Today, Bill Heid and E. Ray Moore discuss how father’s can build
a strong family legacy during times of adversity
The principles and teachings upon which this country was founded are crumbling. Our society as a whole is more secular and less inclined to wholesome goodness or values in the private or public sector. Our political system has become corrupt and bloated because of a lack of ethical and moral values, where greed and graft have taken hold and the people of the country suffer.
And in the midst of this, one has to ask… where are the fathers? Where are the godly men who will help lead a nation to healing and strength once again? Where are their voices? Where is their presence?
Off The Grid Radio
Released: June 8, 2012
Bill: Welcome, everybody, to a Father’s Day episode of Off the Grid Radio and I have in the studio with me, my good friend, Abe Chacko. Abe, welcome.
Abe: Hi, how are you?
Bill: You know what, Abe?
Bill: I’m glad you asked me that. It’s our Father’s Day episode so I’ve never been happier in my life. It’s a great day. Father’s Day is something that I look forward to celebrating and our guest has written about one of the greatest fathers, Jonadab, in the Bible. So I’m very excited to introduce our good friend, E. Ray Moore—Junior, actually—but E. Ray Moore. E. Ray Moore is a Bible teacher. He’s been Army Reserve chaplain. Ray, you’ve been all over the world. You’ve done all kinds of crazy stuff. You’ve gotten politics, church-state stuff. You went to the Citadel. What haven’t you done?
Ray: Well, I’m still here. I’m 68 so we’re maintaining right now, trying to finish up well. I’ve been around a long time.
Bill: You’ve been around a long time.
Ray: I’ve been married nearly 42 years. We have four adult children and seven grandchildren.
Bill: Well, we figure because of your book, The Promise of Jonadab, that you’re the perfect person to have as a guest on our Father’s Day episode because we’re talking about probably one of the greatest fathers mentioned in the Bible. We talk about being “off the grid” and not paying attention to the news cycle. I think—before we get going, talking about too much—I think one of the greatest damages—and maybe you guys kind of would agree or disagree—one of the greatest damages to the family, in particular, is getting hooked on the current news cycle. In other words, we forget our history because we just are inundated with media cycle stuff and we’re constantly—constantly—“What’s the latest media cycle? What’s the new story? What did Mitt Romney say about someone else’s campaign advisor?” and so forth. And I think we lose this continuitous history that we have, that’s been built up over years, Ray.
Ray: Yes, that’s a unique thing about the character, Jonadab. He is—we thought of calling—the greatest dad in the Bible. He has one of the greatest promises in scripture for a father. I think the only the thing that could top it would be the patriarchs such as Abraham. But this is a very minor character in the Bible and he’s only in two chapters and yet he has a great story to tell and is very relevant today. The title of our book is The Promise of Jonadab: Building a Christian Family Legacy in a Time of Cultural Decline, which is just like we’re living in today and this man was able to maintain his family in his own time and as we get into it more, he also has got some kind of legacy—godly legacy—even today, which is what’s the astounding part of the story.
Bill: Well, it seems to fit the theme, guys, that we have, that we’re living in today. We’re living in a time of cultural decline, whether it’s Baal worship that we’re engaged in right now—you could probably call it that—but we’re certainly living in a time where there is great apostasy and very little interest in promises kept, in covenantal thinking. In that business—the concept that we talk about a lot here—it’s existential “Me now.” What’s in it for me right now seems to be the operating zeitgeist. So here you’ve got a character that’s so far on the pendulum going the other way that he’s almost off the chart because we’re talking about people who are promise keepers from way, way back.
