Books

Cover Image: Marriage

Marriage:
Sex in the Service of God

Christopher Ash (IVP, 2003)

Blurb Review by Revd Dr Simon Vibert

Blurb

The love between a man and a woman is a profound and perplexing mystery, the subject of countless songs, films and fairy tales. And yet we do not live happily ever after. Four out of ten marriages will end in divorce. Couples now choose to live together rather than marry, and those relationships are even less likely to last. We are having fewer children, later, and with a succession of partners. Ironically, just when so much is expected of love, Western societies are witnessing lower levels of public commitment in sexual relationships than ever before. The scale of this change amounts to a revolution, a major historical paradigm shift. We must face the inevitable questions: If faithfulness is no longer esteemed, why get married at all? What is marriage? What did God intend when he gave us marriage? Christopher Ash argues that our modern idolization of the sexual relationship contains within itself the seeds of its own destruction. To begin to rebuild a biblical confidence in marriage, we need to understand that the primary blessing and purpose of marriage is not sexual intimacy, but rather serving God in partnership. The book is worth its price alone for the superb biblical theology of marriage which it contains. This view of marriage in turn leads to the blessings of love, friendship, children, and order in society, and will help us to rediscover that faithfulness which is at the heart of marriage. Elegantly written, this is a brilliant book.

Contents

INTRODUCTION
1. God and Sex
2. Prejudice and Grace
3. The Churning of Partners

PART ONE: THE BIBLICAL AND THEOLOGICAL BASIS FOR THE STUDY OF MARRIAGE
4. Marriage and the Created Order
5. Marriage and the Kingdom of God

PART TWO: THE PURPOSE OF MARRIAGE 6. Why Sex and Marriage?
7. Sex in the Service of God
8. Sex in the Place of God
9. Children in the Service of God
10. Intimacy and Order in the Service of God

PART THREE: THE DEFINITION OF MARRIAGE
11. Public Choice and Private Intimacy
12. One Man and One Woman
13. Guarding the Family Circle
14. God's Pattern for Marriage
15. The Heart of Marriage - Faithfulness
Conclusion

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