News Articles

ERLC head: Divorce statistics reflect a culture in trouble

PHOENIX (BP)–The mission of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission is to awaken, inform, energize, equip and mobilize Christians to be catalysts for the biblically based transformation of families, communities and America, Richard Land told messengers to the SBC June 17 in Phoenix.

Delivering his annual report to the convention, the ERLC president said he looks forward to an American society that affirms and practices “Judeo-Christian values rooted in biblical authority.”

“We have to start with individuals, then families and outward to our nation,” Land said. “Most importantly, we have to do it God’s way.”

The ERLC serves Southern Baptist families and others by addressing Scripture’s response to moral, ethical and public policy issues. Land is heard on nearly 600 radio stations across the country on his “For Faith & Family” broadcast ministry. He also hosts “Richard Land Live!” a three-hour, caller-driven talk show each Saturday afternoon syndicated by the Salem Radio Network.

All great movements of God start with God’s people getting right with Him, Land said, lamenting, “Unfortunately too many of us are not right with God.”

Citing statistics on divorce and single-family households, he said they are evidence that something is very wrong in the culture.

“We’ve conducted a 30-year experiment to determine if fathers are an obsolete accessory in the rearing of a child,” Land said, noting anecdotal results prove fathers are required equipment in a healthy family.

Land cited a 10-year Duke University study that revealed it was not only the absence of fathers in a household but also the timing of their departure that made a critical difference in their daughters’ future behavior.

Girls reared in a home where the biological fathers left before their 6th birthday were five times more likely to become sexually active before turning 15 than girls whose fathers were still in the home, Land said.

Other information from an extensive survey from Duke’s Center for Child and Family Policy said when a father left the home after a girl turned 6, she was twice as likely to become sexually active before her 16th birthday than a girl whose father was present in the home.

“It is time to return to a child-centered society,” said Land, author of “For Faith & Family: Changing America by Strengthening the Family,” published in 2002 by Broadman & Holman, the trade books arm of LifeWay Christian Resources.

“We need to challenge fathers to work it out with their wives and we need to challenge mothers to work it out with their husbands — to preserve marriages,” Land said. “Their daughters’ sexual, emotional and spiritual future is at stake.

“It is time we put first things first,” Land said, expressing appreciation for the SBC’s renewed push to preserve and protect families. The SBC’s Council on Family Life presented a standard for Christian families — “Seven Pillars of a Kingdom Family” — during the SBC’s first-ever Kingdom Family Rally June 16.

“I am grateful we are emphasizing the family,” Land said. “God emphasized the family.”

He did warn, however, that an emphasis on the family should not turn into worship of the family.

“It is idolatry to worship the family,” Land said, noting that is what Mormons do. “Our family is not our god. We do not find our salvation in our family. There is only one true God, and Jesus Christ is our salvation,” he said.

“Our ultimate goal is not to become an effective and loving husband or wife,” he said. “Our ultimate goal must be to know Jesus Christ and serve Him.”

Land concluded by saying the greatest modern-day threat to Christianity is not a competing religion like Islam; it is “sexual salvation,” a misguided idea that people will find fulfillment through sex and not through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

The contemporary church faces a situation much like the first-century church did, Land said, noting: “They triumphed over the culture around them because they were obedient to the Lord. We must do the same.”

    About the Author

  • Dwayne Hastings