is from a South African pastor who writes,
For many people in the world, polygamy is no laughing matter but an accepted form of marriage. Americans need to learn that the customs of "the others" have been adopted for good reasons, which need to be discovered before a custom is condemned or sneered at.
Traditional polygamy is clearly superior to the "serial polygamy" practiced in the West, in which each successive wife is cast out, often with her children, to fend for herself. The situation of the first wife in a polygamous marriage is a good deal more secure and emotionally satisfying than that, and she is spared the psychological and social trauma of divorce.
Rev. Mtumiki Njira
Derdepark, South Africa
Whether Rev. Njira is truly defending polygamy or not, he certainly has taken a great big stick both to America's view of her own innate moral superiority and to self-righteous American Christians.
He's right. Traditional polygamy is better than the serial polygamy of America. And those churches in America which wink at divorce are no better than unreconstructed Mormonism in their view and practice of marriage.
by David and Tim Bayly on September 17, 2005 - 5:59pm
(Note from Tim Bayly: I've been rightly corrected by "Thomas C." in the comments below for calling Jeremy Taylor a Puritan. Taylor did, in fact, suffer quite a bit at the hands of the Puritans so he'd be shocked to read me labelling him one himself. Although no excuse, I think of two Anglican Bishops, Taylor and Ryle, as Puritans only because of the content and character of their writing. In that vein I commend them to our readers with the highest praise.)
Marriage is the mother of the world, and preserves kingdoms, and fills cities and churches, and Heaven itself. Celibate, like the fly in the heart of an apple, dwells in a perpetual sweetness, but sits alone and is confined and dies in singularity; but marriage, like the useful bee, builds a house, and gathers sweetness from every flower, and labors and unites into societies and republics, and sends out colonies, and feeds the world with delicacies, and obeys their king, and keeps order, and exercises many virtues and promotes the interest of mankind, and is that state of good things to which God hath designed the present constitution of the world. (From his sermon, The Mysteriousness of Marriage, on Ephesians 5:32.)
This week my dear wife, Mary Lee, had a birthday. How I praise God and luxuriate daily in the blessings God has given me and many others through her, not the least of which are our five children and their (so far) three spouses and two grandchildren.
Years after Mary Lee and I were married, I was reading Proverbs and came across this verse I'd never noticed before:
House and wealth are an inheritance from fathers, But a prudent wife is from the LORD. (Proverbs 19:14).
Reading it for what seemed the first time, it hit me that in His kindness and mercy God had given me a prudent wife even though at the time my choice seemed entirely carnal.
Now, like my wife's father before me, I regularly pray for my children, that if they're to marry God will bless them as He blessed me, giving them husbands and wives who will lead them in godliness.
by David and Tim Bayly on January 19, 2006 - 5:27pm
One of the joys of the 2005 Bayly family Christmas in Bartlett, Illinois, was the presence of our sister-in-law, Sandy, with her new husband, Joe, and children, Cassie, Sarah, Frances and David.
Sandy is the widow of our brother Nathan, the youngest in our family who died of esophageal cancer at age 39 in 2001.
Sandy married Nate in 1983 fully aware that he would likely die young from cystic fibrosis (the probable root cause of his esophageal carcinoma). I'm sure it was somewhat difficult for Sandy and Joe to come to our family Christmas--the last at the family home in Bartlett--but their presence helped make a wonderful finale to our year.
How grateful we are for Sandy's new happiness, and for the kindness of Joe to Sandy, the children, and our entire family.
I thought of Sandy and Joe as I read this deeply touching article on remarriage after the loss of a spouse in today's Wall Street Journal. Read the article. It tells a beautiful story in which God's grace seems very apparent in the coming together of a 9/11 widower with a friend's widow. (Link is valid only for a week.)
by David and Tim Bayly on January 20, 2006 - 10:14am
Over ten years ago Tim and I spent several days with Philip Jensen, currently pastor of St. Andrew's Cathedral in Sydney.
Jensen's bold orthodoxy was refreshing--especially in the setting at which we first met him, a small preaching conference at Parkside Church near Cleveland addressed by Jensen and London Anglican pastor Dick Lucas.
During the course of the conference Jensen was asked how his church dealt with new Christians living with members of the opposite sex.
"We ask them if they are doing this for pleasure or convenience--or if they are committed to each other," Jensen said, "If they have made no commitment we tell them they must separate. If they have made a commitment we view them as married."
Alistair Begg, host of the conference, responded vehemently, "I believe that is a shameful accommodation to the spirit of the age."
