Is the fifth commandment just simply about obeying your father and your mother? What significance does this commandment have for believers today?

2006. 11 pages. Transcribed by Diana Bouwman. Transcription stopped at 44:03.

The Fifth Commandment The Ten Commandments Series: Part 5

The fifth commandment is found in Exodus 20:12: “Honour your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the LORD your God gives you.” Or as Bill Cosby, in the voice of Dr. Huxtable, says, “I brought you into this world; I can take you out.”

We think we are familiar with this verse and with this commandment because it has the ring of the familiar. Most of us have heard it since we were very small. “Honour your father and your mother”—obey mom and dad! That is the level of our understanding. And it is a correct understanding, but it is not a complete understanding. We gather together here in this Tuesday with an understanding that we are the inheritors of a patrimony. The very fact that we have a heritage to claim is because there were fathers and mothers who came before us who left us a legacy. We are the inheritors of a treasury. Our responsibility is the same as that Paul invested in Timothy: to retain that pattern of sound words and to hold faithfully the treasure that has been entrusted to us. We are the inheritors of a patrimony.

But we live in an age of intentional orphans. All around us are people who would disregard and disrespect the patrimony. Who would reject the tradition and throw off all the inheritance of father and mother in order to be as orphans. We are told by the modern psychotherapeutic community that a part of what we must do, if we are to be authentic selves and if we are to grow into true adulthood, is to kill off our parents, in order that we can make each generation anew.

Abraham Lincoln spoke to this when he told the parable of the man who was on trial for murdering both of his parents, who then threw himself on the mercy of the court, claiming that he was now an orphan. This generation is much like that—a generation that rejects its own patrimony, a generation marked by rebelliousness and by rootlessness, cut off from tradition and culture and wisdom and experience and truth. It is inconceivable to the worldview of the Scripture that we would orphan ourselves and dishonour mother and dishonour father! This current spirit is not a new spirit. A spirit of disregard and disobedience, a spirit of rejection, a spirit of intentional orphanage is as old as the story of the Fall but it is as current as our postmodern times, with every generation devising new ways of disregarding its patrimony and new ways of overthrowing a precious inheritance and treasury that is to be handed down.

We come to the fifth commandment in the covenantal history of Israel: “Honour your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the LORD your God gives you.” Israel was promised a land as the people of promise. As God's own chosen people, Israel was promised Canaan, this land of promise. And yet they are told that to be prolonged there, to be truly at home there, they must honour father and mother.

Now, the interesting thing is that we think we know this commandment. The interesting fact in all of this is that we are too comfortable with this commandment because we think it is addressed to children. But this is not “children's church” in the middle of the Ten Commandments! It is not as if we have nine grownup, adult commandments dealing with things like adultery and murder and idolatry and taking the Lord's name in vain. This is not all of a sudden a commandment that is addressed to children. No, you are included in this too. [It is not] little children's church in the middle the Ten Commandments—honour mom and dad; obey mom and dad. “Obey mother and father” is certainly in this commandment, but it is not the completeness of this commandment!

To the contrary, what we have here is a commandment that is addressed primarily to adults. To the nation—God's elect and chosen nation—comes this command in the midst of covenant that to honour the one true and living God is to honour father and to honour mother. All around us is a spirit of dishonouring. We have to look at the focus of the commandments. As children we should be taught the Ten Commandments so as adults we may learn them, as we grow up to understand that this commandment is not just about obeying mother and father lest we bear their wrath. It is not just about not running out in the street or sticking paperclips in electrical outlets! It is about honouring mother and honouring father in receiving a patrimony.

As God's people, we are called to this commandment of honour. This commandment is addressed to us even as it is addressed to Israel. The first table of the law deal with those commandments most specifically delineating the relationship between the Creator and his covenant people. But in the second table of the law we have the commandments dealing with human relations. And here God's covenant people are to be characterized by certain behaviours that in their very essence point to himself. This law that was given to Israel is not just a therapeutic device in order that Israel might have family happiness! As Professor Christopher [Wright] correctly notes: “The fifth commandment forms part of the structure and fabric of Israel's covenantal relation with God and is not merely a recipe for happy families.” These are not just pithy principles for human happiness! This is the command of a holy God, because his people are to live this way in order that his own character may be evident in his people—the character of honouring father and mother.

