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"More than love, a family needs a godly law

structure, an order, discipline, and security


that come from knowing that God's word
is paramount in all things."
The
T
he foundation of family and
marriage in contemporary
thinking is romantic love.
The motivation which brings
two people together to unite in mar-
riage is very commonly romantic love
and too often little else.
Romantic love as the motive of mar-
riage is not a new force in history. It
has a long history behind it. In Roman
history, even more plain, sexual love
was held to be, by the third century of
the Christian era the best reason for mar-
riage. In terms of this idea of marriage,
it was expected that the man rival the
gods as a great lover, while the woman
was expected to out-Venus Venus. Tech-
nique in marriage was held to be every-
thing, and anyone not interested in sex-
ual sophistication was despised as an
amateur. Instead of increasing marital
happiness, this Roman emphasis on
sexual love only intensified marital dis-
harmony and increased the breakdown of
marriage and the family.
Simultaneously with this Roman de-
velopment of sexual love as the ground
of marriage, there was a growing con-
tempt for and an attack on the institu-
tion of the family and marriage by the
intellectuals. People who were happily
married were looked down upon as
socially stupid and insensitive people.
Somehow, misery and trouble were
associated with sensitivity in the minds
of these intellectuals, and they tended to
parade real and pretended griefs and
problems as a sign of their superiority.
These attitudes have recurred repeat-
edly in Western cultures, in the medi-
eval period, the Renaissance, the En-
lightenment, and today. The intellectual
The Counsel of Chalcedon Aug.-Sept., 1989 page 2
stance is again one of disdain. The Kin-
sey reports and other similar ostensibly
scientific studies clearly illustrate the in-
tellectual pose. The intellectuals are
very clearly anti-family, and they are
also on the whole statist. Their answer,
not only to the family, but to most 1m-
man problems is love, love as a pan-
acea, a cure-all. This love can be ap-
plied by statist coercion or by in-
dividual action, but the answer, we are
told is simply love.
T
his means, as applied to the
family, that the family can
be legitimately established if
love exists, and the family
can be broken where love ceases to
exist. In saying this, these self-styled
leaders are aware that they are weaken-
ing the structure of the family, but they
make it clear that they do not want the
family to exist on anything except this
foundation of love. The husband, wife,
and children have a right to this magical
thing called love.
Now, that love has its place in the
family and in life generally, the Bible
clearly recognizes, but it does not per-
mit love to become so basic to the fam-
ily or to life. More than love, a family
needs a godly law structure, an order,
discipline, and security that come from
knowing that God's word is paramount
in all things. A father or mother may
love their child very earnestly, but of
what use is that love, and what help, if
the father fails to support the child, or
is an alcoholic? And of what value is a
mother's love for a child if that mother
fails to feed the child properly or
ly, or to provide it with Lie necessarj
ily
by Rousas J. Rushdoony
attention, education, and care?
The cocoon in which the child grows
and flourishes is a stable home, in
which the child's needs for food, cloth-
ing, shelter, discipline, teaching, faith,
and motivation are conscientiously and
faithfully met. It is this that spells love
to a child. The Bible says very plainly,
"love is the fulfilling of the law"
(Rom. 13: 10). Love then is more than
the sexual passion and the emotional
attachment that romanticism talks
about. Love is the fulfilling of the law,
God's law. Thus, when the intellectuals
with their shallow thinking offer us
love as the foundation of marriage, they
are not talking about love but attrac-
tion.
L
ove cannot be separated from
the law. Where love truly en-
ters into a marriage, there is a
respect for and an obedience to
God's law. This means that the mar-
riage is within the faith, with a fellow
believer, so that husband and wife are
united frrst of all in terms of a common
faith and obedience to God.
Love, in this Biblical sense means,
moreover, that the basis of the marriage
and of the new family is not personal
but Christian. In romantic love, the
family is started when romantic feeling
draws a man and woman together, and it
ends with the death of those feelings.
Marriage is thus made a purely personal
affair. But the family is a God-given in-
stitution and it is the basic social insti-
tution of society. No decision concern-
ing the family therefore can be purely
personal. At all times, the family is un-
der God's law, and its beginning and end-
ing must be in terms of obedience to
God's law.
This brings us to a very curious fact.
These intellectuals are predominantly so-
cialistic, and their approach to most
problems is to stress the collective re-
sponsibility and the collective answer ..
But, when they approach religion,
morality, marriage, and the family, they
tell us that these are purely personal
questions, not social or collective prob-
lems. Why this curious inconsistency?
The answer is that they are by no
means inconsistent. Their purpose is to
abolish Biblical religion and morality;
therefore, they banish it from social life
and society by insisting that it is a pure-
ly personal and private affair. Similarly,
by making the foundation and the
grounds of marriage, family, and di-
vorce purely personal, they are in effect
destroying the family, since they deny
to it its proper social role.
Contempt of the family goes hand in
hand with contempt for religion and
morality. The breakdown of faith is
also the breakdown of the family. The
relationship of religion, morality, and
the family is a vital one. Whenever
statism attacks religion, morality, and
the family, it unleashes against them
the forces of anarchism. Anarchism
thus is the perennial ally of totalitarian
statism. The elite who dominate the
state are men beyond the law who can
govern the world according to their
imaginations and concentrate power in
their hands to that end. Carle C.
Zimmerman, in Family and Civiliza-
tion, has given (p. 639) a telling pic-
ture of Homer's world: "The human
value common men now prize so high-
The Counsel of Chalcedon Aug.-Sept.,1989 page 3
ly are nonexistent in Homer. The great
in Homer are a few well-born and vigor-
ous freebooters who dominate the rest
of society according to their own
whims. No important Homeric charac-
ter is concerned with what becomes of
the poor and defenseless masses." The
leaders of our day are more sophisti-
cated; they talk about these values even
as they gut them; they claim to o-e-the
men most concerned over man's plight
even as they callously use men to fur-
ther their own power.
The family cart prosper if its founda-
tions be solid; 'and the true foundation
of the family is in Christian faith firm-
ly and solidly , grounded in Scripture.
And today it is the family which is by-
passed and neglected in O\Ir education.
The family, society's most basic institu-
tion, has only a minor part in our educa-
tion and in our thinking.
B
ut, more than that, for the
Bible sex is legitimately asso-
ciated only with the family,
whereas for contemporary
thinkers there a radical separation and
dissociation of sex and marriage. For
example, in the second Kinsey Report,
the family is scarcely mentioned. There
is a reference or two to the family at the
beginning of one chapter, but only as a
prelude to discussing sex, not the fam-
ily. In the one other reference, we are
told that certain "animals travel in fam-
ily groups or packs," so that the refer-
ence is to animals, not to man or the
family. This is fairly typical. Today,
sex is considered in atomistic and
anarchistic isol!ltion from marriage and
the family, and this is a deliberate and
revolutionary dissociation. There is a de-
cultivation of anarchistic and
individualism, and it is the
anti-family, atomistic individual who is
the most congenial to collectivism, be-
cause he is least under law in his own
life. Anarchism and totalitarianism are
both destructive of law and are triumphs
of lawlessness.
The Christian family is basic to
God's law order for man. The family is
established by God for the welfare and
happiness of mankind. The godly fami-
ly is promised numerous blessings in
Scripture: long life, children, prosperi-
ty, and much iliore. According to the
Bible, man's truest life is in communi-
ty, a.11d the Ggd-given communil:'J is
frrst of all the family. Psalms 127 and
128 both celebrate the blessedness of
godly family life, and many of the Pro-
verbs resound with its praise.
Behold, that thus shall the man be
blessed thatfeareth the LORD.
The LORD shall bless thee out of
Zion: and thou shalt see the good of
Jerusalem all the days of thy life.
Yea, thou shalt see thy children's chil-
dren, and peace upon Israel (P s. 128:4-
6).
[Reprinted with permission, from Law and
Lilierty, by Rousas John

