Gospel Gazette, Bible Articles

Vol. 1, No. 12 Page 2 December 1999

Gospel Gazette, Bible Articles

In Times Like These:
Solidifying the Home
by Godly Fathers

By Louis Rushmore

Times Like These

To what does the phrase, “In Times Like These,” refer?  What negative impact does our society have on our children that godly fathers must counteract it?  Further, are “Times Like These” significantly different from earlier times?

We live in an age where human life has been cheapened.  The most prominent disregard for the sanctity of human life is abortion on demand. About a million and a half babies are murdered in America each year since the legalization of abortion on January 22, 1973; around the world, about 50 million babies are aborted annually.  Doctor assisted suicide has proved newsworthy in recent years.  (Be wary of any gift certificates redeemable by Dr. Kevorkian!)  Teenage suicide continues to increase; many American youths believe they have no reason to live.  Gang violence, ghastly crimes committed by children, television and movie violence all are indicative of a devaluation of human life in our nation.  To what lengths is euthanasia (mercy killing) likely to go?  In view of earth’s several billion population (which increases about 270,000 per day), some people advocate taking the life of this world’s less productive and less educated people.  Their concept is not much unlike thinning the deer population “for its own good,” and frighteningly similar to Hitler’s campaign of extermination against people he viewed as inferior to his so-called “super-race.”

Increasingly America is becoming amoral (unaware of any authoritative code of ethics or moral conduct of which one is in violation).  There was a time generations ago that even immoral people realized that they were immoral for violating what they knew to be morally right.

Homosexuality is openly advocated and practiced.  Single-parent homes (largely due to illegitimate births and rampant divorce) are rapidly replacing two-parent homes as the national norm.  Widespread corruption in politics is generally conceded.  Religious leaders are routinely embroiled in scandals.  The religious community is confused and often apathetic.  The heinous doctrine of humanism has infiltrated virtually every public and private institution throughout our nation and much of the world.  Hedonism, our nation’s interpretation of the constitutional right to “the pursuit of happiness,” is the primary and all encompassing goal of nearly every man, woman and child — including Christians.  Treason is commonplace.  Taxes are burdensome.  Even many of our poor people enjoy an affluence superior to the majority of this world’s population; our prosperity has corrupted us.  Americans often have too much idle-time, during which they play with new toys to commit old sins; essentially man sins through “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life” (1 John 2:15-17).  Pornography is everywhere (books, videos, computer, live sex shows [i.e., in West Virginia total nudity is legal — and proponents of such say that it cannot be stopped]).  Our nation has practiced democracy to a fault; everyone has so many rights that essentially no one can be assured of any rights.  We are approaching a new milestone in legalized chaos and debauchery.  Our democratic way of life has even affected our concept of the Gospel (i.e., we would rather refer an item to a popular vote, if it is a matter of expediency, instead of allowing elders to determine the course of action, or if it is a matter of doctrine instead of turning to God’s Word).  In all these things, the typical citizen of our nation consents to follow a multitude to do evil (Exodus 23:2).

Have “times” ever been as bad or worse than “Times Like These”?  Yes!  Both biblical and secular histories acknowledge the atrocities enacted upon mankind by his fellow man.  Repeatedly man has demonstrated a moral bankruptcy.  None of our contemporary sins are new.  Have “times” been better than “Times Like These”?  Yes, again.  What we notice is that “Times Like These” today differ from past generations, such as those portrayed on “The Waltons” or “Little House on the Prairie.”  The “times,” then, are worse than we or our parents or our grandparents recall.  Godly fathers must solidify the home in times like these.

Godly Fathers Solidify the Home

“In Times Like These,” fathers need to accept the responsibility (for which God holds them accountable) to guide the home.  How wonderful it would be if what God said about Abraham could justly be said about Christian fathers today.  “For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment; that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him” (Genesis 18:19).  Commenting on Genesis 18:19, Joseph D. Meador wrote:
. . . God chose Abraham to become the father of the nation of Israel because he took seriously his own role as a father to his own children. . . . The answer to Abraham’s effectiveness as a role model and family leader lay in the fact that he practiced what he taught others to observe. . . . Abraham provided leadership through his own consistent behavior. . . . Abraham provided spiritual instruction to his children and household, he also provided them with clear spiritual goals. [Joseph D. Meador, “Q&A,” Firm Foundation, Vol. 112. No. 6, June, 1997, pp. 26-27.]
Too many fathers have abdicated their leadership roles in the family.  However, the para-church, denominational to-the-core, false doctrine propagating organization called Promise Keepers is not the resource to which Christian men should appeal to refresh themselves on responsible fatherhood.  All fathers, instead, need to turn to the Bible to learn how to be better fathers, “In Times Like These.”  “Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged” (Colossians 3:21).

