Editorial by Jerry Lutz
“‘See, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes. He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents; or else I will come and strike the land with total destruction’” (Mal. 4:5–6, NIV).
Families are the building blocks of society. For many centuries and generations, it has been rightly observed by religious and secular leaders alike that how the family goes, so go neighborhoods, nations and the world. Is it any wonder then that the enemy of souls would direct his greatest efforts toward the undermining and destruction of the family, especially in these closing days of earth’s history? Since the fall of mankind into sin, Lucifer’s relentless attack on parents and children has resulted in broken lives, divided homes and the collapse of world empires and civilizations. Lately, it appears he has redoubled his evil efforts to thwart the cause of God on earth by adding unprecedented layers of confusion to an already mixed-up and deeply divided world. And, of course, our churches have also suffered the negative effects of broken and dysfunctional families, thus weakening their ability to minister in their communities and reach people for Jesus.
So, what is the solution to the seriously troubling issues of the day as they relate to the family? Our text tells us that a family revival and reunion of parents and children is to take place before the “great and dreadful day of the Lord” (verse 5). This passage is a message of hope that points us to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the latter rain. It will begin where it must—in the family. It is the Spirit of Elijah that will sweep the world. The same Holy Spirit that motivated Elijah’s ministry will move upon the hearts and minds of parents and children. When families are united by the Spirit, the church will be united in purpose and mission.
But here is where we must be careful to not presume that the fulfillment of the prophecy will be imposed on unwilling souls and their households. Just as salvation may come to anyone by his or her decision to live in and for Christ, so comes the outpouring of God’s Spirit on His people. It only follows then that, when it comes to evangelism and outreach, there is no substitute for Spirit-filled people.
Moms and dads, sons and daughters, let us each one, and together, open our hearts and minds to the influence of the Holy Spirit now as never before, because family matters.
Jerry Lutz serves as the president of the Chesapeake Conference.