Andreas J. Köstenberger with David W. Jones. God, Marriage, and Family: Rebuilding the Biblical Foundation. 2nd ed. Wheaton: Crossway, 2010. 399 pages. $22.99.
When the second edition of God, Marriage, and Family hit the shelves in 2010, reviewers focused a tremendous amount of critique on a new chapter about family-based ministry. In fact, I think it is fair to say that this theme, which comprised one part of one chapter in the new edition, dominated the vast majority of the online chatter about the book. This was most unfortunate—not because it is an unworthy topic (see Timothy Paul Jones’s well-done review in The Journal of Discipleship and Family Ministry 1:1 : 63–65), but because the controversy seemed to be out of proportion with the book’s main contribution. The discussion of family-based ministry is more of a sideline in this book (about nine pages out of 399). Regardless of your views on family ministry, God, Marriage, and Family remains the best biblical theology of family and sex on the market. This is one of the few books (both in its first edition and now in its second) that I have turned to time and again for a cogent discussion of what the Bible says about a variety of controversial family and gender issues. Whenever Andreas Köstenberger writes something, I pay attention. But God, Marriage, and Family may well be his most important contribution of all.
[Read the rest of this review in the most recent issue of Themelios 37.1 (2012) 143-45.]
The Jewisn understanding of a berith is that it is a covenant which is an example of a contract, specifically a contract wiith emotional content. Every teaching that does not start from this understanding ends up with major fundamental flaws. So while it is true that marriage is not a sacrament, to claim that it is a covenant but not a contract is incoherent at a most basic level of understanding.