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With One Voice: Singleness, Dating & Marriage to the Glory of God Paperback – September 20, 2012
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"Alex Chediak has done a great service for anyone seeking guidance on how to handle singleness, dating and marriage for the glory of God. If you're a parent thinking about how to guide your kids through the dating years or a single person navigating those waters, the one voice of this book speaks with sanity, clarity, and godliness." (James M. Hamilton Jr. ~ Professor of Biblical Theology, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky)
"Joe, I read perhaps a dozen Christian books on dating and marriage in my teens. I think most of them just gave me a healthy dose of legalism that did nothing for my walk or dealing with the issues. When I was around 12 years old I decided to focus on becoming the man that a woman could marry rather than just a hot date. The books confused me, especially as all but two were written from the perspective of the American dating scene. It bears no relation whatsoever to the life of a Christian in Ireland. Now I'm 22 and still single but perhaps a tad more wiser in my approach. It's not like I'm buring with desire but I'm sure if/when I find her (warts and all) I'll find a good thing. I'll be buying the book. Thanks for the review." (Steven - posted on 01.12.2007 6:47 AM)
"There is one thing to always keep in mind, my father said, summing up his views on choosing a wife, "Cooking lasts, kissing don't." Considering that my mother considered Spam to be one of the four food groups, I can understand why he thought this advice was essential. Still, it seemed that there should be more that I should know so when I began my own search for a mate I turned to Christian books on dating and marriage.
After reading dozens of books explaining how to kiss dating goodbye, how to say hello to courtship, and how burning desires can lead to burning for eternity, I devised a simple standard by which to judge their advice. The criteria was based on how they answered the question, "How do you find Mr./Ms. Right?"
In With One Voice: Singleness, Dating and Marriage to the Glory of God, Alex and Marni Chediak provide the ultimate answer: It is more important to become a certain type of person than it is to find a certain type of boyfriend/girlfriend.
What are you doing to become the sort of person who would be winsome and attractive to the kind of person you want to marry? (p. 45)
Such candid questions and refreshing candor is the hallmark of this supurb book on dating and marriage. It is filled with advice that is redemptive, realistic, and relevant.
Unlike many similar works written by Christians, the Chediaks do not advocate going back to the "good ol' days." Much of what passes today for "Biblical patterns of courtship" is, after all, simply the cultural norms of 19th century America. Instead, the Chediaks carefully delineate between biblical principle and optional cultural and societal norms and show how that must guide our choices.
Their approach is "counter-cultural" in the original sense of the term. For example, they address the very real problem of staying on the "search" too long and letting suitable candidates for marriage slip away.
It is noteworthy that women more frequently make this objection that the right man has not yet pursued them. Women do have a unique responsibility to respond to, nurture, and affirm male initiation in this area, and the last thing I'd want to do is make a women feel guilty for being committed to doing so. That said, women can also (perhaps unwittingly) make the mistake of settting unrealistic expectations. Many woman, for example, believe that there must be a "perfect match" for them out there, and its their job to wait for them. This may seem romantic, but it is horribly debilitating. As soon as she's lost that first rush of emotion and is getting to know him as a flawed human (and not the paragon of perfection her ignorance initially allowed him to be) she feels obligated to end the relationship. This happens with some frequency where women have been duped by the media into thinking that marriage must be a state of perpetual bliss and that, if it is not, something must be wrong with their partner. (p. 46-47)
With One Voice is filled with such practical wisdom. The Chediaks willingness to address the real struggles that singles face (e.g., "How far can a couple go sexually before marriage?") is what makes it a truly invaluable resource. This is the type of book that I wish I had found -and my wife had read-before I traveled down the path to lifelong commitment."
