The good folks at Desiring God have done it again.
True to their mission to promote the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all peoples by providing excellent resources at rock bottom prices they recently made available case lot quantities of John Piper’s first rate book on Christian marriage for a ridiculously low price. I purchased a case and determined to make This Momentary Marriage: A Parable of Permanence, (Crossway, 2009, 191 pages) our November resource of the month.
Piper explains his purpose in writing this way:
The aim of this book is to enlarge your vision of what marriage is. As Bonhoeffer says, it is more than your love for each other. Vastly more. Its meaning is infinitely great. I say that with care. The meaning of marriage is the display of the covenant-keeping love between Christ an his people (p. 15).
In the first third of the book, the author painstakingly unpacks that overarching theme showing how marriage between a husband and a wife ultimately points to the mystery that is Christ’s union with His church (Eph. 5:32). He shows how the gospel informs and shapes Christian marriage in chapters like Staying Married is Not Mainly About Staying in Love and God’s Showcase of Covenant-Keeping Grace and Forgiving and Forbearing and Pursuing Conformity to Christ in the Covenant.
In the second third of the book, Piper gives special attention to the responsibility of the husband to to practice what he calls lionhearted and lamblike headship and the responsibility of the wife to practice what he refers to as fearless submission. Rarely have I read a more balanced treatment of these challenging subjects.
The final third includes a brilliant twist one would rarely expect in a book on Christian marriage – two chapters on singleness! Single in Christ: A Name better Than Sons and Daughters, chapter 9, is a must read for anyone struggling with pangs of loneliness and feelings of being second class in the body of Christ for the absence of a spouse. Singleness, Marriage, and the Christian Virtue of Hospitality, chapter 10, lays down some challenges for both kinds of stewardship in the body of Christ. Singles, don’t think for a minute that you cannot profit from a book like this on marriage! These two chapters offer rich comfort and stirring conviction for your soul, if you will have them.
Along with the challenging subject of singleness, Piper also tackles sexual intimacy, childbearing, and divorce and remarriage. As always in all these things, he anchors his views in Scripture as he understands the Bible in each of these areas and writes with a pastoral heart for the peaks and valleys experienced by all in traversing the relational aspects of what it means to be male and female together.
Multiple copies of this book are now available in our resource center for only $5 each. For a free PDF download of the same book from Desiring God click here.
Here is my challenge, particularly to our married households in OGC. Christmas is coming. Let us determine that we will give ourselves and our church stronger marriages this Christmas. I want to challenge as many of you as are willing to take up the charge to get a copy, husbands and wives, and to read through this together, praying, discussing, and sharing all along how God would strengthen, change, and grow your relationship.
Whether your marriage suffers from particular distress right now or enjoys a season and pattern of blessedness, you can profit from this read. Pray with me that God will do a work in our households here at the end of 2012!