Thursday, March 17, 2011

"The Christian Lover": A Book Review

The book is too brief.  There, you have my only criticism of "The Christian Lover:  The Sweetness of Love and Marriage in the Letters of Believers" by Michael A. G. Haykin and Victoria J. Haykin.  The work is only 100 pages and may easily be read during a relaxing afternoon.

I own several works by Dr. Haykin and have enjoyed everything this Christian historian has written.  Furthermore, it has been my privilege to hear him deliver conference presentations on various lessons from history and have never been disappointed.  This book continues that perfect streak.

The Haykins present 12 chapters, each chapter covering a Christian couple from history.  The chapter opens with a brief biographical sketch of the parties, setting the stage for what follows.  And what follows the biography are one or more letters written between the two parties (usually husband and wife).  These letters reveal the love life between them, presenting a wonderful picture of their humanity and what Christian marriage is about.

The 12 couples include Protestant Reformers Luther and Calvin, 19th century Baptists Judson and Broadus, as well as 20th century Christian heroes, Lloyd-Jones and Moltke.  Some of the letters express feelings during periods of separation, some during times of loss, and one pending the end of life.  In each one, the reader catches a glimpse of the true humanity of the author and the deep level of love the parties have for one another.

A couple of examples will suffice to reveal the wealth contained in these letters.

"Martin Luther to the holy lady, full of worries, Mrs. Katharina, doctor, the lady of Zolsdorf, at Wittenberg, my gracious, dear mistress of the house.  Grace and peace in Christ!  Most holy Mrs. Doctor!  I thank you very kindly for your great worry which robs you of sleep."

Helmuth Moltke writing to his wife Freya from prison less than two weeks before his execution at the hands of the Nazis:  "Without you I would have accepted love. ... But without you, my dear, I would not have "had" love.  I should not think of saying that I love you; that would be quite false.  Rather you are the one part of me, which would be lacking if I was alone. ... It is only in our union--you and I--that we form a complete human being. ... And that is why, my dear, I am quite certain that you will never lose me on this, my dear.  I am quite certain that you will never lose me on this earth--no, not for a moment."

The book is excellent and I VERY highly recommend it. 

BUT, I wish it was a bit longer!

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