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Thursday, September 3, 2009

Book Review - God, Marriage, & Family

As our culture continues to abandon traditional views of marriage and family, confusion is on the rise in the church regarding issues such as divorce and remarriage, gender roles in marriage, and homosexuality. Several Christian denominations have embraced an egalitarian understanding of how husbands and wives are to relate to one another. Some of these same denominations have endorsed homosexual marriage and even have openly gay clergy in the upper levels of their organizations.

Other denominations that have not gone down such paths are nonetheless failing to instruct their people with biblical truth regarding these issues. Felt needs preaching leaves little to no time for solid doctrinal teaching about God’s design for marriage and the family. It is a very dangerous situation for the Church.

Dr. Andreas J. Köstenberger, professor of New Testament at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, has recognized the great need for clear teaching on all issues related to the family, and has delivered this teaching in his book, God, Marriage, and Family: Rebuilding the Biblical Foundation.

Essentially, this book is a biblical theology of the family. Some may shutter at the phrase “biblical theology” since many times it is code for “scholarly writing that is almost unintelligible to the average person.” The phrase can also mean “high-minded theoretical, theological hairsplitting with no practical value to everyday life.” Let me assure you as someone of average intellect who highly values practical teaching that this book is written for the average Joe and is intensely practical.

It is also thoroughly biblical. There is no conjecture or philosophizing in this book. Köstenberger simply brings the text of Scripture to bear on a plethora of issues facing 21st century Christians. Appealing to both Old Testament and New Testament teaching, he answers questions such as:

What does it mean to "leave and cleave"?

What are the biblical roles and responsibilities of husbands, wives, and children, respectively?

What is the purpose of marriage?

What should a Christian believe about the various forms of contraception and artificial reproductive technologies?

What does the Bible teach regarding singleness?

What is the biblical verdict on homosexuality?

Does the Bible permit divorce and remarriage? Under what circumstances?

Is it biblical for divorced men to serve as elders and deacons?

The book is refreshing in that it draws every conclusion on every issue directly from the pages of Scripture. It is also encouraging in that it demonstrates repeatedly that the Bible does indeed address the hotbutton issues of our day and is completely sufficient to serve as our moral and spiritual compass. Simply put, this is the most helpful book on the issues of marriage and family that I have ever read, both in terms of the breadth of issues covered and the depth and accuracy of the biblical answers.

Once again, you don’t have to take my word for it. The book has been endorsed by J.I. Packer, John Piper, Kent Hughes, Mark Dever, Russell Moore, Wayne Grudem, Dan Block, Paige Patterson, Ligon Duncan, Bruce Ware, Tom Schreiner, and Randy Stinson.

This book is a fine tool. I am sure I’ll be referring to it myself for years to come and I happily recommend it to you.

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