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 September 26, 2005 - 4:57pm
Note from Tim Bayly: Chris Arsenault and his wife are professional photographers, and Chris just left a very helpful comment below this post on digital wedding photography. I hope our good readers will open the comments under this post and read his comment.
In premarital counseling, I encourage the couple to limit their spending as much as possible on everything except...
Hiring a wedding photographer.
Here's a helpful article pointing out that wedding photographers are one of the last bastions of non-digital photography. I'm a complete convert to digital photography myself. I started with a Canon PowerShot A80 but this year moved to a Canon Powershot S2 IS 5MP Digital Camera with 12x Optical Image Stabilized Zoom--which I cannot recommend highly enough. Until today, I had not realized what now seems obvious: that wedding photographers don't want to allow their clients to have digital copies of their photos.
Well, read the article for an overview of the subject, as well as recommended questions to ask prospective wedding photographers who promise to take digital pictures. And for the record, I would recommend that anyone who is in the habit of taking pictures on a digital camera hire a wedding photographer who agrees to take digital pictures only.
Dad used to say every article in Reader's Digest fit into one of three categories: "Oh, the wonder of it," "Oh, the horror of it," and just plain "Oh."
Last week I was skin diving off the beach of Florida's Caladesi Island State Park. Mary Lee and I had a wedding in Orlando on Memorial Day and we'd taken a couple days of vacation in the Clearwater Beach area. Mary Lee had heard that Caladesi Island was beautiful so we drove up to Honeymoon Island and took the ferry over. She was on the beach with her book and I was out in the water looking for sand dollars and shells. All of a sudden my mask got dark, but the darkness seemed to be inside the mask!
Being color blind, it took a moment to realize what the darkness was, but soon it was clear I'd gotten a nosebleed and my mask was filled with blood. I ripped the mask off and rinsed it out, but as soon as I put it on, it again began to fill with blood. Then it occurred to me that, for once in my life, the nosebleed thing was no big deal. After all, I was in water and the water quickly washed it all away.
For a while, I kept pulling the mask off to rinse it, but then I realized the nose bleed was less of a big deal than I'd thought: I didn't even need to take my mask off and rinse it since the purge valve would work as well with blood as it did with water. So then I just cleared the mask in the normal way, blowing air into the mask to displace the water and blood. (Now you know more than you ever wanted to know about nosebleeds while skin diving, right?)
Mary Lee got up from her perch on the sand and came out into the water to talk. She suggested I go over and offer to help two men who were looking for a pair of sunglasses one of them had dropped into the water. I swam over and offered my help. They told me the general area where they thought the sunglasses had fallen and I began to sweep the area under water. A couple times I came up to get oriented, once quite near one of the men. Seeing the blood, he asked me whether I was worried about sharks? I said, "No, not really," but when I went back under, I was worried about sharks.
There wasn't much I could do, though, other than to get out of the water and gross out the people on the beach as I stood there waiting for the bleeding to stop. Much better to be under water with the water washing it all away. While waiting I remembered my son, Taylor, had said that if a shark attacked you, you needed to punch it in its gills or eyes--not its mouth. My fist was ready.
It took about a half hour before the bleeding stopped. I was relieved not to have to worry about sharks anymore. The two men left without finding their glasses and I continued to sweep up and down the beach, picking up dead sand dollars and shells. About an hour after the men left, I found a pair of sunglasses, but Mary Lee said they were ugly so we threw them out on our way back to the ferry.
In the car on the way home we talked about how disastrous it would be if the nosebleed returned during the wedding, but we forgot to knock on wood...
Marriage is the melding together of two completely incompatible forces, man and woman. Yet this terribly difficult work is the black soil God has ordained to produce creation's most precious and beautiful fruit, children.
Presiding over marriage ceremonies can be ticklish, and one of the many hurdles is what is known as "the unity candle," a row of three tapers, two lit prior to the beginning of the ceremony and the third immediately after the exchange of vows and rings. The question is what to do about the first two candles after the third has been lit?
For years, the bride and groom did the right thing without thinking about it: together, they took the two outside candles and, joining the flames, lit the middle candle together and then blew out the two outside candles. Then, several years ago during a rehearsal, a bride told me she and her bridegroom would be leaving all three candles burning because "After we're married, we don't lose our individual personalities and get swallowed up in each other."
