Our Marriages and the marriages of our sons and daughters

We just completed our first, “Our Marriages and the Marriages of our Sons and Daughters” conference where we gathered 25 couples to consider God’s beautiful design for marriage, define what makes for godly intimacy in marriage, how husbands and wives lovingly work for one another’s sanctification, and how to troubleshoot problems in marriage. We outlined how to identify potential spouses for our children, detailed how we encourage young men to ready themselves for marriage, and identified various ways to connect with others who may be potential marriage partners. Peter and Kelly Bradrick told their story and shared principles and lessons they learned while working toward marriage. We identified how to prepare sons and daughters for marriage and lay the foundation from the early years. We also spoke of how to conduct oneself while planning the wedding and how to become a godly in-law.

I praise the Lord for the opportunity to spend the weekend discussing the glorious subject of God’s plan for marriage and how we can model Christ’s love to our spouses.

We are scheduling another marriage conference like this. If you are interested, please write us. We can only take 25 couples.

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That The Sweetest Harmony Would Reign in Marriage

Here is John Calvin on the glory of a Christain marriage. He notes the support, help, companionship, assistance, harmony, friendship and peace that God has wrought in providing marriage for man and woman,

“Now, since God assigns the woman as a help to the man, he not only prescribes to wives the rule of their vocation to instruct them in their duty, but he also pronounces that marriage will really prove to men the best support of life. We may therefore conclude, that the order of nature implies that the woman should be the helper of the man. The vulgar proverb, indeed, is, that she is a necessary evil; but the voice of God is rather to be heard, which declares that woman is given as a companion and an associate to the man, to assist him to live well. I confess, indeed, that in this corrupt state of mankind, the blessing of God, which is here described, is neither perceived nor flourishes; but the cause of the evil must be considered, namely, that the order of nature, which God had appointed, has been inverted by us. For if the integrity of man had remained to this day such as it was from the beginning, that divine institution would be clearly discerned, and the sweetest harmony would reign in marriage; because the husband would look up with reverence to God; the woman in this would be a faithful assistant to him; and both, with one consent, would cultivate a holy, as well as friendly and peaceful intercourse.”


From John Calvin’s Commentary on Genesis

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Charles Darwin – A Case Study in Preparing Children for Marriage


Preparing children to marry is one of the most important parental tasks. It is obvious that Darwin had no conception of the marks of a Christian marriage the year before he married. Instead of a stage for the self sacrificial love of Christ, he saw marriage as an intrusion into personal pleasure and satisfaction. Among his papers there is a checklist Darwin made to decide whether or not it was worth getting married. It is believed that he wrote this memorandum on marriage in 1838 the year before he married.

Here is a young man who was not mentored in doctrine of Christian marriage and therefore entered marriage totally unprepared,

“Reasons for not marrying: freedom to go where one liked; choice of Society & little of it. – Conversation of clever men at clubs – Not forced to visit relatives, & to bend in every trifle. – to have the expense & anxiety of children – perhaps quarrelling – Loss of time. – cannot read in the Evenings – fatness & idleness – Anxiety & responsibility – less money for books.”

He also writes,

“… But then if I married tomorrow: there would be an infinity of trouble & expense in getting & furnishing a house, —fighting about no Society —morning calls — awkwardness —loss of time every day. (without one’s wife was an angel, & made one keep industrious). — Then how should I manage all my business if I were obliged to go every day walking with one’s my wife. — Eheu!! I never should know French, — or see the Continent — or go to America, or go up in a Balloon, or take solitary trip in Wales — poor slave. — you will be worse than a negro — And then horrid poverty, (without one’s wife was better than an angel & had money) — Never mind my boy — Cheer up — One cannot live this solitary life, with groggy old age, friendless & cold, & childless staring one in ones face, already beginning to wrinkle. — Never mind, trust to chance —keep a sharp look out — There is many a happy slave”


Darwin’s notes on marriage are transcribed and annotated in “Correspondence” vol. 2, appendix iv.

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Charles Darwin, Out of Step with the Puritans on Marriage


Here are some statements from various Puritans on marriage that show a sharp contrast between a Darwinian marriage and a Godly marriage.
Thomas Adams (1612-1653) “There is no such fountain of comfort on earth, as marriage”

Robert Cleaver, (1560-1640) “There can be no greater society or company, than is between a man and his wife.”

George Swinnock (1627-1673) “They are partners in the nearest degree imaginable”

Thomas Hooker (1586-1647) “The man whose heart is endeared to the woman he loves, he dreams of her in the night, hath her in his eye and apprehension when he awakes, he museth on here as he sits at table, walks with her when he travels and parlies with her in each place where he comes.”

