God’s Design for the Family: Has the Godly-Designed Family Image Become an Idol?

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While it’s clear that a healthy marriage and family is important, have churches and Christian organizations put too much emphasis on God’s design for the family and made this image an idol?
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Focus on the Family raises money for new project promoting “God’s design” for the family

Currently, Focus on the Family is in the process of raising money for a new project called the Family Project.  Their target amount for this endeavor is $5 million.

Jim Daly is the president of Focus on the Family and their organization’s goal is to “help families thrive.”   Daly presents the Focus on the Family’s new project in the video clip below.

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The beginning of the video presents grim stats on divorce, fatherless homes and the effects on children, gender issues, same-sex marriage issues.  He calls for the Christian community to come together and bring hope and “a way back to God’s design for the family.”

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photo credit: JohnsHonours via photopin cc

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“I think it’s God’s design for family that will bring the hope for this culture.”  ~Jim Daly

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The producer discussed how he aspired to get the audience emotionally involved and moved about the goals of the project.  It struck me – – – if this is a valid message, why does the audience need to get pulled in emotionally.  Will not facts and Biblical truth be compelling enough?  Having been sucked emotionally into an abusive church, my dander rises when I read about someone trying to lure me into a message emotionally, but maybe that’s just me.

Is the message of this project Biblical?  Does God’s Word place so much emphasis on God’s design for the family?  What if your family does not fit “God’s design?”  What if you’ve never married?  Are you a failure?  What if you left an abusive marriage and are now divorced?  With close to 50% of Christian marriages having ended in divorce, what message is this sending you?  That you are a failure?  Where is your hope now?  Are your children doomed to be one of those statistics?

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The Christian Post reported on this project in their article, Focus on the Family Launches $5 Million Project Targeting Family Breakdown, Social Ills.

The project was announced Thursday and is expected to take more than a year to complete. Filming for the documentary began in March and will finish this month, with a release coming to theaters in late spring 2014. The multimedia curriculum will release in mid-summer, and an online training program will launch next winter.

Here is the final paragraph of the Christian Post article:

In the promotional video for the project, Daly asks for financial support, but he also requests prayer. “If you will pray for us and if you will consider supporting us, this project will change the tide for family around the world,” he said.

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I’m struck by the strong wording of the last sentence, that they believe this project will change the course for families and I wondered how that would happen, especially after reading this very insightful comment left at the site.   (This comment was split up into two comments.  I have added paragraphs for readability. )
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12:32 AM on September 07, 2013

I’m in my early 40s, never married, still a virgin, wanted to wait for marriage to have sex. Can I just point out that FOF (‘Focus on the Family’) which has been focusing on the family for about over 30 years or more now, has failed miserably? I’m a social conservative, so I’m sympathetic to some of their views, but they, like the rest of Christianity, has missed the boat, and they keep missing the point.

Focus on the Family has turned marriage and the nuclear family into an idol, when Christ said if you do not put Him first, above your spouse (if you have one) and above your brother, mother, and son, you are not worthy to be His follower. The Bible also esteems singlehood, but does FOF and Christianity as a whole? Nope.

Most Christians either completely ignore singles, or treat them like trash. This impacts marriage. This extreme emphasis on family and youth (the teens and 20 somethings) excludes older Christian singles, which causes singles to stay single longer. The funny thing is, the usual Christian approach to marriage/ family, etc, such as that taken by Focus on the Family, has actually played a part in the huge avalanche of prolonged, unwanted singleness among Christian adults past age 30 who want to get married, and FoF claims they are totally pro-marriage, but they are not. They say they are but are not. Instead of helping us post- age- 30 singles to get married, churches, and these Christian groups such as FOF, obsess about the decay of traditional morality and public relations stunts where they complain about divorce, homosexual marriage, etc, instead of helping hetero singles older than age 30 to get married. You Focus on the Family types are ironically feeding the problems you claim to stand against.

P.S. The Bible does not say anywhere that “family is the building block of society.” Jesus Christ taught that HIS family, believers in Him, are the blocks of the church body not the nuclear family. Jesus said anyone that puts their nuclear family or spouse above Him are guilty of misplaced priorities and are not worthy to follow him (Matthew 10: 37).

Conservative Christians need to repent of making an idol out of marriage and the traditional family. You are excluding singles, divorced, widows, and childless people.Jesus also said he came to turn a father against son, and daughter against mother (Matthew 10: 34-36). Jesus did NOT say he came to protect or endorse the nuclear family.

Singles comprise about 45% of the American population including Christians. How are you Focus on the Family people using un-married adults to help “fight societal ills?” God created singles to help society too, not just married couples or “families.” Unmarried adults also need help as well as childless married couples, not just married couples with children. What are you doing to minister to the particular needs of unmarried and childless people? Maybe you should re-name your organization “We don’t care about singles over age 30” or “We Worship the Nuclear Family” instead.

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85 comments on “God’s Design for the Family: Has the Godly-Designed Family Image Become an Idol?

  1. I don’t think it is a matter of over emphasizing God’s design for the family. Sin has definitely taken a toll on the family model in America among Christians. A ministry like Focus on the Family is naturally focused on the family. There is nothing wrong with ministries that have a particular focus as they compliment the ministry of the Christian community as a whole. Naturally churches would major on the biblical pattern of husband, wife, and children since that is the ideal for most people. This does not, however, devalue singles because Paul is clear that some have the gift of singleness and some do not. The person that never marries and never has children can easily see that the majority of people are not living with the same gifting and condition as they are and should expect the church to give considerably more time to the married family dynamic than the single dynamic. This does not mean singles should be ignored completely either. People who have experienced divorce should not feel devalued either because God’s design in held up as normative. Divorce which is a result of the presence of sin in human hearts though common should not be given the standard of normal like marriage and singleness. So I would say their is nothing idolatrous about certain ministries having different emphasis any more than it is idolatrous for people to minister predominately in the areas of their gifting.

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  2. Julie Anne, one of the things I am really getting tired of is the constant barrage of negativity in American culture today and I think Musicnote touched on it in this post.
    Young adults NEED (and I put this in capitals for the emphasis) hope; they need encouragement. I was a part of the FOF crowd at one point and all it did for me was point out always what was wrong with our culture, instead of pointing to the Savior. Everything about our country and people was “what went wrong”, instead of real solutions and just plain ‘ole common sense. They keep re-hashing the same jargon and curriculum. We can look to Scripture and rely on Him to bring us peace, but these guys are continually looking around the corner to find a problem and fix it with THEIR solutions. Why don’t these guys just shut up and help and encourage that individual to look upon Jesus and help them come up with the best solution for THEM. Some do not want or need to be married, so be with them in that decision.
    I have a love for singles and young adults and they are probably the most neglected group out there.
    They really do need encouragement in a world that is tough; they do not need to be hit over the head with negative or persuasive information about what is happening to marriage and the family 24/7. I know I can’t process all this “christianese propaganda”; it is too much for me now. And yes I call it “Christian Propaganda”- it is meant to invoke responses from people; to put them in fear. I felt hopeless myself when I was in it and I have a family. I felt that the world was doomed and we were just cogs in the wheel. And that was all the negative garbage I was receiving from church. It was not until I left where I started feeling free and did not look at the world as my enemy. So I know if I was feeling that I know many others, especially young people are. What a burden to put on these adults!!

