RSS feed for this section

Archive | Family

What’s a Hurting Wife To Do?

Following Rebecca VanDoodewaard’s article “A High View of Marriage Includes Divorce” here on Gentle Reformation, and with the internet abuzz with Australian reporter Julia Baird’s hit piece on the church regarding abuse that has produced such responses as “An Open Letter to Husbands Who Abuse Their Wives” at TGC, a question has been raised. What is the proper response of a Christian wife who finds herself facing a sexually immoral or abusive husband?

Though the types of situations a wife may encounter can vary greatly, meaning there is no simple blanket answer to this question, certain Biblical principles and options can be pursued. My wife, Miriam, helped me to write this post as we reflected on our experiences in pastoral ministry that, sadly, included too many wives dealing with this issue.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

What is a Christian wife to do when she discovers explicit texts from another woman on her husband’s phone? When she is shocked by an explosion of anger that creates a bleeding heart or even a bruised body? When she walks in the room unexpectedly and finds her husband watching pornographic videos?

Each of these scenarios can have quite a range of involvement and intensity, and thus influence how a wife […]

A High View of Marriage Includes Divorce

The following article is a guest post by Rebecca VanDoodewaard, author of Uprooted: A Guide for Homesick Christians and Your Future ‘Other Half’: It Matters Whom You Marry. She is married to William VanDoodewaard, Professor of Church History at Puritan Theological Seminary. They have four children.

During a recent visit, my wife and I discussed these types of issues with Bill & Rebecca. I am thankful for her willingness to express her thoughts so clearly and powerfully in this article.   

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

God hates divorce, doesn’t He? Absolutely. Isn’t the gospel about forgiveness and love? Yes, it is. And pastors and elders can use these two truths in isolation from the rest of Scripture and biblical principles to deny people divorce for biblical grounds. “But marriage is a precious thing,” one pastor told a woman whose husband was in prison for pedophilia. “It would be a wonderful picture of God’s grace to move on from this and focus on your marriage,” another one told the husband of an adulteress. “We’re working with him; he’s really struggling, and so you need to forgive him,” a session tells a woman whose husband has been using pornography for years.

Evangelical and confessional churches are striving to maintain a high […]

Guilty!

Two weeks ago a close member of my family was sentenced to a three and a half year prison sentence for drugs related offences. Although it wasn’t a complete surprise, nevertheless the news when it came was still naturally shocking and distressing. As I’ve had some time to process things I thought I’d write a little about some of the things the Lord has been teaching me over these weeks.

A newfound appreciation of the sovereign wisdom of God. For years we have been praying for this family member to be converted, and our prayer has always been, ‘Lord, do whatever it takes to save him.’ In the last five or ten years, as we’ve watched him go from bad to worse and seen his stubborn unwillingness to change, it’s become increasingly clear that unless God graciously stopped him in his tracks by conversion, only something like a prison sentence would be enough to get him off the road of self-destruction he was hurtling down. And so, ever since he was charged with these offences back in March and the likelihood of a prison sentence loomed, we haven’t really been praying that he would be acquitted, but rather that God would […]

The Age of Accountability?

Is there an “age of accountability” for children? No, I do not believe so.

The term “age of accountability” has become a theological term in many circles.  According to Theopedia, it is defined to be “that time in the development of a person when he or she can and invariably does sin against God and thus stands in the need of personal redemption through Jesus Christ.” Often contained in this teaching is that there is a certain age, often deemed to be 12 years old though some might make it younger, before which a child either does not sin or at least is not held accountable for his sins before God.

So typically, the doctrine of the age of accountability includes the teaching that the child will not be judged guilty before God. In other words, if the child dies prior to this age, he receives the gift of eternal life (i.e., he goes to heaven). John MacArthur, who states that this doctrine is not clearly identified in Scripture, still concludes without qualification that for any child dying at a young age “that up until that point of real saving faith, God in His mercy, would save that child.”

So what should we think about children, […]

Moms Have Feelings Too

My human tornado of a daughter, Emory, is back home from Europe. Between telling us of her trip and preparing to leave at the end of the month to live with our oldest daughter for the summer, she had time to write this guest post, which is a nice follow-up both to Mother’s Day and this recent article.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Moms have feelings too. But I’m convinced that we all, especially young people, don’t act like they do quite often enough.

Of course, I blame moms everywhere for this failing.

It starts with pregnancy and birth. Nine months of watching your body stretch, your feet swell, your veins bulge, your muscles ache, and a host of other difficulties that I, having never been a mother, can only imagine. As if that wasn’t enough, pregnancy is followed by hours if not days of labor. Since my only experience with labor is watching all six seasons of Call the Midwife, I cannot speak directly to this process. But I do know that it is pretty hard. And it hurts.

