The Christian Home Manual

GUEST ARTICLE

The Christian Home Manual

[The following article is given for your edification and consideration.  We have needed to eliminate small portions of this otherwise-helpful article.  On occasion, we have included our own comments in brackets to make the article more Scriptural or sound.  Hopefully, this has accomplished its purpose.  RH]

The greatest need in the Church today is for a revival of solid Bible teaching on the Christian home. The home is where the next generation of Christians is being molded. Pastors and youth leaders will admit that the best Christian young people in the local church usually come from strong Christian homes. They will also confess that the biggest hindrance to achieving spirituality in the life of a young person is the influence of a poor Christian home. Many times the problem with young people can be directly traced to Mom or Dad at home. It is a Biblical principle that “like produces like.” This volume is sent forth with the sincere desire and earnest prayer that God will use it to help others establish a Christian home based upon the Word of God. The future of your children is at stake and Satan would love to have them. Wouldn’t you like to place them “Safe In the Arms of Jesus?” I hope you will pray as you read for courage to obey God, trusting Him for the good results.

 

Chapters

I.             What is a Christian Home?

                    II.        How is the Christian Home Organized?

                   III.        Rearing of Children

                  IV.        The Unsaved Mate

                    V.        Unsaved Children

                  VI.        Family Planning

                 VII.        Family Finances

                VIII.        Adultery, Divorce and Remarriage

                  IX.        Family Worship

                    X.        Conclusion

I. What is a Christian Home?

    1. A husband and a wife who have become “ONE”.

We will begin by assuming that both are saved. (The problem of an unsaved mate will be discussed later). There can be no Christian home until a man and a woman have recited marriage vows and are legally married. A common-law cohabitation or a trial marriage which does not bind one to another cannot constitute a Christian home. The Bible calls this fornication and clearly condemns it (I Cor. 7:1,2). The Bible says that God put Adam to sleep, removed one of his ribs and from that rib made a woman to be Adam’s “help meet” (Gen. 2:18-25). God made them to become “one flesh.” When this union takes place it is understood that two single people have laid aside their independence in order to mutually serve one another. The capacity in which they will serve is carefully marked out by God in the Bible. Failure to follow His instructions will bring grief and sorrow further down the road. The pathway of blessing is always the pathway of obedience. The Apostle Paul tells us that marriage is a beautiful picture of the relationship that exists between Christ and His Church (Eph. 5:25-32). We should be careful not to blur the picture but to be a good testimony for the Lord. Marriage is to last until death parts us or until the Lord Jesus comes for us from Heaven.

    2. A father and mother who have borne or adopted children.

The Bible says that “children are an heritage of the LORD” and “Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them” (Psalm 127:3-5). God has put within the heart of women the desire to have children (read about Rachel, Hannah, Sarah and Elisabeth). Children are a tie that helps to bind the marriage and hold it together. We realize that there are some Christian couples who have not been able to have children. God’s instructions to them concerning a Christian home are just as binding, with the exception of those areas concerning the rearing of children. Therefore, I would encourage such couples to read on. Couples who are childless might consider the blessing of adopting children. God’s plan is to keep the wife in the home. In I Timothy 5:14 we read, “I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.” Then in Titus 2:5 we find that the young women are to be taught by the older women “to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home (this means a guard of the dwelling or a stayer at home), good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.” The temptation to seek employment outside the home is removed when children are present. The greatest career opportunity in the world is to be a mother and a Christian homemaker. Mother and Dad both experience a growth in character that is not quite the same without raising children. Children in the home present a glorious opportunity to add to the number of the redeemed and to train a Christian for the Lord’s work (II Tim. 1:2-5, III John 4).

    3. It is a place where ONE family lives.

Our Lord teaches us that when we marry we must leave father and mother (Mark 10:7). Living with relatives will greatly hinder the happiness and effectiveness of the Christian home. The home is intended by God to be a complete, harmonious unit. Relatives or non-relatives abiding in the same home cause friction and hinder natural expressions within the family unit. Many couples endeavor to go contrary to the Word of God for what they are sure are good reasons. It does not usually take very long to discover that they have erred. Many times the situation cannot be readily corrected and the irritation will go on for years. [Note: we have reservations about this point.  Various homes in Biblical times did include those beyond the “nuclear family” and might have included a widow mother as well as other family members.  RH]

   4. It is the place where all the members eagerly return.

Real Christians are citizens of Heaven living in a hostile world (Phil. 3:20; John 15:18-19). It is a blessing to be able to return home to those who love Christ. The home is where we find spiritual agreement and purpose. Here is where we build Christian character and teach sound doctrine within the privacy of the family unit. Here is where love begins, kindness is shown and loyalty is instilled. Our children should not be often absent from the home because they are at Jimmy’s house or Mary’s house. They should be taught to spend their spare time at their own home. We need to remember that “be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home.”

    5. It is the place where the best food in town is served.

There is no excuse for an habitual diet of TV dinners or instant dinners. The wife, as the “stayer at home,” should have as the desire of her heart, the preparation of wholesome and tasty food. There is nothing wrong with cheap meals for those on a tight budget as long as they are prepared with tender loving care by Mom. No restaurant or fast food shop should win in competition with Mom. Proverbs 31:15 says “she riseth also while it is yet night and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.” For this reason, a husband should not have to eat breakfast in a restaurant because his wife is in bed. Her love for husband and children should motivate her to start them off with a good breakfast, fill their lunch pail, and plan ahead for supper in the evening. Meal time is fellowship time in the Christian home and many Christians precede it or follow it with Bible reading and prayer together.

    6. It is the place where all can be comfortable.

The home is not a museum where all walk delicately so as not to disturb any of the finely arranged pieces. It is a place to live in, to relax in, to be comfortable in. This is not to excuse children from putting away their toys, picking up their clothes and keeping their room neat. It matters little whether the home furnishings are expensive or low cost; it matters much whether the home be kept clean and tidy. In Colossians 3:2 we are told to “set our affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” It is one thing to have a home that is comfortable, but it is another thing to allow the home to become an idol with which we concern ourselves too much. The Word of God says “be content with such things as ye have” (Heb.13:5).

    7. It is the place where we mold our children.

The Bible tells us to “train up a child in the way he should go” (Prov. 22:6). From the time they are born, we should hold them and love them. We should teach them early to believe in Christ as their Savior. Obedience and discipline cannot be required too soon. Children should be patterned in the image of Mom and Dad who also are following Christ and seeking to be conformed to His image (Rom. 8:29). Praise God when people say that your children are a “chip off the old block.” If you are following Christ in godly living, it is indeed a welcome compliment.

