The Most Important Institution by Rod Rutherford

     I have been blessed to be part of a family all my life.  I was privileged to know my grandparents as well as two of my great-grandparents.   My father and mother remained married to each other as long as they both lived.  I was blessed to have two brothers and a sister.  My siblings and I enjoy a continuing relationship.

     The home I grew up in was not a perfect family in every way.   We had our weaknesses and sometimes had disagreements, but we remained a family in spite of them.  It was the family as God ordained it.

     My wife and I formed our own family when we married nearly fifty years ago.  God has blessed us with three outstanding children and eight delightful grandchildren.  We have sometimes had problems, but thankfully, none of major proportions.  We continue to love each other and enjoy being together.  It is not a perfect family, but it is the family as God ordained it.

     The family is the most important institution in the world!  Some disagree with this and argue that the civil government is the most important institution.  With the growth of socialism in our land and around the world, government has become more and more intrusive and strives to dominate every aspect of our lives.  While the institution of government is approved of God and is essential for civilization, it is not the most important or most basic of institutions (Romans 13:1-7).

    Others believe the church is the most important of all institutions.  The Lord Himself built His church, died for it, and adds the saved to it (Matthew 16:18; Acts 20:28; 2:47).  The church is essential for man’s salvation (Ephesians 5:23).  However, the family is more fundamental than either the nation or the church.

     The family is the basic building block of all society.  As a foundation is essential to a house so the family is essential to the nation and the church.  It is the first and oldest of the institutions ordained of God (Genesis 1:27, 28: 2:18-25).  The civil state and the church are made up of families. They are only as strong as the families which compose them.  Truly, it may be said, “As goes the home, so goes the nation,” and “As goes the family so goes the church.”

     Our nation faces grave problems today.  Among these problems are huge, staggering national debt, a floundering economy, growing lawlessness and lack of respect for authority, ever increasing crime, the rapid decline of any sort of moral standard, etc.

     The church also faces grave problems.  Among these problems faced by the church are a lack of respect for God’s authority as revealed in the Scriptures, a growing tendency to be conformed to this world rather than to be transformed by God’s word, a growing disrespect for God’s standard of morality revealed in His Word, a desire to compromise with manmade denominations, etc.

     The problems in the nation and the church are simply a reflection of the problems in the family.  If the family is ordered according to God’s plan revealed in His word, God-fearing, strong, honest, hardworking, trustworthy, moral citizens are the result.  Both the nation and the church are strong when composed of such individuals.  Neither the nation nor the church will be strong unless the families which compose them both are strong.

     The God ordained family is under attack today!  The attack comes from many quarters. The lack of reverence for God’s word and consequently of His law of marriage is at the bottom of all the attacks on the family.

     Among the forces attacking the family are: 1) The radical Feminist Movement which considers women who choose to be wives and mothers to be little better than slaves; 2) The Gay Rights agenda which destroys the union of a man and a woman in marriage which is essential for the procreation of the human race; 3) Materialism which values the physical things of this world above the importance of rearing and training children and, as a result, robs homes of a mother’s love and influence; 4) Easy, no fault divorce which makes it easier to break up a home rather than work out differences; 5) Cohabiting without the commitment of marriage which stems from an inability and an unwillingness to accept long-term responsibility.

     In lessons to follow we will discuss the family as God created it and the way He wants families to function today.  We will deal in more detail with the myriad of problems facing God ordained homes and offer some solutions to them.

     Unless we return to God’s plan for the family, the nation and the church will become more and more corrupt.  Our beloved country will soon join other once great empires of antiquity which forgot God and His plan for the home and now sleep in the dust of history.

     The church of Christ will completely apostatize and become merely another human denomination with nothing more to offer than any other man-made religious organization.

     The matter is urgent!  The hour is late!  It is crucial that the family as God ordained it be restored!