God, Marriage, and Family written by Andreas J. Kostenberger with David W. Jones, this book describes things that goes on in our marriage and family today. “We live in a time crisis regarding marriage and the family, and only by a return to the biblical foundation can these institutions be rebuilt. To provide an integrated, biblical treatment of the full range of marriage and family issues, the authors of God, Marriage, and Family examine what Scripture says about God’s purpose for humans in their marriage and family interactions. Their examination covers the special issues stemming from marriage, childbearing, singleness, homosexuality, and divorce and remarriage.”
The authors were doing researched during his school years that encourage him to come out with this book. Therefore, his point of view, “Episcopalians have appointed an openly practicing homosexual as bishop for the first time in their history. The courts and public officials have ruled, enacted, and spoken our in favor of same-sex marriages. The media, too, tend to be sympathetic to gay right issues. Other in contemporary government has gone on record as favoring a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman.” Throughout the chapters we would discover these topics such as a, “the current culture crisis: rebuilding the foundation, leaving and cleaving: marriage in the Old Testament and No longer two, but one: Marriage in the New Testament, the nature of marriage: sacrament, contract, or covenant, the ties that bind: family in the Old Testament and The Christian family: family in the New Testament.” Additionally, “ to have or not to have children: special issues related to the family, requiring the wisdom of Solomon: special issues related to the family, which he implies some point of as a part of our today problems for majority such as a, childlessness and medical ethics, abortion, contraception, artificial reproductive technologies. Undivided devotion to the Lord: the divine gift of singleness, abandoning nature relations: the biblical verdict on homosexuality, separating what God has joined together: divorce and remarriage, faithful husbands: qualifications for church leadership and finally, uniting all things in Him: concluding synthesis.”
Premarital sex and cohabitation are quickly becoming the standard. With the rise of “starter marriages,” divorce now outpaces successful marriages by a small margin. Single-parents homes, while sometimes appropriate to applaud, are becoming the ideal for independent minds seeking to build a family without being part of a team. Some married couples choose not to have families at all. Homosexuality is no longer considered aberrant behavior, but rather a perfectly viable alternative lifestyle. This is the cultural norm and to question it is to invite accusations of misogyny, sexism, hate speech, and religious terrorism. I do not envy Mr. Köstenberger’s position. However, he boldly steps into the fray and posits Biblical truth without compromise.
The book opens with Köstenberger laying out the current cultural crisis that exists. He also notes that there is very little literature addressing this crisis. There are many titles peppering the shelves that deal with peripheral issues that might help in the short run, but nothing holistic and integrative in its approach to the crisis at hand.
Subsequently, Köstenberger takes time showing people the shape and contour of marriage in both the Old and New Testaments. He deftly shows how the concept of marriage and the family was rooted in the Creation narrative and how and why that has become skewed in our vision, beginning then and travelling forward to the present day. He spends a considerable amount of time looking at the roles and responsibilities of husbands to their wives and vice versa. I think that this is an important section to include, as so many Christian “self-help” books place the responsibility on the woman to make sure she is taking care of her marital duties, so as to keep the husband satisfied and/or faithful to his marriage vows. While this is an important part of the equation, it has allowed men to act like boys for far too long. Men have a specific and engendered responsibility towards their wives that are often skirted around or morphed into some power mad degradation of what they were meant to be. He also spends some time briefly addressing some of the violations of God’s ideal, such as polygamy and adultery. His time spent in the New Testament is equally moving and impressive, as he makes the case that echoes of Christian marriage in the Old Testament are more fully realized in the New, just as the Old Testament points toward the advent of Christ and the establishment of “the kingdom of God.” The rest of the title unfolds in much the same fashion, Köstenberger moving from a view of marriage in the Old and New Testaments to a view of families in the two shares equally of Scripture. Addressing such topics as child-bearing, child-rearing and discipline, singleness, homosexuality, divorce and remarriage, and faithful husbands as leaders of the home and Christ’s Church, God, Marriage, and Family is resolute in its commitment to “rebuilding the Biblical foundation,” yet sensitive in its common sense approach.
After reading this book, both men and women will take a good long look in the mirror and question whether they make the cut. If they answer this question negatively and are mature in their faith, they will make the tough but necessary changes to salvage their marriages and families, hopefully bringing them into a right relationship with God. The great thing about this book is, while it is not comprehensive, it covers a lot of bases. And while Köstenberger gives a lot of sound advice, he seems to know that no two marriage or families are alike, making his counsel amenable to various contexts. However, he pulls no thump when it comes to universal truths regarding Christian morality in relation to marriage and family.