Jensen gently defended his position, explaining that what constitutes marriage Biblically is simple commitment to each other combined with the marital act. Over the years since I've become convinced Jensen was right. The following is a recent sermon on this theme.
by David and Tim Bayly on January 23, 2006 - 11:05am
I've been challenged on the connection between the covenant of marriage and the marital act. Ordinarily, I don't respond to bald assertions or negations. But because such criticism has been directed at a sermon I preached, I add the following evidence for the covenant at the heart of marriage being effected by the shed blood of sexual union between a man and a virgin....
by David and Tim Bayly on January 23, 2006 - 7:36pm
Tim and I usually refrain from placing answers to questions raised in comments to our posts on the main page of this blog, preferring the give and take of the comment section for such interaction. But questions posed by a reader in a recent comment anticipated a post I was planning and for that reason I place my answer here as well....
Objections to my previous post defining marriage as a covenantal commitment leading to one-flesh union have centered on my contention that Scripture defines marriage objectively as hinging upon the one-flesh union of a man and woman.
by David and Tim Bayly on August 16, 2006 - 1:04pm
This good comment on early marriages by Benjamin Franklin, forwarded by our happily married firstborn, Mrs. Doug Ummel:
I am rather inclined to think that early [marriages] stand the best chance for happiness. The tempers and habits of the young are not yet become so stiff and uncomplying as when more advanced in life; they form more easily to each other, and hence many occasions of disgust are removed. And if youth has less of that prudence which is necessary to manage a family, yet the parents and elder friends of young married persons are generally at hand, to afford their advice, which amply supplies that defect; and by early marriage youth is sooner formed to regular and useful life; and possibly some of those accidents or connections that might have injured the constitution or reputation, or both, are thereby happily prevented. -Benjamin Franklin
by David and Tim Bayly on September 26, 2006 - 11:00am
Note: Here is a comment appearing beneath Marriage, student debt, and motherhood.... My sister in Christ, Jessica, asks a question that is burning in all our churches and I'd like to ask our readers to respond to it here in the comments section of this post. What advice do you have for sisters desiring marriage who are wondering what steps are proper for them to take as women?
You'll see I've put down some preliminary thoughts, but I'm hopeful others will also respond. One rule, though: No one who despises God's command that wives submit to their husbands may respond. This is an in-God's-house conversation that must have as a foundation submission to God's commands to husbands and wives. Thanks.
Tim- I have a question for you... I have many godly single women friends, all of whom would like to be married but are without even a single prospect among them. What is the appropriate role of a single woman, particularly one who is desiring a husband? More specifically, how forward is she allowed to be? I mean, we all say wait for the Lord, His timing is perfect, occupy yourseld with other things, etc. ...and I think most of the time, that all may be fine advice. But I seem to recall a certain woman named Ruth who DID kind of take things into her own hands. Is there a place for women being that forward? Even with a man with whom you've never actually discussed marriage or dated? What are your thoughts on this?
As an example, one of my friends is 35, has been on the mission field for 11+ years, and has a burdened heart for a husband and is waiting ... but should she be doing more?
This is typical of a number of issues where we should be somewhat hesitant to say what ought to be done because some may conclude the suggestions are law, and thus have their consciences bound where God has given freedom.
Granted, God has not given freedom concerning the relationship between the sexes in matters of authority and purity. But how we work His decrees of father-rule and heterosexual, monogamous, life-long, covenantal marriage out in our lives must involve a large component of personality and culture. What is seen to be a matter of purity in Africa may not be purity here, for instance. Similarly, what might be considered improper female initiative for one woman in one church may well not be improper with another sister in another church.
Let me give an example. In our church, we had a godly older mother-in-Israel who was universally respected. Although there is some debate about this, my wife and I remember her instructing a young woman to go up and sit next to a young man during evening worship. She told the young woman something like this: "You can't take the initiative, but you can go up and help him to notice you."
by David and Tim Bayly on December 4, 2006 - 5:01am
Today's New York Times has an article on heterosexual couples who refuse to marry until homosexuals are granted the "right" to marry as well.
The Times would have us believe it's a burgeoning movement. In fact, as the article itself makes clear, it amounts to a few celebrity couples, several cohabiting engaged couples and a UCC minister, her two-decade boyfriend and their 18-year-old son in Massachusetts.
Interestingly, as the article continues, its fundamental conceit of couples' sacrificial-devotion-to-civil-rights-leading-to-delayed-marriage implodes before our eyes. The husband-to-be of one engaged couple says he'd rather go ahead and marry his fiance--leaving us wondering why his bride-to-be really refuses the formal ceremony. Meanwhile, the UCC minister and her man still refuse formal marriage despite Massachusetts legalizing homosexual marriage two years ago.
