Wedding on the Sabbath?

Status
Not open for further replies.

Arch2k

Puritan Board Graduate
I have a good friend who is coming into town to get married. He asked me to help him transition from the cerimony portion of the wedding, to the reception portion. This would include some work it sounds like. The only problem is that it is going to take place on the Sabbath. I am a pretty strict Sabbaterian, but this seems questionable at best. I'll quote the Directory for Publik Worship on marraige:

"After the purpose or contract of marriage hath been thus published, the marriage is not to be long deferred. Therefore the minister, having had convenient warning, and nothing being objected to hinder it, is publickly to solemnize it in the place appointed by authority for publick worship, before a competent number of credible witnesses, at some convenient hour of the day, at any time of the year, except on a day of publick humiliation. And we advise that it be not on the Lord's day."

They advise that this is not to be done on the Lord's day, but don't seem to strictly forbid it. I need to decide if I can consciously help him or not. What are your thoughts?
 

LadyFlynt

Puritan Board Doctor
It is probably "advised" only due to certain circumstances that might arise. I was married on Sunday afternoon immediately following services (needless to say, I was getting ready and hubby got shipped off to church), if I had to do it again, I might do it differently (I might have even just up and eloped...the pastor would have "eloped" us :) )
 

doulosChristou

Puritan Board Freshman
If I were a strict Sabbatarian, I would not schedule a wedding or a funeral on the Lord's day on the principle that it would put florists, hair-dressers, caterers, and so forth to work. If I were in your particular situation, Jeff, I would probably make an exception for your friend and graciously lend a helping hand. It would be an act of charity.
 

VirginiaHuguenot

Puritanboard Librarian
Originally posted by doulosChristou
If I were a strict Sabbatarian, I would not schedule a wedding or a funeral on the Lord's day on the principle that it would put florists, hair-dressers, caterers, and so forth to work. If I were in your particular situation, Jeff, I would probably make an exception for your friend and graciously lend a helping hand. It would be an act of charity.
:ditto: unless the particular circumstances of the exception are such that Sabbath-keeping because impossible.
 

Arch2k

Puritan Board Graduate
Originally posted by doulosChristou
If I were a strict Sabbatarian, I would not schedule a wedding or a funeral on the Lord's day on the principle that it would put florists, hair-dressers, caterers, and so forth to work. If I were in your particular situation, Jeff, I would probably make an exception for your friend and graciously lend a helping hand. It would be an act of charity.
Thanks for the advise. I guess that is what it boils down to: if this would be considered an "act of necessity or mercy."
 

TimV

Puritanboard Botanist
For me it was both necessary and merciful ;-)

A marriage is a religious function, like a church service. Last Sunday I helped some of the young men put the chairs way; we rent an Odd Fellows Hall, and there's quite a bit of work necessary to worship there.

Remember what the kind of work is that is prohibited!
 

Arch2k

Puritan Board Graduate
Originally posted by TimV
For me it was both necessary and merciful ;-)

A marriage is a religious function, like a church service. Last Sunday I helped some of the young men put the chairs way; we rent an Odd Fellows Hall, and there's quite a bit of work necessary to worship there.

Remember what the kind of work is that is prohibited!
That reminds me, at the last wedding I was in, our pastor said that the wedding was "a worship service." Can a wedding be considered as such?
 

Scott Bushey

Puritanboard Commissioner
Originally posted by TimV
For me it was both necessary and merciful ;-)

A marriage is a religious function, like a church service. Last Sunday I helped some of the young men put the chairs way; we rent an Odd Fellows Hall, and there's quite a bit of work necessary to worship there.

Remember what the kind of work is that is prohibited!
Tim,
You're comparing a marriage to a church service? Are the sacraments distributed in a marriage ceremony?

WCF ch 21

II. Religious worship is to be given to God, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; and to him alone; [3] not to angels, saints, or any other creature:[4] and, since the fall, not without a Mediator; nor in the mediation of any other but of Christ alone.[5]

VIII. This Sabbath is then kept holy unto the Lord, when men, after a due preparing of their hearts, and ordering of their common affairs beforehand, do not only observe an holy rest, all the day, from their own works, words, and thoughts about their worldly employments and recreations,[38] but also are taken up, the whole time, in the public and private exercises of his worship, and in the duties of necessity and mercy.[39]

What is elevated on the day of marriage? The bride and groom.

