Saturday, 10 January 2009

Martin Luther had a Wife

One of the things I love most about staying with Mum and Dad is the pleasure of exploring their bookselves and delight of finding treasures therein. Martin Luther had a wife is one such treasure. It is short, it is easy to read and it is thought provoking. In this small book, the author (William J. Peterson) explores the marriages of five eminent christian leaders; Martin Luther, John Wesley, Jonathan Edwards, Dwight Moody and William Booth. He gives a short biography of both husband and wife and describes their marriages. He explores their relationship from the eyes of outsiders and from their own eyes. He encourages us to learn from them and asks us to consider what it is that makes a happy and enduring marriage.

I was disturbed to notice two vastly different attitudes to marriage. One man said,
"Of course the Christian should love his wife. He is supposed to love his neighbour, and since she is his nearest neighbour, she should be his deepest love. And she should also be his dearest friend."

Another said,
"In respect of travelling abroad, the [...] preacher who has a wife should be as if he has none."

I was not so much disturbed by the first, but disturbed to find a second so different. How can one love his wife as Christ loved the church if he must live as if she does not exist? However, I have found the text that no doubt inspired the above sentiment,
"29 This is what I mean, brothers: the appointed time has grown very short. From now on, let those who have wives live as though they had none, 30 and those who mourn as though they were not mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy as though they had no goods, 31 and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For the present form of this world is passing away."
(1 Corinthians 7:29-31.)
And so now it remains for me to do the hard work to think about what the apostle Paul is teaching here and why it is so easily ignored.

Martin Luther Had a Wife is an easy read and a great introduction to some of the men and women that have changed the way we think about Christianity and Church.


Ally said...

Sounds excellent Rach. I will have to get it and have a read.

Rachael said...

Thanks Ally. It's not a new book, published 1983.