The obvious truth, folks, is that marriage has become an effete concept in American culture--an affectation, even a political statement rather than a one-flesh union. And Christians are as guilty of bringing things to this sorry pass as anyone. We have diminished the institution of marriage even as we've sought to aggrandize our individual unions. By delaying our own (and our children's) weddings until bride and groom are finished schooling, financially stable and established in careers, we make marriage out to be a valedictory, a statement of accomplishment rather than merely the first really adult act of most married couples' young lives; the start of life's hard work rather than its end; matriculation rather than graduation.
Even more fundamentally, we have diminished marriage by refusing to acknowledge the truth of God's Word that marriage is not a grand and complex thing uniquely tailored by each married couple to their own desires and circumstances, but instead, a Divinely-established monolith, a foundational institution established at creation by God through which those who marry submit to the will of God by conforming to the wisdom of the ages.
Finally, the insanity of a couple who have made commitments to each other and engaged in carnal union claiming they're not man and wife should be clear to all. That it's not is a serious indictment of the Church which is charged with being the pillar and foundation of God's Truth in this world. God's Truth says that these couples by engaging in sex and making promises have established a one-flesh union in His sight. Whether we call them married or not, God deems them man and wife. They will give an account to Him should they break their union as surely as all other adulterers. We are not promoting marriage by making it something more than it is Scripturally, we are diminishing the reality and danger of adultery.
by David and Tim Bayly on January 8, 2007 - 3:23pm
Jokes highlighting the differences between men and women are dangerous, today, but they remain as delightful as ever. Honest and courageous men will not allow the sons of unfaithful women to wear them down (illegitimati non carborundum), but will continue to pass their favorites on to their own sons and daughters as they, in turn, received them from their fathers.
Here's a good one told by a Christian counselor, Dr. Michael Russell. And to the humorless among us, it reflects more negatively on the husband than the wife.
by David and Tim Bayly on November 24, 2007 - 7:24pm
Three things are too wonderful for me; four I do not understand: the way of an eagle in the sky, the way of a serpent on a rock, the way of a ship on the high seas, and the way of a man with a virgin.
(David) The way of a man with a woman is one of life’s great mysteries. From every perspective the process is mysterious, resembling a blindfolded sabre dance on uneven ground. The young man who pursues marriage enters a foreign land where he wages war. On the hinges of that battle lie happiness or shame.
But though a potential bride may be deeply loved, she’s also at some level the foe. To achieve victory the young man must not only win her, he must defeat her and her family, snatching her from their bosom, converting her to himself, breaking her natural bonds with father and mother, brother and sister, nurse and friend, dog and home. There’s little that’s tender about it. At funerals we cloak harsh reality in kind words and soft colors. So too, at weddings soft words and vibrant colors disguise a bloody truth. The wedding ceremony is really a mini-Versailles, an Appomattox-in-a-nutshell of capitulation and triumph, the surrender of one woman to one man, the victory song of groom over both bride and family.
by David and Tim Bayly on November 26, 2007 - 5:44pm
(David) In warfare it's essential not to confuse primary and secondary objectives. Stalin's son was captured by the Wehrmacht in World War II. Stalin refused every rescue plan, unwilling in any way to take the focus off the invading Germans.
The primary objective in the war of love is the heart of the potential bride. A suitor can win a father's approval but that's not the ultimate objective. A young man can win all sorts of hearts--his beloved's mother's, sisters', brothers', dog's, even her third-grade teacher's--but if he fails to claim hers, he loses the battle.
One might hope that by winning the daughter the suitor will gain the embrace of her family. But it doesn't always work that way. David gained Michal without ever winning her father's heart; Jacob never truly brought Leah and Rachel's family on board.
by David and Tim Bayly on November 27, 2007 - 6:48pm
(David) Okay, a couple assumptions at the outset.
First, a father has authority over the marriage of a daughter living in his home. This is demonstrated in Scripture by the father’s right to negate a marriage occasioned by a man’s seduction of his virgin daughter.
Second, nowhere ever is sex permitted outside marriage. However, it’s also the case that sex between unmarried adults establishes marriage when promises are exchanged and a father doesn’t veto.
Third, respect for authority is vital. But respect doesn’t require agreement. Nor does it necessitate absolute, unwavering, slavish obedience. Abigail respected Nabal by going to David with her caravan of goods, thus saving Nabal’s life—though he may not have seen it as respectful submission in the midst of his drunken stupor. Authentic authority is not always wise or godly authority. And just as we seek to change the hearts and minds of earthly rulers, so a suitor’s attempts to win a wife don’t necessarily have to come to a clanging stop at a father’s no, though the heart of the father’s authority over his daughter’s marriage must be respected.
by David and Tim Bayly on December 14, 2007 - 7:49pm
(David) A bedrock principle of the modern courtship movement is the father's duty to protect his daughter at the point of marriage. And it's true, fathers are called by God to be guardians of their children. But should fatherly protection take a radically different form for coming-of-age daughters than for coming-of-age sons? Well, yes and no.
