The Family And The Church -- By: Edward Trumbull Hooker

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 043:171 (Jul 1886)
Article: The Family And The Church
Author: Edward Trumbull Hooker


The Family And The Church

Rev. Edward Trumbull Hooker

This theme might be treated as applying to the life and habits of the single home and the work and services of its local church in their power to help or hinder one another, to co-operate for the same great ends, or to counteract each the other’s good influence.

But, in order to arrive most intelligently at this special view of their actual, practical relations, we shall first consider the nature and fundamental conception of these two institutions of God, as his thought is revealed to us in them—the ideal family state and the church spiritual and entire, the body of Christ developing on earth and perfected in heaven. This view, if properly taken, will serve to explain and emphasize more clearly the motives and methods for the best life of the individual home and single,

visible church, while setting before us the ends for their mutual attainment.

A few obvious points may be fixed upon as signal stations in this wide region of thought from which to construct its survey.

The family is the first institution of God on earth. It has in it the germ and something of the development of the church. It has in it the germ and something of the development of the state. It is for a long time all the visible church there is, and is as truly such, as those early churches in the separate households of the New Testament saints. It is for a long time all the civil state there is—the patriarchal. A congeries of families from one patriarch becomes a tribal state, and several tribes a nation or united state. A congeries of household churches becomes an organic body of common religious life, a community of faith and fellowship in the Old Testament dispensation; even as the churches of the new dispensation are the organic society of Christ.

The family, as such, is first in the order of nature, and not of the supernatural strictly. It bounds the conception, for a time, of both natural and supernatural society on earth. The Old Testament church begins with the first true worship or sacrifice in the household. The visible church of many families begins with the tabernacle in the wilderness. The church of many families and nations begins with the Christian dispensation. Its perfecting is not yet, but will embrace all the Ecclesia of those who are redeemed from humanity by its second Adam. This is the kingdom of God in man.

When that is come, and his will is done on earth as in heaven, we may expect either a pure theocracy—God dwelling in men and walking in them, they his people and he their God, without forms of government—or that the methods of national existence will be in...

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