A Journey to the Interior of the Family: The Family’s Core -- By: Paige Patterson

Journal: Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood
Volume: JBMW 11:1 (Spring 2006)
Article: A Journey to the Interior of the Family: The Family’s Core
Author: Paige Patterson


A Journey to the Interior of the Family:
The Family’s Core

Paige Patterson

President,
Southwestern Baptist Thoelogical Seminary,
Fort Worth, Texas

A profound honor is mine today to address this noble assembly when so many of you are more eminently qualified than I to address the subject, “The Family’s Core.”1 I accept the assignment out of the matrix of my own life and ministry as an evangelical follower of Christ, a Christian. My presupposition and, doubtless, my remarks will at times expose that commitment, but I trust that such inevitabilities will not obscure the broader scope of my remarks, which I believe to be generally applicable to all religious concerns and ethnic diversity. Above all I pray that I shall be offensive to none.

To speak of the “core” of the family is to speak of that which is foundational. One might, therefore, imagine a Mexico City skyscraper as an analogy for the family and address the question of the foundations that support that edifice. But buildings are static. They have no life, they are entirely predictable, so the organizers of this congress have wisely suggested a different metaphor—that of the core of the family.

Golf balls, baseballs, soccer balls, and basketballs have cores. Golf balls and baseballs used professionally or collegiately must meet standards, or else someone will gain unfair advantage over another. A few years ago a well-known Major League Baseball player lost credibility when his bat broke in two revealing an illegal core. Imagine attempting a rousing game of soccer or hoops with a ball that had no air—the essential core ingredient for such round balls.

My purpose then is to suggest five essential ingredients that constitute the core of the family, which in turn serves as the core of every social order in the world. These five ingredients are to the home like hydrogen and oxygen to life on earth. They are not the whole story, earth’s substance consisting of multiplied other elements, but they do appear to be absolutely essential. So, I believe, are the five aspects of the family on which we focus now.

(1) The Home is the Plan of God

An atheist or an agnostic can have a family, even a happy family. However, there can never for them be a mandate, a heavenly mandate ordaining and ordering the family. For them the family is just “social convention” in the parlance of postmodern philosophy. If the family unit ceases to be perceived as beneficial, or some other connivance seems preferable, the family can be cast aside. As divorce rates escalate globally even among theists, one can observ...

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