Monday, June 1, 2009

A second book, a second post...

As I mentioned in the last post, I’m currently reading a few different books. One of them is God, Marriage and Family by Andreas J. Kostenberger. I like telling people that I read this book, primarily because I like saying his name. I could almost argue that Dr. Kostenberger’s name alone ranks him up there with the Nietzsches, Kants, Chestertons and Kierkegaards. But I won’t.

This particular book is considered by many to be the foremost compilation of the Bible’s view of marriage and family. Initially, I would have said the “Christian” view of marriage and family, but based on a recent Newsweek article (The End of Christian America), Christianity, as it is popularly known today is fading, while “Chistendom America” is growing (at least according to Mark Driscoll).

The interesting thing that I found so far in my reading was a clarification of the word patriarchy. You can find a number of definitions online, through Google, or Bing.. and you’ll basically find a definition that ranges from the father holding majority responsibility for the well being of this family and therefore majority authority, to the father holding absolute power and authority over women and children. In his book, Kostenberger cites Daniel Block in stating that “While most identify the ancient Israelite family structure by the term ‘patriarchy’ ... Block contends that the expression ‘patricentrism’... may be better suited for this type of arrangement, since first, feminism has permanently discredited patriarchy even in its non-abusive forms...” (94).

While not specifically dealing with the substantive areas of the book I just found it interesting how sometimes words are hijacked by different parties from time to time and used or abused or indirectly censored.

Regarding the book, so far Kostenberger has given thorough history of families in the Old and New Testaments examining an area that many non-christians bring up for debate in a number of discussions: The misunderstanding of what God has commanded and what people the Bible actually did. A more recent example would be non-christians pointing out the Crusades as evidence of the cruelty of religion, over looking the fact that Jesus never condoned such actions. The current chapter deals with the permanency of marriage. Kostenberger examines whether marriage is a sacrament (as put forth by organizations like the Catholic Church), a contract (as we view it in civil society), or a covenant. Initially, one might not see the distinction between contract and covenant, but there are major differences that have broad implications.

Maybe I’ll address this comparison later... Until then...

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