Relationship vs. Purpose: How the Church Destroys the Christian Family

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Years ago, an American Reformed missionary in Europe complained to me that in the church he had planted, there was only one family.

“Well,” I said, “why don’t you encourage the single ones to marry?”

“It wouldn’t work,” he replied grimly, “they are mostly women. They don’t need my encouragement. But there are no men available. Men sometimes would come to the meetings but they don’t stay for long. And the few men we have are not interested in marriage.”

I can think of only one solution to a problem in the church: the pastor should preach the Biblical solution to it. “May be you should start preaching and teaching on the family. Thus you will encourage the men to marry, and have families and children, and become responsible adults.”

“I do,” he said. “I preach and teach on the family all the time. I teach on the relationships between husbands and wives, between parents and children, I preach on what a wonderful gift the family is, I preach on how God blesses families.”

“Hmmm,” I said, “the relationships stuff will attract and encourage mostly women. But what about what attracts the men? Do you preach and teach purpose, what the family is created for? Do you teach the commandment to multiply and replenish the earth, have many children and through them take over the culture? Do you teach and preach on the educational function and purpose of the family; teaching the children in the Lord? Do you teach them the purpose of the family as God’s institution for economic decisions and action? Do you teach them on the fathers as protectors and conquerors? Do you teach them on the function of the family as a welfare agency, the only institution ordained by God to take care of the poor and the needy?”

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