Subscribe now

Christian Marriage

By Paul E. Brown
March 2015 | Review by Kerry Orchard
  • Publisher: Grace Publications
  • ISBN: 978-1-91013-705-5
  • Pages: 128
  • Price: 5.99
Buy this book »

Book Review

Christian Marriage
Paul E. Brown
Grace Publications
128, £5.99
ISBN: 978-1-91013-705-5
Star Rating: 5

I have now reviewed several good books for ET but this is the first one I felt merited the “outstanding” accolade.  It may be just a short volume but it contains excellent biblical advice which is sane, nuanced and pastoral.  It is what it says on the tin: “clear Christianity for our time”.

It is important to note that it deals with Christian marriage.  Paul Brown’s burden is particularly for young Christians in or contemplating marriage.  They are of course bombarded by all kinds of worldly advice from the media, humanistic education and non-Christian peers. Part 1 (26 pages): ‘Beginning with the Bible’ most helpfully sets the context for the rest of the book: Creation, Marriage and the Law of Moses and Marriage in the New Testament: the teaching of Jesus and instructions in the Letters.

Part 2: ‘Practical questions for today’ (39 pages) looks thoughtfully at singleness, marrying in the Lord, education, arranged marriage and courtship, a valid marriage (consent, commitment and consummation), polygamy, birth control and barrenness, divorce and remarriage, girls, women and widows, homosexuality and law, custom and wisdom.  He writes from a wealth of pastoral experience in multi-cultural situations.  He displays a profound understanding of human nature and the complexities that defy pat text book solutions that can otherwise be delivered with unthinking harshness, causing lasting hurt.

Part 3: ‘Christian marriage’ contains 10 short chapters covering less than 40 pages.  They are: introduction, before marriage, towards marriage, engagement, the wedding, husbands and wives, a Christian home, bringing up children, stresses and strains, and growing older.

One example will suffice to demonstrate his biblical sure-footedness and pastoral sensitivity.  When speaking of divorce and re-marriage (pages 68-73), he of course refers to the clear New Testament teaching regarding adultery and desertion.  But he also builds on Old Testament teaching that mandates the husband to care properly for his wife (respect, food, clothing, shelter and protection).  Where the opposite is found, no biblical marriage exists. This is no academic point for an abused Christian wife feeling trapped in a loveless marriage with seemingly no way out.

This should be compulsory reading for every pastor and elder in our churches.  Some will criticise its lack of footnotes and bibliography but its brevity should encourage even the busiest and most bookshy to read it.

Kerry Orchard

Cardiff

Book Reviews

Read our latest book reviews

Star RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar Rating
Being a Pastor: A conversation with Andrew Fuller
Michael Haykin

In their introduction, the authors express their concern regarding the effect of megachurch pastors and public perception of what makes a good minister. A principle stated at the beginning of the book is that we should learn from the example…

See all book reviews
Star RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar Rating
The Last Valley: A story of God’s grace in terminal illness

In touching detail, Graham Heaps reflects on the terminal illness and subsequent death of his late wife Sue in 2015. It is by no means an enjoyable read, but it bears splendid testimony to the goodness and grace of God…

Star RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar Rating
Out of the Black Shadows
Stephen Lungu

In this superbly written and compelling book, Anne Coomes artfully tells the story of Stephen Lungu. It is an explosive story of God’s power at work in the darkest of situations. I challenge you to read it and remain unconvinced…

Star RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar Rating
The Fruitful Home: Creating a gospel culture for family life
Ann Benton

As Christians, we long to train up our children in the way they should go (Proverbs 22:6); and in The Fruitful Home, Ann Benton helpfully and practically gives us solid biblical advice on how to go about this intentionally. In a…