Ross
House Booksl-1984, P.O. Box 67, Vauecito,
CA. U.S.A. 9J251] Q
.

/1 A Christ Centered
Home I
I
s it possible to have a Christ
centered home in today's world
of trouble and sin? If you are a
Christian you are concerned
about this problem. You may be con-
cerned mostly because you recognize
that your home falls far short of any
such description. lf this is true, it is by
no means true of you and your home
alone. You are in the company of
many other Christians who, in their
frank moments, will tell you that they
too are facing the same difficulty. Let's
not fool ourselves. For the most part,
Christian homes come pitifully short of
the Biblical norms; and we are all aware
of it.
Well then, perhaps we should begin
by asking the question, What does a
truly Christian home look like? Is it an
idyllic place where peace and quiet, tran-
quility and joy continuously reign?
Definitely not! The first and most im-
portant fact to remember about a truly
Christian home is that sinners live
there.
The notion that the Christian home
is a perfect or near perfect place is deci-
dedly not Biblical. The parents in the
home fail; often they fail miserably.
They fail one another, they fail their
children, and they certainly fail God.
The children fail too. They bring home
report cards with Ds and Fs, throw tan-
t:rums m the shopping mall, and try .to
by Jay E. Adams
eat peas off their knives when the
preacher has been invited to dinner.
Husbands and wives quarrel, get irritated
with one another, and sometimes have
serious misunderstandings. Of course,
there are accomplishments too; but the
point that I want to make is that condi-
tions frequently are far from ideal. That
is the realistic picture of a truly Chris-
tian home.
P
erhaps you are wondering
how such a.description differs
from that of the house next
door, in which there is no one
who makes a profession of faith in
Christ. You may be wondering, "Why
did he describe a truly Christian home
in those terms?" The answer is simple:
this is exactly what the Bible through-
out gives us reason to expect among
saved but yet imperfect persons. In
fact, the whole Book deals from begin-
ning to end with how Christ saves men
from their sins. Salvation is complete;
it involves justification, sanctification,
and glorification. By grace, through
faith, God justifies believers in an in-
stantaneous act. That is to say, Christ
died for His people in order that the
penalty for their sins might be paid and.
His righeousness might be counted to
them. They are declared just before Goo
when they believe. Once justified,
Chiist saves them from u'le power of
The Counsel of Chalcedon Aug.-Sept., 1989 page 4