    8. It is the place where we can choose the people our family has fellowship with.

We ought to have Christians at our home often for spiritual fellowship (Acts 2:46) and as examples to our children. It is always encouraging to our children when they see that there are other people who believe just like Mom and Dad. The ungodly and Christ-rejecting cannot enter the home to corrupt it. It is also true that, if we will not invite certain people into our home because of foul language or immodest dress, we ought to see that the same does not come into our home by way of the television.

    9. It is not the Church.

Though it is expected that we should attend the services of the Church and be involved in witnessing, the Church should not become our everyday home. The children should not be left alone while Mom and Dad are out witnessing. Some parents think they can spend all their time at the Church “serving the Lord,” and that God will take care of their children. That is not so and it is not supported by the Word of God nor by actual experience. They will learn when it is too late that they have neglected their precious children. Too many Church activities can take the children away from the home too often and deprive them of the molding that only Mom and Dad can accomplish. It is unnatural for your children to be gone from the home constantly; they should spend most of their time with you. There needs to be a sensible balance maintained between the Church and the home.

    10. The complete Christian Home is where all are Christians.

Our Lord told us that there would be family divisions because of Him (Luke 12:51-53). How blessed it is when all know Christ and are growing together in Him. The salvation of our children is to be prayed for and sought after above many other worthy goals.

    11. It is the place where we can exalt Jesus Christ and none can forbid.

We can have family devotions as often as we like. We can discuss spiritual things and talk about the Lord when we are sitting down and rising up (Deut. 6:6-9; Psalm 34:3).

    12. It is the place where what we believe is practiced 24 hours a day.

There is no closer or lengthier relationship in life than the home. This is where we eat, sleep and spend our free time. It is safe to say that a child will spend 6,570 days in the home. What we believe and fail to practice will be his or her misbeliefs and practices (Matt. 7:24-29). We need to pray much that we might lead consistent Christian lives before our children lest we cause them to stumble (Rom. 14:13).

II. How is the Christian Home Organized?

    1. The position and responsibility of the husband and father.

        A. The head of the home (Gen. 3:16; Eph. 5:23)

The husband stands in the home as Christ stands to the Church. God says the man is the head and ruler. He is to have the preeminence and respect (reverential awe), his will is to be done, his mind to be sought. His leadership is indisputable and mere lip service to him is not acceptable.

        B. The provider for the family (I Tim. 5:8)

It is the responsibility of the husband to shelter, feed, clothe and educate the family. He is to work day and night, if need be, to accomplish this. If he cannot earn enough at his job he should look for a better job or get an additional part-time job. Perhaps the family expenses could be cut back. It is amazing how you can stretch your money if you have to. He should be careful to provide for his own, while avoiding the desire to be rich (see I Tim. 6:9,10) which can hinder his spiritual progress.

        C. The leader in discipline (Prov. 13:24; 19:18; 22:15; 23:13,14)

There is a crying need today in Christian homes for the father to apply the “board of education” to the “seat of learning.” Eli lost his sons because he refused to discipline (I Sam. 3:13). The father should insist on obedience and respect for Mom and Dad. None of his children should ever “mouth off” to Mom and Dad. A good solid spanking on the thick part of the anatomy in the back is best. Hitting children around the face and head may cause permanent injury and could come under the heading of “child abuse.” His boys should have their hair cut short, his girls should have knee-length skirts (or longer). He should make them attend all the services [of the Church] along with the parents. While they eat at his table and sleep in his beds, he should make them do what the Lord wants them to do. Anarchy in the home will bring the home to utter ruin. The father should obey God’s Word in raising his family and trust in God for the results.

        D. The pastor [shepherd] of the home (I Tim. 3:4,5)

He is responsible to gather his family together daily and lead them in Bible reading and prayer. It is not be left to his wife, though she may be able to assist or take part. He should watch the attitude and spiritual growth of each one in the home. He should provide wholesome recreation, good books and godly music for his children. If Christian education is available, it should be chosen instead of public school education (Prov. 22:6). If a television is in the home, it should be carefully monitored to exclude swearing, nudity and sex. Programs with an anti-Christian philosophy should be avoided. [We believe that it is a better choice to eliminate the TV.  RH] Rock and roll music should never be permitted in the home. [We would include all worldly music—rap, country, etc.  RH] Few parents are willing to buck their children concerning it, but they had better do it. Its origin is Satanic and it is soul-destroying. The children are not to be left to choose their own religion, but should be brought up as Christians with persistent emphasis on the need to trust Christ as Saviour.

        E. The rock of the home (I Cor. 15:58)

It is absolutely necessary for the father to continue in the faith during good times and bad. He is to be the strong, unshakable one, realizing that consistency is the glory of Christian living. When sickness and death comes, he must stand through it even though it may be with tears. When decisions are made, he must stick by them. If he does wrong and makes mistakes, he should be willing to admit it. Honesty and humility are not signs of weakness but rather of spiritual strength. He is the one his children will copy and he needs to walk before them in Christian dignity. If he is a fundamental Bible believer, they will be also. If he is a new-evangelical compromiser, they will be also and usually more so. If he compromises, it is in spite of the fact that he knows better. When they compromise, it will be because they don’t know better.

        F. Loving his wife as precious (Eph. 5:25; I Pet. 3:7)

The husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself for it. She is the object of his affections, and if necessary, he will protect her with his very life. He loves her as much when she does something wrong or something right. He loves her just as much when she spends too much or when she bangs up the car. He does not undermine her with the children by ridiculing her or taking their part against her. If he wants to overrule something she has told the children to do, he should arrange to do it in private consultation with her rather than in front of them. She keeps the home for him and he appreciates that, knowing that he could never take her place or pay her salary.

        G. Not refusing normal sexual relations (I Cor. 7:1-5)

He is to satisfy her sexual needs as well as his own. Their sexual relations should be normal as God intended they should be. He is to love her lest she be tempted by Satan to look elsewhere for satisfaction.

    2. The position and responsibility of the wife and mother.

        A. In subjection to her husband (Eph. 5:24; Col. 3:18; 1 Pet. 3:1,5,6)

She is to obey him, not fighting him or creating an undercurrent with the children. The Scriptures are very clear that she is to be in subjection to him and that he is to rule over her. God created her to be his helpmeet. There are various ways women are tempted to thwart the husband and get their own way. They may use silence (won’t talk), crying, refusing sexual relations, no meals (especially breakfast), or even talking about him in a negative manner to other women friends. Her conduct in the Church should be a replica of her subjection in the home (see I Cor. 14:34,35; I Tim. 2:8-12).

