Voddie Baucham and the Bayly Brothers Have Weird Ideas About Marriage

Julie Anne over at Spiritual Sounding Board has a scathing (and hilarious) analysis of part one of a marriage series Tim and David Bayly posted back in 2007 (based entirely on a misreading of Proverbs 30:18-19). Here’s an excerpt from the Baylys’ own post, which they entitle Wooing as Warfare*:

The young man who pursues marriage enters a foreign land where he wages war. On the hinges of that battle lie happiness or shame.

But though a potential bride may be deeply loved, she’s also at some level the foe. To achieve victory the young man must not only win her, he must defeat her and her family, snatching her from their bosom, converting her to himself, breaking her natural bonds with father and mother, brother and sister, nurse and friend, dog and home. There’s little that’s tender about it.

It’s a simple message for those seeking a wife: if you don’t get it right, men, you face nothing but shame; defeat your wife and you get happiness!

What a marriage that would make.

Just in case you think that goofy advice is a fluke, here’s an excerpt from the fifth installment in the Bayly series, this time relying on Exodus 22:16-17:

Scripture reveals certain fatherly privileges that apply only to daughters. A father can veto his daughter’s vows and God will hold her guiltless.

Yes, that’s what father’s could do … if they lived under the Old Covenant in ancient Israel, that is. And notice what the Baylys call it: a privilege.

That’s not the way we live now, though. Father’s are not the rulers of their grown daughters. We’re under a New Covenant where every person in God’s family is indwelled by the Spirit of Christ. Each person is ruled by Christ alone.

More Fatherly Courtship Nonsense

Usually I wouldn’t bother commenting on a seven year old blog post from some people who apparently don’t know how to read wisdom literature like Proverbs and have no idea that the New Covenant has superseded the laws of the Old Covenant. But it piqued my interest since I’d recently come across a similarly misguided take on a father’s prerogatives and powers.

Voddie Baucham wrote the book What He Must Be: …If He Wants to Marry My Daughter**. One chapter is called “Don’t Send a Woman to Do a Man’s Job”***, and it is all about the father’s responsibility to do the thinking for his daughter when it comes to choosing a husband, in presenting his daughter to the man as if she were some sort of prize.

Quite simply, our jobs as fathers is to present our daughters to their husbands as virgin brides (Deuteronomy 22:13-21).

Somewhat like the Baylys’ talk of a father’s “privilege”, Baucham writes of a father “presenting” his daughter to another man.

That sounds creepy.

It’s also unsupported in Scripture. Where in any New Testament passage do we read of a father’s duty to a daughter’s future husband to make sure she’s a virgin?

Baucham’s teaching leads to only one conclusion: Fathers, if you can’t guarantee that your daughter is a virgin on her wedding night then you’re a failure!

(Here’s a bonus, though: mothers are off the hook. There’s nothing in Baucham’s book about this presenting-the-daughters-as-virgins being in a mother’s job description. As Baucham says, that’s “our jobs as fathers.” Yay for moms.)

Voddie Baucham, the Bayly Brothers and Modern Pharisaism

Jesus warned us about people who create unbiblical burdens, people like Voddie Baucham and Tim and David Bayly:

They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them. …

Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are. (Matthew 23:4, 15.)

Baucham and the Baylys preach burdensome legalism, and they would do well to heed Jesus’ warning.

The Unburdensome Gospel of Rest and Peace

Here’s what the gospel is really like for those who follow Jesus:

Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:29-30.)

Compare the teachings from Baucham and the Baylys with Jesus’ description of his own teachings. Their ways lead to one heavy burden after another. Jesus’ teachings give our souls rest. He offers rest even to Baucham and the Bayly brothers. They should take it.

The way of Christ is not a burden.

It’s a blessing. For you and your family.


*Wooing as Warfare? I can’t make this stuff up, folks.

**Seriously, I’m not making these titles up.

***Still not making them up.

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66 Responses to Voddie Baucham and the Bayly Brothers Have Weird Ideas About Marriage

  1. Jeannie says:

    Stop making stuff up! Oh, it’s real. Sorry. I do think I prefer Jesus’ approach.

    “Breaking her natural bonds with her dog” is kind of funny, though.