    They need hope and a love that comes only from Christ. They need to be told that in Christ He always provides peace and joy, not guilt and shame.

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  3. trust4himonly makes a good point when he/she says:

    “They need hope and a love that comes only from Christ. They need to be told that in Christ He always provides peace and joy, not guilt and shame.”

    I must confess that many are trapped in a nostalgia for a past America that I do not share and promote a hopelessness that I do not share. Sin is real but so is forgiveness. Failure is real but so is restoration. Defeat is real but so is victory. So why not major on the effects of sin that Jesus died and rose to reverse? I think some have forgotten Jesus’ statement that He came that we might have life and have it more ABUNDANTLY.

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  4. Why do we even have such a focus on this “Godly-designed” family? But where exactly is this family focus in scripture? Isn’t the focus for us in scripture to love God? I think if God was the focus, then everything else would fall in place.

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  5. There is no family focus in the Christian bible. It is read into the Bible between the lines by people who have political causes to which they want Christians to subscribe. Sorry, but FoF is a political organization not a Christian one.

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  6. JA part of loving God is also accepting and valuing God’s design for our lives. To love someone we must ascribe value to their views. God does have a particular design for the family in Scripture. Now the problem may be that people fail to mention God’s plan for singles, divorced, single parents, etc. when teaching on family life. That needs to be corrected but failing to teach people what God has said about the family in all its many facets is neither loving God or people.

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  7. Wesley, can you give scriptural citations for the “godly” design of the family. I think the source of the design is not scripture but the 50s screenwriters of the situation comedies of the day.

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  8. Julie Anne, one of the things I am really getting tired of is the constant barrage of negativity in American culture today and I think Musicnote touched on it in this post.
    Young adults NEED (and I put this in capitals for the emphasis) hope; they need encouragement.

    This is the reason why My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic became such a big hit among Teens and Tweens. Brightly-colored cartoon ponies were the only beacon of hope in a sea of Grimdark, Crapsack, and “It’s All Over But The Screaming” Grinning Nihilism.

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  9. When I hear “God’s Design” for the family it reminds me of Ezzo’s teaching “Growing Kids God’s Way”, and many of us are familiar with some of the dangerous advice that group has put out. I find it arrogant to promote your solution as “God’s “ solution. This was my first reaction. Since when do you get to tell all of us what is God’s solution? I would like to know what’s in this curriculum, but I’ll bet it’s nothing new or earth shattering.

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  10. An Attorney you should know that I have no liking for anything that occurred in America during the 50’s. With that being said we cannot honestly say that we do not see Scripture teaching that God’s design is a husband and wife united in marriage for life for those who have not been gifted with singleness. We see it in Genesis. We see Jesus describing it in the Gospels. We see Paul discussing it in the epistles and we see Peter discussing it in his epistle as well.

    I am not sure where you got the “godly” family reference from because I did not use it but for the record you can have a godly family composed of a husband and wife with or without children; you can have a godly family composed of a single parent and children; you can have a godly family composed of people have been divorced and are remarried or have chosen to remain single with or without children; and you can have a godly family composed of a single person and their family members who they do not live in the same home with but who provide support, love, encouragement, etc. for each other.

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  11. I remember when I worshiped FOF, and how crushed I was when Dobson’s partner in crime, Mike Trout, abruptly quit the ministry because of his extramarital affair. I was shocked and O so naive.

    When I look back on the time that I listened daily to their broadcasts, hanging on every word, I see how much guilt, worry, and fear they produced in my heart.

    O, and the money my husband and I gave to them when they would get me all worked up that America was doomed. T4HO said it perfectly!
    The families in the bible had so much freakin dysfunction, why wouldn’t families today? I don’t buy their hype anymore.

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  12. Scripture citations, Wesley, scripture citations! It’s not in there! Just our interpretation. Paul suggested that it is better to be single than married in furtherance of the kingdom!

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  13. Paul specified that it is better to be single if you have the same gift that he had to be single but if not you should marry. (For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that. I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I. But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn. (1 Corinthians 7:7-9))

    Here are a couple references for you. We will interpret the words to mean what they mean.

    And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him. And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed. (Genesis 2:18-25)

    The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery. His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry. But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given. For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother’s womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it. (Matthew 19:3-12)

    Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband. (Ephesians 5:21-33)

    Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement. Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered. Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing. (1 Peter 3:1-9)

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  14. My theory: If we love God, neighbors and one another, everything else will take care of itself. We will achieve more for families by teaching, and learning, how to love than by any amount of effort put into attempting to discern and directly implementing God’s perfect will for what the perfect family is supposed to look like.

    How do we teach people to love? We don’t actually, we can only show them. How do we show them? By loving them.

    How do I learn to love people when I don’t already know how? I don’t know. I expect it has something to do with God and Jesus having first loved me. Trouble is, I don’t much sense the love of an invisible God or Savior. The mystics, maybe, have sensed His love. I still seem to need to be loved by others, by Jesus loving through others, by, as it is said, those who serve as Jesus with skin on.

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  15. Sadly, you see so many broken people today. More broken than most are willing to admit.

    Then you have some circles of faith that concentrate so much on human ‘roles’. It could be gender roles, member role to church leadership, leadership to church, etc.

    The message seems to be if you would just do your job as we told you too? Everything would be awesome! Here – lets me give you this great book on th subject. Everyone tells me its awesome! (Notice: not the bible, but someone’s interruption on how you need to do your job/role)

    Then you have the scare tactics. Homosexuals and Feminists are wanting to run the WORLD, and ruin it for everyone! THEY are responsible for most of the SIN out there, and why our world is going down the toilet! THEY don’t know how to do their role/job! Notice what happens when you don’t!

    Brokeness? They will admit its there. They have a group of ‘counselors’ that feed you their spiritual pixie dust, and then tell you if it doesn’t take care of your transformation? You have SIN issues, and you aren’t giving it your all! Then they hand you a new forumla.

    They allow you a timeline in which to deal with it, and then ask you to put on that pretty face…and join our new conference on the newest and bestest way to do your role/job! ITS tranformed LIFES! Remember the past is the past – keep that spiritual pixie dust in your heart!

    Put on that shining face, and we will all sing KUM BA YA! Make sure you show that ‘good family’ to everyone, because you wouldn’t wish to have other’s ‘stumble’ by NOT presenting the best of the transformation!

