Summary: The 25th and final sermon in our series on the Baptist Faith and Message
The Family (BFM #25)
Married With Children
Text: Ephesians 5:22 – 6:4
By: Ken McKinley
Now if you’re the observant type, then you have already realized that I have skipped article 17 – “Religious Liberty,” and the reason I’ve done that is because we’ve already talked about it. We talked about the freedom we have in Christ way back when we talked about article 8 – The Lord’s Day. Remember? Liberty in a nut-shell means that as Christians we are free from the Law, and we are free from the sin that used to control us. Now if you would really like to hear a sermon on Christian liberty, stick around, I’m sure I’ll get back to it eventually.
But today we are looking at article 18 of the BFM, the last statement of our denominational creed. So if you’ll take your copy of the BFM and turn with me to page 21, please follow along with me as I read article 18 (Read).
Within the social sciences, you will sometimes hear the phrase, “The Destiny of Nations.” And what that is referring to is that you can sometimes see the direction a nation is headed by looking at certain trends, as well as trends of history, and they will tell you that the destiny of nations can often be found in children. National fate often lies in the production and rearing of children.
Think about this: Western women in Europe are producing an average of 1.4 children. Muslim women who have immigrated to Europe are producing an average of 3.5 children. When we look at Asia – 24 years ago the ultra-sound machine was introduced, they love it! And the reason they love it is so that they can find out if their child is going to be male or female. If it’s female, they abort the child. In that 24 year time period, India, Bangladesh and China have aborted an estimated 100 million female babies, and that’s a conservative estimate. The result is that you have an over-abundance of males, with no women to marry. And without wives, you don’t have children, and without children… I’m sure you get the picture.
The idea of the destiny of nations also looks at trends in the culture. I just read an article for Jerry Sienfield’s new show – The Marriage Ref. Here’s what the article says, “For the first time, audiences will be able to look at the fights husbands and wives have, analyze them, and declare a winner.” The show will include a panel of movie and television stars, professional athletes, comedians, and other celebrities, who offer their advice on the situation. I guess no one cares that the average celebrity marriage lasts less than 3 years? Statistics tell us that marriages today are for all intents and purposes, disposable, so I guess watching them dissolve on national TV would sort of be like our version of the Roman Ampatheatre – using real human lives simply for our entertainment.
We can also look at trends in morality. Think about this: Religious views once common in our society have now all but vanished. It used to be that you didn’t discuss sexuality out in the open, now you can see it on TV every night if you want to. Gambling used to be illegal, now it’s sanctioned by the government. Abortion was a felony offense, now it’s a right guaranteed by the Supreme Court. Homosexuals were locked away, now they march openly for gay pride. And many in our country celebrate these things. They’re proud of these changes, and these loosening of morals.
But the problem is that we find ourselves in what sociologists are calling the American Paradox. We are better paid, better fed, better housed, better educated, and healthier than ever before, and with more human rights, faster transportation, greater communication abilities than any nation in history. Yet despite all of this, the American Psychological Association says that more people are depressed than ever before. Since the 1960’s the divorce rate has doubled, teen suicide has tripled, violent crime has quadrupled, the number of people in prison has quintupled, and the births of illegitimate children has sextupled. At the same time, church attendance has steadily dropped. Not just in the SBC, but in every evangelical denomination.
There is an old saying that says, “As goes the home, so goes the church, and as goes the church, so goes the world.”
Did you know that in the 1925 version of the BFM there was no article 18? It wasn’t necessary for Baptists in 1925 to define the family. It was assumed that everyone already knew that a family was made up of persons related to one another either by blood, marriage, or adoption; and it was assumed that every one knew that marriage was the uniting of one man and one woman in a covenant bond. The 1963 version of the BFM didn’t have article 18 either, but that version of the BFM was amended in 1998 and the amendment that was made was article 18, dealing with the family.