For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
God's Design for Marriage
An Interview With John Helmberger
What is your title (and what organizations are we talking about)?
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Minnesota Family Council, a Christian issue advocacy organization, and its educational and legal arms, Minnesota Family Institute and Northstar Legal Center, respectively.
What is the mission you are pursuing?
Our mission is to equip and mobilize Christians to be a “salt and light” influence in the public square, advancing a biblical worldview that cherishes life, affirms religious liberty, preserves marriage and strengthens families, for the glory of Jesus Christ and the good of society. “This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:3–4).
Prepare leaders through biblical worldview and leadership training to be like the men of Issachar, “who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do” (1 Chronicles 12:32)—who are not sideline philosophers but warriors who see the world through the lens of Truth and who are equipped for radically God-centered engagement in the public square.
Promote values in the public arena by engaging Christians to advocate for laws and policies that affirm what is good and oppose what is evil in God’s eyes, for “righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people” (Proverbs 14:34).
Provide accountability for elected leaders by informing the Body of Christ of candidates’ voting records and positions on critical issues, and mobilizing believers to be faithful voters—faithful to vote, consistent with their faith and biblical worldview, choosing leaders who are “able ... who fear God, who are trustworthy and hate dishonest gain (Exodus 18:21).
What should Christians understand about the current political climate with regard to Christian marriage? So what? Why take an interest?
Christians should care deeply about what’s happening to marriage in Minnesota because God cares about it and because what’s on the horizon affects everyone—especially Christians—whether they’re married or not.
The sanctity of marriage as the lifelong union of a man and a woman—as God designed it and as human societies have recognized it throughout history—has been under assault in our society for many years, in many ways.
No fewer than five bills have been introduced in our state legislature to redefine marriage in Minnesota to include same-sex marriage. With supportive majorities in both bodies of the legislature, the only thing that has prevented passage of these bills already is the certainty of a veto by former Governor Tim Pawlenty. The current governor supports legalization of homosexual marriage. This has led advocates to proclaim that legalization of homosexual marriage in Minnesota is “imminent,” which would reverse what marriage was designed for and has always meant until now.
Some say marriage is a peripheral social and Christian issue.
But as Christians, we should be very concerned about the threat to marriage for another more important reason: the gospel. God designed marriage not only to give pleasure to men and women, which it does; and not only to perpetuate the species, which it does; and not only to provide the optimal environment for raising children, which it does.
Beyond all those good things, God designed marriage most especially as a picture of the incredible covenant relationship between the Lord Jesus Christ and his Bride, the Church (Ephesians 5:22–33). As Pastor John has said, “The wonder of marriage is woven into the wonder of the gospel of the cross of Christ.” Marriage is a living display of the gospel for the glory of God, and as such is central to the gospel and essential to the Church’s gospel witness. Redefinition of marriage obscures the picture of Christ and his Bride, robs God of glory due him, and undermines the witness of the Church.
What else do you want readers to be certain to understand?
Elections have consequences. That means—at least—being knowledgeable about candidates’ positions on same-sex marriage and other critical issues, and being faithful voters—faithful to vote, and consistent with biblical faith and biblical worldview.
John Helmberger is active at Bethlehem’s North Campus.
Pastor Sam Crabtree is Bethlehem's Executive Pastor and Lead Pastor for Life Training.