A Mature Home: Parents and Children
Ephesians: A Mature Home
Setting the Example
Kids and Parents
Obedience is Natural
Child obedience belongs to that realm which came in medieval theology to be called ‘natural justice’. It does not depend on special revelation; it is part of the natural law which God has written on all human hearts.4 It is not confined to Christian ethics; it is standard behaviour in every society. Pagan moralists, both Greek and Roman, taught it. Stoic philosophers saw a son’s obedience as self-evident, plainly required by reason and part of ‘the nature of things’. Much earlier, and in oriental culture, one of the greatest emphases of Confucius was on filial respect, so that still today, though centuries later, Chinese, Korean and Japanese customs continue to reflect his influence. Indeed, virtually all civilizations have regarded the recognition of parental authority as indispensable to a stable society. We experience no sense of surprise, therefore, when Paul includes ‘disobedient to parents’ as a mark both of a decadent society which God has given up to its own godlessness and of ‘the last days’ which began with the coming of Christ
Obedience is Revealed
Obedience Is a Witness
it is not the exercise, but the restraint, of their authority which he urges upon them.
The picture he paints of fathers as self-controlled, gentle, patient educators of their children is in stark contrast to the norm of his own day. ‘At the head of the Roman family … was the pater familias, who exercised a sovereign authority over all members of the family … The autocratic character of the patria potestas manifested itself not only in the father’s right to punish, but also in his iuo vitae necisque2 (killing the newborn; exposure of children) … The pater familias has a full right of disposal over his children, as over slaves and things …’3 William Barclay adds: ‘A Roman father had absolute power over his family. He could sell them as slaves, he could make them work in his fields even in chains, he could take the law into his own hands, for the law was in his own hands, and punish as he liked, he could even inflict the death penalty on his child
Fathers Model Christ To Their Children
Fathers; Treat them As Children, Not Mini Adults.
Indeed, just as a husband’s love for his wife is expressed in helping her develop her full potential, so parents’ love for their children is expressed in helping them develop theirs