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Category Archives: Marriage

Book Review of Rosaria Champagne Butterfield’s “The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert.”

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“Insightful Thoughts From a Beautiful Follower of Jesus”

Book Review By Dr. David P. Craig

Rosaria Champagne Butterfield (what a beautiful name) has written a delightful book highlighting her conversion to Christ and instruction on many topics that are thought provoking and insightful. Among the variety of topics covered in this book are evangelism; hospitality; education; homosexuality; church planting; male and female roles in complementarity; hermeneutics; dating; marriage; parenting; foster care; adoption; and worship.

The author writes in an entertaining way, and yet shares insights with tremendous depth and cogent logic. My wife and I have both enjoyed discussing the variety of topics brought forth by Butterfield and are grateful for her wisdom and biblical insight. Though we don’t agree with all of Butterfield’s conclusions we especially appreciated her honesty; critique of Christian legalism; and insights into reaching out to those who identify themselves in any way other than “Christian.”

As a pastor in a very secular community I was given many illustrations that will help me become better at reaching out to those who are “outsiders” of our church community. I am grateful that Rosaria has shared her “secret thoughts” publicly. As a result I think that my wife and I have been equipped to be “salt and light” in our community and will be more effective in our outreach to those who desperately need Christ (as do we) in our community.

Rosaria is to be commended for her service to our Lord as a Christian wife, mother, educator, evangelist, and disciple maker. Any follower of Christ would be encouraged in their pursuit of Christlikeness and better reflect His inner and outer beauty as a result of reading and practicing the wisdom articulated in this delightful book.

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Book Review on Stu Weber’s “Four Pillars Of A Man’s Heart”

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“Required Reading For Every Man”

Book Review By Dr. David P. Craig

I’m one of those guys who is always about ten to twenty years behind on the latest books, television shows and movies. Stu Weber’s book came out many years ago (In the 1990’s) but as I prepared for a men’s retreat I’ll be leading in a few weeks I think this book stood out more than all the others I read as a book I would whole-heartedly recommend to any man. I missed it when it first came out, but I’m sure glad I read it. I would argue that this book is more relevant today than when Weber first penned it.

Many Christian men are clueless today about what it means to be a man. If men take their cues from our culture they are in serious trouble. However, if they look to the Scriptures for guidance they will find exactly what they need to know about biblical manhood. Stu Weber provides an essential guide to biblical manhood in this book. He identifies what he calls the “Four Pillars of Biblical Manhood.” These pillars when functioning in balance make for a man who is strong and balanced in the way that God designed him to be.

The four pillars (all found in Genesis 2:15-18) in a man’s heart are that he is to be a provider (King); protector (Warrior); teacher (Mentor); and a connector (Friend). If he is out of balance in any of these areas it will lead to chaos. However, if he is balanced in these areas of his life with his relationships; work; and ministry it will result in a tremendous impact on his marriage; family; church; and community/nation.

Weber has written a book that is biblical; full of illustrations and applications; and that is theologically sound. He defines, identifies, and explains clearly God’s design for men in a way that is logical and practical. This is a book that any man of any age will find encouragement, hope, and motivation to be all that he was designed to be for the purposes of God as a man in his brief time on earth.

 

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Book Review Of Stu Weber’s “Tender Warrior”

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“God’s Design For Biblical Manhood”

Book Review by Dr. David P. Craig

I can hardly believe the speed with which God’s design for biblical manhood and womanhood has been decaying in American culture. I am so grateful for the legacy that my own parents have left behind for their four children, and multiple grand, and great grand children. My parents weren’t perfect by any means, but they were godly and strove to be biblical in every aspect of life which nowadays is saying a ton. In a culture where idolatry, selfishness, and any semblance of character and integrity are woefully lacking – this book offers much needed help for men who take God, marriage, parenting,, and friendship seriously.

Using personal examples, biblical examples, and principles based on God’s design for biblical manhood exemplified in Jesus, Stu Weber has written a very good biblical manual for men to help them think and act in accordance with God’s design for manhood. In a day where confusion reigns in regard to God’s purpose for men and women this book gives clarity and practical teaching on the purpose, calling, meaning, and design for manhood. I highly recommend Weber’s book as a helpful guide for men of any age.

