And now what hast thou to do in the way of Egypt, to drink the waters of Sihor?—Jeremiah 2.18.

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Anti-Family Disorder

In the United States of America,

And her Not-Really-So-Bible-Based Churches.

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TrueCovenanter.com Editor’s Introduction.

The following excerpts are gathered from the yearly Causes of Fasting adopted by the Reformed Presbytery and the General Meeting of the Reformed Presbyterian Church at North Union, Butler County, PA.  As the reader will observe, concern for the breakdown of proper family order was noted by Christians in a much earlier period than the generations who live today.  A general looseness of conscience and government, combined with the growing influence of feminist principles, served to undermine the authority of the father, as head of the family, even before the 1900s.  Discipline in general was opposed, and unbelievers dared to question the wisdom of the All-wise in his appointment of the rod as a means of training and preparing children for future usefulness in society.  Our own times thoroughly demonstrate that these Covenanters of the 1800s were entirely correct in discerning both what the motions were which then bore influence on their society, and where these evil principles would lead for both Church and State, as institutions depending upon the health and orderliness of the Family.

2016.11.22::JTK.

EVEN professed Christians utterly disregard the law of God in entering into the marriage relation.  Indeed there is scarcely anything that so arouses the enmity of the carnal heart to the Divine law as a faithful endeavor to expound its teaching in this matter.  Like the “sons of God” before the flood, they take them wives of all which they choose. [Gen. 6.2.]  Neither their own eternal welfare, nor that of their offspring, nor the authority of their Redeemer avails to counteract their wilfulness in this matter, fraught with so much good or evil to themselves and the Church of Christ.  Even the dictates of common sense are disregarded in marrying those of whose character and disposition they know nothing.  The consequences of such folly are seen in desertions and divorces, embittering not only the lives of the parties themselves, but marring the peace of those connected with them.

As marriage is entered into by too many without any regard to prudence or duty, as far as the parties themselves are concerned, so there is less attention paid to the great end for which marriage was instituted: the training of children in the knowledge and practice of their duty to God.  It is to be feared that the duty of gaining the knowledge necessary to instruct their offspring is seldom, if ever, thought of by those entering into that solemn relation.  As a necessary result, their children grow up in ignorance of their duties as members of the Family, of the Church, and of the State.

No doctrine is more clearly taught in the Bible than that the man is the head of the woman. [1 Cor. 11.3.]  All the nations of the earth, with one consent, show the work of the law written on their hearts, by embodying this Scriptural principle in their laws, though fearfully corrupted by their lusts and tyranny.

The tendency of modern teaching and legislation is to render the family a headless monster, and to unfit it for the great ends of its institution.  We believe this teaching to be one of the fruitful sources of alienation of affection between husband and wife, family contentions, and insubordination; thus making the Scriptural training of children impossible.  This and all similar sentiments spring from the conception that it is disgraceful to be in subjection to anyone, and that our true dignity and happiness consist in being entirely free from control—a thought coming from the father of lies.

That authority which others have over us, is a ray of the Divine majesty, and in obeying them we obey God himself.  A great part of our duty to him consists in the performance of the several duties we owe to others in our different places and relations.  He has said, “Them that honor me, I will honor; and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed.” [1 Sam. 2.30.]

The want of preparation by parents to bring up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord is naturally followed by its neglect, unconsciously making one sin the justification of another.  The evils of this omission of duty are many and flagrant.  A generation has grown up that know not the God of their fathers, and that are ignorant of the wonders He has performed in delivering them from {3} Pagan, Papal, and Prelatic tyranny, and of the great Scriptural doctrines those worthies sealed with their blood. “That the soul be without knowledge, it is not good.” [Prov. 19.2.]

Parents are the natural instructors of their children, and it is an irreparable loss to a child when his parents neglect this duty.  No instructions take such deep root in his heart as those of his father and mother.  Especially is this true of a mother’s teaching.  Her strong love for her offspring, and their reciprocal affection, are peculiarly calculated to make a deeper impression.  How often has the [re]collection of a mother’s love and a mother’s teaching and prayers brought tears to the eyes of the most hardened criminal!

History shows that many of those who were pre-eminent for good or evil, owed their pre-eminence to their mothers.  What a vast amount of good came to Israel through the prayers of pious Hannah! [1 Sam. 2.1-10.]  When the mother of Augustine lamented to Ambrose the evil course her son was pursuing, he replied that “he never saw the son of so many prayers given up.”  Augustine still instructs the Church by his writings, which are quoted with respect by that prince of divines, John Owen.

It is to be lamented that so many mothers, instead of being “keepers at home,” and “guiding their houses,” [Titus 2.5, 1 Tim. 5.14,] neglect these duties to engage in questionable “Moral Reforms” of different kinds, thus leaving their families without that constant inspection which they need.  If they would faithfully perform their duties, their children would rise up and call them blessed, and would be prepared to take their places either as private members or office-bearers in the Church.