Covenantal faithfulness begins at home. And that is something we really need to know. And furthermore, it is something that intuitively, upon reflection, we know is true. Covenantal faithfulness begins at home. If we do not learn what covenantal faithfulness is at home, how can we understand it writ large? The institution of the family presents us with an essential question in these postmodern times: Is this a natural or a supernatural development? Is the family an accidental by-product of human social evolution or is it a supernatural gift given to us by the Creator for our good and for our holiness?

That is a basic question that we must answer. Because if we believe that the family—the institution of mother and father and their children—is simply a by-product of human social evolution, then we can evolve beyond it. And we live in the midst of a postmodern age that is determined to evolve beyond it. But if it is the gift of a Holy God, then we are not just talking about a breeding pair and their privileged offspring! We are talking about a mother and a father who are mother and father because they are husband and wife in a covenantal relationship of marriage that mirrors also the character of God's relationship with his people. And thus, the children that are given to them as gifts, raised in the covenant household, are raised in order that they may also, by their correct relationship between children and parents, demonstrate by picture the relationship between God and his own people.

It is often said (because it is so clearly true) that our relationship with our parents, in terms of the most formative period of our lives, will to a great degree indicate our relationship with God. Whether we come under the authority of our parents willingly or whether we respond to that authority with a spirit of rebellion. How we respond to our parents is very indicative of how we will respond to our Creator. Israel is told here at this covenant at Sinai that the behaviour of God's covenant people, even the structure and relation of God's covenant families within God's covenant people, will demonstrate his own character and will be a testimony to himself. The family, thus, is a gift.

And thus, the tenor and fabric of the biblical faith beginning in the Old Testament is a faith which honours the patriarchs. Israel is identified as the people of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob. The nation is likened to a family. As in Numbers 12:7 we are told (with specific reference to Moses): through Moses God's people is revealed, the Lord says, as my household, my family. He is as the father to the nation. In Exodus 4:22 the Lord speaks of Israel as “my firstborn.” And we are told to honour father and mother.

This is a central biblical motif. It is very interesting that f you just take this one hermeneutical question, “How does the relationship for a child to a parent become written into the fabric of Scripture from Genesis to Revelation?” it is rich! It is rich in terms of the didactic material which very clearly specifies by rules and regulations and precepts how children are to be related to their parents and how parents are to be related to their children. But it is also in the historical narratives of Scripture where to dishonour a parent—to dishonour mother or to dishonour father—is to bring dishonour upon the entire nation. It is found in the wisdom literature, where the exhortation of Solomon to his son is that a son learns obedience. “Honour your father and mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land the LORD your God will give you.”

Now, this is a very different concept from our own times. To what extent in our current rebellion is there a spirit of rebelling against honouring father and mother? Just consider what happened in 2004 in France. A heatwave spread throughout Europe, and you may remember that that heatwave was especially intense in France. 15,000 elderly persons died in France! What shame to the nation that many thousands of those elderly parents who are allowed to die were abandoned in their homes, their body left in their homes as their children and grandchildren went on family vacation and could not be interrupted to take care of their own grandparents and parents! The French have now made this a matter of national law. Article 207 of the French Civil Code says that adult children are now legally responsible for their elderly parents. It takes a civil act of the French government to tell children that they are to honour mother and honour father? It is now to be forced! Infractions of this law are to be met with fine and possible imprisonment.

But the problem is not something that a law can fix—not a civil law of the French government. The problem is something deeply embedded in the human heart. To abandon father and mother is to dishonour the Creator who made us. The biblical vision is of father and mother and children. The biblical vision is of the father taking the lead for a transgenerational vision for his family. One of the problems (even in many Christian homes today) is that parents see their responsibility to get children from infancy to graduation from college. Then our job is done. That is the horizon of our responsibility. But the biblical vision is of the father taking responsibility not merely for his children, but for his children's children, and for his children's children's children. The lack of that vision explains why so much of our church ministry related to families is so thin and so superficial and so ineffective.

I want to speak today out of this text of the proper role of parents, the proper response of children and the proper reality of the church.

