Another (yawn) minced confession at the PCA's Redeemer Presbyterian Church...

RedeemerWedding"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...

But then we remember Redeemer has female officers serve the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper alongside male officers. And really, if one were to think Bibically let alone Creation-Orderly about marriage, what are we saying about marriage and authority when we have a woman pastor ministering the Word of God at a worship service ordered for the creation of a new household of faith?

Let me tell you what we are saying: that sex and authority are not linked in any important way, or that the office of pastor is no position of authority. Also that we masters of the universe in Manhattan are above the petty "gender" distinctions woodenly observed out in the hinterlands by ill-bred numskulls who can't bring themselves to recognize the changing of the guard.

As we've said over and over again, Redeemer is not disciplined because at least half of the PCA loves her minced confession. Mission to the World sends the PCA's missionaries to Redeemer to be trained and those missionaries then go out making nice with woman pastors and elders. Bryan Chappel hobnobs with Redeemer's pastor in front of his students at Covenant Theological Seminary and those students go out into the PCA's pulpits having learned not to preach the Law of God concerning our culture's worst perversions of sexuality.

Redeemer has woman officers who teach and exercise authority over men. Redeemer's small groups are led by women who teach and exercise authority over men. Redeemer's deacons are led by a woman who teaches and exercises authority over men. Redeemer's seminar on sexuality is led by a woman who teaches and exercises authority over men. Redeemer has women adminster the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper. Here Redeemer has a woman presiding over a wedding ceremony, teaching and exercising authority over men.

Scripture always and plainly addresses marriage exhorting the wife to confess God's Creation Order by submitting to her husband's authority, but in their about-to-be-released book on marriage, Tim and Kathy Keller deal with God's Creation Order in an appendix titled, "Decision Making and Gender Roles."

Not "sex" but "gender;" not "authority and submission" but "decision-making;" not "being" but "roles."

When Martyn Lloyd-Jones sensed the Holy Spirit was specially present in his proclamation of the Word in a particular service of worship, he'd say he'd been given "freedom." What a contrast with Redeemer's pastors who tie up God's Creation Order of Adam first, then Eve, in a straitjacket of cultural conformity.

This is the decadence of the Reformed church today. 

(Both of Us, w/thanks to a PCA teaching elder)

Comments

I just see a woman with a scripture. The man on her left has a scripture, too.

So they're both "a minister with a Scripture," right?

Sure, but that wasn't quite what I was getting at. If one merely has "a scripture" then will it matter who brings it? At that point, it doesn't even matter if one is called a "minister" or not. All they have is "a scripture".

So a man and a woman can be married in Redeemer without fearing judgment for disobedience...what scary claims could "a scripture" make, after all?

Yes, and Redeemer is the flagship church of the PCA? I was in a PCA church for more than 10 years, coming out of an EPC church the previous 5 years, originally going there (to the PCA) because of it's 'original' stand on Scripture, creation, the five Sola's, women's authority in the church, and everything else one might consider from a conservative Reformed tradition. I'm sure it makes you guys weep to see how far the PCA has come.

"Wedding ceremonies not being sacramental among us Protestants, one might argue it doesn't matter much if female pastors co-officiate with male pastors..."

The word "marriage" is now devoid of any Christian content since it:
1. Lost its fecundity when The Pill was mass-produced (1960) and contraception is now omnipresent.
2. Lost its permanence when "no-fault" marriage law was first enacted (1969) and is now omnipresent.
3. Lost its heterosexual nature with "same-sex" marriage in NY (2011) and will soon become omnipresent.
4. Lost its worship (wedding) services with male-only preachers even in formerly-orthodox (e.g., PCA) denominations (2011).

For all Christian intents and purposes, the word "marriage" is dead.

"[On the other hand,] the word "matrimony" emphasizes two aspects of marriage: procreation and heterosexual complementarity. The word comes from Latin and old French roots. Matri = “mother”  and mony, a suffix indicating “action, state, or condition.”  Hence Holy Matrimony refers to that holy Sacrament wherein a woman enters the state that inaugurates an openness to motherhood.

"Hence the Biblical and Ecclesial definition of Holy Matrimony as heterosexual and procreative is reaffirmed by the term itself. Calling it HOLY Matrimony distinguishes it from SECULAR [dead] marriage."

