Christian mothers value family over their relationship with Jesus

Here is a shocking article from Church for Men blog. Please read, then read my comments below.

Excerpt:

When forced to choose their top priority in life, Christian women overwhelmingly pick family over faith, according to a survey from Barna Research. Five times more women chose “being a mother or parent” than chose “being a follower of Christ,” as their most important role in life.

These stunning survey results give us a clue as to why Christianity is so rapidly changing into a family-centered faith; why Christian culture is feminizing; and why the gender gap in many denominations continues to grow.

The researchers wrote:

[Women’s] spiritual lives are rarely their most important source of identity. That role is taken up by the strong priority Christian women place on family.

The preeminence of family was most overt for Christian women when it came to naming the highest priority in their lives. More than half (53%) says their highest priority in life is family. By contrast, only one third as many women (16%) rate faith as their top priority, which is less than the cumulative total of women who say their health (9%), career performance (5%) or comfortable lifestyle (5%) are top on their list of life objectives.

Despite the characterization of women as intricately connected to their peers, only 3% of Christian women say their friends are their top priority, equal to those who place finances (2%) and leisure (1%) at the top.

Women’s sense of identity very closely follows their priorities, with 62% of women saying their most important role in life is as a mother or parent. Jesus came next: 13% of Christian women believe their most important role in life is as a follower of Christ. In third place is their role as wife (11%).

Any other roles women identify with came in at similarly low rankings and far below that of a parent, including that of employee or executive (3%), that of church member (2%) and that of friend or neighbor (2%). American citizen, teacher and caregiver all rank with one percent each.

The researchers continue:

Perhaps not surprisingly given where they place their identity, Christian women also point to family-related objectives as their most important goal in life. Raising their children well is the highest goal for Christian women (36%). While, roughly one quarter of Christian women identify faith-oriented goals as most important (26%).

Though women consider themselves family-driven, their marriages may be suffering from a lack of intentionality: only 2% of Christian women say their most important goal in life is to enhance their relationship with their significant other. Marriage comes in below several other goals, including health (6%), career (5%), lifestyle (4%), personal growth (4%), morality (4%) and financial objectives (3%). Only goals related to personal appearance, relationships outside the home and travel come in lower than marital goals.

And I will include one paragraph from the author of the post:

While the Bible certainly endorses interpersonal harmony, Scripture is not chock-full of happy relationship advice. When Jesus spoke of relationships he usually predicted their demise (Matt. 10:34-35), or promised rewards for people who abandoned their loved ones (Luke 18:29-30). God takes no delight in dysfunctional relationships, but neither did he send his son so you could be at peace with your kids.

I have to quote that because I rebelled against both my parents in order to become an evangelical Protestant. First one in the family.

Now I have something to say about this survey data.

I get a lot of flak for my 10 courting questions that are designed to evaluate a woman’s worldview prior to any commitment being made. Men and women alike often tell me to lower my standards. The idea that the marriage is supposed to serve God is losing traction with most young evangelicals today.

The 10 courting questions are designed to help a Christian man make sure that his wife is going to support him in serving God and making the relationship count for God. They are also designed to make sure that his wife will do everything possible to guarantee that his children remain Christians throughout their lives. The simple fact of the matter is that men are away at work most of the time doing stuff to make money. The man’s wife is the one who is going to be at home doing the more important work of making sure that his children learn about God, and can resist the culture.

The danger you want to avoid is a situation where your wife is not able to explain to the children how Christianity is rooted in reason and evidence. Your wife needs to be informed and passionate about Christian apologetics, public knowledge related to the Christian worldview, and public policies that affect the execution of a Christian life plan. If she divorces Christianity from truth, then she will not be able to answer the questions of your children, or deal with their doubts, or anticipate threats to their faith (e.g. – the pluralism/relativism at the university), or help them to resist secular popular culture, or explain non-Biblical reasons for various Christian views now unpopular with the culture, e.g. – premarital sex, gay marriage, global warming socialism. And so on.