        B. The keeper of the home (Titus 2:4,5).

The phrase “keepers at home” means a stayer at home, a domestic. She is to be happy at home, making it the nest it ought to be (Prov. 31:10-31). There is no room for a career outside the home. If she is a mother, she has a full-time job at home. Only in cases of dire need should the mother go to work. If there are no children or the children have grown up and left the home, her free time can be used in Christian work proper for women. The desire to have the things of this world is the real reason many wives go to work. Some use the pious excuse that, “if I didn’t work, we wouldn’t be able to tithe.” Better is it that the family should forego tithing rather than send the wife to work. Due to the gravity of this subject I have taken the space to list the many undesirable consequences of wives going out to work:

  a. Since she is bringing home part of the income she will want a voice in how it is spent.

  b. Children to a babysitter – no discipline.

  c. Contact with other men at work – temptation, flirting, unfaithfulness and divorce. It is no accident that the divorce rate has been climbing since World War II when women went to work for the war effort.

  d. The husband will soon be expected to help with the housework – after all, it is unfair for him to expect her to work all day and then do all the housework.

  e. Meals will be thrown together – leftovers and TV dinners.

  f. Physical well-being will suffer – she cannot work all day and clean house all night; she is the “weaker vessel.”

  g. Her spiritual life and that of her children will suffer.

  h. The added income will lead to worldliness – the things of this world will become more preeminent in the life.

  i. In attempting to make it up to the children you will spoil them – you feel guilty about leaving them so you let them do anything they want and you give them anything their little heart desires. This will not compensate for parental neglect nor will it cause them to love you.

  j. Her respect for her husband will lessen – she will resent the fact that he couldn’t provide for them. Should she be moved ahead by her employer, she will wonder why he never gets a promotion. Perhaps she will make more money than he does; she begins to chide him, trouble ahead.

  k. Children rebel in reaction to the neglect and lack of love. Again it is no accident that teenage and college age rebellion runs parallel with the increase in working wives over the last thirty years.


        C. The discipline in the absence of the father.

When the father is not home, she will spank the children and teach them to fear the consequences of disobedience. She may save the hard cases for when Dad comes home especially if the spanking should be real hard. Children who do not learn to fear Mom and Dad will never fear God.

        D. The assistant pastor of the home.

Everything that he seeks to accomplish as the pastor of his home should be pursued by the wife in his absence (see Section II-1D). If she disagrees with something he has set forth, she ought to discuss it with him privately. The children should not observe spiritual division in the home.

        E. Standing behind the rock of the home.

She should do everything she can to support him in times of trouble. A fundamental, Bible believing Christian man needs, above all else, a fundamental, Bible believing wife. She should enforce his decisions by reminding the children, “you know what your Dad said.”

        F. Loving her family (Titus 2:4).

It is hard to believe that women have to be taught to love their husbands and their children. Yet the Word of God says that it is so. Many times children are unwanted because of the lack of mutual consent or because of selfish sexual desires. The mother may have to ask the Lord to help her love all her children and seek to get them into the kingdom of God. Mother should always be there to love them and hold them in her arms.

        G. Not refusing normal sexual relations (I Cor. 7:1-5).

She should make herself available to him at all times (except when unclean). She ought to refuse any request to engage in abnormal sexual activity. Since the man is usually more aggressive, it is necessary that she keep him from temptation by satisfying his needs (see especially Prov. 5:18-20).

    3. The position and responsibility of the children.

(THE FOLLOWING IS ADDRESSED DIRECTLY TO THE CHILDREN)

        A. Why are you here?

Did you ever stop to think about that? You are here because of the desire of your parents to share their love and to have someone else to let it overflow on. They could have settled for a dog or a cat, but they chose to have you. They were also moved by a desire to reproduce and raise up children to serve the Lord and to share in Heaven’s joys. They expect to be together with you in eternity (see III John 4).

        B. Now that you are here, God has placed your parents in authority over you (Col. 3:20).

They are to feed, clothe and shelter you. Every day your Dad exchanges a little bit of his life for you. Is it worth it? He thinks it is. They are to train, discipline and educate you. First, I want you to stop and read these Scriptures: Proverbs 13:24; 19:18; 22:15; 23:13,14. You see, God has commanded your parents to paddle you often. It seems that you learn best when it smarts. A child who does not fear his parents will never learn to fear God. They are in charge of your dress and appearance as long as you reside in their home as a dependent. They are to see that the boys have a proper haircut (I Cor. 11:14) and that the girls are dressed in modest apparel (I Tim. 2:9). You are a testimony to the godliness of that home. As long as you eat food at their table and sleep in their bed, you must do as they say. They are responsible to know where you are, who you are with and to see that you are properly chaperoned. This means no dating the lost (II Cor. 6:14-17). They are concerned about bringing you to the marriage altar as a pure virgin. You have a sinful nature and it can get you into a lifetime of sorrow unless Mom and Dad watch over you with a godly jealousy. They are trying to do a good job. Their motives are right for they are trying to make you into His image (See Gal. 4:19; Rom. 8:29). There will come a day in your life when you will thank God for them.

        C. God has placed you in subjection to them.

Obedience and respect is expected from you. When they tell you to do something, it should be done without murmuring and complaining (Eph. 6:1). Working to help your parents should be a joy. Go beyond what you are asked to do. Remember, you won’t have your parents forever. Send them flowers now; don’t wait until they die. Treasure each day you have with them. You are to revolve about them, not vice versa. There are many things you want to do, but unless they are agreeable to Mom and Dad’s schedule, they must go undone. Did you ever see a tail wag a dog? No, and neither should you expect your parents to run all over with you and for you. Consider what your life is doing TO or FOR your parents. Your desire should be to please your parents and make them proud. Your conduct can make your mother shed tears in private or make your father cry inside (Prov. 10:1; 23:24,25). Be saved and then be a spiritual Christian without being prodded all the time. Carry your Bible, listen to the preacher, make notes, sing hymns, help in the Church, talk to people about Christ. In I Tim. 4:12 we read, “let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers.” Children do not have to be unspiritual just because they are young.

Perhaps you can see some things you never saw before. Maybe you are led to say, “My Christian home can be improved by me, and by the grace of God helping me, I will improve it. I haven’t been what I should be — but I will be what I should be.” Why not pray and ask God to help you? Remember, your parents are for you. Are you for them?