-"Do We Need a New Word for Marriage?"
http://blog.adw.org/2010/03/do-we-need-a-new-word-for-marriage/

"Marriage" is now relegated to the pagan realm.

"Holy Matrimony" is (and has always been) for Christians.

BTW, although we didn't put this in the post, there's a Keller article making the rounds of the web right now attached to all the Reformed BlingBlogs that are doing the heavy lifting priming the coffers in anticipation of Tim and Kathy's new book on marriage, and one of the headings in that article is "Sex Is a Sacrament" (and Tim means it positively).

On this, too, Tim agrees with Sex and (his) City.

Love,

Um, guys, can anybody point out to me exactly which place this is? I see a fairly generic gothic church building, supposedly in Manhattan. A wedding taking place, supposedly at Redeemer. I see nothing to identify this as Redeemer, no tags, no links, no independent confirmation. Just the Bayly bros. (whom I otherwise respect) taking shots at Tim Keller (again). Aside from innuendo based on a picture, I'm seeing much ado about nothing. If you've got something specific to say, with details, let me know. Sorry, otherwise I'm not seeing it.

>>Just the Bayly bros. (whom I otherwise respect) taking shots at Tim Keller (again).

With our five pound bows and peashooting straws, taking all kinds of shots but always missing the buck...

Spit wads sticking on all the walls...

What's not to respect?

Cheerfully,

Here's the statement on honoraria taken from Redeemer's "Guidelines for Marriage Ceremonies by Redeemer's Pastors." (And BTW, Scott Sauls is one of the pastors listed at the bottom of this document indicating their willingness to officiate at wedding ceremonies. Tim's name is not listed.)

7. Honorarium: The suggested honorarium for the minister performing your ceremony is $500-1000, depending on the number of counseling sessions that he provides. This is paid directly to the minister. If additional counseling is required, the minister may suggest additional counseling, or he may refer you to the Redeemer Counseling Center. If there is a financial hardship involved, please discuss this with your minister.

I've done hundreds of weddings over the past thirty years, including one in the Hamptons where, the night before the rehearsal, I stayed just down the street from my Dad's childhood home on Parsons Blvd. in Flushing. Never have I asked for any honorarium; often I've returned honoraria given; most honoraria have been between $50 and $100; and never has any honoraria offered been more than $200.

I don't want any of you thinking pastors out here in the hinterlands are getting rich off weddings.

It's royalties from our blog and all the ads running down the sides of the posts that have allowed us finally to give up dumpster-diving.

Once more, cheerfully,

Brothers Bayly,

I can testify that this wedding occurred in Manhattan on the afternoon of Sunday October 16th, 2011 (between morning and evening Redeemer services).

The male pastor is Rev. Scott Sauls, one of the main preachers at Redeemer. The bride and groom are longtime Redeemer members and involved in Redeemer church life.

For the record, you are right: Redeemer does everything within its power to blur sexual distinctions in its public services and so avoid the ire of liberal minded New Yorkers, especially women. Perceptive Christians are very well aware of this.

Hmm, both specific and detailed. If I didn't know any better, I might even be tempted to think that it were possible that the Bayly's could perhaps have told something resembling the truth. But of course, knowing both of them personally, I instantly saw through that ruse and realized that they're just bitter old men taking pot-shots at Tim Kevlar and his church, whom they must want to discredit for some personal reason.

Sarcastically,

Oops, Tim Kellar, not Tim Kevlar, although the (accidental) parallel to the bullet-proof vest is kind of entertaining. If there's anyone in the PCA who is bullet-proof, it would have to be Kellar.

[NOTE FROM TIM BAYLY: Actually, dear brother, you're wrong again. It's Keller. Much love.]

Oh well. I generally try to be careful with my spelling, but you know what they say about foolish consistency...

I appreciate these details, but in the spirit of biblical accountability, is there someone available to put his name to the evidence?

>>is there someone available to put his name to the evidence?

Dear Jon,

Our names: you can put David Bayly and Tim Bayly's names under the details of this article. Look at the bottom and you'll see our signatures, as well as our indication the information came from a PCA teaching elder.

You have comment #10...

This stuff all seems so completely normal for Redeemer that I can't imagine why anyone would question it. It's why the word 'yawn' appears in the title, dear brother.