If your children are raised to think that Christianity is an arbitrary set of rules that cannot be debated or questioned, all in the name of family happiness and respectability, then as soon as they get to university, they will rebel. So the first priority can never be “family cohesion” – the first priority has to be truth. Christianity is not a tool to achieve happiness in the home, or respectability with the neighbors. Having family as a priority can cause questions and doubts about Christian truth claims to be swept under the rug. That works for a while, but as soon as the kids hit university, they will drop their Christian faith like a hot potato. A better idea is to focus more on truth and open discussion, and let all the doubts and questions and discomfort about being different come out in the open while the kids are growing up.

Christian men, choose your wife wisely. She has to be a thinker. She has to be a fighter. And you have to lead her during the courtship to take Christian worldview and apologetics seriously.

The survey above made me think of this phone call – listen carefully to the mother’s response to her son’s atheism: “How dare you embarrass the family, what will the neighbors think?”. Have a listen – does this response ring true to you? 

It’s all about family (and how the family is perceived in the community), and nothing about truth. Nothing about knowledge.

10 thoughts on “Christian mothers value family over their relationship with Jesus”

  1. It is definitely very important to let your future spouse and the kids when they come, know that Christianity is a way of life, and not just a set of rules. We need to make it natural and supernatural at the same time. What your kids see will determine how they react to your Christianity.

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  2. “I have to quote that because I rebelled against both my parents in order to become an evangelical Protestant. First one in the family.”

    Me too – first Christian of any kind, and mocked for it, but loving it! Of course, my conversion came a couple of decades later in life than yours.

    Good video too – thanks!

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  3. We have a culture that worships youth and children. Children are wonderful, but they aren’t gods to be worshipped and catered to. Too many think of motherhood (and fatherhood) as being a selfless devotee to a child. That’s not only an unBiblical view, but it’s not healthy for parents or children. Children who grow up being worshipped by their parents have an unhealthy and wrong view of themselves and their own importance and are often unable to function properly in a world that doesn’t consider them special and revolve itself around them. What’s worse, such children may not have the proper reverence for the real God, and may consider Him (much like their own parents) as being there to do things for them.

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  4. It makes sense, even so called “Christian” women can be horrible people, break their marriage vows, neglect their husbands, become lazy and obese – but, as long as they’re good friends with their kids, they can still imagine themselves to be good people. Indulging their children so they are well-liked becomes the “proof” of their goodness…so society gets more entitled children who have a best friend instead of a mom while Christ and the father/husband are forgotten.

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    1. For the record, men are not immune to ‘missing the point’ on our kids’ faith, idolizing our children, lording over our spouses, being lazy, etc. A flip side to everything written here on wives/mothers could, and probably should be written for husbands/dads.

      …and where a wife may miss the point on reason and evidence (i.e. the head), we tend to miss on the heart. And let none of us forget that Salvation is from the Lord. We can point them and train them, but we can’t save them.

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  5. The overwhelming & relentless demands of small children necessarily occupy a mother’s life. When I was a young mother of three & a husband with two professional careers my lament was “I know God carved me in the palm of His hand but I still need another pair of human arms to help me through dinner & bath time.” This article is a bit harsh. Devotions, prayer time & bible study do not win over hunger, hurts, safety & schedules for those whom God gave you to nurture & protect. A meeting can be postponed; a promotion delayed. Poopy diapers running down chubby legs or keeping chicken pox from being scratched cannot. My worst memory of motherhood is holding my nursing newborn at my breast while I threw up in the toilet. Worldview notwithstanding.

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    1. My friend Lucinda, while I do not disagree that the post may have come across as unnecessarily harsh, there is a real issue here and it isn’t about works like devotions, prayer time, Bible study – or ‘trying harder’… it’s about the source of our strength, faith and ultimately identity.

      I’ve had to learn this with my own kids: if I put them first, above all else, and make them the center of my universe…it will cripple them.

      Tim Keller is absolutely right when he says that we often wind up destroying what we worship (Counterfeit Gods – Tim Keller: http://youtu.be/_mK65lpveSM).

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  6. I believe that christian parents, moms and dads should put God first. The scriptures are full of examples of women and men putting their relationship with God before children and spouses. Abraham, Naomi, Esther, Job and many others to name a few examples. My day goes so much better when I seek the Lord early before encountering family members. God wants to help us order our day so that we know how much He cares about every aspect of our lives.🌇

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