Everyone knows that something has changed with the American Family. Compare the depiction of family in 1950’s television with 2017 and the difference is stark. The very definition of family has been radically changed much less the very environment with which we function as family. I grew up in the 1960’s and 70’s with no cell phones, only 3 channels on the TV, and rotary phones that hung on the kitchen wall. A 20 volume set of Encyclopedia Britannica on the shelf was our internet and I took photo’s on a Kodak camera that you placed at your belly and looked down into the lens. While some moms worked, most stayed at home with their kids and dad was the sole breadwinner. We laugh when we say it, but America was indeed a lot like the Cleaver household in the old sitcom, “Leave it to Beaver”, and the problems we faced were similar. Boy, have times changed. The family has been under assault since Dr. James Dobson started his radio show and writings nearly 4 decades ago. To his credit, he saw the spiraling trajectory long before most of us ever thought much about it. Unfortunately, a new generation hasn’t heeded the warnings of a previous generation and now collapse is ever closer.
Several weeks ago I wrote a series of articles outlining the rebuilding of a Christian nation. The premise was basically that America’s trajectory as a nation is headed for a collapse and what will we do when that time comes? I suggested that the church must begin to articulate answers because, “you can’t beat something with nothing”. If we are indeed convinced that nations rise and fall on the basis of their foundations being set upon biblical precepts and values, how much more would that be the case for our lives and our families? It takes no sociologist or post-graduate degree in psychology to recognize that all four areas of government as indicated by the Bible are collapsing. Civic government, church government, family government, and self-government are all under attack and struggling in historic ways. This should be of no surprise as each of these areas have been targeted by cultural forces (inspired by the work of our Adversary, Satan) for destruction. Indeed, any government which neglects the truth of the Scripture and Christian discipline will ultimately fall. We are watching it happen before our very eyes.
This series of articles is directed towards rebuilding Family Government. I know that to use the term “government” seems odd, mostly because in our era the word “family” is more closely synonymous with the word “anarchy” rather than order. This is the root of the problem with most family’s culture. Unfortunately, it is a root problem in MANY Christian families’ culture. My highest hope is that Christian parents can be reached BEFORE they experience a family collapse. Obviously, many families have already collapsed in ruin and then the question becomes, “How do we rebuild?” Let me be clear, I do not present myself as the parenting or family guru who has every answer to every life scenario. I am leery of popular authors stating that they have absolute understanding of how family should operate. Children are not robots and parents are not assembly-line workers. I have decades of pastoral counseling experience to understand the brokenness wrought by passive, superficial, Christian parents, as well as legalistic, hyper-controlling ones. I have watched enumerable tangents on all sides of family life which has caused generational dysfunction in family trees. To be successful, in my humble opinion, is to uphold the absolute authority of God’s Word in our families with the assistance of the Holy Spirit in it’s application in practical scenarios.
I am blessed to have raised (along with my wife) the children that carry my name. The three of them are in their adult years and love Jesus Christ and serve Him in their respective local churches. I am keenly aware that children will at times turn out good not so much because of their parents skills but despite their parents dysfunctions. The opposite is true as well. Sometimes kids reject our parenting input despite our best efforts in leading them to a knowledge of the truth. There is no such thing as a perfect parent. There is no such thing as perfect kids. The doctrine of total depravity has effectively knocked out those possibilities. However, the absence of perfection in no way undermines the pursuit of Christian stability and success. If you are reading this as a Christian parent then your mandate includes the discipling of your children. It is especially so if you are a husband and father, but it certainly includes the input of wives and mothers. The unfortunate reality is that there are untold numbers of single parents who are struggling to raise children without the assistance of the other biological parent. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, out of about 12 million single parent families in 2016, more than 80% were headed by single mothers. Today 1 in 4 children under the age of 18 — a total of about 17.2 million — are being raised without a father. Family government is under assault and crumbling like never before. The question becomes, “How can we rebuild it?”
I am under no illusion that the secular culture (“world”) wants anything to do with Christian precept and common sense. In fact, it seems as if most secular counsel is exactly the opposite of what Scripture and sound counsel would offer. My goal isn’t to change minds that are bound in moral darkness and twisted in their worldview, but rather challenge Christians to fearlessly express their faith in their families and with the fruit that will come forth, offer an alternative to their secular-minded friends in the midst of a spiral most are trying to navigate.
In the next few weeks I will be posting a series of 10 articles sharing some VERY practical things my wife and I have done through the years which we identify as being helpful to the raising of our kids and being a “family”. I will also share some mistakes (of which there are plenty) in hopes of the reader learning off of my pain. I need to say at this point that my wife, Tracie, has been unbelievably adept at applying Scripture and being led of the Holy Spirit in child rearing and guidance. It has been nothing short of supernatural. So, I freely admit that the lion’s share of the credit for any success in our household should go to her. However, I got to watch, participate and be a part of the parenting conversations through the years which birthed whatever corporate wisdom we produced. It is yours now for consideration. I also hope to include some tips for the single-Christian parent who may feel absolutely over their head in providing any sense of stability and consistency with their children due to the lack of an engaged spouse or biological parent. I recognize that there are many singles caught in this situation due to various reasons that need help. Hopefully, I can offer something that resonates in your situation.
If there was ever a day we needed God’s help for the family, we are living in it. If there was ever a verse we need to apply it is I John 2:27, which states:
“But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.”
There is an anointing, John says, for ALL things. I believe there is an anointing available for parenting if we desire it and seek it. This series is an attempt to encourage you to receive that anointing and begin the rebuilding of YOUR Christian family.