PHOENIX— "It is time to return to a child-centered society," the president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission said during the Southern Baptist Convention’s annual conference, June 17.
"We have to start with individuals, then families and outward to our nation," said Richard Land as he delivered his annual report to the messengers.
"Most importantly, we have to do it God's way," he continued. "Unfortunately too many of us are not right with God."
According to Land, the statistics on divorce and single-family households serve as proofs of our corrupted 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.
A 10-year study conducted at Duke University also revealed the timing of the father’s departure to statistically make a critical difference in their daughter’s future behavior.
Girls raised 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.
The survey, taken from Duke’s Center for Child and Family Policy, also showed girls whose father left after she turned six was twice as likely to become sexually active before her 16th birthday than a girl whose father was present at home.
"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."
Land warned, 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 added that Christianity’s threat is not “Islam,” but “sexual salvation. There is, said Land, a misguided idea that people will find fulfillment through sex and not through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. This is the same situation the early churches faced, Land said.
They triumphed over the culture around them because they were obedient to the Lord. We must do the same," he said.
Richard Land is heard on 600 radio stations across the nation on his "For Faith & Family" broadcast ministry. He is the host of "Richard Land Live!" a three-hour, caller-driven talk show each Saturday afternoon syndicated by the Salem Radio Network. Land also authored "For Faith & Family: Changing America by Strengthening the Family," published in 2002 by Broadman & Holman.
By Pauline J.