Thursday, September 01, 2005

What are the Essential Marks of a Healthy Family?

This was a good discussion that Russell started over on another BLOG and I think it would be a good topic here. My goal for this blog is to begin "a dialog on reforming children's ministry and equipping parents - for the glory of Christ and the joy of our children"

I think the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 offers a helpful article on the Family. See also a brief explanation by Southern Seminary faculty member William Cutrer.

XVIII. The Family

God has ordained the family as the foundational institution of human society. It is composed of persons related to one another by marriage, blood, or adoption.

Marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime. It is God's unique gift to reveal the union between Christ and His church and to provide for the man and the woman in marriage the framework for intimate companionship, the channel of sexual expression according to biblical standards, and the means for procreation of the human race.

The husband and wife are of equal worth before God, since both are created in God's image. The marriage relationship models the way God relates to His people. A husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church. He has the God-given responsibility to provide for, to protect, and to lead his family. A wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ. She, being in the image of God as is her husband and thus equal to him, has the God-given responsibility to respect her husband and to serve as his helper in managing the household and nurturing the next generation.

Children, from the moment of conception, are a blessing and heritage from the Lord. Parents are to demonstrate to their children God's pattern for marriage. Parents are to teach their children spiritual and moral values and to lead them, through consistent lifestyle example and loving discipline, to make choices based on biblical truth. Children are to honor and obey their parents.

Genesis 1:26-28; 2:15-25; 3:1-20; Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Joshua 24:15; 1 Samuel 1:26-28; Psalms 51:5; 78:1-8; 127; 128; 139:13-16; Proverbs 1:8; 5:15-20; 6:20-22; 12:4; 13:24; 14:1; 17:6; 18:22; 22:6,15; 23:13-14; 24:3; 29:15,17; 31:10-31; Ecclesiastes 4:9-12; 9:9; Malachi 2:14-16; Matthew 5:31-32; 18:2-5; 19:3-9; Mark 10:6-12; Romans 1:18-32; 1 Corinthians 7:1-16; Ephesians 5:21-33; 6:1-4; Colossians 3:18-21; 1 Timothy 5:8,14; 2 Timothy 1:3-5; Titus 2:3-5; Hebrews 13:4; 1 Peter 3:1-7.

What Are the Essential Marks of a Healthy Family?
  1. Family Devotions-regular times where the family joins together in the worship and enjoyment of God
  2. Biblical understanding of manhood and womanhood.
  3. Consistent preaching of the Gospel (parents presenting and explaining the gospel to their children as well as themselves)
  4. Diligent training in the Word of God (IAW Deuteronomy 6, 2Ti 3:15)
  5. Involvement (meaningful membership) in the local church
  6. Biblical parenting: modeling Christ, instruction and correction
  7. Correction aimed to shepherd the heart. (Ted Tripp's book is helpful here for us.) Not merely external obedience but a heart that submits to authority as an act of worship to God.
  8. Love - The healthy family will be marked by love for one another. Christian love is essential for parenting and family life. Some passages in comment section.
Obviously this is not a definitive listing but let us keep working on it. Comments welcome.

Will The Next Generation Treasure Christ?


Russell said...

Hey Tony,

Here are some more musings on healthy families. I consider point number 5: Involvement (meaningful membership) in the local church to be one of the most essential.

Over the past couple of years I have grown to appriciate the home school movement more and more. I see a much needed emphasis on biblical parenting and family life in this community.

The only reservation I have is the tendency I have seen in some to emphasize family centered living to the neglect of the local church.

I plan to post something on my site soon treating this topic. In short however I will say that I believe serious involvement in the local church has the effect of uniting a family in a unique and special way.

My old pastor kept and taught a great a rubric which has a lot of depth to it, he said "Families with a focus! Not focus on the family."

More on this later.

Tony K. said...

8. Love - The healthy family will be marked by love for one another. Christian love is essential for parenting and family life. Some passages:

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. (1 John 4:7 ESV)

And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. (Ephesians 5:2 ESV)

Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart,
(1 Peter 1:22 ESV)

Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another,(1 Thessalonians 4:9 ESV)

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8 ESV)

Better is a dinner of herbs where love is than a fattened ox and hatred with it. (Proverbs 15:17 ESV)

Shawn L said...


Good point about not involvement in the church. We have noticed other friends of our that are homeschooling do that as well. I would say most 80-90% of our church homeschools, but my wife and I notice alot of times that people don't want to be involved in others lives as much.

At our church we put an emphasis on less program driven church functions, but more emphasis on families getting together for weekly bible study, prayer meetings, and some men's and women's groups.

Almost 80-90% of the congregation is involved in the weekly bible study which is written by our pastor and based on the sermon, however very few are involved in prayer meetings and very few of the women get together with each other and the men actually do get together more informally to pray and each lunch quite a bit.

The men have the ability I think more to do this because they are at work and get together during lunch, however the rest of the homeschool moms have a harder time getting to know each other and encouraging one another daily.

Russell said...


Does your church have a webpage or somewhere I could look and see what being less program driven looks like. The longer I walk with the Lord the more I see of how much I need to learn. As Mark Twain put it:
"The older I grow the greater becomes my wonder at how much ignorance one can contain without bursting one's clothes." ;-)

I think there are probably well meaning pastors out there out who think they are doing the right thing by "building" program driven churches. How do we become agents of change, thoughtfully speaking into these issues whithout becoming just another voice calling for reform?