“She lies in his bosom and his heart trust in her, which forceth all to confess, that the stream of his affection, like a mighty current, runs with full tide and strength”

Richard Baxter (1615-1691) “It is a mercy to have a faithful friend, that loveth you entirely, and is a true to you as yourself, to whom you may open your mind and communicate your affairs, and who would be ready to strengthen you, and divide the cares of your affairs and family with you, and help you bear your burdens, and comfort you in your sorrows, and be the daily companion of your lives, and partaker of your joys and sorrows. And it is a mercy to have so near a friend to be a helper to your soul; to join with you in prayer an other holy exercises, to watch over you and tell you your sins and dangers, and to stir up in you the grace of God, and remember to you of the life to come, and cheerfully accompany you in the ways of holiness.” Xviii

Bishop Thomas Wilson (1663-1755) “Love is a talkative passion”


These quotations on marriage are taken from “The Christian Lover – The Sweetness of love and Marriage in the Letters of Believers” by Michael Haykin

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The Essence of Biblical Patriarchy

At Hope Baptist, we are preaching through the Ten Commandments. This Sunday we will providentially consider the seventh command, “You shall not commit adultery” (Deuteronomy 5:18) This command will initiate a celebration of the wonderful commands of God for marriage. This command takes us into the deepest recesses of the heart of God’s love for men and women. He desires us to mirror His own nature in the loving unified relationships in the Godhead as well as His sacrificial love for the church that Christ demonstrates. This is the essence of Biblical patriarchy and it displays the truth that God’s commands for marriage are both a soothing breeze and a wall of protection for all those who would obey them. Why do I say that this command is the essence of Biblical patriarchy? Because Christ’s love for the church is the supreme example of what we mean by patriarchal leadership. There are different kinds of patriarchy out there to choose from, but the Bible has the perfect form that is communicated in summary form in 1 Cor. 11:3 – “God is the head of Christ, Christ is the head of man and man is the head of woman.” It is through this patriarchal chain of loving leadership that women are loved and cared for. Love begins in heaven in the heart of a loving Father. It is passed down to His Son who gives it to man who presents it to a woman. This is biblical patriarchy – the love of the Father expressed to Christ, who expresses it to man, who expresses it to a woman in marriage. Now consider this: Not only does God give husbands to be communicators and demonstrators of His love to their wives. Additionally, He lovingly gives every Christian woman a direct line to the blessings of Christ through the Spirit. It is in this way that God supplies a double conduit of love for the daughters of Zion. Nowhere but in a biblically structured marriage is a woman more honored, cherished, and loved. This is biblical patriarchy.

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The Sway of Love – A Wife’s Influence on her Husband

The blessings and opportunities of marriage are on my mind this week as I am preaching on the seventh commandment (“Thou shalt not commit adultery”) and joining with 25 couples in our home this weekend to consider, “Our Marriages and the Marriages of our Sons and Daughters.” Here is J.R. Miller writing on the amazing role of a wife as an influencer of her husband.

“Again let me say that no wife can over-estimate the influence she wields over her husband, or the measure in which his character, his career and his every destiny are laid in her hands for shaping. The sway which she holds over him is the sway of love, but it is mighty and resistless. If she retains her power, if she holds her place as queen of his life, she can do with him as she will. Even unconsciously to her herself, without any thought of her responsibility, she will exert over him an influence that will go far toward making or marring all his future.

“If she is vain and frivolous, she will only chill his ardor, weaken his resolution and draw him aside from any earnest endeavor. But if she has in her soul noble womanly qualities, if she has true thoughts of life, if she has purpose, strength of character and fidelity to principle, she will be to him and unfailing inspiration toward all that is noble, manly and Christ-like. The high conceptions of life in her mind will elevate his conceptions. Her firm, strong purpose will put vigor and determination into every resolve and act of his.

“Her purity of soul will cleanse and refine his spirit. Her warm interest in all his affairs and her wise counsel at every point will make him strong for every duty and valiant in every struggle. Her bright, orderly, happy homemaking will be a perpetual source of joy and peace, and an incentive to nobler living. Her unwavering faithfulness, her tender affection, her womanly sympathy, her beauty of soul, will make her to him God’s angel indeed, sheltering, guarding, keeping, guiding and blessing him. Just in the measure in which she realizes this lofty ideal of wifehood will she fulfill her mission and reap the rich harvest of her hopes.

“Such is the “woman’s lot” that falls on every wife. It is solemn enough to make her very thoughtful and very earnest. How can she make sure that her influence over her husband will be for good, that he will be a better man, more successful and more happy because she is his wife? Not by any weak resolving to help him and be an uplifting inspiration to him; not by perpetual preaching and lecturing on a husband’s duties and on manly character; she can do it only by being in the very depths of her soul, in every thought and impulse of her heart and in every fiber of her nature, a true and noble woman. She will make him not like what she tells him he ought to be, but like what she herself is.