The Proper Role of Parents🔗

First, the proper role of parents. This is not mere biology. This is not just a breeding pair and their privileged offspring. This is a picture in the Scripture of father and mother as a covenant pair, who come together in the relationship of marriage to receive all that God would give them, including the gift of children. This proper role of parent speaks to the primal relationship, the first relationship, that the child learns—which is the relationship between the child and the parents, father and mother. The learning of this first relationship becomes, if not determinative, then highly influential and indicative of relationships that will follow.

What is the responsibility of parents? Biblically defined and summarized, we can say it at least includes the responsibility to love, to care, to provide, to nurture, to protect, to teach and to discipline. It is not just to raise useful citizens for the society. It is not just to get the next generation to a point of maturity so that they can continue the biological progression of the race. It is to raise children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, so that they would bring glory to father and mother, because in doing so they will bring glory to the Creator God.

Ursinus, in his commentary on the Heidelberg Catechism, speaking of the Ten Commandments, speaks of the responsibility of parents in two beautiful expressions (which I think are so deeply rooted in Scripture). He says that every parent must fulfil this responsibility by being both schoolmaster and magistrate.


One of the key responsibilities of the Christian pair is to teach. We are to teach our children. Just as we heard from Deuteronomy 4, we are to teach them in our coming in and in our going out, in our sitting down and in our standing up. We are to take every opportunity to teach. We are to be constantly about the responsibility to teach our children. And this does mean the formal didactic teaching that takes place between parent and child. It means the modelling that takes place between parent and child. It means the lifelong learning that begins as the child learns from his parent, from his father and from his mother, and learns to learn from his parents as well. This parental responsibility is intentional, it is didactic, it is constant, consistent, and it is repeated.

In Israel it was to function like this: the child raised in the home in the land of promise was to be told from the very beginning, “You are a part of this promise, because you are a part of this family. And as you are a part of this promise, you are to learn to live as a child of this promise, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the LORD your God has given you.”

It is to be taught by memory as well. When your son comes to you in times to come asking, “What mean these rules, these statutes and these commandments?” then you are to say to him, “We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt.” When your son comes to you (as we read in Joshua 4) and says, “What mean these stones?” you are to say, “We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt, but God brought us out, in order that he might bring us in! In order that he may show his name to be great. He put us in this land for his glory, and we are to live as his people. Thus it is a natural thing that we are to learn his laws and his statutes and his commandments. How else will we know them? How else will we live them? How else will we realize the purpose for which we were brought into this land of promise? And how else will we be prolonged here? For if we disobey, as the book of Deuteronomy makes clear, we will be taken off of this land. It will be taken away from us. We will be taken captive by other nations. And this will be to our national humiliation and to our disgrace. You are a child of promise.”

In Judaism this was primarily the function of the father, and thus you have masculine terms repeated in the text. The father is to teach. The father is to ensure, as the patriarch of the family, that there is a transmission not only of tradition as a pattern of habits that we follow, but of truth as the pattern of reality we have come by God's grace to know. Mothers, too, were involved here. It is interesting as you read the Old Testament that you come across these wonderful passages of patriarchal significance. You think of the relationship between Joseph and Jacob, even to the stewardship of a father's bones. It continued also in the New Testament, accompanied by sweet passages of a mother's love. Paul writing to Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:15 reminds him that he has known these things from childhood. He has been taught them rightly. In 2 Timothy 1:5 he says, “I am reminded of your sincere faith, the faith which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice, and now I am sure dwells in you as well.” Fathers are key and mothers are crucial in the transfer of doctrine, in the inculcation of a world view, in the remembrance of a story and in the dependence upon Scripture.

The Christian home is to be the first school, the first church and the first government. The father and the mother are to be as schoolmasters in the home. As schoolmasters it is our responsibility to teach these things. And how often must we be reminded in Scripture of this inescapable responsibility to teach? It is our responsibility to make sure that our children are knowledgeable about the Word of God! And it is to the shame of any Christian father or any Christian mother that the children of the home would be ignorant and immature in knowing the things of God.