III. The Rearing of Children.

    1. From Infancy to Grade School (Praying for Wisdom – James 1:5)

a. Nursing the baby was ordained of God. It is best for the mother and the child. Unless there is a specific medical reason to stop breast feeding, no one should ever have to buy a bottle. Pacifiers are a poor attempt to satisfy a child that is hungry or in need of a spanking.

b. The baby should sleep all night. Early the child should be made to conform to the sleep requirements of Mom and Dad. When a child cries at night he is either hungry, dirty, stuck with a pin or sick. In every case there should be some relief available. If none of the foregoing is true, I would suggest a spanking and let the baby cry himself to sleep. If crying persists, you may want to move the child to another room out of earshot. It is essential that Mom and Dad get their proper rest.

c. The baby’s crying might better be stopped with a spanking than by picking him up. If there are not tears, you can safely assume that it is self-will asserting itself. Grandparents tend to spoil babies by picking them up often. This should be discouraged.

d. Feed them until they can feed themselves in a proper way. Wallowing in their food like little pigs tends to manifest itself in later years with sloppy eating habits.

e. Teach them to say “please” and “thank you.” They ought to learn good manners and respect early in life.

f. Keep the baby clean and warmly dressed. Runny noses and chapped bottoms ought to be tended to right away. A neglected child gives you a poor testimony as a Christian.

g. See that they pick up their clothes and put away their toys. It teaches them to be responsible persons and it will help them greatly later on in life.

h. They are not to see themselves as the center of attraction. There is nothing worse than a spoiled child who thinks that Mom and Dad are to revolve around him or her.

i. Teach them to pray as soon as they can talk. This will fix early in their mind that there is a God and that He is to be sought. Asking God to save them when they are enlightened about the Gospel will be much easier to do if they have been taught to pray.

j. Teach them to sit by you in church. They should be brought into the pew and trained to sit quietly through the services. You may have to take them out once or twice to paddle them, but it will pay rich rewards. A writing pad or a cup of Cheerios to nibble on is not out of place to keep them occupied when they are very young. Sending them off to Junior Church is only a temporary solution to a permanent problem. Sooner or later you will have to make them shape up and listen to the preaching of the Word.

k. See that they have their own copy of the Bible. They should realize that it is a precious book. Each person should have their own Bible just as they have their own toothbrush.

l. There is no such thing as an “age of accountability.” Start teaching them early about their need of salvation. Matt. 18:6 talks about “these little ones which believe in me” and your little one should be a believer as soon as possible. Take them to a fundamental church where salvation is preached and an invitation to come to Christ is often extended. [See the article on “child evangelism” elsewhere.  We believe that there are serious consequences in the practice of urging a very young child to come to Christ for salvation.  RH]

m. Encourage Bible memorization. We are told about Timothy that “from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (II Tim. 3:15).

n. Be careful to cover up nakedness in the home. Children are not to see mother and dad naked (Lev. 18:7-16). Brothers and sisters are not to see each other naked. Ham looked upon the nakedness of his father Noah and it brought a curse on his descendants (Gen. 9:18-27). Modesty should be taught to our children from the very beginning.

o. Show your child much love and tender care. You ought to hug them and hold them close to you. They should be assured that you love them very much. They need reassurance and a feeling of being wanted very much.

    2. From Grade School to High School.

a. You should see that the homework is done and that it is done neatly. Early in their school years the habit of doing the work should be instilled. It will mean much in their future Christian service if they can be counted on to get the job done.

b. They should not be allowed to believe that mom and dad revolve around them. They are not little “prima donnas” who should be put on a pedestal and adored. To spoil a child is to guarantee a selfish and self-willed teenager.

c. Make them attend Sunday school, church and young people’s meetings. It is not an option they have. There may be all kinds of excuses put forth but you should firmly insist that they be there. Many young people will be glad to be in all the meetings. Those who try to skip out usually have a spiritual problem. You have the control of the situation; they should not be left home because they are unsaved. It is no different than making them eat, wash, go to bed, go to school, etc. Should this area of raising your child be lost, it is because you are weak and disobedient to God (see Prov. 22:6)

d. Encourage listening to good music. . . . There are many things you do not want to let your children participate in. These things must be replaced by wholesome things.

e. Enroll your children in a Christian day school. They belong there and it is not the will of God for us to hand them over to the state (see Prov. 22:6). You do not ask your children if they would like to attend a Christian school, you simply enroll them. Should you have to send your children to the public school there are certain things you should do. Purchase books on creation and have your children read them. This will provide an antidote for the teaching of evolution they will surely receive. I would recommend “Why We Believe in Creation Not Evolution” by the Christian Victory Publishing Company, 2909 Umatilla Street, Denver, Colorado 80211. Talk to the school principal and have your children excused from Sex Education classes (don’t let him tell you they don’t have any; they may call it by another name). Sexuality is usually taught in Health or physical education classes and sometimes the classes are coed. See the English teacher and tell her your child is not allowed to read books that take God’s name in vain or contain vulgar language. Have your children excused from dancing instruction in the gym classes. Rock and roll concerts brought to the school are not required to be attended by your children. The tuition for a Christian day school will be an added expense but it is a matter of putting first things first. You will be thankful you made the choice as years go by. The difference in your children will be evident while other parents will be troubled with teenage rebellion.

Incidentally, the public school teaches children to question what their parents believe and incites them to seek equal rights in the home. The public school will promote world government and make earth dwellers (see Rev. 3:10) out of your children. They will hear much about Mother nature, but nothing about Father God. Martin Luther said, “education without salvation is damnation” and it seems truer today than when he said it. Would you send your children to a Modernistic Church? The same people who go there teach in the public (state) school. I believe our children should be sheltered from the world, its habits, its talk and its philosophy (see II Cor. 6:14-18). In the Christian school the teachers are seeking the same goal as the parents (Amos 3:3). [It is our opinion that there are very few “Christian” day schools worthy of our support.  If this can be found, it may be an alternative.  On the other hand, parents should consider home schooling their children—a choice that allows a fully Christian atmosphere and Christian curricula.  RH]

f. Monitor the TV and the radio. What your children listen to on the radio should be of concern to you. Do not be timid about asking them what they are listening to. There are some Christian stations available with decent programs. Listening to rock music (Christian or otherwise) should not be allowed. Programs on TV with swearing or nudity should be placed on the forbidden list. Some Christians are eliminating the TV from their home and they have ample reason for doing so. It is the greatest influence for evil that exists in the Christian Home today. The lack of spiritually or concern for souls can usually be traced back to the “boob tube.” Some will disagree, but the following Scriptures should be reviewed – Gal. 6:7,8; I John 2:15-17; Gal. 1:4. [We would encourage parents to totally eliminate television from the home.  Even radio generally spews forth worldly, secular, and evil problems, including religious programs that promote false teachings.  RH]

g. Talk with your children and draw them out. Openly discuss the things concerning the Christian life. Point out clearly the things that are false and contrary to God’s Word. Your opinions are important to them. Let them see how you think, how you analyze things, how you come to your conclusions. They need to know where they came from, why they are here and where they are going. You have the answers – give them to your children.

h. You cannot chain them up like a dog. You have to forge unseen chains of suggestion, controlled activity, flexibility with firmness, bonus for choosing good things (money to stop at McDonald’s, etc.).