Ray: He’s obscure. He shows up in 2 Kings 10 the first time. His name is only mentioned twice and he was some kind of warrior because he accompanied Jehu, the newly appointed king of Israel, in the purge of Baalism out of Israel. Elijah had prophesied this and when the family of Ahab passed off the scene Jehu became king and he was the one who purged Baal from the nation of Israel. Jonadab is the only one of his principal helpers whose name is mentioned and then he just sort of phased off the pages of scripture—very obscure, a minor character—and then his name resurfaces 250 years later in Jeremiah 35 and the whole chapter of Jeremiah 35 is devoted to him and his descendants and this is where the story gets real interesting because the family is still continuing on, according to his instructions as a father and Jeremiah calls him into the temple and offers him wine to drink and they say, “Oh no, we can’t drink wine because our father, Jonadab, taught us how to be a family. Then Jeremiah uses the Rechabites—they were called—the descendants of Jonadab as an illustration to Judah in saying that, “Hey, look at this family, how they honor the instructions of their dead father, Jonadab, and yet you will not honor the words of the living God.”
And so then he turns to the family and he pronounces a blessing on the descendants of Jonadab 250 years later, after he himself has passed off the scene, and he says, “Jonadab, the son of Rechab, will not lack a man to stand before me forever.” I’ve got two seminary degrees and I had read that but somehow it hadn’t clicked for me until about 13-14 years ago when I read it and saw it in a new way. The Holy Spirit has a way of bringing back old texts and illuminating them and burning them into your conscious mind and soul and that’s what happened to me and I was just stunned by it. I said, “No, this can’t be right. What I think I’m reading is that it’s some kind of godly descendants from this family living even today” and I thought, “No, that can’t be right.”
I’m a conservative interpreter of scripture. I don’t go to the right or to the left and so I quickly rushed off to Matthew Henry, which has been around a long time and is a standard Protestant Evangelical commentator and he has a pretty long section about this text in describing how, in some way that we can’t understand, Jonadab has living, godly descendants, even today, in the world. And that set me and my wife off on a real treasure hunt and so our book basically tries to answer four questions—How do you do that? What does it look like? Can it be done? And has it been done? And we feature six families in the book that we know– actually, we know five of them personally and one is from a previous era—who have Jonadab type legacy—Christian legacies—going back hundreds of years, even several thousand years. So our book is basically about passing the Christian faith– the gospel faith– down through the family through the generations. And so it’s a book about the family covenant.
Bill: Let’s talk a little bit about just what’s it look like. What are some of the examples—and this is a great book—what are some of the examples, by the way, that you use? How do you go about seeing this? Obviously there are the fruits. Some of this stuff shows up generations later and so you’re seeing that generations later. And as we mentioned—I guess I’ll just jump in—I’m looking across the studio here at my friend Abe. Abe’s family has a great deal of this going back into India and the two of you were discussing this a little bit before the show. Why don’t you guys talk a little bit about that in context of what we were talking about, Abe?
Ray: Well, we mentioned… Abe and I were discussing– and he can probably describe it much better—but I do actually mention the Syrian—they call them Syrian Christians—from India and they have a Christian family tradition going back to the Apostle Thomas and I have actually some friends from that community and I guess your friend Abe, who we just met a few minutes ago, comes from that family tradition. So maybe he could make a comment about that.
Abe: Well, I think the most important thing that I saw in the forefathers—my dad’s parents; my grandfather and what has passed on—was the significant dependence on the Bible and the tradition that they passed on of what is called the “family alter,” both morning and evening and that has carried on into our family as well. So growing up, it was not easy to get up at 5:30 in the morning when all kids want to sleep and my dad and mom are getting up and singing hymns and making sure that we’re up. And then as we got older we recognized the importance of what it meant to be in the Word.
Bill: So family worship though, Abe, for a big thing… Church is important but family worship, for you, in this case was really kind of a cement—a generational cement.
Abe: Oh, absolutely. And in our family we couldn’t do our studies in the evening until all the kids came together—me and my two siblings—and we would read and pray and then we would do our homework and then before we went to bed Mom and Dad would read and pray with us.
Ray: Wow, that’s amazing.
Bill: That is amazing.
