Divorce and Remarriage? A Perspective for Counseling
John R. Martin. Scottdale, PA: Herald, 1974.
Many pastoral people have difficulty harmonizing their firmness of conviction about the permanence of marriage with their concern for persons caught in divorce proceedings or wishing to be remarried following a divorce. For such shepherds of the church Martin has written a very helpful book. The material was originally prepared for a Master’s thesis at Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary.
In part the strength of the book lies in the author’s ability to incorporate significant material from other writers. Such material includes false assumptions about marriage (pp. 46-50), patterns of husband wife relationships (pp. 52-54), requirements for the deepening of the marriage relationship (pp. 54-55), as well as Wayne Oates’ eight stages of marital conflict (pp. 97-99).
Though Martin’s treatment of pertinent biblical texts is not adequate, he comes through clearly as basing his counseling approach on the Word of God. At the same time he is pastoral and redemptive.
Particularly useful is his chapter on “A Model for Pastoral Counseling” in which he treats briefly the history of the church’s attitude to the question of divorce and remarriage, including changes in the Anabaptist and Mennonite stance on the issue. The new model which he proposes takes seriously all of the four historic functions of pastoral care: healing, sustaining, guiding, reconciling.
Those wishing to deal in the spirit of Christ with those whose lives have been broken by failure in marriage, will find this book very useful.