BOOK HIGHLIGHT — Strengthening Your Marriage by Wayne A. Mack

Strength­en­ing Your Mar­riage by Wayne A. Mack

208 pages | Direct Price: $11.99 $9.00 | Paper­back | Pub­lished: 1977

Sum­mary: For bet­ter or for worse? Whichever term describes your mar­riage, there are ways to make it (even) bet­ter. That’s because God has designed mar­riage to be a rela­tion­ship of deep unity and strength. Despite the chal­lenges that cou­ples face today, mar­i­tal har­mony need not be con­sid­ered an impos­si­ble ideal.

Wayne A. Mack rec­og­nizes the chal­lenges before us, and shows us how to meet those chal­lenges with grow­ing suc­cess. In this book, he has gath­ered a wealth of bib­li­cal insight and prac­ti­cal infor­ma­tion on mar­i­tal roles, com­mu­ni­ca­tion, finances, sex, child rear­ing, and fam­ily wor­ship. Both as a coun­sel­ing aid and as a guide for hus­bands and wives to study together, this book offers true hope and help where cou­ples need it most.

About the Author:

Mack_Wayne Wayne A. Mack lives in Pre­to­ria, South Africa, where he serves as a pastor-elder with his son-in-law and teaches bib­li­cal coun­sel­ing at Strength­en­ing Min­istries Train­ing Insti­tute to pas­tors and aspir­ing pas­tors in the region. He also spends about six weeks in the USA teach­ing at var­i­ous churches. He and his wife, Carol, have four adult chil­dren and numer­ous grandchildren.

Table of Contents:
Unit 1: God’s Pur­pose for Marriage
Unit 2: The Wife’s Responsibilities
Unit 3: The Husband’s Responsibilities
Unit 4: Good Communication
Unit 5: Finan­cial Agreement
Unit 6: Sex­ual Unity
Unit 7: Rais­ing Children
Unit 8: Fam­ily Religion


Our mis­sion is to serve Christ and his church by pro­duc­ing clear, engag­ing, fresh, and insight­ful appli­ca­tions of Reformed theology.


Author Interview with Jane Roach

This week’s author inter­view is with Jane Roach, the author of our new book, Joy beyond Agony: Embrac­ing the Cross of Christ, A Twelve-Lesson Bible Study.



  • Ques­tion #1 — Tell us a lit­tle bit about your­self: where you’re from, fam­ily, job, per­sonal inter­ests, unique hob­bies, what you do in your spare time, etc.

I am a native of San Anto­nio, Texas. My par­ents were hard work­ing, self-denying peo­ple who brought me up in the nur­ture and admo­ni­tion of the Lord. My older sis­ter is with the Lord and my twin sis­ter is close to me in body and soul. I am mar­ried for almost 50 years to Jim Roach. We have one daugh­ter and one son, four grand­sons, two grand­daugh­ters, and another grand­son due in August this year.

I taught math­e­mat­ics at San Anto­nio Com­mu­nity Col­lege for three years and at Texas State Uni­ver­sity, San Mar­cos TX, for three years before the birth of my daugh­ter. My desires changed as I began to study the Bible in 1974. I “grew up” in the Lord in Bible Study Fel­low­ship, teach­ing a class of 450 women for 7 years before join­ing the global head­quar­ters staff in 1985 as Direc­tor of Train­ing. I retired from that posi­tion in 2011. Since then I have been teach­ing two Bible stud­ies in my com­mu­nity and church. The lessons from one of the stud­ies is the basis for Joy beyond Agony: Embrac­ing the Cross of Christ.

I enjoy play­ing the piano, singing in the church choir, and going to the per­for­mances of the San Anto­nio Sym­phony. For times of rest, I do counted cross stitch embroi­dery. Dis­cov­er­ing and try­ing new recipes has always been fun for me.

I am a big fan of the San Anto­nio Spurs NBA bas­ket­ball team. Go Spurs Go!


  • Ques­tion #2 — Which writ­ers inspire you?

