The family is a transformational force in culture.
Contributed By Larry Keefauver
As we meditate on the Great Commission and seek to understand how to advance the Kingdom of God through the body of believers in Christ, we need to place our focus on both the conversion of souls and the transformation of culture (cosmos).
Marketplace ministry author and teacher, Os Hillman, reports that, “In 1975, Bill Bright, founder of Campus Crusade, and Loren Cunningham, founder of Youth With a Mission, had lunch together in Colorado. God simultaneously gave each of them a message to give to the other. That message was that if we are to impact any nation for Jesus Christ, then we would have to affect the seven spheres of society that are the pillars of any society. These seven pillars are business, government, media, arts and entertainment, education, the family and religion. About a month later the Lord showed Francis Schaeffer the same thing.”
Family is not only a sphere of influence, or a pillar, in culture, it is primary and foundational. Family is antecedent to the Church. Therefore, without healthy, holy and whole families, the Church becomes schismatic, dysfunctional and spiritually abusive. Beyond that, the family is the backbone of culture; culture is shaped and transformed by what happens within the family.
Family: The Foundation of Civilization
Let’s focus on the importance of family to culture and civilization as we know it in the 21st century. The definition and purpose of family is being challenged, debated and assailed on many fronts. As believers, it is important for us to understand the essential role that the “mountain” or “pillar” or “sphere of influence” that family plays in a civilized culture. Noted historian Will Durant expounded in The Lessons Of History:
“We must remind ourselves again that history as usually written… is quite different from history as usually lived. The historian records the exceptional because it is interesting–because it is exceptional. Behind the red facade of war and politics, misfortune and poverty, adultery and divorce, murder and suicide, were millions of orderly homes, devoted marriages, men and women kindly and affectionate, troubled and happy with children.”
In The Mansions Of Philosophy, Durant wrote: “The family has been the ultimate foundation of every civilization known to history. It was the economic and productive unit of society, tilling the land together; it was the political unit of society, with parental authority as the supporting microcosm of the State. It was the cultural unit, transmitting letters and arts, rearing and teaching the young; and it was the moral unit, inculcating through cooperative work and discipline, those social dispositions which are the psychological basis and cement of civilized society.”
In her must-read book for every Christian, Nancy Pearcey writes in Total Truth: Liberating Christianity From Its Cultural Bondage:
“As the foundational social institution, the family has functioned as the laboratory for countless social experiments. Every political visionary dreams up some scheme for retooling the family—often abolishing it altogether in favor of either radical statism or radical individualism.
“Statism has been recurring since the dawn of Western culture. To an astonishing degree, Western political and social thought has been hostile to the role of family in proposed visions of the ideal society. Secular intellectuals from Plato to Rousseau to B.F. Skinner to Hillary Clinton have been enamored with the idea of putting the child directly under the care of the state rather than the family.”
In obedience to Deuteronomy 6, Christian families must set standards in the culture for education and social mores training and equipping their children with a biblical mindset. Biblical revelation both defines the role and purpose of family in culture and lays the foundation for the very underpinnings of culture.
Family: Touching Asia, Transforming the World
For millennia, Asian culture has been shaped by family traditions regarding marriage, parenting, education, values, business and inheritance.
Galatians 3:28-29 declares, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” A biblical mindset instilled by families empowers women and men to work in unity for freedom from abuse and prejudice while generationally imparting dignity, self-worth and love for God and others.
While divorce has ransacked marriages in the West, Asia can be spared such devastation by teaching and modeling covenant marriage in the home according to Malachi 2:13-16 and Ephesians 5:21-32. The world (cosmos), beginning with Asia, can start a cultural revolution by restoring the biblical mindset and foundations for covenant marriage which leads to covenant family and social relationships grounded in God’s truths, not moral relativity.
Biblical morality taught in the home (Deuteronomy 6) and exampled by godly parents can permeate the educational, financial, political and media sectors of culture as the saints of the next generation reject promiscuity, pornography, violence, greed and narcissism. The family can transform the world by producing offspring who fear God, obey His laws and have character shaped by truth and integrity.
It’s time for husbands and wives, parents and children, extended families of relatives along with the family of God to teach, exemplify, model, mentor and impart biblical truth to one another. The family is God’s foundational force for touching Asia and transforming the world!