Monday, February 21, 2011

Redeeming Singleness Revisited: My Take

Although I did not read every word of Redeeming Singleness, I did skim it thoroughly before passing it along to my friend Kristy for her review. It appeared to be well written and easy to follow. Most of the chapters end with a helpful "Wrapping Up" section which summarizes the content of the chapter, enabling the reader to better follow the flow of the text.

I must say that Redeeming Singleness was not what I was expecting. Therefore, I think it is helpful to clarify the intentions of the author and purpose of the book. This book is not about living as a single or tolerating singleness. It is a book that expounds upon the Scriptures in order to affirm the single life as a  valid and God-honoring choice. In the author's words:

"This book is also not a how-to manual either for living the single life well or for most expediently relieving oneself of the status…The starting point for this book is to reflect on the purpose of biblical affirmation of the single life by exploring how singleness itself fits into God's larger purpose of redeeming a people for his glory" (pg. 15).

It must also be clarified that this is not primarily a book for singles. It is a book from which all in the church are intended to benefit. As Mr. Danylak writes:

"…the church should encourage all those who can to receive the challenge of both Jesus and Paul to remain single and free for the kingdom of God as a visible testimony of Christ's sufficiency in the present age and the true inheritance yet to come."

We all have a part to play in reflecting the glory of God and the work that He is doing. Redeeming Singleness helped me to realize afresh that God has uniquely gifted all of his children and that marriage and singleness are equally important callings in His Church. One of the ways that Redeeming Singleness challenged me was that it spurred me on to consider how I might minister to singles that they might be able to serve more freely (ex. inviting them to supper routinely so that they don't have the burden of preparing a meal for themselves). Furthermore, Mr. Danylak states that, "There are many possible living arrangements for single Christians" (pg. 215). While he didn't expound much on this notion, I think this bears consideration in our highly individualistic culture.

I was also encouraged and excited by Mr. Danylak's high view of singleness. He writes: "…singleness anticipates the age to come in which marriage itself will be obsolete. Singleness visibly heralds the coming of the new age" (pg. 172).

Additionally, he states:

"Christian singleness is a testimony to the supreme sufficiency of Christ for all things, testifying that through Christ life is fully blessed even without marriage and children. It prophetically points to a reality greater than the satisfactions of this present age by consciously anticipating the Christian's eternal inheritance in the kingdom of God. Christian singleness lived as a testimony of this gospel truth is a redeeming singleness" (pg. 215).

Redeeming Singleness  appears to offer a lot of "food-for-thought" for the Christian community. It is full of Scripture and seeks to adorn the Gospel. I look forward to thinking more about the questions that it raises and considering ways which the Lord might have our family serve Christian singles in our local church.

*Many thanks to Crossway for supplying us with a copy of this book in exchange for our honest opinion!

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