Tag Archives: wedding

Husbands and Headship: The Art of Dying

We live in a culture that views headship as abusive. In the Bible, however, headship is central to the stability of the home. Protestant and evangelical men need to see this headship in the context of the great covenant responsibilities that come with that role. The man who views his headship cavalierly views his role in the home with un-biblical eyes.

I have met many men who come to see the need for headship in the home and have made the necessary changes to their husbandry. Some of these men came to these convictions late in life, and therefore, the changes occurred too quickly; especially for their families. They went from rarely reading the Bible themselves to requiring family devotions with a 45-minute sermon. Dad went from barely feeding his family spiritually to stuffing his family. Children grow up dreading the evening “services”, and the wife, on the one hand, gives thanks to God for the change in her husband, while on the other, wondering if God misunderstood her prayers.

God knew all things, of course. The problem is sinners have made an art of over-reacting. Pastors need to watch out for these types and bring their enthusiasm to a proper balance.

But the Church is not suffering because of over-zealous husbands/ fathers; she is suffering for the lack of any zeal in husbands/fathers.

In particular, husbands are called to meet the needs of their wives. He is the provider, sustainer, and the one called by God to make his wife lovely. The wife is lovely when the husband beautifies her. Jesus is the head of the Church and part of his ascension task is to make his bride beautiful (Eph. 5). He comforts her with words of affirmation. He protects her from physical and spiritual abuse. He is her Boaz and David; a redeemer and king. The home serves as the castle. Pastors usually know when he enters a home whether it is being beautified or whether it has lost its beauty. I am not referring to neatness and tidiness; I am referring to the grace of a home. When that pastor leaves, he may have just left a pretty tomb with dead man’s bones. Grace makes a home, and the husband is the grace-giver. How he speaks, how he communicates, how he rebukes, how he seeks forgiveness; all these things demonstrate and encapsulate the type of headship he is embodying.

The husband is a resident theologian. He may not be a vocational theologian, but his actions and speech are the word and deed that his family will hear most often. When the husband lives a life of constant hypocrisy, his lectures will become dull and lose meaning. When his life demonstrates humility and the virtue of repentance, then his lectures, even the boring ones, will sink deeply into the fabric of the home.

The evangelical husband is a lover of truth. Truth keeps him from abusing his headship; truth keeps him from prioritizing his friends over his own family; truth keeps him from isolating himself from the Christian body; truth keeps him from turning headship into abuse. He must be, as Douglas Wilson once observed, “a small pebble that somehow by the grace of God pictures the Rock that is Christ.”[1]

The responsibility of being the head of the home is the responsibility of many, but the practice of some. Headship implies dying for your wife, and many prefer to see their spouse die than themselves. So men, let’s die together for our wives, and let’s show the world that death brings life.

[1] Wilson, Douglas. Reforming Marriage, 39.


Wedding Homily for Josh and Alice

Martin Luther famously said:

There is no more lovely, friendly, and charming relationship, communion, or company than a good marriage.[1]

Luther and Katie’s marriage is legendary.[2] Their marriage is considered the most studied marriage in church history. But what so unique about brother Martin’s marriage? It certainly wasn’t a flawless one, but what was flawless was their union to their Lord. Marriage was not an act of idolatry for Luther; it was an act of worship. Luther believed that marriage was a profound way man and woman expressed their worship of their God.

In every act of communion and co-regency; love and life—marriage is a couple’s environment to train themselves as worship partners in the kingdom of God.

Josh and Alice, marriage is worship; you are forming today a liturgical bond. Marriage is the environment where grace is shown, friendship is strengthened, communion is built, love is shared, and God is adored. In other words, marriage is the environment most fit for a man and a woman to show the world what worship looks like.

This ceremony grounds itself in adoration; because if God is not adored in this institution, this entire mission called marriage has little hope of survival.

And that is why you are here: because you know your mission. You know that marriage from the moment you are declared husband and wife to the end of your days is an institution grounded in worship.

But if marriage is worship, how is this worship practiced? There are many paradigms for worship, but none so concise and splendid as the paradigm of worship itself given to us in Leviticus, the Psalter, and the Book of Revelation.

In the beginning, God calls creation to his presence. He creates it and places under his care. He does the same with you. He creates this relationship and brings it under his care in this ceremony. God has brought you, Josh and Alice, into this sacred ceremony. He has brought you together into this place to make vows before a host of witnesses. He has brought you here to prepare your hearts for worship. This preparation is the culmination of counseling and much wisdom that has imparted to you before this moment and all your days.

But participation in this ceremony requires more than your presence. It requires your confession. Yes, your confession as you enter into this liturgy is one that admits the reality that both of you are in desperate need of your Lord Jesus Christ. You are in desperate need of a Gospel that gives you life! Confess to one another your dependence on the Father as your host, on the Son as your Lord, and on the Spirit as your guide. You make this confession today so you may walk with a pure heart and a humble voice together to the throne of grace the rest of your days.

After being humbled by God, you now walk together to hear the Word proclaimed to you. This word, which I proclaim to you now, is a reminder that your life from now on must always be under the authority of the Word of God. You need to be conquered by it daily; you need to be saturated by its treasures consistently, and you need to be reminded of its truth perpetually. Your song must be the song of the psalmist: “I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word!”

The part about worship that is so fascinating is that it is not merely about passive members. You will in a few moments have an opportunity to affirm your deepest longing to make this life of worship together a reality in sickness and health till death. But don’t say these vows only today, repeat them again and again. As C.S. Lewis once said: “Marriage is maintained by the will and deliberately strengthened by habit.” Practice worship together in word and deed.

Now, this whole worship experience you are embarking comes to a joyful moment–as there will be thousands throughout your life–when there is food, communion, kisses, wine, and rejoicing. These moments of joy need to be recorded in your memories, so that throughout your life when enemies—however great or small surround you–you will have no doubt that there is a table prepared for you by your gracious Lord.

Now, I know both of you are eager to get this celebration going, but you know that the last element that is missing is your commissioning as you—especially the Bride–will recess in splendor and might at the end of this ceremony.

So as this worship continues, Josh and Alice, go, therefore. Practice worship. Make it a habit. Disciple one another. Remember your baptisms. And the God of all peace will renew you by his grace.

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

[1] “There is no more lovely, friendly and charming relationship .., https://www.pinterest.com/misssaralynn11/there-is-no-more-lovely-friendly-and-ch (accessed December 30, 2016).

[2] In Luther’s 54 volumes of theology, he spoke of “marriage” and “matrimony” approximately 2,000 times. To put it simply, Martin Luther, the great Reformer, reflected on marriage more than any other theme in theology.