Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
October 6, 1949
NUMBER 22, PAGE 3,6b

Essentials Of A Christian Home

Rufus Clifford

Paul said, "Be not unequally yoked together with unbelievers." (I Coy. 6:14) This applies not to the marriage relationship alone; it applies to all our relationships. As a Christian I am not to enter into any alliance or relationship that would hinder me as a servant of God—matrimonial, business, political, or otherwise. If being unequally yoked together with an unbeliever would hinder my service of Christ, then I am certainly not to be so yoked.

The widow is to marry "only in the Lord." The Lord is no respecter of persons. I cannot imagine the Lord forbidding the widow to marry out of the Lord, while the widow's children, if she has children, are left free to marry just anybody they want to. When you put the two statements together "Be not unequally yoked together with unbelievers" and "marry only in the Lord", you get the idea that if not positively against God's will, it is certainly a highly dangerous thing for any Christian, widow or otherwise, to marry out of the family of God.

We would teach our children that truth from the cradle up. Far better to have them sacrifice a year or two of married bliss in order to work this problem out before marriage than to endanger their whole married life by entering into such a precarious relationship. It is extremely difficult to have a Christian home unless both husband and wife are faithful Christians.

"Don't Talk Religion"

Sometimes people deny that statement, and say, "Oh, we have a Christian home, all right, but my wife, or husband, is not a member of the church." One of our gospel preachers said once he went to a place to hold a meeting, and preached along this line. After the service a lady came rushing up to him and said, "Oh, Brother A, you won't get mad at me if I disagree with you, but we have an ideal Christian home, and my husband is not a member of the church." He said, "Well, sister, turn about is fair play, so you won't get mad at me, will you, if I tell you I don't believe a word you're saying." In a few days he was invited to this lady's home. As they were driving into the spacious grounds of a palatial mansion, the sister said, "Bro. A, I was about to forget to mention it; but my husband is a member of the Presbyterian church. He thinks that we are so narrow in the church of Christ in saying there is just one church and in teaching baptism by immersion, etc., that. . . well, we just don't talk religion at our place at all"

As they got out of the car and went into the house they met a fine looking young man coming down the steps. "Who is that handsome youth?" the preacher asked. "Oh, that is our son," the lady replied. "But I haven't seen him at the services," said the preacher. "No," said the mother, "when he ways born, John wanted to take him to the Presbyterian Church, and I wanted to take him to the church of Christ. We couldn't agree, so finally decided to let him grow up and make his own choice. For some reason, since he is grown, he doesn't want to go to either church at all I can't help worrying about it sometimes!"

A fine Christian home, indeed!

As God Would Have It

If the home is, as God would have it, Christ must abide there. I was in a home recently and saw this motto on the wall, "Christ is the head of this house, the unseen guest at every meal, the silent listener to every conversation." If they'd asked me, I would have added one line to the motto. I would have said, "the faithful observer of all our ways." If Christ is to rule as the head of any house, the parents must both be faithful servants of his. Of course if Christ is not the head of the house, the devil is.

Jesus said, "A house divided against itself cannot stand." (Matt. 12:25) A nagging husband or a nagging wife can destroy the peace of any home. The Lord can not abide in a fussing, fighting home; and children will not stay there for long. Paul said, "Let your moderation be known unto all men." And Peter told the Christian wives to dress up their lives with a meek and quiet spirit rather than with jewels and outward ornaments. (I Pet. 3)

Absolutely essential to any Christian home is the purity and fidelity one to the other of those who make it up. The husband must keep himself for the wife, and the wife must keep herself for the husband. Marriage vows must be respected. We are living in an irreverent and immoral age. People enter hastily and hurriedly into this most intimate and sacred relationship, carelessly thinking that they will divorce each other if it doesn't work out satisfactorily. Of course with such a beginning, it is almost impossible that any home develop into much of a Christian institution. In such homes it is nearly certain that the Bible will be relegated to the background and used only as a place to hide things in. If you pick it up in such a house, you may find newspaper clippings, kodak pictures, or a piece of hair in it; but you'll rarely find a book that is read much. In homes of this sort we cannot hope for the purity of character and the deep abiding love one for the other that must always characterize the truly Christian home.

A Christian home is one that is ruled by love. Christian love alone can save society from the pagan evil of divorce. But how can that love be nurtured and developed when only one party in the union is trying to serve Christ? Love, of course, can be cultivated and encouraged. The Lord commanded us to add love unto our faith. Love always gives rather than takes. God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son He who partakes of the nature of God will always be more interested in giving than receiving. Love and patience go hand in hand. Where love reigns in the home, patience is always present. Many a man will work hard at his business and make a success of it, only to come home and play the part of a tyrant and dictator. Such a home can never be what God wants it to be.

The home where the husband loves the wife, and the wife loves the husband, and the parents love the children, and the children love the parents, but where all of them, both parents and children, love God first, that home is truly a "home sweet home." Such homes as this will solve most of our church problems. Our boys and girls will grow up to be faithful and devout Christians, respecting the word of God. Parents will be concerned about their own souls and the souls of their children. Homes like this will solve a lot of our brotherhood problems, as well as problems in the local church. Having such homes, it would no longer be necessary to spend millions of dollars to provide a "Christian atmosphere" somewhere else for our children; they'd be nurtured constantly in that atmosphere at home. And from such homes our children would go forth so fully rooted and grounded in the faith that the devil himself could not jar them away from it.

Truly the basis of most of our local church problems, as well as the problems affecting the whole brotherhood, can be found in the inadequate and insufficient emphasis that has been placed on making our homes Christian.

Christian children, nurtured in Christian homes, are the world's only real hope for years to come. Let every Christian parent recognize his or her duty in this respect.