Ray: Well, that’s one of the things that we discovered. Today a lot of Christians in America expect the church or the youth group or some Bible study group outside the family to raise their children. I think, as I looked at this family—the Jonadab family in the Bible—but also the six families that we feature in the book, a common theme seems to be that the Christian faith is practiced and lived out in the family. I remember one story from the life of John G. Paten. He is one of the greatest Christian missionary biographies of all time and I think it’s called John G. Paten: Missionary to the New Hebrides Islands in the South Pacific. The first 100 pages is just about him growing up in Scotland in the 1850s-1860s and about his family life. His dad was just an ordinary Christian layman—active in the church—but he was a very devout Christian and he made a statement in the book—and we actually have it in our book—we quoted it.
He made the comment and said, “By some extraordinary circumstance,” which he would think would not ever happen but if it were he’d be tempted to discount the Christian faith and his Christian beliefs were to be seriously challenged and doubted in his own mind—if that could happen—he said, “My mind would go back to my father and his prayers and the way he lived in the family and I would say to myself, ‘He walked with God. Why may not I?’” And so that’s our great insight in our study is that the Christian faith is lived out in the family, by the parents, before the children and they disciple their own children in habits and ways of living the Christian faith so it will not depart from them. Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart.” So that is confirmation from Abe.
We do have a series of things that families do that pass the faith through the family. A lot of Christian families today operate just like a dormitory. It’s a place where they sleep and eat and bathe but they don’t have any sort of family interaction and this is not the kind of Christian family that will successfully pass the faith to the next generation. We have a list of—and I could give you our list and it’s in our book—we talk about having family celebrations and traditions that might be peculiar to your family and of course they would hope it would be Christ-centered. Regarding brothers and sisters as permanent friends– most of us can’t remember who our playmates were when we were small children but we still are in regular contact with our siblings and brothers and sisters so they should become permanent friends. Regular worship, Bible study, quiet time and scripture memory—and Abe has already talked about that. Supper together around the table, without the television—and that would be where family worship would take place at least once a day and it sounds like Abe’s family did it several times a day. Short accounts when we have sinned—keeping short accounts with the Lord and with our family members. Practical holiness. Correction for disobedience, disrespect, stealing and lying—those are the things that we bore down on and we found that if you worked on those four it seemed to take care of a lot of the others. There are some families today that will correct or discipline their children for disobedience, stealing and lying but we always dealt very strongly with disrespect. If our children showed any lack of respect we took that very, very seriously.
Bill: Let me stop you for a second because I think you hit on something. Here is why the family is so important, guys. It’s the first place where other spheres are worked out. In other words, Ray, what you just said is so important. If your kids grow up and are disrespectful to you or your wife they are going to be disrespectful to both church and state. So their theology of church and state gets worked out very early in the home. And I think so much rebellion against church and state is created by a rebellious home. In other words, if you don’t knock that down early on you create little monsters that go out into the world. They go out into the church and want to have their way now. They go out into government—they want to have their way now. There are no factors beyond them. So I think that’s what’s important to consider, when you’re considering, “How do I ratchet up this level of discipline?”
The respect part is important because we have to respect authority and that authority is going to confront them everywhere they go in life until their dying day. How you deal with authority– and I’m talking about constituted authority; I’m not talking about the Nazis—I’m talking about what’s real, genuine, constituted authority. Refereeing a basketball game—whatever it can be—How do they deal with their coach? They’re going to go out and they’re going to have a coach. The coach is going to say, “You know what? I’m going to sit you down” and guess what little Johnny is going to say. If you don’t swat them back, he’s going to fight and he’s going kick and he’s going to spit. The NBA playoffs are going on right now. You can see that in playoffs. Ray, every single call gets challenged by these guys. It’s crazy. You probably don’t watch NBA basketball but I’m just saying you can tell the players who have had… Tim Duncan or someone like that—he reacts to fouls called on him– even if they’re bad ones—he is a man under authority. And you can tell the guys that aren’t. It just shows up everywhere around us and all you’ve got to do is read the headlines in the papers to find areas where this confrontation is taking place.
