When Christ is Lord of Your Home, Part 1

WHEN CHRIST IS LORD OF YOUR HOME

By Danny and Charlotte Akin

On May 27, 1978 we began a great journey together. From the start we had a commitment both to the permanence of marriage and the Lordship of Jesus Christ. We could never have imagined then where God would take us and what all He would allow us to experience. We have been blessed with four wonderful sons, 3 beautiful daughters-in-law, 2 grandchildren and a 3rd on the way. Our life together has been a fantastic adventure. We have laughed and cried, succeeded and failed, been glad, mad and sad. Through it all, however, we have attempted to follow God’s guidelines found in Scripture for marriage and family. The Bible has been our compass and we, to the best of our ability, have sought to allow it to chart our course.

When it comes to leadership in the home, we recognize that God has designed distinctive roles and assignments for the husband and wife. Texts that inform us of what God created and redeemed us to be include Genesis 1:26-31; 2:18-25; Deuteronomy 6:1-9; Psalm 1; 127; 128; Proverbs; Song of Solomon (!); Matthew 19:3-12; 1 Corinthians 7:1-7; 11:2-16; Ephesians 5:18-6:4; Philippians 2:1-5; Colossians 3:18-21; 1 Timothy 3:4-5; Titus 2:1-8; Hebrews 13:4; and 1 Peter 3:1-7. There is no want for Scripture to show the way. We have discovered that obedience, not knowledge, has always been the greatest challenge.

To understand the issue of leadership in the home, it might work best if we each share about what God has shown us, and how we have struggled and grown in what God wants us to be. Then we will talk about parenting and share a particular experience where we sought to practice what we believe Godly, biblical leadership looks like. Ladies should always be allowed to go first, so Charlotte will begin by sharing her thoughts.

Charlotte on the wife/mother role

I entered marriage with a lot of hopes and dreams. I also brought some painful baggage as well. My parents were alcoholics and divorced when I was 8. My sister, brother and I bounced from home to home until we were placed in the Georgia Baptist Children’s Home in Palmetto, Georgia. I was 9, and I lived there until I was 18 and graduated from high school. While those were difficult years, there were some good times as well. It was while I was in the Children’s Home that I received Jesus as my Savior and Lord, and God became my perfect heavenly Father (John 1:12). As we began our marriage I had no difficulty accepting God’s assignment for me as a wife and mother. The Bible was God’s Word and whatever it said I believed. Still, believing it and living it are not always the same thing. The Bible says “submit to your husband as to the Lord.” That is easy to do when your husband is obeying God and doing what you want. But what about those times when he doesn’t? Danny is a loving husband and a very smart man. However, there are times when I cannot for the life of me understand what he is thinking. Because I had to watch out for myself as I was growing up, it is easy for me to just do things my way, the way I think is best. But this is neither honoring to God or to Danny. When I honor him by following his lead, even when I disagree, I am also honoring Jesus. This doesn’t mean I cannot voice my concern and give my opinion. Neither does it mean I follow Danny if he were to ask me to do something unbiblical, unethical, immoral or illegal. Ultimately my Lord is Jesus not Danny. Gratefully, I can never think of a time where I had to make a decision like that.

Personally, God’s pattern in Genesis 2:18, along with Ephesians 5:21-24, has been the most helpful to me. There God says, “It is not good that man should be alone. I will make him a helper comparable to him” (NKJV). The word “helper” is used elsewhere in Scripture of God as He condescends to help us. There is nothing demeaning in this at all. Danny is a gifted man with strengths and abilities. He also, like all of us, has areas of weakness. One of the joys of my life is filling those gaps. Danny often compares marriage to a football team. To be successful you need a head coach and a quarterback. It is also essential that they work well together as a team. Danny is my head coach and I am his quarterback and God is president. Good teamwork requires mutual love, respect and understanding. I believe Danny is really good at being a man, husband, father and leader. That is the way God planned it. I also believe I am really good at being a woman, wife, mother and helper. This is also the way God planned it, and when we follow his plan the family works well.

Danny on the husband/father role

Being the leader of our home has been an awesome assignment and one I am completely inadequate to fulfill on my own. I will be the first to admit that when we were first married I had a lot to learn. I tended to be selfish and self-centered. I was delighted for Charlotte to wait on me hand and foot and meet my every desire. However, over the past 30 years God has been growing me in my understanding of what it means to lead your wife and family. Two truths in particular stand out when I think about Charlotte.