    3. From High School to College.

a. Carefully lead them to see that Christian college is desirable and that it is the only education you will pay for. Take them to see it and extol its virtues often. Point out the ungodliness and animalism that pervades the secular college. If you have enrolled them in Christian day school it will be natural to go on to a Christian college or Bible institute. Make it easy for them to go to a Christian school, but very hard to go to a secular one. All young people do not have to go to college or institute and they should not be made to feel that they are unspiritual for choosing out employment instead. Some may want to marry and raise a family. The leading of the Lord should be sought more than the leading of the parents. [Because there are so many compromises in so-called “Christian” colleges, we would suggest that it would be wiser to enter a trade or begin a business.  If further education is needed, certain college courses may be justified but only with great precaution and under unusual circumstances. RH]

b. Steer them toward the right kind of heroes. Take them to hear real men of God. Books concerning great men of God should be around the house. Don’t laugh at them when they ask a good preacher for his autograph in their Bible. Play down the heroes of the world who are on their way to Hell and a Christless eternity. Show them what a great hero the Lord Jesus Christ is, and I mean that reverently.

c. Control the company they keep. Never feel hesitant about asking them who they were with, where they went and what they did. It is your responsibility to know all about it. If they need to be separated from bad company, God expects you to do it. Set a time for them to be in and enforce it.

d. Should you continue to spank them when they are bigger than you? If you have obeyed the Lord in paddling them when they were small, the need for such discipline should decrease as they get older. Should the occasion call for a spanking, I would give it in spite of the fact that they are too big. A son or daughter should never be allowed to retaliate by striking Mom or Dad. As they get older, there are other methods of discipline that can be effectively used. A good talking to and a withholding of privileges may produce the desired results. When someone wants to go somewhere real bad or desires to borrow the car and they are denied, they may think carefully the next time they consider disobedience. Our children do not have a right to the car, the credit card or our money. It is a privilege granted by very kind, well-respected and perfectly obeyed parents. Never forget that.

e. What should they be doing with their free time? There are many good games they can play with each other or their parents. Crafts and hobbies should be encouraged. Many hours can be spent putting puzzles together. Attendance at dances and movies should be forbidden. Sometimes idle hands can be the devil’s workshop. They should be encouraged to use their free time in Christian activities. Personal Bible study, visitation for the church and youth meetings should find a place in the life of the Christian teen.

        IN ADDITION:

  A. Teach them to confess their sins immediately (I John 1:6-10).
  B. Remind them that God chastens his children (I Cor. 11:31, 32; Heb. 12:5-11).
  C. Encourage them to speak to others about Christ (II Cor. 5:20).
  D. Teach them faithfulness to the assembly of the saints (Hebrews 10:25).
  E. Teach them to keep their commitments (I Tim. 4:12).
  F. Speak frankly with them about death and what follows (Eccl. 7:2).
  G. Make them drive the car like Christians should (Col. 3:17).
  H. Speak much to them about the “Blessed Hope” (Titus 2:13).


    4. The sexuality of the child and its progress.

a. Sex education should be given to your child in progressive pieces and in all seriousness. Questions should be answered as they are asked without volunteering much more additional information. When they are old enough, they should be warned against having premarital sex. It should be explained to them that pregnancy will most likely follow sexual relations. Christian parents should never teach their children how to avoid pregnancy by using contraceptive devices. They should be given to clearly understand that sexual relations with the opposite sex are to be reserved for after the wedding. They should also know that, should they engage in sexual relations, it should be followed by marriage (Ex. 22:16).

b. The female should be prepared for the beginning of menstruation. It should not come to her as a shock. Mother should carefully explain to her what to look for and why it happens. Do not leave the job up to the school; it is ours to handle.

c. The male will inevitably engage in masturbation. When evidence of this is discovered it should not shock you nor trigger an uproar. There is a sensitivity developing which is a natural part of the male reproductive system. . . . It can be and should be minimized by not leaving the child alone, not letting him wear tight fitting clothing and keeping female nudity from his view. Pictures of women in sensuous attire, often found in magazines, should be removed from the house. Television programs which display female nudity and promiscuous love-making should be turned off. An obsession with masturbation coupled with pictures of desire will fill the mind with adulterous thoughts and sin will be the result (Matt. 5:28).  [Notice elsewhere on this website the article that expressly warns against this practice.  RH]

d. Petting should not be permitted. It is God’s intended way to lead to sexual relations. It is reserved for married people. Right here is where many Christian parents lose the battle to raise their children for the Lord. They will look the other way and pretend not to see because they lack the courage to stop it. They assure themselves that it is harmless and that nothing will come of it. They are willingly ignorant of the sinful nature (Jer. 17:9) and the fire within (Prov. 6:27). They will eventually find out that “whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Gal. 6:7).

    5. Dating and Chaperoning.

a. The attraction to the opposite sex is natural and should not be squelched. Sooner or later your child will desire to date and seek a mate for life. The choosing of a mate should be a matter of much prayer and spiritual concern. A lifetime of happiness or grief is at stake here.

b. Do not permit your children to date the unsaved. Invite them to your home and question them concerning faith in Christ. Remember that many will profess conversion to achieve their end. Take your time and be sure before you permit them to date your son or daughter. Once you are satisfied that the prospective date is a Christian, then you will want to see that they are properly chaperoned. While they are in high school, this should be a necessity. Most Christian colleges require chaperoning or the use of a dating lounge. It will keep your children pure and out of trouble. To send your child off in a car with a date unchaperoned is to invite certain trouble. Dates should be to Christian activities or clean recreation. [It is our view that “dating” as it is practiced in this age poses grave problems and dangers.  It is better for young people to develop relationships in the context of the body of Christ, with both sets of parents involved in the developing relationship.  RH]

c. If dating a lost person has already begun, you should insist on having the date visit you. Explain the gospel of Christ to them and seek to bring them to Christ. If they are antagonistic to the gospel, you should put a stop to the dating. Never let them be together without a chaperone. You definitely do not want them forced into marriage with the lost.

    6. Should your child marry?

Many parents become upset if their children do not marry. Some are embarrassed and seem to think that their unmarried child is deficient in character. These things ought not to be. A Christian man or woman, who for one reason or another chooses to stay single, is not to be considered as coming short. We need to remember the Scripture which says “He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord: But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife. There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: But she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband” (I Cor. 7:32-34). Some stay single to serve the Lord without distraction. Some stay single because they have not found the right mate for them. Better to stay single than to marry the wrong person and regret it for a lifetime. We need to remember that marriage lasts until death parts us or until the Lord Jesus comes from Heaven to receive us unto Himself. While most children will marry, it is not abnormal to remain single. There remains yet another question to be considered under this heading. . . .

