A week or so ago, I announced on twitter that I would be overseeing a course in conjunction with the ERLC’s National Conference titled “Christian Ethics and the Family.” A few people responded asking if I would post the reading list, and I want to follow up on that request.
Two quick notes
First, as I write this, we are at the hospital where, on Wednesday, my wife gave birth to our third daughter, Charlotte. You’ll understand, then, that I write this blog post on the Christian ethics and the family with an extra-heaping of gushing sentimentality. Holding my two-day-old daughter causes me to pause and reflect on the peculiar glory of welcoming a child into this world. The older I get, the more I understand the design of the family to be evidence of God’s existence and His kindness toward us.
Second, just a note about why these books in particular: This is a course about the design and purpose of the family. It is not a class on parenting. I assigned books that would answer the question, “Why did God create the family and what purpose does it serve?” I chose the books I did because I want readers to have a greater theological and sociological framework for why the family exists and its role both in society and for Christian discipleship. I also want readers to understand the political implications of the family as well.
These are the assigned texts:
- Russell Moore. The Storm-Tossed Family: How the Cross Reshapes the Home. Nashville, TN: B&H Books, 2018.
- Andreas Köstenberger & David Jones. God, Marriage, and Family: Rebuilding the Biblical Foundation. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2010.
- John Jefferson Davis. Evangelical Ethics: Issues Facing the Church, Fourth Edition. Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2015.
- Herman Bavinck. The Christian Family. Grand Rapids, MI: Christian Library Press, 2012.
- Mary Eberstadt. How the West Really Lost God. New York: Templeton Press, 2014.
- Allan Carlson. The Natural Family: Bulwark of Liberty. New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers, 2007.
- Scott Yenor. Family Politics: The Idea of Marriage in Modern Political Thought. Waco: Baylor University Press, 2012.
- Eric Teetsel and Andrew T. Walker. Marriage Is: How Marriage Transforms Society and Cultivates Human Flourishing. Nashville, TN: B&H Books, 2015.
- Carle Zimmerman. Family and Civilization. Wilmington, DE: ISI, 2008.
Postscript: As I hold my newborn daughter and gaze at her, I am faced with two options: The overwhelming joy I’m experiencing is divinely designed, or it’s simply the product of blind chance. If the latter option, there’s no objective or real experience of joy; it is merely neurons triggering a pleasurable experience in the brain. If the former option, God designed the relationship between parent and child to be one that bears an intrinsic property of joy; it means that the joy and contentment I experience looking at my child is intended, designed, and meant to be. The gift of children is a reminder that life under God’s authority has real, tangible joy.