Book Preview: Marriage: Its Foundation, Theology, and Mission in A Changing World
Recently I had the opportunity of contributing a chapter to a book compilation on marriage called: Marriage: Its Foundation, Theology, and Mission in A Changing World (Moody, 2018). The five book editors worked hard to put together an in-depth resource (383 pages) addressing a myriad of theological, cultural, and practical issues related to marriage today. I have been able to read through most of it and it is simply fantastic.
This book is a must-read for anyone interested in thinking through biblical guidance for approaching the marriage issue today. Here are a few takeaways from the book.
First, the editors (and authors) work hard to encourage a thoughtful response to our cultural moment without being alarmist. They don’t shy away from calling people to action, and being faithful to Scripture, but are not responding in an over-the-top fashion that can create an us-vs-them, fear-based mentality. The tone is refreshing.
Second, the book has remarkable depth. The authors cover a range of issues, such as the Trinitarian meaning of sex and marriage, biblical counseling, gender differences, divorce, and more. While some of the chapters are more interesting than others, I consistently found myself saying, “Wow, that’s fascinating. I had not thought of that and need to reflect on it some more.” This is a book that made me think about marriage holistically.
My chapter is entitled, “A Philosophical Affirmation of Marriage from Natural Law.” I discuss some of the historical precedents that have led us to our cultural moment of affirming same-sex marriage, and also offer three ways to make a case for natural marriage. As I state in my introduction, “It’s not that the case for natural marriage has been made but found wanting—the case simply has not been made…This needs to change.”
Third, while Marriage is written primarily by professors and experts, it is accessible to non-specialists. Some authors wade more deeply into theological details than others, but the book is eminently readable. It seems to be written for the motivated Christian—student, pastor, parent, church leader, etc. Yet, both experts and novices will take away valuable insights from this book.
Here’s the bottom line. If you are interested in wrestling with the question of how Christians can live out a biblical vision of marriage in our contemporary culture, this book is a must read. You may disagree with some authors, as I do, but I found every essay thoughtful, interesting, and relevant.
I have already asked a good friend to read the first chapter, so we can discuss it together. This is a book I am going to read carefully, discuss with some friends, and go back to quite often. I hope you will consider doing the same.