Christ Lutheran Church
7801 Indiana Avenue, Lubbock, Texas 79423-1805
Phone:  806-799-0162; Fax:  806-799-2273


"For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have eternal life."  John 3:16

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by Pastor Daniel A. Hinton

We Lutherans sometimes use the phrase "two kingdoms" to denote Lutherís view of the world, and as a way for us to distinguish (not separate, by the way, but distinguish) the two. On the left hand of Godís reign of power, which comes through the government, and which He rules by means of His Law. On the right stands His Church, the reign of grace, which He rules by means of the Gospel. In many cases, this is a useful distinction.

But as a classically educated medieval European academic, Luther would have first been taught the three estates: the household, the government, and the Church. This language permeates Lutherís writing, because this is how medieval Europeans were taught to see Godís ordering of the world. The great Lutheran dogmatician Johann Gerhard (1582-1637) explained it this way, "The economic (household) order serves to multiply the human race; the political order serves to defend it; the ecclesiastical order serves to advance it to eternal salvation. God set up the economic (household) order against promiscuous lusts; the political, against tyranny and crime; the ecclesiastical, against heresies and corruptions of doctrine." That the government and the Church are two distinct (but again, not separate) realms of Godís ordering of the world should not be surprising to us. Even Thomas Jefferson, so important in U.S. political theory but certainly no friend of the Gospel, realized this. But what has been lost over the centuries must undeniably be the place of precedence given to the economic order, which is to say, to the household (from an ancient Greek term meaning the science of managing oneís house).

In each created order there is a head, lest the entire order descend into chaos. The head of the household is the husband. The head of the government is the king, emperor, elected representatives, and the like. The head of the Church is Christ. In cultural discussions about the nature of marriage, the permissibility and ethics of divorce, birth control, etc. the operating assumption is often that the family is a useful utilitarian arrangement. That is, it is convenient but its origin goes no further. But as we know, the very home itself is commanded by God and blessed by Him. Our Lord Himself says in Matthew 19: "Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ĎTherefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one fleshí? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate," and St. Paul writes in Ephesians 5, "Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish." It is from the family that the government then comes forth: as families settle by families they form clans. Multiple clans together form a village, and later cities and states. Many congregations in the American West began when fathers realized that their families needed a pastor and a church so that they could hear the Word of God, and so these men assembled and petitioned for Lutherans to send a pastor way out to them to begin a new congregation.

The health and stability of the government and of the Church rests upon the stability of the home. Where men do their God-given duty, there is a healthy society with government and church to match. Where men are negligent and refuse to do what God has given them, the government begins to take on the role of both family and church.

Dear Christians, let us consider what we can do for our own families. Are we men the true spiritual heads of the family? Do we cheerfully, diligently, and weekly lead our families to hear the Word of God in church? Do we read the Bible to and with our family? Do we pray with and for our family? Can we instruct our children in the fear of the Lord? And women: do you encourage your husband in his God-given task? Do you hold him to the standard set for him in the Bible? Do you allow him to be the head of the household? Do you pray for him? And children: do you submit to your parentsí authority as God commands and blesses? Do you find excuses not to go to church, or do you find reasons to come? And for all families: do we consider our most important priority to be the hearing and doing of the Word of God, more important than any career, paycheck, degree, vacation, sports tournament, or recreation?

We all have much for which to repent. None of us has done these things as we ought. God commands our repentance, and He blesses us richly. He forgives our sins for the sake of Christ and He also gives us the desire and power actually to do those things He commands. And when we do, He blesses our lives. And for us parents, when we take our God-given vocation seriously and do our jobs in faith, God is pleased and we are blessed with Christian families. May He give us all the desire and strength to do it.

Pastor Hinton



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Last Modified:  01/18/2017