What constitutes a valid marriage? How should you go about finding a spouse? Is there a purpose to engagement? Why, and under what circumstances, does God permit divorce? Is abuse a ground for divorce? When is remarriage advisable?
When it comes to counseling related to marriage, remarriage, and divorce, the questions and issues can be especially complex. But we can turn confidently to the Word of God for answers, knowing that it will speak to every situation with profound wisdom. Drawing on decades of marriage counseling experience, Newheiser explores questions relating to marriage—unpacking the answers given in God’s Word. This useful reference work for pastors or counselors can also be read straight through for a scriptural overview of the topic or assigned in small sections to counselees.
As an Irish Catholic who is on their second marriage the subject of marriage, divorce and remarriage is particularly close to my heart. The Catholic Church used the bible as their reason to disallow me from my own faith despite the fact that United States law says your spouse can just leave and divorce you regardless of what the church says. Meaning the rest of us who are trying to abide by church law become innocent victims punished by being tossed out through no fault of our own. I was incredibly curious where this book was going to fall on that spectrum; was yet another person going to tell me the Church is right and I am barred from my faith or is someone else going to stand by my side to point out the hypocrisy in this?
Although the audience for this seemed to be geared more towards ministerial staff than a layperson it’s still written in a way that your average person should be able to grasp the concepts and writing.
I liked that he steered away from the oft quoted idea that procreation is a foundational purpose of marriage because that always irritated me when you consider the number of childless couples. Does different genetics make their relationship any less valid than someone who can have kids? What about couples who choose NOT to have them for whatever the reason?
You will come away learning about the various scriptures that pertain to marriage, divorce and remarriage as he also provides the various viewpoints so at times I felt like he wasn’t take a hard stance one way or the other but just wanted to provide information so people could come to their own conclusions in a way. His writing is easy to understand and he presented his arguments in a logical, well thought out manner but still at times I felt like he wasn’t really trying to persuade the reader towards one side or the other.
In the end what I discovered is there is a lot of conflicting information and sets of rules that apply depending on how you can spin things or the position you hold. Ironically the position I came to after reading this it seems it would be better for the Church to stay out of marriage and let the government handle it as religions make things too complicated and too often punish the innocent.
If you’re pro-gay marriage I seriously would NOT recommend this book. I think only traditional bible believing Christians will appreciate this and get any true benefit.
Thank you to Netgalley and P&R Publishing for allowing me to review this book.
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*synopsis and pic from netgalley.com