R. C. Sproul, D. A. Car­son, and Elis­a­beth Elliot have been favorites for many years. I enjoy read­ing biogra­phies of Chris­tians and non-Christians. I find them very stretch­ing and chal­leng­ing. My favorites include: A Chance to Die: The Life and Legacy of Amy Carmichael, Shadow of the Almighty: The Life and Tes­ta­ment of Jim Elliot, and Evi­dence Not Seen: A Woman’s Mirac­u­lous Faith in the Jun­gles of World War II (Dar­lene Deibler Rose).


  • Ques­tion #3 — What inspired you to write Joy beyond Agony?

One of my col­leagues at BSF, Shirley Mills, fre­quently told me I should write a book about the Cross. Just before I retired, two godly men I respect, Dr. John Han­nah and Dr. Thomas Schreiner, gave me the same admo­ni­tion. I real­ized I must give their com­ments seri­ous con­sid­er­a­tion. As I did, I began to have a desire to per­se­vere to write. It has been a glo­ri­ous experience.


  • Ques­tion #4 — Do you have a spe­cific spot where you enjoy writ­ing most?

I have an office in my home, with an iMac that I enjoy using.


  • Ques­tion #5 — At what time of day do you write most?

Early in the morning.


  • Ques­tion #6 — How do you deal with writer’s block?

I get up, walk around, do some mind­less task and pray while I am doing it. Some­times I ask my hus­band or a friend to let me tell them about the place where I am stuck. As I talk about it, often it becomes clear to me how to move forward.


  • Ques­tion #7 — Favorite sport to watch? Why?  Favorite sport’s team?

NBA bas­ket­ball. I like is because it is fast mov­ing. My favorite sport’s team is the San Anto­nio Spurs.


  • Ques­tion #8 — Favorite fla­vor of ice cream?

Blue Bell Coconut Fudge (it tastes like Mounds, my favorite candy bar.)


  • Ques­tion #9 — If you have a favorite book of the Bible, what is it and why?

Romans; I like Paul’s antic­i­pa­tion of ques­tions and his lin­ear arguments.


Want to learn more about Jane?


NEW RELEASE — The New Man by Dan Doriani

The New Man: Becom­ing a Man After God’s Heart by Dan Dori­ani 

280 pages | List Price: $14.99 | Paper­back

Sum­mary: Dan Dori­ani under­stands the chal­lenges of being a man, and he knows you don’t need more man-made lists to excel as a hus­band, father, or leader. The new man in Christ is shaped by know­ing God through his Word, because the way of a godly man is the way of his God.

With a focus on hon­ing char­ac­ter rather than fol­low­ing tech­niques, Dori­ani seeks out the bib­li­cal pat­tern for mas­culin­ity that tran­scends cul­ture. Dis­cover how you can reflect God’s char­ac­ter in mar­riage, friend­ships, wealth, work, fit­ness, play, and more. You won’t find check­lists for self-improvement (or three ways to grill a steak), but you will find clar­ity, insight, hon­esty, encour­age­ment, and free­dom in the Man who is ulti­mately our Sav­ior, not just our exam­ple. You’ll even find ideas for games to play with your kids!

Each chap­ter includes ques­tions for group study or dis­cus­sion with spouses. This is a revised and expanded edi­tion of The Life of a God-Made Man (Cross­way, 2001).

About the Author:

Doriani_DanDaniel M. Dori­ani is vice pres­i­dent of strate­gic aca­d­e­mic projects and pro­fes­sor of the­ol­ogy at Covenant The­o­log­i­cal Sem­i­nary. Pre­vi­ously he was senior pas­tor of Cen­tral Pres­by­ter­ian Church in Clay­ton, Mis­souri. Some of his books include: Putting the Truth to Work, The Ser­mon on the Mount, Get­ting the Mes­sage, and James, Matthew (2-Volume Set)1 Peter, and The Incar­na­tion in the Gospels in the Reformed Expos­i­tory Com­men­tary series.

What Others Say About This Book:

An acces­si­ble, bib­li­cal, and inspir­ing vision for man­hood. I rec­om­mend it to Chris­t­ian men everywhere.”

