Assault on the Biblical Doctrine of the Family - RR141C5
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An area of major activity today by humanism is in its assault on the Biblical doctrine of the family. One of the products of that assault is the sexual revolution which has been with us for some time now. Some of you perhaps have seen some evidence of the next step in this sexual revolution. It began with a justification of fornication and adultery. It continued with an emphasis on homosexual rites, and in many parts of the country we have seen legislation passed to affirm so-called homosexual rights.
Some few areas saw these laws repealed under the influence in part of Anita Bryant. The hatred of her is so intense for her admitted role in these matters that she cannot go into certain parts of the country now without police protection.
Now, as Time magazine and one of the journals of Psychology have pointed out, the next area of assault on the Biblical Doctrine of the family is the demand for freedom for incest. This is achieving major proportions, and the practice of incest also becoming increasingly a problem. This should not surprise us. When we go to scripture we find that the basic institution in Scripture is not the state, as modern man sees it, nor is it the church as others would have it, but the family. This is central to scripture. The family is the first institution in scripture, it goes back to the Garden of Eden. The family is to basic to scripture that virtually every major or basic power in society, other than the death penalty, is given to the family. The only great and key power withheld from the family is the death penalty. This is why Cain could not be killed for his murder, Mankind then was limited to his family members. The family is basic to scripture. [00:03:35]
Now as we look at scripture there is an aspect of it...
Now as we look at scripture there is an aspect of it as it deals with marriage that we often bypass. Let us look briefly at Ephesians 5:25-28, Ephesians 5:25-28:
“25Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
26That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
27That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
28So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.”
Now this is an amazing passage. When we read scripture we should ask ourselves: Why was it said? And what has not been said? One thing that obviously has not been said is: ‘Wives, love your husbands.’ Not a word about that. Wives submit yourselves unto your husbands as in the Lord, that we read. But nothing about loving their husbands.
On the other hand, very emphatically husbands are commanded to love their wives. Now this is not accidental; there is not an accidental word in all of scripture. Furthermore, when we look at the word Love which was used this tells us a great deal about the meaning of this passage. There are three words in the Koine Greek that can be translated as love, and we only have on word in English. One is Eros, for erotic love, the other is phileo, which we have in Philadelphia, brotherly love, the city of brotherly love. And that refers to the kind of love between one human being and another, human love. Then we have agape, A G A P E. A very strange word because it has reference to God’s grace, his gracious love which He manifests unto us. While we were yet sinners Christ died for us, we who are undeserving are nonetheless by His sovereign grace made the object of His love, his agape, a love we don’t deserve but a love which we receive.
And so Agape, this kind of love has reference to something that comes first and foremost from God, which cannot be manifest except we be in Him, we love him because He first loved us. Again it’s the same word. [00:07:40]
Now what is Paul here telling us when he speaks of...
Now what is Paul here telling us when he speaks of this kind of love as commanded of the husband but not of the wife? Let us remember that the head of the household in scripture has a priestly role, he is an elder, he is the one who is to instruct his family in the word of God. The central doctrine of scripture is the atonement, in the Old Testament the service of communion, the Passover, is conducted by the Elder, that is, the father, who speaks to make clear to the youngest male child capable of speaking and understanding what the meaning of this service is. So that child must ask the question: “Father, what is the meaning of this that we do?” and the father then sets forth the plan of salvation and the history of salvation. It is significant, and you remember in the last hour I referred to Bingham’s Antiquities of the Christian Church, that in the Christian church, and Bingham gives us the sources for this, children received communion. And the service was directed to the children to make them to know what it meant to be in the covenant of Jesus Christ, what he had done for them and what it meant. And it was the duty of the Father to prepare his children in the faith, that they might come knowing what it was that was taking place when they received the bread and the wine.
I think now you begin to see the meaning of this term. The Father receives from God a position and an authority, and a mission, which he then passes on to the wife and through her to the children, and the family as a means whereby it is conveyed to the world. The love of God.
Hence, our Lord teaches the meaning of authority, in the communion service, on the night before his arrest, as the head of the household the father with his children by grace, he showed them the meaning of authority, not to lord it as the gentiles do, but he that is greatest among you, let him be servant of all. And therefore the ceremony of foot washing, this was to indicate what the role of the father and of the pastor is. [00:11:16]
So that when Paul says...
So that when Paul says: “Husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church, we have here a doctrine of the family very, very different from say the strong family doctrine of old china with its ancestor worship, and with the father as a tyrant. Rather, in the Christian family, the father, having received the grace and love of God, manifested to his wife and to his children, and through the family to the church and the people of God, and to the whole world.