  2. I read that post by Tim and David Bayly. In general, I actually do agree with their idea/theme of criticizing modern courtship.I think we’ve tried to make up formulas and guidelines with the well-intentioned purpose of protecting people; but in actuality this courtship system can’t nullify the fact that relationships, love, and marriage are complex, challenging, and sometimes painful. But, regarding the Bayly’s polarized view of gender roles in this process, I couldn’t disagree more. Their views seem to promote the idea that men should use violence and power to bend their wives/daughters into submission. Is this how we want to portray Christ’s relationship to his bride? I view the egalitarian/complementarian debate as a “non-essential” issue; it’s okay for Christians to disagree on this. But Tim and David Bayly seem to have gone off the deep end here by associating wooing with violence…

    • Tim says:

      I think one of their points is that Christ defeated the church, but we all know that Christ rescued his church by defeating Satan and death. Their take on wooing as warfare is just plain goofy.

  3. Erica M. says:

    “Wooing as Warfare” Ohhh like when my sister-in-law was “kidnapped” at her wedding and rescued by my brother-in-law wielding a wooden sword?

    Oh, no, wait. That’s not what they’re talking about. It should be, however.

  4. Aimee Byrd says:

    Some of the dangerous views coming out of the Patriarchy movement make me want to emphasize even more the importance of women being strong in their theology.

    • Tim says:

      Great point, Aimee. Studying the word of God and understanding sound doctrine keep people from falling for the foolishness people like Baucham and the Baylys teach.

  5. Mary Anne says:

    Yeah, the Old Covenant standard has made me puzzle and growl more than once. The main instance that comes to mind is when I once asked a pastor why there was a test to see if a wife was unfaithful (can’t recall the exact passage, but it had to do with drinking water with ashes sprinkled in it and if the wife was unfaithful she’d get sick in unspeakable ways) but no test for an unfaithful husband. He hemmed and hawed quite a bit over that . . .

    I can see now that with this test an otherwise vulnerable woman could prove her fidelity so her husband couldn’t continue to heckle her about it, but it did seem awfully one-sided. As for wooing as warfare: if I want to be wooed warfare-style, I’ll fall in love with a Viking. 😉

    Can’t help a little sigh at the idea of Colonel Brandon fighting a duel over me, though. *g*

    • Tim says:

      Now I have an image of Col. Brandon dressed up as a Viking, Mary Anne.

      • Mary Anne says:

        Oh, dear. Now I have seen that and I can’t unsee it!!! But I’m not sure I really want to. *g* Hmmm, now who would carry the Viking look better, Alan Rickman or David Morrissey . . .

        Colonel Brandon might pull it off, you know. “Beware the fury of a patient man” and all that. The quotation always seemed tailor-made for him.

  6. SJBeals says:

    Eek. So weird. Two thoughts: this sounds like men who know nothing but ensuring that they are in control at all times. Their happiness is all wound up in “conquering.” (big ego, much?) Do they not understand the sovereignty of God over all?
    Two: thankful my dad taught me that any guy who ever tries to “lord” over you is a jerk. Men are to lead their families by example to the foot of the cross and to teach them about Christ. Leading does not mean lording…especially when following the methods of Christ.

  7. SJBeals says:

    And thirdly, 😉 what kind of woman falls in love with a man like this! THAT is always a mind blower for me! WHAT are these girls thinking? They’re starting off life as perceived enemies –not as one.

    • Tim says:

      I hope my daughter never meets one of these guys, but if she does she’s smart and will know how to handle him: “There’s the door. Leave me alone or I’ll call the cops.”

      • SJBeals says:

        I’ve had my first experience with “safe houses” these past few months and helping a friend get a restraining order taken out against her husband who has verbally abused her and the kids and then tried to choke her two weeks ago. I can’t even believe some of the stuff he said to her…but even more unbelievable was a letter written by their pastor where he encourages her to stay with this angry man. She called me up confused, b/c she wanted to do what was “right.” The pastor said she needed to drop the 1 year restraining order so that “life could be normal” for the kids, with both mom and dad in the home. Is life ever normal with a man who makes you afraid for your life? How is this her problem again and why isn’t this guy getting help? I told her that she needed to keep the restraining order so that she could “simply stay alive” and not worry for her life. Her husband will have to “man up” and face the consequences of his actions. If you’re “man enough” to break the law, you better be man enough to take the consequences. Still so mad over that stupid letter.

  8. SJBeals says:

    NO.KIDDING. Peter told me that I should have given her a hand gun and a copy of “Sleeping With The Enemy” for Christmas. (He was totally joking.)

