Monday, December 04, 2006

Dr. Al Mohler on the Biblical Family

Dr. R. Albert Mohler, President of Southern Seminary, recently preached a sermon at Southern Seminary's chapel regarding the Fifth Commandment: Honor thy father and thy mother. The entire sermon can be heard by clicking here. I commend the entire sermon to you, but in particular I'd like to address a particular quote. Dr. Mohler says:

"The Biblical vision is of father and mother and children. The Biblical vision is of the father taking the lead for a transgenerational vision for his family. One of the problems even in many Christian homes today is that parents see their responsibility to get children from infancy to graduation from college. And our job is done. That's the horizon of our responsibility. But the Biblical vision is of the father taking responsibility not merely for his children, but for his children's children, and for his children's children's children. The lack of that vision explains why so much of our church ministry related to families is so thin, and so superficial, and so ineffective."

First note that he says the Biblical vision is of a "father and mother and children." That, combined with the next statement about a transgenerational vision, leads me to conclude that my earlier thoughts on individuality are valid (here and here). The normative Biblical vision is of families; families growing together, families ministering together, families evangelizing together. The notion of the rugged individualist is anything but the norm. So...are we raising our children with a family identity, or with a vision for individualism?

Secondly, Dr. Mohler makes it very clear that the father is supposed to take the lead in developing a vision for his family that extends far into future generations. This doesn't happen in the evangelical church today. Why? For the most part, it isn't even considered! Christian families just go with the flow of the culture, training up their children as individuals and looking forward to the empty nest without ever giving a thought to any vision, but especially not to a multigenerational vision! In addition, the thought of a father leading in developing a multigenerational vision goes against the grain of the entrenched evangelical feminism that crawls invisibly under the surface of most of our assumptions about the world.

Thirdly, Dr. Mohler takes us to task about the short-sighted view we have of the parental responsibility. He says we view success as getting our children through college and out on their own as individuals, at which time we enjoy our golden years as individual empty nesters. Not so. When a family has a multigenerational outlook, the family continues to grow around the patriarch and matriarch. Their vision passes down through the generations. The family enlarges and becomes a force to reckon with within their sphere of influence...not from a political or violent point of view, but rather from a loving, Christ-honoring, service point of view. They will be a very, very different entity in our culture, and as such will bear incredibly strong witness to the saving, life-changing Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

And lastly, Dr. Mohler says this explains why the children's ministry and youth ministry in our churches today are so worthless...with more than three-quarters of our youth turning from their faith in young-adulthood. Families ARE the best youth ministry!

...especially families with vision!

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