Godly fathers must thoroughly and continuously instruct their children in spiritual matters.  “And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up” (Deuteronomy 6:7).  A marginal reading indicates that fathers are to “sharpen” their children.  Fathers may not reveal something new each time they teach their children.  However, each spiritual lesson can increase a child’s proficiency in biblical matters of which he was previously informed.

Fathers make a grave mistake if they permit their children’s biblical education to be limited, at best, to four one-hour segments of Bible class and worship per week.  An unsigned bulletin tidbit reads:  “No man ever really finds out what he believes in until he begins to instruct his children.”  Some fathers, then, must not believe much, for the little to nothing they teach their children about God’s ways.

The home has sometimes been called “The Laboratory of Life.”  What children experience in the home will make them respectively fit or unfit for their later physical, psychological, social, spiritual, intellectual and economical lives.  Children, among other lessons, must be taught that learning how to live is more important than learning how to make a living.  Our children, of course, need to learn both, but they must be taught about priorities.  Christianity is a way of life!

It is in the home that fathers must teach children law and order.  Learning how to abide by rules and regulations in the home prepares children to abide in the rules and regulations of both God and man (government).  Responsible discipline is essential to successful parenting (Hebrews 12:5-11; Proverbs 13:24; 23:13-14).

This, though, is an area in which society and the legal system challenge Christian homes.  Children may be taken by the State if parents administer corporal punishment (spank).  It has happened and it will doubtless happen again.  Further, promoters of children’s advocacy or children’s rights would have children evaluate their parents, their home environment and religious training to which they are subjected.  Children may then inform on their parents or sue to divorce their parents.  Even godly parents are at legal risk for the whims of an unruly child.

It is in the home that fathers must ensure that their children learn to practice reverential public worship.  Our children need to know what worship is (incidentally, although some self-styled “scholarly” brethren apparently know little about New Testament worship).  Further, our children must come to know God  —  He who is worshipped.  They must know how to worship.  Again, Christianity is very much supposed to be a way of life  —  of which reverential, public worship is a necessary part.  The home and public worship complement each other and contribute to fortifying our children in the face of many perils to their faith.

Perils to Our Children’s Faith

In an excellent tract, “What’s Happening To Our Christian Homes?,” Robert L. Waggoner wrote:
. . . Christian parents . . . must be more knowledgeable of the problems their children will face in this world, and they must be more purposeful to achieve their desired goals of child raising. [Robert L. Waggoner, What’s Happening To Our Christian Homes?, Haun Publishing Co., p. 17.]
Obviously, unless we recognize and are alert to the problems that buffet them, we are ill-prepared to help our children keep the faith.  The sources of these perils to faith surround us.  The primary vehicles through which the Christian faith is confronted in our society are public schools and the media.

The father of American education, John Dewey, instilled atheistic humanism in our schools, beginning with teacher training colleges through and thereby every grade of school life.  Christian principles on which this nation was established were pushed out of our educational system long ago.  As Waggoner observed:

. . . subtle and deceptive . . . techniques as role-playing, survival games, encounter group sessions, daily journals, sensitivity training, etc. the public schools are turning our children away from God, and destroying our Christian homes. [Ibid., p. 9.]
(Employers sponsor classes in which their employees who may have escaped the indoctrination to which the schools subject children, are fed humanism on the job.  Role playing, survival games, encounter group sessions and sensitivity training are the fad of corporate America.)

Further, “. . . sex education is taught without moral values.” [Ibid.]   Teaching “safe-sex,” irrespective of and sometimes promoting experimenting with either heterosexual or homosexual intercourse, may include dispensing condoms  —  at school.  For “unfortunate” pregnant girls, a school counselor may be their first stop to an abortion clinic.  Often, parents are not welcome to participate in any area of our children’s education, unless it is explicitly manipulated by the public schools.

Several years ago, my family served a congregation where in that school district the required physical education class was co-ed swimming.  We refused, for religious conscience, based on biblical principles, to allow our teenage daughter to participate or be present for that activity.  The local school board overruled our religious convictions, and added that, “Members of the church for which you preach, including past ministers, sent their children to school here, and not one of them ever had a problem with mixed swimming.”  Our appeal to the State School Board was unsuccessful; we were ordered to submit our daughter to the prescribed physical education class.  Bonnie and I refused and told the superintendent that we would meet him in court  —  after which to my surprise the educational system relented.

My wife and I have not abdicated our parental responsibility to the public schools.  Thousands of parents today homeschool because they, too, refuse to surrender their parental responsibilities to the public schools, especially considering the humanistic, anti-Christian dogma so apparent in education, “In Times Like These.”

