Templeton Project: Discipleship and Apologetics IV–Family Conflict
Check out the latest piece entitled “Discipleship and Apologetics IV–Family Conflict.”
- Grounds for the Project
- The Biblical Foundation – Apology
- Apology in the New Testament II
- Apology in the New Testament III
- With Gentleness and Respect
- Elect Exiles of the Dispersion – the Importance of Identity
- The Present Cultural Environment in America
- Flannery O’Connor’s ‘Push Back’
- Saint Paul’s Civility
- Christ, Culture, and Christians
- Jesus and His Opponents in the Gospel according to Saint Matthew
- The Holy Spirit as Apologist
- On Listening to God and One Another
- Deep Conviction and Commitment
- Questions Unbelievers (especially Atheists) May Ask in Dialogue
- Waning Faith and Yearning Heart
- The Apostle on Mars Hill (Areopagus)
- A Fire, a World of Unrighteousness
- Civil Blood Makes Civil Hands Unclean
- Examples of Uncivil and Civil Speech
- Of Self-Control
- Humor in Dialogue
- Utopian Dreams
- Do we understand each other?
- When We Differ
- Dialogue and Personality
- Of Anger
- Discipleship and Apologetics
- Nurturing Christian Disciples
- Discipleship in Matthew and Apologetics I
- Discipleship in Matthew and Apologetics II–Wise as Serpents and Innocent as Doves
- Discipleship in Matthew and Apologetics III–Endurance
In His instructions to the apostles before He sends them out on mission, Jesus warns them that “Brother will deliver brother over to death and the father his child,, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death, and you will be hated by all for my namesake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.” (Matthew 10: 21-22 ESV) Apparently, death is administered by the government and the synagogue. (See Matthew 10: 17 ESV)
The discussion last time was about endurance. This time it is about the conflict that arises from peoples’ profession of Jesus Christ as Son of God. Not only enemy, stranger, and acquaintance but also family members can bear the rod of persecution. Families in the great time of persecution in the first Chrsitian centuries, as well as now, have had the experience of contempt and persecution from those close to them. American Christians are not imprisoned or executed for their faith. But, the pressures in our society toward Christians are growing.
Some Christians in our country have experienced reviling from others. Secularists and atheists have attempted to limit the guarantees of the First Amendment, protecting the “free exercise of religion.” Close family members have discouraged church attendance and have been sharp in their criticism of active church membership among their Christian kin.
In the United States Christians are not being killed for their faith, as was the case at the time of Matthew. But it could happen. We must keep alert to these developments and continue a gentle and respectful defense of the faith and witness to Christ. We can also send correspondance to our representatives in Washington and the state capital.
What should we do in our families if a member or members have a deep problem with our faith? First, keep partaking of the Word and Sacrament. Remain active in church life. Do not become discouraged in your faithfulness. Gently witness to those who despise Christ and His church. Bear under the pressure with prayer, especially for increased faith and strength. There may be other issues in the family. Be a constructive force in working these out.
The family is the primary arena of our witness. We must not be overbearing in this work, but neither should we be timid. We are Christ’s disciples, no matter what context we find ourselves in, including not always the safe ground of the family.
Michael G. Tavella
October 30, 2019
Eve of the Festival of the Reformation