Dar­rin Patrick, Author of The Dude’s Guide to Man­hood and The Dude’s Guide to Marriage

Dan is a proven thinker and leader. . . . He has some­what mirac­u­lously man­aged to peel away the pop­u­lar, overly-sensitive-to-public-opinion rein­ter­pre­ta­tion of what it means to be a man, while at the same time remained sen­si­tive to the cul­tural moment in which believ­ers must actu­ally live out their faith. No small feat!”

Patrick Mor­ley, Founder of Man in the Mirror

Dan Doriani’s book will be a feast for your heart and life to your soul. It will bring you pur­pose and mean­ing and offer a free­dom that can be expe­ri­enced and real­ized only with a heart poised toward God. The New Man will equip men to lead coura­geously and to leave a godly legacy for gen­er­a­tions to come!”

Shawn Brower, Author of We Became Men and The Hud­dle

Our mis­sion is to serve Christ and his church by pro­duc­ing clear, engag­ing, fresh, and insight­ful appli­ca­tions of Reformed theology.

NEW RELEASES from Joel R. Beeke, Sinclair B. Ferguson, and Richard B. Gaffin Jr.

Piety: The Heart­beat of Reformed The­ol­ogy by Joel R. Beeke

40 pages | List Price: $4.99 | Book­let

Sum­mary: When was the last time you thought about being pious? The word tends to make us think of hav­ing a “holier-than-thou” atti­tude. But this neg­a­tive view strays far from piety’s begin­nings. Joel Beeke reclaims the Reform­ers’ vision for an attrac­tive piety rooted in the knowl­edge of God and our union with Christ. Focus­ing on both mind and soul, he offers prac­ti­cal ways to cul­ti­vate a vibrant piety, help­ing you grow in Christ­like­ness and in your rev­er­ence and love for God. Bring har­mony between your doc­trine and prac­tice, and bring glory to God as he cul­ti­vates the fruit of the Spirit in your life.

About the Author: 

Beeke_Joel Joel R. Beeke is Pres­i­dent of Puri­tan Reformed The­o­log­i­cal Sem­i­nary, where he also serves as Pro­fes­sor of Sys­tem­atic The­ol­ogy and Homilet­ics. He is a pas­tor of the Her­itage Nether­lands Reformed Con­gre­ga­tions in Grand Rapids, Michi­gan. He has writ­ten Over­com­ing the World: Grace to Win the Daily Bat­tle, What Is Res­ur­rec­tion?, and is a con­trib­u­tor in The Tri­une God, God, Adam, and You: Bib­li­cal Cre­ation Defended and Applied, and Assured by God: Liv­ing in the Full­ness of God’s Grace.

What Others Say About This Booklet:

A sum­mary of piety that is both bib­li­cally rich and the­o­log­i­cally pre­cise, writ­ten by one whose life con­sis­tently demon­strates it.”

Derek W. H. Thomas, Pro­fes­sor of Sys­tem­atic and His­tor­i­cal The­ol­ogy, Reformed The­o­log­i­cal Sem­i­nary, Atlanta


The Heart of the Gospel: God’s Son Given for You by Sin­clair B. Ferguson

24 pages | List Price: $4.99 | Book­let

Sum­mary: How can we truly know that God always does what is best for us? Focus­ing on Romans 8:32, Sin­clair Fer­gu­son reminds us what lies at the heart of the gospel. In the atone­ment, we behold the Father who refused to spare his own Son—and the Son who was obe­di­ent in being deliv­ered up on our behalf. If this is the kind of God we have, and if this is what he has already shown us of him­self, then we can con­fi­dently say he is for us.

About the Author:

Ferguson Dr. Sin­clair B. Fer­gu­son is pro­fes­sor of sys­tem­atic the­ol­ogy at Redeemer Sem­i­nary and dean of the Doc­tor of Min­istry Pro­gram at Ligo­nier Acad­emy. He is the edi­tor of John Owen: The Man and His The­ol­ogy, as well as a con­trib­u­tor for These Last Days: A Chris­t­ian View of His­tory, Atone­ment, and Assured By God: Liv­ing in the Full­ness of God’s Grace.