Parental discipline is greatly neglected, and the use of the rod, the divinely appointed means of driving folly out of the heart of the child, [Prov. 22.15,] is decried.  As soon as the child is able he is permitted “to run the streets,” to associate with the vicious, and to learn their language and ways, and thus in his tender years he is schooled in vice.  As he advances in years, he more and more disregards parental authority, until finally he sets it at defiance.  Being thus early left to his own lusts, it is not strange that he soon begins to frequent the saloon and other dens of iniquity, and is ruined in soul and body.  Thus, whilst many are making a great outcry against the saloon, the same persons by the way they train their children are continually furnishing it with victims.

—The Reformed Presbytery, Philadelphia, 1887.


THE want of Christian training in the family is the origin of many of the disorders in society.  Heads of families do not rule their families well.  Those who try to do so often meet with great opposition from their neighbors, who encourage children in their disobedience by giving them shelter when they leave home to carry out their rebellion.  Let all such remember that those who are partakers with others in their sins will partake also in their punishment.  We lament that the teaching of the Bible is denied in permitting women to preach, to be officers in the Church, and to exercise the elective franchise.  It plainly asserts that the man is the head of the woman, therefore, to suffer a woman to teach, or to usurp authority over the man, is to subvert that order God has established in the world, and its results will be destructive to the best interests of society.

—The Reformed Presbyterian Church, North Union, 1888.


DISOBEDIENCE has so undermined the foundations of society that chaotic conditions prevail in every quarter.  The youth of the present age know little or nothing of parental discipline and restraint.  It is the bounden duty of children to obey: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.  Honor thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise,”—Eph. 6:1,2; but now they refuse to “rise up before the hoary head, and honor the face of the old man.”—Lev. 19:32.  The lament of the old patriarch is literally fulfilled, “Now they that are younger than I have me in derision.”—Job 30.1.

The language of youth, confirmed by their actions, is; “Who is lord over us?”—Psalm 12:4.

But, could such an unnatural state of affairs be brought about without some fault on the part of those whose right and duty it is to require obedience?  Assuredly not!

“It is the duty of superiors to love, pray for, and bless their inferiors; to instruct, counsel, and admonish them.” Larger Cat. Quest. 129.  God’s commendation of Abraham is: “I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord.”—Gen. 18:19.

But instead of thus obeying the command of God: “Ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord,”—Eph. 6:4; they have most wickedly given up the spiritual training of their offspring to irresponsible voluntary associations, presided over by untrustworthy and ignorant teachers. [Sunday School teachers, etc.]  Family worship with singing a portion of psalm, reading of Scripture, and a prayer is almost unknown,—“a thing of the past,” as a resolution introduced in the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church declared; and the legitimate fruit is disobedience; for without family training there will be neither good citizens, nor good members of the Church.

—The Reformed Presbyterian Church, North Union, 1909.


OBEDIENCE now seems to be a hateful word to the generality of mankind.  They count it dishonorable to be under authority in family, church, or state; and the result is tumult in all social relations.  Society is fast converging into a filthy, muddy whirlpool of socialism, anarchy and confusion.

And the source of this disorder may readily be traced to the fundamental of society—the family.  God established the church and the state as auxiliaries to the family, in order that man might be fitted for the prosecution of every Divine and human right.  To parents belongs the training of their children; a duty which they cannot neglect or give over to others without the greatest danger of ultimate ruin both to children and themselves.

—The Reformed Presbyterian Church, North Union, 1912.


HOW few seem acquainted with the fact that the family is the fundamental unit of society, and that on the family training depends the whole fabric of the Church and State.

The divine command, “Children obey your parents in the Lord” (Eph. 6.1,) is almost utterly disregarded, and things are turned upside down as though to read, parents obey your children.  And modern teaching and legislation have a tendency to make the family a headless monster and to unfit it for the great ends of its institution.  A series of overt acts have brought about this sad state of affairs which hangs like a dark and lowering cloud over the earth, threatening to engulf society in a maelstrom of destruction.  The family is the spring of the Church, and the fountain of the State, and when it sends forth bitter waters the whole land speedily becomes a desert.

One great cause of these poisoned waters is desuetude [disuse] of family worship.  The family altar almost is universally thrown down.  Although some have what they call family prayers, worship by singing a portion of a psalm, reading a portion of scripture and concluded by prayer is almost unknown.

Business cares or pleasure seeking are allowed to engross the time that should be devoted by the heads of families to God’s service; consequently, family religion is scarcely even mentioned.