First, I am to love her. That is the thrust of Ephesians 5:25-33. The love described there is quite detailed and particular. I am to love her sacrificially, “as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself for her.” Such love is volitional. It is an act of the will, which seeks the best for another. I do not love her “if” or “because” … I love her period, including those times when she is unlovely. I love her sanctifyingly with a goal of aiding and encouraging her to be more like Jesus. My love is to be sensitive. “Husbands ought (there is a moral imperative) to love their wives as their own bodies.” Care and concern should characterize my love. My love should be satisfying, “nourishing and cherishing her just as Christ does the church.” I always knew Charlotte had as goal of her life to make me a success. I now understand that one of my goals as a Godly leader is to make her a success, not before the world, but before God. Nourishing and cherishing love is essential. My love is also to be specific. Verse 33 says “nevertheless, let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself.” This verse has taught me the importance of being a “one woman kind of man.” There should never be any doubt in the mind of Charlotte or the boys, family, friends or foe that Danny Akin is in love with and committed to only one woman, and that woman is his wife. In trying to provide a model of leadership Charlotte can trust and our sons Nathan, Jonathan, Paul and Timothy can follow: I committed, when we were first married, to never be alone with a woman other than Charlotte. That commitment has caused me to be criticized as a Neanderthal, sexist, Pharisee. It has also won the heart of my wife and the confidence of my sons. I can live with that.

Second, I am to know her. First Peter 3:7 says that a husband is to love his wife according to knowledge or with understanding that his prayers will not be hindered. Charlotte is a very talented and gifted woman, far more than she realizes I believe. But Charlotte, like all women, has some very particular needs because of the way God made her. She needs me to be a spiritual man of conviction, courage and commitment. She needs to know I appreciate her for all the many things she does as a wife and mother. She needs romance and affection, and in a language she appreciates and understands! Sex may or may not be a part of the package. She also needs me to be honest and open and engage her in heart to heart conversation. She needs me to bring security to our home by my presence and involvement, and she needs to know that after Jesus, nothing is more important in my life than she and our family. As I strive to be a man of God my priorities look something like this:

1) Jesus
2) Charlotte
3) Family
4) Wake Cross Roads Baptist Church
5) Southeastern Seminary

I do not always follow these as I ought, but I continually keep them before me as I seek to be the spiritual man and leader God wants me to be.

[This is the first in a two-part article. The second part of this article will be posted tomorrow.]online game for mobile

A Ride Down Prostitution Row: Why The Nations Cry For a Great Commission Resurgence

I write this as my wife Charlotte and I return from Southeast Asia. We have spent a week with precious brothers and sisters in Christ who are faithfully serving King Jesus in very difficult and, for many, dangerous locations. These men and women, along with their families, are heroes of the faith for me. My assignment for the week was to minister the Word to them. I did my best to be a faithful expositor and theologian, and to encourage them in their divine assignment. However, Charlotte and I were the ones who were encouraged. We heard story after story of how the gospel is going forth tearing down the strongholds of the evil one and setting free those who had been captive to sin and the false idols of darkness. With a humility that’s genuineness shown like a brilliant light, one after another after another shared what great things the Lord had done and was doing. Even in the midst of personal tragedies and sorrows, they praised our King for His grace, His mercy, and His faithfulness. More than once Charlotte and I prayed and cried with our family.

However, one experience was not a good one. I cannot recall a time that my heart was pierced as it was on this night. Charlotte and I had asked several couples to let us take them out for dinner. As we were headed to our restaurant, our driver turned down a street where I was totally unprepared for what I saw. Suddenly on both sides of the road, for at least a half of a mile, hundreds and hundreds of prostitutes lined the sidewalks. Some could not have been more than eleven or twelve years old. They were actually dressed in seductive uniforms that were similar to what you would see in a private Junior High or Middle School. The faces of these little girls and women I will never forget. Sadness, emptiness and hopelessness was etched across their countenance. Smiles, if there was one, seemed forced lacking any sense of genuineness. Later I was informed that most of these girls and women had been deceived and basically kidnapped. Sex slave traders prey on ignorant and unsuspecting parents, especially in rural areas, promising a better life for their children in the “big cities.” As I looked into these tragic faces, it hit me. Somewhere they have a mom and a dad. Do they have any idea what has happened to their precious daughters? I was overcome with a sense of sorrow and despair I have seldom experienced. God you must do something. We, as your ambassadors, must do something!

Later my friend Don informed me that once he and two others marched down prostitution row giving out more than 15,000 pieces of Christian materials. Tracts, Bibles, and the Jesus film were distributed to these ladies of the night. He shared with me that the women would chase after them, not to pull them into a “massage parlor,” but to receive the materials telling them about Jesus. He told me the smiles of the women stood in stark contrast to the angry glares of the men who were there to take advantage of these unique and special creations of our great God. He told me as they walked back up the street after giving out all their materials they were startled to see the Jesus film being played as videos in massage parlors. Needless to say Satan took a serious hit, at least on this particular night, on one of the many prostitution rows!

I have since discovered that the IMB has a specific ministry to reach out to and rescue these ladies from the sex slave industry. I learned we have many openings but few laborers. Granted the work is dangerous and filled with risk. But where did we ever get the idea that serving King Jesus is suppose to be safe?!

