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Good for the broad brush-strokes, bad for the details
on February 9, 2011
My wife and I went through this book together during pre-marital counseling. Chapell has a lot of good things to say about the roles of a man and a woman in marriage, and ties it all together well by often referencing the fact that marriage should exhibit the relationship Christ has with the church. Where his book misses the mark, however, is in his discussion of "one-ness" in marriage. Making strong statements that single people are "not whole persons" until they're married, Chapell's writing is rife in these sections with somewhat troubling implications about human beings made in God's image - indeed, he even indicates that unmarried people are only "partial" images of God (and, I suppose, are only worthy of part of the respect one human being should show another, if one follows this to its logical conclusion).
This claim of Chapell's runs directly counter to sermons by John Piper as well as some of the thoughtful writings of Dr. Anthony Bradley as these men speak about the state of "singleness," and the opportunities in Christ that being unmarried can afford one. In fact, I'd say that these particular statements of Chapell's are rooted far more in early American culture and stigmas (see, for instance, deist Benjamin Franklin's quotes about single men being "but one half of a pair of scissors") rather than the Bible (which he doesn't reference with these statements) or doctrines historically held by faithful Christians.