MANHATTAN — In his book “Making the Weak Family Strong,” Chuck Swindoll quotes from an extensive 1947 study done by Dr. Carle Zimmerman, an eminent Harvard University sociologist.
Zimmerman did extensive research on the disintegration of cultures over the centuries and compared these with the decline of the family unit in America. He traced the development of family structure from tribes and clans to extended and large nuclear families, then to the small nuclear families and broken families of today. And he showed the consequences of each structure for the bearing and rearing of children – for religion, law, and everyday life, as well as the fate of civilization itself. His politically incorrect study caused him to lose face with the liberal education community. However, the study has been proven true with time.
Zimmerman discovered 11 prominent conditions that were common to all of these societies in their declines. In his book, Swindoll focused on:
• Increased and rapid easy divorce
• Decreased number of children, population decay, coupled with increased disrespect for parents and parenthood
• Elimination of the real meaning of the marriage ceremony
• Popularity of pessimistic doctrines about the early heroes
• Breaking down of most inhibitions against adultery
• Revolts of youth against parents so that parenthood became more and more difficult for those who do try to raise their children properly
• Rapid rise and spread of juvenile delinquency
• Common acceptance of all forms of sexual perversion
It is interesting that this list is a fairly close match to Paul’s list in Romans chapter 1. These types of sins that the wisdom of the world promotes are due to ignorance of God’s ordinances.
In Paul’s itemization is listed, “disobedient to parents” (v.30). In Exodus 20:12 God says,”Honor your father and mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the Lord your God gives you.” Ephesians 6:1 says that this is the first commandment with a promise. The promise is “that it may be well with you and that you may live long on the earth.” We can certainly see from the horrendous juvenile crime rate (often resulting in early death), as well as the advent of several new and incurable diseases, that America is not walking in the promise. A look at the last two items on the above list reinforces the truth of the scriptures even more.
Because we have moved from a nation based upon the Judeo-Christian culture and moral code to a nation where secular humanism now holds primary status, parents can no longer count on society to reinforce their job of raising children. It is becoming more and more difficult for parents who work at raising their children in the Christian faith. Many Christian parents are just now waking up to this fact. Christians must become a counter culture, much like the Jews had to do for centuries, in order to preserve and pass on their heritage to their children.
The evidence is abundant that our government is mandating a moral standard that is totally foreign to Christianity. Our welfare system pays a man and woman more money if they divorce than if they stay married. Abortion on demand and, in some states, euthanasia is the law of the land. Animals are valued and protected more than humans. The criminal often holds more rights and privileges than the victim.
Next time we will look at some more indications of this growing problem, how it affects society as a whole and some biblical solutions for the family.
Send email to Frank Clark at firstname.lastname@example.org.