My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Not another book on marriage?!?! Yep, another book on marriage. This one is penned by Brad Bigney, senior pastor of Grace Fellowship Evangelical Free Church in Florence, Kentucky, a member and certified counselor of the National Association of Nouthetic Counselors and a member of the Association of Biblical Counselors. But it's more than just a book on marriage. This popularly written, 224 page softback is about why there are problems in marriages, how to decipher the idolatrous root of those troubles, and ways to move forward with a healthier marriage. The not-yet-married, newlyweds, older married couples, pastors, and counselors will all benefit from this work.
Since there are plenty of other reviews already hovering out there, I'll simply mention a few of the aspects I appreciated. Bigney does a heartening job on unpacking conflict: "The conflict that we often resent is God's appointment for the realignment of our hearts...We want him to remove the troublesome people and give us extra grace in their place, but he wants to realign our hearts to love him and other people more. The heart is what he wants to work on" (62). I think that coming to see our marital conflicts (and other relational adversities) in this light, changes their temperature and flavor to become more hopeful and health-giving.
Further, the author, drawing from James 4.1-3, explains how many of our clashes come from conflicting desires we have. Unfortunately, the desires have grown, so that "idolatry hijacks legitimate desires and turns them into ugly demands". These demanding desires then expand to become needs which launch into expectations (often assumed and rarely announced), which then finally fester into disappointment (70-4). I have sat in many marriage counseling discussions with couples and seen this played out in technicolor! But, I catch this pattern also lurking in my own heart.
Lastly, Bigney has helpfully addressed the ways we make our children and our marriages into idols. For example, don't "start trusting in your marriage for all your happiness. Continue to trust in God, and thank him for what he's doing in your husband, but don't redirect your trust away from God" (155). The whole point of the book is how we are all idolaters, making other things equal to or more important than, God in our lives. And so, often "times it takes a painful trial to expose our idolatry" (95).
"Gospel Treason" is an easy-to-read work that the not-yet-married, newlyweds, older married couples, pastors, and counselors will find beneficial. But it is also important for any Christian as they think about relationships of every kind (work, play, sports, etc.). This volume has a wide set of applications for those who really want to love God more, even in the middle of relational collisions, or other trying circumstances. I highly recommend the book.
You can get the book here: Gospel Treason
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