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GPS – The Pattern of Complementarity

GPS – The Pattern of Complementarity

by Rick Shrader


Complementarity is an old term that has come back into common usage. In the sense of a family or a marriage, it means that husband and wife are of equal value before God but have different roles in marriage. The contrary view is called egalitarianism, used by most feminists, which sees husbands and wives as equal both in value and in roles. Complementarity, then, describes a biblical relationship between husband and wife that blends two people, two genders actually, into “one flesh.” Andreas Köstenberger described it this way: “The biblical model for marriage is that of loving complementarity, where the husband and wife are partners who value and respect each other and where the husband’s loving leadership is met with the wife’s intelligent response” (God, Marriage, and Family).

I say complementarity is an old word because it has been in the dictionary a long time. “1: Serving to fill out or complete. 2: Mutually supplying each other’s lack. 3: Relating to or constituting one of a pair of contrasting colors that produce a neutral color when combined in suitable proportions” (Webster’s Seventh). That definition is compatible with the biblical definition. When man and woman were made in innocence in the garden, Adam described Eve this way: “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of may flesh; she shall be called woman” (Gen 2:23). Then God added, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (2:24). Or, as Webster’s puts it, two colors combined into one, in suitable proportions.

This combining of the man and the woman in marriage does not destroy the divine image and value in either person, neither does it destroy the headship of the man and the submission of the woman. Rather, it enhances both because this is the way God made us. As head, the man desires to lead in a godly and loving way, “as Christ is head of the church” (Eph 5:23), and desires the church to be all it should be. So the husband desires to lead the wife to be all she should be. In response, the wife desires for her husband to lead in a godly way so that she can be the helper and partner God created her to be. Christ is the head of every human being (1 Cor 11:3), and therefore every man and woman desires to fulfill the role given him or her for the glory of God.

The challenges in our egalitarian culture are great. Today’s world looks at almost any leadership and authority as abusive and dictatorial. It also sees any submissive attitude as cowering and apprehensive. Therefore we see little respect for almost any two-tiered arrangement whether government/citizen; teacher/pupil; employer/employee; parents/children; and especially husband/wife. The rebellion against authority has spread to almost every area of our culture.

This much is true, the fall into sin distorted the husband/wife complementarity which God created. Adam and Eve’s sin resulted in the wife desiring to rule over the husband and the husband responding by ruling harshly over the wife (Gen 3:16-20). From the beginning it was not this way. Faith in Christ will bring back the original purpose for men and women, for husbands and wives, for church leaders and parishioners, and even for governments and citizens. But complementarity is especially appropriate for the marriage covenant. When Jesus referred to the Genesis account He added these words, “So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate” (Matt 19:6). Don’t let an unbelieving culture deprive the marriage of its God-intended complementary roles.


The Shrinking Ministry

Last August (2022) I wrote an article which I never printed. I had titled it “The Shrinking Ministry” and I gave it to a number of pastoral friends because we had been discussing the growing problem of churches not being able to find a pastor or closing altogether. I read articles, books, and listened to messages. I bantered back and forth with good men about this need. I wrote something but left it alone. Recently I have been involved again with many pastors, churches, and laymen concerning this problem and need. I am going to reprint my thoughts in a few installments in this section of GPS.

The Shrinking Ministry, Part 1.

There have been a number of articles, books, and statistics shared recently that have highlighted the fact that the number of pastors, missionaries, and full-time Christian workers is declining in the 21st century. Churches find it difficult to locate or call new ministers. Mission agencies report that their numbers are shrinking every year. Schools at all levels are smaller with fewer students in each one. George Barna published an article titled, “The Aging of America’s Pastors” in which he showed that there are more pastors over the age of 65 than under the age of 40. In 1968 55% of pastors were under 45 years old, but by 2017 only 22% were under 45.

In the Spring ’22 edition of The Baptist Bulletin, Mel & Kristi Walker gave 6 reasons for the decline including the price of theological education, Covid burnout, inward-focused churches, a lack of motivation, family opposition to ministry, and the difficulty of ministry. In the Summer issue, Brandon Crawford also gave 6 similar reasons adding the demographic challenge of waning veterans and veteran benefits, and the ecclesiastical challenge of smaller churches with smaller salaries and opportunities. Each of these articles referenced Woodrow Kroll’s 2002 book, The Vanishing Ministry in the 21st Century (the 1991 edition was about the 20th century). After reading the book, I was impressed by Kroll’s insight and predictions of a vanishing ministry from so many years ago. During these years Kroll was president and teacher of Back to the Bible Radio Program and former president of Practical Bible College (now Davis College, Binghamton, NY). Kroll lays much of the blame on the increasing secularization of Bible colleges, the lack of emphasis for commitment at Christian schools, and the “upward mobility” of Christian families which discourages youth from ministry.