PS: Wanna trade some cigars for some honey?

[Edited on 3-11-2005 by Scott Bushey]
 

doulosChristou

Puritan Board Freshman
That subject is still debated. John Frame, in writing about applying the distinction between "elements" and "circumstances," lists the questions:

"Even granting the legitimacy of the distinction between elements and circumstances, applying it is not easy. Is song in worship an element, as John Murray taught, or is it a "form" or "circumstance," a way of praying and teaching? Is instrumental music an element (as the covenanter tradition holds) or a circumstance (helping the congregation to sing in a decent and orderly way)? Is a marriage essentially a taking of vows and therefore a proper element of worship, or is it part of a broad group of activities that should be excluded from worship because it is not prescribed? All these questions have been disputed among those who have accepted the distinction between elements and circumstances. But how can these questions be answered? What biblical data is actually relevant to their resolution? Or do these questions require a kind of extra-biblical insight, an Aristotelian philosophical ability to distinguish precisely between substance and accident? In any case, these concepts, intended to enable us to make precise judgments about what belongs in worship, may actually contribute more confusion than they alleviate."

It is interesting that Calvin performed marriages as part of his Lord's Day worship services in Geneva (Horton Davies, Worship of the English Puritans [SDG, 1997], 263). In1556, a first "entirely Puritan prayer-book" was published with the title "The Forme of Prayer and Ministrations of the Sacraments, etc., used in the English Congregation at Geneva: and approved by the famous and godly learned man, Iohn Caluyn [i.e., John Calvin]" (Ibid., 116). In this book, the order of a Marriage Service is proposed in which the marriage is to be performed in the presence of the congregation (Ibid., 121). The service includes prayers, exhortation and the singing of Psalm 128.

On a side note, most of the Puritans sharply condemned the use of the wedding ring in marriage since there was no explicit warrant for it in Scripture. It was considered an additional extra-Biblical covenantal sign and thus explicitly forbidden. :eek:
 

tcalbrecht

Puritan Board Junior
Are all lawful oaths and vows "a part of religious worship" that they ought to be conducted before the congregation?
 

VirginiaHuguenot

Puritanboard Librarian
Marriage is common to all mankind and is not the exclusive domain of Christians. Christians are to marry in the Lord and thus it is ideal that their marriages should be "solemnized" by a lawful minister. The church is rightfully involved in the marriage process for believers. But a marriage ceremony is not a sacrament and not an official worship service, though it may have elements of worship in it.

A lawful oath is described by the Confession as an element of worship, but lawful oaths are part of the workings of the judicial system too and few would argue that a court proceeding constitutes a worship service just because an oath is included. Moreover, justices of the peace are authorized to perform marriage ceremonies, precisely, as the Puritans argued, because marriage ceremonies are fundamentally a civil service, and not a religious event (though, again, the bene esse of a marriage ceremony will include religious elements).

E.L. Hebden Taylor, The Reformational Understanding of Family and Marriage, pp. 8-9, 14:

Luther denied that marriage was a sacrament and said that two conditions must be present for a sacrament: it must have been specifically instituted by Christ and must be distinctively Christian. Marriage does not qualify in either respect. Luther also taught that marriage is part of the natural order and hence it cannot be included in the sacramental system of the Church and that a religious service is not necessary for a valid marriage.

A great attempt was made by the Puritans to continue the work of the reformation of family and marriage begun by Luther and Calvin. Thus they tried to establish it upon a civil rather than religious basis by passing an Act of Parliament in 1644 which asserted that 'marriage to be no sacrament, nor peculiar to the church of God but common to mankind and of public interest to every commonwealth.' The Act added, 'notwithstanding, that it was expedient that marriage should be solemnized by a lawful minister of the Word.' A more radical Act in 1653 swept away this provision and made marriage purely a civil matter to be performed by the Justice of the Peace, the age of consent for man was established at sixteen years, and for a woman at fourteen.
To argue that marriage ceremonies are fundamentally religious worship services is to delegitimize any marriage ceremony performed outside the church and to exalt the same to sacramental status as does the Roman Catholic Church.

Thus, weddings may be conducted on the Lord's Day, but it is not necessary and not ideal. The wedding feast at Cana ought to be instructive as to why.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top