Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Divorce and Remarriage: Recovering the Biblical View

Scot McKnight has started a series of reviews on a book about divorce and remarriage which I will be watching with keen interest. (Part 1 is here and part 2 is here, part 3, part 4, part 5)   Why am I so interested in this book?  Let me give you a little history. 

When I was at Moody Bible Institute (1980-1983) I had a habit of latching on to professors and spending countless hours in their office with questions.  Two of those in particular were John Walton and Bill Luck.  I'm sure I often wore out my welcome but they endured me patiently.  If I ever found a disagreement between them I would run between their offices (on different floors) with a verbatim quote of what the other said to see the reaction.  One of the classics was when Luck accused Walton of being a Platonist in his understanding of God's nature.  I told Walton and he said he was not aware of that. When I dutifully reported this to Luck he retorted, "Ah, so he's an ignorant Platonist!"  Both men taught me much in their respective fields (Walton in Old Testament and Luck in Church History, Ethics and Philosophy) but they also showed me how two Christian scholars can engage each other in healthy debate even with the occasional jab.  Luck also gave me a thousand labels for people and their beliefs which Walton found most annoying.

Luck published a book with Harper & Row in 1987 which didn't fair too well in the market place.  It eventually suffered the fate of books which don't sell and was retired to the status of "out of print".  Flash forward to 2009.  I get a phone call from none other than my old professor and, by now, very good friend who tells me he has updated his book and is giving it a second try.  After we catch up on small talk he drops a bomb shell on me.  "Louis, I've dedicated the second edition to you."  I was speechless.  (Ask anyone who knows me; that doesn't happen too often!)  When the copies came into the store I quickly turned to the dedication page to see if it was all just a joke on me.  But there it was, and more.  He dedicated the book both to John Walton and me.  I can't tell you how honored I was by this gracious gesture.

So I will watch as McKnight (who was also a professor of mine when I was at Trinity) makes his way through the book.  I pray that this book does what I know Bill has always desired--to stimulate conversation and to engage the entire Bible on this very important subject.  Many will disagree with him.  That's fine.  He can take it.  His position is a minority one but I think it deserves a hearing.  We do have copies in the store in you would like to see one.


Paul said...

(huge smile)....
Without question, I've learned much from Luck and Walton, albeit through you, my dear friend and beloved brother in Christ. While not in print, I dedicate most of my love for theology and Scripture to you who has and continues to teach me well!

May Bill Luck's book receive the wide reading and careful thought it has always deserved.

When at Denver I asked Craig Blomberg once if he had read Luck's book and what he thought of it. I will never forget his response: "Yes I read it and did not agree with it....[long pause] the first time."

Louis said...


Thank you for the kind words. Believe me when I tell you I've learned just as much from you. You've been a role model for me in my walk with Christ. You've been there for me in both the peaks and valleys of life. You're calls to me when Joshua died were encouraging beyond words and your generous gift lifted a huge burden from our shoulders. You are the friend who sticks closer than a brother. I treasure our friendship. I hope Bill's book does do better a second time around.