Some Suggestions for Reconstructing the Family:
Large families are good, even if the economic incentives no longer exist. Large families are one of the keys to dominion “be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth and subdue it” (Gen 1:26-27). Each godly child is another warrior for the Kingdom (cf. Psa 127:3-5). Therefore, normally speaking, Christians should seek to have many children as God provides.
Husbands must be the heads of their family. Head means authority. Fathers must take responsibility to lead their families (cf. Eph 5:23). Men need to put away their toys and start acting responsibly, utilizing the resources of the family for the Kingdom.
Vocation must replace career in our thinking. A vocation is God’s divine call on a man’s labor. God will honor diligent labor. However, careers are artificial attempts to meet man made standards for success. Hence, some good “career” moves may have to be turned down, if the unity and solidity of the family is put at risk (e.g. Mark 10:29-30).
Families must assume personal responsibility for the education of their children. Regardless of whether one sends the children to private Christian schools or home-schools, education is the family’s responsibility. Furthermore, the father stands accountable before God for it, even if Mom is the one who does it. Fathers must teach their children God’s Law. Nothing else is as important to the welfare of the family as this task (Deut 6:6ff). Dominion starts with Dad leading the family in daily worship.
In spite of the humanistic feminization of modern culture, wives need to learn how to submit to the lawful authority of her husband (1 Ptr 3:1ff). Before accepting a proposal of marriage, a woman must ask herself, “Sure I ‘love” him, but do I respect him and can I submit to him?” (Eph 5:33). Women need to be fully employed at home, developing alternative economic strategies. Working outside the home while the children are still young, is destructive to the family, harmful to the children, subverts the husband’s role and distorts the woman’s (e.g. Pvbs 31:10ff). Once the children are grown, other options can be considered.
Singles should normally live with their parents, saving money and preparing for marriage (Pvbs 10:4). Young men should demonstrate that they are ready for the responsibilities of marriage by being debt free and possess considerable savings. Woman (and parents) should reject any potential suitor who is in debt. Fathers might want to consider a “bride price” for their daughters, i.e., a dowry (cf. Gen. 29:20, 31:15-16).
Parents must leave an inheritance for their children to further economic dominion. There is no such concept as retirement in Biblical law, only a time when one’s work no longer remains economically viable. Men continue to work until the Lord calls them home. Older men need to use their time sitting in judgment (Pro 13:22). Children are your social security and retirement. Inheritance can be given before death to educate, start businesses, or help purchase a home.
The primary work of all husbands must be (1) their dominion calling (2) the discipline, training and nurturing of their families and only after these two requirements are met should they (3) minister outside the home (1 Tim 3:4, 1 Tim 5:8). As children grow older (and parents grow wiser) they are then freed up for ministering outside the home. Hospitality is the normal ministry for most families (cf. Rms 12:13, Hebs 13:2, etc.).
Parents must not allow their family to be fractured by diverse interests, hobbies, entertainment, etc. Recreation especially ought to be family oriented (e.g. Amos 3:3). If you cannot do it together, then, maybe it’s not worth doing. Family comes before individuals.
The Church must not separate families; get rid of Sunday school, youth groups or other forms of religious baby-sitting (e.g. Josh 18:1). Teach children to worship from a young age. Daily family worship trains children for Sabbath worship.
Families must get out of debt (Romans 13:8).
Advanced ACADEMIC education is an expensive luxury, not an inalienable right, especially for girls. Money invested in academics may be more profitably used in other places (dowry, down payment on a house, etc.). Formal education beyond normal schooling must be evaluated in terms of its economic advantages. Therefore, a godly woman may well decide that the combined cost of an expensive academic education and four years of lost wages outweighs the intangible benefits of a degree (e.g. Luke 14:28).
Parents should give their children financial incentives to stay close to home and develop an interdependence that lasts beyond childhood. Children ought not to normally move away from their families (Proverbs 27:8). This strengthens the ability of the family to meet social/welfare needs (e.g., 1 Tim 5:8).
Christians must use their free time profitably, reading, working, playing together. Home based businesses are highly recommended (Eph 5:16). Get rid of your TV and buy several computers instead.
Teenagers should not date; parents need to carefully chaperone male/female contacts. Parents have the responsibility to ensure that mates for their children share common doctrinal, ministry, calling and life goals. Arranged marriages (with the consent of the children) are not archaic, but a wise way to ensure family stability (cf. Gen 24:1-4).
Teenagers are young adults and should not see their teen years as time to be irresponsible. Teenagers are given too much time, too much money and too much opportunity to sin. Young adults should focus their time in working diligently at their calling as early as possible (cf. Eph 5:16).
Most of what passes for family “values” in this country is simply baptized secularism. Some people will agree with all the suggestions mentioned above. Some will disagree with all. The main point is to get Christians thinking Biblically about their families, and to ask themselves some hard questions about their core values. If we agree to start asking some hard questions, God may give us grace and answers.
Theology must take precedence over sociology. The way to change the culture is to apply a consistent, Biblical worldview in place of the ever-changing values of fractured American society. Covenant families, united in goal and purpose, are the basis for a reconstructed society. It may mean sacrifices, but the reward is dominion in the name of King Jesus.
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Article by: Brian M. Abshire