Wedding Vows: APBA vs BCP

Let’s compare APBA (A Prayer Book for Australia) and the classic BCP. The BCP reflects the best of the western tradition of marriage:

1995 APBA Groom:

I, John in the presence of God,
take you Mary to be my 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, honour and cherish,
as long as we both shall live.
This is my solemn vow and promise.

1662 BCP Groom:

I John. take thee Mary. to 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 thereto I plight thee my troth.

The big difference is really in the bride’s vows, where BCP also has “obey” as well as to “love and to cherish”. That is not in the APBA, not even as an option. Otherwise an APBA wedding stands in line with BCP quite well.

1662 BCP Marriage Service

APBA Wedding Vows

The marriage vows we use at Holy Trinity Doncaster from the 1996 “A Prayer Book for Australia” (this is not used in Sydney).

If you include the consent and giving of rings, there are three sets of promises:

THE CONSENT

Minister
John, will you have Mary to be your wife,
to live together according to God’s word?
Will you give her the honour
due to her as your wife
and, forsaking all others,
love and protect her,
as long as you both shall live?

John    I will.

Minister
Mary, will you have John to be your husband,
to live together according to God’s word?
Will you give him the honour
due to him as your husband
and, forsaking all others,
love and protect him,
as long as you both shall live?

Mary     I will.

THE WEDDING

John     I, John in the presence of God,
take you Mary to be my 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, honour and cherish,
as long as we both shall live.
This is my solemn vow and promise.

Mary     I, Mary in the presence of God,
take you John to be my 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, honour and cherish,
as long as we both shall live.
This is my solemn vow and promise.

BLESSING OF THE RINGS

Minister     Grant, Lord that these rings may be a token and constant sign of the pledge of love and faithfulness which these two persons make to each other; through Christ our Lord. Amen.

John     Mary, with this ring I wed you;
with all that I am and all that I have
I honour you;
in the name of God. Amen.

Mary     John, I receive this ring in token of our marriage.
May God enable us to grow in love together.

Mary     John, with this ring I wed you,
with all that I am and all that I have
I honour you;
in the name of God. Amen.

John     Mary, I receive this ring in token of our marriage.
May God enable us to grow in love together.

John I, John in the presence of God,

take you Mary to be my 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, honour and cherish,

as long as we both shall live.

This is my solemn vow and promise.

Mary I, Mary in the presence of God,

take you John to be my 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, honour and cherish,

as long as we both shall live.

This is my solemn vow and promise.

Customised wedding vows

The Wall Street journal reports on For Better or for Worse: When Marriage Vows Get Creative.

Sydney Anglicans has some good reflections here: I say ‘I won’t’ until they say ‘I will’

In my marriage preparation ministry at Holy Trinity Doncaster (about 15 or so couples per year) I’ve built most of the material around understanding, cherishing, and daily living out the marriage vows.

They shape the actual wedding service, and the relationship, and my counseling of married couples in crisis.

And no, we do not allow modifications to the vows!

I’m a church plodder too

A great article on why Anglicanism is worth it: Back to the Future. Reforming the Church of England – Learning from the past.

Some choice quotes:

The Church of England, as we heard last year, is not halfway between Rome and Geneva; it is halfway between Luther and the Anabaptists, which brings you to Calvin – we stand for moderate Calvinism. We heard last year that the Thirty-nine Articles have a marvellous breadth – they are not as narrowly tight as the Westminster Confession.

So there is a breadth. We like bishops – the idea of bishops at any rate – because they are better than a committee.

But, as I said, Keele was a two-headed monster because the baton was then handed to some of the then younger evangelicals who had a different agenda. Their agenda was not so much to crusade for the Church of England to be once again Reformed, Protestant and evangelical, but to make evangelicalism an accepted stream within the Church of England, and I have had a private letter from one such. He said that in order to do that there had to be ‘compromise’ and that was something that the founding fathers had not bargained for.

In the middle of the eighteenth century, the state of the Church of England was far, far worse than it is today.

There were a number of contributing factors to that improvement, but Ryle’s theory, as a cricketer, was that it could be put down to a first eleven of eighteenth century Christian leaders, although there were other factors as well. And here are some of the marks of the people that Ryle talks about in his book. First of all, they held very firmly to their evangelical doctrine and convictions. If you had asked someone at the beginning of the nineteenth century what it meant to be an evangelical he would have said it was to be a ‘Bible person’ and ‘to be converted’, and that perception reflected the priorities of our eighteenth century heroes.

On occasion they went beyond their parishes, and Haslam (admittedly a century later) did exactly the same. I hope you have come across Haslam’s first book From Death unto Life. This recounts how he was converted by his own sermon. I quote from his in some ways more significant second book Yet not I: ‘My parish of Buckenham was but a small one. I accepted it in the hope that I might be more free to do good in the county at large, or rather in the two counties of Norfolk and Suffolk. My hope was not disappointed for I received letters from all parts inviting me to come and preach the gospel. Besides the invitations I also received letters from bishops and clergy taking me painfully to task. As to these complaints, I must say that I never intended or desired to make myself obnoxious to the ecclesiastical powers, but for all that I could not refuse the appeals which were continually sent to me. It was not pleasant to be reproved, nor can I say that my heart did not beat with some agitation when I read these letters. Bishops one after another reprimanded me and sometimes two or more at the same time.’

