Family worship was one of the hallmarks of the Puritan era and one of their greatest legacies for us.
The Puritan pastor and theologian Richard Baxter wrote,
- We must have a special eye upon families, to see that they are well ordered, and the duties of each relation performed. The life of religion, and the welfare and glory of both the Church and the State, depend much on family government and duty. If we suffer the neglect of this, we shall undo all…. I beseech you, therefore, if you desire the reformation and welfare of your people, do all you can to promote family religion.
The Puritans believed and taught that your family is your church.Every man has a responsibility to pastor his wife and his children. Jonathan Edwards said, “Every Christian family ought to be as it were a little church, consecrated to Christ, and wholly influenced and governed by his rules. And family education and order are some of the chief means of grace.” George Whitefieldsaid, “A man ought to look upon himself as obliged to act in three capacities: as a prophet, to instruct; as a priest, to pray for and with; as a king, to govern, direct, and provide for them.”
Puritans believed that the home was the primary place of learning the Bible and moral instruction. They also believed that it was a parent’s spiritual responsibility to disciple and teach their children about faith. The Bible instructs us, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it”(Proverbs 22:6). It is important for children to begin learning about God and the Bible at home.
Thomas Doolittle said, “Masters of families ought to read the Scripture to their families and instruct their children and servants in the matters and doctrines of salvation. Therefore, they are to pray in and with their families.”
For the Puritans that day off was synonymous with family time. Many church planters fail to take a day off and justify it with their great ministry need. We are not leading our family well unless we take time to be together without work lingering in the background. This is a common sin that ministers—in fact, all of us—need to repent of.
Spiritual burnout occurs when we don’t give ourselves time to rest from our daily routine. Puritans were a great example for spiritual rest because they had a rhythm of work and rest and service and worship.
Puritans taught the gravity of the responsibility of shepherding your family. We are stewards of our families. Let us not sin in this area. Let us repent for not leading well. Thomas Doolittle said, “If God be the Founder, Owner, Governor, and Benefactor of families, then families are jointly to worship God and pray unto Him.”
Article from The Resurgence Blog