Like all other aspects of home and family, the personal decision to have children and how many children ought to be made, as Florida College Professor, Jason Longstreth pointed out, “considering all spiritual aspects as taught in scripture.”
“From the Beginning: Recovering the Divine Design for Marriage and the Family” has been the theme of the FC Lecture series this year. Yesterday was the final day. And the morning lectures were largely devoted to the Biblical considerations concerning children.
Longstreth began the day with a lesson on “The Spiritual Purpose of Procreation” entitled “Be Fruitful and Multiply.” He pointed out that “this was God’s first command given to humanity” (Gen 1:28). Jason further observed that “contrary to what many may believe, having children is not just a matter of personal choice or individual fulfillment. Instead, procreation is designed to fulfill a spiritual purpose that is part of God’s plan for mankind.”
Jason’s lesson was followed by a wonderful presentation by Marty Broadwell, Jr, “Teach them Diligently.” It dealt with “God’s Instruction for Parents.” Marty drew from the Old Testament commands to Israel to instruct their children in the way of the Lord, especially from Moses’ exhortations in Deuteronomy. These principles are applicable today. Listen, carefully.
4Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one!
5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.
6 “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart.
7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.
8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.
9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. (Deut 6:4-6)
Marty observed 5 ways for families “to ensure the faithfulness of succeeding generations” that are relevant today.
(1) Teach your children a love for the One true God.
(2) Teach your children obedience to the commands of God “as a fixed standard of required behavior.”
(3) Practice “habitual, prioritized teaching…by constant conversation.” “You shall teach them diligently.”
(4) Teach and role model to your children “to be different and separate” from the world. (Deut 7:3-4)
(5) Set before them an example of confidence, trust and hope in God regardless of the trials and even persecution we face for our faith. (Deut 7:18-19).
Marty’s lesson was packed with insightful observations and practical applications that can only be appreciated by reading the lecture book or listening to the recording.
The third in this trilogy of lessons was “Honor your Father and Mother” by Colin Stringer. In discussing “God’s Instruction for Children” he emphasized the need for parental authority in society. He further discussed the values of honor, respect, and obedience in a child’s formative years.
However, honor doesn’t end when children become adults. Collin discussed honoring our parents when we become parents and when our parents need our care. “Listen to your father, who gave your life, and do not despise your mother when she is old” (Prov 23:22).
The final morning lecture, “The Family of God,” delivered by John Douglas demonstrated “God’s Model for Human Relationships.” In this lesson, John drew the comparison between the church, the spiritual family of God, and the home, the physical family of God.
The final evening lesson by David Thomley was a powerful presentation regarding “God’s Purpose in Marriage.” The take away from this lesson could simply be summed up saying “Glorify God in your marriage.”
Norma Jean and I have enjoyed the week. The teaching. The fellowship. The memories. This week reminded us that when we follow God’s design for the family, society is a better place, the church is stronger, and we can find fulfillment, peace, and purpose. When done God’s way, the home becomes a taste of heaven on earth.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman