The Christian Family

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The balance of truth and grace in a family setting is the theme of  The Christian Family, a highly-recommended book by Larry Christenson.  I especially like the process that brought Larry and his wife, Nordis, to the principles explained in the book.

The Christensons were part of a small group of families who in 1963, as parents of young children, came to the realization that standard approaches to family life (at that time centered around a mixture of Dr. Spock, pop psychology, intuition, Sunday School, expediency, Ann Landers, and the-way-I-was-raised) led to a result that was “ten parts frustration to one part satisfaction.”  Let Larry himself pick up the story of what happened next from the preface of his book.

“So we took a very simple, and, as it turned out, a very radical step.  We decided to see what the Bible said about family life, and try to put it into practice.  The result astounded us.  At once we found a new way of relating to one another as husband and wife, a new way of relating to our children.  It was like putting a new clutch in an old car:  the gears began to mesh the way they were designed to, and the vehicle began to move forward with much less clashing and grinding!”

“Two key concepts emerged from this experiment in family living.  These later provided the basic structure for the book:  the first key was divine order, and the second was practicing the presence of Jesus.  The first showed us the biblical structure for family life, the way that husband, wife, and children are meant to regard each other and relate to each other.  The second pointed us to the power that would enable us to live this kind of life in our families.”

I like the author’s focus on the divine order (God’s truth) and the divine power (God’s grace and all that comes with our new identity) to put it into practice.  Another example of the balance of truth and grace, the balance of love and control that is so important to life as a new identity family.