Book Review: Singleness and Marriage After Christendom

I’ve got a few projects in the works and some changes are on the way (more about all that soon!), but I am honoring my commitment to Speakeasy and these authors in sharing reviews of their work. This will be the last of my Speakeasy book reviews. 

“…Our current desires and our ideas about happiness are clearly aligned not so much with the vision of a good life in the New Testament but with the culture we currently inhabit..” And Lina Toth concisely argues for why this sentiment is not only true writ large, but highlights specifically how our theology around marriage and singleness has been more reflective of culture throughout history in her book Singleness and Marriage After Christendom. 

While the title may not grab your attention, this slim volume that is part of a larger series of resource books edited by Stuart Murray, provides an accessible review of the historical context around various sexual mores that have come to be associated with Christianity. 

Specific in scope, Toth does not shy away from naming the ways that our theology about marriage and singleness impacts most everything in our ways of being. Which makes one wonder how we can have a relevant and functional theology if our sexual ethics are misguided. 

Toth doesn’t offer a solution or systematic theological recommendation, but rather guides the reader through time, highlighting cultural trends and influences that we see reflected in the theological positioning of the church in those same eras. Instead she offers much for consideration and some challenges for further discernment: “What we have here, then, is an invitation to avoid both traps which arise out of giving sex more attention and power than is right: neither denying the force of erotic urges, nor treating them as if they were everything and as if we were utterly helpless in their wake.”

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received Singleness and Marriage After Christendom from the author and/or publisher through the Speakeasy blogging book review network. 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.

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