    Questions about this avenue to faith? Its returned with sour grapes. People feel played, betrayed, or worthless.

    Sadly, some christian organizations hand you playbill. They assign you your role in the play, and want you to bring home that Academy award!

    They refuse to acknowledge all the smoke and mirrors, and honestly you have to wonder if they are capable of truly dealing with reality of too many people.

    If you transform the person? The rest of what they seem to be aiming for will come. That means meeting people where they are at, and being okay with it. Its not about ‘families’, but being the best for God’s purpose! If you are better man for God? Being a good husband just happens! Same goes for the wife, child, etc. You want to do good for your family, your church, our Lord. Singleness is treasured, because as the bible states you have less – I guess you could call it – distractions in your life, or loyalities to a family – and you can give more of yourself. Neither is a ‘status’ thing, and both are treasured. Both have purpose.

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  16. Julie Anne

    You ask…
    “ Has the Godly-Designed Family Image Become an Idol?”

    Absolutely – Another “Idol” of the Heart… Ezk 14:1-11
    And NOW God speaks to us according to our “Idols.” Oy Vey!!!

    And those who grew up in a dysfunctional family – Can feel deprived….
    And those NOW living in a dysfunctional family – Can feel guilty…
    For NOT living up to God’s best – as prescribed for us by – FOF… 😦

    Yes – The Focus should be on God – when you say…
    “I think if God was the focus, then everything else would fall in place.”

    This seems more like todays “Biblical” families… 😉
    That “Focus on the Family” doesn’t seem to “Focus” on…

    Jesus did NOT come to send Peace – But a Sword. Huh???
    “To set a man at variance against his father,” Ouch!!!
    Look out Modern Christian Family – Here comes Jesus… 😉

    Mat 10:34-36
    Think not that I am come to send peace on earth:
    I came not to send peace, but a sword.
    For I am come to set a man at variance against his father,
    and the daughter against her mother,
    and the daughter in law against her mother in law.
    And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.

    Jesus did NOT come to give Peace – But division. Huh???
    “the mother against the daughter, “ Ouch!!!
    Look out Modern Christian Family – Here comes Jesus… 😉

    Luke 12:51-53
    Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth?
    I tell you, Nay; but rather division:
    For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided,
    three against two, and two against three.
    The father shall be divided against the son,
    and the son against the father;
    the mother against the daughter,
    and the daughter against the mother;
    the mother in law against her daughter in law,
    and the daughter in law against her mother in law.

    Jesus says there is a reward for those who have left wives and children,
    For His Sake – And the Gospels. Huh???
    With – Persecutions… Don’t want to leave out the fun part… 😉

    Mark 10:29
    And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you,
    There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters,
    or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake,
    and the gospel’s, But he shall receive an hundredfold
    now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers,
    and children, and lands, with persecutions;
    and in the world to come eternal life.

    Yup – His ways – Are NOT our ways…

    And – Certainly NOT the way of FOF…

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  17. Monique said:

    I would like to know what’s in this curriculum, but I’ll bet it’s nothing new or earth shattering.

    Well, seeing how Christian fundamentalists believe that the Bible provides all the answers to life’s issues why are they spending $5 M.I.L.L.I.O.N. dollars to teach us something that the Bible already gives us? How about give that $$ to domestic violence survivors, or those who are unemployed and can’t find adequate medical/dental insurance – you know – – help the poor/oppressed like the Bible commands?

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  18. Gary W, I am right there with you on that comment. When we start to hear the HS voice for each of our lives and listen- He will give us the answers. It is then our responsibility to move forward with it- whether in marriage or not.

    Again there is a balance- marriage is talked about in Scripture and there are real life principles we can glean from it about marriage; but also remember the context. In Roman times, most did get married because marriage does increase population. If you wanted your “species” to increase you got married and had kids. So in the secular sense, we would have to realize that this accurate. In Russia today, they are frantic because Russian population is decreasing. That is why Putin is enacting in laws against homosexuality and international adoption; they are increasingly concerned with China migrating into North Russian territory and also the Muslim population. In Europe, population is decreasing because many are opting out of marriage and couples are not having many or no kids. So there is a real concern and rightly so. Families are important to God and in the secular world just for the fact of populating.

    However, I just feel that the more we “pound the pavement” with propaganda the more we hurt the cause of good, healthy family systems. And like Gary said if we just verbalized and showed with our actions the love of Christ, we would not rub people the wrong way. All people, whether single or married, are valued in Gods sight and need to be stated as such.

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  19. An Attorney the Bible also presents us with other pictures of a family as well:

    Single Parent:
    And it came to pass about three months after, that it was told Judah, saying, Tamar thy daughter in law hath played the harlot; and also, behold, she is with child by whoredom. And Judah said, Bring her forth, and let her be burnt. When she was brought forth, she sent to her father in law, saying, By the man, whose these are, am I with child: and she said, Discern, I pray thee, whose are these, the signet, and bracelets, and staff. And Judah acknowledged them, and said, She hath been more righteous than I; because that I gave her not to Shelah my son. And he knew her again no more. And it came to pass in the time of her travail, that, behold, twins were in her womb. And it came to pass, when she travailed, that the one put out his hand: and the midwife took and bound upon his hand a scarlet thread, saying, This came out first. And it came to pass, as he drew back his hand, that, behold, his brother came out: and she said, How hast thou broken forth? this breach be upon thee: therefore his name was called Pharez. And afterward came out his brother, that had the scarlet thread upon his hand: and his name was called Zarah. (Genesis 38:24-30)

    A young lady married to a divorced man:
    And the king loved Esther above all the women, and she obtained grace and favour in his sight more than all the virgins; so that he set the royal crown upon her head, and made her queen instead of Vashti. (Esther 2:17)

    A single person:
    And the king communed with them; and among them all was found none like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: therefore stood they before the king. And in all matters of wisdom and understanding, that the king enquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm. And Daniel continued even unto the first year of king Cyrus. (Daniel 1:19-21)

    A person in a difficult marriage:
    Then said the LORD unto me, Go yet, love a woman beloved of her friend, yet an adulteress, according to the love of the LORD toward the children of Israel, who look to other gods, and love flagons of wine. So I bought her to me for fifteen pieces of silver, and for an homer of barley, and an half homer of barley: And I said unto her, Thou shalt abide for me many days; thou shalt not play the harlot, and thou shalt not be for another man: so will I also be for thee. (Hosea 3:1-3)

    As I stated previously no family structure is godly by default but all are potentially godly and God provides instructions for all family dynamics.

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  20. It has been a while since I was up on FoF but they lost millions of donors, listeners over the years. Dobson stepped down but then really didn’t and that caused problems then he hooked up with his son to “start” something. See, Ryan was real rebellious and then viola! He found a career in professional “Christian” speaking wiht his dads help!. Amazing how that works.

