Book Review: Leaving Father and Mother

Author: Cornelius Hanko
Reformed Free Publishing Association
Paperback, 64pp

This book is an exposition on the biblical teachings of courtship and marriage and though written more than 30 years ago, is perhaps even more relevant in this day and age. In this modern era, the church is being exposed to the increasingly sinful and less conservative views on, methods of and approaches to dating and marriage. Couples date for the fun and thrill of it, without any intention of marriage. New partners are found once there is no more excitement in the old. Even marriage and its vows are taken lightly, with divorce viewed as a “backdoor” escape from marriage.

In his book, the author expounds on the many aspects of dating and marriage, instituted by God in Genesis 2:24, Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. The author begins by explaining the reasons a man has to leave his parents and how it is not good for him to be alone. He then rightly points out that those who marry in the Lord are united by a spiritual bond over and above the physical and psychological bonds. Indeed, children of God will only love those that love the Lord.

This book is also immensely practical, teaching youths the “Do’s & Don’ts” of dating, including the interesting question of who should make the approach. The author further introduces 4 rules for courtship, emphasizing the need to get to know and respect each other, and warning against “hastily plunging into marriage” (p14). Using biblical principles, the author distinguishes the godly couple’s engagement and wedding from the worldly one. As with Christ and His bride, earthly engagement has binding power and should not be broken unless “we would sin against our God by carrying it out” (p28). The author touches on life during the engagement period; clearing of differences, compatibility, fears and assurances, devotions, children and sexual restraint. He also raises and supports a notion that is rather unfamiliar to us Singaporeans: that weddings be held on the Sabbath. A chapter has also been set aside to discuss the case of singles who do not marry.

In the concluding two chapters, the author explains the need for the marriage license, the marriage vow along with its implications and what it means to be “one flesh”. God is our witness when we make the marriage vows and truly man has no right to put asunder what God has joined together. Being “one flesh” is a “complete union of body, soul, and spirit” (p47) and this relationship is a picture of Christ and His Church. We can certainly be thankful to God who through Christ has restored the spiritual bond among believers that was damaged in paradise.

This short book is an easy read and strongly grounded upon Scripture’s teachings. I highly recommend the youths of the church to read it, especially those who have come of age.

Written by: Cheryl Lim | Issue 3

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