According to a recent Family Research Council report, 45% of children ages 15-17 in America have been raised in intact families (a Dad and Mom in the home). That’s a surprising statistic, and if accurate is higher than I would expect!
Sad, though, isn’t it, that 45% seems to be “high.” Essentially 6 of 10 children aged 15-17 have not been raised in an intact family. Sounds worse when said that way, huh?
Before I go any further, I want to pause and make clear the mandate of the Gospel of Christ to His Church is to “make disciples of all the peoples.” This means we can and should be reaching out with gospel love and grace to single moms, drunkard runaway Dads, divorcees, never-marrieds, and yes, even the good old intact families of America. We all need Jesus, and I desire the church I pastor to continue to be a place that loves and evangelizes and disciples all peoples from all walks of life.
That said, the biblical ideal is either single-hood for the purpose of fully serving God, or marriage between one man and one woman for life that seeks to raise godly offspring (Gen 2:24; Mal 2:15; Matt 19:3-9; 1 Cor 7:32-35). This we cannot compromise; for God has spoken.
What struck me as a bit odd, perhaps troubling, about the Family Research Council report was how many supposedly “conservative, church-going” states ranked poorly in the intact family percentages. The 20 States with the lowest percentages of children ages 15-17 raised in an intact family included:
- My State of Residence, Indiana.
- My home State of KY.
- West Virginia, Missouri.
- North Carolina, Tennessee, Florida, South Carolina, Georgia.
The four bottom states were: Arkansas, Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi.
Friends, if the South is ever going to rise again she must renounce this ungodly trend and run back to God’s way of doing home and family! I cannot help but wonder, “What are all the churches in the south doing, anyway?” Good grief, there is a church on every corner of nearly every Southern town!
The Family Research Council report noted that children raised in intact families will grow up to be less dependent on government welfare programs, and are less likely to need government assistance. So, the government clearly has an interest in promoting intact families, or at least it should!
But far greater and weightier than that, the Church of the Risen Savior has an immense interest in promoting and equipping people to pursue biblical godliness in the home! Or, at least she should have an immense interest. Apparently many churches in the South still have not gotten God’s memo on the home and family, or more truthfully, they are merely neglecting it.
God help us in the Church, however, to never be satisfied with large percentages of intact families. That is only a very basic starting place. God’s ideal is a Dad who leads out like Christ, loves sacrificially like Christ, and teaches the Word to His family ever bit as consistently as he puts physical bread on their tables! God’s ideal is a Mom who submits like Christ, who pours herself into her home day-in-day-out, who rejects slothfulness, and who nurtures her children like Father God. God’s ideal is children joyfully submitting to parental authority, even as they look to God as the Highest Law in the Land.
Doing home God’s way is a high calling! Who is sufficient for these things? Nobody, apart from Christ.
“Apart from Me, you can do nothing” (John 15:5).
“I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” (Phil 4:13).