Monday, February 26, 2007

Book Review of Getting Serious about Getting Married by Debbie Maken

I haven't written a book review since high school, so this may not be exactly according to accepted form. Then again, I probably never did one right back then, which would explain my less than stellar grades in English literature/writing. Please be patient with me, I'm attempting to use the brain cells that have been laying in hibernation for a long time.

Getting Serious About Getting Married
by Debbie Maken

The introduction explains that Ms. Maken was twenty-eight years old, had a advancing law career, owned her own home, had a nice car, was a committed Christian, active in her church and it's singles program, yet she was not... content. She wanted to be married. She says,"I am NOT content. I am unhappy and sad about still being single. I am not only discontent-I am also angry about being single. So that morning she walked out of her singles class, vowing never to return.

She then tells us that she met her future husband in July of 2001 and was married in March of 2002.
So why did she write the book, she explains, In the 1970's approximately 64 percent of women had married by age 24, 90 percent by 29 and 94 percent by age 34. Thirty years later, 27 percent had =married by 24, 60 percent by 29 and 78 percent by 34. The singles population had tripled or quadrupled in one generation. She believed that there had to be some other explanation than that God just wanted more "gifted singles" in this generation. As she puts it, "there are countless untold stories of women who are dying on the vine, know it, and feel like they can't do a thing about it."
Ms. Maken then asserts that the final authority for a Christian is not culture, pop psychology, or the latest trend. She claims that no matter how radical it sounds, her ideas are based squarely on the Bible. Scripture should be the measuring stick for truth. Women in our culture have been told over and over that,"singleness is a gift. But it's the kind of gift that make us cringe and smile politely while we desperately search for a gift receipt so we can return it."
Her thesis is that Scripture and Christian tradition have never validated wholesale singleness, that we are teaching faulty theology and making something abnormal appear as though it is a sanctified gift straight from the hand of God. The contemporary church is not telling singles the truth, that singleness is actually detrimental to their whole lives. The modern church is placing singleness on an equal level with marriage despite God's clear call to marriage.
The remainder of the book is in three parts, Marriage and Singleness, Rethinking the Gift of Singleness, and Getting Serious About Getting Married. I want to spend most of this review on the first section, throw in a few comments on the second section, and leave the last one for the reader to examine for themselves.
In Genesis 1:25 the Triune God, the Creator of the universe, after having done most of his creative work saw what he had made was good. In 26 and 27 he said, let Us make man in Our image after Our likeness, "So God created man in his own image" Then we read in 2:18 that "God said, it is not good that the man should be alone, I will make him a help meet for him" back to 1:27 "in the image of God created he him: male and female created he them." Mankind created in the image of the God of the Universe was created male and female, not male or female, male and female. The marriage union reflects the image of God far better than singleness does. Man was not complete without woman and woman was taken from the man. God's design at the beginning of creation was for one man and one woman joined together the two becoming one, reflecting the image of the Creator God. The marriage union is the revealed will of God in the created order. "Therefore, shall a man leave his father and mother; and shall cleave unto his wife; and they shall be one flesh. God did not intend for man to be alone, he said, it is not good." John Calvin said, a man without a woman is but "half a man".Any single who is dissatisfied with singleness is merely agreeing with God, "it is not good for man to be alone." Those who say that marriage is an option, but each person has to make their own choice, are questioning the wisdom and authority of God. Are you saying that God was wrong when he said, "it is not good for man to be alone?" Either the Creator God knew what was best for his creation, or we know better. His plan was for the male/female relationship in marriage, one man, one woman, for life.
Secondly, marriage was designed for the Creation of Legitimate Children, "be fruitful and multiply"" Gen 1:28 God who made man in His image told that same man to make offspring in not only man's image, but also the image of God. God did not want man to be alone, he told him that marriage was how man would not be alone, then he told the man and woman " to be fruitful and multiply" John Calvin wrote that when men and women were not connected in marriage, they are like the mutilated members of a mangled body".
One of the things I consider to be the highlights of this book, is her repeated reminders that Scripture is our final authority, Scripture validated Scripture, the Book must be read as a whole, so that in the end we have one coherent, non contradictory understanding. So chapter 2 examines what the Bible has to say about singleness. And she writes" "Scripture does not categorically authorize singleness" Rather it does allow singleness for a limited few and establishes clear parameters by which they can be legitimately single See Matt 19:4-11 I Corinthians 7. Jesus clearly taught that God had ordained marriage. Some of you may say, but Jesus was single, yes he also walked on water, turned water to wine, and raised the dead. When you get that kind of authority and power, you can take it up with God whether or not you have the right to "single out" Jesus as your example while ignoring his teachings. So quit thinking you are spiritual cause you single and read what Christ said, in Matt. 19:10, it is better not to marry? see the answer in 11-12, only a few select people have been given the gift of singleness, three possible reasons a man made eunuch, a someone born a eunuch, or a for the sake of the Kingdom of heaven. (My thoughts, if you have a sex drive of any kind, large, small, or anywhere in between, you are to marry.)Martin Luther said, "apart from these three groups, let no man presume to be without a spouse."
I'll get to Paul and I Corinthians 7, later.
So far I agree with everything Debbie Maken has to say. In the second and third sections I do not.