My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is the first of three volumes on a Christian home. In our modern context this first volume would not be written. We are a very practical age. Give tips on how to my marriage healthy. Give me five ways to raise godly children. But Gouge does not begin there. Instead, a bulk of this book is about Christ and the church. Instead of beginning with how husbands are to love their wives, he begins with how Christ loves the church. Instead of beginning with wives submitting to their husbands, he begins with the church’s subjection to Christ. You will also find a discussion of baptism, what it means for us to be united to Christ, the benefits of our union with Christ, and a discussion of why marriage is not a sacrament.
There are some more practical chapters, but on the whole Gouge lays the theological foundation for his next two books. Therefore it is worth reading, not just for content, but also for his method.
I did have one disagreement. It appears Gouge believes that a marriage can be formed even though it is never consummated. In other words, sex is not a necessary part of marriage. I disagree with this and I am pretty sure most Reformers would as well.
My Rating System
1 Star-Terrible book and dangerous. Burn it in the streets.
2 Stars-Really bad book, would not recommend, probably has some dangerous ideas in it or could just be so poorly written/researched that it is not worth reading. Few books I read are 1 or 2 stars because I am careful about what I read.
3 Stars-Either I disagree with it at too many points to recommend it or it is just not a good book on the subject or for the genre. Would not read it again, reference it, or recommend it. But it is not necessarily dangerous except as a time waster.
4 Stars-Solid book on the subject or for the genre. This does not mean I agree with everything in it. I would recommend this book to others and would probably read it again or reference it. Most books fall in this category because I try not to read books I don’t think will be good. There is a quite a variety here. 3.6 is pretty far from 4.5.
5 Stars-Excellent book. Classic in the genre or top of the line for the subject. I might also put a book in here that impacted me personally at the time I read it. I would highly recommend this book, even if I do not agree with all that it says. Few books fall in this category. Over time I have put less in this category.