Now, against this doctrine the powers of humanism are arrayed. In terms of scripture the family is the basic doctrine and is the key to society, but very early in the last century both evolutionary thinkers and socialist thinkers declared war on the family and said it had to go. Karl Marx and Frederick Engels railed against the doctrine of the family. Karl Marx, and this is not very often publicized, went so far to say that universal prostitution should be the preferred alternative to the Biblical doctrine of marriage.
Frederick Engels associated the Biblical doctrine of marriage with capitalism and the private ownership of property. The family was made a critical target; the family was also made a target by the public schools. In 1948 James Bryant Conant, formally president of Harvard, a Nobel Prize winning scientist, high commissioner of Germany after the war, and a field man for a while doing some writing and research for the nation education association wrote that there was a great obstacle to democracy and the triumph of public education, the family. [00:14:08]
Why? Because every parent wants the best for his children...
Why? Because every parent wants the best for his children, and that creates an un-democratic atmosphere. Hence he could see no future for democracy unless the family were abolished. Humanism therefore has been at war against the family. Perhaps you are not aware of it, and perhaps you are but all over the country parents are under arrest regularly for laying a hand on their child. All that is needed is for some nosy neighbor who knows that a child was slapped or his bottom paddled, to report it to the police, and it becomes a case of child abuse. One mild pastor in New York State was taken to court, they could prove no child abuse, he had paddled her behind just once, with a shingle, but they found him guilty of child abuse in compelling her to go to church and to participate in family prayers. It took him 14 months to regain control of his daughter, and during much of that time he did not even know where she was.
One mother in California who spanked her child, 6 year old, had the 6 year old taken from her and her husband, put into a child welfare home. They went to call on the child the next day, and they were told for the child’s welfare they were being forbidden to see the child. The child down the hall heard his parents, and started to cry, and begged and shouted that he wanted to see them, and wanted to go home with them, but it did not alter the position of the county authorities. A seminary student in Texas not too long ago sent his wife to the bank to negotiate an 800 dollar loan; he was working and was going to seminary, and his wife went there with their one year old and 4 year old child. The 4 year old child kept reaching out for things on the loan officers desk, and the mother warned him and said: “You do that once more and I am going to spank your hand.” He did, she reached out and spanked it like that, and two women in the bank called up the welfare apartment and reported it as a case of child abuse. Before she got to her car she was under arrest and her child was taken from her. [00:17:14]
Unusual? No. Commonplace. Every effort is being made to destroy the biblical doctrine of the family, its welfare, and its discipline. Parents who insist on Biblical morality for their children are guilty of abusing their children. We do face a major warfare, aimed at the faith, and at our doctrine of the family. There is a reason for this.
Now, I have spoken several times across country on the doctrine of the family at great length, in fact at one university recently I spoke several times on the doctrine of the family in scripture, I am going to condense here, and if some of this is repetition for some of you who may have heard one or another of my tapes, I’m sorry but I feel it is so important for us to understand what scripture teaches. In the Bible, the state has no control over the family, only over criminal offenses. The family is the key institution. As the basic unit in society, the family is an important and central area of government.
Now that word government itself is a very important word. The puritans never saw government as meaning the state. When we say government we mean Washington or the state house. That’s a very ungodly use of the word, government to the puritans meant first of all the self-government of the Christian man in Christ, second it meant the family, third it meant the Christian school, fourth it meant the church, 5th it meant your vocation, 6th it meant society, whose standards and expectations govern us, and 7th it meant civil government. If you look at any of the writings of that era you never find the word government applied to the state, only the term: Civil Government. [00:20:01]
I mentioned earlier that the basic powers in any society...
I mentioned earlier that the basic powers in any society are given to the family. Other than the death penalty. The first and the great power is control of children. All around us today humanism is at war with the Biblical doctrine of the family, trying to seize control of the child from the family, and to say it has prior jurisdiction.
Judges have actually stated in courtrooms to Christian parents: “You do not own the child, the child belongs to the state, it is the property of the state.” This is why the state reserves the right to take the child from you at will. This is being done.
We are going to see more and more legislation aimed at separating the child from the Christian family. This is done with knowledge and forethought, after all, control of children is control of the future. Now, as a good humanist, if you were one, you would see that you cannot control the future without controlling children. To leave control of children in the hands of Christians is really a mistake; after all Christians are also the most fertile element in the population, in case you didn’t know that. That is true. Some years ago a study was made of a church records, parish records in England and in Germany and elsewhere, and it was found that out of every hundred people who were habitually in trouble with the law there were only something like 68 children born, in other words the lawless element were not reproducing themselves. Then out of every hundred people who were not lawless, but according to parish records were not faithful in communion, the number of children was limited, about 118 for every hundred. They were barely reproducing themselves. I don’t recall the exact statistics, but my recollection is it was something like that. But for every hundred who were faithful according to parish records, there were something like 350 some children.
