Now, more than ever, it seems, Christian families need to take their life-compass readings from the Scriptures and not from society-at-large. In former generations that may not have been such an urgent and pressing issue. In days of a more Christian culture being evident, taking advice and getting instruction from society at large may have been less of a danger. Not so now.
A venerable Christian family's statement of faith was often seen adorning the walls of many Christian homes:
Christ is the Head of this houseIt reinforced the truth that for the Christian family, Christ is central. He is the ultimate family head, its ruler, leader, counsellor, disciplinarian, guide, and shepherd. The Christian home and family is a holy place. Not a sinless place, mind. But a holy place, where everything is dealt with according to the Scriptures.
The unseen Guest at every meal
The silent Listener to every conversation.
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. [Deuteronomy 6: 4-9]The norm for a Christian home is that the children will grow up to say that they cannot recall a time when they did not believe in God, but that all their lives they have known and followed Christ.
Being born into a Christian home is one of the greatest of all possible divine blessings. As Cornelius Van Til put it (reflecting on how he came to believe upon the Lord Jesus Christ) he was conditioned to believe, being raised in a Christian home.
This idea may shock some. Conditioned to believe. Of course, said van Til. When you are born into a home by the sovereign dispensation of Almighty God, where Christ is the Head of the house, the unseen Guest at every meal, and the Listener to every conversation, and your parents act and live accordingly, every child is being conditioned by God to believe. (The contrary is also true: children born into non-Christian homes are being conditioned every day to Unbelief. It takes a particular, miraculous divine intervention to reverse that reality.)
Family life has now broken down to such an extent that the modern family often resembles a disparate cluster of individuals who happen to live together. Many modern families resemble the lifestyle of the shared apartment, not the home.
One of our "foodies" lamented the increasing disparateness of modern "family" living.
The McVinnie food philosophy is heavily influenced by the need for cooking to replace the global wave of convenience foods and by the American food writer and activist Michael Pollan. "It's so simple," says McVinnie. "Cooking means you use better food and you have far more control over what you eat. It also brings a lot of the things to the table - manners, eye contact, social skills, the art of conversation and confidence." [NZ Herald. Emphasis, ours.]Increasingly common is the "modern family" where families no longer share life together. There are no meal times, no sit-down and communicate occasions. The kids are all engrossed in social media and electronic games. They graze a bit of food on demand. There are plenty of accounts of teachers complaining that so many of their pupils turn up to school bleary eyed and exhausted. They have spent most of the night on social media and gaming. Their parents have little idea, and could not care less. Welcome to one version of family life in the non-Christian world.
"Let's get back to the basics of life," urged one songwriter/poet. To gloss the old Christian proverb: The family that eats together, stays together. This leads to an even more fundamental reality: families that pray together and eat together will tear down the citadels of Unbelief, and ultimately leave Babel broken in the dust.
More than ever before, Christian families need to avoid the example of Unbelief when it comes to family life and culture.