It was said of Grimshaw that he was marked by a rare diligence and self-denial, but he was pre-eminently a peace-maker, and he was marked by a rare humility, a rare charity and brotherly love. I take it that preachers of the gospel of grace must manifest grace in their lives. Ryle comments on all these heroes and then bemoans what he sees missing in his own day, the late nineteenth century: ‘I am obliged then to say plainly, that, in my judgement, we have among us neither the men nor the doctrines of the days gone by. We have no-one who preaches with such peculiar power as Whitefield or Rowlands. We have none who in self-denial, singleness of eye, diligence, holy boldness and unworldliness, come up to the level of Grimshaw, Walker, Venn…. It is a humbling conclusion: but I have long felt that it is the truth. We lack both the men and the message of the last century. What wonder if we do not see the last century’s results.’

We have got to control ourselves. We may indeed disagree very seriously with much of what the Archbishop of Canterbury says but it cannot be right to be rude and offensive. He never is himself. We must remain gracious. There is no place for discourtesy.

We must do church planting but, having said that, church planting can become a form of idolatry. I was very liberated at the evangelical Ministry Assembly a few years ago, which was on church planting. Dick Lucas (former Rector of St Helen’s, Bishopsgate, City of London) stood up and said that he was not a ‘church planter’, he was a ‘church plodder‘, despite the fact that St Helen’s provided one of the most innovative and effective forms of evangelism of the twentieth century. It was essentially a lay movement, which Dick would affirm, and was very remarkable indeed. Incidentally, I worked at St Helens for five years, and it was a great privilege because St Helens existed and still exists for the benefit of other churches. We are all wanting to grow, but St Helens wanted to give.

We must not lose those opportunities. It may be much slower, there may have to be little accommodations, we may have to wear robes ‘ it is very worrying if some of our young men say: ‘Oh, I can’t go there, I might have to wear robes.’ Robes are totally unimportant. We must be prepared to wear them for the gospel’s sake. Phillip Jensen (Dean of St Andrew’s Cathedral, Sydney) says that if you have the opportunity of going to a church which has not had an evangelical tradition, then what you are to do is to take the services really well, you are to preach really well, and you are to go visiting around the parish. So we must not forsake the Church of England.

Dick Lucas said to me on one occasion: ‘Why is it that some of our young men are in such a hurry?‘ He answered his own question by saying: ‘It’s because they don’t trust the Word. They haven’t read the parable of the seed growing secretly – it takes time, it takes time.’

What Is Anglicanism? Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi

This is a wonderful article by a leading Anglican Archbishop. Some great quotes to entice you to read the whole thing:

I have the privilege of serving as archbishop of the Church of Uganda, providing spiritual leadership and oversight to more than nine million Anglicans. Uganda is second only to Nigeria as the largest Anglican province in the world, and most of our members are fiercely loyal to their global communion. But however we come to understand the current crisis in Anglicanism, this much is apparent: The younger churches of Anglican Christianity will shape what it means to be Anglican. The long season of British hegemony is over.

In the Church of Uganda, Anglicanism has been built on three pillars: martyrs, revival, and the historic episcopate. Yet each of these refers back to the Word of God, the ground on which all is built: The faith of the martyrs was maintained by the Word of God, the East African revival brought to the people the Word of God, and the historic ordering of ministry was designed to advance the Word of God.

The Bible cannot appear to us a cadaver, merely to be dissected, analyzed, and critiqued, as has been the practice of much modern higher biblical criticism. Certainly we engage in biblical scholarship and criticism, but what is important to us is the power of the Word of God precisely as the Word of God—written to bring transformation in our lives, our families, our communities, and our culture. For us, the Bible is “living and active, sharper than a double-edged sword, it penetrates to dividing soul and spirits, joints and marrow, it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Heb. 4:12). The transforming effect of the Bible on Ugandans has generated so much conviction and confidence that believers were martyred in the defense of the message of salvation through Jesus Christ that it brought.

In some traditional African societies, women were denied benefits because of various superstitions. For example, some societies believed that if women ate chicken they would grow beards. In that culture, women, then, never ate chicken. When the Bible came alive during the East African Revival of the 1930s, the Holy Spirit convicted men of such sins of oppression and began the progressive empowerment of women that is continuing today. So, for another example, the African tradition of polygamy and divorce at will left many women neglected and often destitute. The biblical teaching of marriage between one man and one woman in a loving, lifelong relationship liberated not only women but also the institution of marriage and family.

