Editor’s Note

Journal
06.30.2008

Can a man with a good but wrongly structured marriage have a faithful evangelistic ministry?

This question was posed to me recently. The answer seemed obvious—”Look, it may not be ideal, but if a person is out there sharing the gospel…” I then presented the question to a pastor whom I respect tremendously, and his reply caused me to see a link more clearly than I had before: a rightly ordered marriage presents a picture of the gospel, and, in that sense, a distorted marriage can present a distorted gospel. Yes, God can certainly use those of us with imperfect marriages to be effective evangelistic witnesses. Thank goodness! But the more biblically ordered a marriage is, the clearer will be the portrait of the Christ and the church—that is the gospel. The clearer the marriage biblically the better the display of the gospel.

Consider one of the first consequences of the fall—the marriage of Adam and Eve is cursed with a distorted relationship (Gen. 3:16b). Consider also one of the best pictures of Christ’s redemption—marriage (Eph. 5:22-33). Consider Paul’s requirement that a pastor have a rightly ordered home before he thinks of leading the church (1 Tim. 3:4). A rightly ordered and healthy marriage displays or pictures the gospel. It’s a symbol or a type, like caring for the poor (2 Cor. 8:9). As society moves further and further away from the biblical practice of marriage (think of the recent decision by the California Supreme Court to allow for homosexuals to marry), it will become that much more critical for rightly ordered and healthy Christian marriages to comprise the backdrop of gospel proclamation, again, like so many are saying about caring for the poor. Neither of these matters are the gospel, but both present a kind of picture of the gospel; both are powerfully redolent with the gospel’s love and forgiveness.

How crucial then for pastors to attend to their own marriages, as well as the marriages in their churches. This issue of the 9Marks eJournal on marriage hopes it can help our brother pastors do just that, if only in a small way.

By:
Jonathan Leeman

Jonathan Leeman is the Editorial Director of 9Marks, and an elder at Cheverly Baptist Church in Cheverly, Maryland. You can find him on Twitter at @JonathanLeeman.

Shepherding: The Work & Character of a Pastor

June 2020
Purchase a Print Edition

What’s Wrong With Gospel-Centered Preaching Today?

March 2020
Purchase a Print Edition
Complementarianism: A Moment of Reckoning

Complementarianism: A Moment of Reckoning

December 2019
Purchase on Amazon

The Heart of the Gospel: Penal Substitutionary Atonement

August 2019
Purchase a Print Edition
Church Membership: Following the Lord Together

Church Membership: Following the Lord Together

May 2019
Purchase a Print Edition

Ecclesiology for Calvinists

February 2019
Purchase a Print Edition
The Pastor and Pornography

The Pastor and Pornography

October 2018
Purchase a Print Edition

Pastoral Burnout: Its Causes & Cures

July 2018
Purchase a Print Edition

Church Life: Our True Political Witness

Spring 2018
Purchase on Amazon

Church Discipline: Medicine for the Body

January 2018
Purchase on Amazon

The Reformation and Your Church

Fall 2017
Purchase a Print Edition

Church Mergers and Plants

Summer 2017
Purchase a Print Edition

Pastoring Singles

Spring 2017
Purchase a Print Edition

Healthy Churches around the World

Fall / Winter 2016
Purchase a Print Edition

Authority: God’s Good and Dangerous Gift

Summer/Fall 2016
Purchase a Print Edition

The Church Praying

Spring 2016
Purchase a Print Edition

Confessions, Covenants, and Constitutions: How to Organize Your Church

Winter 2016
Purchase a Print Edition

Missions: Adding Wisdom to Zeal

December 2015
Purchase a Print Edition

Multi-Ethnic Churches

Summer/Fall 2015
Purchase a Print Edition

Expositional Preaching

Spring 2015
Purchase a Print Edition

Complementarianism & the Local Church

Winter 2015
Purchase a Print Edition

Vanishing Church?

Fall 2014
Purchase a Print Edition

Biblical Theology: Guardian and Guide of the Church

Summer 2014
Purchase a Print Edition

The Church Singing

May–June 2014
Purchase a Print Edition

Prosperity Gospel

January–February 2014
Purchase a Print Edition

Evangelism – Part 2

November–December 2013
Purchase a Print Edition

Evangelism – Part 1

September–October 2013
Purchase a Print Edition

Is Scripture Enough?

July–August 2013
Purchase a Print Edition

Church and Churches

May—June 2013
Purchase a Print Edition

Pastoring Christians for the Workplace

March—April 2013
Purchase a Print Edition

Lay Elders: A User’s Guide—Part 2

Jan—Feb 2013
Purchase a Print Edition

Lay Elders: A User’s Guide – Part 1

November—December 2012
Purchase a Print Edition

Discipling in the Church

September—October 2012
Purchase a Print Edition

Mercy Ministry in the Church

July—August 2012
Purchase a Print Edition

Wanted: Apostolic Pastors

May—June 2012
Purchase a Print Edition

The Underestimated Doctrine of Conversion

March—April 2012
Purchase a Print Edition

Don’t Be Too Cool for Sunday School

January—February 2012
Purchase a Print Edition

Revitalize: Why We Must Reclaim Dying Churches—and How

November—December 2011
Purchase a Print Edition

The Pastor and his Staff, Part 2

September—October 2011
Purchase a Print Edition

The Pastor and his Staff, Part 1

July—August 2011
Purchase a Print Edition

Church Membership: Holding the Body Together

May—June 2011
Purchase a Print Edition

Church and Parachurch: Friends or Foes?

March—April 2011
Purchase a Print Edition

Pastoral Moves

January—February 2011
Purchase a Print Edition

Book Reviews on the Mission of the Church

November—December 2010
Purchase a Print Edition

Hell: Remembering the Awful Reality

September—October 2010
Purchase a Print Edition

Pastoring Women

July—August 2010
Purchase a Print Edition
Journal about Deacons

Deacons

May - June 2010
Purchase a Print Edition

A New Evangelical Liberalism

January—February 2010

Church Discipline (Part 2)

November—December 2009

Church Discipline (Part 1)

September—October 2009

Missions

July—August 2009

Multi-site Churches

May—June 2009

Young Pastors

March–April 2009

Raising Up the Next Generation of Pastors

January–February 2009

Counseling in the Church

November–December 2008

Family & Parenting

September–October 2008

Marriage & Pastor’s Wives

July—August 2008

Living As a Church

May–June 2008

Cooperation

March–April 2008

Corporate Prayer

January–February 2008

Church & Culture

November–December 2007

Race and Ethnicity

September—October 2007

The Gospel

July–August 2007

Preaching

May–June 2007

Elders (Part 2)

March–April 2007

Hospitality & Friendship

January 2007

Elders (Part 1)

February 2007

Biblical Theology

November–December 2006

The Church’s Mission

October 2006

The Emerging Church

September 2006

Miscellaneous Articles

December 1999