The Teachings Of Christ, And The Modern Family -- By: Charles Franklin Thwing

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 061:241 (Jan 1904)
Article: The Teachings Of Christ, And The Modern Family
Author: Charles Franklin Thwing

The Teachings Of Christ, And The Modern Family

Pres. Charles Franklin Thwing

Of all social institutions, Christ apparently judged the family to be the most important. Respecting its foundation, continuance, conditions, and possible disruption, he spoke more constantly and more directly than respecting any other institution. Either with silence or with brief speech did he treat other social institutions and movements with which society, ancient or modern, is concerned. He declined to be led into discussion regarding the duty of allegiance to the civil authority. He had nothing to say respecting the nature of government. He did not condemn the monarchical, and he did not favor the democratic, form. He spoke no word regarding the evils of human slavery, or the divisions of society, or the reciprocal rights and duties of labor and capital. Regarding education, he also was as silent as he was about the social question. If one result of his coming was the establishment of the church, yet he uttered, regarding its character and functions, purposes and relationships, only a few, even if pregnant words. Like Socrates, he wrote no book. He gave no dissertation on the ethical or intellectual value of many of the theories which concern modern society. But in respect to the family his utterances were, if few, significant; and many of the most funda-

mental and impressive of his teachings were based upon elements of domestic life and society.

The theology of Christ is interpreted to us more largely in terms of the family than of any other institution. The doctrine of God is declared to us in the word “Fatherhood,” and the personality of Christ himself is likewise made known in sonship and brotherhood. Christ and his Father, he affirms, are one. From the Father he comes forth, and to the Father he returns. If he is made known as the Son of God, he is likewise made known as the Son of man. His most tender and impressive prayers are addressed to the Father. The character of children he uses to teach the nature of the Kingdom of God. The fitness of prayer receives illustration in the request of children made to their parents, and the willingness of God to answer is enforced by the nature of the desire of parents to grant the requests of their children. His suggestions regarding conversion are founded upon the figure of birth. The infinite love of God, the degradation of sin, the duty and the possibility of repentance, the fact of forgiveness, are declared in the parable of the prodigal son, which is likewise the parable of the loving Father.

The social teachings of Christ are, like the theological, based upon the figure of the family. The most intimate relations of service to him are suggested through the r...

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