It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. This old adage rings true today. For many people, they want to go back to the “good old days” when people weren’t questioning traditional morality and values that Christians have for millennia held to. For some, though, they view this as the worst of times ever. Both parties forget that sin has been around since the Fall. Writing on the issue of biblical sexuality is a group of scholars across a wide variety of subjects in Ministry In The New Marriage Culture Edited by Jeff Iorg.
The book has three parts with a very helpful introduction that helps the reader orient themselves to the discussion that occurs throughout the book. In part one, the authors look at the biblical foundations for ministry in a new marriage culture. Here they explore in chapter two the foundations for ministry in the Old Testament, while chapter three looks at such foundations in the New Testament. Part two considers the theological foundations for ministry by exploring topics such as gospel confidence, ecclesiology, and a positive sexual ethic in chapters four through six. The final section of the book (chapters seven through fifteen) look at preaching, counseling persons about and affected by same-sex marriage, youth ministry, children’s ministry, civil rights and the new marriage culture, navigating legal challenges to churches, a pastoral model for engaging community, and a model sermon about the new marriage culture.
While there is lots of great content in this book my favorite chapter in this book was chapter seven on preaching by Tony Merida. Here Merida following John Stott before him in his classic book Between Two Worlds helps readers understand the biblical world in order to preach effectively to people today with the gospel. He says, “Preach the Bible regardless of who’s in the room! That’s why you are there in the first place. Preach with humility, confidence, and love. Trust God, by His Spirit through the dynamite of the gospel, will change sinners. Preach with confidence because God’s specialty is changing hearts. No person is so bad as to be beyond the reach of God’s transforming grace” (109).
I highly recommend Ministry In the New Marriage Culture. To read this book is to read a manual on how to navigate our ever-changing world. This book is biblical faithfully, theologically robust, and packed with practical insight for how to minister the biblical worldview. Pastors, ministry leaders, and seminary students should pick up this book, digest it, and apply it to their ministries. Christians should read this book to be equipped for the growing challenges the biblical worldview presents to our changing world. Whether for the reasons I’ve just described or for others, if you are wondering about how to be a faithful Christian in today’s ever changing world, go pick up this book, and become equipped to know and serve the Lord.
I received this book for free from B&H for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”