Held in Honor – Wisdom for Your
Marriage from Voices of the Past
University professor Dr.
Matthew Haste points us
to the early church fathers
and contemporary authors
who have written about the
honorable nature of marriage
and its importance to the
culture. Haste is the co-author
of the book, “Held in Honor
– Wisdom for Your Marriage
from Voices of the Past,”
published by Christian Focus.
Haste, associate professor
of Ministry Studies in CIU
Seminary & School of Ministry,
co-authored the book with
Robert L. Plummer, professor
of New Testament Interpretation at The Southern Baptist
CIU Today asked Haste about his book in this Q&A exchange:
What prompted you to write this book?
Rob Plummer recognized the value of surrounding one’s
marriage with a cloud of witnesses that could testify to
the struggles, joys, and complexities of married life. I was
immediately drawn to the project because I enjoy searching
the depths of church history to apply wisdom to contemporary
issues and because marriage had been a focus of both my
academic studies and my pastoral ministry.
How does wisdom on marriage dispensed by the early
church fathers differ significantly from that of more
contemporary church leaders?
Perhaps the most obvious is their position on divorce. Few
of the church fathers or any Christian theologian prior to the
Reformation recognized any lawful grounds for divorce. In the
contemporary scene, this is now a minority position.
In addition, many theologians in the late Patristic period and
throughout the Middle Ages tended to value celibacy over
marriage. As a result, when you read through the sources, it can
sound as if celibacy was the true path to faithfulness, whereas
marriage was second-best. Not all of them intended a sharp
distinction but that notion often comes through in the texts
they left behind. In many cases,
we almost do the opposite in
today’s church. Some of us may
be guilty of focusing on the
value of healthy families and
God-honoring marriages to the
point of alienating our single
brothers and sisters.
Did anything surprise you in
your research and writing?
The biggest surprise was
probably the amount of
material I uncovered that directly addressed marriage in so
many different ways. In the book, we have snippets of sermons,
poems, doctrinal writings, and private correspondence. The
breadth of the material reminded me just how significant
marriage is to the human experience.
What is one of your favorite quotes in the book?
I really like the quote from G.K. Chesterton. It is both clever and
“To put the matter in one metaphor, the sexes are two
stubborn pieces of iron; if they are to be welded together, it
must be while they are red-hot. Every woman has to find out
that her husband is a selfish beast, because every man is a
selfish beast by the standard of a woman. But let her find out
the beast while they are both still in the story of “Beauty and
the Beast.” Every man has to find out that his wife is cross—that
is to say, sensitive to the point of madness; for every woman is
mad by the masculine standard. But let him find out that she is
mad while her madness is more worth considering than anyone
What impact did the research and writing of this book have
on your own marriage?
One can never think too often about the gravity that God gives
to marriage when he calls it a picture of Christ and the church.
Seeing that image affirmed over and over throughout the
history of the church provided a regular reminder to me that
the way I treat my wife says as much about God (accurately or
otherwise) as it does about me. We do not live our life together
in seclusion. Rather, a watching world is observing us and
taking notes. That is enough to cause me to cry out for God’s
help each day and that is surely good for me.
Dr. Matthew Haste and his