Monday, April 28, 2008

Family Friendly

The Bible has much to say about the family. The family unit was established soon after creation as Adam and Eve were joined together to become one flesh, thus establishing the basis for procreation and the foundation for an ordered society. The husband/father has been given headship over his family as he leads his wife and children in submission to Christ. Wives are to submit to their husbands and children are to submit to their parents.

Our church recognizes the importance of the father in the home. We place a high priority on building strong families and raising up the next generation to the glory of God. You could call us a “Family Friendly” church. This is important in our day when many churches have placed too much emphasis on various “programs.” Too often we find the church trying to serve the function of a surrogate parent evidenced by the proliferation of the “youth group.”

There is a danger, however, of a hyper-family or hyper-patriarchy in which the family becomes the highest institution and the father becomes the sole authority. Under this error the church becomes more and more irrelevant. No one is allowed to teach the children but the father. Some see the home as the primary seat of worship. Some have rejected the church altogether in favor of a covenant-home group. Extremes are always destructive and always dishonoring to God.

The Bible stresses the importance of both the family and the church. It is the church that Christ established upon the earth of which, “The gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18). It is the church to which Christ gave the keys of the kingdom (Matthew 16:19). It is the church that God has set apart as the “pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:15). It is the church that is the primary seat of worship as we gather with the people of God. It is the through the eldership of the church that Christ has given oversight over those for whom He died (Hebrews 13:17; Acts 20:28).

Charles Spurgeon wrote, “God delights in the prayers and praises of Christian families and individuals, but he has a special eye to the assemblies of the faithful, and he has a special delight in their devotions in their church capacity. The great festivals, when the crowds surrounded the temple gates, were fair in the Lord’s eyes, and even such is the general assembly and church of the first-born, whose names are written in heaven. This should lead each separate believer to identify himself with the church of God; where the Lord reveals his love the most, there should each believer most delight to be found. Our own dwellings are very dear to us, but we must not prefer them to the assemblies of the saints” (Spurgeon, Charles. The Treasury of David, Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, page 478).

May God grant us to always strive for Biblical balance in all our ways and may He protect us from the extremes that lead us to dishonor His holy name.


Anonymous said...

Pastor Dale,Were Family Covenant Groups and issue in Spurgeons day? I am curious as to why he wrote about them?

Dale Crawford said...

The Family Covenant issue is relatively new. Spurgeon is giving application to Psalm 87:2 - "The LORD loveth the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob." There is little doubt where Spurgeon would stand on the issue today.