Scripture reveals certain fatherly privileges that apply only to daughters. A father can veto his daughter's vows and God will hold her guiltless. More to the point, a father can refuse to give a seduced virgin to her would-be husband:
Exodus 22:16-17 If a man seduces a virgin who is not engaged, and lies with her, he must pay a dowry for her to be his wife. If her father absolutely refuses to give her to him, he shall pay money equal to the dowry for virgins.
by David and Tim Bayly on February 29, 2008 - 10:21am
(This from our Denver correspondent, with a link to Relient K's Sadie Hawkins Dance) In the English speaking world, it is a tradition that women may propose marriage only on leap years. While it has been argued that the tradition was initiated by Saint Patrick or Brigid of Kildare in fifth century Ireland, it is dubious as the tradition has not been attested before the 19th century.
Supposedly, a 1288 law by Queen Margaret of Scotland (then age five and living in Norway), required that fines be levied if a marriage proposal was refused by the man; compensation ranged from a kiss to £1 to a silk gown, in order to soften the blow. Because men felt that put them at too great a risk, the tradition was in some places tightened to restricting female proposals to the modern leap day, 29 February, or to the medieval leap day, 24 February. According to Felten: "A play from the turn of the 17th century, 'The Maydes Metamorphosis,' has it that 'this is leape year/women wear breeches.' A few hundred years later, breeches wouldn't do at all: Women looking to take advantage of their opportunity to pitch woo were expected to wear a scarlet petticoat -- fair warning, if you will."
(Tim) Of course, Mary Lee and I love our own flesh and blood best, so our third daughter, Hannah, has the jump on our soon to be third son-in-law, Lucas Weeks. Still, there's a certain obligation we feel to this earnest young man as he and Hannah anticipate their special day. Feeling that obligation, some fraternal warnings are in order...
As I was in the prime of my days, When the friendship of God was over my tent; When the Almighty was yet with me, And my children were around me; When my steps were bathed in butter, And the rock poured out for me streams of oil! (Job 29:4-6)
(Tim) Lord willing, in a few hours our third daughter, Hannah Marie, will be married to Lucas Dee Weeks, son of Ron and Doris Weeks. This will leave Mary Lee and me with one child still living at home--Taylor, our fifteen year old son.
As I sit here writing the wedding sermon, it occurs to me that the joyful sadness Mary Lee and I feel as our Hannah departs is a graceful sadness...
(Tim) Divorce is one of the most difficult questions pastors and elders face as we shepherd God's flock. Providing spiritual counsel in cases where husband and wife don't get along is relatively easy. Much harder are those cases in which husbands or wives physically abuse their spouses, fathers or stepfathers sexually abuse their children, husbands or wives commit serious sexual sin (what Jesus refers to as "porneia" in the exception clause of Matthew 19), or husbands demand their wives and children deny the faith. Each of these matters requires the most careful study of Scripture, prayer, and pastoral counsel. Sometimes the result is a session (board of elders) recommendation of divorce.
In the twelve years since Church of the Good Shepherd was founded, our session has made such a recommendation two or three times, each by unanimous consent. Sometimes it's hard to say whether the believing or unbelieving spouse is the one taking the initiative in the divorce. This is why it's impossible to say precisely how many times we've counseled divorce. We don't make the decision--the innocent party does. Yet neither do we abandon that innocent party to their own counsel. Our Westminster Standards are correct..
by David and Tim Bayly on August 20, 2008 - 2:18pm
(Tim) I received a poem by e-mail this past week and asked its author if she would allow me to post it. Here we have a short summary, wonderfully conceived, of the two paths women choose today, one which ends in death and the other in life.
The last few days, our home has been graced by my mother-in-law, Margaret West Taylor, who's visiting for the week. As I think about her sacrificial life, I also look around at other women of my own family and church and I praise God for their godliness! It's hard to conceive of the full spectrum of leadership these women exert among the sons, brothers, pastors, elders, deacons, and husbands, let alone children and other women, as we watch them lose their lives.
Here, then, is the text I received:
* * *
I Think You Want a Wife Written by, to, and for a woman who thinks far too much of herself to surrender her life for her husband; but ultimately, to God.
I think you want a wife, not a husband. Someone to join with you, to make you into your true self, to follow you wherever your heart leads.