So that Christians were the key element from the years after the reformation to about 1900 in any population. They were the responsible element, they were the reproducing element, and they were controlling society just in terms their family life. Their reproduction. [00:23:27]
Now, to leave that kind of power in the hands of the...
Now, to leave that kind of power in the hands of the enemy does not make good sense for the humanists. Hence you have increasingly legislative efforts to limit the powers of the Christian family or its children, to break down the Christian family, to give homosexuals and lesbians equal rights with the family, you have positions now to make legitimate marriages between homosexuals. So far it has not worked, but it is being demanded. Equal rights before the law for all kinds of sexual practices, whereas in terms of our historic western legal tradition because it is Christian, the only kind of legitimate sexuality is marital.
Everything else is illicit. But our society is working to legitimize non marital sexuality. The whole point of sex education in the schools is to undermine Biblical morality. The leaders thereof heave openly admitted to their hostility to what the Bible teaches with regard to sex.
But in Scripture the basic power in any society belongs to the family, and the first basic power is control over children. The second basic power in any society is control of property. Now we are accustomed to thinking of property as something either privately owned or state owned, communism or private ownership. The Bible doesn’t affirm either. The Bible affirms family ownership of property. We still have relics of that in some of our state laws and community property laws. [00:25:47]
And the Bible sees property as a stewardship from God...
And the Bible sees property as a stewardship from God to the godly family, and to be treated as a stewardship. What’s the basic premise in Biblical law that introduces it? The earth is the Lords and the fullness thereof, the world and they that dwell therein. God is the absolute Lord or property owner, therefore all that we are, all that we have is a stewardship from Him. The words of Hannah can be with justice brought into a baptismal service, our children are given to us by the Lord. We simply return them to Him, recognizing His Lordship over us, and all that we have, and first of all our children. So that in terms of Scripture, property like children, belongs to and is committed as a stewardship to the Christian family.
But today the assault is on the family ownership of property. Our community property laws have been very extensively eroded, in one state after another, unless you go to a lawyer or to a realtor who is an expert in this area, your property is not truly community property, because there are sometimes 2-3 variations in the meaning of community ownership of property.
Now this brings us to a third a critical area, the third great power that is given to the family by scripture, control over inheritance. As Solomon said, a good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children. [00:28:05]
But today, well, as of ...
But today, well, as of 1979, 75% of all farms and businesses and homes had to be liquidated at the death of the owner, because of the inheritance tax. 75%. As of this year it will be worse, because the new federal laws governing inheritance work an even greater havoc. This is aimed at destroying the family. I could name to you people across country whom I’ve encountered whose father died suddenly, prematurely and unexpectedly, and the son found himself instead of owning a good farm or business, out in the cold, having nothing.
Everything that is in an estate has to be turned into cash in so many months, to satisfy the tax collector. This is why when Marilyn Monroe died, and left an estate of 6 million, her mother who was her sole heir got less than $5000. Why? Because all that she owned was tied up in residual film rights, worth 6 million, but only one or two film studios in all who could bid for that, and they agreed to bid at their price, one takes some and another another, and they got it to their price. And that was all that was left.
The property we own in the mountains, beautiful house, better than I ever thought I could live in, we got because it was in probate. And so we had gone without and saved all our lives to have a place sometime that we had long dreamed of. Well, we found this place and the price was very cheap, but we still felt it was too much for us. But, because it was in probate and they needed so much cash in so much time to settle it, they came to us and said: ‘We’ll come down $65,000 in the price, if you will come up with so much cash so we can settle the estate.” There were people who were ready to pay the full amount and more on long terms. And that’s how we got it. [00:31:17]
We didn’t offer them that price, I would’ve been ashamed...
We didn’t offer them that price, I would’ve been ashamed to do it. They came to me. And this is the kind of thing that is happening all the time.
But in scripture inheritance is in terms of the word of God, to the godly seed. We are to disinherit or pass over the ungodly, and the eldest godly son is to receive a double portion, so that if there are three sons, half is to go to the main heir, who then has the responsibility for the care of his elderly parents or his mother or whatever. That is his duty. But inheritance in Scripture is a means of capitalizing the future, so that the Christians indeed become the heirs, the blessed meek who inherit the earth.