Ray: Well, we dealt with it. If they obeyed a command or instruction, but in a disrespectful way, they didn’t get credit for it. They got disciplined for obedience that was not happy obedience. So we’re supposed to have joyful obedience in our Christian walk so we really dealt with that pretty strenuously and we see other Christian families that don’t. They allow their children to be haughty or arrogant in the home and I think that is a very, very serious thing. We think practicing homeschooling or Christian schooling is going to be a necessary expectation for families that want to have a Jonadab type legacy today because the public school system has become so toxic and dangerous to the Christian faith of our children.
Bill: Now don’t go past that without talking about that a little bit more. Let’s talk about how the state wants to create… I don’t know if you remember years ago CC Zimmerman wrote this book on the family– and it was kind of the operating manual on the family—where he talks about trustee, domestic and atomistic families. Well the state works towards creating an atomistic family because they want to be the authority. The state wants to be God and so they don’t want you to have this. And I’m not saying people that are public school teachers wake up in the morning trying to—in their minds at least—create this problem but by creating a powerful state—a powerful state educational system—you are tearing at the family, are you not?
Ray: Right, because we believe that this is an integral part of sound, biblical parenting today and so we stress that. We have about eight mentions of homeschooling or Christian day school in our book because I have a regular ministry that concentrates on building and advancing homeschooling and Christian schooling called The Exodus Mandate Project. That’s what I do fulltime. In my book I took a little different approach. In my ministry—my fulltime ministry—I kind of knock the door down to try to get people’s attention but I approached this… Gail and I actually wrote the book together. We approached it a little bit differently. We talked about a general need to have a Christian family legacy and then we stressed that homeschooling and Christian schooling is one of the things that would help enhance that.
I do need to say that the book… My wife can’t be on the call this morning but we did it together. We raised our children together. Normally she’s quite a great writer and a poet in her own right. There is a strong ballad that she wrote about Jonadab at the very back part of the book—about four pages of poetry, which is really excellent. She does that all the time and she’s an English teacher and a writer for the South Carolina Legislative Council so she’s got a good gift for writing. So she edited the book and actually wrote about half the chapters. So it’s a truly collaborative effort for us, as a couple, and it was a great joy to do this as a couple. We’ve, of course, been married nearly 42 years but she tends to edit my sermons and things for me and I do a lot of the writing. So this was quite a good thing and we really enjoyed doing it together.
Bill: Yeah, and you can watch a video. Ray, where is that video again? What do you have to go to YouTube to put in, to watch the video of you and Gail?
Ray: Yeah, they can go to YouTube and type in “the promise of Jonadab.” That’s J-O-N-A-D-A-B—“the promise of Jonadab with Gail…” spelled G-A-I-L “…and Ray Moore” and they can see about a six and a half minute interview where we talk about the book and what we discovered. It’s really one of the better things we’ve done and we get a lot of kudos just on the interview and if people will look at that they will probably have a tendency to want to get the book.
Bill: Yeah, the book’s great. So what was the next part that you wanted to chat about? You were mentioning kind of the four sections and I got kind of lost just thinking about… I was thinking about Chapter Two when you were talking about Jonadab’s zeal. How do you create zeal in your children? Here is what I see. Here is a problem today among—I would say—covenantal households where let’s say Abe’s trying to raise his kids. How do you get that excitement in their life? It seems like it can kind of peter out a little bit after time.
Ray: I think we have to be engaged in meaningful spiritual combat, I guess is the word I would use.
Bill: They have to see you fighting.
Ray: They need to see that this is real—this is serious business. I think that’s the most important thing. So many of us just kind of go to church and put our offering in the plate and go home and then watch ball games and we believe in the Lord and we love the Lord but we don’t have a vital, active, Christian experience. And then I think of seeing the Lord meet your needs. I remember when my oldest son was a child and this was a little thing but I think it was helpful in his life at the time. We were just starting out in the ministry and we didn’t have any extra income for nice toys and things like that. They got presents but it was… And we were visiting a friend. My mother, who was a business manager for John Deere Tractor Company in South Carolina, we were visiting there and the owner was a good friend of the family and they had all these really expensive tractors for little boys and the whole set up was there. He was over there eyeing them and kind of letting my mother and the owner know that he wanted one.