“So it all comes back to a question of character. She can be a good wife only by being a good woman. And she can be a good woman in the true sense only by being a Christian woman. Nowhere save in Christ can she find the wisdom and strength she needs to meet the solemn responsibilities of wifehood. Only in Christ can she find that rich beauty of soul, those gems and pearls of the character, which shall make her lovely in her husband’s sight when the bloom of youth is gone, when the brilliance has faded out of her eyes and the roses have fled from her cheeks. Only Christ can teach her how to live so as to be blessed and a blessing in her married life.”


From, The Home Beautiful, By J.R. Miller, Pathway Publishers, Copyright, 1912, Revised edition, 2000 p47

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How Young Men Bless Their Sisters


The opportunity that siblings have is a very special one that only lasts a few years. Here is another powerful quote from J.R. Miller explaining one of the most wonderful of these opportunities,

“A young man should be more polite to his own sister that to any other young woman under heaven; and a young woman should ever turn to her brother as the one nearest in all this world to her until a husband stands by her side. Brothers and sisters are each other’s natural keepers. They should shield each other. They should be an inspiration to each other in the direction of all noble thought and better life. They should be each other’s guardian angels in this world of danger and of false and fatal paths.”

The Home Beautiful, By J.R. Miller, Pathway Publishers, Copyright, 1912, 2000 edition, p85

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Rachel Weeping for Her Children – Sins of the Sixth Commandment

On Sunday, I preached on the sixth commandment, “Thou shalt not kill.’ The sins of the sixth commandment are usually ragings against the sovereignty of God and the image of God in man. They include, abortion, assisted suicide, euthanasia, slander, and hatred in the heart. Also, see Rachel Weeping For Her Children. Brent Nelson at CBMW.org has written a heart wrenching piece on the anti woman realities of our new political administration.

“My claim is this: abortion is also an assault on both physical and spiritual womanhood. It grieves with unspeakable pain, the heart of the woman whose very existence, as the full image bearer of God, inclines her to nurture life. Those who truly have a woman’s best at heart, cannot but strive against the evil of abortion…”

Also, see this, Abortion: Postmodern Version of Child Sacrifice. John Ensor says, “Abortion is our postmodern version of child sacrifice for the Me Generation.” Read more here

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Interns Study “The Master Plan of Evangelism,” by Robert Coleman

Today the NCFIC interns will begin reading a book that my pastor, John Tebay* gave me around 40 years ago – The Master Plan of Evangelism, by Robert Coleman. I still have the original copy of that book and it is very precious to me. Contained in this book is an illustration of the doctrine of the sufficiency of scripture applied to discipleship methodology. Coleman takes the discipleship patterns of Christ and applies them. Coleman’s proposition is that Christ staked his entire ministry, not on the reactions of the multitudes, but on twelve men. Christ was a personal disciple maker. John Tebay was also a personal disciple maker and his work in my life lives on…

* John Tebay was pastor of Calvary Church of Placentia, California, my home church, for 45 years. He loved the Word of God, the church and the family and I will always give praise to God for his deposit in my life as a young believer.

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Sanctifying Super-Bowl Sunday

Last Sunday I preached on the Fourth Commandment from Deuteronomy 5:12-13, “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.” Is this commandment for today? Why are nine commands valid, but this one has been expunged? What kinds of activities has God defined for this day. This sermon deals with these issues.

A commandment for family life

The fourth commandment pictures one of the most important aspects of family and church life. In this commandment, the governors of the house (father and mother) are under divine mandate to assure that children, servants, strangers and even the animals and anyone else under the roof will have a Sabbath rest – for the whole day, not half.

A threatened commandment

It is a threatened commandment that families need to respect. We are commanded to “keep” it – to guard and protect it. This means that we build a fence around it and don’t allow anything else to over run it, because there is a public war against this commandment.

As with all the commandments the devil is always waging war with the fourth commandment. He places many stumbling stones in our way and attempts to disfigure it, eliminate it, or keep us from it. This is why we must “observe” or guard the Sabbath day.

Barbarians at the gate

The French revolutionaries abolished the Sabbath. In Egypt the children of Israel had lost their computation of it. The pagan enlightenment philosopher of the eighteenth century, Voltaire, wrote,”if you wish to destroy the Christian religion you must first destroy the Christian Sunday.”


Here is how vulnerable we are to neglecting this command:

  1. Fear will overrun it
  2. Greed will overturn it
  3. Obsession will overwhelm it
  4. Ungodliness will overthrow it
  5. Antinomianism will nullify it

It has to be kept safe from the barbarians in the heart, the culture, and the church that will make us breakers of the fourth commandment.