How can any family be fitted for the duties, the trials and temptations of the day unless they are assembled in Jehovah’s presence morning by morning to give him thanks for mercies received, confess their sins, seek grace and strength to avoid even the appearance of evil, and to perform all duties?  And, as often as the evening shadows appear, the king and high priest of the household should be careful to bring together all under his charge, and lead them in the sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving; and commit all their concerns, and soul and body to the care of him “that keepeth Israel.” Psalm 121.4.  For the masters of families to neglect or cast off family worship is as horrid cruelty as they could be guilty of.  It is, in effect, saying, I care not what becomes of the immortal souls of those committed to my trust.  It is doing much to make them the subjects of the eternal vengeance of divine wrath: “Pour out thy fury upon the heathen that know thee not and upon the families that call not on thy name.” Jer. 10.25.  Without keeping family worship none can obey the divine injunction, “Train a child up in the way he should go.” Prov. 22.6.  All such are in practice, outside the Abrahamic covenant and cannot justly lay claim to any of the promises and blessings contained in it.  The divine encomium on the conduct of Abraham should be the example for every true son of the father of the faithful: “I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment; that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.” Gen. 18.19.

2. The omission of the duties of the Sabbath.  The Fourth commandment is addressed to those in authority, and in the first place to natural parents.  Trace the awful and earth-wide desecration of the Lord’s day to its source and the lot falls upon the family.  Children should be under the eye of the parents or those having lawful authority, at all times, but especially on the Sabbath, which is to be spent “in the public and private exercises of God’s worship.” Shorter Catechism, Question 60.  But the grand adversary of souls, working as an angel of light, has laid his snares so as to leave no place for the “private exercises of” catechising, reading and studying the scriptures, and searching out the footsteps of the flock; that the youth may be “rooted and built up in Christ Jesus, and established in the faith.” Col. 2.7.  God holds the parents accountable for the conduct of their children on the Sabbath; and they cannot transfer their obligation nor escape the consequences of its violation, although multitudes of foolish parents have attempted this impossibility.  “They have sown the wind and are now reaping the whirlwind,” (Hos. 8.7,) that threatens to leave neither root nor branch.  Sabbath Schools, Christian Endeavor Societies, and a myriad of kindred associations, “wizards that peep and that mutter” (Isa. 8.19,) have corrupted the morals, emasculated the honesty, killed [the] truthfulness, fostered the corruption, pampered the pride, and nursed the rebellion of the rising generation until the waves of confusion and crime are lashed into the wildest fury;[1] and a mighty cry goes up everywhere reform! reform!! how shall we reform society?  More familiar spirits and wizards are consulted and followed, and so the wild delirium of anarchy increases apace.  But, “should not a people seek unto their God?  For the living to the dead?  To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” Isa. 8.19,20.

If men were not purblind they would see that it were the veriest folly to seek to promote man’s moral condition by seeking to “twice dead” associations or combinations of any kind.  Reformation will never come until it is begun at the fountain, and the family is taught and governed according to God’s law and testimony.

—The Reformed Presbyterian Church, North Union, 1913.


INSUBORDINATION’s defiant cry echoes and re-echoes from the center to the circumference of the earth.  A spirit of waywardness is throttling the fundamentals of society.  The family is a headless monster; babes and women striving for the rule instead of being in subordination.  There seems to be little or no disposition by the majority of wives to emulate the Scripture example of godly Sarah who obeyed Abraham, “calling him Lord.” 1 Pet. 3.6.  The law and order of Christ’s house is trampled underfoot by the so-called Churches of to-day.  And those who are the most unruly, and manifest the greatest contempt for law and order are generally chosen for leaders by the fawning multitude.

The disregard and open violation of the Fifth Commandment by families is photographed upon the State, and the noise and disorder constantly increases.

—The Reformed Presbyterian Church, North Union, 1915.


Footnotes:

1. A couple considerations may be helpful, that the reader may understand the severity of the language here used.  First, Sabbath Schools, (or what are now called Sunday Schools,) were formerly, in many cases, organized through the cooperation of individuals from various denominational associations, often involving those of Biblical principles in compromise with those of heretical principles and schismatic practices.  Further, they were an occasion for unqualified individuals to be brought into the office of teacher, without proper direction and oversight of ecclesiastical authority.  Lastly, while endeavoring to provide instruction and witness to local children whose parents did not take them to church, or “bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord,” such schools gave occasion to the mixing of covenant children, with others outside the covenant, who could only be of character more or less vicious: subjecting Christian children to the very sort of companionship which is forbidden them. (Psalm 1; Prov. 13.20; 2 Cor. 6.14; 2 Sam. 13.3.)  As such, these Sabbath Schools were an invention of men, and insofar as modern Sunday Schools, or other unequal-yoking associations, share the same character, they too are the inventions of men, calculated to cause much harm, however much they may officially aim at a particular good of great importance.—JTK.