Saturday, August 31, 2013

Just a Thought on Family with link to book chapter

Just a Thought: Modern myths about Biblical families. I am concerned about families in the Western world. Our culture is disintegrating; there is an absence of core values and even foundational social definitions are suddenly being changed. Decades ago my commitment to the family drove me to study closely God’s plan for family life. Those studies led me to challenge several modern myths about family. If we are going to nurture Godly families we must follow God’s plan which is not the same as the one promoted by many. One overarching myth of the modern church is the very definition of family. To my surprise, there is no Scriptural term for our modern concept of “family.” Instead, Western Christianity long ago adopted a Roman definition of family as being determined by the father as titular head, the “pater familias.” The Biblical terms, both Old Testament Hebrew and New Testament Greek, which are generally translated as “family” are more literally translated “house” or “household.”  The error is that we read into our understanding of the Scriptures our definition of “family” as principally a nuclear, biological unit. In brief, we define family in terms of a contract of “commitment,” and “love,” etc. while the Scriptures understand family as grounded in a social covenant with God. Certainly the marriage covenant is at the core of the family identity, but by its very nature covenant is a different kind of relationship than one defined primarily by affections and genetics. Covenant with God holds families together and not the inverse. [More to come tomorrow. You may wish to read a piece I wrote as a chapter in a book published by the Church of God: “Our Covenant to Nurture Our Families” in “NurturingPentecostal Families.”] JDJ #242