 

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Book Review on Dwight Bernier’s – One: A Gospel Guide to Pre-Marriage Counseling

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God-glorifying One Stop Resource For Counselors and Pastors

Book Reviewed by Dr. David P. Craig

As a pastor for the past thirty years I have done my share of pre-marital and post-marital counseling. I have found more and more that couples spend more time planning their wedding day, than they do preparing for being married to a partner for life. A man and a woman will spend four to eleven years post high school for their careers, but often will not even crack open one book to help them with their marriage. This book provides seven guided sessions for a Christian couple to be well-prepared for marriage.

Bernier wisely writes at the outset, “The great challenge in marriage is to lose ‘me’ and become ‘us’ while our hearts, in contrast, want to glorify ‘me’…the great hope in marriage is that Jesus is changing ‘us’ and our hearts…The Spirit of God begins the process of morphing our motives to be more in line with the kingdom of God rather than the kingdom that we once belonged to.” In seven sessions Bernier provides a Christo-centric approach as being absolutely essential and foundational to building a great marriage. In seven sessions there are assigned readings from three excellent resources (not included – these books need to be purchased apart from this guide): Dave Harvey’s When Sinners Say I Do; Timothy Keller’s The Meaning of Marriage; and Justin Buzzard’s Date Your Wife.

In the seven sessions Bernier includes homework assignments from the readings; questions to discuss based on Scripture; personal application questions; and helps the counselor weave the gospel into the story of marriage. Each session contains a list of tasks to complete before each subsequent meeting. The various topics the book covers are: biblical love, friendship, glorifying God through marriage, roles and God’s design for marriage, how to be merciful and forgiving, implementing soul care via the gospel, and sex.

Bernier has provided a wonderful resource for pastors and counselors. It’s literally a step by step guide that is gospel centered, Christ glorifying, and covers the biblical foundations for establishing a God-glorifying marriage. I think it’s the best resource of its kind that I’ve seen and thus highly recommend it as an effective resource for those who value God’s design for marriage.

 

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Q & A with Dr. Tim Keller on “The Meaning of Marriage”

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Interview Conducted by Karen Swallow Prior/ NOVEMBER 1, 2011

Why the pastor says gender roles are changing and how the church can be more effective in promoting marriage.

What does your book contribute to the conversation about marriage that other books have not?

It’s not simply a how-to manual. Many Christian marriage books are “here’s how to work on your problems.” On the other hand, the book is not just theological or “here’s the biblical view of marriage.” The most recent and the best-selling Christian books on marriage from the last few years were either theological, polemical, or absolutely practical. This is a combination of those.  Most books I know on the subject recently have not been written by pastors; they’ve been written by counselors or theologians or people like that. This book was originally a series of sermons. When you preach, the sermon usually goes from the theological to the more polemical and into the practical.

You suggest that the Bible’s teachings come “not only in well-stated propositions, but also through brilliant stories and moving poetry.” Has the contemporary church been less effective in presenting good stories about marriage than in stating propositions?

I don’t know that I would say the church has been great at laying out rules, and I don’t think it’s actually been very practical. The theological tends to be propositions. The polemical tends to be arguments. The practical uses lots of stories to give you the gist of what a good marriage should be like. Somewhere in Mystery and Manners, Flannery O’Connor was asked to put the basic point of her short story in a nutshell. She said, ‘If I could put it in a nutshell, I wouldn’t have had to write the story.’

I believe she says a story can’t be paraphrased.

Yes, that’s right. I think what she means is a story gives you an excess of meaning that no proposition could possibly convey, or even a set of propositions. There’s meaning that comes with a narrative that is certainly somewhat propositional—you can put some of it into propositions—but the impact is greater.

On a practical level, the church doesn’t do a great job of giving people a vision for what God wants marriage to be. I actually think that’s a way that my book is somewhat different in that it’s almost as much for a non-married person as for a married person. I actually think, in the end, what is very practical for both singles and married people is they need to get a breathtaking vision for what marriage should be. I don’t know if the strictly theological, strictly polemical, and strictly practical books do that.

One of the paradoxes you talk about is how the commitment of marriage actually produces freedom: the freedom to be truly ourselves, the freedom to be fully known, the freedom to be there in the future for those we love and who love us. Why do you believe that the commitment of marriage is viewed as largely anything but freeing today?