I wasn’t able to buy one. They were pretty expensive. So I called him aside and said, “Son, if God wants you to have one of those let’s pray that the owner… will put it on his heart just to give you one. But don’t go over there and finger them and then look like you’re asking for it indirectly.” So we went into the restroom and he was about four or five years old and we prayed and he prayed and said, “God, if you want me to have one of those put it on his heart.” So we were putting our faith in action in a real, really vital way. He wanted one and it certainly wasn’t bad for him to have it. So then the rest of the morning there he stayed away, stayed in the office and right before we left the owner called him over and said, “Raymond, pick out any one of these toys—these tractors—that you want and you take the best and most expensive one if that’s the one you want.” And sure enough he did. And I can tell you I think it built his faith but it was good for his dad’s faith too. So you have to put your children in those kinds of situations where you’re reaching out—you’re having to really trust God in some real, vital way.
I used to do a lot of dorm… The first ministry we had was a campus ministry at Perdue University. I would take him– he was about 12 at that time—out on dorm evangelism with me. So one night we got into a really strong discussion with an atheist and it was a debate in the dorm and I was tangling with this pretty smart atheist and my son was sitting right there with me—12 year old son. So the atheist stopped and he realized this might not be good. He said, “It’s okay—you don’t mind your son being here and hearing me attack your Christian faith, do you?” because I was answering him as well and I said, “Oh no, I want him to hear this. I want him to know how to deal with people like you.” And so that’s the way we have to train our children so when they grow and become adults they have a real faith. It’s a real, vital faith of forge in combat and in adversity.
Bill: So you’re not… Let’s stop there and this is another good point. You take your kids with you. You do stuff with your kids. You mentor them. Even if you’re not trying to be epistemologically self-conscious in your mentoring, they’re just around you so they are seeing how you live and they are experiencing what you experience and they’re dealing with the antithesis in a way they are watching you all the time and so I think that’s a real key point. Take your kids along. Talk to a lot of people. Get involved. Have discussions. Mix it up a little bit. Let those kids listen in.
Ray: A lot of churches take youth groups and young children off on mission trips and you’ll see sometimes, when they come back, they’re real excited and it really has a way of stimulating their faith and they’ve shared Christ with some nationality in some other country or something like that but we should be doing things like that locally. We’ve got a mission field here in our own country. We should be taking them out and dealing with the awful culture that we’re in– the culture is really going into the toilet pretty soon here if we’re not careful—and letting them see how to work out their Christian faith in their own culture. It’s good to take these missionary trips abroad and I heartily recommend it but they could be doing similar things in their own culture.
Bill: Well, it’s a lot easier to go somewhere else than it is just to go across the street—to go to some remote, exotic place. And you come back—and as you say, Ray—you’ve got stories to tell and you have all this but how about your neighbor? How about the person right next to you? Gary North always talked about “brownies evangelism.” Maybe you can’t do that because the government won’t let you but make a pan of brownies for somebody and go say, “Hi.” That’s a good way to get started in conversation with somebody and just learning to meet new people. So take your kids along and get your kids involved.
Ray: But it’s important that it be lived out in the family. That’s the most important thing. You cannot hand your kids off to be disciple by the Sunday School class or by the youth group. So many of our youth groups today are just entertainment oriented. They’re not doing serious study in the scriptures and not in serious prayer—more guided toward just entertaining the kids.
Bill: Hey Ray, sorry to interrupt you but don’t you think that’s a huge thing? I knew a guy once. He was shopping for a church. I remember having lunch with him. Because of Abe’s theological convictions he would probably concur. The guy was looking and he said to me, “I want to find a church that has the most programs for my daughter.” That was his sole criteria. He wanted to outsource his…
Ray: His raising of his daughter.
