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Dad and son

The Family

The family is man's basic government, his best school, and his best church. The decay of the family is the decay of civilization.

R. J. Rushdoony
  • R. J. Rushdoony,
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A while back, I read a study whose author, while hoping to replace the family with a more “advanced” institution, still recognized it to be the basic and most influential governmental unit. The Bible, in its laws, makes clear the fundamental nature of the family in government.

This has very important implications. It tells us that, if a country fails, it is because its families have failed. There can be no health at the top if there is rottenness at the bottom.

Our Lord tells us that if He, the Rock of Ages, is not the foundation of a house, that house will not survive the storms of life (Matt. 7:24–27). A society cannot be stronger than its families.

This means that we must stop blaming political parties, conspiracies, racial groups, capital, labor, or anything else for our troubles. They begin at home. They begin with us. Our national failures are family failures.

The most hopeful of all things today is the growing renewal of many families. Parents are paying to put their children in Christian schools; homeschools are increasing very rapidly. Family worship is returning. More and more people are refusing transfers to better jobs in order to be closer to parents and grandparents. The family is becoming more important to many people, and the ties are becoming stronger. True, the disintegration of many families also grows more fearful, but a countertrend is clearly in evidence. In the face of a beginning disintegration, Joshua said plainly, as so must we always, “as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Josh. 24:15).

Changes at the “top” will not occur until there are changes in the family. The only hope any country has begins in the home, with the children. They are the future.

Too often in recent years, our “experts” have propagated the idea that fathers and mothers should spend more time playing with their children. There is nothing wrong with such recreational activity, but our calling is to be fathers and mothers, not playmates. I am reminded of a fool who was always too busy with camping trips, baseball and football games, scouting, everything to help his sons, ever to attend church; he could not understand why the boys turned out badly! His authority was nothing at all; he was simply a playmate whom the boys outgrew.

Since God Himself uses the name of Father, our calling as men is a very great and important one. Why should men forsake a calling God honors for the status of playmate, which has no value. Most boys have many playmates, but they have only one father. When he abdicates that calling, the family is in trouble.

We cannot leave the future in the hands of politicians, pastors, teachers, sociologists, psychologists, or anyone else, however fine they may be. The children are our future, and they are a parental responsibility. No abdications permitted!

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.

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