  9. SJBeals says:

    Like that scene in Despicable Me where Gru tells the neighbor that his dog keeps making messes on his lawn, and the neighbor brushes it off like all dogs do that…and Gru threatens/comments, “Unless they’re dead. Just kidding. BUT, it’s true.” That’s one of our favorite lines around her. 🙂

    • Mary Anne says:

      I love the Despicable Me films. They manage to be cute and smart and sweet–and that’s a hard combo to pull off.

      One of my fave lines: “That book was accidentally destroyed maliciously!”

  10. lauradroege says:

    When I read this post, I immediately thought of all those bodice-ripper romance novels, where the hero seduces the heroine, more or less by physical force, and she falls for it. There are all kinds of variations on this theme running around in the romance genre. Just yesterday, I was reading Goodreads reviews of a top-selling New Adult/Young Adult romance novel, and a reviewer expressed dismay that young women were reading about yet another “hero” who’s a physically strong jerk and a “heroine” who falls for him even as the couple fight and bicker their way into the bedroom. “What kind of message are they absorbing?” she asked. The same message that these Christian teachers are sending, apparently: wooing is warfare. Strange and oh-so-wrong.

    • Tim says:

      “Strange and oh-so-wrong” – I could have used that for a title, Laura!

    • Mary Anne says:

      I used to take part in an online role-playing game and one of the running gags had to do with certain characters reading a bodice-ripper called Bride of the Highwayman. In real life, of course, being held up by a highwayman would’ve been terrifying, but in fiction it’s all great steamy romance, etc. At one point, a character in the game made a satiric comment along the lines of, “What will women be reading in 200 years? Bride of the Burglar?” Your comment about seduction by force took me right back to that game–shades of Northanger Abbey! Good times . . .

  11. Bronwyn Lea says:

    Where “I fell for him” is another way of saying “he felled me”. Yikes. (and the pictures on JA’s blog are hilarious. Although it feels wrong to laugh.)

    • Tim says:

      It feels wrong, but then again I think it does us good to laugh at what people like Baucham and the Baylys teach. It’s ridiculous.

  12. Oh, dear Brother — but that we war for mens’ souls!

    • Tim says:

      Too right, Serge! These guys think we should war for mere morality. Jesus is the one who has won our souls from Satan’s grasp.

  13. stephanielynn75 says:

    Reblogged this on Garden Variety Neurosis Redux and commented:
    Good news, ladies! You don’t have to ANY thinking for yourself when it comes to choosing a mate! Your dad can, and should, do it for you! In fact, it’s your dad’s job to “make sure” you’re a virgin on your wedding night, though I have no idea how daddy could ever guarantee that.
    For more in patriarchal bull—- teaching, please continue reading…

  14. Pingback: Rant: Stupid Girl; Screw the Patriarchy | Garden Variety Neurosis Redux

  15. some people are scary (the B and B’s)

  16. Don Johnson says:

    I am egal. so of course I think B, B, & B are way off. But I also think you are doing a little bit of tossing the baby out with the bathwater in your response. altho I agree your method is commonly done. I am referring to your claim that they “have no idea that the New Covenant has superseded the laws of the Old Covenant.” I think your claim would be a surprise to Paul, for example, see Acts 21 where he acts to refute the false claim that he “forsakes Moses” by which I think is meant the Pentateuch AKA Torah of Moses. It is fine if you do not wish to discuss this but if you do, I am available.

    • Tim says:

      You can search my archives for my take on law. Im not antinomian, but anti legalist.

      • Don Johnson says:

        Of course, everyone that thinks about it wants to avoid license or legalism and so thinks they are in the middle, but the question is always what Scripture says and what it means by what it says. My point is that I think Jesus or Paul would be surprised to hear that the laws found in the OT are no longer applicable, as they constantly referred back to them.

        • Tim says:

          When Paul went through the cleansing in Acts, it was an acknowledgment of his status as a Jew. The law has never bound Gentiles, as he pointed out in Romans.

        • Don Johnson says:

          Since you did not give a ref. in Romans, I have no idea what passage you might be referring to.

          Rom 2:14 For whenever gentiles, who do not possess the Law, do instinctively what the Law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the Law.
          Rom 2:15 They show that what the Law requires is written in their hearts, a fact to which their own consciences testify, and their thoughts will either accuse or excuse them
          Rom 2:16 on that day when God, through Jesus the Messiah, will judge people’s secrets according to my gospel.