    7. Choosing the right mate.

The only right mate for a Christian is another genuine, born again Christian. The Word of God is very clear, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers” (II Cor. 6:14-17). Unless it has already been made a necessity you should not be agreeable to your child marrying a lost person. There are many legitimate things you may do to hinder or prevent your child marrying the lost. Of course, the best prevention is never to permit them to date the lost. Now assuming that the mate will be a Christian, let us go on to some further considerations. Parents are always tempted to be matchmakers. They need to realize that the decision is not theirs to make and that they should keep their hands out of it. There is nothing wrong with placing their children in an environment with other Christians of the opposite sex or with introducing their children to one of the opposite sex, but to seek to cleverly engineer a marriage is wrong. It is best to stand back and leave the matter in the Lord’s hands. He can do a much better job. The Christian young person seeking to choose the right mate should look for several things. Do you both have the same spiritual desires? Are you both dedicated to do the Lord’s will and to go where He wants you to go? Can you agree doctrinally and what church will you attend? Will the man be the head of the house and will the woman be in subjection? What about a family? Should your decision to marry be based solely on physical attraction? Marriage should be consummated after much prayer and reading of the Word of God. A period of engagement should be as long as necessary to allow each one to be sure. If it becomes evident that you should not marry, then break the engagement. God has someone else for you in his own good time. Even now he is preparing your mate for life. If you have found the right mate, then go on together asking God to bless your home.

  8. What kind of career for your child?

As your child grows up his or her abilities will become apparent. A vocation will usually be chosen in line with the strengths that your child has. School subjects in which the child does well usually provide a clue as to the type of work most acceptable. The parents should not choose the child’s occupation. Neither should they be upset if the child chooses a vocation completely different than that of the parent. Dad may be a lawyer or an accountant, but the son may want to be a mechanic. Job satisfaction is most important to spiritual well-being. Should your child choose to be a preacher, a preacher’s wife, or a missionary; please do not hinder them. If the Lord is calling them it is most important that they obey Him. In short, you may advise your child regarding a vocation but you should not choose it for them. They should be encouraged to pray about the occupation that God would have for them. A Christian should choose the kind of job where a testimony for Christ can be had. In other words, it should be an honest occupation and one in which superiors cannot force you to sin against your Lord. In line with what has been written in Section II a girl should be prepared for a career as a housewife and a boy should be prepared for a career as head of the house.

    9. Meddling in your child’s married life.

One reason the Lord told man to leave father and mother and cleave to his wife was to eliminate interference in the new family unit. Wise parents will leave the new married couple to manage their own lives even if they make a few mistakes. You may think you know it all but your son-in-law or daughter-in-law may resent your intrusion with your unsolicited advice. Your child is no longer under your dominance and is no longer required to obey you. The best thing you can do for them is to pray for them and offer your advice only when it is requested. In other words – “Mind your own business.” Many a home has been broken up because of doting parents who want to tell their daughter how to handle him or vice versa. Proverbs 20:3 says, “It is an honour for a man to cease from strife: but every fool will be meddling.” Proverbs 26:17 says “He that passeth by, and meddleth with strife belonging not to him, is like one that taketh a dog by the ears.” It is certain that they will have problems but they will work them out. Do you remember what it was like when you were just married? Did you have problems with your in-laws? It should have taught you a lesson.

    10. How to be grandparents.

When you have raised your own children for the Lord there is another wonderful blessing to follow and that is the joy of seeing your grandchildren. This is the second family which automatically enters your world without laboring the second time. They are yours to play with and enjoy without having to raise them or provide for them. You can have a great influence upon them for Christ. The greatest danger you are prone to is to spoil them. When mom or dad are disciplining them you should not interfere. Send them gifts and bring them gifts but don’t try to steal their affections away from mom and dad. When you are called upon to babysit, you should spank them the same as mom or dad would do. They should not have to go through a crash course in discipline when you hand them back to their parents. Sometimes grandparents are asked to babysit while mom goes to work. You ought to make up your mind in advance to refuse this request should it be made. It is usually not in the best interest of your child’s Christian home. (See the section on the Position and Responsibility of the Wife and Mother).

    …………………………….

    12. Be careful about showing partiality with your children.

Should God bless you with more than one child you ought to be careful not to favor one above the other. Early you should determine to treat each one equally. This should be observed when you buy them candy, ice cream, food, clothing or special treats. Unequal treatment makes them insecure which, in turn, will cause jealously and even hate for each other (see Gen.. 25:18 and Gen.. 37:3,4). Treating them equally will promote happiness and loyalty within the family. This is an area that needs much watchfulness on the part of mom and dad.

IV. The Unsaved Mate.

When a person becomes a Christian there is a change wrought by God in that person’s life. The Christian begins to have a new outlook on the life to be lived. Thoughts, words and deeds are brought under the control of Christ and the unsaved mate soon notices the change. Sometimes the mate will respond favorably and trust Christ also for salvation. Often there will be a period of “wait and see” as the unsaved watches to see whether this change is for real and that it is lasting. It is very important that the believer follow the instructions that are given in the Word of God.

In I Cor. 7:11-17 there is much good counsel in this regard. It is very clear that the unsaved mate is in a favorable position to be saved because of the presence of the saved one. We have instances in Scripture where whole households were brought to Christ such as Cornelius, Lydia and the Philippian jailer. Many Christian homes today with both parents saved were not always that way. My own personal experience is that my wife came to Christ six months after I was saved.

The Christian husband should begin to function as the head of the home (if he has not always been so) and be guided by the Scriptures as set forth in Section II under the Position and Responsibility of the Husband and Father. The Christian wife should begin to be in subjection to her husband (if she is not already) and be guided by the Scriptures as set forth in Section II under the Position and Responsibility of the Wife and Mother. She should be in subjection to her husband “as unto the Lord” (Eph. 5:22) and “in everything” (Eph. 5:24). It is understood that her obedience to him should never lead her to deny Christ who is her Lord and Master. It is one thing to obey your husband within the workings of the family unit; it is quite another to go back to sinning at the request of the husband. The Word of God says, “The Lord knoweth them that are His, And, let everyone that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity” (II Tim. 2:19). It is very clear that the woman is to live her Christian life while in obedience to her husband as long as “he be pleased to dwell with her” (I Cor. 7:13).

Another very important thing for the Christian to remember is not to “nag” the mate about becoming a Christian. I Peter 3:1 says, “Likewise ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that if any obey not the word, they may also without the [a] word be won by the conversation [manner of life] of the wives.” After giving your husband THE WORD he is to be won without A WORD by your life. In other words “no nagging.” No one has ever been browbeaten into the Christian faith.

