Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
February 1, 1971
NUMBER 37, PAGE 9-10

God's Home -1

Jefferson David Tant

The Need For This Study

(NOTE: The lessons in this series are taken in part from outlines printed by James Needham, with revisions, adaptations and continuity supplied by this author. Brother Needham said he wouldn't claim originality for the lessons, either, but however much or little he contributed, I must acknowledge his work.)

It should be evident to all that our homes are failing. In the world in general, nearly all experts in the field of sociology attribute many, if not most, of the evils of our society to the failures in the homes. According to the F.B.I., 17-year-olds form the largest criminal group in American society today. Where can we possibly lay the blame except at the door of the home. Certainly, there are other factors, but ultimately the home must accept its share of the indictment.

Even among members of the church we see failure. Many young people marry out of the Lord and then forsake the Lord altogether. It is estimated that about 50% of these give the Lord up completely. Others go off from home to work or to school and either lose their faith completely, or grow lax without Mom or Dad to push and prod. In many churches young people are disinterested and indifferent towards the work of the Lord. They occupy the back seats, watch the clock, write notes, and endure the sermon or a Bible class as they would a case of the measles. They consider attendance of the services a chore or a necessary evil, at best. We find these young people getting married without adequate knowledge of this most important relationship, thus creating another home ripe for failure.

But the church is also failing. The gospel of Christ deals with every relationship of life, including the home. The church has a responsibility to preach and teach this gospel (I Tim. 3:14). When so many young people from the homes of members are filing away, the church must bear some of the responsibility along with the home and family. When the church fails to teach the whole counsel of God, the consequences are seen in the lives of the members — young and old alike.

We cannot overestimate the importance of the home to the church and nation. Prominent men in the world recognize this as well as Christians. Cardinal Gibbon, in his famous The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, gave the following as one reason for Rome's demise: "The rapid increase of divorce: the undermining of the dignity and sanctity of the home, which is the basis of human society." A great statesman once said, "The hand that rocks the cradle, rules the world." And Ryan gave his estimation of the home in these words: "However humble the home may be, Or tried with sorrow by Heaven's decree, The blessings that never were bought or sold, And center there are better than gold." The home described by Ryan certainly gives a child a great head start in the world!

The Bible also indicates the importance of the home. The blessings that came to Abraham and his family had a solid connection with the home life (Gen. 18:18-19). "For I have known him, to the end that he may command his children and his household after him, that they may keep the way of Jehovah, to do righteousness and justice; to the end that Jehovah may bring upon Abraham that which he path spoken of him." Solomon testified that the home has a far-reaching influence when he wrote, "Train up a child in the way he should go, and even when he is old he will not depart from it"(Prov. 22:6). Even though Moses "was instructed in all the wisdom of the Egyptians" (Acts 7:22), it could not remove from his mind and life the things he learned in his early home life (Heb. 11: 24-27). Surely the influence of the home is vital in bringing children to the Lord (Eph. 6:4).

The importance of the home is further seen when we realize that the problems of this world were first problems of the homes in the world. The moral anarchy in our society is purely the result of the rearing of a generation by permissive psychology. Rebellion against civil authority is but an extension of rebellion against domestic authority. Irreligion in our society springs from irreligion in the homes of our society. (Many times the younger generation is more honest in its total rejection of religion than are their hypocritical parents.) Our national problems will have to be solved first in the homes of our nation. The police cannot solve our problems, nor can the courts, schools, prisons — not even the churches — but the homes must! Yet we have national figures now advocating the abolition of marriage and the abandonment of home and family. Among those is the noted anthropologist, Margaret Meade.

Some facts concerning the product of our homes are pertinent. With respect to juveniles and crime, studies indicate that 90% of juveniles have committed at least one offense which could have brought them before juvenile authorities. In metropolitan Atlanta for 1969, 36.4% of those arrested were under 17 years of age. The 15-17-year olds account for 5.4% of the population, but manage to be involved in 12.8% of arrests.

Along with this is the increasing menace of narcotics and drugs. In some areas of the nation, as many as 70% or 80% of high school students are popping pills. These figures cover such areas as San Diego and San Francisco, respectively. But even for the more conservative South, the estimated 50% for some of the schools in our local school system is not comforting. In our local DeKalb County as late as 1967 there were so few cases of drug use among teenagers that the juvenile authorities did not even list it as a separate category.

The problem of immoral behavior is rapidly spreading. Some estimate that possibly 70% of boys and 50% of girls are not virgins at marriage. It is pretty well accepted that one of every three high school brides is pregnant at marriage. Venereal disease is reaching epidemic proportions in spite of tremendous advances in medicine. In Atlanta there were nearly 60,000 cases in 1968. One of three were teenagers, and these cannot be stereotyped by race or wealth. Illegitimate births are increasing nationwide every year, with a 60% increase in the last 25 years.

What is the contribution of the homes in this situation? The typical offender in juvenile court is from a broken home (one of three marriages in the U.S. are now ending in divorce), has no religious experience in family life, and lacks emotional security at home. On top of the 33% of broken homes, we have the tremendous number of divided homes which can best be described as armed camps, with no communication, no happiness and no security. (An interesting sidelight pointed out to me by a County Probation Officer is that young people from conservative or fundamental religious backgrounds are much less likely to get into trouble.) In DeKalb County (one of five counties composing Metro Atlanta) for a typical month (November) in 1969, 22% of the juvenile cases involved runaways (typically a white, 15-year-old girl). This is an increase from 15% in 1967. An additional 10% were committed to juvenile authorities by parents as being ungovernable. Thus one of three juvenile cases directly involves conflict between parent and child — the home environment. When we combine this with the fact that among Jewish and Chinese population segments there is virtually no crime among juveniles, we can begin to get the picture. These ethnic groups are very strong on the importance of the family and respect for authority, both within and without the family relationship. These groups also stress spiritual values very strongly.

We must conclude that the need for a study concerning the home as God would have it is quite evident. The training we give our children in the crib and high chair and playpen is preparing them for heaven or hell, and somewhere along the way, even among members of the Lord's church, many have lost sight of what the family is all about.

Our study in subsequent articles will not be a study in sociology, but a study of the home as God would have it, a study of the home in the light of God's teaching on the subject. It is no more important to heed God's teaching on the home than on the plan of salvation, and we trust these articles will be edifying to us all.

— 3230 Chamblee-Tucker Rd., N.E. Atlanta, Georgia 30341