The roots I am told of the word meek there are very old in Greek, and originally meant tamed, like horses broken to harness. So that the blessed meek are those who have been broken to the harness of the lord, to serve him. Inheritance is an important power in any society, and the modern state makes itself the chief heir, and says; “We will take care of your parents, we are going to be the chief heir.” And it now says that even the illegitimate can be heirs. In some court cases this has been so decided. Now we are seeing an attempt to make a mistress entitled to something, whereas in Scripture only the wife and the godly heir are to receive the inheritance. [00:33:35]
Sin has no place in the word of God...
Sin has no place in the word of God. So we see here three very basic powers; children, property, and inheritance. What Scripture teaches about them, and how humanism today is at total war with the word of God at these points. This is not all. Another basic power is welfare. And the bible commands that welfare be a covenant concern. What does Paul say, summarizing the whole of the Old Testament? “He that doth not care for his own is worse than an infidel, and hath denied the faith.” Now that’s the test that the Lord puts on us. He that does not care for his own, why he has denied the faith and is worse than an infidel, and is infamous, contemptible in the sight of God.
Moreover, we have all kinds of laws in the Old Testament that deal with the care of the poor, including gleaning, do you know, I, and this fact has largely been suppressed and records of it gone, but here and there it still survives that here and there it still survives that it used to be commonplace throughout this country that the church bells would ring after harvest to summon the gleaners out to the fields?
And I did find in a few isolated places in talking to elderly people that almost to World War 2, gleaning continued in out of the way places of the Carolinas and California. Gleaning. Well of course we still have one relic of gleaning which has sometimes lost its function in the cities, Goodwill. That was established on the principles of Scripture, gleaning. But Biblical welfare was a tremendous force, and there was a time when churches all had, and some Lutherans still have a few homes for the care of the elderly who have no relatives, and when every church regarded that as its duty. About 4-5-6 years ago when I was in Birmingham, I was very interested in reading the local paper to read a report of a research conducted in two overwhelmingly rural counties, largely black counties of Alabama, there was not a single child or elderly person in those counties of the black community on welfare. Not a single one. And the reason was a very simple one: They held to the old time religion. [00:37:05]
And any elderly person who was homeless, somebody took...
And any elderly person who was homeless, somebody took them in and they became aunty or uncle so and so, and the same was true of the children, and they didn’t like welfare people or state officials snooping around to ask questions. But the situation in our black ghetto’s is very different, is it not? And it is a product of humanism.
The sad situation in our resting homes with people who are abandoned by their relatives is a very very heart breaking one. I had a letter a few days before I left from a very lovely girl, a new Christian whose work is in a rest home, and she is finding it a heartbreaking task because she said: “These people are abandoned,” Literally abandoned, and she said: “It becomes so easy for those of us who work there to treat them as furniture, we are so overworked and short handed.” She said: “I know I should be home taking care of Gerry, but I spend an hour or so after my shifts just to go around and chat with the people and ask them: “Would you like to have me read some scripture to you?” And she said: “Sometimes they start crying, they are so happy to have someone treat them as still a member of the human race, as someone with needs as a Christian.” Welfare is a tremendous power that has been given by God to the family, and a duty.
We’ve surrendered it to the state. And the consequences have been devastating for our country. Our big cities are evidence of the havoc it wreaks in the destruction of human lives and the destruction of family life; thus we have great powers given to the family by Christ, Children, Property, Inheritance, and Welfare. And the state is seeking control of every one of these areas. [00:39:54]
The fifth great power is education...
The fifth great power is education. That is first and foremost the duty of the family. The colonial period saw most mothers teaching their children how to read, they went to school to get an education. I have found in manuals for Christian families as late as the 1850’s, the duty laid upon the mother to teach her children how to read. The mother is the best teacher the world has ever known. Every mother accomplishes as a routine thing the most difficult task in all of education, all the way through graduate school. And that is to teach someone who does not understand a word of any language, the mother tongue in two years time. And every mother does it. Does it beautifully. And there is not an educational task to equal that. It is ridiculous to underestimate the educational abilities of the mother and of the family.
We are seeing what the Los Angeles Times has called the Quiet Revolution Today. As Christian parents are demanding Christian schools and working towards their establishment and double-taxing themselves to support such schools, and this is perhaps the greatest single factor that the humanists fear, because it portends the turning around of this country.
Humanism of course has been responsible for statist education. In this country it was the Unitarians who introduced it, and they were open about what they wanted to accomplish, the overthrow of Biblical faith. Horace Mann, Charles G. Sumner, all the other, never minced words, in fact Sumner, the great abolitionist senator went so far as to call Christian education: “The coils of the serpent around our children.” [00:42:33]
Now I began by citing Ephesians, and what love means...