    Here is a perfect lesson about these folks. Don’t take advice from them on raising children unitl theirs are grown. (wink)

    Some years back when I was organizing some Love Won Out conferences in megas I found out that women at FoF could not wear pants (they might have changed it) and were required to wear panty hose to work. That is how silly they were.

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  21. Shirley Dobson started the National Day of Prayer which became big. I cannot remember when this started but it was a while back. They actually agreed not to use the Name of Jesus when praying at the public event in Washington. This was back when the blogosphere first started so it did not make the rounds as it should have. Most did not even notice. Slice of Laodicea had links about it.

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  22. Julie Anne said: “Why do we even have such a focus on this “Godly-designed” family? But where exactly is this family focus in scripture? Isn’t the focus for us in scripture to love God? I think if God was the focus, then everything else would fall in place.”

    Very well said! And that’s similar to something I heard years ago in church. = If hearts are changed, there’s no need for focusing on how to deal with the ills of the world.

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  23. As I stated previously no family structure is godly by default but all are potentially godly and God provides instructions for all family dynamics.

    Right, so they should knock off the scary statistics and deal with what they have in their churches. If there are singles, divorced, widows, deal with them right where they are. If there are families suffering hardship, relational issues, deal with those directly in real and practical ways with money, counseling, housing, etc. Quit putting guilt trips on families if they are fatherless, divorced, if singles haven’t found a spouse. Let it go – – love compassionately, defend the oppressed, feed the poor. It’s pretty simple. It shouldn’t take five million dollars to do this.

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  24. Shannon H. I have a question for you. Why did the people with changed hearts in Corinth need 1 Corinthians to correct their sinful behavior patterns if all they needed were changed hearts? I think we are doing people a disservice when we count instruction from Scripture as a non-essential.

    Like

  25. Right. We all know Julie Anne has been telling abuse survivors to “shut up” to protect her reputation and her wealth. (Sarcasm) Sheesh.

    Like

  26. JA FoF is a para-church ministry that is addressing one particular issue that they see to be a problem. It is kind of like your blog. Your blog is geared to help those who have experienced some form of abuse. It does not mean that you don’t think people who have not experienced these types of abuses are not valuable but this is simply your ministry concentration. FoF’s concentration is on the nuclear family. Statistics say that one of the biggest contributors to school drop outs, incarcerations, drug use, teen pregnancy in my demographic is the departure of fathers from African-American homes. These are secular statistics are not scare tactics but show there is a need to address this issue. Does it mean that single parents are to be devalued? NO!!! It does mean that people need to be made aware of the additional risks of choosing to be single parents, choosing divorce, etc. FoF like your blog is simply addressing one among many needs in the churches today.

    Like

  27. Plain and simple. It is a marketing venture to increase revenue steams for their products and brand. Playing on the emotions of their potential consumers’ is a page right out of mass marketing methodology.

    Like

  28. I have said this before on TWW and I’ll say it again here. I long for the day I can walk into a church alone and receive the same warm welcome as the young married couple with small children. I long for the day when the church sees value in me beyond free babysitting. I long for the day that the church loves me simply because I was created in the image of my Maker, not for any man-made labels. I try so hard to live this out in my own life, to love because He first loved me. Shouldn’t Focus on the Family mean Focus on the Family of God, not Focus on the American Nuclear Family of the 1950s? What better way to live that out than to ditch the invisinle labels we all seem to wear on our foreheads and simply love because we are loved.

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  29. Holy cow. I’m so happy your views on this are aligned with mine. Does God really plant an emphasis on “the family” design? Why is this project so important? There are so many external factors of marriage that cannot be simply ignored. For some families, sticking together isn’t the best option. I completely agree with Mandy here. Maybe we should just focus on loving because we are loved and not creating a standard that people are scared into. This standard is old-aged and impossible at times. What should be focused on is the healthiness of the people and the importance of Godly love.

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  30. Wow – I’m a CJ Mahaney

    Naaah. Not HUMBLE(TM) enough. I don’t see any liveried Armorbearers blowing long trumpets before you to announce how HUMBLE(TM) you are.

    Like

  31. “My theory: If we love God, neighbors and one another, everything else will take care of itself. We will achieve more for families by teaching, and learning, how to love than by any amount of effort put into attempting to discern and directly implementing God’s perfect will for what the perfect family is supposed to look like.”

    Ding, Ding, Ding!!! Gary gets the prize. All this family stuff is to sell books, conferences, etc. (FoF is going down the tubes)

    The truth: It is about looking to Christ. Becoming Christlike. But that is out of vogue now. We have to get people focused on fixing each other instead of abiding in Christ and being led by the Holy Spirit.

    Satan is thrilled.

    Old Covenant: Be fruitful and multiply
    New Covenant: Go and make disciples

    Like

  32. JA, Mel does not explain herself at all. Perhaps she could come here and tell us who she thinks you are accountable to and how you have protected child molesters like CJ. I doubt she thought that tweet through since as a woman, you could not be a CJ because he is an “Apostle”…oops, Pastor.

    Hey! Maybe she believes that Junia was an apostle! (wink)

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  33. Why did the people with changed hearts in Corinth need 1 Corinthians to correct their sinful behavior patterns if all they needed were changed hearts? I think we are doing people a disservice when we count instruction from Scripture as a non-essential.”

    That is what is so scary. The people in Philippi and Galatia did not get that memo. And the people in Corinth did not get the Ephesian memo so they did not know that Chloe was not allowed to have “people” or get the instructions about head coverings!
    . :o)

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  34. Wesley,
    My point is that the people from the OT that you identified are not there as models of what a family should be, but descriptions of human families that were messed up in one of many ways. There is no model family put forth in scripture nor any definition of what a family should be or look like. As I said, FoF is a political entity, not a religious entity. It is political and uses religious terms and ideas to accomplish its political ends.

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  35. Wesley asks, “Why did the people with changed hearts in Corinth need 1 Corinthians to correct their sinful behavior patterns if all they needed were changed hearts?”

    Answer: Hearts at Corinth weren’t actually changed. They had not found the way of love.

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  36. Wesley asks, “Why did the people with changed hearts in Corinth need 1 Corinthians to correct their sinful behavior patterns if all they needed were changed hearts?”

    Answer: Hearts at Corinth weren’t actually changed. They had not found the way of love.

    This does sound like you’re approaching the “No True Scotsman” fallacy.

    Like

  37. I was a part of the FOF crowd at one point and all it did for me was point out always what was wrong with our culture, instead of pointing to the Savior. Everything about our country and people was “what went wrong”, instead of real solutions and just plain ‘ole common sense.

    This sounds like a “Scare ‘Em Into the Kingdom” approach, something I am sadly familiar with in the heyday of Hal Lindsay. Basically a Christianese version of hammering the mark with What Is Wrong, Doom and Gloom, then once they’re scared enough, offering My Agenda (and Only My Agenda) as The Only Solution. Whether that Agenda is an Altar Call or a Political Takeover. Just sign everything away and commit.