What Others Say About This Booklet:

Sin­clair Fer­gu­son reaches deep into the Scrip­tures to dis­close the love of the tri­une God for fallen sin­ners. This is a won­der­ful elixir for the soul and should not be missed.”

J. V. Fesko, Pro­fes­sor of Sys­tem­atic and His­tor­i­cal The­ol­ogy, West­min­ster Sem­i­nary California

This is a book that I will give to non-Christian friends as well as sea­soned believ­ers. The Heart of the Gospel not only informs, but trans­forms, as it pro­claims Christ in his sav­ing office.”

Michael Hor­ton, J. Gre­sham Machen Pro­fes­sor of The­ol­ogy, West­min­ster Sem­i­nary California


No Adam, No Gospel: Adam and the His­tory of Redemp­tion by Richard Gaf­fin Jr.

32 pages | List Price: $4.99 | Book­let

Sum­mary: Doubts and denials swarm the bib­li­cal teach­ing that humans descend from an orig­i­nal pair, Adam and Eve. Some even claim that these doubts are com­pat­i­ble with Chris­t­ian com­mit­ment. But is that pos­si­ble? Richard Gaf­fin shows how these denials under­mine the entire his­tory of redemp­tion taught in Scrip­ture. When we remove Adam and Eve from his­tory, we are left with no redemp­tive his­tory. Gaf­fin reminds us that, with no Adam there is no gospel.

About the Author:

Gaffin_Richard_B Richard B. Gaf­fin Jr. is Pro­fes­sor Emer­i­tus of Bib­li­cal and Sys­tem­atic The­ol­ogy at West­min­ster The­o­log­i­cal Sem­i­nary in Philadel­phia. He is the author of By Faith, Not by Sight: Paul and the Order of Sal­va­tionRes­ur­rec­tion and Redemp­tion: A study in Paul’s Sote­ri­ol­ogyPer­spec­tives on Pen­te­cost: New Tes­ta­ment Teach­ing on the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, and is the edi­tor of Thy Word Is Still Truth: Essen­tial Writ­ings on the Doc­trine of Scrip­ture from the Ref­or­ma­tion to TodayRedemp­tive His­tory and the New Tes­ta­ment Scrip­turesRedemp­tive His­tory & Bib­li­cal Inter­pre­ta­tion: The Shorter Writ­ings of Geer­hardus Vos, and Adam in the New Tes­ta­ment: Mere Teach­ing Model or First His­tor­i­cal Man?.

What Others Say About This Booklet:

In Scrip­ture, who we were in Adam is deci­sive for who we are now as human beings made in the image of God, and who we shall become as redeemed believ­ers in Christ. Dick Gaf­fin draws out the seri­ous the­o­log­i­cal impli­ca­tions that nec­es­sar­ily flow from the denial of a his­toric Adam as the pri­mor­dial ances­tor of humanity.”

Iain M. Duguid, Pro­fes­sor of Old Tes­ta­ment, West­min­ster The­o­log­i­cal Sem­i­nary, Philadelphia


Our mis­sion is to serve Christ and his church by pro­duc­ing clear, engag­ing, fresh, and insight­ful appli­ca­tions of Reformed theology.


Heaven is a Place on Earth: 3 Reasons from 2 Peter 3

What do you think of when you think of heaven? Chubby angels float­ing amidst the clouds, play­ing their minia­ture harps? A long line of eager believ­ers at the pearly gates, await­ing their accep­tance by St. Peter?

Scrip­ture reveals that the new heav­ens and earth will be not a world of clouds brim­ming with baby-faced angels, but a bustling metrop­o­lis with both archi­tec­ture and nature (Rev. 21:12; 22:1). As Nathan Bierma writes in Bring­ing Heaven Down to Earth, “Heaven will be ter­res­trial. We will not be float­ing on clouds, but walk­ing on terra firma—firm ground” (42). The new heav­ens and earth will be like the earth we live on presently, but trans­formed in the glo­ri­ous com­ing of Christ.

