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When Sinners Say "I Do": Discovering the Power of the Gospel for Marriage Paperback – June 25, 2007
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This is a wonderful book. It is honest, refreshing, practical, and above all biblical. These carefully written pages spill over with truth and grace. This book is liberating, Christ-centered and hope-filled, pointing the way to God-empowered marriage. --Randy Alcorn
Dave Harvey not only offers a biblical diagnosis of marital strife, but prescribes the cure as well - the gospel. When Sinners Say "I Do" provides clarity in conflict, hope in despair, and points the way to a joy-filled, God glorifying marriage. --C.J. Mahaney
About the Author
Dave Harvey is senior pastor of Covenant Fellowship Church (Glen Mills, PA), part of a family of churches called Sovereign Grace Ministries.
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Practically, this would often mean forbearance (88). Mercy covers sin. “I need to look for how she’s battling it, try to encourage rather than critique. . . What a privilege to represent the love of our Savior in forbearing the sins of my spouse.” (89-90). “Forgiveness is costly, and sometimes it costs more than we think we can give” (106). However, “We all need someone to stand between us and the just wrath of God.” (104). As one whose burdensome debts have been forgiven, it is not within our privilege to exact from our debtors, our spouses. The gospel of grace “encompasses her sin as well as” mine (109). This is the only way forward when sinners say “I do.” (113).
This soteriological wisdom of a God who deals with us by grace cannot be taken casually, for in it exists the means of reconciliation for spouses experiencing marital troubles (63, 120-32). One can hardly do better here than quote Harvey at length: “. . . sanctifying grace teaches us how to replace the passions of this world with godliness. As a result we grow in charitable thoughts, patience with our spouse, self-control instead of angry words, love, joy peace. . . and actions that look increasingly like the character of Christ and combine to” make a beautiful marriage (142). This is gospel pure and simple.
Harvey’s wisdom is also demonstrated by carefully placing the chapter on sex (ch. 9, pp. 151-68) after the chapter on grace (ch. 8, pp. 135-50). Harvey presents 1 Corinthians 7:1-5 and takes on surprisingly difficult topics, including “Sloth,” “Bitterness,” etc., as they all relate to marital sex. Lastly, chapter ten (pp. 169-83), “When Sinners Say Goodbye,” far from being about divorce, is about caring for the aging spouse, even suffering their death. It’s endearing, charming, wise and practical, as much of the book has been.
I see no reason to fault the author for his work. I found the overall portrait, as my survey reveals, extremely compelling. The focus on gospel-like sacrifice, Harvey’s ability to inspire charity in the reader for their spouse, and his pithy, biblical wisdom mixed with occasional wit leave the reader feeling somewhat disheartened upon completion, as though the last page of a marvelous novel was just turned.
Want to make a difference in marriages in the current culture of divorce? Buy a copy for yourself today, and gift a copy to every young couple you know and love.