The Future of the Family - RR165A2
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[Introductory speaker Otto Scott] Invited to 10 Downing St. in Great Britain, in London. After being cleared by the English Intelligence Services, which of course didn’t impel me with great respect for their ability, but, in any event, we went there and met Sir Brian Griffith who is the head of Margaret Thatcher’s policy council and whose office is one floor below the prime minister’s private residence. And, when we went in, left the little elevator, walked down a few feet, he was waiting for us. He got up from behind his desk and came forward to greet us. And he looked at Rush and said something I have never heard any man say to another in my life and which I will never forget. He said, “You have had more influence on me than anyone except my parents.” And, we then proceeded to have a conversation about education. He knew Rushes book The Messianic Character of American Education which is the classic and definitive analysis of what is wrong with public education in the United States. And not only did Sir Brian know the book but he quoted from the book in the course of the conversation including some rather obscure passages. And when we left an hour or so later I wondered why the conversation had zeroed in in that fashion on that particular subject. And about ten days later before we left England we saw the results when the Thatcher administration presented the educational reform act which eliminated tenure in the English schools. [00:02:11]
So, I came away marveling that the operations of one...
So, I came away marveling that the operations of one individual in a tiny, tiny place in the mountains of northern California could have so direct and obvious an influence upon the affairs of a great power. And I give you that man now, Dr. R.J. Rushdoony.
[R.J. Rushdoony] Our subject in this final session is the future of the family. The families of today may well have no future. But, the Christian family alone has a future under God because it alone lives in terms of God and the future. The state sees its future in terms of plans, appropriations and statist controls all of which are ephemeral but the Christian family lives in terms of faithfulness to God and His law and the certainties of the kingdom of God. In practical terms, what does this mean? In Matthew 15:1–9 there is a passage which we will touch on briefly but the full implications which we rarely have seen developed.
Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees...
1Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying,
2Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread.
3But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?
4For God commanded, saying, Honor thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death.
5But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me;
6And honor not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition.
7Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying,
8This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.
9But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. [00:05:48]
We are told here by our Lord first that the disregard...
We are told here by our Lord first that the disregard for God’s family law places a people far from God. They may profess to be close to Him but they are far from Him, very obviously. For our Lord, the family is a test of our faith. The scribes and Pharisees then and now made religious observances the test. Our Lord tells us plainly it is the family. Second, modern churchmen in pulpit and pew choose to disregard the Lord’s citation of the death penalty for cursing ones parents. The Bible has fewer death penalties then do modern states in many cases but the Bible has no death penalty for treason or other offenses against the state nor for offenses against the church. The death penalty in Scripture is for offenses against the family and for the life of man. Treason, in Scripture is against the family because it is the basic institution under God. Third, God cannot be used as an excuse, our Lord tells us, for evading ones duties towards parents. As our parents care for us and support us in childhood we must care for them in their old age. To deny parents support in the name of giving to God He sharply condemned. It is offensive to God. It reduces worship of God to vanity or to futility. But, this is not all. [00:08:18]
If any provide not for his own, and especially of those of his own house...
In 1 Timothy 5:8 Paul tells us, “That if any provide not for his own, and especially of those of his own house, or it could be translated kindred, he has denied the faith and is worse than an infidel.” Our own is twice defined in this verse. First is our kindred, our blood relatives and second, as the family of faith. Failure in both areas means that we have denied the faith and are worse than an infidel. For this reason the early church and over the centuries the church wherever and whenever faithful have cared for the sick, the needy, the aged widows and men, homeless children and much, much more as a necessary of an aspect of Christian family life. The family in Christ is the operative center of social renewal. Not surprisingly groups like the Jubilee Center in England are urging the creation of family trusts and family banking to enable families as a group, meaning relatives, to educate the college bound student among the kinfolk, care for the elderly, provide an interest free loan fund for the purchase of homes, land, businesses and so on. The recognition of the centrality of the family to social strength and advancement is behind this movement. And I believe here in this country wherever we have a strong family or have young children we should rear them into this kind of thinking to be members one of another and of Christ and to provide for their needs. To have the head of the little clan with a committee take over the jurisdiction in such matters. [00:10:44]
There’s much more however...
