Christ and the Family

By H. Boone Porter

Possibly the greatest single problem faced by churches in America today is a widespread breakdown of the family.

We deplore this, but should not fall into the trap of saying that the main purpose of the church is to uphold the middle-class American family. Actually, our Lord was critical of the family as he knew it in a very family-centered culture. See Matt. 8:21-22; 10:35-37; 12:46-50; and 19:29. Evidently, he saw that the traditional old-world family could be very debilitating to the vocations of individual persons. At the same time, he speaks strongly of concern for children, marital fidelity, and care for parents. See Matt. 5:27-30; 15:3-9 & 19-20; 18:1-4 & 10-14; 19:3-15 & 18-19. In our own day, it seems to be in these areas, rather than in the weight of traditional family solidarity, that we find the greatest difficulties.

Of the many factors involved in the very complex marriage scene, one of the most destructive, adultery, has nothing new about it. Since the dawn of history, it has broken homes, put children out on the street, debased and degraded human relationships, and compromised the dignity of persons.

It does little good to complain about the past, however. What are Christian churches doing in the present, and for the future, to strengthen and confirm the bonds between husbands and wives? What are churches doing to affirm and uphold spouses who are trying to be faithful in spite of long separations, illness, alcoholism, social or economic difficulties, and so forth? And if churches are not helping people in this area of need, then what in heaven’s name are they doing?

The Rev. Dr. H. Boone Porter was editor of The Living Church from 1977 to 1990. This editorial was published in our January 29, 1978 issue.


Online Archives