Gary Thomas on Marriage and Evangelism

In his book, Sacred MarriageGary Thomasoffers an edifying manual for marriage.  Thomas considers God’s ultimate purpose for marriage and proposes that marriage is not just about self-gratifying happiness, but primarily about spiritual holiness.  His emphasis is that God has designed marriage in such a way as to use it for the sanctification of his saints.  This is main theme of his book, but in one chapter on “Finding God in Marriage: Marital Analogies Teach Us Truths About God,” Thomas goes beyond sanctification to speak about the ways in which enduring marriages show the gospel of Jesus Christ and the glories of his indestructible union with the church.

Since this topic of marriage and evangelism has been the subject of study for me this summer, this quote grabbed my attention and I share it here:

In a society where relationships are discarded with a frightening regularity, Christians can command attention simply by staying married. And when asked why, we can offer the platform of God’s message of reconciliation, followed by an invitation: “Would you like to hear more about the good news of reconciliation?”

In this sense, our marriages can be platforms for evangelism. They can draw people into a truth that points beyond this world into the next. Just by sticking it out in marriages, we can build a monument to the principle and practice of reconciliation.

Years ago Paul Simon wrote a best-selling song proclaiming “Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover.” A Christian needs just one reason to stay with his or her ‘lover’: the analogy of Christ and his church (Gary Thomas, Sacred Marriage [Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2000], 37).

May we who know Christ and are married look not only to grow in our marital relationships for the sake of one another, but may we also look to grow in our marriages for the sake of Jesus Christ, that his union with the church might be magnified in our unbroken unions and faithful, loving vows.

Sola Deo Gloria, dss

2 thoughts on “Gary Thomas on Marriage and Evangelism

  1. Thanks for pointing the book out. In your quote you
    say “Just by sticking it out in marriages”. Do you
    know of he gives any good advice on how to do that or is this a book about the church as Christ bride.

    Thanks again

  2. Good question. Though Gary Thomas builds his argument(s) on the foundations of Christ marriage to the church, it is a book that primarily addresses your former concern–covenantal fidelty and endurance. Here are some of his chapter headings: (3) Learning to Love; (6) The Cleansing of Marriage; (9) Falling Forward; and (7) Sacred History; (8) Sacred Struggle; (12) Sacred Presence; and (13) Sacred Mission. Hope that gives a bit more of an idea of what his book covers. Check it out, it is a good resource. So is Dave Harvey’s “When Sinners Day I Do” and Gary Riccuci’s “Love that Lasts.”


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