Guest / Limited Access /

What does your book contribute to the conversation about marriage that other books have not?

It's not simply a how-to manual. Many Christian marriage books are "here's how to work on your problems." On the other hand, the book is not just theological or "here's the biblical view of marriage." The most recent and the best-selling Christian books on marriage from the last few years were either theological, polemical, or absolutely practical. This is a combination of those.  Most books I know on the subject recently have not been written by pastors; they've been written by counselors or theologians or people like that. This book was originally a series of sermons. When you preach, the sermon usually goes from the theological to the more polemical and into the practical.

You suggest that the Bible's teachings come "not only in well-stated propositions, but also through brilliant stories and moving poetry." Has the contemporary church been less effective in presenting good stories about marriage than in stating propositions?

I don't know that I would say the church has been great at laying out rules, and I don't think it's actually been very practical. The theological tends to be propositions. The polemical tends to be arguments. The practical uses lots of stories to give you the gist of what a good marriage should be like. Somewhere in Mystery and Manners, Flannery O'Connor was asked to put the basic point of her short story in a nutshell. She said, 'If I could put it in a nutshell, I wouldn't have had to write the story.'

I believe she says a story can't be paraphrased.

Yes, that's right. I think what she means is a story gives you an excess of meaning that no proposition could possibly convey, or even a set of propositions. There's ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Read These NextSee Our Latest
Current Issue
Subscriber Access Only
New & Noteworthy Books
Compiled by Matt Reynolds
Current IssueReleasing God's Word: Do Copyrights Help or Hurt Bible Translation?
Subscriber Access Only
Releasing God's Word: Do Copyrights Help or Hurt Bible Translation?
Experts debate whether laws protect Scripture or restrict its spread.
RecommendedWhy Married Sex Is Social Justice
Subscriber Access Only
Why Married Sex Is Social Justice
It’s not only a solid biblical model—it’s also good for human flourishing.
TrendingMy Encounter with Ken Ham's Giant Ark
My Encounter with Ken Ham's Giant Ark
A four-hour visit to the massive replica of Noah's boat left me with a flood of questions.
Editor's PickWhat the Magic Kingdom Reminds Us About the Eternal Kingdom
What the Magic Kingdom Reminds Us About the Eternal Kingdom
The happiest place isn't on earth...yet.
%%var.bookTitle%%
Christianity Today
Q & A: Tim Keller on 'The Meaning of Marriage'
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

November 2011

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.