I found these and other concerns about the shrinking ministry very helpful, insightful, and concerning. I am 72 years old and have been in ministry for about 50 years. When I entered Bible college in 1968, all Bible colleges were full with not enough housing and classroom space to meet the need. When I entered seminary in 1972, there were 100 male students (plus 2 girls, one of whom I was fortunate to marry) of which the great majority entered full-time ministry. As a seminary student there were many opportunities to serve in local churches and I served as a youth pastor and interim pastor during those early years. Throughout my years of ministry I have been privileged to teach in Bible colleges and serve on Bible college and seminary boards. I have been pastoring since 1985. I’m simply saying that my generation has seen a lot come and go. I want to add a few of my own observations about the problem of shrinking ministry and then join these men and others with some possible solutions. (To be continued)


Ken Ham on “Trouble and Strife” & “Billy Lids”

I had to laugh with Ken Ham when he included this example of Australian slang in his book on parenting.

“In Australia, we have an odd phenomenon called ‘rhyming slang.’ We substitute a word with another word or phrase that rhymes with the original word, and understand it to mean the same thing as the original. Confused? Let me give you a few examples: The rhyming slang for the word ‘wife’ is ‘trouble and strife.’ The rhyming slang for the word ’road’ is ’frog and toad.’ The rhyming slang for ‘look’ is ‘Captain Cook,’ and the rhyming slang for ‘kids’ is ‘billy lids.’ (A ‘billy lid’ is the cover of a can used for boiling water over a fire for making a cup of tea).

“If I wanted to say, ‘My wife, children, and I are going to have a look at the road,’ using rhyming slang, I would say, ‘The trouble and strife, the billy lids, and I are going to take a Captain Cook at the frog and toad.’”

(from his book, Raising Godly Children in an Ungodly World, p. 218)


GPS – The Stewardship of Submission

GPS – The Stewardship of Submission

by Rick Shrader


Submission is a corollary of headship. It follows that if “the head of every man is Christ” (1 Cor. 11:3),  then every lesser submission is a part of our stewardship to Christ our ultimate Head. All of these submissions come from the word hupotassō which always means submission to an authority.

Submission in Creation (Heb. 2:8). In a wide sense, the creation was put in submission to mankind, and as man is subject to Christ, so we are stewards of His creation. At the same time, being part of creation, we are ourselves in the bondage of corruption (Rom. 8:20). The angels are in submission to Christ (1 Pet. 3:22).

Submission in Society (Rom. 13:1; 1 Pet. 2:13). In society we are to submit to the civil authorities that apply to us. The servant, or employee, is to be in submission to his master, or employer (Tit. 2:9; 1 Pet. 2:18). The youth in a society ought to be in submission to the elders (1 Pet. 5:5) in the same way that all children are subject to their parents (Eph. 6:1-3) according to the 5th commandment.

Submission in the Home (Eph. 5:22; Col. 1:18). The submission “to one another” (Eph. 5:21) is taken to mean the one that applies to you and in the way it applies to you. Wives are to submit to their “own husbands,” not to someone else’s husband. The man is never said to submit to his wife, but his stewardship (under Christ) is to love his wife as Christ loved the church. As in all submissions, the authority flows one way. The wife submits to her husband but the husband is not said to submit to his wife. Even the word “serve” (in all its forms) only shows that we are servants of Christ with various household stewardships. At the fall (Gen. 3) we learn that the penalty for sin is that the wife will desire to control the husband and the husband will, in return, rule harshly over the wife.

Children are told to submit to their parents (1 Pet. 5:5) and are to “obey” (listen to) them. The training and admonition that comes from parents is to be accepted by children as long as they are under their authority (Heb. 12:9-10; Tit. 1:6). Honor lasts for life.