V. Unsaved Children.

The Bible encourages us to believe that God will save them (I Cor. 7:14). We must be consistent in living before them. We are to pray and seek their souls for Christ. There is no such thing as “household salvation” which claims that all in the family will be saved because the parents are. Matt. 18:6 talks about “these little ones which believe in me.” Our children must put their faith in Christ if they would be saved. One of the things we learn very quickly is that we cannot legislate spirituality. Though we may teach them prayers, have them read their Bible and attend church, we cannot make them get saved. We have to travail in birth again until Christ is formed in them (Gal. 4:19). Parents must also realize that browbeating, chiding and publicly embarrassing them concerning their need to be saved will not help. It will only serve to make them harder and drive them further away. To the other extreme, there are parents who think they ought not to make their children attend church because they are not saved. This is simply an excuse on the part of parents who do not want to rock the boat and hassle with their children about church attendance. Let me say without hesitation that it is your job to see that they attend all the services whether they are saved or not. Your children should never go to Hell because you did not have enough spiritual backbone to make them go to church. Must they attend church? ABSOLUTELY.

There is one question which comes up in the minds of Christian parents who have unsaved children at home and in rebellion against the Lord. Is it ever right to put them out? If they are still in high school you ought to be able to control them. If they are out of school, working and living at home, they are required to be in subjection to you. If they are rebellious and refusing to comply with your request, they should be told to move out and get their own place. The rest of the children in your home will be encouraged to rebel also if they see them getting away with it. A rotten apple in the home can spoil the whole basket. And when they get their own place they are to pay all their own bills. Do not subsidize them in their private living quarters because they will not submit at home. Many a young person begins to shape up when they realize what it will cost them to live in independence and rebellion. Rebellion should be curbed as soon as it rears its ugly head because of the effect it will have on the rest of the children.

VI. Family Planning.

Sooner or later the Christian couple will have to make a decision concerning how large their family should be. God gave Adam and Noah a command to replenish the earth (Gen. 1:28; 9:1) but it would seem that the command is not applicable to us, seeing that the earth has been replenished.  [The KJV work, “replenish,” means “to fill.”  We believe that the command is not to be applied as it was to Adam, but we can hardly say that the world is “filled” with people.  RH]  An unlimited number of children is an option as well as a limited number of children. There are no teachings in the New Testament on the size of our family. There are several real considerations that may govern the size of our families. The health of the mother should be a deciding factor. Should the doctor say that it would be unwise for the mother to go through another pregnancy, it might well decide the issue. In today’s economy the ability of the father to provide should be considered. Larger quarters may have to be secured, more groceries put on the table, more clothing paid for and larger tuition bills must be faced. There is a price to pay. The age of the parents when the new baby reaches its teen years must be thought of. It is hard to raise and educate children when you are retired or on Social Security. Our family raised four children (a fifth was stillborn) and it was a big task. Perhaps we could have had more children but we were content in the Lord with those He had given to us.

There are certain dangers involved for those families who have only one child. Sometimes an only child can be spoiled by being the center of attraction. Where there are other children in the home there seldom is a center of attraction. Should anything happen to that one child at an older age the couple would be childless at a time when it would be difficult to start a new family. Some couples, after the first child is born, may find physical reasons which forbid further children. There is no room for criticism when a family chooses to have only one child. Neither should there be any criticisms of a Christian couple without children. Whether they are unable to have children or not it is plainly their own business before the Lord.

As we consider family planning, it is necessary to discuss the matter of abortion. Abortion is the taking of a human life and is against the commandment of God to “do no murder” (Exodus 20:13; Matt. 19:17,18). With modern methods of birth control there is no need for an unwanted pregnancy in the Christian family. Should such an eventuality occur there is no warrant for abortion. Lost people put forth many reasons for having an abortion. They may say “we have too many children already” or “we are getting a divorce” or “it will interfere with my career” or “we are too poor” or “we are not married.” None of these reasons are valid for the committing of murder. . . . Those who were saved after having an unnecessary abortion should be comforted by the fact that God has forgiven all their sins (Col. 1:14; 2:13).

We should now take up the matter of birth control. Is the Scripture against birth control? There is one passage of Scripture that has been used by those who oppose birth control. It is the story of Onan who refused to raise up seed unto his dead brother (see Deut. 25:5-10) and the Lord slew him. The story is found in Gen. 38:6-10. Onan was not slain for using birth control but for refusing to obey the law of God regarding the raising of seed to inherit his deceased brother’s land. There is no teaching in the New Testament on the matter of birth control and it is evident that God has left that up to the Christian couple. If a decision has been made to limit the size of the family, some form of birth control is a necessity. To have no sexual relations is unnatural. To submit to sterilization is considered by many as being too final. The most workable method is to use contraceptives.

The procreation of children should be always by mutual consent. Though the wife is in subjection to her husband, it is also true that he is to love her and consider her as precious. The husband should lead the wife into mutual agreement so that the end result of the decision is a happy one.

VII. Family Finances.

Who should handle the money? The decision here is up to the husband as the head of the home. How should the money be spent? Prayerfully and carefully, but not miserly. We are to be good stewards of what God gives us but our testimony can be hurt if we poach on others without spending a dime of our own. Should Christians buy on the installment plan? Some choose to pay cash or do without and refer us to Rom. 13:8 where it says “Owe no man anything, but to love one another.” Some choose to buy and make payments with interest added (our church is being bought that way) and as long as they make the contracted payments they “owe no man anything.” There are a few dangers with buying on credit that we should be aware of. It is too easy to buy what you really do not need. Also, it is possible to lose your testimony because of inability to pay bills when due. Sometimes bankruptcy may be the result. Finally, we need to realize that when we buy on credit we are selling our tomorrows. Our freedom to serve the Lord and to go where he wants us to go may be lost because we are obligated to pay yesterday’s bills.

We need to learn how to be content with very little. Clothes do not have to be expensive to keep you warm. Hamburger as well as steak can fill the empty void in the stomach. Four walls do not make a home, it is the people inside. Entertainment for your children costs a lot, but playing with them costs very little. The important thing about a car is not how beautiful it is, but whether it runs. We can live without expensive vacations and sometimes with no vacation at all. There are several Scriptures that I would recommend to the Christian couple for further study: – I John 2:15-17; Luke 12:15, I Tim. 6:5-11; Phil. 4:5,7,11-13; I Cor. 4:11-13). In line with the subject of being content we ought to ask a question. Is it unspiritual to have a savings account? The lowly ant teaches us to have a little store for times of need (see Prov. 6:6-11). There should be a balance between an attitude of thrift and an undue hoarding of this world’s goods.

. . . . . . . . . .

What about drawing up a will? A will can effect important tax savings and make the best of your estate for your family. A will can be used to create a trust for your wife and/or children. In it, you can designate what you want done for each. The most important aspect of a will for a Christian couple is the setting up of guardians for your children. If you do not have a will, the State will make one for you. If children are left as orphans, they may be placed in the home of an unsaved relative because of the rigidity of the law. You can choose the guardians for your children and they do not have to be relatives. You ought to arrange for Christians to have custody of your children. Having a will drawn up is not as expensive as you might think. Call a lawyer and ask for his price in advance.

