Redeeming Singleness

By Barry Danylak
Crossway Books, $17.95 @ MooreBooks

I heard of this book while reading Kostenberger on God, Marriage and Family. It’s an attempt at a Biblical theology of singleness. Thing is, that’s really, really hard to do. To achieve its goal, it begins as a Biblical theology of children and procreation, and from there notes the hints of affirmations of non-marriage in the OT before taking on the transformation in the NT.

The Biblical and extra-biblical work is good. It’s clear that Danylak knows his stuff. I disagree on elements of his exegesis of 1 Cor 7 (he doesn’t take into account the man/husband and woman/wife ambiguity of aner and gunaike), but he is otherwise well-versed and clear.

His main conclusion is that whereas previously physical child-bearing was a sign of blessing, especially in the covenant, as against being cut off and accursed, now, the Abrahamic blessing is conveyed by supernatural child-bearing, ie. regeneration of the Spirit. It is in this manner that one:
a) gains and holds an inheritance in the (eschatological) promised land
b) is remembered by God, rather than continuance of memory through one’s descendants

The main benefit of all this is to refocus things on Jesus and the source and nature of the blessing we receive in him. At this point, the book could have done with a more filled out conclusion than the epilogue provided. I can see where he’s going with all this, and he’d do well to put it out there for those who get lost along the way, and it is easy to get lost due to the nature of the material. Where he is going is that regeneration is the fulfilment of childbirth.

Barry intentionally avoids applying his material or otherwise giving some sort of pastoral direction. It would have been nice to drop some pointers, or at least, show where this might all lead. Good theology should lead to good application. Much of where he works stays ‘up in the air’, so to speak. It relies much upon the reader to develop the vision.

I recommend this book as a breath of fresh air. It won’t make the depressed less depressed, but it will probably give you fresh insights that you can use to carefully examine the way you think theologically about singleness and marriage.

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