In a sermon on the importance of church history, it was argued that the church rather than the biological family was the primary social and psychological relationship in the life of the believer.
That might provide a degree of comfort if one's biological family is urging one to engage in blatantly anti-Biblical behavior.
However, such a grandiose sentiment itself needs to be circumscribed by carefully delineated boundaries.
You will always have a higher priority to those through whom you came into the world.
There is something downright shameful regarding some of these missionaries that will willingly die on behalf of the Pygmies in the African bush but hardly give a second thought to their aging parents here in America.
In classical Christian thought, this is the idea of subsidiarity, that your most profound obligations are to those closest to you.
Secondly, by insisting that a more profound loyalty is owed to one's church family than one's biological family can expose the gullible to a shocking litany of potential abuse on the part of church leaders.
For Jim Jones will live in infamy for conditioning numerous followers to place obedience to church structure over the well being of spouses and children, with the coercion and manipulation he subjected them to in the isolation of the jungle ending with hundreds dead.
It is a shame that a sermon purporting to admonish the need for the Christian to heed the lessons of history failed to take into account one of the twentieth century's most profound.
By Frederick Meekins