"Well actually, yes, that's precisely what happens" I responded. "The 'two become one,' not three." So this has been added to the things we have to discuss during our premarital counseling sessions. I have no defense for the fact that I was officiating at a marriage ceremony where this mindset was present. Shame on me for doing such a poor job during our premarital counseling sessions, but we all learn, don't we?
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) From the Pulpit of Church of the Good Shepherd Wedding of Lucas Weeks and Hannah Bayly May 17, 2008
That He Might Sanctify Her
Ephesians 5: 21-33
Lucas and Hannah, it’s a curious thing that the God Who made us, the One who is our Creator and therefore knows us best, has not left us free to develop according to our own inclinations. He does not abandon us to our own sentiments and passions...
(Tim) Within a number of reformed denominations holding to the Westminster Standards, we have men who seem not to have a heart for opposing the heresy of feminism. To work to reform this reality, we would do well to ask several questions on the floor of presbytery of candidates for ordination. Here are a couple that might serve the purpose.
First, we might ask, "Do you believe it's a faithful summary of the Biblical doctrine of sexuality to say, as many have said publicly in our denomination, that 'a woman may do anything a non-ordained man may do?'"
If the man responds, "Yes" or "Maybe," it's clear he's either woefully uninformed or opposed to the Biblical doctrine of sexuality and has no heart for opposing this heresy even though he likely knows he can't advocate women elders or senior pastors. Certainly no prior father of the Church would recognize this as a faithful summary of Scripture's teaching. They would be left scratching their heads.
If he says "No, I don't think that's a good summary of Scripture's doctrine" we ought to be encouraged, but still, we're not yet finished.
The first follow-up question could be: "Will you require the bride to repeat, as part of her marriage vow, the historic Biblical promise to "obey" her husband in those marriage ceremonies at which you officiate?"
If he says "No," our work is cut out for us. If he says "Yes," we're still not finished...
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) 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...
by David and Tim Bayly on August 14, 2010 - 7:30am
Rebekah lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac she dismounted
from the camel. She said to the servant, “Who is that man walking in the
field to meet us?” And the servant said, “He is my master.” Then she
took her veil and covered herself. (Genesis 24:64, 65)
The June wedding rush is over and December's secondary wave is still a
few months off. So in the peace and quiet of August, here's a modest
When you officiate at a wedding, be Biblical and tell
each bride and groom that you require the bride to submit to God, His
Word, and His Creation Order by vowing to obey her husband--just as everyone requires the husband to vow to love his wife.
to the couple that this has been the habit for a thousand years of
Christian wedding liturgies; that it can be traced all the way back to
Rebekah alighting from her mount and veiling herself when she approached
Isaac, out in the fields; and that the modern repudiation of womanly
submission is rebellion against God.
Inform each couple that your
ordination vows prohibit complicity in rebellion against God's Word in
any way, and therefore you must lead wedding ceremonies within the
straight and narrow path God has ordained. So if you are to officiate at
their giving and receiving of vows, those vows will include an explicit
vow by the bride to obey her husband, and an explicit vow by the groom
to love his wife.
by David and Tim Bayly on October 22, 2010 - 11:37am
(Tim, w/thanks to Mike) Refusing to wait for a man, Taiwan's Chen Wei-yih is marrying herself. Wedding costs for the pics, the dress, the wedding planner, and the reception hall are running over $5,000. "I haven't found a partner, so what can I do?" Chen said. "I was just hoping that more people would love themselves. If I had a steady boyfriend, I wouldn't do this--it would be offensive to him anyhow."
Reminds me of the feminist, Gloria Steinem, quipping during a college commencement address that feminists like her had "become the husbands we wanted to marry."
If this is the antepenultimate, what are the penultimate and ultimate, you ask?
by David and Tim Bayly on November 27, 2010 - 7:16am
(Tim) The past two weeks the Bloomington Baylys have had sorrow and joy. Sorrow in the death of my dear cousin, John DeWalt, who succumbed to a long illness connected with diabetes. He died two weeks ago this coming Monday and some of us were able to travel to Pittsburgh for the funeral. There we grieved, and yet celebrated his homegoing with his mother, Inis (Mrs. Curtis) DeWalt, his sister Beth DeWalt, and his brother Paul DeWalt (along with Paul's wife, Patti, and their three children--Zachary, Sarah, and Jacob).
A week ago today, we had the joy of joining brother David's family in the celebration of the marriage of David's eldest son, Nathan, and his lovely bride, Aleaha (pron. a leah). It was a joyful day.
