Video: A Biblical Theology of the Household

The following video is an answer to a Curious Cat question, an over-ambitious attempt to answer a huge question that deserves detailed analysis off the top of my head. Continue to leave your questions in the comments on this blog, over on Curious Cat, or you can email me if you have my address.

About Alastair Roberts

Alastair Roberts (PhD, Durham University) writes in the areas of biblical theology and ethics, but frequently trespasses beyond these bounds. He participates in the weekly Mere Fidelity podcast, blogs at Alastair’s Adversaria, and tweets at @zugzwanged.
This entry was posted in Culture, Economics, Sex and Sexuality, Society, Theological, Video. Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Video: A Biblical Theology of the Household

  1. Harriet Connor says:

    Thanks for this, Alastair! It was far from rough and rambling.

    You draw together the threads of Scripture to present a compelling vision for Christian family life. I really appreciate the way you treat these important issues at a deep theological level.

    The only catch is trying to live out this vision in a fallen world! So often our family life falls far short of God’s ideal. May we continue to seek the grace, wisdom and strength of our perfect heavenly Father.

    • Yes, living this in a fallen world is exceedingly tough! Hardly any actual families will be able to achieve the biblical ideals of the household in a society such as ours. The important thing is to keep clearly in mind that we are in a fallen and imperfect world and not to let the perfect become the enemy of the good, or to advocate for piecemeal measures that exacerbate injustices and problems, rather than relieving them. Nevertheless, we should seek to put back together things that should never have been taken apart in as wise, gracious, patient, and careful a manner as we can.

  2. Hi Alastair,

    This is great thanks. The question I am left with is how do we retrieve some of what has been lost through the alienation of labour/ household and husband wife relationship?

    What practises do you think could be in place?
    If afforded the luxury how would you envision us changing our working/ home lives to facilitate flourishing more?

    Thanks Rowan

  3. p.s. What translation are you using?

  4. Joseph says:

    I appreciate these videos, Alastair!

    I searched your writing for a fuller explanation of why you’re a paedobaptist (I’m a credobaptist who’s tried to be persuaded but haven’t managed it …), and maybe just didn’t find it. If you haven’t done so before, would you be interested in adding that to your list?

    For what it’s worth, I know the history of the practice; but my main objection – part of the Anabaptist objection – is that, as you note in a Curious Cat post, the overwhelming weight of the biblical interpretation of baptism (which, granted, is not that much) links it with regeneration and union with the death and resurrection of Jesus.

    The second objection, which has great weight to me, is that if regeneration is necessary for salvation, and regeneration is a miraculous and “punctiliar” work of the Spirit (happens in a particular point in time, whether we can see it or not), then paedobaptism at best either …
    1) affirms that infants are regenerate upon baptism (Catholic position);
    2) muddies the waters by promising some form of assurance before regeneration; or
    3) is just a good-faith statement that parents will raise their children toward Christianity, which is great but doesn’t seem to merit the high language of baptism

    What are the primary arguments you’d use to support paedobaptism?

  5. Ian says:

    Hi Alastair. Started following you since the THINK conference a few weeks ago. I love this and am trying to think through how this biblical theology of the household maps to the church as the household of God, but beyond the usual (but vital) questions of male/female roles and relationships. So for example, the vision of the Church in Acts 2 and 4 start to become much sharper as when seen as a household (having all things in common, selling homes and land, gathering regularly to a common meal, growing through hospitality and salvation, etc.) I’d love to hear a follow up video on your reflections of this, and how Genesis 1 and 2 and the picture of the household there (God as Father, garden as realm, man, woman, work, mission, etc.) is a prophetic picture of the Church formed in Christ and how the local church should function as household in the world. Andrew Wilson touched on this with his final slide of the conference and his closing statement that “the future of complementarity lies in seeing the Church as a family and household rather than a corporation.” I left the conference feeling like the future of the Church and advance of our mission to the world (not just complementarity) lies in seeing the Church as family and household. I feel like we’ve lost (or are losing) that apostolic and prophetic foundation to who we are as God’s people. Would love to hear your thoughts on that. 🙂

    • Thanks, Ian! And welcome to my blog.

      The subject is such a large one, which can be explored on a great many fronts. Whether it is Christian ministry, pastoral and otherwise, the nature of Christian fellowship, Christian ‘family values’, singleness, etc. thinking of the Church in this way can impact our approach.

      That said, there are a lot of things that we need to beware of, as modern people using this illustration. What family means for us is very different from what it would have meant in Jesus’ day, perhaps especially in our focus upon the family as something principally associated with young children, rather than principally being associated with adult children.

      If you leave a question on my Curious Cat account, there is a greater change of my giving it a fuller answer at some point.

      • Ian says:

        Will do! I’ll head over to Curious Cat. It is a large subject but a vital one. So much that has been written in recent years (decades even) about “how to do church” comes from seeing church-as-corporation rather than a church-as-household. The Missional Community movement and folks like the Crowded House in Sheffield (Steve Timmis and Tim Chester) have made some ground on this recently. I made note of your point at the the conference that household and family was more about adult children rather than young children. That was a penny-drop moment for me! I even wonder if thinking of elder-as-older-brother rather than elder-as-father in the church family is more helpful way of mapping that role to the biblical household? Anyways. Thank you! I’ll pick this up with you on Curious Cat. Really appreciate your voice into all this.

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