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Held in Honor – Wisdom for Your

Marriage from Voices of the Past

Columbia International

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

Theological Seminary.

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

else’s sanity.”

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

wife Cheyenne



CIU Today

Summer 2016