So we are born and immediately fall down and thank our moms for the tremendous sacrifices they made to bring us into this world. Nope. Not even close. We […]

Christ’s Help for Sabbath-Keeping

I’m getting geared up to preach on Genesis 2.1-3 tomorrow morning, so I thought I would share with you a few thoughts on how Christ helps us keep the Sabbath.

First by His Example

Along with Father and Spirit, the Pre-Incarnate Word, the Logos or Eternal Son, rested on the seventh day, as the climax of Creation. The Agent of Creation did not press the pause button. The term that is used indicates total completion and fulfillment of His task. The ‘work’ mentioned twice is also a slightly unusual choice: it has been suggested this term, which is usually otherwise reserved for human employment, was chosen by the Spirit to remind human beings of the need to down tools on the Sabbath; this expression ‘work’ is a close relative of the Hebrew word for ‘angel’ or ‘messenger.’ The key thing to note, in connection with an angel, is neither a shining body nor flapping wings, but the duty to complete the messenger’s God-given commission or task. Is it hard to prove that this is the reason the term ‘work’ was used in this instance? It still remains true that, as in the work of Redemption, so also in the work of Creation, […]

Advice to Young Adults Living at Home

Once again the York household has a week of flux upon us. My middle daughter, who graduated from college last year and has been living with us as she works toward going to physician’s assistant school, is heading out of country today for a few weeks. Tomorrow Papa, my father-in-law who has been with us for a week or so, will head back to Michigan. Later this week, my youngest son will finish his sophomore year of college and be home for the summer. At some point his girlfriend will be staying with us for a few days. At the end of the week, my wife and daughter will receive dear friends from out-of-state then leave for a trip the next day. I wrote this down just now so I could keep track of what all is happening!

I also share it with you to give some credence to what I am about to write. For I would like to offer some advice to young adults living at home, be they students returning for the summer, graduates who have come back to the nest for a while, or those in their twenties who have never left. Having my own adult children […]

The Antidote To Evolution

Over recent weeks I’ve been preaching, for the second time, through the opening verses of the Book of Genesis. Last Lord’s Day I delivered my first sermon on the first day. In my second point, I was defending the Mosaic account from the error of the ‘Framework Hypothesis.’ In doing so, for the very first time, I felt with intense force, both the folly and falsehood of adopting such an erroneous position (attractive though it may seem for those who want to dodge the bullet of the creation-science debate).

There surely is little doubt, like most dangerous half-truths, that Moses presents the material of the original Creation in a highly structured, schematized way. Yet, on his part, that neither implies the unhistorical nature of the account, or that the details of each day, or the times the bible allots to them, do not correspond precisely to the truth or order of the facts. In reality, quite the opposite is the case: the Holy Spirit, through Moses, has important lessons to teach us, in the material contained in Genesis 1, about the nature and character of God, and the methods by which He has worked and still works.

Planned Order

Chief among these is […]

Fair-Weather Friends And Family

“‘Tis the season to be jolly!” “It’s the most wonderful time of the year!” That’s what most will have said over the recent festive season of Christmas & New Year. Of course the reality is quite different …many are not wonderfully jolly but lonely, suffering, grieved, anxious, elderly, heartbroken or ill; yet a few others are staring into the dark tunnel of terminal illness. Some of these dear folks are well-known to us as family, friends, believing brothers & sisters, colleagues or neighbours. This is their season to be sorry …the most dreaded, dark & dreary time of the year!

Of course any pangs of conscience that we might have been susceptible to over recent weeks, have largely been suppressed by the drip-feed of on-line entertainment and merriment – as we enjoyed & indulged ourselves to the full (or to excess), we almost entirely forgot about them: we barely gave them a thought & refused to let their needs & suffering interfere or impinge in any way with our festive schedule. Strange we should be able to find so much time for those who could repay us with presents or pleasure. The shocking thing is we did not have to be taught to […]

King of the One Liners

I recently began reading JC Ryle’s Thoughts for Young Men with one of our sons. Once again I was taken with Ryle’s ability to bring theology to life with great wit and clarity. As a pastor, he challenges me to think more deeply about crafting messages that can be remembered easily. As a reader, it just makes me happy. Ryle didn’t live in the age of Twitter, but I thought you might enjoy reading some of his great one-liners from the first chapter of this great little book. Perhaps it might also be an encouragement to add this to your reading list.