Bill: Yeah, he was a good man, in the sense that we would kind of all think “good man” but he didn’t want to do the things that you were talking about. He would rather see it that the church did that for him
Ray: He probably thought that was the best way to go and we have a lot of…
Bill: He did. He was an honest man.
Ray: The children are not really being disciple effectively. They’ve got to see it in the lives of their parents. That’s the most important, single thing.
Bill: And this is a matter of emphasis. We’re not decrying youth groups of Sunday School or any of that. We’re just saying what is preeminent? What is the most important thing? And that is your kids are watching you.
Ray: Right, and they see that the faith is real and that it works.
Bill: You bet. So let’s talk a little bit more about the book. What are some of the areas of the book that you think are important to emphasize?
Ray: Well, we discovered this character about 15 years ago and I read my Bible. I knew about him but like I said, it hadn’t registered in a deep way with me until about 15 years ago. So we were happy when we started comparing what we thought his life must have been like and some principles that we could extract that we had been doing many of these things already because we were reading the Bible and studying and it was basically guiding our family life. So that’s an important aspect that we were happy to report. We featured six families. I could maybe describe a couple of them. We featured one family—a pastor from Plymouth Massachusetts, Reverend Paul Jaley—and he is actually descended from a Pilgrim father in the original group and he’s also descended from a Puritan father. I think it goes back to the 1600s. And he’s a faithful pastor. So this was an example from American history.
I have a friend from Egypt. He’s a Coptic Christian and I’ve known him 30 years but never really delved into his family life until I started writing the book. He’s the son of a Presbyterian minister and he said, “We can trace our Christian family heritage back to the 13th century in Egypt with records.” In the 13th century some of the records are lost. They don’t have clear records. But they believe—like most Coptic Christians in Egypt today—that their Christian legacy goes back to the 1st century church. He’s got a 2,000-year Christian tradition.
I think our friend Abe probably has a comparable tradition like that. The Syrian Christians that mostly live in southern India claim that they go back to the Apostle Thomas, who was a missionary and went to India in 52 AD and started seven churches and then he was martyred for the faith. I have a really close friend, who I mention in the book, I think as well, who is from that same tradition as Abe and his name is Abraham Thomas and he is a preacher and an evangelist and pastor in India today and we were together in seminary many years ago and I said to him, “The Western Church doesn’t necessarily accept that tradition,” kind of questioning him, challenging him on it. He said, “Oh Brother Ray, Brother Ray, you can believe it’s true.”
Abe: I think I know this Abraham Thomas.
Ray: Oh, okay.
Bill: Do you really, Abe?
Ray: He lives in Carola, probably Bangalore Arid.
Ray: Yeah, but anyway, so we have stories like that. We have a family right here in town that we illustrated, who has a great legacy. They have about eight children. They were missionaries in Costa Rica and their children are all strong for the Lord today. He can trace his Christian family legacy back to around the Revolutionary War period. So there are many such stories but the idea of the book is that we should grow the church—one of the main ideas of the book—we should grow the church and grow the kingdom of God… One of the primary ways that God wants this done is through the family—building the family through the generations so that we see real growth and extending of the kingdom of God.
It doesn’t minimize the role of evangelism. That’s always important to bring new converts in from non-Christian communities and places but God wants to build the family and the family should become stronger through succeeding generations so that we have more and more converts and more people following Christ. And that idea is sort of missing in a lot of our evangelical churches today. They let their kids go to public schools where they’re being discipled by pagans and non-Christians and then they go out and do a lot of evangelism and they bring in people in the front door and their own children in their own families are going out the back door, dropping out of the church because they weren’t properly discipled in the home and even in the church.