A man to validate your feelings, make you sure of who you are.
by David and Tim Bayly on August 29, 2008 - 10:11am
(Tim) My daughter-in-law, Heidi Bayly's poem, "I Think You Want a Wife," drew some of the most vitriolic responses this blog has ever received. Most of the ruckus happened in places none of our readers would have any reason to know about or read--a news site run by and for sodomites where special attention is given to the biblical doctrine taught in reformed churches (how's that for exotic, huh?); and several other blogs where women talk to each other about how much they hate God's order of creation.
Contrary to what some think, David and I are not impervious to slander and hatred. It bothers us when people misrepresent our doctrinal commitments, attribute to us statements we've never made and convictions we've never held, claim that we delete comments disagreeing with us, and so on. Having learned long ago that some fools shouldn't be dignified with an answer, we dont' respond, generally speaking. We're fond of the old barnyardism, "Don't wrestle with a pig in mud because a pig likes mud."
But when it's one of my daughters under attack and the attacks demonstrate such complete ignorance of anything having to do with Heidi or her husband, Joseph, it's much worse.
So readers may understand my delight when I read this kindness from Gwen. To have the integrity to actually call Heidi and find out who she is and what she thinks, and then to be so gracious as to say she's changed her mind about the poem? Well, really: I'm moved and very grateful. Thank you, Gwen.
by David and Tim Bayly on October 8, 2008 - 8:21pm
(Tim, w/thanks to Mary Lee) Being a wife and mother has always meant years of thanklessness, followed by more years of babysitting grandchildren and warily anticipating a husband's retirement. Lately, it's also meant suffering the disdain of other women--even sisters in Christ--who have chosen, themselves, to have their primary orientation outside the home.
Fathers and husbands can't be too careful inoculating their daughters and wives against the envy, bitterness, and fear attendant to such vulnerabilities. Praise, love, a little G. K. Chesterton read aloud every now and then, and gifts of gratitude will go a long way to defend the weaker sex against the enemies within. And occasionally, we'll find others coming alongside to help with the work.
I'm so proud and grateful to the Lord for the women of Church of the Good Shepherd, this blog, and my own family who serve the Lord faithfully, not resenting the call of God upon their lives. Remember, it's our Lord's promise that, in the Kingdom of Heaven, the last shall be first and the first, last.
by David and Tim Bayly on January 2, 2009 - 6:13am
(Tim) When Bill Mouser speaks, particularly on sexuality and marriage, I listen. So our first book recommendation for 2009 is Ellis Peters' An Excellent Mystery
which Bill says, "is one of the best and most moving tributes to marriage I've ever read in my life."
by David and Tim Bayly on January 21, 2009 - 8:25am
(Tim) Entertainers are the only ones permitted to be honest, today. But sometimes, scientists are cut some slack and are allowed to speak their minds, too. In that vein, did you notice yesterday's news that women are hard wired not to lose weight as easily as men. WebMD titled their article on the study, "Hunger Control: Women the Weaker Sex?" Turns out if we pay scientists to study the difference between the sexes, one of the results we'll get is that the sex that carries and nurses our children is hard wired to...
Well, to what?
Amazingly, to carry and nurse our children. Brilliant! Which got me thinking...
Anyone who's viewed a Reubens has to be skeptical of the cult of the thin body rampant in the American church. Only the perfectly naive would see it as a battle for holiness, the repentance of those who recognize their god is their belly.
When I was in Africa several years ago, David Wegener cautioned me to watch how I spoke about weight. Over there, he explained, any reference to one's weight (if one is adipose, as I am) is seen as arrogance. In other words, Africa is normal across history in thinking a fat wife contented and prosperous. Not sinful.
Through the years, I've had a number of wives come to me and ask me to pray that they'd lose weight...
(Tim, but written by Curt--an Evangelical Free pastor and dear friend of mine) I have noticed a trend that I find to be instructive and disturbing. Over the course of my pastoral ministry, I have been approached by a steady stream of women who are upset with the church and more specifically its men for not chastising their husbands for some spiritual problem or lack of spiritual qualities. Typically, I have taken such criticism to heart, admitting that we have not done enough to hold men accountable. Clearly, this has not been an area of strength in today's church.
But lately, my thinking has shifted. I have found myself being defensive about our church and its men. I see them as being faithful in modeling, and preaching, and teaching, and mentoring, and confronting, and offering assistance, and even hand holding when necessary. Time and again, they have given of themselves, often at the expense of their own families to help others. And yet, I've noticed that the criticism comes the next time as if no help had been provided or offered in the past.
For all our readers with fond memories of Scott and Marcy Naylor, as well as readers with sons who soon will be seeking a helpmate, preferably with a full head of red hair and the spirit that normally accompanies such glory, this picture of Scott and Marcy's quiverful is, as one son used to say, the bomdiggity!
If woman is man's glory, Scott's heavy duty glorious.