Then the past three days we've had the joy of gathering here in Bloomington for our family Thanksgiving celebration and being joined by my mother-in-law, Margaret (Mrs. Ken) Taylor. That's the pic you see above. For the record, we now have ten grandchildren. (I apologize to my dear wife, Mary Lee, for the mysterious white-out on her forehead, but otherwise it's the best pic.)
by David and Tim Bayly on January 8, 2011 - 1:59pm
(Tim) Thirty-some years ago in one of his "Out of My Mind" columns, Dad proposed that, given the attack upon the marriage institution across our culture, Christians make a clear break with the world when we give and receive marriage vows; and that the first step in making such a break might be to place Christian marriages back on the Lord's Day as was the practice of the Puritans and early Reformers.
Following Dad's recommendation, both Christ the Word and Church of the Good Shepherd have witnessed couples taking their vows on the Lord's Day and it's a practice I commend. The first couple to do so at one of our churches...
by David and Tim Bayly on March 24, 2011 - 11:24am
...for the foetus, though enclosed in the womb of its mother, is already a human being, and it is almost a monstrous crime to rob it of the life which it has not yet begun to enjoy. If it seems more horrible to kill a man in his own house than in a field, because a man’s house is his place of most secure refuge, it ought surely to be deemed more atrocious to destroy a foetus in the womb before it has come to light. (John Calvin)
(Tim) Readers familiar with Baylyblog are aware my brother and I believe most use of contraception is contrary to the will of God Who commanded us to be fruitful and multiply (Genesis 1:22, 28; 8:17; 9:1, 7; 35:11; Jeremiah 23:3) and to propogate for Him a godly seed (Malachi 2:15). This is the reaon the Westminster Confession (XXIV, 2) explicitly states fruitfulness is one of the three purposes God created marriage. Still today, this reason is recited in the wedding liturgy used by Biblical pastors presiding over wedding ceremonies. Listen for it.
We don't believe every married couple has a Biblical duty to have as many children as physically possible, yet it should be our joy to give ourselves to what God has commanded and to receive His blessings with glad hearts. We live in an evil day, though, when even among the People of God, couples are expected to justify their Biblical faithfulness in this area and if they give themselves to Biblical fruitfulness, they feel the weight of other Christians disapproving of their hard work and asking them to justify it.
Beyond faithlessness in childbearing, Christians today are also faithless in the methods of contraception they use. Which is to say that as convenience is the basic concern behind couples choosing not to have lots of children, so convenience is the basic concern behind which method of contraception they use.
by David and Tim Bayly on April 28, 2011 - 10:05am
If you think Luther and Calvin sinned in their rhetoric and you suspect parody does not edify, you may want to pass this one up. For the rest of us, here's an emetic for all the feminist toxins we're force-fed each day.
And if you're wondering, my dear wife Mary Lee liked it. But then this is a woman who pierced her own nose back in 1975 so let the reader undestand her opinion doesn't count for much.
Over on a conservative Reformed blog, a couple men have been arguing that the church today is being threatened by some who are taking father-rule (they call it "patriarchy") too, too far. No one really wanted to be specific, but when pressed by the esteemed brothers Craig French and RCJr., the following list of practices was submitted as proof of this grave threat.
We are told that the men who pose this threat within the Church are those "suggesting..."
by David and Tim Bayly on September 5, 2011 - 10:03am
The Bible says it is better to marry than to burn with passion. But we say that it’s better to live with each other first to determine whether you are “compatible”. We say that it is better to burn with passion than to get married before you have established your career. We say that it is better to give ourselves to lust than to give up the prospect of two high-paying jobs. We even say that it is better to give ourselves to impurity before marriage than for people to think we are weird or to call us "legalists" or "prudes." - Joseph Bayly in a recent wedding sermon
Here's a wedding sermon that, across church history, would have been a yawn. But today it elicits anger and hatred--and from men and women claiming to be Reformed.
How have we gotten to the place that pastors leave out the word 'obey' in the woman's vow and preach sermons to brides that don't mention childbearing and submission?
Speaking in Toledo this past weekend at the Friday Night Bible Study at the home of Bob and Debbie Forney, I pointed out that the weddings I attend nowadays are entirely gender-neutral...
by David and Tim Bayly on October 19, 2011 - 1:07pm
"To be wrong, and to be carefully wrong, that is the definition of decadence." - G. K. Chesterton, A Miscellany of Men
Here we have a wedding ceremony of Redeemer Presbyterian Church, Manhattan.