Bill: I think that a lot of people today, certainly within the last hundred years, see marriage and the family in terms of physical, imminent issues rather than the primary issue of you and your family being spiritual, theological—you’re working for the kingdom. So that’s not part of a contemporary sermon. You’re not in this family to get out of it for what you need to get out of it. You’re in this family to do God’s work on Earth and that’s your primary drive—not that the physical things aren’t important but the primary drive is spiritual or theological and I don’t think that we think in those terms anymore. We’ve become Aristotelians in that it’s physical. Freud certainly thought a lot about the family in terms of fulfillment of sex and so forth and having its place in gratifying, physical things but we can’t fall into that sort of… Certainly Jonadab wouldn’t have fallen into that way of thinking. “What are we doing for God?” is primary and then our family. Remember early on, guys, we had Adam—he gets a calling, he has a job, then he gets a wife, right? He doesn’t get his wife after he gets his job. He gets his job and his calling.
Ray: That’s a good emphasis—what you’re saying there. In fact, we’ve gone to family life enrichment seminars and those are good to go to but so much of it’s just about the relationship between the husband and wife, how you can enhance your romance and how you can be happy together as a couple. And some of these conferences that we’ve gone to never mention children. You would think they didn’t exist. And certainly they don’t mention how to raise children in a godly way. I have gone to several and there are big gaps missing in some of the programs of some of these family life conferences.
Bill: They are but the romance takes care of itself when there are two people working together, laboring together towards kingdom work. All of these other things seem to take care of themselves, in that area as well as others. But I think we have to get back to the idea of historic Christianity. I’m sure that Jonadab would have concurred in that I’m in this world… We know he concurred because he worked with Jehu and his primary emphasis in life was God’s kingdom. So we know he concurred and he had his family and they saw him in action. Ray…
Ray: He was a warrior. He was a warrior and he was concerned about the holiness of his nation and that’s why he joined Jehu in eradicating Baal. If he were here today he would be the ordinary every-man in our churches. He wouldn’t necessarily be the preacher or the politician. He might be a truck driver or the mechanic in your church. He might be just an ordinary workingman but he was… And this is what makes him so exciting because today so many of our men in our churches are feeling… So many of our churches are almost female-centered or child-centered—not man-centered. In God’s economy He is always concerned about the leadership of the man in the church and in the family. If Jonadab were here today he would be just the ordinary man and I think this gives hope to some of our fathers in our churches. They say, “What can I do? I just work and go to church” but you can be a great dad. The most important thing you could do in life is be a great father and a great dad and pass the torch of the Christian faith and the gospel to your sons and daughters. That’s the most important thing you can do.
Bill: It is but there is pragmatic value to this– and I think in Chapter Five—because that’s where it kind of ties in a little bit with what a lot of our listeners like. The listeners to this program are interested in survival, self-reliance. But I was thinking, at the time that Abe was talking, about the discipline that his parents and grandparents imparted upon him. That was the same discipline that took place in Jonadab’s family and that something came out of that. In other words, it wasn’t an abstraction. It wasn’t discipline for discipline’s sake. It showed up. It manifested itself in terms of they were being prepared for very tough, hard times in captivity, right?
Ray: Right, yeah. The purpose of… We think these rules… When people read the story of Jeremiah they sort of tend to discount it because they live sort of a nomadic and ascetic type life and so they say, “Well, this has no relevance to us today” and that’s why I think there has not been much written about him down through the history of the church. We were amazed at how little has been written on this character because it is hard for the modern man to relate to him. But we think these rules were peculiar because he was trying to protect his family in a difficult time. He knew the northern kingdom was going to collapse and they would go into captivity based on the prophecies of Elijah.
And so he ordered his family so that they could ride above the crisis and that’s what you’re trying to do with Off the Grid is to have families that are prepared through a difficult economic and financial, social time that we might be moving into but as they do prepare they shouldn’t just prepare for physical difficulties but they need to really bear down and prepare their family in a spiritual, godly, Christian way that the family can be preserved. And one of the best preservation programs that we have is godliness and holiness. Even in the scripture, when God is judging a nation or a culture, He takes care to preserve His faithful remnant.