By the way, the Naylors are paedo--not credo--although some find that cross-polination isn't the worst thing in the world. Still, it's better to have the husband paedo and the wife credo so the husband is able to exercise that thing Tim Keller says is the center of the Creation Order of sexuality, "tie-breaking authority."
(Tim) During four years in the late nineties and early two-thousands while pastoring Church of the Good Shepherd, I also led the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood as its Executive Director. My brother, David, joined me in that work and was a great help, designing our first web site and providing invaluable counsel while also serving in the pastorate.
Part of my work was editing CBMW's journal. Periodically, we ran interviews--one being with my hero, Elisabeth Elliot. Naturally, I did the interview myself.
Growing up, the Bayly family had a long personal association with the Howards of Philadelphia--particularly Dave Howard and his sister, Elisabeth Elliot. A couple months ago, Elisabeth's husband, Lars, wrote me telling of a recent trip he and Elisabeth had taken to visit family down in South America. For those of you who know and love them, Lars and Elisabeth are doing well.
So then, here's the interview from CBMW's Journal, Volume 5, No. 1.
* * *
PLAIN AND SIMPLE: AN INTERVIEW WITH ELISABETH ELLIOT
JBMW: We are delighted to be able to speak with you. Why do you think you've been a lightning rod in the evangelical world on this particular issue?
EE: I didn't know I was! I have just proceeded the way I've tried all my life to proceed-by studying what the Bible says and living by it. If I'm asked to talk about it, of course I have a responsibility to talk about it. It is from this that I have learned that I'm not wanted in many circles...
by David and Tim Bayly on September 1, 2009 - 2:00am
(Tim) "Marriage Matters" on National Review Online is by my good friend, Bob Patterson, who writes:
Republicans resent the
presence of social conservatives in the party and, even more, the fact
that in 30 states social conservatives have succeeded in defending the
legal status of matrimony against elites who want America to be more
like socially liberal Europe.
...In 1776, (Adam Smith) noticed how men and women on this side of the Atlantic were twice as likely to marry — and at younger ages — and had twice as many children as their European counterparts.
by David and Tim Bayly on September 4, 2009 - 6:35am
(Tim) Kevin Offner is a longtime friend who does grad student and faculty ministry in the Washington D.C. area under Inter-Varsity. Recently, a Christian magazine known for its love for heterodoxy and its dabbling in heresy shocked the world by publishing a piece that promoted early marriage. Flying in the face of the magazine's egalitarian feminist commitments and subscribers, fur flew in the big kerfuffle.
Which brought Kevin to the defense of marriage, and what I thought a very sweet testimony to God's kindness in his own life leading him to repentance. He kindly allowed me to post his testimony here. (He's responding to one of the comments posted under aforesaid article.)
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I’ve never met you but found your comments here good and helpful.
I don’t have much to add other than that I thought the author over-emphasized the sexual in the article (very good that this was discussed but a bit overkill, I thought).
But his general, somewhat radical, thesis is, I think, spot-on: we really do need to be encouraging *earlier* marriages these days. Our churches should be intentionally counter-cultural here. In the 1950s this was all the rage, and perhaps the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s rightly reacted some to this. But the pendulum has swung way to the other side now. It should be rare, rather than the norm, for 30-somethings to be single.
My special concern here is with the 30-something single male...
If men pick godly, mature Christian young women, these women would not be turned off by lack of money.
The question I think for the women (if they are mature and secure in the Lord) is are these men "with it" in the sense of being responsible for their personal lives and for others -- or are they barely getting by as single men. I think women do not want to have to be "moms" to these men. Women want to find men to whom they can willingly submit and follow.
I meet so many single 30's men who are passive, do not take the initiative or responsibility, and just seem lost as far as what their life is all about. They might hold a steady job (some do not), but they are just working to work. They might have a decent car and a decent house and lots of videos, video games, sound systems, etc. installed in their homes, but they do not really know what to do with each day...
by David and Tim Bayly on October 7, 2009 - 1:34pm
(Tim) For the person who just arrived here from links provided the Google inquiry, "How can I tell if we are equally yolked," here's my suggestion. Eyeball the yellow parts and see if they look about the same. Simple as pie, actually.
PS: My wife, Mary Lee, thought this post was mean. I reassured her that, actually, it was written about four years ago, and I only just published it today. She was relieved that "equally yolked" isn't around any more.
by David and Tim Bayly on October 31, 2009 - 8:23am
(Tim, w/thanks to James) Thinking beyond the obvious, those who have trained themselves in discernment will see where the wickedness of our culture will lead us and our children in the coming years. Seeing the mile markers that have flashed by, the trajectory before us will be clear.
