- Paperback: 160 pages
- Publisher: Crossway (April 4, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1581348428
- ISBN-13: 978-1581348422
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.4 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 26 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #747,259 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Doing Things Right in Matters of the Heart Paperback – April 30, 2007
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"Doing Things Right in Matters of the Heart defines and describes biblical masculinity and femininity for single adults. I would also encourage those who are married to read it. John Ensor is a creative and theologically astute writer. I have thanked him for writing this book and you will too."
—C. J. Mahaney, Senior Pastor, Sovereign Grace Church, Louisville, Kentucky
"John Ensor provides a radically biblical alternative to the supposed wisdom of our age. Though sometimes raw, frank, and frustrated, Ensor is always sanctified and often poetic. He celebrates differences, bringing into clear focus the oft-disputed fact that God created men and women to be equal and symmetrical but not identical. For all who are weary of our culture's assault on biblical manhood and womanhood, this book is a refreshing reminder of the Bible's simple wisdom governing love, relationships, marriage, and matters of the heart."
—Tim Challies, blogger, Challies.com
About the Author
John Ensor is an Evangelical pastor and the President of PassionLife Ministries, where he concentrates on training missionaries and indigenous Christian leaders in bioethics and the development of pregnancy crisis intervention services in their community.
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Top customer reviews
One thing I learned from this book is that, aside from the godly blessings obtained from premarital chastity, it also serves the man to develop the self-discipline in him that is indispensible to a happy marriage, and it serves the woman to demonstrate to her whether the man courting her before marriage has the willingness and capacity to discipline and bridle his desires, appetites, and passions within marriage. Modern and post-modern society would say that a courting couple should test their sexual compatibility before marriage. But what they, primarily she, actually need is to demonstrate, primarily his, sexual discipline before marriage. Sexual "incompatibility" in marriage can be overcome with sexual discipline and sacrifice, but sexual undiscipline is a plague on marriage that is overcome only with great pain and heartbreak to both spouses. Happy marriage requires that desires, appetites and passions of all kinds be bridled and disciplined. By "testing" their sexual compatibility before marriage, however, couples actually make it impossible to know whether each has the character, ability, discipline, and desires that create sexual compatibility and a happy marriage.
I wish I could recommend this book with ten stars, but being limited by five I so rate it. Thank you, John Ensor
Use this book as a guide to teach your sons how to be a man (protect, provide and lead) as well as how to treat a woman (with love). And use this book to teach your daughters what it means to be a woman (modesty, love, and care) as well as how to respect a man so that both sexes are fulfilled.
I recommend this book to anybody who is seeking the correct way to handle a healthy relationship. I am a single male who likes knowing not only what I should be doing right now to prepaid for a long lasting relationship but also where I should be directing my vision for how my household is going to be as time goes on.
There are very few necessary books, and fewer still are those necessary books that can be called relevant. John Ensor's newest book is both. It's necessary because the practical ramifications of living out biblical gender roles are so weighty. It's relevant because these ramifications are being mutated into grave consequences in our postmodern, subjectivist world where gender and coupling issues are consigned to each individual's heart. This in turn has led to diastrous outcomes for the young men and women of our generation, a Christian generation of passive, wimpy men and of aggressive women. Relationships formed between men and women who've confused their God-given roles and/or altogether forsaken them have unleashed upon the world's greater stage (at the massive expense of a clear gospel witness) singles seeking romantic fulfillment in all the wrong ways and marrieds breeding discontentment rather than fulfilled families.
Ensor's little book is a breezy, humorous, at times confrontational, somewhat rigorous, and always Scripturally motivated theological exercise on what it means to affirm God's intentions for the genders in singleness, in dating, in marriage, and in parenthood. Along the way he liberally sprinkles references to Shakespeare (his personal favorite and a massive channel--according to Ensor--of God's common grace in the area of love and romance), South Pacific, Casablanca, Chaucer, and Johnny Cash. By blending Bible, practical insight, personal wisdom and experience, and secular material, Ensor has carved out a vibrant little space where honest examination of our deepest heart-issues takes place, unimpeded by prudishness or self-righteousness. The author's own flaws are in the spotlight along with various statistics and real-life examples that bring the material home, into our hearts. His method proves refreshing.