Presiding over the service on the congregation's right wearing a suit is a male pastor (Scott Sauls) who formerly held his credentials in the Evangelical Presbyterian Church--a Reformed denomination that approves of female pastors and elders.
Presiding over the service on the congregation's left wearing a minister's robe is a female pastor.
Wedding ceremonies not being sacramental among us Protestants, one might argue it doesn't matter much if female pastors co-officiate with male pastors...
Can you provide Scripture that says authority and submission, 'conquering' and 'surrendering', are to be carried out in the bedroom? Because neither Song of Songs nor 1Corinthians 7, not even Ephesians 5 in its entirety suggests such a thing.
P.S: Failure to respond will be taken as a failure to provide appropriate scripture.
To which I respond:
Concerning physical marital intimacy, function follows form...
Dear sister Kamilla passed on this article by feminist Carolyn Custis James responding to Olympian Lolo Jones's public confession of sexual purity. Months ago Jones told her interviewer she was a virgin, and then she said:
It's just a gift I want to give my husband. But please understand this journey has been hard. There's virgins out there and I want to let them know that it's the hardest thing I've ever done in my life. Harder than training for the Olympics. Harder than graduating from college has been to stay a virgin before marriage. I've been tempted, I've had plenty of opportunities.
It's no surprise that despicable publication that loves the blood of the unborn infants called the New York Times will try to smear Miss Jones. But Ms. Custis James claims to be a Bible- believing Christian. How does she oh-so-subtly diss Miss Jones's wonderful Christian testimony?
By talking about how women misled by our cultural values or raped in the Democratic Republic of Congo shouldn't be viewed as any less worthy of a husband than virgins like Lolo Jones. Which is to say public discussions of virginity might make women who are victims or sinners feel bad--it might hurt them.
Very true. That's why raping a woman or fornicating with a woman are evil. They rob the women God has called men to protect of the most precious gift a bride gives her bridegroom at her wedding. Isn't that what Miss Jones said?
Remember that it's the postmodern's morbid habit to sacrifice the normal on the altar of the abnormal. And if there's ever a case of normal, it's the bride being presented by her father to her beloved bridegroom as a virgin, dressed in virginal white. If our efforts are spent trying to make non-virgins think nothing of their sexual oppression or failure, what will we do with all the Biblical texts holding up the purity...
Lord willing, this Saturday our youngest son Taylor will wed Miss Réze (pronounced reesa) Schreuder, eldest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Niek (Therese) Schreuder, and last night the Schreuders invited us over to meet their family members just arrived from South Africa and Namibia.
It was a wonderful and interesting evening with good conversation outside around a fire. (Niek did coffee and Rooibos tea over the fire.) Later in the evening we listened to Afrikaans music while oldest to youngest danced. There were lots of pics, some of the original family farm in the Namakwaland area of northwestern SA where Niek grew up and his mother still lives. Known for the georgous wildflowers that spring up in the desert during winter rains, here's just one pic Niek took when he and his family were home for a visit last year. I'm color blind and I was thunderstruck by the beauty of picture after picture of these flowers:
Other pics were from the siblings' homes. There were pics of...
Back in 1976 when Mary Lee and I married, it was hip for brides to marry but not take their husbands' names. Some combined their husbands' names with their own maiden name: for instance, Taylor and Réze Schreuder-Bayly. Some husbands held back and kept their own name while their wife added her maiden to his: for instance, Taylor Bayly and Réze Schreuder-Bayly. Others chose for the husband and wife each to keep his or her own name: for instance, Taylor Bayly and Réze Schreuder.
Which is right?
For centuries it's been the habit within Christendom (the Western world which honored Christ and His Word in word, if not in deed and thought and heart) for wives to signify their movement from the authority of their fathers to that of their husbands by dropping their fathers' last name and taking their husbands'. It was no dishonor to the bride's father because everyone heard the minister ask, "Who gives this woman to be married to this man?," followed by the father's response "I do." At this point he took his daughter's hand and transferred it to his future son-in-law's, went, and sat down next to his wife.
No one ever asked (nor asks yet today) "Who gives this man to be married to this woman?" The closest we come is President Lyndon Johnson's (then) novel deferral to Lady Bird Johnson by...