First, the church embraced fornication; then it was on to divorce and sinful remarriage. Next came the weekly consumption of soft pornographic television shows in our families' living rooms, followed by the ubiquitous secret viewing of internet pornography by the church's sons and husbands.
On the other side of the sexual divide, women wanted relationships and children so we stopped blushing at the mention of artificial insemination and single parent adoption. It became perfectly respectable for women with little prospect of marriage to choose to become mothers...
by David and Tim Bayly on November 17, 2009 - 2:37pm
(Tim) Taylor played varsity soccer this past year and this pic ran in the Bloomington paper. Am I proud of my son? Yes, I am. More for his heart than soccer, though. He submits to authority! Can you imagine that? No matter how normal it is to you, it's always amazing to me. After all, I was his age a few days ago, and submission wasn't ground zero in my character traits.
If your daughters are home schooled and you think he's handsome, just send me an e-mail with proposed dowry. We're building a house.
by David and Tim Bayly on December 26, 2009 - 4:15pm
(Tim, w/thanks to Dan) The violence and victims literature tells us women are every bit as violent as men, and lesbian couples are the most violent of all. Even when asked to report on prior heterosexual relationships, lesbians report their present homosexual relationship to be more violent than any prior heterosexual relationship. I've written of this before, pointing out how religious feminists exploit spouse abuse as if it's a uniquely male crime and produced by biblical sexual order (hierarchy, that is).
This is one of the most wicked deceits of religious feminists, and many (if not most) of them do this knowingly. They are well aware women and mothers initiate violence and beat their husbands and children as often as husbands and fathers, but only the violence of men is of any use to them. So they write books about wife abuse--not spouse abuse--thereby exploiting half the victims of domestic violence for the sake of promoting their own rebellion against God.
Who cares about a man who lets a woman beat him up, anyhow; it's his own fault. If he were a real man, he'd put a stop to it, wouldn't he?
by David and Tim Bayly on December 31, 2009 - 4:52pm
(Tim) My friend Bob Patterson forwarded a pre-release copy of the Winter 2010 issue of The Family in America: A Journal of Public Policy which he edits, and it's the point of this essay to get you to subscribe. For many years I've been reading this and other publications of what is now called the Howard Center for Family, Religion, and Society, and they've been foundational to my work as a preacher, pastor, and father.
This particular issue's cover article details how, over the past thirty years, homemakers have been forced to subsidize the lives of privilege lived by other women who have forsaken marriage, the home, and childbearing for degrees and professions.
Professional women with salaries high enough to allow them to pay for day care and still turn a profit have not simply been content to leave their homemaking sisters behind, but have built their lifestyle on the backs of those sisters and their hardworking husbands. To anyone who matters, these homemakers are invisible.
Equal Employment Opportunity laws have piled up a legacy of systemic injustice throughout the wage earning world, leaving half the fairer and weaker sex to raise the children the other half will depend upon for their Medicare and Social Security payments when their life of childless privilege is drawing to an end. Meanwhile, the husbands of these housewives and mothers are in free-fall, trying to support the mother of their children as she gives herself to work that, despite those bright boys and girls in Economics Departments, still hasn't shown up on their gross domestic profit tally sheets...
by David and Tim Bayly on January 19, 2010 - 6:14am
I note Letha Scanzoni who has betrayed Biblical Christian faith so she may promote sexual immorality is directing readers of her "Web Explorations" list to come here and read what she terms this "anti-feminist Christian blog." She's right: this blog is Christian; and we are utterly opposed to the heresy of feminism, seeking in every way possible to warn souls to flee this path of evil that ends in Hell.
But make no mistake: my brother, David, and I are great lovers womanhood and femininity as God our Father created it; and we are loved by and love our mothers, wives, daughters, and sisters in Christ.
Anyhow, welcome! We hope you will take time to explore this blog and to find all the reasons to turn to Christ, and away from Letha Scanzoni along with all those others who make a living off calling good evil and evil good.
Here are a couple posts (one, two, and three, and four) I thought you might particularly appreciate.
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(Tim, w/thanks to David C.) After an extended period of time trying to get our Executive Director to accept a salary increase she richly deserved, the other board members of a non-profit I served asked me to find out to find out what was behind her resistance to the increase. Tearing up, she said, "I don't ever want to earn more than my husband again."
She had been a pro-abortion feminist, but now that she had turned in faith to Jesus, she was unwilling to return to a position or salary that she judged might jeopardize her submission to her husband or her obedience to the Word of God. I was shocked and have never forgotten that day.
This brought to mind by a Pew Research Center Report released today showing that men benefit from marriage more than women do because more men than women marry up...
by David and Tim Bayly on January 22, 2010 - 7:43am
(Tim) This from David Wegener who teaches church history, theology, and Scripture at the Theological College of Central Africa under the PCA's Mission to the World. Terri is David's wife and John his son.
