Access your downloads at our archive site. Visit Archive
Magazine Article

The Family

In the twentieth century, we have seen three new observance days added to the Christian calendar: Mothers Day, Fathers Day, and, to a lesser degree, Childrens Day.

R. J. Rushdoony
  • R. J. Rushdoony,
Share this

In the twentieth century, we have seen three new observance days added to the Christian calendar: Mothers Day, Fathers Day, and, to a lesser degree, Childrens Day. These days are not without good reason. However, in the earlier years of this century, some opposed all three as non-Biblical. Their position was that these observances were non-Biblical and too individualistic, that a better vein would be the family.

Scripture has much to say about the Biblical family. At least three of the Ten Commandments protect it: Honor thy father and thy mother; thou shalt not commit adultery; thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife. Biblical law requires the dowry, a sizeable amount, as the wife's protection against abandonment. This protected the girls in a family, in that the bridegroom had to accumulate considerable wealth before marrying to provide a dowry. Godly sons were protected by an inheritance; the oldest godly son received a double portion to enable him to care for his parents; lacking sons, daughters could inherit a man's assets.

This system protected Jewish families over the centuries when they were without a state or a synagogue. It is needed now to advance Christian civilization.

Since the family is the focus of three of the Ten Commandments, it seems strange that it is so much neglected in preaching and teaching. Strong Christian families make for not only a strong church but also a strong civilization.

Some scholars have called attention to the fact that at times not only has the church been anti-family, but especially the state has been so as well. If we want to honor mothers, we need to begin by honoring the family as required by God. The family under God is a very great blessing. It is a testing ground for our faith, as well as the locale of true happiness. The family is not a rival to the church, but a basic aspect of its life and work.

God's law indeed requires that mothers be honored, but they are best honored when we heed and obey all of God's law, in particular his laws concerning parents and the family. Families are a key aspect of God's creation plan and purpose, and we honor God when we honor his law and his ordained order. Mother and fathers are clearly a part of his order.


R. J. Rushdoony
  • R. J. Rushdoony

Rev. R.J. Rushdoony (1916–2001), was a leading theologian, church/state expert, and author of numerous works on the application of Biblical law to society. He started the Chalcedon Foundation in 1965. His Institutes of Biblical Law (1973) began the contemporary theonomy movement which posits the validity of Biblical law as God’s standard of obedience for all. He therefore saw God’s law as the basis of the modern Christian response to the cultural decline, one he attributed to the church’s false view of God’s law being opposed to His grace. This broad Christian response he described as “Christian Reconstruction.” He is credited with igniting the modern Christian school and homeschooling movements in the mid to late 20th century. He also traveled extensively lecturing and serving as an expert witness in numerous court cases regarding religious liberty. Many ministry and educational efforts that continue today, took their philosophical and Biblical roots from his lectures and books.

More by R. J. Rushdoony