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Theological Foundations for the Family • • •

We hold to these eight convictions and believe they form a basis for our ministry at the National Center for Biblical Parenting. These core values clarify our theological beliefs regarding the role of parents in the family and the church as it supports them.

Theological Foundation #1: God's Purpose for the Family

God created the institution of the family with a four-fold purpose. 1) To provide companionship through marriage (Genesis 2:18-25) and having children. 2) To be an active and powerful evangelism and discipleship center (Deuteronomy 6:5-7). 3) To be an earthly model of Christ and the church (Ephesians 5:22-32). 4) To provide for and care for its members financially and physically (1 Timothy 5:4, 8, John 19:26-27).

Theological Foundation #2: God's Purpose for the Local Church

God created the institution of the local church to glorify himself with the following six-fold purpose: 1) To disciple believers, including parents and children, to model God's directives in his word (Matthew 28:19-20, 1 Timothy 3:4-5, Titus 2:4-8). 2) To provide fellowship for believers (Acts 2:41-47, 2 Corinthians 6:14-18). 3) To provide opportunities for service and the use of spiritual gifts for all believers including children (1 Corinthians 12, Romans 12:4-13). 4) To care for believers (Acts 4:34, 1 Timothy 5:1, James 1:24, Romans 12:13). 5) To equip believers including children for works of ministry (Ephesians 4:12). 6) To provide spiritual protection (Acts 20:28-31, Hebrews 13:17).

Theological Foundation #3: Relationship between Church and Family

While it is true that the family and the local church are distinct jurisdictions with distinct spiritual responsibilities, the Scriptures unite the mission of the church and the family in specific ways.

As noted above, one of the fundamental purposes of the church is to equip believers for ministry. The local church must equip believers, including parents and children, by teaching them to honor their parents (Ephesians 6:2), love their spouses and children (Ephesians 5:25, Titus 2:4), and make disciples of their children and grandchildren (Deuteronomy 6:5-7, Psalm 78:1-7, Ephesians 6:4).

Not only does the local church equip believers for ministry in and to their family members, but in the Old Testament, families came together for worship and remembering God's faithfulness (Exodus 12:21-28, Deuteronomy 16:9-11). Furthermore, in the New Testament whole households experienced spirituality together (Acts 11:14, 16:14-15, 16:29-31, 18:7-8, 1 Corinthians 1:16).

Theological Foundation #4: Marriage

In the beginning of human history, God created the institution of marriage. He created marriage between one man and one woman so that we might:
• Reflect His image (Genesis 1:26-27)
• Become more like Christ (Ephesians 5:24-25)
• Experience the blessing of two lives and hearts becoming one (Genesis 2:21-25)
• Create family discipleship centers by having and training children (Ephesians 6:1-4, Deuteronomy 6;5-7)

Marriage is a "discipleship relationship" designed to help each other grow in every area of their lives. Spiritual unity in marriage is critical for impressing upon the hearts of children a love for God (Malachi 2:15), so that they might bring the good news of Christ to the world. God created men and women with equal value, worth, and dignity (Galatians 3:28), but also created them differently so that they might fulfill different roles and responsibilities within the family.

If a local church is committed to the advance of the Gospel, it must be committed to preparing young people for Christian marriage , enriching existing marriages, and supporting couples in crisis.


Theological Foundation #5: Parenting and Grand-parenting

The home is the center of faith formation for the next generation (Deuteronomy 6:5-7). Parents and grandparents are responsible before God to do all in their power to impress the hearts of children with a love for God (Psalm 78). Husbands/fathers have been given a unique role of leadership in the home (Ephesians 5:25, Ephesians 6:4) and are to initiate spiritually in their families. Wives/mothers also have a responsibility to initiate spiritually in their families, demonstrated in scripture by being Godly even when the husband isn't saved (1 Peter 3:1-6, 1 Corinthians 7:12-14) and by example through Timothy's Godly heritage (2 Timothy 1:5), and Zipporah's initiative when her husband didn't lead spiritually (Exodus 4:24-26)

God's desire is that generation after generation of believers would go forth and fill the earth with His worship and the good news of Christ (Matthew 28:18-20, Acts 2:38-39). In addition, the Scriptures give us a dramatic vision of God's call for grandparents to serve as spiritual leaders and mentors for future generations (Psalm 78).

With this foundation in mind, a lifestyle of parental spiritual transparency and active biblical training should be central to family life (Deuteronomy 6:5-7, Ephesians 6:4). Empowering parents to disciple their children in the home is the most important "program" that a church family ministry can develop and support.

When spiritual life is taking place in the home, families will engage in service, short-term missions, and the ongoing use of their home as an evangelistic hospitality center in their neighborhoods.

Theological Foundation #6: Honoring parents

In the fifth commandment, God says, "Honor your father and your mother, so that it may go well with you and you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you" (Exodus 20:12). Eight times in Scripture, children are commanded to honor their parents. This is a lifelong commandment that includes the responsibility of children to do all in their power to provide for their parents in their old age (1 Timothy 5).

Theological Foundation #7: Singleness

All believers in the local church, regardless of marital status, are of equal importance and worth in the family of God (Galatians 3:28). Families in the church should be encouraged to invite singles to fellowship in their homes, and singles should be encouraged to invest in relationships with other generations in the church. Jesus Himself sets the example of a single person without children intentionally investing in the lives of children and families. Everyone in the church, regardless of marital status, should be called and equipped for living out their faith in their home.

Theological Foundation #8: Family and Church Leadership

God's word provides a set of vital criteria for those who are being considered for the roles of elder/pastor/deacon. Many of these qualifications for spiritual leadership within the church focus on the candidate's family life :

• He should be the husband of one wife. (1 Timothy 3:12, Titus 1:6)
• He should manage his own family well (spiritual leadership as well as provisional and protective). (1 Timothy 3:4-5, 12)
• His children should obey him with proper respect. (1 Timothy 3:4)
• His children should be believers and not be open to the charge of being wild and disobedient. (Titus 1:6)

With this foundation in mind, it is important to encourage all those who hold the offices of spiritual leadership within the church to give their best leadership and effort to the ministry of their home. Lovingly keep them accountable to be spiritual trainers in their homes, and to keeping healthy boundaries around their ministry hours outside the home so that their spouses and children receive their best efforts. Your pastors/elders will not be able to lead the congregation in a direction that they are not personally moving in themselves.

Prayerfully follow the criteria that God has provided in the Scriptures for any potential pastors/elders/deacons in your church.

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