A Call to Family Worship -- By: Ligon Duncan

Journal: Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood
Volume: JBMW 09:1 (Spring 2004)
Article: A Call to Family Worship
Author: Ligon Duncan


A Call to Family Worship1

Ligon Duncan

Terry Johnson

Respectively, Senior Minister, First Presbyterian Church Jackson, Mississippi and Senior Pastor, Independent Presbyterian Church Savannah, Georgia

There has been a recent miniboom of interest in the renewal of family religion and family worship in the evangelical community. Perhaps fueled by (a) the sense of cultural assault upon the family, (b) the strong current emphasis on parental involvement in childhood education, and (c) in some quarters a recapturing of a covenantal vision of church and family life, many are open to and desirous of learning what the family as a unit ought to be doing together in the way of daily worshiping of God in the reading, singing and praying of Scripture. And not only is there a new impetus, but many helpful resources are now available that were nonexistent just a few years ago.2

None too soon. The family itself is an endangered species in our culture, and the Christian family is under the severest of strains: the pace of life, the worldliness and materialism of church and society, the self-destructive freedoms in which we love to indulge, the capacity for temptations to access us even in the safety of our own homes through satellite television and the internet, mens loss of the sense of responsibility to take up the duty for spiritual leadership as fathers in the home, the culture of divorce, the culture of day care, and more. Furthermore, there are those who so undervalue the traditional family that they are seeking to redefine it, while at the same time some suggest that a day will come when biotechnology, community, and government programs will pave the way for the obsolescence of the traditional family.

God has never underestimated the importance of the family. After all, like marriage, he invented it. The family is the original society from which every other society emerges. This is seen in creation itself as unfolded in the early chapters of Genesis. Redemptive history and the covenant of grace both indicate the essential role of family in Gods program. Founded by a divine directive and regulated by divine ordinances, it is the normal school in which faith in God and obedience to his law are taught. Its suitability for this function is seen in its unique features: (1) it is small and close: no bureaucratic barriers impede the recognition of need and the application of discipline, no administrative distance prevents the identification of patterns or allows for idealistic assessments and solutions; (2) authority is displayed, but its harshness is tempered with parental affection; (3) ideally two parents, two parties, complement...

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