Now I began by citing Ephesians, and what love means. Do you begin to see the dimensions of it? The father is a priest under God, manifesting the love of God, toward his wife and toward his family so that through him, that grace, that love and that law, that way of life that God sets forth in His word might be passed on to the entire family.
I was very deeply moved when I was asked to speak to one church group not too long ago, and I arrived and found that my wife Dorothy could not go in. And the pastor’s wife said: “Let’s go to our place and visit, this is for men only.” It was for the elders and some of the local pastors, and they filled the auditorium. And why? “Because,” They said, “We’ve too long seen men sit back and let their wives listen to the preaching and apply it at home, and if we have been called to be heads of households we had better be heads of households. The word speaks first to us, and through us it must speak to our wives and our children. And so we are going to get together regularly to study and to know, and then to apply it because we are the Lords elders in our households.” I found that a tremendously moving experience.
It was an exciting audience to speak to. But today the majority in any congregation across the length and breadth of the United States is made up of women and children. A very interesting book was written by a feminist, the title of it was: The Feminization of the American Culture. Now this woman has no faith, she is a feminist leader. But she speaks about what has happened in the United States from the colonial period to the present, and she describes what we have in the pulpit today across the country as essentially soap opera religion. It is the gospel according to the soap opera. Its sweet, sentimental, antinomian, nothingness. And she says: “Men left the church when the churches left the old puritan faith. The Puritan faith spoke to men, and laid a burden on them as heads of households. It taught the whole of scripture, it set forth the law word of God as binding upon every man, it confronted every man with the knowledge that he would answer to God not only for his life but for the life of his wife and children. And they had better hear the word, believe the word, and apply the whole word of God. [00:46:32]
The book was for me a tremendously moving experience...
The book was for me a tremendously moving experience, to think of it, a feminist telling us this. A woman who is not a Christian, a woman who is advocating the whole package of feminism. But this should not surprise us, because before you had a woman’s rights movement you had a men’s rights movement, which we have forgotten about. The man emancipating himself from his family, the man saying in terms of the humanism that developed after 1660, and then the Enlightenment, that ‘religion is a woman’s concern. We’ll let the women take care of these things. A man’s work is out in the world, not in the church and in the family.’
It led to the double rights concept, that a man had a right to a freedom, so called, sexually, that a woman did not have. Well, is it any wonder that we’ve had a woman’s rights movement after generations of that type of thing? What are the women demanding? The same right to be sinners that the men have been demanding and practicing. And now we have a children’s rights movement, and the children are asking for the right to be as irresponsible as mom and dad. Is it any wonder that our civilization is collapsing? Well, in this men’s rights movement and in the woman’s rights movement and in the children’s rights movement you have humanism, but did you know that the Bible says that the greater the responsibility the greater the culpability? “To whom much is given,” Our Lord said, “Much shall be demanded.” That’s right out of the Old Testament, because after all what does Leviticus 4 and other passages teach us, that the greater the responsibility the greater the sacrifice, because the sin is more fearful in the sight of God. [00:48:52]
So that the sin of the priest was equal to that of...
So that the sin of the priest was equal to that of the prince, because he was most important, and the sin of the common people was the least important. The greater the responsibility, the greater the culpability. And remember what the prophet told the people when he said “I will not condemn your wives and your daughters for their adulteries and their fornications, when you yourselves are guilty of the same.” In other words, in scripture it’s the sin of the man that’s more fearful in the sight of God. And today humanism insists on total irresponsibility as the way of life for man, for women, and for children. And the result is anarchy, moral anarchy.
We are in a difficult time, we are in a time of judgement, and this decade may be the most critical decade in all of history, because what is happening now is world wide, and the whole world is going to be in the judgment that is ahead of us. It could be a world wide economic collapse, it could be a third world war more devastating than any of the others, I do not know. But I do know this; that we as Christian need to welcome that judgment, because it is the judgement of God upon an age of humanism. What we need to do instead of bewailing the events is to preach the whole word of God, to go forth and conquer in Christ’s name.
We are promised in the word of God, in the commission, and you see the great commission is simply and abridgment of the commission to Joshua, that where the sole of our feet shall tread in the name of the Lord, that shall be ours under God. And so we need to go forth and to claim all things for Christ our king, to occupy till He come. Let us pray.
Almighty God our heavenly father, Thou hast commanded us to go forth into all the world and to make disciples of all nations. To occupy till Thou come. Send us forth in Thy power, by Thy word and by Thy spirit, and make us more than conquerors through Christ our Lord. Give us joy in Thy service, confidence in our most Holy Faith, and the knowledge that we have in Christ Jesus been called to victory, for this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Our God we praise Thee, in Jesus name, Amen. [00:52:43]