How many of our churches truly preach and teach the responsibility of parents to teach the Scripture and to make certain that their children are knowledgeable in the Scriptures? Instead, in contemporary youth ministry we hire someone to entertain. In so many cases and in so many churches we simply say, “We won't to expect parents to do this, so we will do it for you. Just franchise it out. Send your kids to us, and we will teach them what you will not teach (and perhaps even cannot teach, because you have not been taught yourselves).” It is the administration of orphans. Instead, the church should direct itself, yes, to youth ministry—to the kind of youth ministry that not only reaches youth but teaches parents how to fulfil the responsibility of a mother and a father as the schoolmasters of the home.

It is a transfer of doctrine; it is inescapably so. There is a structure of truth, a fabric of truth that must be taught. And it is not going to be received by the child through osmosis! Much is learned in the household of faith, in the Christian family, by how the parents behave, by how they conduct themselves just in terms of the everyday living of life. But there is much that must be taught by intentional instruction and precept. There is also a worldview to be in inculcated in the child. We want our children to have a certain Christian understanding of the world even as we want them to come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord.

We want them to know the story. Just as no child in Israel was to be ignorant of the story of the Exodus and of how God had made this covenant with his people, so also our children must be deeply immersed in the story! The story of how “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him might not perish but have everlasting life.” The story of the gospel. The story of God's redeeming purpose. The story of God's creation of a people through the blood of his Son for the glory of his own name! A people who can defy death! A people who will live forever with him! Our children must know this story and our children must be taught to turn to Scripture and to learn the Word of God


But the father and the mother are not only schoolmasters; they are also magistrates. This is not very popular in today's contemporary worldview. However, those of us raised in Christian homes know this intuitively. We know that our parents are not merely mother and father; they are also described as judge, jury and executioner. The necessary inculcation, a right learning, in the child comes also through the discipline of the child. It is an inescapable parental responsibility to discipline the child. And time and time again this is explicitly revealed in Scripture. Parents are reminded: It is your responsibility to discipline the child. The worst curse that can come upon a family as a rebellious, disobedient, disorderly, untaught, unruly child.

This too is not taught as it must be taught in our churches. As a matter of fact, the influence of our therapeutic age says that the parent must be very, very careful not to impose the will upon the child. The contemporary understanding of our psychologized society is that children basically would be healthy but for parents. The Scripture worldview is very different: This little varmint is born in sin. He may look innocent, she is no doubt cute, but she is a sinner whose heart is planning treason!

Our contemporary psychologized age says that we should not seek external conformity but rather internal self-actualization. My parents were not greatly concerned with my internal self-actualization. The Christian parent understands that external conformity is the very least that is to be expected, and furthermore, the parent informed by Scripture comes to understand that the internal alignment of the soul is instructed by the external conformity of the body. The parent knows the struggle. You wish you could get into the heart, you wish you could reach down into the internecine caverns of the soul, but perhaps the most you can do is to force bodily obedience (that is, at least to start).

The Scripture is clear: the father who loves his son disciplines his son. In Proverbs 23 Israel is warned not to go into the “fields of the fatherless.” And immediately thereafter we read, “Do not hold back discipline from the child, although you strike him with the rod, he will not die. You shall strike him with the rod, and rescue his soul from Sheol” (Proverbs 23:13-14).

We live in a generation of undisciplined children. We live in an age that considers corporal punishment to be some kind of throwback to an oppressive age. We should note that in Scripture it is not merely something that some parents sometimes do; it is the responsibility of the Christian parent to teach with the rod. In other words, it is a biblical principle (which is made clear in Proverbs 23) that physical pain—in terms of the justice meted out by the magistrate standing in the place of God—is a teacher that reaches the soul! Children must learn cause and effect. They must be taught, even bodily, the difference between obedience and disobedience. And the pain of corporal punishment, the pain of the rod, is to make clear progressively the fact that there is a law and there is a judge and there is justice. Cause and effect. Disobedience and obedience.

Did you notice this week an article in USA Today, on the front page of the lifestyle section, indicating that most CEOs were spanked? It is a stunning, stunning realization to USA Today that those who have worked their way into positions of leadership were spanked as children, and they think there must be a psychological lesson there. Indeed there is, but there is also a theological lesson there, because the seat of learning is a way of reaching the heart and the soul, and the parent understands this. In Australia last week the press reported that, having been told that spanking was wrong and having developed governmental programs to try to encourage not to spank, parents still spank. They did a poll indicating that eighty percent of mothers believed in spanking and ninety percent of mothers with young children believed in spanking.

