August 1, 1987 Issue
Jack Cutter

The following is not written about the divorce problem or even to circumstances related to it. This is a study and an observation into the possible causes of children leaving the faith after apparently being raised in strong, well-structured, Christian families. Furthermore, I am not writing this because I am a professional counselor or because I have some sort of degree in psychology. I don't. However, I have been preaching for over 30 years and have had the privilege of observation drawn from the many years of being in the church and traveling across the brotherhood, as well as raising four children successfully to adulthood.

Authority In The Home

The home is structured by God to reflect a monarchy with the husband or father being the monarch. In government, "A monarchy would be always the best government, being the cheapest, the most efficient, and the most dignified; provided only, that the crown was placed on the wisest head, and the scepter wielded by the purest hands. Could we always secure this, we would be monarchists: because we cannot, we are all republicans" (The Christians System by Alexander Campbell, pp. 123-124). However, the difference from government and a Christian home is that the scepter is to be wielded by a pure heart and clean hands.

Throughout the Old and New Testaments the husband is the authority figure. Notice Genesis: 3:16, "Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you." In the New Testament "Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church" (Eph 5:22-23; 1 Cor 11:3). The word "rule" as used in reference to the father or husband means to lead, i.e. - command. "Obey" carries with it the meaning to listen, attend, and so to submit. The relationship of husbands, wives and children to one another is clearly taught and defined in the New Testament.

So, through observation and experience over past several years it appears to me that it is the breakdown of the scriptural authority of the husband or father in the home that has contributed the most to children rebelling. When children see their father being less than what he should be, either because his wife will not allow it by assuming his role, or he just doesn't have the will or maturity to assume the image he should, or for whatever the cause that has created the inferior role, children are negatively affected.

The Comfort Zone

When the home is properly structured and the parents are bringing their children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord the environment will help provide a buffer of resistance to any foreign intrusion. For example, when I was in High School and attended activities that would eventually lead to drinking or dancing I would stay until that part of the activities began. The main reason: these things were outside my Comfort Zone - they made me feel ill at ease. It wasn't that my parents had made a big deal about such things before I went. It was simply that these things were foreign intrusions to my Comfort Zone and as a result, I took steps to avoid them.

I believe that this is another contributing factor towards the loss of influence upon the children and as a result, they are unequipped to handle outside pressures. Today the emphasis is put too much upon careers, education, sports, etc. with an almost total exclusion to spiritual training and education. Is it any wonder that children are drifting from the church? The problem: there hasn't been a well-defined Comfort Zone instilled in them by their parents.

The Fifth Commandment

Children, although your parents may be less than what they should be, this does not excuse you from your responsibility towards them. The Fifth Commandment was written for you. It is given in Exodus 20:12 and Deuteronomy 5:16 in the Old Testament. It promises that if you will obey, respect and honor your parents, you will have a chance to live long upon the earth, things will go well with you, and all will be well pleasing unto the Lord.

Some years ago after I had married we returned to my parents home for a visit. Early one morning my father was up early listening to the news on the radio and I heard the news announcer mention a terrible accident that had occurred the previous evening. Two teenagers had been killed in an automobile accident and I recognized the name of one of the children that had been killed because I was acquainted with her parents.

It seems that after failing to receive permission to use the family car from her parents she went to her grandparents house and borrowed their car. From there she went and picked up several friends. Being an unskilled driver (having only had her license for two weeks) she made a foolish decision to do a turn around in the middle of the highway and was struck by a truck. As a result, she killed herself and a friend.

The tragedy is that she had disobeyed her parents. If she had followed the words of her parents she would most likely be alive today with a family of her own. How sad and unfortunate this was. How sad it is today to see children be disrespectful, disobedient and back talk their parents. Children it is a sin for you to do such!

In conclusion, we must first remember where the authority in the home lies and make sure it is not lacking. Secondly, the home must provide a Comfort Zone to equip children for exposure to outside pressures. Lastly, the children have their responsibility according to Gods instruction to properly cover every area in correcting the exodus of our children from the faith, but perhaps in them does exist some of the causes of this sad situation.-

Other Related OPA Article Links:

Christian Living
Rearing Children in the Lord
The Christian Home

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