Our culture pits the two against each other. The culture says you have to be free from any obligation to really be free. The modern view of freedom is freedom from. It’s negative: freedom from any obligation, freedom from anybody telling me how I have to live my life. The biblical view is a richer view of freedom. It’s the freedom of—the freedom of joy, the freedom of realizing what I was designed to be.

If you don’t bind yourself to practice the piano for eight hours a day for ten years, you’ll never know the freedom of being able to sit down and express yourself through playing beautiful music. I don’t have that freedom. It’s very clear that to be able to do so is a freeing thing for people, with the diminishment of choice. And since freedom now is defined as all options, the power of choice, that’s freedom from. I don’t think ancient people saw these things as contradictions, but modern people do.

Your wife Kathy adheres to a complementarian view of gender roles but points out that a subdivision of labor can vary greatly within marriages and across cultures, generations, and societies. You state that cultural gender roles are not necessarily the same as biblical gender roles. Might this view might advance the egalitarian vs. complementarian debate beyond a current stalemate?

I don’t know. I would love that. Let’s just say, I hope so. I don’t have a lot of hopes right now about some of the stalemates we have in our evangelical world.

On the one hand, we say there is such a thing as male headship. It is irreducible in the home and in the church. But then, the details of what it looks like are almost completely un-spelled out. There are hints, but they are not laid out. We think it’s a principle for all times, all places, and all cultures, so if you had any list of specifics, it would make the principle less applicable. Complementarians admit the principle, but they always add a list of specifics that they treat as universal. Egalitarians won’t admit the principle. So, you might say we’re complementarians who endorse the principle that the husband and wife say “yes, the husband is the head,” but then we expect couples to come up with what that’s going to look like in their own marriage. Just don’t punt on the principle.

You describe marriage as a means for each spouse to “become their glorious future-selves through sacrificial service and spiritual friendship” and sex as one of the expressions of that relationship.  Such a purpose pre-supposes a belief in a biblical eschatology. What purpose does marriage serve for those who do not share such a belief?

It doesn’t have the vertical dimension. A Christian marriage shows me more of the gospel, shows me more of Christ’s love. But there’s no doubt that marriage has natural benefits, too. First, it creates a stable environment for the rearing of children, who can’t thrive as well anywhere else. It also brings the two genders together to complement one another and knock off the rough edges. Marriage provides the personal growth that comes through cross-gender relationships.

Do you think the question of gay marriage has been settled politically? Would it have been more effectively addressed by the church if the church had more effectively upheld and supported the biblical model of marriage?

Right now it seems as if gay marriage has the upper hand politically, but it’s hard to say whether 50 years from now gay marriage will still have public support. Gay marriage activists say that if you don’t believe in gay marriage, it’s the same as not believing in interracial marriage. They don’t realize that’s not at all the case, because the texts of the major religions do not treat the subjects of race and homosexuality the same.

What advice can you offer families who are devoting more hours to work and less to home and family because of the economy?

It’s a very hard time now economically. In the end, family has to take precedence over making money. As the saying goes, on one’s deathbed, no one says, “I wish I’d spent more time at the office.”

Source: www.christianitytoday.com (November 1, 2011)

 
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Posted by on June 20, 2014 in Marriage, Tim Keller

 

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PAUL TRIPP: 6 Essential Commitments For A Solid Marriage

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COMMITMENT #1: We will give ourselves to a regular lifestyle of confession and forgiveness.

COMMITMENT #2: We will make growth and change our daily agenda.

COMMITMENT #3: We will work together to build a sturdy bond of trust.

COMMITMENT #4: We will commit to building a relationship of love.

COMMITMENT #5: We will deal with our differences with appreciation and grace.

COMMITMENT #6: We will work to protect our marriage.

*SOURCE: Paul David Tripp. What Did You Expect?? Redeeming the Realities of Marriage. Wheaton. Crossway Books, 2010. (Many times in the book – from the Table of Contents and following).

 

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An Acronym for Showing L.O.V.E

SHOWING LOVE IS:

Couple walking on the beach

Listening when you are speaking

Offering my help when you need it

Valuing all the wonderful things you do

Encouraging you when times are tough

– Tami Stephens

 
 

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