Monday, November 22, 2010

The Family in America

Within the last century, there has been a drastic change. This change came not by revolution or civil unrest, but by a major shift from a Christian worldview to a humanistic one. One way this is evident is that Americans are embracing homosexuality and abortion. As a Christian can see, homosexual marriages and abortions are distortions to what the Bible calls the family. With that said, what does an ideal family look like according to Scripture? There will three areas that we will look at that will answer that question; marriage, parenting, and how a family impacts society.

To start off with, we are going to take a look at what a marriage is suppose to look like. Marriage is what keeps a family together. It is the foundation on which a family is built upon. Sadly, marriage is under attack from various sides including the homosexual movement to the modern feminist movement. Groups such as the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) are on the front lines “to eliminate laws governing divorce, fornication, and adultery” and are involved in “lawsuits seeking to legalize same-sex marriage, gay adoption, and even polygamy”1.For the last forty years feminism has been on the rise. They say things such as “We have to abolish and reform the institution of marriage…By the year 2000 we will, I hope, raise our children to believe in human potential, not God… We must understand what we are attempting is a revolution, not a public relations movement.”2 Just recently, a Judge in California declared Proposition 8, an amendment which defines marriage between one man and one woman in California, unconstitutional. Cultural commentator and Southern Baptist Seminary President Albert Mohler comments, “Judge Walker’s decision, bearing the full force of a Federal court, adds to the sense of inevitability that the proponents of same-sex marriage have been so carefully constructing in recent years. Defenders of marriage as a heterosexual institution should resist the temptation to minimize the significance of this decision, even as the verdict is vigorously appealed. Yesterday’s ruling is a huge win for the homosexual community, and a significant step toward the full normalization of homosexuality within the culture.3 These are real threats that, if successful, can bring a fatal blow to marriage. If marriage is destroyed and redefined, then the family is going to be redefined which will drive society farther from its founding principles.

What does an ideal marriage look like? First, it is meant to be between only a man and a woman. One verse in Scripture that teaches this is Genesis 2:24, which states that “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” Also, for a man to become an elder in the local church, one of the qualifications is that he must be “the husband of but one wife.”(1 Timothy 3:2) This clearly refutes the notion that homosexuality is consistent with Biblical Christianity and is a natural trait. This even shows he can’t have two or more wives. God intended marriage to be a picture of the relationship between Christ and His people (the church). Ephesians 5:25-33 shows us that picture by telling husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her. It is all a part of the wonderful design God place for humanity. Marriage is also a covenantal relationship. Just as it is a picture of the covenant between Christ and his church, it also involves a covenantal commitment between a man and a woman. One problem in many relationships in America is that there is no covenantal marriage and there is no commitment to each other. There are couples that are living together without being married. On top of that, if someone else shows up that one likes better, he can terminate that relationship and move in with his new girlfriend. It is a mess the way our culture values marriage. Marriage is a commitment both parties keep until “death do us part.”

The Bible gives instructions on how a man and a woman are to work a marriage. The man is supposed to represent Christ as the head of his household. 1 Corinthian 11:3 says that “Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.” Pastor John Piper helps us define Biblical masculinity. He said “At the heart of mature masculinity is a sense of benevolent responsibility to lead, provide for and protect women in ways appropriate to a man’s differing relationships.”4 One characteristic of biblical manhood is that a man is supposed to lead. Adam in the Garden of Eden was given leadership roles by naming Eve and the animals (Genesis 2:19-23). This is a sign of authority. Husbands are commanded to lead their wives and be the head of their homes. Another role of a biblical man is that he is the main provider for the home. Unless he is hindered otherwise by illness or injury, the man should be the one feeling the pressure of putting “food on the table”, paying the bills, and caring for his wife and children. Thirdly, a man is to be the protector of his wife and kids. We’re not saying women are weak, but men need to make sure that they protect women. If anything ever happens, a woman will know that her husband will protect her and will not be off somewhere else. John Piper said, “A mature man senses instinctively that as a man he is called to take lead in guarding the woman he is with.” 5 These are the characteristics that need to be found in men throughout our society.

For a woman, she is called to represent her husband to her children and to the world.In a marriage relationship, she is suppose to summit to her husband. (Ephesians 5:22, 1 Peter 3:1) One might ask if this makes women inferior to men. No, it does not. The reason a woman submits is that she was designed by God to be a helpmate to her husband. Genesis 2:18 says “And the LORD God said, 'It is not good that man should be alone; I will make a helper comparable to him'” Eve completes Adam. Presbyterian pastor and theologian Brian Schwertly said “When Adam saw Eve, he knew that she was perfectly suitable to answer his needs and desires. The wife is to be a helper suitable for her husband. She is to compliment him and make up what is lacking in him. Together in marriage God makes them a complete whole and together they are perfectly suited to carry out the dominion mandate. They submission of the wife is rooted in the very fabric of creation. Eve was made for Adam to help him and complete him. Therefore, the only way that a woman can find true fulfillment and meaning as God created her is to become a loving submissive wife to a man who is under the loving lordship of Christ.”6 Other roles of Biblical womanhood is to bear children (Genesis 1:28) and to provide companionship to man (Genesis 2:18). America is in dire need of women who follow God’s Word.