Submission in the Church (Eph. 5:24; Heb. 12:7, 17). The church, universal or local, submits to Christ as its Head. Congregationally, the church follows the will of Christ when all members are walking in the Spirit. The verses in Hebrews show that members also submit to those elected leaders whom God has placed in authority. This always must be in accordance with God’s revealed will for the church. It is not meant to be blind submission. The epistles are written to the church.

Within the church, women are not to usurp authority over the men in teaching and leadership (1 Tim. 2:11-14) . Paul specifically attributes this to Eve’s disobedience in the garden (also 2 Cor. 11:3). In the church the wife should show her stewardship of submission by a quiet and submissive demeanor (1 Cor. 14:34; 1 Tim. 2:11; 1 Pet. 3:4). Children should also show their stewardship to Christ by their submission to parents and elders (1 Pet. 5:5; Tit. 2:3-5).

Submission in Eternity (1 Cor. 15:27-28). When all is said and done in earth’s history, all things will be subject to Christ and to God. Because Christ is the Head of all believers, we will eternally find our fulfillment when all things are finally under His feet. “Who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence (Col. 1:18).


Is there “Mutual Submission?”

In the most extended passage in the New Testament on marriage, Paul writes, “Submitting to one another in the fear of the God” (Eph 5:21). In the next verse he writes, “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord” (5:22), but it is not until vs. 25 that Paul writes, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it.” Is this mutual submission? The wife obviously is to submit to her own husband, but the husband is only said to love his wife. The meaning of mutual submission became an issue especially since the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW) was organized in 1988. It was from that conference that the term complementarianism was coined and supported as opposed to egalitarianism. There were other controversial issues involved, especially the role of the eternal Godhead in submission, that are not our concern here.

One finds in older writers a more free use of the term “mutual submission.” For example, H.A. Ironside, writing in 1937 on Ephesians says that Paul “is calling for mutual loyalty, mutual respect, mutual submission” (p. 278). However, the rise of feminism in Christian circles throughout the 20th century caused conservative writers to be more careful though the term was still used. As late as 2000, John MacArthur wrote, “There is to be a mutual submission among all parties, with the family as a whole submitting to the father’s leadership” (What the Bible Says About Parenting, p. 161 & 162). Yet, MacArthur is anything but an egalitarian. In 2002, Wayne Grudem (who was vitally involved in CBMW as a complementarian) wrote,

I affirm at the outset that people can mean different things by mutual submission. There is a sense of the phrase mutual submission that is different from an egalitarian view and that does not nullify the husband’s authority within marriage. If mutual submission means being considerate of one another, and caring for one another’s needs, and being thoughtful of one another, and sacrificing for one another, then of course I would agree that mutual submission is a good thing.

However, egalitarians mean something so different by this phrase, and they have used this phrase so often to nullify male authority within marriage, that I think the expression “mutual submission” only leads to confusion if we go on using it” (Biblical Foundations For Manhood and Womanhood, p. 223)

Since that time, however, A LOT of feminist, egalitarian, non-binary, LGBTQ+, social engineering water has gone under the bridge. And Grudem was right, egalitarians use this phrase to nullify any authority differences between husband and wife in marriage, church, and society. Therefore, more recent writers (including Grudem) object to the term on any biblical basis. Andreas Köstenberger, in 2010, wrote on Ephesians 5, “This runs counter to the notion of ‘mutual submission’ within the context of identity of gender roles” (God, Marriage, and Family, p. 59). Writing again with his wife, Margaret, he says, “Paul’s command for husbands and wives to submit to each other doesn’t necessarily imply identity of roles or mutual submission” (God’s Design for Man and Woman, p. 183). In 2021, Kevin DeYoung points out (as do others) that the word hupotasso (submit) is used “always with reference to a relationship where one party has authority over another” (Men and Women in the Church, p. 104). Therefore, he says, mutual submission doesn’t fit Ephesians 5.

Three things are left to be noticed about mutual submission. 1) Nowhere in the New Testament is the husband said to submit to his wife, a real problem for egalitarians. Also, in every place hupotasso (submit) is used, it is nonreciprocal, i.e., it is one-directional: Christ to the church, slaves to masters, citizens to government, angels to Christ, and wives to husbands. Love, respect, and help are reciprocal but submission is not. 2) The phrase “one to another” (allelous) in Eph. 5:21, doesn’t necessarily mean everyone to everyone. It more often means everyone to a proper authority. That is why the wife is to submit to “her own husband,” not to every husband. Headship implies that one submit to one’s proper head, whether Christ to God or the church to Christ. 3) Male headship and a complementarity between husband and wife are not a result of the fall into sin. Some try to make the case that submission in the family (or later, the church) came as a result of sin but wasn’t part of God’s original plan. Adam, however, was clearly made first with dominion while Eve was made as a “helper” for him.

