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Friday, January 20, 2006

It's not Vegas, but...(Part 2 of 3)

I'm certainly no encyclopedia of Reformed thought, but Dr. Bryan Estelle's lecture brought something to my attention that had flown under my radar: an appendix of the Westminster Directory of Worship: The Directory for Family-Worship. This was to provide instructions to families for prayer, devotions, and catechizing outside of public worship. Back in the day, this Directory was serious business, and if the man of the household neglected his duties in leading regular family worship, he was to be " suspended and debarred from the Lord's supper ." This makes me wonder about our priorities in the modern Reformed church.

I suppose everyone wants their own children to be better off than they were as a child. I don't mean this just materially - wanting a bigger house or nicer car than one had growing up. I mean especially in the spiritual sense - I certainly want my children to be stronger in the faith than I was. Don't get me wrong. I owe an unpayable debt of gratitude to my parents, who brought me up in the Lord. Church attendance was regular, and I knew the Scriptures well from my Sunday school classes and private Christian education. Godly living was always practiced and preached in my home. Simply, I am who I am today because of my parents.

However, as I grow older I also have come to form my own opinions about the way a Christian home should be and can see the defects in my own upbringing. For starters, I was not raised in a Reformed Church, nor was I catechized as a child. Looking back on it, having a Reformed worldview in my youth would have put me light-years ahead of where I was intellectually and spiritually: in a sea of bland, generic Evangelicalism. My family had only occassional prayers together, usually over a meal, but no devotions together. My own private devotions were usually limited to sporadic "quiet times" as encouraged by our youth groups.

This brings me back to Estelle's lecture. He gave his audience food for thought from his own administrations of worship in his family's life, as well as pointing us to a share of literature on the subject.

There are, I think, two temptations as I consider having my own family one day. The first temptation swings towards laziness: "I really want to have regular devotions with my family, but we're all so busy." Estelle noted that if the TV is on in the house, that's not a legitimate excuse. The second temptation is to, armed with zeal and knowledge from his lecture, bog down the family in trying to transform them all into uber-spiritual Renaissance Children and scholars-in-training. For a moment I think to myself "gosh, I could send them all to a Reformed Classical Christian school, and then I'll cram in catechism training and Koine Greek once they get home from school before dinner." But then I realize that kids just gotta be kids, too.

Cornelius VanTil wrote of his own upbringing, that "Though there were no tropical showers of revivals, the relative humidity was always very high…I was 'conditioned' in the most thorough fashion. I could not help believing in God-in the God of Christianity-in the God of the Bible!" Yeah, I like that. I want the "relative humidity" of my home to be very high, too. By God's grace alone.

I've got just one more reflection left in me, I think, that I took from the Westminster conference. Stay tuned for Part 3.

UPDATE - found a "Soli Deo Gloria" book on family worship here by George Hamond:

Category: Theoblogia


  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger Danae Zenor, at 12:10 PM  

  • My family had only occassional prayers together, usually over a meal, but no devotions together. My own private devotions were usually limited to sporadic "quiet times" as encouraged by our youth groups.

    Reformed teachings are not the only ones that teach such things! I, for one, have never attended a reformed church..but just from reading the Scriptures on a regular basis, in my own time and on my own urgings (i.e. family didnt tell me to, church didnt tell me to, I did it because I really wanted to) utterly IMPORTANT having a personal devotional time is for ALL believers! When we forsake this life blood of our faith, satan surely comes into our lives and tempts and urges us to fall into sin. If God's word is Truth, why do we not stay in it? Why do we adhere and listen to the wisdom of the world through our peers, our schools...ect...and completely neglect what the God of all Creation has given us to FEED us?

    Psalm 119:160
    The sum of Your word is truth, And every one of Your righteous ordinances is everlasting.

    Psalm 119:11
    Your word I have treasured in my heart,That I may not sin against You.

    Psalm 119:9
    How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Your word.

    Family devotions are so vital, that when they're forsaken, there is an innumerable supply of worldly influences that can enter the home...the Word of the Lord is our weapon against this atrocity!

    And, yes, God has ordained that it be the man who lead his family spiritually...after all...the head of the man is Christ, and the head of the woman is the man. So if the man of the household does not allow Christ to be his head...and, by God's ordination, the woman must rely on the man for spiritual leadership...if a man is dirilect of his spiritual duties to his family...that sort of leaves his family flopping around spiritually like fish outside of water.

    As a result of men being spiritually lazy and forsaking their God-ordained spiritual duties toward their family, I've oftentimes seen the wife take over the spiritual duties out of necessity...and sadly it just doesnt work so well that way because it's outside of God's ordained order.

    Come on men! Step up to the plate! Your families are depending on you and YOU WILL be held accountable to the Lord for what you've forsaken to do spiritually for your family.

    But you see...satan's attack is mainly on the men of the household because he knows that if he can make the man spiritually apathetic and steeped in sin...then the family will follow.

    Too many times i've seen Christian households spiritually destroyed by the sins of the father... alcoholism, pornography, laziness, guys have to see what's going on here...get back to the Lord and lead your families!

    1 Corinthians 11:3
    But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ.

    1 Peter 3:7
    You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.

    True, godly women want SO MUCH for their husbands to lead both them and their children spiritually, ON A CONSISTENT BASIS!...their spirits yearn for it. I know from personal of God...your wives want it and need it!

    By Blogger Danae Zenor, at 12:13 PM  

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