    “WE HAVE TO DO SOMETHING!”
    “THIS IS SOMETHING…” (offering agenda)

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  38. I remember when I worshiped FOF, and how crushed I was when Dobson’s partner in crime, Mike Trout, abruptly quit the ministry because of his extramarital affair.

    Was that the guy who got caught at the airport with a male prostie?

    Like

  39. Urgent prayer request here. I accidentally consumed gluten at lunch and am having a violent reaction (celiac disease). I have 4 hrs of flights tomorrow but it usually takes 3 days for a gluten reaction to calm down. Please pray that I make it through the flights safely. This is pretty much my worst nightmare come true.

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  40. Hi Mandy: Praying for you!! You probably know what to do. I didn’t and just looked it up and found tons of articles. Here are the first few. (I know, I know, I’m a mom who wants to stop all ailments now.)

    I hope you don’t get too bad of a reaction. I’m so sorry. That must be a challenge to deal with.

    http://www.livingwithout.com/blog/gluten_by_accident-3061-1.html

    http://www.celiac.com/articles/21721/1/How-Celiacs-can-Deal-with-Accidental-Gluten-Ingestion/Page1.html

    http://www.celiac.com/articles/21721/1/How-Celiacs-can-Deal-with-Accidental-Gluten-Ingestion/Page1.html

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  41. “This does sound like you’re approaching the “No True Scotsman” fallacy.”

    Which begs the question (non- risqué double entendre intended): Is not every argument’s conclusion assumed by its major premise?

    Like

  42. Thank you. After 5+ years and talking to various experts (my special someone is on the board of directors for one of the groups), I have learned that all I can do is wait it out and pray I dont lose more than 5 pounds this time. To make life even more fun I also deal with severe motion sickness. I don’t even know what I hope for now beyond simple survival. At least my special someone already has permission to meet me at the gate. I am tired of counting the tiles in my bathroom.

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  43. Focus on the Family Official Resigned Over Affair.
    Mike Trout, an on-air personality for the evangelical radio ministry, has admitted to an ‘inappropriate relationship’
    COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., Oct. 17 (AP)–A top official and radio announcer for Focus on the Family said he has resigned from the conservative Christian group because he had an extramarital affair.

    J.A. Emotional affair? Does that fall under the category of extramarital affair? I remember the scuttlebutt and recall he physically cheated on his wife. It is old news, and not related to your questions about FOF. But, I was floored when this came out, had all those guys on a pedestal back then.

    Mandy, You will be in my prayers tonight.

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  44. Mandy, Yea, it looked like for some, there was nothing to do but wait it out. What a bummer. I’m glad you have that special someone to meet you at the gate 🙂

    Like

  45. Gail – I only heard about the emotional affair- from several sources and that has been years ago (and confirmed with the links I posted today – and there were plenty more saying it was emotional affair.) Was there another affair or are there now conflicting stories?

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  46. J.A. I have no idea if there are conflicting stories now. Like I said it is old news, but I wouldn’t put it past FOF to sugarcoat it by saying it was only “emotional affair” as a way to deal with public relations fallout.

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  47. I have a couple of questions:

    1) It is often said that God’s three ordained institutions are the family, the government, and the church. Does anyone know the origin of that statement? Never fully understood it, and it is often brought up when religious conservatives engage in hostile political debates. They treat this statement as an established fact. It is a loaded statement to me with full of unsupported assumptions, conclusions and suppositions.

    2) Jesus himself was single. People in their thirties were old enough to be grandparents in his day, but yet he did not have a family of his own which was unheard of. People were married in their teens, so one would think that his enemies would have made this an issue in their quest to undermine his ministry. Can anyone shed some light on this? This is one reason why some scholars believe Jesus was married.

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  48. I think that it is true historically that there is no one type of family described in the bible. Poligamy was VERY COMMON and permited by God. Many of the hero’s in the OT had more than one wife and yet they were counted as being rightous before God.

    If you take the story of Adam and Eve literally as an example of what God intended for marriage then you have the problem that there was only one woman to choose from!

    The biblical concept of family includes women as being pieces of property. In fact the prohibition against adultery was a property crime. If you read carefully in the bible It defines it as stealing another man’s wife. That holds true even for the act of rape. If a woman was single and raped then the perp just had to pay the father a certain amount of money and marry her. So the crime was not against her, but against her father. This was in the Jewish law set down by Moses..

    Now as far as what Jesus said, there is speculation that he was saying was to protect a vulnerable woman from being thrown out by her husband with no place to go. In one passage it talks just about a husband divorcing her and that would force her to commit “adultery.” A different version says that both the former husband and the former wife would both be guilty of adultery. But since the husband was the only person who could get a divorce just because he didn’t like his wife it seems pretty clear that the context was to protect the woman.

    What we consider to be biblical values are often not found in the bible at all.

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  49. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife….or his ass (Deuteronomy 5:21).

    Never has trouble with the ass part :). Mary is right. It is important to note that the wife is listed among the other pieces of properties. Is that a “biblical value” we want to return to? Count me out.

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  50. I haven’t read all the other comments but this idolization of marriage and putting the family on a pedestal is one of the things we write about often at A Cry For Justice.
    I believe that some of the people who promote this stuff are abusers of their wives and children, and they are masquerading as being anti-divorce and pro-family because they want the traditional family to remain as it is so they can continue to maintain power and control over their victims (the wife and kids). It is wickedness in the extreme.

    I’m not saying that all who follow FOF are like that. But there are enough wolves in sheep’s clothing in that FOF camp to keep the ship steered in the wrong direction — the direction that suits them. They keep the blinkers on everyone else, and love to harp on the dreadful plight of society because of family breakdown… claiming the high moral ground while practising their wicked deeds behind closed doors.

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  51. Thank you, Barbara Roberts! My thoughts completely. As a former follower of FoF and as someone who was married to a pedophile, I can attest that their teachings do much to keep women (and men) in bad relationships where they or others are being harmed. Their teachings are formulaic and do not seem to allow for the fallen condition of mankind. And harping on “God’s ideal plan” for family just guarantees that those who are living with abuse of any kind will stay quiet. How dare we speak up? We risk judgment as failing somehow to keep our end of the bargain or formula.

    Life is hard, bad things happen to innocent people. Godly women seeking God’s best for their life inadvertently and innocently marry abusive men. Individuals who truly meant their “till death do us part” vow find themselves divorced and alone. This is life in a fallen world. Harping on a scripturally non-existent “ideal” family is not living in Realville–where all of us live. We all live in broken families to one extent or another. There is no perfect family–none.