(Joe Carter, The Evangelical Outpost)
Having laid a foundation for understanding the nature of the marriage partnership, he provides practical, biblical wisdom on making a wise choice of partner....With One Voice provides a biblical perspective on the increasingly difficult issues surrounding marriage and dating. It shines the light of God's Word on this topic and shows that God's perspective has not changed (Tim Challies ~ Blogger at www.challies.com)
Rare is the book with dating and marriage as its topic that I feel I can recommended without reservation.... Alex and Marni have given us a clear restatement of God's intentions for man and woman in marriage. With One Voice unashamedly embraces the Bible as its foundation and the glory of Christ as its goal......[Alex] aptly demonstrates that the wisdom of the Word on the matter of male-female relationships can find expression in our own contemporary society and still broadcast the excellencies of Christ to our generation.....Anyone with a hunger to discover more of God's good purposes in marriage will benefit from this read. (Ryan Corbett - Seminary Student)
We are very thankful for With One Voice by Alex Chediak. It is clearly written, God-centered, and its message is so true and right. Our eighteen year-old daughter just read it and restrained herself from underlining nearly the whole thing! We will heartily recommend it to others at church and in classes we teach. (Bruce Ware ~ Professor of Christian Theology, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky)
'Alex and Marni Chediak offer sound biblical advice and a clear Christian framework for working through the maze of confusions surrounding modern marriage. Christians young and old, single and married, will find help in this concise book.' (R. Albert Mohler ~ President, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky)
'If only courtship and marriage were so simple that all we needed was a manual to figure them out! The Chediak's give us something a better: a compass and a travel guide. True north is the glory of God - get that straight and everything else will fall in place, miss it and nothing works. The Chediak's [have the] warmth, wisdom and good humor of those who know the road and some of its potholes!' (Ben Patterson, College Pastor, Westmont College, Santa Barbara)
About the Author
Alex Chediak is now a professor of engineering and physics at California Baptist University, Riverside, California. Marni, his wife has had a career in management with Fortune 500 companies while ministering through Bible Study Fellowship and teaching Sunday school. Alex and Marni have three children, Karis, Jonathan, and Abigail.
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Bottom line: This is now the best single book I have ever read about dating.
If there are some things that I would change, they would be:
1) more material for chapters 5-6.
2) charts / diagrams to help illustrate certain points. Also, some examples of how to counsel and think through various relationship situations would be helpful (especially for mentor couples).
3) and this is nitpicking...a different font. I appreciate the large size, but disliked the font choice.
Alex Chediak, currently apprenticing at The Bethlehem Institute in Minneapolis under the direction of John Piper and Tom Steller, addresses the particular challenges of singleness, marriage and dating in his new book With One Voice: Singleness, Dating and Marriage to the Glory of God. Alex previously edited 5 Paths to the Love of Your Life, an excellent book which I have previously reviewed at Amazon as well. In With One Voice he takes the controversial position that marriage is God's normal expectation for humans in general and that celibacy is primarily for those who have been given the gift of celibacy. Those who are single and have not been so-gifted are, therefore, responsible to ensure that they are actively preparing themselves for marriage. The theme of this book, if it could be tidily summarized, is that singles should focus less on looking for a certain kind of person and more on becoming a certain kind of person.
To guide a person in this challenge, Chediak defines and explores God's design for biblical manhood and womanhood. He looks at traits that men and women (both married and single) will want to develop and cultivate in their lives. He turns to the always difficult topics of leadership and submission, showing how a mature man and woman will relate to each other in a godly way. He shows that mature masculinity is neither chauvinistic nor passive and that mature femininity is neither obsequious nor domineering. Having laid a foundation for understanding the nature of the marriage partnership, he provides practical, biblical wisdom on making a wise choice of partner, showing the importance of both objective and subjective criteria. The final chapter exhorts those who form a relationship to proceed cautiously and wisely. He defines four stages of a relationship: friendship and initiation, the beginnings of romantic involvement, later stages of a romantic relationship, and leaving & cleaving. The book concludes with a FAQ which asks and answers pointed questions about difficult topics such as so-called "missionary dating," pornography and masturbation.
If there was a criticism I would make against this book it is that perhaps the scope is a little too wide. After all, the wider an author's scope, the more difficult it is to do justice to each topic. This is especially true of a book that is reasonably short at 150 pages. Still, this does not detract from the book as much as it makes me wonder if it could not have become two or three books, each more narrow in scope.
With One Voice provides a biblical perspective on the increasingly difficult issues surrounding marriage and dating. It shines the light of God's Word on this topic and shows that God's perspective has not changed. He still tells us that "it is not good for man to be alone." Chediak does a good job of defending the position which says that God expects that, unless He has specifically called and gifted us to be single, we will pursue marriage and do it all for the glory of God.