Pastor Brian Birkett

Pastor Brian Birkett, Citylife Church, Melbourne

Not Under Bondage is an excellent text which tackles a challenging and controversial topic. The author has wrestled with the issues from a theological, experiential and practical perspective coming to some well thought through recommendations and measured conclusions.

When first picking up the book I thought that perhaps it was a book where the author was simply arguing the issues from her own experience speaking out of woundedness and therefore being biased in her conclusions. I can assure you that this is not the case. Rather she has thought through issues to depth drawing on a number of key texts written on these issues already and examining and exegeting scripture carefully.

Not Under Bondage is a book which examines the issue of divorce. The author considers when divorce is biblical and therefore when it is legitimate from a Christian’s point of view. Her conclusions will be helpful for pastors, church leaders, and denominational leaders, any Christian who cares for others who are going through marriage difficulties and any person who has been through the heartache of divorce.

The author does not give licence to people to divorce over trivial matters, but rather affirms the sanctity of marriage whilst making clear that there are most unfortunate situations where divorce may be a last resort.

Barbara Roberts considers carefully the issues of divorce for abuse, adultery and desertion. These are all tragic situations and are well explained as to why the author comes to her conclusions.

The author’s appendices, footnotes and other texts which she draws from all contribute to produce a well thought through, well argued presentation. Whether you agree with the author’s conclusions or not, it is an excellent book which I recommend be carefully examined in the ongoing complex debate raging within the Christian church as to the appropriate time for divorce and what types of divorce allow for remarriage. Particularly her treatment of the issue of abuse contributing to the potential for the legitimacy of divorce is wrestled with thoroughly. Again whatever your personal bias or traditional conclusions it is well worth the time to consider the author’s arguments and use them to inform you to come to your own well thought through conclusions.

May God use this book, among a number of others, to guide the Christian church to strengthen marriages, bring healing and hope to hurting people and find guidance to the way ahead in an often fractured community.