    Look at King David’s family–an account fully presented in Scripture. His daughter was brutally raped by her brother and King David looked the other way. He tried to silence his daughter rather than support her and give her the resources that she needed for physical survival. I love that Scripture gives us the raw look at these Biblical heroes rather than the glossy, FoF version. Real life, real brokenness, real mess. There is no ideal family, but there is redemption of individual lives in spite of and maybe because of the mess.

    And yes, Barbara, so many who follow FoF are abusers. And they abuse guiltlessly because Dobson told them to (not directly but indirectly by his “teachings.”) I personally know of a former employee of FoF who is a spouse abuser and another who feared she would lose her job when her husband was arrested for child porn possession. We are all a mess–every single one of us.

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  52. One thing that bothers me with the video above, and with a lot of rhetoric from some Christian circles, is their use of “the family” as a kind of pet phrase. They seem to think of “family” as some monolithic concept, with only one definition, and they know God’s design for it. By focusing on “the family”, I fear that they often lose sight of individual families, and of individuals within those families. Each family will have its own challenges, and the solutions might not be exactly the same for each one.

    Speaking of solutions, what exactly is FoF trying to accomplish with this whole enterprise? They do that whole opening montage of America’s ills (and that montage alone sets off red flags for me), and then imply that their project will somehow solve all this. How exactly? I doubt that this film or its curriculum will have much of interest to non-Christians – many of whom would probably reject its basic assumptions. I suspect a lot of outsiders would also dismiss it as a moneymaking scheme. As for Christians, we already have the Bible to tell us how to treat those closest to us, and Jesus as our prime example. I’m sure that reminders of these principles are helpful, but to the tune of $5 million? I think that money could be better spent on helping family members in crisis directly – donating to women’s shelters, or soup kitchens, or even the YMCA.

    I don’t see how a culture can be “saved” or “redeemed”; yet that seems to be the goal of this project.

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  53. David C said, “2) Jesus himself was single. People in their thirties were old enough to be grandparents in his day, but yet he did not have a family of his own which was unheard of.”

    In my old church it was taught by a pastor that in that society Mary was probably in her late teens and Joseph was probably about 40 because women got married early but the men established their profession and got married later in life.

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  54. Shannon H said:

    In my old church it was taught by a pastor that in that society Mary was probably in her late teens and Joseph was probably about 40 because women got married early but the men established their profession and got married later in life.

    That does not sound right especially given much shorter life expectancies in a impoverished society. I would think that was the case in a polygamous society where a wealthy man in his 40’s would marry a teen as a new addition to the group of wives he already has.

    So did your old church promote Joseph’s marriage as “biblical”? Biblical maybe, but creepy.

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  55. I am sure many people dismiss musicnote’s comment regarding the alienation and stigma that singles face as a rant from a bitter spinster.

    But then there’s this for married women. It was written by a young woman, but it went viral among conservative Evangelical men at the time.

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  56. @David C
    October 8, 2013 @ 10:49 AM

    I can see why that article went viral among conservative Evangelical men. Wow! Wonder if she found herself a husband? I do think she is a bit naïve, though, and really well trained in complementarian roles.

    Like

  57. Mandy –

    Praying for you . . . as severe motion sickness person myself, I can’t imagine combining that with celiac disease.

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  58. @David C
    October 8, 2013 @ 10:49 AM

    I understand why that article was popular. I wrote an article just like it when I was her age (and yes, it was published in a major Christian women’s magazine), and I got divorced anyway.

    Just because you can espouse all the good Christian girl teachings doesn’t mean that God will give you a good spouse. I had a perfect courtship with a guy … did everything right … and he ended up being a pedophile.

    So my message to Focus on the Family is, “Marriage will not save culture, only Jesus will.”

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  59. As for Christians, we already have the Bible to tell us how to treat those closest to us, and Jesus as our prime example. I’m sure that reminders of these principles are helpful, but to the tune of $5 million? I think that money could be better spent on helping family members in crisis directly – donating to women’s shelters, or soup kitchens, or even the YMCA.

    Exactly, Serving. Rather than all this $$ on missions trips, how about investing in families who are in crisis. Isn’t that the model that we see in scripture – – to defend the oppressed/poor? That’s much better missionary work. Imagine the spiritual lessons it would teach that family – – that the Body of Christ takes care of their own, the weak, the defenseless and that God, through the Body, met all of their needs. Where is that church?

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  60. David C asked, “So did your old church promote Joseph’s marriage as “biblical”? Biblical maybe, but creepy.”

    No, it was just presented as a historical thing for that society. There wasn’t any promotion of any particular kind of marriage at my old church.

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  61. Mandy, I remember wanting to go to the hospital, hardly able to stand, but having to catch a 14-hour flight instead. You have my prayers!

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  62. For decades now, Focus on the Family has peddled its wares. No dent has been made in the societal ills they promised to fix. If anything, societal and cultural decline, as defined by them, has accelerated. Their experiment has failed. Even if we agree with their views on the state of the society and culture, why would we think that more of the same from Focus on the Family would now produce the promised transformation? Why would we invest time and effort in their failed paradigm? Why would we throw more and more money at them?

    Like

  63. For Julie Anne: That guy, Miano, who I believe you tangled with on Twitter, who is against women doing open air preaching, did an interview with Mefferd.

    Mefferd identifies as a gender complementarian, and she seems to conflate being a biblical egalitarian with secular feminism (or she seems to make the common mistake that egalitarian Christians have been influenced by secular feminism, that they have no biblical support for their views), which it is not.

    Miano’s argument on the Mefferd show is that man (Adam) named woman (Eve) ergo this reflects authority over woman is bogus. That ‘naming = authority’ is him reading something into the text that is not there.

    Anyway, here is a link to the interview with Miano:

    Hour 3 of Mefferd’s radio show – Evangelist Tony Miano talks about his book Should She Preach.

    Miano also got it wrong on another point: women DO want to submit to men after the fall – that was a result of the fall, he seemed to be arguing the opposite. (He brings up the old canard that women want to usurp a man’s authority.)

    Miano seems to argue in this interview that women wanted to submit prior to the fall. But Women want to submit to men today, after the fall – they are looking for men to be their be-all, their savior, their God, but many men take that opportunity to abuse that and exploit it which is what God was warning Eve about in Genesis.

    Far from wanting to be in power over men, or usurp their authority, many women want a man to protect them and take care of them, instead of looking to God to fulfill their needs.

    Minao complains in the show that Christians who claim to be complementarian are comp only on Sunday mornings in church but live as egalitarians the rest of the week.

    Mefferd backs this by saying women are treated as equals in the work place but as 2nd class citizens in the church, and even a lot of comp women find this confusing. Miano claims this is looking at things in a “humanistic” perspective, not a biblical one.

    He equates a woman having authority to looking like a man, acting like one, etc. Women are (he says) to be prized by men to be cherished… treated as “weaker vessels.” It’s a view that sees women as being dainty little things who need big, strong men to protect them.