There’s much more however. We forget that freedom in various areas has been defined differently. Thus in the colloquy of Erasmus, on the Wooer and the Maiden, the girl Maria refuses to see freedom as saying yes to Pamphilius. Pamphilius was a renaissance advocate of living together without benefit of clergy. And what the girl Maria says, and I quote, “In former times marriages were arranged only by the elders’ authority but however that may be I think our marriage will have more change of success if it is arranged by our parent’s authority.” My grandmother stated it much more strongly to me. She said that a young man or woman enjoyed the greatest freedom when the parents arranged the marriage. Now my concern here is by no means to go under the pros or cons of arranged marriages or necessarily to defend it. In much of history the disciplines and requirements of the Christian, whether they have meant arranged marriages or helping the young couple, have been seen as most conducive to the freedom of the individual. For as the anarchy of choice has been seen as the source of slavery and evil we have been living in a prodigal sons view of freedom. And we are being reminded by current events that the prodigal sons’ ideas of freedom left him envying the food of the swine he fed. The godly family is a liberating and empowering force. We must therefore see the family and the home as more than a feeding and sleeping center and must see it as the training and empowering center under God. [00:13:34]
There is much more to the family.
There is much more to the family. I am writing at present and have been working on for about thirty years a book on the family and Scripture. And I am giving you only a small bit of the powers God ascribes to the family. The family is a power center financially if it tithes. Throughout history a major source of social financing has come from kings and noblemen and after that from the state and from corporations and private foundations. In our day most foundations are very much on the left and they refuse in many instances to give to orthodox Christian causes. The same is true of corporations. The faintest whiff of controversy frightens them. Any slanderous statement about a group however obviously false or known to be false is enough to lead to a cessation of giving to them. The cowardness of such men is amazing and appalling. No family sees itself as an instrument in God’s hands if it does not tithe. Until then if calling itself Christian it merely seeks God’s blessing without any responsible obedience and gratitude by way of return. The tithe is God’s tax. It is not a gift to Him. The tithe is to the Lord. We see in Scripture when the tithe was not given directly to a cause as to Elisha and his school of the prophets it was given to the Levites who then gave a tenth of the tithe to the priests according to Numbers 18:25-26. So a tenth of the tithe went directly for worship. More did go in that the Levites provided some of the services such as music. The tithe was for the Lord’s work in any and every sphere, not for worship alone although inclusive of it. The growth of tithe power is basic to the Christian and family renewal of our time. It is creating many Christian schools and other institutions. Tithe power needs to be cultivated and stressed. The future of the family also requires the systematic defense of the family against its modern enemies. [00:16:54]
This defense must be in terms of Biblical not humanistic...
This defense must be in terms of Biblical not humanistic thought. False categories of thought can prejudge an issue. Feminists, masculinists, proabortionists, evolutionists and others begin with presuppositions that prejudge every family question. To illustrate this fact of prejudging, for an entirely different sphere, many medieval studies are often warped because of Greek or Roman terms. Francis and Joseph Gies have shown that Henry de Bracton and other medieval jurists uniformly sought to understand the world around them in terms of Roman law. They described the world in terms of Roman law. As a result they saw the villanes on the manors as really slaves. But this was a Roman term describing a Roman kind of person; not the medieval villanes had not only futile obligations but also the privileges of freedom. Such men bought, sold and bequeathed and inherited property including the land. The realities of medieval life could not be described or comprehended by Roman law and yet because of the Greco-Roman bias of scholars routinely the Middle Ages are described in terms of Roman terminology, Roman law. We must similarly insist that the Christian family cannot be understood in terms of the presuppositions of humanist, of evolutionary thought nor can we defend the family unless we insist on Biblical presuppositions.[00:19:23]
Biblical faith and thought sees an inseparable link between freedom and responsibility. God having ordained family life has made the family life the order wherein man’s true freedom and realization are to be found. The family is not an area of bondage but of freedom under God. The ball and chain view of marriage is antichristian. It is a conflict of interests’ attitude. A recent study concluded that slavery has revived in history whenever the power of the state has revived. The author sought economic reasons for this connection and spoke contemptuously and spoke of those who believe in history as revelation. As against the author Pierre Duque we must insist that history does manifest God’s purposes and that the decline of the Christian family and the church mean the rise of statism and the decline of freedom. Statist’s education has followed the decline of Christian schools. With the rise of pietism Christian interest in education declined. In the United States there are many in revivalism with its narrow pietism was disinterested in Christian schools and paved the way, in fact welcomed statist education. At one time Christian families cared in this country for their own needy members and through church and other Christian agencies cared for others. Education and charity are the two main areas of statist intrusion into the life of the family. They are also the main areas of expenditure on the local level. They consume most of the property tax. As far back as the seventies between sixty and eighty percent of the property tax went for education and welfare. It has since increased. If Christians took back the control and financing of education and charity as is beginning to be done this would in time lead to a major shrinkage of the size of the modern state. Much of the modern states hostility to Christianity has as its cause the rise of Christian action in these two spheres. The homeschool in particular is indicative of the Christian family’s vitality. The fact that homeschool student’s on the average excel all others is evidence of the families greater ability in this sphere. The Christian family thus will command the future to the extent that it becomes God centered. A man centered family sees marriage as personal fulfillment and satisfaction. Abortion then is a means of family limitation for maximum freedom and self-gratification. Now with the medical ability to know the sex of a child prior to birth many girl babies are being routinely aborted here in the United States and elsewhere. Christian family virtues are more than mere negation, it is wrong to define virtues in terms of the avoidance of sin rather than a wholehearted obedience to God and His law Word. [00:24:17]
The word of God to Zerubbabel was this, ...
