When a structure begins to crumble, we must look to its foundations for the source of its weakness. One of the foundations on which our society was built was the sanctity of marriage and the home. Today we witness the erosion of this foundation. The divorce courts are filled. Marriage has become an experiment in the psychology of adjustment rather than the permanent, indissoluble union that God instituted. Discipline and authority are almost forgotten words in the home. Many children have learned how to control their parents and demand as their right to be supported even through college and to fulfill their every whim in return for which there is very little filial respect and love. This lack of respect for parents carries over into society and manifests itself in the rapid rise of juvenile delinquency and crime.
We might expect little else when we have willingly turned over the training of the minds of our children to the state, the nurture of their souls to the Sunday school and in some cases with a minimum course in Bible doctrine by the church added—and leave their recreation to television, the theater, and contrivances of their own designing. Then we naively hope they will manifest basic Christian morality apart from the foundation of morality—a vital faith.
NEUTRAL EDUCATION IS NON-CHRISTIAN
We do not want our children to grow up with prejudices so we purpose them to a wide variety of philosophies of life from which to choose. State education receives enthusiastic support because of its “neutrality” in matters of religion. Little have we realized the deadliness of that professed neutrality. The very concept of neutrality toward Christianity and God is evidence of the view that God and his revelation are not important. This view is violently hostile to the Christian position that God is the indispensable foundation of all life and thought. Neutral education is in its essence non-Christian education. We like state education also because of our loss of the sense of individual responsibility and our desire to have others foot the bill for us. We have forgotten that education is the responsibility of the parents. God has been left out of our thinking and thus our homes lack stability and are collapsing.
With alarming rapidity we are becoming a generation of dependents and thus are not rearing children with the strength of character and moral stamina to meet the demands of the fearful yet challenging age in which they are born. This dependent spirit displays itself in our expecting pay while unemployed, government provision for our old age, a wage guaranteed by law irrespective of the work performed or the productivity of labor, and subsidies to special groups. We look increasingly to the state as the provider for our wants and pleasures and the guarantor of our security. Like the Roman citizens of old in the wake of the fall of that mighty empire, we look to the state for “bread and circuses.” But like Rome, we too are threatened by a powerful foe. This one has promised to bury us and boasts that he is already ahead of schedule in effecting the conquest.
STRENGTHEN THE FOUNDATIONS!
The edifice of society is crumbling largely because the foundations of a vigorous Christianity have been seriously eroded. If the building is not to fall upon us, we must hasten to strengthen the foundations.
To be truly Christian, a home must be characterized by the relationship of submission on the part of each member to God. God, the Creator, controls the universe and is concerned with his people. He demands of them whole-hearted love and obedience to the principles which he has given to regulate their conduct. The only possible gateway to the divine blessing in our family and all our social relations lies along the path of love and obedience. There can be no de1lance of God’s law with impunity. The wages of sin is death.
God has ordained that in the home itself there is also to be a relationship of authority and submission in love. The command “Honor thy father and mother” is one of the basic precepts of the moral law. This relationship of love and obedience under the God-delegated authority of the parents in the home cannot be changed—as it has been today—without drastic consequences. There is no place more ideally suited than the home to inculcate the relationship of love and obedience that should exist between man and God. In fact, in the home the child must learn respect for every duly constituted authority. The state is one such authority instituted by God for the purpose of suppressing evil. As the state fulfills its God-given function it also is to be respected and obeyed.
THE SPIRITUAL WELFARE OF THE CHILDREN
The parents have responsibility not only for the material but also for the spiritual welfare of the children committed to their care by God. This involves the responsibility to train their minds. From a Christian standpoint the only true education is one that begins where all things began with God. Apart from God men may learn many things and acquire many skills, but true knowledge is the knowledge that begins with God and takes him into account in the study of the created universe. Hence the need for private Christian schools and a consistently Christian education.
In the truly Christian home morals are taught. True morality can exist only all the foundation of personal faith in the triune God of Scripture. Moral conduct, obedience to the Law of God, is one of the evidences and fruits of faith and proceeds from a heart of love to God and a desire to serve him. It is the Christian faith nurtured in the Christian home that provides the most solid basis for morality, without which the pillars of society can not stand.
The Christian home is a place where all the members of the family worship God. This worship should manifest itself in family worship. We need again to read Burns’ “The Cotter’s Saturday Night” to see something of the blessing we miss today in our failure to worship as a family.
Christian love, a true concern for the welfare of each other, is one of the characteristics of the Christian home. Where this relationship exists, the home will also be a place where parents and children will love to work, study, pray and play together. We have all but lost the art of wholesome play together as a family. It can be a source of mutual blessing. It is in the home where cooperation and non-coercion so essential to the functioning of society are best taught by precept and example.
The home is one of the foundation stones of our society that has been badly eroded. But it is one of the places where each of us can effectively have a very important part in strengthening the foundations. We can do this by building God-centered, truly Christian homes.