    As I’ve said before, this is all codependency wrapped in biblical terms… I lived it, it doesn’t work. Being submissive to everyone all the time leads you to being abused, taken advantage of, or taken for granted especially by unethical people who are on the prowl of victims they find easy to control. Codependency (telling women to submit all the time to men) also not biblical.

    The Bible calls all people to personal responsibility, male and female, whereas complementarianism asks women to turn all responsibility of their lives to another person (husband or father).

    Miano’s views on genders are totally unbiblical. I listened to the first half of that show and could not listen to the rest.

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  64. “I can see why that article went viral among conservative Evangelical men. Wow! Wonder if she found herself a husband? I do think she is a bit naïve, though, and really well trained in complementarian roles”

    Yikes! She recommended a book by Carolyn McCulley. She worked for CJ for many years. Oh, the book is titled: Loving your husband before you get married. Last I checked a few years ago, she never married and she is middle aged. But everything I read from her back in the day was geared toward marriage. You gotta wonder what is up with that? She wanted to be married, is nice looking, professional, had a big wig job with Mahaney doing fluffy women stuff in ministry…..

    ….I have always wondered if women like her and Nancy DeMoss were really afraid to give it all up because in their marriage construct they would have to take second place in real life. Easier to talk about it?

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  65. About the original post’s question:
    “God’s Design for the Family: Has the Godly-Designed Family Image Become an Idol?”

    Yes, indeed it has. Ask anyone who has never married, never had a child, or who is divorced, widowed, or who IS married with a grown child who is now out of the house how included they feel in the average evangelical or Baptist church, and often, you’re going to hear they don’t feel included, or that they matter.

    @Wesley Roy. There is no such thing as a “gift of singleness.” That phrase is not even in the Bible, nor is “gift of celibacy.”

    Also, both phrases are misunderstood by Christians.

    Under New Testament teachings, getting married and/or having children are left up to each individual to decide for himself.

    God does not expect or command anyone to marry or have children, that is not the norm.

    Jesus actually condemns people for placing family ties above Him. Paul says it is better not to marry. All of this, whether to marry and/or have babies, is designed by God to be based on personal choice and preference.

    The terms “Gift of Singleness” and “Gift of Celibacy” are often understood incorrectly by evangelical / Baptist / conservative Christians to mean God foreordained in eternity past who would be married, who would be single, and who He would remove all sexual desire from.

    God did not foreordain in eternity past that some would stay single, some would marry, nor does God remove libido from older celibates, such as myself.

    I still want to get married and have sex. I have a healthy sex drive. I have remained a virgin into my 40s based on will power alone, not via super powers from on High. God did not erase my sex drive.

    It’s annoying as all get out to me when Christians bandy this “GOS / GOC” (Gift of Singleness/ Gift of Celibacy) crud around, as though God determined at some point He would never send me a husband, that He “gifted me” (chose me) for life long singleness, which is not a gift if you don’t want it.

    I am not single because God chose me to be single. I am not celibate because God chose me to be celibate, or “gifted” me with it.

    W Roy said,

    the church to give considerably more time to the married family dynamic than the single dynamic

    Where in the Bible does it say that families deserve more time than singles from the church? It does not. That’s very insulting.

    Churches have already been devoting more time, energy and money to familes for decades now and all that enormous “focusing on the family” has done didley squat nothing to halt the tsunami tide of unwanted, protracted adult singleness among Christians, rising divorce rates, etc.

    There are entire books written by Christians who study how churches treat singles and why adult singles are dropping out of church, and one thing they all note is that churches fund the families and youth ministries out the wazoo, over fund them, and spend hardly nada, nothing on adult singles. That is discrimination against singles and a manifesatation of the idolization of the family by Christians.

    Wesley Roy said,

    ” So I would say their is nothing idolatrous about certain ministries having different emphasis any more than it is idolatrous for people to minister predominately in the areas of their gifting.”

    Yes, it is idolatry. Jesus Himself said you are to focus on Him and His spiritual family (your brothers and sisters in Him), not on the nuclear family and not on defending the nuclear family from liberalism or cultural shifts.

    One reason of many I am partially agnostic these days and have given up on church is due to the fact that as a never married, virgin, childless woman who is over 40 years of age, most Christian groups/ churches ostracize me, won’t let me serve in non-child related roles, I get treated like a potential temptress (Christians assume all single women are tramps who will bed married men), and marriage and married couples and parenting/ children are worshipped.

    American Christianity is clearly only for married- with- children people. American Christianity does not work if you are unmarried or childless.

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  66. @ WR (Wesley Roy) said,

    JA part of loving God is also accepting and valuing God’s design for our lives. To love someone we must ascribe value to their views. God does have a particular design for the family in Scripture. Now the problem may be that people fail to mention God’s plan for singles, divorced, single parents, etc. when teaching on family life. That needs to be corrected but failing to teach people what God has said about the family in all its many facets is neither loving God or people.

    The Bible does not have one design for families, another one for divorced, one for widows, one for never married, one for childless.

    The Bible says there is neither Greek nor Jew in Christ, neither free nor slave, male nor female. There are no divisions, yet you are saying there are married, there are singles, there are divorced.

    The Bible does not make distinctions like that not in how Christians are to serve God and one another.

    The tasks laid down for a believer in Jesus are
    1. help other Christians and
    2. spread the Gospel.

    And those two points are true regardless of marital status.

    The Bible teaches that spiritual family takes precedence over flesh and blood family.

    Matt 10 37:
    Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.

    That is what the Bible teaches about family.

    And,

    He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” 49 Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. 50 For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” (Matthew 12:46-50 )

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  67. I got so caught up answering WR’s posts, I almost forgot a point.

    Where the original post says,
    “Currently, Focus on the Family is in the process of raising money for a new project called the Family Project. Their target amount for this endeavor is $5 million.”

    There was an article that came out either shortly before (or was it after??) that one that said Focus on the Family had to lay off a bunch of staff because they are running out of money.

    I don’t understand why, if they are facing financial problems to the point they are laying people off, they are at the same time wanting to make a five million dollar movie about the stupendousness of the nuclear family? And why does anyone think we need a movie about that?

    Focus On The Family And NavPress Layoffs Due To Large Budget Deficit

    Focus on the Family will eliminate 40 jobs in an attempt to alleviate their $3 million budget deficit, reports The Gazette.

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  68. I’m a member of a secular discussion board. Some people on there are married, some single, some men, some women, some one age, some another. And most members know these things about other members, but it isn’t an issue. There are no forums for the marrieds, people who are over a certain age, etc. We’re all there together because we share a common interest. And I wonder why can’t church be like that?

    Calling singleness a gift bugs me too. My talents are my gifts. Living single or married takes skill.