As the Bible came with the authority of Christ, it revealed a God that is greater than the evil spirits and the kingdom of darkness that controlled so many people’s lives. In Uganda, the Bible has grown into a cherished source of authority that is central to Christian faith, practice, and mission. For all God’s people, obedience to this Bible is the source of confidence, abundant life, and joy. It is an absolute treasure that no one can take away. Isaiah, later quoted by Peter, wrote, “The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever” (Isa. 40:8; 1 Pet. 1:24-25). The grass on which our cattle feed, the grass from which our roofs are thatched—all this withers. But the Word of God has withstood the test of time. The Bible is at the heart of our Anglican identity, and we Ugandan Anglicans joyfully submit to its life-giving and transforming authority.

In the current Anglican crisis, we are at risk of losing our biblical foundation. As bishops, we are constrained, in the words of the 1662 Ordinal, “to banish and drive away from the Church all erroneous and strange doctrine contrary to God’s Word,” and we are determined “out of the same Holy Scriptures to instruct the people committed to [our] charge and to teach or maintain nothing, as necessary to eternal salvation, but that which [we] shall be persuaded may be concluded and proved by the same.”

Less than a year later, on June 3, 1886, the king of Buganda ordered the killing of twenty-six of his court pages because they refused his homosexual advances and would not recant their belief in King Jesus. They cut and carried the reeds that were then wrapped around them and set on fire in an execution pit. As the flames engulfed them, these young martyrs sang songs of praise. Far from eliminating Christianity, the martyrdoms had the opposite effect: If the faith of these martyrs was worth dying for, then it must also be something worth living for. Christianity began to spread like wildfire.

Do we not need a revival of the martyrs’ confidence in the Word of God? A revival in the conviction that this Faith that was worth dying for is the same Faith worth living for today? The heroes of Anglicanism throughout the world are our martyrs.

And yet our commitment to the episcopate is not just about the good order of the Church. As bishops are successors to the apostles, so our focus through the historic episcopate is on apostolic faith and ministry. A bishop is ordained in apostolic succession to be the apostolic presence in the community. A bishop, therefore, is the ongoing presence and voice of the apostles. He is our link to the early Church, and this link between bishop and apostolicity gives Anglicans our transcultural identity. The implication, therefore, is that the essence of Anglican identity is to be apostolic. More than a simple unbroken line of consecrations, we are to be apostolic in nature: faithful to the apostolic message, submitted to apostolic authority in Scripture, committed to apostolic mission and ministry, and devoted to apostolic worship.

Our particular experience of Anglicanism in Uganda, too, has some universal applicability. The pillars of Anglican identity in Uganda—the martyrs, revival, and the historic episcopate, all resting on the Word of God—suggest themes with historic precedent from the formative years of Anglicanism in Britain.

We would not be facing the crisis in the Anglican Communion if we had upheld the basic Reformation convictions about Holy Scripture: its primacy, clarity, sufficiency, and unity. Part of the genius of the Reformation was its insistence that the Word of God and the liturgy be in the language of the people—that the Bible could be read and understood by the simplest plowboy. The insistence from some Anglican circles (mostly in the Western world) on esoteric interpretations of Scripture borders on incipient Gnosticism that has no place in historic or global Anglicanism.

Without a commitment to the authority of the Word of God, a confidence in a God who acts in the world, and a conviction of the necessity of repentance and of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, we will be hard-pressed as a communion to revive and advance our apostolic and missionary calling as a church.

Anglican Diocese of Melbourne Budget Synod Postscript

The budget crisis synod came and went. There was a bit of good discussion and debate about various figures and details

Overall everyone was happy enough to move the new budget without debate and go home early. It was a gesture of good faith, which I hope can be reciprocated in future years by continuing the protocol of bringing budgets to the Synod for approval.

There was a clear sense that some significant cuts had been mode, good new improvements to accounting processes and systems, and very competent leadership and management from the Registrar and Archbishop.

The major problem, acknowledged by everyone, was the lack of clear vision or strategy from which we can assess our budget priorities – but this too is being worked on. I hope to comment later on what I think are some of the major issues.

The highlight of the day was the New Cranmer Society breakfast. Professor Harper spoke brilliantly about the need to combine good strategy and good stewardship. He gave a prophetic call for the Baby Boomers of the diocese to pass the baton to the next generation of younger leaders. I thought his words spoke especially powerfully toward the evangelicals of the diocese.

I hope that the message was recorded or transcribed somehow. Ironically the only notes currently available are those on Bryan’s twitter stream.

Surely the timing is right for the younger evangelical Anglicans in Melbourne to step up?

Not entertaining

Got into a healthy stoush recently for trying to follow v19. God willing, next time I’m going to do a v20 in response to a v19 sin.

19 Do not entertain an accusation against an elder unless it is brought by two or three witnesses. 20 Those who sin are to be rebuked publicly, so that the others may take warning.

via BibleGateway.com: Search for a Bible passage in over 35 languages and 50 versions..