And so if we prepare well materially and do good in gardening and storing supplies and if we don’t live godly lives, we may not be protected. But God was able to protect this family through two cultural disintegrations. They left the northern kingdom and came to Judah and they were living inside the walls of Jerusalem when Jerusalem fell. And so they did go through two national calamities or collapses of nations but they came out on the other side and we know that with some—with Ezra and Nehemiah– when they returned 70 years later to rebuild the temple and the walls of Jerusalem and they’re mentioned periodically down through history in remote ways and we know they’re still with us today in some fashion, even though we don’t know who they are.
Bill: Well Ray, as we kind of get ready to wind down a little bit, what else would you like to say about the book, about America’s current state?
Ray: Well, I think the book really speaks to the current crisis in which we are in. The title of the book is The Promise of Jonadab and the subtitle is Building a Christian Family Legacy in a Time of Cultural Decline. This character really speaks to our day because Christians are not being successful in turning back the cultural disintegration that we’re in but they can preserve their own families. They can take care and carry the Christian faith in a stable order in their own family life so they can come through and be safe on the other side of this crisis. The book is very useful for… It’s a small book. You could read it in a short timeframe so it would be good for a Father’s Day gift, particularly for young dads with maybe preteen or teenaged kids but it’s good for old men like me and it’s good for a men’s meeting in a church. Some could order copies off of our web page and that’s ExodusMandate.org or they could go to our publisher if they wanted bulk copies and that’s Ambassador-International.com and their toll-free number is 800-209-8570 and they give a bulk rate of 40% discount for 15 copies or more.
Bill: Okay. Lastly, guys, I’ll let you go first, Abe, and then Ray can go. Abe, in your case you’ve been the recipient of grace with respect to God working generationally. You’ve had great parents and grandparents. What advice would you give to one of the young fathers that Ray was just describing—someone that has children, someone that has to prepare? We live in uncertain times like we see in Israel at this time and both northern and southern kingdoms. What advice would you give? What would you say in conclusion kind of as a Father’s Day message?
Abe: In conclusion, I would say that you have to live consistent lives. My parents were very consistent in what they read to us in the scriptures and the lives they lived and so consistency is so important because kids can detect inconsistency and therefore hypocrisy and therefore they say, “Well, what does it mean, Dad, when you do this and this and this?” And so that is one of the things that I appreciated in my parents—the Word and the prayer that they exhibited to us.
Bill: That’s extremely important. Great point. Thank you for that. And Ray, what advice would you give likewise on Father’s Day, to young fathers especially?
Ray: Well, I concur with Abe. I think one thing that we did besides… Memorizing scripture is very, very important for little children. So by the time they were beyond three or four years old they had memorized dozens of verses. And we see now, as adults, that those texts are still with them and the same was true in my life. I was raised in a Christian family and I just had vast amounts of scripture memorized when I was little. So I would say that’s a very important thing. And then we prayed a lot. We had formal prayers where we had situations where we had family alter or putting the children to bed at night but when there was just something that came up—we’d be driving in the car and something would come up—we’d pray in the car. Even when our children went to university sometimes they would call late at night and if they had some project they were working on they would want prayer. We made prayer so vital it was like breathing or drinking water. They depended on it—completely dependent on it. And when we’re dependent on prayer it makes you really dependent on God. So we really tried to drill that into our children.
Bill: All right, Ray, that’s great advice as well and we want to thank you today. My advice, from my side, is inheritance is a theological concept. You’re working for God’s kingdom. It’s not something to trifle with. It’s not something you have to farm out or give away. It’s something to hold dear. And with that, we want to thank Ray as well as our listeners for spending time with us today. We know that your time is valuable and we know that you’ve got other things to do so we just thank you for spending it with us and we also wish to say Happy Father’s Day to those fathers out there listening today. Thanks again for listening to Off the Grid Radio.