About ten years ago on a cruise to the Bahamas, our ship stopped at a place called Newport. My wife and I descended the gangplank for a tour of the island. We joined the silver-haired and the bald-headed on the dock, where we were stuffed into waiting taxi cabs. We ended up in an ancient Cadillac limo that looked like it belonged in a 1940s funeral. The tour was a rip-off. There is virtually nothing to see in Newport. The driver pointed out sights such as, "There's our new Firestone Tire Store." (The tourists struggled to distinguish this store from a thousand other Firestone stores in the States.) We passed a gated community prohibited to us tourists. The guide said darkly that there used to be a lot of millionaires living here, but the politics of the island had frightened them. The rich fled to the Cayman Islands to benefit from better tax laws, the guide lamented.
After a lengthy stop at a botanical garden, we retraced our route back to the ship. The guide fell silent as the tour ended. So I struck up a conversation with the driver. I asked him if he owned the limo, and he good-naturedly replied that he was just a chauffeur. I asked him if he had a family. He said, "No, just myself and some pets." I introduced my wife sitting beside me and added that we had eight children. "Oh," the chauffeur replied, with a big smile spreading across his black face. "I have 12 children by seven different wives. I may not have a family, but I have been a daddy many times." He said it with such obvious pride and enthusiasm that all of the passengers (10 or 12 of us) looked nervous and shocked. Oddly, we were embarrassed that he was not ashamed of his behavior.
The taxi driver is what liberals would call a "deadbeat dad" and what R. J. Rushdoony calls "a man whose masculinity has been reduced to mere procreation." The sad fact crossed my mind that this driver had the same concept of fatherhood as a gang of dogs in an alley, pursuing a female in heat. How is a man reduced to this level, and what is the cure for such a condition? Rushdoony tells us one way in which the family is destroyed: "The family is to all practical intent abolished whenever the state determines the education, vocation, religion, and the discipline of the child." He concludes this theme in writing, "The abandonment of a family-oriented education leads to the destruction of masculinity. . . ." The cure, then, is not more charity programs financed by either the church or the state to undermine or replace the obligations of the father. The cure is the application of God's law. As the father assumes control and responsibility for the education, vocation, religion and discipline of the child, he wins back his birthright of masculinity.
The reader may easily criticize an ignorant chauffeur, but the chauffeur has a terminal case of the same disease that eats like a cancer at the entire moral fabric of America. For example, in 1959, when I went to work in the office of a metal roof deck company in Pittsburgh, it was common for the men to gather over coffee or around the water fountain and study the lower halves of the women who passed in the hallway. Without a particle of shame, they boasted constantly about their acts of fornication and adultery, which they called "stud activities." Their attitude was not any different from the chauffeur's. It was an open secret that supervisors were having extramarital affairs with their secretaries, while maintaining a facade of a marriage at their homes. I recall that one man wisecracked to another, "Hey, Ted, I saw your wife at the Christmas party, and I must say you're chasing tail at the office that doesn't look as good as what you have at home." This was greeted by warm-hearted laughter all around.
Forty years later, I see the consequences of this destruction of the family and masculinity when single mothers bring their children to Grace Community Day Care and School. These victimized women are condemned to spend a lifetime caring for children by themselves. They grimly go to bed with a continuous string of irresponsible men. This moral suicide will most likely continue until they drop into a cursed grave.
Poisonous Gospel of Love
Occasionally some of these women will drift into the modern church, but there a theology will be given to them that has only a slight healing for the gaping wound that sucks life out of their family relations. These modern churches are ignoring the law of God that must be taught and applied if it is to heal the family. These churches fail to teach the children how to live, whom to worship, and how to control their sex drives so that they will not repeat the mistakes of their parents. These churches have replaced the law with "love," but their brand of love is stripped of all Biblical meaning. The Lord Jesus Christ said, "If you love me, keep my commandments." 1 John 5:1, 2 teach that love is keeping the Commandments and finding that law a blessing instead of a curse.
There can be no stemming of the hemorrhage that is draining the life from the family without the application of God's law. It is a deadly illusion to suppose that one can know he is in grace without supernatural obedience to the law-word of God. Almost all of our modern churches and even some Reformed churches refuse to apply God's law, but instead have substituted a poisonous gospel of love. As a direct result, our families are being abolished, our men are losing their masculinity, and our women mourn in the night on their pillows with no one to help.