Please do not misunderstand.  We do not despise education.  Further, surely there are many good teachers who do not push humanism, etc., some of whom are Christians.  Our daughter is a school teacher.

God and prayer are banned from school, but the religions of humanism, atheism, mythology and New Age are invited to school.  Moral purity and chastity are old world hindrances to popular, personal expression, while “safe-sex” and experimenting with homosexuality are exciting.

Television, movies and music present no less a peril to the faith of our children than the schools.  The detrimental affect of television and movies as they glorify illicit sex and senseless violence is barely veiled at all.  The danger of rock music may be suspected by some parents to be harmful, but country music is no better.  The lyrics of either type of music often are ungodly and hardly supportive of Christian values.  On whatever our mind feasts it will thrive.  Paul by inspiration directed:  “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Philippians 4:8).

“Christian parents cannot build strong Christian character in their children unless these influences are greatly minimized.” [Ibid., p. 12.]   Though we may not fully appreciate the Amish and Jehovah’s Witnesses for their religious error, among some admirable traits is their respective minimization of society’s affect on their children.  We cannot fully embrace all that society offers and expect to minimize its affect on our children  —  and ourselves.

Some Biblical Portraits of Fathers

  1. Fathers who made obvious mistakes (sinned):  Noah (Genesis 9:21), Lot (Genesis 19:33-38).
  2. A prime example of a good father and an obedient son:  Abraham and Isaac (Genesis 22:7-19).
  3. A spiritual father and son team: Paul and Timothy (1 Timothy 1:2; 2 Corinthians 1:1).
  4. A father who was blameworthy for the sinful lives of his children: Eli (1 Samuel 2:13, “For I have told him that I will judge his house for ever for the iniquity which he knoweth; because his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not.”).
  5. A father who was not responsible for the sinfulness of his children: Samuel (1 Samuel 8:1-5, “And it came to pass, when Samuel was old, that he made his sons judges over Israel.  Now the name of his firstborn was Joel; and the name of his second, Abiah: they were judges in Beersheba.  And his sons walked not in his ways, but turned aside after lucre, and took bribes, and perverted judgment.  Then all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and came to Samuel unto Ramah,  And said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.”).
  6. Fathers who love their sons in spite of their sons’ wickedness:  David and Absalom (2 Samuel 18:31-33), the prodigal son and his father (Luke 15:11-24).
  7. A rash father: Jephthah (Judges 11:30-39).
  8. A father who chastises his son because he loves him: God the Father (Hebrews 12:5-12).

Conclusion

“. . . [T]he Christian home is deteriorating today, because, among other reasons, it is being less effective in establishing a strong Christian faith in its children.” [Ibid., p. 4.]   When should we start, in the home and in the church, to teach children?  From the cradle!  “There was not a word of all that Moses commanded, which Joshua read not before all the congregation of Israel, with the women, and the little ones, and the strangers that were conversant among them” (Joshua 8:35).  With whom did Israel leave the babies if everyone else assembled?

We have our Sodom and Gomorrahs.  We have idolatry (idols fashioned from the imaginations of men  —  denominational gods).  Yet, there is hope.  Sinners can be washed, sanctified and justified (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).  Though all have sinned (Romans 1:18-32; 3:23), sinners can obey from the heart and be made free from sin (Romans 6:17-18).
 

What Is A Home?

A roof to keep out the rain.  Four walls to keep out the wind.  Floors to keep out the cold.  Yes, but home is more than that.  It is a laugh of a baby, the song of a mother, the strength of a father.  Warmth of loving hearts, light from happy eyes, kindness, loyalty, comradeship.  Home is the first school of young ones, where they learn what is good, what is right and what is kind.  That is a home, May God Bless It!  (Anonymous)

The Parents’ Faith

  • We believe our children are a gift of God  —  the hope of tomorrow.

  • We believe that immeasurable possibilities lie slumbering in each son and daughter.

  • We believe that God has planned for their future, and that His love shall always surround them; and so . . .

  • We believe that they shall grow up!  —  first crawling, then toddling, then standing, stretching skyward for a decade and a half  —  until they reach full stature  —  a man and a woman!

  • We believe that they can and will be molded and shaped between infancy and adulthood  —  as a tree is shaped by the gardener, and the clay vessel in the potter’s hands, or the shoreline of the sea under the watery hand of the mighty waves; by home and church; by school and street, through sights and sounds and the touch of our hands on their hands and Christ’s Spirit, through His Word, on their hearts!

  • We believe that they shall mature as only people can  —  through laughter and tears, through trial and error, by reward and punishment, through affection and discipline, until they stretch their wings and leave their nests to fly!

  • O, God  —  We believe in our children.  Help us so to live that they may always believe in us  —  and so in Thee.  (Anonymous)

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Louis Rushmore, Editor
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