Love,

Also, Elliot, what's the point of havin' an apostrophe in the word "Bayly's"? You're not talkin' 'bout somethin' they own, are ya? Can't pass up an opportunity to correct you.

Whoever is responsible for this blog, I wonder what kind of marriage you have? How does your wife feel? How does she deal with your anger? How healthy is she?

Do you have a day job? How do you have time to write these things? What are you trying to accomplish?

>>> Do you have a day job? How do you have time to write these things? What are you trying to accomplish?

I keep being shocked at how utterly foreign our duty to expose evil and call men to repentance is to many. Can they really believe that there is nothing at stake and let souls perish in their sin, unwarned, while others are led astray?

Yes, they can. I was asleep too, until our gracious Lord woke me up recently.

Sleepers often fight to stay asleep though, and you have to cry louder, for the sake of souls...

If I might interject based on a point that hasn't been mentioned in the comments. I've been to two different PCA churches that have allowed women (not female officers of the church - just members of the congregation) to hold the bread or wine while the rest of the congregation comes up for communion. At my current church there are 3 helpers who hold the elements - at my previous church five (that's the officiating pastor + helpers for anyone questioning the numbers). When asked, my previous pastor said that they'd decided that merely holding the elements came under service and didn't constitute usurping male/pastoral authority. Sometimes there aren't any women. Sometimes there are. Don't know how Redeemer handles things, but that's just my two cents from another corner of the PCA.

When did gender roles become the predominant point of conversation and judgment when it comes to measuring the worth/validity of a church? I do recognize there are conversations that need to be had regarding clarity in terms of biblical gender roles. However, churches like Redeemer should be lauded for having the audacity to clearly preach the Gospel, asking people to put aside their idols and resting in the imputed righteousness that's provided solely by Christ. Why is this not the metric that we are judging them by? Why not their fruit? Are we not excited that people are coming to Christ so that they can THEN struggle with the issues of theology and authority? When you put good things (theology, gender roles, authority) high above over Christ, they become idols in our hearts.

You must recognize the idols of your own heart (things you've put above Christ) so that you can humbly rebuke and help churches flourish. It's usually readily apparent when someone comes from that position. That does not come through in your postings. All I see is someone who thinks they know better than Tim Keller. Ultimately, God will shake his head at the simplistic understanding of the Gospel that you, Tim and all other church leaders have. Humbling thought.

>>Why is this not the metric that we are judging them by?

It is.

Love,

I'm glad that we are in agreement then. God has been working amazing things here in NYC (full disclosure, i live in nyc). I've been witness to unsaved peers recognize that their identity does not lie in money, power, sex and turn to God. I've also witnessed my saved friends recognize that their identity does not lie in Laws, religion, PCA(haha) and surrender to the fact that their righteousness only comes from Christ.

"clearly preach the Gospel, asking people to put aside their idols and resting in the imputed righteousness that's provided solely by Christ."

If this is the metric that we are looking at churches with, then God is here in NYC! There are dozens of churches boldly proclaiming Him here in uncompromising ways. Despite how incomplete Tim's (and your) understanding of Theology is, God works redemptive miracles.

>> You must recognize the idols of your own heart (things you've put above Christ)

>> "clearly preach the Gospel, asking people to put aside their idols and resting in the imputed righteousness that's provided solely by Christ."

Jack,

But what we have in Redeemer is (for example) an affirmation of the propositions Ephesians 1-3 but a denial of the application of Ephesians 4-6 -- the "Therefores". Surely you're not saying that we can agree with the propositions in Scripture and reject all the applications in Scripture and claim that it is of faith, are you? The Apostle Paul gave commands from the Lord, but we reject them and yet the fruit is good and it's idolatry -- putting something above Christ -- to call our brothers to obedience to Christ's commands?

No, the man who claims to love God yet has no desire to obey His commands is a liar. It is truly a shame that the PCA have not loved Tim Keller and Redeemer enough to bring them up on charges and call them to repentance.

To put it another way, how is it that for the apostles, sex-specific commands to the brethren were part of "knowing nothing among them except Christ, and Him crucified", but for us even teaching the necessity of obedience there (let alone commanding it) is "idolatry"?

Why are almost all of your posts about stuff you're against?

Dear DB, 

Why are all of your comments oppositional? How come you never write about things you are for and always are talking about things you're against?