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How to Avoid Church Splits and Gossip

Following Jonathan Edwards Resolution # 8 would drastically reduce dissension in the church, broken relationships and perhaps wipe out internet gossip and character assassination.

“Resolved, to act in all respects, both speaking and doing, as if nobody had been so vile as I, and as if I had committed the same sins, or had the same infirmities or failings as others; and that I will let the knowledge of their failings promote nothing but shame in myself and prove only an occasion of my confessing my own sins and misery to God.”

This is what Jesus promoted when he said, “And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?” (Mark 7:3). It illustrates the heart attitude the apostle Paul demonstrated when he said that he was the “chief” of sinners (1 Timothy 1:15).

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Preaching Christ

Pastor Ron Dorin sent me these quotations, that declare that all adoration and attention toward Christ is the most blessed bent.

Charles Spurgeon “A sermon without Christ as its beginning, middle, and end is a mistake in conception and a crime in execution… When we preach Jesus Christ, then we are not putting out the plates, and the knives, and the forks, for the feast, but we are handing out the bread itself… (Let us) preach Christ to sinners if we cannot preach sinners to Christ… I wish that our ministry – and mine especially – might be tied and tethered to the cross.”

Samuel Rutherford “Next to Christ I have one joy, to preach Christ my Lord”

Richard Baxter “If we can but teach Christ to our people, we teach them all”

William Perkins, “Preach one Christ, by Christ, to the praise of Christ.”

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Family and Government: The Obama Stimulus Package for the Family

87 Billion of the Economic Recovery Package is for “Family Planning”

The Family Research Council posted this astonishing piece, “Stimulus: Promoting Birth Control, Not Self-Control”

“Exactly what kind of stimulus did Speaker Nancy Pelosi have in mind? That’s a question more Americans are asking now that details are trickling in about the controversial $825 billion “economic recovery” package. As it stands, more than 10 percent of the proposal–$87 billion–would allow states to expand their “family planning” services through Medicaid. The country’s recession is crippling families, and the Democrats’ solution is spending billions of dollars on contraception? On yesterday’s “This Week” program on ABC, George Stephanopoulos pressed Speaker Pelosi for an explanation.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Hundreds of millions of dollars to expand family planning services. How is that stimulus?

PELOSI: Well, the family planning services reduce cost… The states are in terrible fiscal budget crises now and part of what we do for children’s health… [is] to help the states meet their financial needs… [O]ne of the initiatives you mentioned, the contraception, will reduce costs to the states and to the federal government.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So no apologies for that?

PELOSI: No apologies. No. We have to deal with the consequences of the downturn in our economy.

In other words, children are a burden to the economy, and Pelosi believes it’s the government’s responsibility to eliminate them…”

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A View of Patriarchy from 1622 – William Gouge on Headship in Marriage

The biblical view of patriarchal leadership in marriage is supremely defined by the heart and behavior of Christ toward His church. William Gouge, the puritan writer says,

“The goodness which Christ doth for his church, He doth because He is the head thereof. O how happy a thing is it for the Church that it hath such a head! An head that doth not tyrannize over it, nor trample it under foot: an head that doth not pole, nor peel the church: but procureth peace and safety to it. When Naomi sought to make a mach betwixt Boaz and Ruth, that he might be her head, what saith she? Shall I not seek rest for thee that it may be well with thee? (Ruth 3:1). It is therefore the office of an head to be a Saviour, to procure rest and prosperity to the body whose head it is.

Happy were it for kingdoms, Commonwealths, cities, Churches, families, wives and all that have heads, if they were such heads: that, because they are heads, they would endeavour to be saviours”

Of Domestical Duties, William Gouge Edited, updated and revised by Greg Fox 2006 Page 23 #18 ..1

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A Picture of Christian Womanhood – Jonathan Edwards Comments on His Daughter Esther

What kind of young women do we pray for in times like these? Certainly not uneducated backward or repressed women, but those who are marked by their happy faithfulness to the biblical vision and characterized by what is best in Christian virtue. Jonathan Edwards saw these things in his daughter Esther and comments on in it,

“she exceeded most of her sex in the beauty of her person, as well in her behaviour and in conversation. She discovered an unaffected, natural freedom towards persons of all ranks with whom she conversed. She had a lively, sprightly imagination, a quick and penetrating discernment, and a good judgment. She possessed an uncommon degree of wit and vivacity, which yet was consistent with pleasantness and good nature ; and she knew how to be face-tious and sportive, without trespassing on the bounds of deco- rum, or of strict, serious religion. In short, she seemed formed to please, and especially to please one of Mr. Burr’s taste and character, in whom he was exceedingly happy. But, what crowned all her excellencies and was her chief glory was religion.”
Closing remarks from the diary of Esther Edwards

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