I ended my last blog with this thought:”Out of all the titles that God could have chosen for Himself, He chose Father. Why? Why not, Chief Emperor of the Universe, of Executive Supreme, President of the Universe, or The Ultimate CEO. God chose a family term instead, father. Hmmm.”
The Sovereign, All-Knowing, All-Loving, All-Wise, All-Powerful, and All-Everything Being we worship as God, chose a family identity to set up His Kingdom instead of any of the other choices available to Him. By God choosing to reveal Himself to us in this mode, He declared an important truth; family relationships are extremely important and central to His will!
In one of my seminary classes, I came across the “desert island principle.” Briefly, this concept means to read the Bible as if you are reading if for the very first time without any other preconceived considerations. Imagine you were born on an island with no access to anything other than what was in your own little world of sand and coconuts. One day a book washes ashore, it is the Bible in your native language, and you read it for the very first time.
As you read this book what would you discover? How would your life be influenced by the stories and examples you encounter on the pages of Scripture? What would your theology look like as you finished it? While no one can possibly know all of the answers to these questions, some things are pretty much a slam-dunk. One would certainly understand that there is a Creator and that He (not she or it) is actively involved in the lives of His creation. Page after page God reveals Himself in the stories of the characters in the Book. God is not pictured as some far off deity, but an active participant in the affairs of creation. As the story unfolded and just when it seems hopeless for the humans yet again, God steps in with the ultimate revelation of Himself, Jesus Christ! We would also know that the ending is very good for those that are His.
What would also be clear is that the Bible is family oriented and based on relationships. In the Old Testament God worked with family groups, and in the New, He continued to work in families and expanded the concept to include a relational grouping called the Church. This inspired Book reveals thousands of names of real life people and their family connections. As the story moves along in time from creation to Revelation, God described His followers as being adopted into a family, having brothers and sisters everywhere, and the family model continues to stay central until heaven, when everything ends (or really begins!) with a wedding feast!
The current philosophy of ministry that permeates the modern Church is not one that would be discovered using desert island theology. What would be found is a family-centric mode of living with the emphasis of true Christianity being displayed in interpersonal relationships at all levels, and especially in the family. God cares very deeply for family relationships and this is the pattern revealed in Scripture.
If I am even remotely on target with what I have written so far, then the implications are huge. As families continue to spiral into destruction, the Church and Her influence hangs in the balance. If we hope to stem this tide of destruction then some changes at the root level of our understanding will have to take place. Changes do not come easily, but if we refuse to even attempt them, then we will continue to walk down the path to failure. It seems to me, that we let what we cannot do, which is to change everything, hinder what we can do, which is to change something.
Part of the changes that I am recommending, is that we would begin to reverse the degradation and distain for fatherhood, and replace this with a more Biblical view. After decades of attack from radical feminism, it is almost to the place of embarrassment to express a simple Biblical principle of the husband being the head of the family. To agree with Scripture, that clearly reveals God in the male gender and man as the head of woman as Christ is the head of the Church, raises eyebrows in some, and even temper in others.
Since God came up with the idea of family He must have the perfect order intended, and as is His history with the human race, He has revealed His will clearly enough to be obeyed. The revealed truth in the pages of our Scriptures point to male leadership and responsibility for the marriage and family. Men are required by God to lead their homes, and this lost teaching lies at the heart of the problem we are facing in our world today. The Church of Jesus Christ needs men that will lead their families, love their wives like Christ loved the church, and invest in the next generation. Anything short of this is not what we find in the Scripture.
Pastors need to model, teach, and encourage the men to step up and resist the mode being forced on them by our culture. We, as men, need to reengage in our families and churches and cast off apathy. We must resist the label placed on us as unimportant extras, and step into God’s view of us and our job in the home, extremely important! We must look at our priorities and be willing to ruthlessly evaluate what we are doing and why. What really is important in the grand, godly scheme of things? How do we fit in as men, fathers, and grandfathers? What is our responsibility, and even a more probing question, how are those under our leadership and authority doing? These questions must be pondered and answered if we are to begin to change the direction of our family, church, cities and nation.
We cannot do everything but we all can do something. We must begin somewhere and we must start now. Pray, read the Scripture, and begin to implement what you find there. Find some other men to walk with, and begin to talk to your spouse about what is stirring in your soul. Seek the Lord first and all these other things will begin to fall into place. Rise up man of God, your wife, family and church are waiting!