          This is very different than saying that Torah does not bind gentiles in any way. If that was the case as you claim, then Rom 2:14-16 has no meaning, how can gentiles do what the Law/Torah requires if it requires nothing of them?

          Paul is using the description of the new covenant found in Jer 31, the Law/Torah written on one’s heart. Check out Jer 31 (recall it is written in Hebrew to Israelites/Jews) and you will see that the new part of the new covenant is not the contents of the laws, it is where the laws are written, not on stone or scrolls, but on one’s heart.

        • Tim says:

          Romans 2:14 supports the point I was making.

        • Don Johnson says:

          Since I quoted that verse first as a contrast to your claims, obviously we read it very differently.

          Obviously, the Bayley bros are wrong, the question is why they are wrong. You think it obvious that the “New Covenant has superseded the laws of the Old Covenant”.

          I think this suggested cure is worse than the disease. Why? Because it means that God is inconsistent and even worse, God gave laws that were not good. My take is that God gave laws that were always good in the culture in which they were given. In other ANE patriarchal cultures, a woman could not make a covenant: the Torah was an advance in that cultural environment in that a woman could make a covenant, as long as the male over her agreed when he first heard about it. Was this ideal? No, but it was a step forward. In later cultures without assumptions of patriarchy (like in the West today), she can make her own covenants.

        • Tim says:

          Don, I am with Paul on the inherent goodness of the law. I also am with him in that it is for those who are without Christ so they will come to a realization of their need for God.

  17. Lucy says:

    Ah yes, the old ‘women must be conquered and then they will be grateful for a strong man to lead them through life!’ Great validation for domestic abuse. I started laughing as I read the quotes you posted and then stopped because, argh, people actually believe this.

    I also find it so amazing that people can actually say ridiculous things like ‘fathers must present their daughters as virgin brides’ with a straight face. I wonder if mothers have an equal requirement to present their sons as virgin bridegrooms’!

  18. Kathi says:

    Yay for moms! I can sit back, sip my gin and tonic and watch my husband control my daughter.

    Oh, wait, she’s off to college and not living at home. I guess he missed his chance. We do have a son still at home, but it seems like sons are off the hook for the virginal groom message.

  19. TeresaR says:

    You see this symbolism in modern weddings where the bride and her father make the grand entrance, but the groom just stands there and his family is a non-entity.

    It demonstrates the saying that a man never knows how unimportant he is until his own wedding. It also underlines the idea that women are valuable when they are young, pretty and fertile, and men are valuable as middle-aged patriarchs.

  20. Pingback: Women Pursuing Men Is Biblical | Tim's Blog – Just One Train Wreck After Another

  21. In some ways you reckon,Tim. Wow !

  22. “The young man who pursues marriage enters a foreign land where he wages war. On the hinges of that battle lie happiness or shame.

    But though a potential bride may be deeply loved, she’s also at some level the foe. To achieve victory the young man must not only win her, he must defeat her and her family, snatching her from their bosom, converting her to himself, breaking her natural bonds with father and mother, brother and sister, nurse and friend, dog and home. There’s little that’s tender about it.”

    Sounds like the wizard of oz “…and her little dog too.”
    Facepalm, sad desk facepalm for three hours.

  23. Pingback: Voddie Baucham and the Bayly Brothers Have Weird Ideas About Marriage – GBFSV SPIRITUAL ABUSE VICTIMS' RECOVERY

  24. Pingback: Should I Encourage My Son Toward “Feminine” Things? – ezer

  25. Ruth says:

    Wow. Our church has just had an open forum on domestic violence. We advertised in the local papers and on Facebook. Speakers were from our ministry, local support groups, those sharing how to help a victim the safest way, a local representative from a men’s anger management group, and importantly , former victims told their story.
    Minister have a very good talk the previous week about reporting violence victims, reporting to the police, helping those in need, trusting our fellowship to support victims and give them a voice and back up their rightsit was well supported and reported I local media. Wonderful!
    This Sunday, a man pulled his wife, swearing and abusing her, out of the congregation during a hymn, and we are trying to follow up and help. It happened so quickly, and as we were standing was harder to see.
    We prayed for this couple at our weekly Pastoral Care meeting……battle of the sexes in the worst possible way. Love my church, we are currently voting for equality in leadership with female pastors and deacons.
    Meetings run by a freak person, everyone allowed to express a polite opinion which was very hard for a few. Voting soon. Exciting times!

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