See, reality is also a teacher. I have met parents who said, “I would never spank my children,” but it was hypothetical because they had no children. That changes when they have children and that spirit of defiance shows up in the face of the child, and you know, “This is not just an accident; this was premeditated treason against parental authority. It will either be shut down or the insurrection will spread!” The father and the mother are indeed magistrate.

This image is the relationship between God and his own people. In Hebrews 12 this is made clear when a father's discipline is described in just this way. In Hebrews 12, after we have read about faith and after we have been told to look unto the example of Jesus, we read also about the discipline that comes because of a father's love. We are told that we are to expect this. We are indeed to seek this. We are to expect this instruction; we are to expect this discipline. Those who are loved by their parents are disciplined by them.

It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, so that we may share his holiness. All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.Hebrews 12:7-11, NASB

What a promise—that discipline afterwards yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness! The parent stands in the place, the relationship, of God as the child learns. As Calvin says, “God calls us to himself through our parents.” We learn to be subject to God by learning to be subject to our parents, and parental discipline teaches us how to be disciplined by the Father. As Charles Hodge says, “Parents stand in relationship to their dependent children as, so to speak, in the place of God.” We are to receive this. The Christian father is, thus, the patriarch; the Christian mother is, thus, the matriarch of this society. And the Christian faith and tradition is to be passed down by the parents as schoolmaster and magistrate.

The Proper Response of Children🔗

Second, the proper response of children. It is very clear in this text it is to honour. Which, at least, includes: to respect, to love, to obey and to respond with obligation to parents. This is fundamental. This is not mere external obedience but it is to know and to desire the approval and glory of the father and the mother. You see, the word ‘honour’ is much more comprehensive than the word ‘obey’. It is right that children must obey their parents, and that is a good place to start (and by the way, that is an essential place to start with children), but that does not complete this commandment. It is to honour father and mother. And one honours father and mother not by mere eternal obedience but by the internal inclination of the heart to desire what the father and mother desire, to receive the patrimony, and to honour father and mother with every dimension of life!

This is a basic pattern for life in terms of the Scriptural revelation. As Augustine asked, “If anyone fails to honour his parents, is there anyone he will spare?” Those who would dishonour parents would dishonour the government. Those who would dishonour parents would dishonour authority. Those who would dishonour parents would dishonour God! And that is the very clear biblical warning. Thus in Scripture one of the greatest curses is a disobedient or a rebellious son. Thus when Jesus is himself giving us a picture of the gospel and the desperate wickedness of human sin, what is the model he chooses in Luke 15? The son who forsakes his father and goes into a far country! The proper response of children is to obey.

This is an analogous relation: as the child is taught to obey the parent, also the child is taught to obey authority, and the ultimate authority is that of the Father. As the Puritans taught: a child should be the parents echo. When the father speaks, the child should echo back obedience. If something else is echoed back, it is something displeasing to God. As in Israel, so also in the church. In Ephesians 6 we read that children are to obey their parents, as Paul makes this exhortation very clear. But Paul, even in citing this commandment, does something very interesting in Ephesians 6: he universalizes it. Note carefully. He says:

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honour your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise), so that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth.Ephesians 6:1-3, NASB, emphasis added

Not just in the land of promise, but everywhere God's people are found. Not only is this addressed to God's covenant people in the Old Testament about the covenant land of Canaan, this is addressed to God's new covenant people, the church, with reference to everywhere they are to be found. The promise still pertains! We are to honour the father and the mother by honouring their name. We are to bring honour to the name of our father and to the name of our mother. We are to bring honour to the patrimony we have received by our behaviour, by our deportment, by our covenantal faithfulness, by our embrace of all that has been given us in this patrimony, and by our witness and testimony to the fact that we consider it our greatest honour to be our father and mother's child. And thus to continue and to pass down the inheritance that we have received from them.