The lostness and darkness of a world without Christ came home in a new and unexpected way the night I was taken down prostitution row. The need for Southern Baptists to get radically serious about the gospel and the Great Commission never seemed more urgent. The nations are crying out for hope, and we have it. The nations are crying out for deliverance, and we have it. The nations are crying out for life, and we have it. The nations are crying out for salvation, and we have it.

Do you need a little motivation to pray and work for a Great Commission Resurgence? Take a short ride down prostitution row. I think you will find it will be all that you need.game on mobile

A Theologically-Driven Missiology (Pt. 4: Christ)

Note: This series of posts deals with the relationship between doctrine and practice in general, and between theology and missiology in particular. It argues that sound theology should provide the starting point, trajectory, and parameters for missiological practice. It seeks a “theologically-driven” missiology both for the United States and international contexts.

A Hindu once asked Dr. E. Stanley Jones, ‘What has Christianity to offer that our religion has not?’ He replied, ‘Jesus Christ.'” Indeed, Jesus Christ is central to Christian belief and practice, and is the driving force in our missiology. He stands at the center of the universe, at the center of the Scriptures, and at the center of our missiology.

Jesus Christ is Supreme

Jesus Christ is pre-eminent-All things were created by Him, through Him, and for Him (Col 1:16). It is only through Him that man is saved (Acts 4:12) and only through Him that the church is built (Mt 16:18). It is in Christ, as Ajith Fernando asserts in The Supremacy of Christ, that “The Creator of the world has indeed presented the complete solution to the human predicament. As such it is supreme; it is unique; and it is absolute. So we have the audacity in this pluralistic age to say that Jesus as He is portrayed in the Bible is not only unique but also supreme.”

He is the Center of the Scriptures

In Christian mission, we are proclaiming the Scriptures, which proclaim none other than Christ himself. Both the Old and New Testaments are Christocentric-Christ Himself is the axis of the testaments, the linchpin of the canon. The purpose of the Scriptures is to present Christ (Luke 24:27).

How do the Scriptures present Christ? We may begin by saying that the central promise of the Scriptures is that God would send Messiah. Riveted to that is the further promise that Messiah would win the nations unto himself and indeed reconcile all things unto himself. From the third chapter of Genesis onwards, we see the triumphant march of God to fulfill that promise, in spite of seemingly impossible obstacles. God fulfilled His promise, in that Messiah came and dwelt among us. He was crucified, rose again, and ascended to heaven, where he is now at the right hand of God the Father. And God will further fulfill His promise, in that Messiah will come again and bring with Him a new heavens and a new earth.

He Has Commissioned Us

It is between the first and second coming of our Lord that we now live and minister. We live “between the times,” and our commission is to join Him as He wins the nations and reconciles all things unto Himself.

In Matthew’s gospel, we are given Jesus’ command: “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

In the first phrase, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth,” it is made clear that the follower of any other lord must repent and follow Jesus, and that this is on the basis of the supreme authority of the Lord of the universe. He created the universe; he sustains it; indeed, in Him all things hold together. He has authority over Satan, evil spirits, the forces of nature, the human race, and indeed all of the created order. We go in confidence.

Next, Our Lord gives the imperative, “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” In this command, we are instructed to make disciples, and not merely professions of faith. Moreover, we are given directives for disciple-making. We are to do so through baptism (and therefore in the context of His church) and in the name of the Triune God (who alone can save).

Moreover, making disciples includes “teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” The missiological implications of this are manifold. Here are two:

First, the “commands of Christ” are contained in the Christian Scriptures. There is no true evangelism or discipleship apart from the proclamation of the Word of God. Any other tool that we may use, such as apologetic dialogue, is preliminary and is for the purpose of engaging that person with the Word of God.

Second, the “commands of Christ” are not limited to those statements in the New Testament in which Jesus speaks in the imperative. Indeed, the entirety of Scripture, including Old and New Testaments, teaches us what God has done through Christ. Anything that Scripture teaches, Christ teaches. There are some who would say that this is “bibliolatry,” that we are making a paper pope of the Bible. They would set Christ in opposition to the Scriptures, and then claim that their allegiance is to Christ but not to the Scriptures. They “just want to follow Jesus.” And it is our conviction that the only way to follow Jesus is to follow him back to the Bible. We follow him, for example, to Mt 5: 18, “For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.” All Scripture is inspired by God, and hence also bears the insignia of Christ. Our evangelism and discipleship, therefore, will include the clear teaching of the entire canon of Scripture.

He is the Impetus for Missiology

In the final phrase of Mt 28:20, our Lord promises, “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” This is our confidence, that we go under the authority of Christ and in the very presence of Christ. Missiology is at its heart Christological. There is perhaps no better picture of the Christological nature of missiology than Rev 5, where we see the Lamb-Like Lion receiving the worship of the nations, as the nations sing, “You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; for You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth.”

We now live in anticipation of His Second Coming, when He will be seen in all of His splendor as the King of the Nations. Until that time, and upon His authority, it is our charge to proclaim the gospel to all tribes, tongues, peoples, and nations, whether they be found far or near.