But how does this trans­for­ma­tion come about? Some Chris­tians argue that the earth will undergo total anni­hi­la­tion, fol­lowed by recre­ation. The main pas­sage used to defend this view is 2 Peter 3, where Peter talks about the “day of the Lord,” when “the heav­ens will pass away with a roar, and the heav­enly bod­ies will be burned up and dis­solved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed” (v. 10). I would like to offer three rea­sons why this pas­sage does not por­tray God mak­ing all new things, but rather shows his refin­ing judg­ment mak­ing all things new.

1) Peter com­pares the com­ing judge­ment with Noah’s Flood, which did not destroy the world but purged it of unrighteousness.

Verses 5 and 6 refer to the judg­ment of water that puri­fied the earth at the time of Noah. That watery grave, which shat­tered the win­dows of heaven, didn’t oblit­er­ate the earth but washed it of accu­mu­lated unright­eous­ness (Gen. 6:5–6). We can expect “by the same word” (2 Pet. 3:7) that God’s refin­ing judg­ment will purify and renew the old heav­ens and earth—not anni­hi­late them completely.

2) Peter’s men­tion of fire burn­ing the heav­ens and heav­enly bod­ies (v. 12) likely refers to met­als being refined, not total annihilation.

There are two rea­sons for this. First, the word Peter uses to describe the earth being set on fire (puroó) is the same word that both Old and New Tes­ta­ment authors use to describe the process of refin­ing pre­cious met­als by fire (Rev. 1:18; 3:18; see also the LXX for Zech. 13:9). Sec­ond, Peter’s prophecy of the day of the Lord shares strong par­al­lels with the prophecy in Malachi, where Malachi refers to the com­ing of the Lord as a “refiner’s fire,” an oven meant to purify gold and sil­ver (Mal. 3:2–3; 4:1).

Bierma draws on scholar Al Wolters’s exten­sive writ­ing to explain Peter’s fire imagery. Bierma writes

The third chap­ter of 2 Peter is full of Greek verbs that describe what Wolters calls “a state of intense heat, as when a per­son is ‘burn­ing’ with fever, or a piece of metal is red hot.” But Peter doesn’t use any words in this chap­ter that mean “going up in flames,” in Wolters’s words. So there is a lot of burn­ing and melt­ing going on, but not utter anni­hi­la­tion. (44)

In Bierma’s words, Peter sees God’s refin­ing judg­ment on the earth as being “more like a blacksmith’s fire than an incin­er­a­tor” (45).

3) When Peter says the earth “will be exposed” (v. 10), he is using a word that he also relates to the process of refining.

Peter says this refin­ing process will occur in three phases: (1) the heav­ens, (2) the heav­enly bod­ies (sun, moon, and stars), and finally (3) the earth itself (2 Pet. 3:10). While the first two are said to pass away, the earth and it’s works “will be exposed,” or lit­er­ally “will be found out” (heurisko). Why does Peter use this term? The key, Bierma notes, lies in how Peter uses this word else­where. In 3:14, Peter calls his read­ers to “make every effort to be found [heurisko] spot­less, blame­less and at peace with him,” and ear­lier, in 1 Peter 1:7, he says, “These [tri­als] have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which per­ishes though refined by fire—may be proved [heurisko] gen­uine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed” (empha­sis added). Bierma concludes

What Peter is doing by say­ing “will be found” and allud­ing to a refiner’s fire is using a phys­i­cal process to explain a meta­phys­i­cal mystery—the awe­some purifi­ca­tion of the entire uni­verse, includ­ing planet earth. Some­how “the entire cos­mos,” Wolters says, “is to be refined . . . [and] emerge puri­fied. (45)

The Lord in his com­ing will not give up on his cos­mos. He will come and estab­lish his new cre­ation on earth. Though Satan attempts to cor­rupt the world to the point of no return, the Lord will come to make “all things new.” (Rev. 21:5). This includes not only the world we live on (Rom. 8:21), but the bod­ies we live in (1 Cor. 15:52). Let us hope for this day and live accord­ing to the promise when

All will be changed.

All will be restored.


For fur­ther study, check out Bring­ing Heaven Down to Earth by Nathan Bierma.

Roger Festa holds a degree in Bib­li­cal Lan­guages and The­ol­ogy. He is a blog­ger for P&R Pub­lish­ing. You can fol­low him on Twitter