This also includes care. And in this new demographic reality of the sandwich generation we are reminded that most of us who were cared for by our parents will care for our parents, and God's glory is in it. God's glory is in the fact that we receive the obligation to care for our parents as a gift and not as an imposition. Because in caring for our parents, we show the world and we teach our own children what covenantal faithfulness looks like in the obligation of children to parents. It is not just care and provision; it is honour. I have been taught about this by my own wife. Her father died just this past January, and I know how much she loved him. And I know that even now she takes care to honour her father—what would please him and honour his name. God's glory is in that. God's glory is in a child honouring a parent—father and mother. Because in honouring our parents we bring honour to God.

The world does not think this way. Jane English, a philosopher of the University of North Carolina, once asked this question: What do grown children owe their parents? She said, “I will contend that the answer is: nothing.” Speaking of the contemporary picture, she said, “We have learned mutuality, we have learned that the responsibility is that parents should earn the friendship of their children and parents who do not earn the friendship of their children deserve no mutuality.” That is antithetical to the biblical worldview. We never outgrow our parents. Sigmund Freud—not only in his Oedipus complex but in the totality of his teachings—said that it is our responsibility to kill off the father! And tell me that is not the spirit of our age in terms of entertainment and literature. We kill off the father. But in the biblical worldview we honour the father, and nothing could be more counter-revolutionary than that.

This comes with a promise that obedience and honour lead to living long in the land. And of course, as Paul says “long on the earth” he is not just speaking about our earthly lives. He is talking about the promise that comes to us by God's gift of eternal life. Have you considered the fact that as we glorify God in eternity we will glorify God as we are instructed by Hebrews 11 by honouring those who came before us as fathers and mothers, as patriarchs and matriarchs in the faith?

The Proper Reality of the Church🔗

Third, the proper reality of the church as God's new covenant people. This is very important. And there is a problem, there is a fracture in this picture that must be acknowledged. And that is that there are some who have not orphaned themselves who nonetheless are orphaned. Sometimes there are children who are orphaned by unfaithful parents, and sometimes there are those who are orphaned because they simply have no one in their lives who is unto them as father and mother.

Do you realize how rich the picture is in the New Testament of the church as the people of God? God's new covenant people is, as it were, a new family! The church is the household of faith. In Hebrews 3:2-6 the text of Numbers is echoed as we are told that this is now God's household. This is the household of God through Christ. This is the new family. And thus, in the church we have not only the responsibility to honour our fathers and our mothers, but there is in the church no one who is an orphan! In the church as the new covenant people everyone has a father and everyone has a mother! Because we are as brothers and sisters to each other, also as a family to each other.

And thus Paul instructs Timothy that young men are to honour the older men. And as the dear apostle tells Titus, older women are to counsel younger women. There is to be no one left an orphan. In the church, in the new family of faith, there is not only an honour of the natural family—a father and mother and their biological offspring—there is the picture of the church itself as a family being built up into a household of faith! And thus, in the church, when we honour father and mother it is not only biological parents, it is honouring patriarchs and matriarchs, living and dead. It is the responsibility of God's new covenant people to receive this as a gift. And thus, just as there are no orphans in the church there must not be any abandoned and dishonoured mother or father. And thus, within the church we care for those who are the aged among us because they are the honoured among us. And there is no child, minor or adult, who has no mother and father. The church that does not demonstrate this by the richness of its life as the new family of faith is a church that dishonours the gospel of God.

Thomas Watson said very clearly that honouring our spiritual fathers means that, number one, we must give them respect. Number two, we must become as advocates for them. And number three, we must be conformed to their doctrine. And is this not rich? And is this text not for us? We honour father and mother. We respect the patriarchs and matriarchs who are God's gifts to us. We become advocates for them. We save them from the dishonour of an age that dishonours all things old. We become advocates for them by remembering their names with honour and by making sure that even though their memory may be erased from the rest of the earth, their memory is not erased here.

And as we are here today and we speak of Heritage Week, we are not looking back merely to 1859. We are looking back to Abraham and Isaac and Jacob. To Paul and to Peter and to Stephen. To Ruth, to Lois, to Eunice. We are looking back to Athanasius and Augustine. We are looking back to Zwingli, Knox, Luther, Calvin, and Edwards. We are looking back to Whitfield and Wesley. We are looking back to Spurgeon and Carey. We are looking back to Boice and Williams. We are looking back because we dare look forward, and we do not dare look forward without looking back. “Honour your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.” We desperately need to hear this, and God's glory is in this.

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