Since the publication of my book, How to Become a Millionaire in Christian Education, I have entertained dozens of families in Naples, many of them Reformed pastors. Many who read regularly the Chalcedon Report and call themselves Reformed have not read the Institutes of Biblical Law. As a result, many of these people will find out at the judgment seat of God that they have been part of the problem and not the solution as they so fondly suppose. "Many that be first shall be last and many that be last shall be first" (Mk. 10:31).
Now let me get to the point of this article about families and the preservation of wealth. I am not off the subject, as you may suppose. The above problems must be corrected for the family to be reconstructed according to God's law-word. God's chain of command must be in place before wealth can be created. We must seek the dominion of Christ, and then we will obtain wealth (Mt. 6:33). Men blinded by sin vainly rush into the marketplace to try to get rich. They heap up what they can and place it in bags that have holes (Hag. 1:6). In other words, their wealth is fleeting or temporary. Such is the fate of all those who seek riches contrary to the law of God. It is not money that is the root of all evil; it is to love money more than the truth. Those who love the truth will find riches. They will find permanent wealth on the road of duty. Wealth is the unintended consequence of those who obey the covenant. Evil men may prosper temporarily, but ultimately they skate downward into darkness.
Solution: The Bible's Dowry System
We have a problem of broken homes producing emasculated men who refuse to take responsibility for their own flesh and blood, and we have women sentenced to a lifetime of grinding poverty. The solution is to apply the law-word of God. As a practical beginning, we need to recover the Bible's dowry system and recognize no marriage as legitimate that does not have financial arrangements that agree with the Bible. (See Institutes of Biblical Law, pp. 176f, 363f, and 417 for more on the dowry.) What is required is that the groom post at least 3 years' wages as a surety for his marital covenant with the money used to benefit the innocent party and children in the event the covenant is broken. The groom must save or borrow the money. He can have a creditor post the money for him; but regardless of how he raises the money, he must demonstrate the character to save it or prove his creditworthiness to someone who would lend him the necessary dowry. This is not to say that the marriage is based on anything other than love, but it is a different kind of love that is backed up by demonstrated character and property. I suspect the divorce rate would plummet if every man faced a severe financial penalty for breaking his vows. I think every woman would be less likely to be seduced if she knew the result of the seduction was the loss of her dowry. The phrase "true love" would take on a different and concrete meaning. The dowry system allows for marriage based on affection, but never affection divorced from reality. In other words, the child can have a veto if he despises the choice of the family, but the child should never have a veto concerning the Bible's requirement for a dowry.
We also have a problem when the family of either of the marriage partners is more wealthy than the other. Under these circumstances, the wealthy parents have to be careful that they do not create marriages of greed by opportunists seeking to grab an inheritance. The wealthy parents, unless they protect themselves, can end up with their property producing a phony marriage and an incentive for divorce. The solution to this problem is a pre-nuptial agreement in which the poorer member of the potential marriage pledges not to contest, in the event of a divorce, any wealth that may come into the family as a result of the gift or inheritance. This way the poorer member of the marriage can demonstrate that he is entering into the covenant for love instead of money. If the poorer person refuses to sign the prenuptial agreement such as outlined above, one can be sure he is more interested in money than love.
Inheritance: Not by Blood or Love Alone
There are other situations that require expert counseling, particularly for those parents wishing to protect their children from marriages prompted by greed. Parents have a duty to control the inheritance of property according to the covenant. Inheritance must not be by blood alone or by emotion called "love," divorced from demonstrated character.
Personally, I have married off five of my 8 children, all with either a prenuptial or a post-nuptial agreement. (I became a Christian Reconstructionist after the marriage of my first two.) I believe that every Christian Reconstructionist worthy of the name should read carefully the Institutes of Biblical Law and make application to their family situation. I recommend Joseph Gandolfo as an expert advisor in nuptial agreements. He can be reached at 800-553-1008. Joe is also an expert on the nation's tax and inheritance laws that must be taken into account to make sure that Caesar is not the happiest one at your funeral and that your daughter or son will have a marriage based upon genuine affection instead of greed. (He will be a speaker at a conference in Naples, Florida, October 10. Write to me for details if you wish to attend.) We owe our children guidance, because the good man has an obligation to leave an inheritance to his children's children (Pr. 13:22).
The fountain of true love is the word of God that produces riches that fade not away.
- Ellsworth McIntyre