What about the money your children earn? It is their money and not yours. It should not be used for food, clothes or rent since that is your responsibility. If they want something that you are not willing or obliged to buy them, they can use their own money. (Of course, I am talking about dependent children. If they are out of school and working while living at home, they ought to pay you board money to help with the food and rent). They should be encouraged to support the Lord’s work with part of their income. They should have a savings account where they can save their money for college or future plans.

VIII. Adultery, Divorce and Remarriage.

We are living in a day when 1 out of 3 marriages end in divorce. The far reaching consequence of such profligate living is the downfall and destruction of America. A real Scriptural Christian home will almost never end in divorce. When it does happen, it is usually due to the sin of adultery. This is the area where Satan tempts the Christian couple and it is mentioned in I Cor. 7:5. In the Old Testament God told his people Israel, “Thou shalt not commit adultery” (Ex. 20:14). Those who did so were to be put to death. God is against it and therefore He is against you when you contemplate it or engage in it (see Matt. 5:27,28). When discovered, it often ends in divorce because your mate’s faith in you has been destroyed. It is also a fearful thing when you consider the possibility of contracting venereal disease which can be passed along to your spouse and children. Until the other person’s lips are sealed in death there is always the fear of exposure to live with. You may ask God to forgive your sin and be restored to fellowship but you cannot undo the consequences of your foolish act. Your Christian testimony will be silenced for fear of later exposure. It is not the kind of sin which can be confessed and restitution made. For instance, when a man steals he can confess it publicly and restore what he stole. Public confession is almost impossible to accomplish because of the far reaching effects on others. Those who are tempted to commit adultery should pause for a moment and consider the end thereof. For a short moment of stolen pleasure they are going to sell their tomorrows. Years will be spent in anguish of soul because of a desire to flatter your ego. “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Gal. 6:7). Remember, the harvest is always larger than the seed that is sown.

It will be well to consider here what divorce does to the children. It immediately deprives them of one parent. They do not understand and they will resent both for what each has done to the other. They will not take sides. Parental authority will break down and the end result will be delinquency. Notice the difference in children who have lost a parent in death and those who have lost a parent by divorce. Upon the remarriage the children will have a false mother or father and there will always be a difference. You cannot call out parental affection when one is not the parent. In the end the happiness of the children is destroyed. If there was no other reason to stay together, this would have to be sufficient.

It will be well also to observe the reproach divorce brings upon Christ and His Church. The marriage relationship with the husband and wife in their respective places is a beautiful picture of Christ and the Church (Eph. 5:21-33). It is unthinkable to believe that the Lord Jesus Christ would be unfaithful to His Church and it is always saddening when the Church is not faithful to Him. The Holy Spirit desires faithfulness in the life of believers toward the Lord and each other. The believers involved in divorce lose the effectiveness of their testimony (Phil. 2:15). The local church as a body of believers must bear the stigma brought upon it by one of its members (I Tim. 3:7).

Is there an alternative to divorce? We would do well to study the example of God as given in Jer. 3. There he tells the nation of Israel that though they had played the harlot with other nations, he was willing to take them back.  In Verse 14 he says, “Turn, O backsliding children, saith the LORD; for I am married unto you.” Determine to keep your marriage together. God can give grace to forgive an erring mate (Eph. 4:32).

IX. Family Worship.

Every Christian home should seek to have Bible reading and prayer together daily. The biggest hindrance to family worship is finding a time. Some are able to set a time every day and rigidly adhere to it. Some prefer to have it at different times on different days. Whatever the schedule followed, it should be an experience rather than a slavish habit. Family devotions might usually last from 20 to 30 minutes. When time is no factor, you may want to take longer. It should be long enough so that the children do not see it as a “quickie” to satisfy the requirements.

Who should lead family worship? There is no question about it that Dad should lead in devotions. He should choose and read the Scriptures making the applications to your lives today whenever he can. Dad may request an older son occasionally to lead. When Dad is away from home then Mom should lead in devotions. You should be personally convinced of the blessing of family worship or your family will know it. You cannot be phony and get away with it.

Many family heads are nervous about starting family devotions because they are not used to speaking or teaching. Perhaps they are also a little shy and apprehensive about leading such a venture. They should put their minds at ease for it is quite simple. Anyone who can read can lead family devotions. If he can only manage a short prayer that is acceptable to God. Once he begins, the family head will find it easier each time and it will become a blessing to him personally.

Once Dad has determined to do it his first thought will be about choosing a Scripture. It is usually best to read through a book verse by verse. He should go over the verses by himself privately and determine the meaning of any hard words. A good dictionary or a Strong’s Concordance is all the help you need there. ……

You and your family will learn the meaning of the few old English words very rapidly as you use your dictionary. As you progress in experience you may want to depart from the verse by verse method and begin a topical study. A topical study is a gathering of several Scriptures which pertain to a particular subject. Perhaps you have studied a particular subject and just want to pass on what you learned. Sometimes a topical study is necessary to either deal with a problem in the home or a possible problem that you can see developing. When you are reading verse by verse you should be careful where you read. It is wise to read portions that are easier to be understood by all present. The New Testament poses no problems but there are some places in the Old Testament that might be left out for the present moment. The beginning and ending of Job are excellent reading, but the lengthy discourses sandwiched in between may not hold the family interest. When you decide to read Psalms, it might be best to select certain ones rather than reading all of them.

In other words, choose Scriptures that you can more easily explain and the whole family can better understand. Make it easy on yourself rather than difficult. . . . . .

After reading and discussing the Scripture, there should be a time of prayer. The position of prayer (kneeling or sitting) is not so important as the attitude and reverence. Some pray around the table or room. Others may designate one or two to pray. Prayer should include praise and gratitude, request for daily needs and opportunity to witness, family, church, school and missionaries. Guidance and wisdom from God should be sought. Things observed in the Bible reading should be brought into our prayers. Prayer time should never be allowed to become a routine.

X. Conclusion.

While I have tried to draw from 23 years as a Christian husband, father, Pastor and teacher while raising four children (2 boys and 2 girls) I am painfully aware that my experience and knowledge are limited. The material contained herein is drawn from the Scriptures, personal experience and observation. The Scriptures are infallible covering the areas of life to which they are directed. It is wisdom to obey them and leave the results with God. My own personal experience and observations are included in order to be helpful to other Christian families. God has blessed my family and my desire is that your family may be similarly blessed. I would be glad to have your comments and recommendations which might be helpful to me personally or in the writing of a second edition of this manual.

Paul L. Freeman

http://www.wholesomewords.org/family/manual.html

Note: We have found it necessary to delete several portions of this helpful article.  It must have been written by a Fundamentalist Baptist, although we do not know.  On occasion, we have included our own comments on a point that is made.  RH

 

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