The word of God to Zerubbabel was this, “Who has despised the day of small things?” To despise the day of small things means to underrate the power of the family and to look to large institutions; to the state and other forces outside the family for deliverance. The rise of Darwin coincided with the rise of socialist movements and the birth of Christian socialism, so called. Men sought solutions from the top down; imposed on society and peoples rather than coming out of their daily lives. In some instances the leaders were men marked by a will to death. For such men only a substitute God [00:25:20]
With great powers could save mankind, and that new...
With great powers could save mankind, and that new God was the state and that desire was the aspect of their will to death. Biblical faith is assured however that the power is not afar off but is nigh and is given by God to us in our family life and daily vocation. This empowerment is not for self-indulgence. As Christopher Lash pointed out the vision of Republican society imagined by the Marquis de Sade was one of revolutionary individualism and unlimited self-indulgence. We are living in the ruins of the de Sadean world. As against this modern view Martin Luther asserted the Biblical perspective and the German large catechism of 1529: “A married state is not only equal to all other states but preeminent over them all be they Kiser, princes, bishops.” [00:26:47]
There is nothing new, in other words, in my emphasis...
There is nothing new, in other words, in my emphasis of family over church and the state. It was basic to the reformation and it tells us how much the churches who are the heirs of the reformation have strayed in that they have forgotten that fact. Martin Luther stressed the married state as surpassing all others because it is the commonest; it is basic to the life of every man as the determining power. One of the serious errors of reformation studies today is the almost exclusive concentration on church reform whereas family reform was even more important in altering Christendom. As a matter of fact Ouden Rosenstock-Huessy in his book Out of Revolution points out how the reformation, reformation of family life, had a most powerful effect on the Catholic Church also and led to major reforms within that communion. Family power quickly became the revolutionary force that altered society in the reformation; altered its economics, its education and much, much more. Because the family is the basic social unit society is dramatically altered when the family regains its God centered faith and focus. [00:28:51]
I pointed out earlier that the ...
I pointed out earlier that the (guise?) had called attention to the distortion and misunderstanding that occurs when Roman legal terms are applied to medieval history. Roman law was not God’s law. It was an expression of Roman society and a description of it. The family is not a creation of the state nor of sociologists but of God. Therefore it can only be understood in terms of God’s Word. In Ephesians 5:22-33 we have an important statement concerning marriage and the family. Without going into all the implications of this text certain things are obvious. First, the typology of marriage reflects the relationship in the Old Testament of God and Israel and in the new of Christ and the Church. Therefore marriage clearly reflects more than its own life. Although it is a temporal state it reflects eternal facts and relationship. [00:30:18]
For those of you who are not convinced how important...
For those of you who are not convinced how important the family is to God when God choses to tell us how much us He does not say He is our President or our Bishop or our Pastor He tells us that He is our Father. Then second, Ephesians tells us that it is life in communion and community that is basic to our being and our existence. Here again the temporal state reflects an eternal life. Third, the dominion mandate in Genesis 1:26-28 is given to the family to male and female as He created them. It is therefore essentially a family mandate rather than a political one. Neither church, state or family can see the dominion mandate as other than the first of all God’s requirements and first of all a requirement of us as persons and families. But how often a church has sought to dominate and even far more often states. The dominion mandate is also an education mandate as Deuteronomy 6:6-25 makes very clear. Fourth, to the family is given automated dominion mandate but the duty to love and nurture one another and the generations to come. These are not trifling powers. They are determinative ones in any and every society. This is why the current revival of the Christian family must be seen as a major force in our society. Outside of Christ the modern family is in rapid disintegration. The acidic corrosion of the drug world, rock music, the sex revolution and its diseases, the statist schools and derelict parents are very serious facts. We are seeing a polarization of society between the Christian and the nonChristian elements. [00:33:41]
Few things are more irrelevant to our time then those...
Few things are more irrelevant to our time then those conservative groups who avoid the religious issue. They are evading the source of life and power. They have no future as John Lofton made clear earlier. God does not bless those who disregard Him in the everyday affairs of life. Our Lord declares, “:I am Alfa and Omega, the beginning and the end,” saith the Lord, “which is and which was and which is to come, the Almighty.” To neglect Him in any area of life and thought is to deny our future and to surrender our hold on life. It is still true as of old, “All they that hate Me love death.” Thank you. [00:34:53]