Secondly, another aspect of the family is the reproduction and bearing of children. Genesis 1, God commanded man to “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” As the verse indicates, mankind needs to reproduce so that humanity can continue. More importantly, Adam as the head and Eve as his helpmate were given a mandate of dominion, which includes the task of rising up a God glorifying civilization. Due to the fall in Genesis 3, this mandate has been perverted. Today as America strays further away from its Christian roots, the family must start being the family or society will start deteriorating. Parents are required to raise their children in fear of the lord. The family is foundational to stable societies and thriving churches. R.J. Rushdoony writes “The family is man's first state, church, and school. It is the institution which provides the basic structure of his existence and most governs his activities. Man is reared in a family and then establishes a family, passing from the governed to the governing in a framework which extensively and profoundly shapes his concept of himself and of life in general.”7 You might be surprised to know that the family is a form of government. One school textbook written in 1903 said “The family…is a form of government, established for the good of children themselves, and the first government we all must obey.”8 Throughout American history, the family has been an important element of society. People who founded our country such as George Washington, James Madison, and Thomas Jefferson have actually been given their education at home. Because public schools did not exist, the only alternatives were either homeschooling or a charter school if there was one. Most of the founders were taught by tutors with parents closely involved. Former education secretary William Bennett at the 1992 Republican National Convention said “Not all teachers are parents but all parents are teachers – children’s first teachers, children’s all but indispensable teachers.”9 This is why parents need to take their responsibilities seriously. If they do not instill a love of God in their children and teach them Biblical Christianity, we will have people running our government who will not respect Christianity or the U.S. Constitution. This is one of the reasons why we are having the problems in our society. The reason why there is drug abuse, premarital sex, and corrupt politicians is because parents for the last 40-50 years stopped disciplining their children and allowed the State (Through Our wonderful public school system) to takeover in place of the parents.

What can we do to help restore the family in America? First, Christians in America need to wake up to the fact that their freedoms are gradually being taken from them by humanist and anti-Christian groups. Humanists know the power of public education for the propagation of their worldview. Charles Francis Potter, a signer of the first Humanist Manifesto in 1930, said “Education is thus a most powerful ally of Humanism, and every American public school is a school of Humanism. What can the theistic Sunday-school, meeting for an hour once a week, and teaching only a fraction of the children, do to stem the tide of a five-day program of humanistic teaching?”10If most Christian parents start taking responsibility for their children’s’ education and not leave it to the State or even the church, this could change the battle of the culture war were in. Secondly, fathers need to start being fathers. Daniel Amneus writes “Fatherless families . . . generate far more delinquency and personality disorders than do normal or motherless families…The ratio of delinquent children living with the mother only compared to those living with the father only is about three to one.”11According to data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation(FBI), in the year 1983, people under the age of 18 have committed the following; 218,00 burglaries, 45,000 motor vehicle thief, and 10,000 arsons . Can you guess who contributed to at least 78% of these crimes? Boys which the majority of them don’t have a father in their lives.12 (Statistical abstract p.173,183) Thirdly, there needs to be a proper understanding of Biblical manhood and womanhood in our culture. America has adopted false ideas on what men and women are suppose to be. Even gender identity is blurred from the culture. A couple of years ago in the city of Gainesville, FL, the city commission passed an ordinance that allow men that “feel like a woman” to use a woman’s restroom and vice visa in any public bathroom within the city limits. This is how far Americans have gone from what God intended in His design of a man and a woman. It is time we boldly cry out for a return to reality and what God designed us to be. These are steps we can use to bring the Biblical family back to America.

Finally, what can the families that are being Biblical families do to how change America? We as Christians are called to be salt and light to the world. Jesus declared “let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”(Matthew 5:16) If people see a Christian family where the husband and wife have a strong marriage and children that are kind and well behaved, they might be likely to notice something different with that family than from a worldly one. Christian couples with strong marriages need to go and help those whose marriages are crumbling and point those people to the Gospel. Parents can help non-Christian parents and show them the Gospel. It is the Gospel that will save America, not politicians or voting corrupt ones out of office. What we as young folks can do now is to show respect to our parents by submitting to their authority, learning what it means to be a Biblical man or woman, and doing hard things such as helping a Godly candidate running for office get elected or going out evangelizing.

In closing, as it was shown, we have a lot of work to do. In order to reclaim our country and culture, we need to have a Biblical idea of what the family is suppose to look like. Let us be the generation that will set an example to those that are yet to be. We must be bold and speak out against the dangers that homosexuality and abortion bring to our country, families, and to ourselves. Meditate on these words from Yale president Timothy Dwight, “You should by no means consider yourself as members of a small neighborhood, town, or colony only, but as beings concerned in laying the foundations of ‘American greatness.’ Your wishes, your designs, your labors, are not to be confined by the narrow bound of the present age, but are to comprehend succeeding generations, and be pointed to immortality.”13` We are a generation that we determine the fate of future generations. We will either fight for Biblical values or we will sit on the sideline watching our freedom go down the drain. It is time for a new reformation and our generation is the one called to bring it out. May the Lord’s will be done for future generations to see.

Works cite
1. Kastensmidt, Sam. Indefensible; 10 Ways the ACLU is Destroying America p. 138
2. Steinmen, Gloria. Saturday Review of Education March 1973
3 Mohler, Albert. August 5, 2010
4. Piper, John. What is the Difference
5. ibid
6. Schwertly, Brian.
7. Rushdoony, R.J. Politics of Guilt and Pity. P. 331
8. Elements of Civil Government. P.18, 1903 edition
9. Bennett, William.
10. Potter, Charles Francis. Humanism: a new Religion. P. 138
11. Amneus, Daniel. Back to Patriarchy. P. 26,64.
12. Federal Bureau of Investigation, Statistical Abstracts. P. 173,183
13. Hawkinson, Don. Character for Life: An American Heritage. P. 166.

No comments:

Post a Comment