The Wanderer

As I walked through the wilderness of this world …

“Gospel intimacy” competition results

with 4 comments

OK: the results are in.  Again, thank you to all those who entered.  I shall be contacting you shortly to obtain a mailing address for your prize.  Alan Dunn, who wrote Gospel Intimacy in a Godly Marriage, has perused and pondered over the entries, and here is his response:

I’d like to thank all who took the time to read Jeremy’s interview.  I thought his questions were very good and I hope my answers were helpful.  I especially thank those of you who took the time to write responses to the competition question.  I enjoyed reading each response and have had to settle on the winners who will receive a copy of Gospel Intimacy. Most of the responses tended toward “sacrificial love,” as stated in several of the essays.  Such sacrificial love was profiled against the backdrop of extended affliction – especially the failing health of one spouse who was ministered to with Christlike sacrificial love.  Certainly such love is a display of forbearance and patience, all of which are integral to giving each other the kind of love we’ve received in Jesus.  However, I was looking more particularly for “gospel love,” a love that contends with the emergence of sin and overcomes it with the grace of forgiveness and then through the power of the gospel, works to bring spiritual change and maturation in both spouses.

So having said that, here are the results of the competition.  I’ve awarded four books.  I identified the four winners but found that three of the other essays each equally focused on “sacrificial love” in the midst of protracted affliction, and I was therefore unable to distinguish fairly between them.  Since the other four more closely approximated the matter of the gospel overcoming sin, they were selected as winners.

In fourth place: Dan.  His response concerned a sacrificial love that overcame the challenge of post-natal depression.  Although he doesn’t specifically state it, I would think that the husband in his account was faced with temptations to sin as he dealt, not with physical sickness per se, but the emotional distress of his wife.  The need to forgive sin rather than to forebear under suffering would be that much more likely.

In third place: Sarah.  She describes the gospel’s power to overcome class distinctions and social barriers.  Again, although contending with sin was not prominent between William Carey and Charlotte, they certainly were faced with the need to forgive others of their prejudice against them.

In second place: Guy Davies, if only because his response was eight pages long!  Guy brought out the fruit of the gospel evidenced in Jonathan and Sarah Edward’s marriage.  Their harmony and peaceable dynamics were the result of their mutual resolve to overcome sin with the gospel tools of repentance and forgiveness.

And finally – in first place: Cath, whose second submission specifically targeted “gospel intimacy” and “gospel love.”  Cath gave an account of the martyrdom of John Brown of Priesthill.  She then reflected on how his marriage to Isobel evidenced the harmony and unity borne of the gospel and that the couple’s love for Jesus was the supreme impetus in their lives and marriage.  Cath’s essay specifically enlarged upon “gospel intimacy” and “gospel love.”  Congratulations Cath!

Let me conclude with a submission of my own, and since I already have a book, it will not be considered as a contender in the competition.  It’s an example of gospel love from a marriage that I know about.  When the couple first married, both were professing Christians, albeit young and somewhat untaught.  It was not too long, however, before the husband started to drink and soon departed from any association with the things of God.  The wife however, continued to persevere in her love for Christ and faithfulness to the worship of God among the Lord’s people.  She took a stand for Christ and with her husband’s acquiescence, took her two boys to church as they grew into young manhood.  Over the years there were tumultuous times.  On a couple occasions, divorce was not out of the range of possibility and, some would say, even justified.  But the wife/mother persevered as a woman of faith and prayer, demonstrating obedience to 1 Peter 3:1-6.  In the midst of it all, she owned his conscience, and the consciences and love of her two sons.  In her early sixties, she was diagnosed with cancer.  She grew strong in the Lord as she drew near to death, while her husband became increasingly frantic with the fear of facing life without her.  In his desperation, he remembered the God of his youth who his wife had served all her life, and in his mid sixties, he repented and sought the Lord.  Before she went to be with Christ, she saw her husband saved, her marriage brought into alignment with the gospel, and both her sons in the pastoral ministry, having married godly women.  The power the gospel triumphed through a lifetime of gospel love.  The sin that would have otherwise destroyed her marriage and her sons was conquered by her faithful loving adherence to the gospel of Jesus Christ.  My brother and I are eternally grateful to the Lord for having given her to us as our mother and using her to bring us into God’s eternal family where we, with Dad, are now eternally brothers and sister in Christ. I didn’t use my Mom as an illustration in my book, but the Lord used her to teach me the power of gospel love in a marriage.

Perhaps this exercise has confirmed for me that the book could very well meet a real need among believers.  We need to make the gospel itself much more effective in our marriages.  We need to purposefully, intentionally, conscientiously bring the gospel to bear upon our dealings with each other’s sin.  We need to believe and expect that, as we give each other gospel love, the Spirit will work effectively in and through us to conform us to Christ and use our marriages to display the gospel and bring glory to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Thank you, Alan, for your careful and thoughtful response, and for the book as a whole.  To summarise:

The winners:

Cath ~ Guy ~ Sarah ~ Dan


The others: thanks and commiserations, and I hope you will not be put off trying again next time.

Written by Jeremy Walker

Monday 7 December 2009 at 12:37

Posted in Competitions

Tagged with , ,

4 Responses

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  1. Pah. I am so distressed that I am going to steal Guy Davies’ copy and blame it on my wife.

    Jonathan Hunt

    Monday 7 December 2009 at 13:39

    • “Pah!” is most-definitely an under-used ejaculation of disgust, and nicely employed here. I am not sure quite what to counsel you, however, because while stealing the book and blaming it on your wife seems to provide you with the very platform from which to profit by the book, something in the scenario as a whole seems slightly off-kilter. I will muse further and see if I can put my finger on it . . .

      Jeremy Walker

      Monday 7 December 2009 at 13:47

  2. Well I certainly wasn’t expecting that! Extremely generous judging. I look forward to reading the book!


    Monday 7 December 2009 at 17:53

  3. My actions are entirely excused by the distress caused by the expert panel of judges. When I am done stealing the book (and I know it is in his house now because he has let it slip on his blog) – which will not be long because my team of expert reformed ninjas are en route to Wiltshire – I shall sue this blog for the terrible mental anguish I have endured.

    Jonathan Hunt

    Tuesday 8 December 2009 at 23:15

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