Marriage and the mystery of the gospel (book review)

Marriage and the Mystery of the Gospel
Ray Ortlund
Crossway, 2016

marriage and the mystery of the gospel

For all the talk Christians do about defending the ‘traditional’ definition of marriage, much of it falls far short of the grand Biblical vision of marriage as a picture of the gospel. Ray Ortlund here seeks to correct that, and does it well. There’s nothing radical or earth shattering here, but there are some lovely insights.

There were two things which stopped this being a 5-star book. First, the chapter divisions are unbalanced. 42 pages on marriage in Genesis means that one of the four chapters takes up nearly half the book. Undoubtedly, Genesis is foundational, but it made reading the book feel more of a chore than it might have been.

More importantly, Ortlund’s section on the law is terrible. He states that ‘the Bible advances beyond the law of Moses’, and sees all law (he doesn’t differentiate between moral, civil or ceremonial) as temporary. If that’s what he believes about the law, it perhaps helps understand how he could be a Presbyterian minister one minute, and in an independent Acts 29 church the next.

Surely future generations will look back in bewilderment at how a gifted pastor and a respected publisher could bring out a biblical theology on marriage that failed to mention the seventh commandment. For now though, it seems that no-one has noticed.

Thanks to Crossway for a complimentary copy of this book through their Beyond the Page review programme.