    Like

  69. @ Wesley Roy post of OCTOBER 7, 2013 @ 11:52 AM

    WR said,

    It does mean that people need to be made aware of the additional risks of choosing to be single parents, choosing divorce,

    But a lot of people do not “choose” to end up where they are. I sincerely thought I’d be married by my late 20s, mid 30s, but God never did send me that Mr Right Christians promised me I would get if only I would just trust Jesus for it, pray and wait.

    I don’t think the majority of people walk into a marriage planing on divorcing later – they don’t really “choose” divorce, per se. Most folks probably hope their marriage will work out.

    WR said

    FoF like your blog is simply addressing one among many needs in the churches today.

    Why is there not a Focus on the Never Married Adults para church group, or a Focus on the Divorced? How come so many evangelical / baptist/ conservative Chrsitians don’t run on “single adult Christian” values or fight for never married single adults?

    It’s not just FoF. It’s all of evangelical/ Baptist Christianity that is enamored with “families” and traditional marriage, children, etc. Most sermons in most churches are about MARRIAGE. Hardly will you ever hear a preacher man discuss adult singleness and celibacy from the pulpit

    All their analogies in sermons are to MARRIAGE, even if the sermon itself is not about marriage.

    Marriage alone does not represent God to the church, or Jesus/bride church. I am so tired of Christians using the “bride of Christ” reference. Singles also represent heaven/ God/ Jesus and believer’s relationship to God.

    Jesus says there will be no marriage in heaven, but using singles in analogies in sermons is never, ever done by preachers.

    The preachers have the nerve to preface such sermons by saying, “Hey, you may be single right now, but my ten hour long marriage sermon series each Sunday that lasts for the next three years in a row can still benefit you, so take notes you unmarried people!”

    How many married couples you know would want to sit thru a three year in a row sermons series about older adult and celibacy and singleness?

    Or if every single blasted sermon used singleness as an illustration to make a point? Married couples would not stand for any of this stuff, but singles are expected to put up with this sort of thing.

    Anyway, it’s not just FOF. The entire American Christian culture is consumed by marriage and procreation. FOF is just one aspect of it.

    Like

  70. @ HUG said,

    Naaah. Not HUMBLE(TM) enough. I don’t see any liveried Armorbearers blowing long trumpets before you to announce how HUMBLE(TM) you are.

    That is referred to as “humble bragging” (or “to humble brag”) on other sites. 😆 -When you point out how modest and humble you are.

    Like

  71. JA said,
    “No, if I remember correctly, Trout [the FoF guy] had an emotional affair with another married woman.”

    Whoa, whoa – a married dude (I assume he was married?) had an affair with a married woman? Do tell.

    As a single woman, I get the stereotype from some Christian married people (male and female) that I will bed a married man, so I can never, ever be trusted with, or around, a married man. I can’t be alone around them, can’t correspond with them online, because I just want to bed them all. 🙄

    I see a lot of stories of married (Christian) woman who start affairs with (Christian) married men, or married men with married women.

    Single women are thought of, or scapegoated, by lots of Christians as being the vixens who break up marriages.

    I’m one single lady who would never flirt with/ sleep with a married guy and find the “I must be a sex pot- home wrecker with a target on every married man’s forehead,” (and all because I’m single), very insulting.

    Like

  72. missdaisyflower:

    “Mandy, I just said a prayer for your health. I hope you are doing better now. I sometimes have doubts these days if God exists, but if He does, I did say a prayer for you.”

    I see I have a few comments of yours to read, but I have to tell you, I love your honesty. I completely get why people have doubts. Just watching all the wolves in sheep’s clothing can be such a turn off to Christianity and a stumbling block.

    Like

  73. Julie Anne said,

    I see I have a few comments of yours to read, but I have to tell you, I love your honesty. I completely get why people have doubts. Just watching all the wolves in sheep’s clothing can be such a turn off to Christianity and a stumbling block.

    Thank you. 🙂

    There are several issues that have been causing me to doubt Christianity lately, and the wolves in sheep’s clothing is one, and of course, how unmarried people are generally excluded while marriage/family is held up, and some other reasons.

    I also wanted to say after having read through the remainder of the posts, I related to several of them, and they made really great points, too.

    Like

  74. Thank you all so much for the prayers. That was a miserable 36 hours, something I never want to repeat. I am feeling better now. Praise God that I adapt easily to altitude.

    Daisy, I love reading your comments. Keep them coming. I have much more to learn.

    Like

  75. Mandy, I am glad you are doing better.

    Also, thank you for the kind words about my posts. I tend to post more at TWW blog out of habit than I do at this blog. Sometimes I feel like I post too much, and I don’t mean to annoy people with frequent posting.

    There’s also the matter of logging in. I have a few other Word Press screen names, and logging in to comment under any one of them is a task… Word Press blogs don’t like to let me in on my first try. If I could long in easily and on a first try, I might post more often.

    Anyway, again, I am glad you are feeling better now.

    Like

  76. Julie Anne, one of the things I am really getting tired of is the constant barrage of negativity in American culture today and I think Musicnote touched on it in this post.
    Young adults NEED (and I put this in capitals for the emphasis) hope; they need encouragement.

    I have been involved in various SF & Fantasy fandoms since 1975. I remember Star Trek fandom, Star Wars fandom, and am now involved in My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic fandom. All three of these took off with primarily young adults during a time of Utter Negativity in the surrounding culture.

    1) Star Trek took off a couple years after the Cuban Missile Crisis, showing us a Bright Future Boldly Going Where No Man Has Gone Before when the surrounding Reality-Based Culture was completely obsessed with The Inevitable Global Thermonuclear War — It’s All Over But The Screaming. (This was also the heyday of Hal Lindsay, who syncreted John Nelson Darby with Inevitable Global Thermonuclear War to produce a de facto “Christians For Nuclear War” movement.)

    2) Star Wars premiered during the peak of Post-Vietnam Angst, where cynicism and the Appropriate Ironic Quip ruled the day. In a return to Thirties Pulp tradition, Star Wars actually had clear Good Guys and Bad Guys, and (gasp!) The Good Guys Actually WON!

    3) And amid today’s “constant barrage of negativity” — again, It’s All Over But The Screaming — colorful cartoon ponies canter in from the magical land of Equestria showing us something more than Grimdark, Crapsack, and making sure you say the Appropriate Ironic Quip as you leap with both feet into Hell. Like Star Trek and Star Wars in their day, the ponies are showing us Hope.

    Some years ago, Internet Monk had a thread on Christianese movies and fiction — or at least the lame attempts at same. Some commenter weighed in with a claim of private revelation that God had withdrawn His mantle from Christian(TM) media and was awarding it onto “secular(TM)” media. Since Christians had dropped the ball so badly (“Mene, Menem Tekel, Uparshim”), henceforth secular artists and creators would be saying what God wanted said. Maybe this is part of it.

    Like

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