Section One (comprising four chapters) is a down-to-earth theology of gender. It sets the stage for the bulk of the book, Section Two. Section One then essentially covers the complementarity of man and woman, celebrating the God-given differences between genders. Secondly, it powerfully asserts that our basic need is for "a healthy tender, passionate, enduring, mutually satisfying relationship" with one partner of the opposite sex. Early on, Ensor deconstructs the postmodern view of sexual freedom, showing us just how bankrupt and undesirable is a series of arbitrary affairs.
The chapters in Section Two each highlight the complementary "actions" of the man and the woman. This section is largely practical and as such, offers a wealth of personal insight. It's warm insight, insight gained from experience, insight that has the stains of sweat and tears, insight that reminds us that we are all sinners saved by grace and in daily need of grace to overcome pride and selfishness in order to make our relationships (dating and espeically marital) sing. The theme of this section can be stated in this way: "God calls the man to love by sacrificing his immediate desires for those of her [i.e., his wife's] overall well-being and happiness. He calls the woman to submit her more immediate desires to his overall well-being and happiness. They are like two people running to get out of the rain and arriving together at the door. `You first.' `No, you first'" (132-33).
Section Two is so challenging, so convicting precisely because it's so practical. I was reminded in each chapter that the roles of man and wife are not only to be taken seriously but to be practiced comprehensively. A little passivity for the man, a little disengagement and indifference and passing the buck to the wife, leads to the wife's frustration, bitterness, and assumption of control. But when the man "lead[s] with questions rather than conclusions" (98), the wife will more naturally have no impulse to take over the leadership reins. She will teach him by example and "appeal to his thoughtfulness and ask for his consideration" (99). Ensor sounds the trumpet to all Christian men to lead with strength and sensitivity and to all women to submit with respectfulness and trust in the sovereignty of God to work out all the "kinks" in her man. What a sorely needed wake-up call to men who want to be boys and to women who want to be men!
Section Two gets stronger toward the end, each chapter building momentum on the previous one. The chapters on purity are necessarily frank. He writes, "Unmet sexual passion brings into focus a vision for being a husband and potentially a father" (121). And again he writes, "Covenanted intimacy unleashes passion with no admixture of shame and guilt" (122). What a fresh insight: "It [umnet sexual desire in the man] drives us to solve problems and get ready. It matures us" (121)! He calls women to wait, that in waiting women receive their reward of a mature, selfless, "ready" leader-partner who will marry her sooner rather than later and who will take the relationship where it needs to go according to the Bible. He writes on this subject, "Sisters, there is power in waiting. If you give away this God-endowed power and simply act...and satisfy his lusts, you undermine God's work of maturing manhood. So part company with the crowd. Become a noncomformist. Swim upstream...Purity is the litmus test. Waiting will reveal the heart of the matter" (106).
The balance in his approach makes this book essential reading for both sexes. The premium he places on practical male leadership and practical female submission reminds us that marriage is not playing at husband and wife; it's not a game with only temporary or hypothetical setbacks. Gender theology drives gender practice and so both make or break real marriages, real families. Even with the balanced approach, this book undoubtedly stresses male leadership in the marriage relationship and in the home. How could it not when the Bible does the same? Phrases like "heavier responsibility for the outcome" of family decisions and "to provide a vision for our children about God and his ways and purposes for them" (156) fall with a climactic thud on the shoulders of all men, particularly married men. It is a sound that resonates deep within men's hearts since God has placed such manly desires there. And, as the book constantly reminds us, if the Christian man would absorb the divinely loving blows of his biblical responsibilities, he will shape a God-centered, glory-giving, joy-filled, deeply satisfied family.
God has given us certain desires as men and women; they reside permanently within our hearts; they long to be fulfilled. As Christians, these desires are redeemed; they are now able to be fulfilled in a Christ-honoring way. What will we do with them? How will we invest our hearts in matters of romance and sex? Reading John Ensor's book is a handy investment guide--one necessary and relevant for a gender-beinding, sexually confused age.