Laughingly,

[NOTE FROM TIM BAYLY: the e-mail address used to post this comment returned a fatal error, so the comment has been removed. If you want to comment here, you must use a real e-mail address.]

To respond to the comment just removed, it was from someone who said they were in the wedding's bridal party and that the fact that there was a robed woman preacher co-officiating at the wedding was simply due to this being the requirement of Riverside Church.

To which I reply that a wedding is a worship service and this worship service was a worship service of Redeemer, so Redeemer had a woman pastor co-officiating in one of its worship services. End of story.

I'm sure the couple are nice and the wedding was otherwise joyful and godly, but in the matter of sex and its meaning, Redeemer minced its confession of Biblical truth by allowing a woman pastor to share in the leadership of the worship, and quite publicly so.

Evil churches have policies forcing their woman pastors on others. Good churches have policies disallowing such compromises to be forced on them. As usual, we find Redeemer in limbo.

Love,

I'm typing this on an iPad and the auto correct changed my email address. I corrected it. Can you repost my comment?

[NOTE FROM TIM BAYLY: Sorry, when an e-mail address returns a fatal error, I delete the comments. Been doing this for years, but I gave a sense of your comment and you are free to respond. When you do, though, please make sure the e-mail works and sign your real first and last names. Thanks for your cooperation.]

Below are some words I exchanged with Tim in email regarding my misguided post, along with some new ones:

I see the purpose of this blog now, and I have learned through this exchange to think carefully and look thoroughly before I post comments online. It's easy to fall into the trap of using vehement language online when there is no context of a relationship between many of the commenters, and I apologize for responding so defensively.

At first, seeing the title at the top of the blog ("Reflections on My Baptist Upbringing") along with criticisms of Covenant, Bryan Chapell, Jack Collins, and Tim Keller, I reacted suddenly and defensively, partially because a local Baptist church has been so unfairly critical of the seminary and other local reformed churches. I jumped to a wrong conclusion and should have thought more carefully about my words, rather than lashing out and becoming a perpetrator of unfair criticism myself. I'm honestly embarrassed and quite sorry.

I will say that I do think there are some more open-handed issues with regard to Christian theology and its response to secular science in particular, and I think it can be harmful in a community of believers to constantly be calling each other out on hair-splitting issues that have little to do with salvation. I am not at all suggesting we shouldn't have these important discussions; I'm more questioning the degree to which they occur at the expense of other discussions we could and should be having: how to serve the poor, how to reach out to unbelievers, how to reconcile broken relationships, etc. Wow - each one of those could be their own blog perhaps. Christians are well enough known in our culture for "proclaiming the truth;" unfortunately, we're not as known as we should be for taking actions on behalf of the oppressed, the sick, the hungry, the poor, the incarcerated, the lonely, the disabled, the mentally ill, the mistreated, the war-torn, and the weak. Most unbelievers wouldn't be as surprised to find a Christian blog making disparaging comments about "sodomites" as they might be to find Christians talking about their responsibility to create beauty in a broken world.

Having gone to a Christian college, I saw a lot of young men continually debating with one another about just about everything - from predestination to epistemology, and regardless of what they said about their pursuit of the truth, most of their peers perceived (and I think rightly so) they were more interested in winning an argument and being right than they really were about winsomely sharing the truth. I think I brought some of that experience to the table when I responded.

While I was in college, I also attended a reformed presbyterian church for a number of years that became known for condemning American culture and other non-reformed Christians more often than it talked about the transforming love of Christ and our calling to live according to His example in loving response. The PCA church I attend now focuses on the latter, and I find that approach is much more winsome as far as the gospel is concerned. This does not mean our leaders do not speak the truth in love when the time calls for it. 

Sure, maybe Tim Keller has made an error on a number of theological issues like hell, but he has done more to save unbelievers from it than most truth proclaiming pastors I know. As far as Jack Collins is concerned, I think both Genesis and Revelation are vague, poetic, and perhaps metaphorical at points. I think a person can be close-handed on the inerrancy of Scripture while being open to more than one interpretation of a text like Genesis. I don't believe that violates the Westminster Confession of Faith.

Anyway, I apologize again for being so critical in a defensive, misguided outburst. I respect that you have a forum here where people can discuss these issues.

>>Anyway, I apologize again for being so critical

Of course I forgive you, dear sir.

Love,

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