* * *
Many days in our rainy season follow a pattern. It is very hot and sunny during the day but toward late afternoon, the sky clouds over and we will have an evening rainstorm. On December 10th it was a little different.
Terri came into my room around 5:30pm and asked if I wanted to let Mr. Robby go home early so he could beat the rain. As I walked outside, Robby was rushing around. I asked if he wanted to go home now and he said he thought he’d stay.
I could tell why. The rain had already started and something sounded like a train coming from over our back fence...
by David and Tim Bayly on February 13, 2010 - 4:50pm
(Tim, w/thanks to Kamilla) From London's Daily Mail, this Valentine from Anglican Rector Angus MacLeay and Curate Mark Oden who both called for wives to submit to their husbands. How did their female parishioners respond?
One huffed: "How can they talk that way in the 21st Century?"
Another, who wished to remain anonymous, said: "We’re supposed
let our husbands talk for us and remain silent? What kind of medieval
sermon is that?"
Well-known feminist, Bishop N. T. Wright, has initiated disciplinary procedures against both men.
by David and Tim Bayly on February 24, 2010 - 4:20am
(Tim, w/thanks to Doug) This Sunday, Mary Lee and I will celebrate our thirty-fourth wedding anniversary. If we reach their age, I'm trusting God He will give us the grace and sweet spirit toward one another of Marlow and Frances Cowan. Take the time to watch this video, then the one on the next page which is much shorter and delightful.
(Tim, w/thanks to Kamilla who gave me a heads-up and has done several good posts on the subject) Here's the setup. Mrs. Frank James (who prefers to be known as Carolyn Custis James), was teaching a group of pastors how better to utilize women in positions of authority when one pastor asked her, "If we work with women, won't we be tempted?"
Mrs. James wasn't pleased with the question or what followed. She writes:
What followed (the question was) a laundry list of precautions to safeguard oneself
from moral hazards when working or dealing with women. Women find this kind of thinking offensive, and rightly so.
This low view of women conflicts with the Bible's high redemptive view
So now, a word for church planters and new pastors. When I took my first call, Dad forwarded an article about a youth pastor who had given a young woman a ride home after youth group. Later, he was sued by the young woman's parents for some sort of sexually predatory behavior--which he denied. At the top of the article, Dad had scrawled, "This is a warning. Never give a woman a ride in your car, alone. Never counsel a woman, alone. Have a woman present or keep your door open and stay within sight of your secretary."
When we built our church-house a couple years ago, we put lights (windows) in every door as protection for everyone, everywhere...
(Tim) Over at ClearNote Blog, my number two daughter, Michal Louise Crum, has people gasping for breath with her modest proposal that a college education isn't a prerequisite for godliness or contentment. Poor benighted Michal, barefoot but not pregnant. The most intense hissy fits are over at the bump: the inside scoop on pregnancy. Take a gander.
(Tim, w/thanks to Kamilla) The Canadian Medical Association Journaljust published a study showing that, among women, "increasing parity is associated with decreasing rates of death from suicide." In other words, the birth of children causes women to be less likely to kill themselves.
Yesterday, Mary Lee and I visited two young mothers--one home with her day-old firstborn, and the other at about twenty weeks in her pregnancy, in the hospital fighting to stop premature contractions. Here's our observation: godly mothers love their children and live for them.
And although I'm a romantic who believes very much in conjugal love; generally speaking, married women who have no children would not take as much inspiration from their husbands.
Next month, CMAJ will be publishing a study documenting higher marital satisfaction among couples with no prior history of adultery.
(Tim) If you'll overlook his mention of your scribbler, here is a foundational post by Doug Wilson that opens up the relationship between the Sacraments, marriage vows, and submission. Note the parallel between a man and a woman shacking up and professed believers who reject the Church's authority by neglecting vows of submission to any particular congregation. And of course, Doug's final point must be noted by those who accuse all F-V men of being sacramentalists. Here's one of them--and a rather large one at that--who is no such thing. No such thing at all.
Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female... (Matthew 19:4)
(Tim) Saturday, Mary Lee and I attended a wedding that wasn't much different from the weddings readers of Baylyblog attend each week. Which is to say the wedding was unisex in everything but appearance. The woman wore a dress and the man, pants. The maid of honor and bridesmaids were women; the best man and groomsmen were men. But the doctrine?
Preached through the liturgy, it was scrupulously androgynous. The bride wasn't commanded to obey her husband and the husband wasn't commanded to love his wife. Every word was addressed to persons; never man or woman, husband or wife.
Until about thirty years ago, pastors presided over wedding ceremonies drowning in the beauty of sexual diversity...