What is a Christian wedding ceremony...

Hannah just returned from a wedding of a friend and happily reported that it was a Christian wedding. Which might lead some to ask what is a Christian wedding?

Well, it's not what New York did this past Lord's Day. Despite what the civil magistrate says, those weren't even weddings, let alone Christian.

A Christian wedding is a public exchange of vows by one man and one woman in which the man vows love and faithfulness until death and the wife vows love and faithfulness and obedience until death.

Other things may be added, but without each element of those vows, it is no Christian wedding.

Evangelicals need to be divided and this may well be the method that will do it most surgically...

The next wedding you go to, commend the bride and groom and their parents, but particularly the pastor and his elders, if it's a Christian wedding ceremony. Single out the vow of obedience for explicit commendation since that's the breach in the wall.

And regardless of who's getting married, if the vow of obedience is not taken by the wife, point out to the pastor and his elders, at least, if not the bride and groom and their parents, that the wedding ceremony was not Christian because the historic vow of wifely obedience was removed.

Say it politely, but firmly, pointing out that it is the duty of pastors and elders to guard the good deposit that has been passed on to them--this is what Scripture commands.

Nothing would do a better job of separating the church from the world at weddings today. And that's what weddings could do to help make the Lordship of Christ visible again in our age.

(TB: here's more on Christian wedding ceremonies)

Comments

Excellent,

One of my twins was married a month ago and she and her husband worked with me on their vows and his went: "I________take you __________. To be my wedded wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part, according to God's holy ordinance; and with this ring I seal my vow before God.

________ shall respond:

WITH this ring I am wed to you, with my body I honor only you, and my heart is yours alone: In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

And my lovely daughter's vows went thusly:

"I __________. take you ___________ to be my wedded husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love, cherish, and to submit to, till death us do part, according to God's holy ordinance; and with this ring I seal my vow before God.

__________shall respond:

WITH this ring I am wed to you, with my body I honor only you, and with all my worldly goods I provide for you: In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Someone came up to me after the wedding and said, "You know what my favorite part of the ceremony was? The vows. They were just biblical."

Even in that short ceremony we had opportunity for testimony to the rightness of Christian marriage.

Right, But some (most?) husbands don't want the wife to submit. They want an equal partner. In such cases , she is doing right by abiding by his wishes.

J,
Don't kid yourself, man. You make it sound like the arrangement you describe is just fine. But while you act like this allows his wife to obey Scripture, it is an absurdity: "I'm doing just what my husband says by not doing what he says". How can we say, "That's obedience to God's command! That's obedience to God's command!" without bowing our heads in shame?

Also you paper over the husband's wickedness. He commands his wife to disregard the Word of the Lord. You say she is doing right by abiding by his wishes, but you clearly imply that his wishes are fine and that the arrangement is fine. Far from it! This man says in effect, "God teaches me that I am the head of you but I reject this calling. God commands you to submit to me but I overrule His command." He defies God and teaches his family to do the same. Such will not inherit the kingdom of heaven. This man needs to repent!

I've suggested this in a thread several years ago, but it's worth repeating in this one. It puts into stark relief against the spirit of the age what a Christian wedding ceremonyis supposed to be, beginning with that custom of the bride being "given away" by her father at the time he escorts her down the aisle .

Moderns are expecting that the minister will say something like "Who gives this young woman to be married?" And, the expected Modern Answer is something like "Her Mother and I do." I've even seen the mother rise and come forward so she and her husband can say "We both do." or something similarly Modern.

Here, instead, is how to make Modern Heads in attandence to explode:

1. The minister says "In God's Word in the Book of Numbers chapter 30, God says '. . . if a woman makes a vow to the LORD, and binds herself by some agreement while in her father’s house in her youth, 4 and her father hears her vow and the agreement by which she has bound herself, and her father holds his peace, then all her vows shall stand, and every agreement with which she has bound herself shall stand.' "

2. Next, addressing the father, the minister says, "As the father of B___, do you affirm that the vows she shall make to G___ this day shall stand?"

3. The father says, "I do." and takes the bride's and groom's hands and joins them together, before repairing to his place in the pews.The wedding service proceeds as planned (or, as stipulated in the classical Western wedding service liturgy), including the classical vows of the Bride to obey her husband.

I have never conducted this service wtihout hearing -- directly, or by report -- various vigorous reactions, some applauding this feature, others (usually the majority) protesting this feature with outrage. Invariably, it is those who make a claim to being Christians whose outrage is the strongest.

Nevertheless, this bit at the ~beginning~ of the service highlights the transferrance of headship, from the father to the husband. And this transferrance, done before the assembled host, goes a long way to marking out new domestic boundaries, allegiances, and responsibilities.

Coupled with the feature of the Bride's vows that are the subject of this blog post, the explicit transferance of headship from father to husband at the beginning of the wedding service puts everyone on notice (including the marrying couple!) about what is happening in this wedding ceremony.

J, you are right... most men today are willing to abandon their God given role of headship, and hate their wives in the process.

al sends

If she doesn't have to vow to submit to him, then why should he vow to love her?

Maybe they could agree that he will not love her and she will count that non-love as love, so he will still be obeying God.

I thought Christian women were free to marry only men who are 'in the Lord'?

> And that's what weddings could do to help make the Lordship of Christ visible again in our age.

I'm still waiting to see a Christian wedding where somebody bothered to explain why the bride has that veil on her head. Does the officiating pastor even have a clue?

As a father of a marriage-aged daughter, I have actually thought of something similar to what Fr. Bill suggests.

However, as the groom to a bride with no living father many years ago, I did not think very seriously at all about who should give me my bride. I was just happy to have her. My point being that the subtleties of the marriage ceremony probably should not be left to the love-sick almost-children in the center of it. My $.02.

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