The basis for the Christian worldview is God’s inspired Word (2 Timothy 3:16-17). God’s word is comprised of the Old and New Testaments. Generally, the Old Testament records the origin of the world and all life as well as the development of the seed promise made by God to Abraham and his descendants. The New Testament records the fulfillment of the seed promise; namely the incarnation, ministry, crucifixion, resurrection and commission of Jesus Christ. The New Testament also records how Christianity spread and how Christians are to live their lives.
It is interesting that in the pages of the New Testament, there is a dialog recorded between Jesus and some Palestinian Jewish leaders on the topic of marriage and divorce. Jesus was asked by these leaders, “Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?” (Matthew 19:3)
A Jew may have expected Jesus to pontificate from the Law of Moses or side with one of the popular Jewish schools of thought on this controversial question. Jesus does neither but goes all the way back to the beginning of creation to give his answer: “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘for this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? “So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.” (Matthew 19:4–6)
Jesus indicated that God’s plan for the family, i.e. the nuclear family unit, is rooted in the creation order and apparently had not changed in over approximately four thousand years from the creation to the days of Jesus. We have no reason to believe that it has changed in the two thousands years since Jesus uttered these words. Therefore, the Christian worldview teaches that God has a plan for the human family that He expects mankind to follow.
What does this plan look like? Ideally, the structure of the family includes a husband and a wife. The husband is to serve his family as the spiritual leader, provider and self-sacrificial protector of his household. The wife is to respect her husband as such and is primarily responsible for child and domestic care.
Sexual activity is reserved exclusively for married couples. Please read Ephesians 5:22-33; 1 Peter 3:1-7; 1 Corinthians 7:2-4; Colossians 3:18-19; and Titus 2:4-5 to discover what the New Testament teaches on the roles of husbands and wives. The duration of the marriage is to be for a lifetime – “what God has joined together, let no man separate.”
A married coupled may be graced with children and the children would become part of their household. The Bible has a great deal to say about the responsibilities of children in the home. Their most important domestic duty is to respect and honor their parents (Ephesians 6:1). All in the family are to love God with all of their being and love each other as themselves (Matthew 22:37-40). Love, understanding and mutual respect are to be hallmarks of a God-pleasing home.
I suggest to you that many of our personal and societal problems can be directly tied back to a deviation from God’s pattern for the home. The divorce rates in our land are alarming. We must not pretend that the plasticity of the duration of marriage in our country does not have a devastating social effect on its people.
I could easily quote statistics and studies linking a host of problems to breakdowns in the home. One particular area of concern is the lack of male leadership in the home. In 2010, there were 1,633,471 births given to unmarried women (http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/unmarry.htm). This accounts for 40.8 percent of all births in that year. Almost half of all births in 2010 were to unmarried women. Consider the following statistics regarding fatherless homes:
1) Sixty-three percent of youth suicides are from fatherless homes, five times the average;
2) Ninety percent of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes, 32 times the average;
3) Eighty-five percent of all children who show behavior disorders come from fatherless homes, 20 times the average;
4) Eighty percent of rapists with anger problems come from fatherless homes, 14 times the average;
5) Seventy-one percent of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes, 9 times the average (http://thefatherlessgeneration.wordpress.com/statistics).
Do individuals pay a price for straying from God’s pattern for the home? Does society pay a price for the same? The cost is higher than we will admit. The solution is simple, but not easy, for it requires humility, submission and change. We need to seek God’s plan for the home. We hope you will join us in this effort this upcoming week at our “What is God’s Plan for Your Home” meeting March 17-20 (www.churchatlagrange.org).
Torrey Clark is the preacher for the church of Christ Northside (www.churchatlagrange.org) and host of the weekly Christian worldview talk show, Culture Shock (www.thelightnetwork.tv/shows). Clark may be reached at email@example.com or 706-812-9950.