Headship and submission are part of God’s plan for human beings especially within marriage. This is where marriages thrive and husbands and wives find their true joy and fulfillment in life.


GPS – The Structure of Headship

GPS – The Structure of Headship

by Rick Shrader


The subject of headship in the marriage and family immediately raises questions about equality, subordination, leadership, and love. The Bible says  plainly that headship involves the Godhead, marriage (1 Cor. 11:3) and also the church (Eph. 5:23). These three spheres of headship teach us important things that relate to husbands and wives.

God is the head of Christ (1 Cor. 11:3).  God has eternally existed as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, one divine essence but in three equal persons. Though we speak of an eternal trinity, God is a tri-unity, not a tri-theism. He has always had one will and one essence. In the incarnation however, God the Son also took upon Himself a human nature with a human will. In the kenosis (or economic trinity) then, God the Father directs and commands the Son and in that sense is the head of “Christ” the incarnate One. The Son always obeys. Though the Father loves the Son, the role of authority flows only from Father to Son and not the other way. This arrangement, of authority and submission, accomplished salvation for mankind.

Christ is the head of the church (1 Cor. 11:3). This is stated specifically in Eph. 1:22; 5:23 and Col. 1:18, but it is implied in 1 Cor. 11:3 in that He is “the head of every man.” The flow of authority among Christ and the church also flows one way. Though Christ “loved the church and gave Himself for it” (Eph. 5:25), Christ does not submit to the church but the church to Christ. And still, as the Father eternally loves the Son in that divine headship (John 17:24-25), Christ loves His bride the church and gave Himself for her. We see in these arrangements both headship and submission as well as love with sacrifice.

The husband is the head of the wife (1 Cor. 11:3). Paul’s subject in 1 Corinthians 11:1-16 is the relationship between husband and wife. The reason for mentioning Christ being subject to God, and every man being subject to Christ, is to illustrate headship and submission for the man and the woman. This and  other passages suggest proper headship.

The husband is the head by appearance (1 Cor. 11:1-16). Head covering was a cultural way of showing the difference in gender and headship. A woman’s appearance ought to show her submission and the man’s appearance his leadership. A man ought to be recognized as a man and a woman as a woman in all the ways their culture shows it.

The husband is head by sacrifice (Eph. 5:22-33). The husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it. His headship over his wife is sacrificial as was Christ’s. The love of one’s wife exceeds the love of one’s self; it washes every spot and wrinkle; it leaves one home to create another.

The husband is head by creation (1 Tim. 2:9-15). Adam was formed first but Eve was deceived first (vss. 13-14). For this cause men are the teachers and preachers over the women but not the women over the men. The woman finds special fulfillment in the rearing of children, her first created responsibility (vs. 15).

The husband is head by chivalry (1 Pet. 3:7). Being the stronger gender, the husband honors the wife by his protection. She is a valuable vessel that one handles with care and knowledge.

In all these analogies we are reminded that both the man and the woman are equal in worth as image bearers and children of God. Christ died for the church where there is no male or female but where Christ is all and in all (Gal. 3:28; Col. 3:11).


Book Review:    

Married for God

By Christopher Ash

Sometimes we find authors we like by seeing them referenced in someone else’s book. This is how I found Christopher Ash. Ash is an Englishman who resides in Cambridge, England. At the writing of this book (2016, containing 162 pages of text) he was the writer-in-residence for Tyndale House in Cambridge. I first read his larger work, Marriage: Sex in the service of God. That larger work (2003, containing 365 pages of text) defends the sacredness of marriage and places it in the purpose for which God made it. In both works but especially in this later one, Ash defends the marriage ceremony and the public vows as a covenant before God. Marriage contains a betrothal (engagement) period which, for English-speaking people, is a time for finding out compatibility. Also, it is strictly not a time for intimacy. The marriage itself contains both consent, the public vows made before God and witnesses, and consummation, the private intimacy that has been promised only for one another.

Ash also champions marriage (engagement, consent & consummation) as opposed to cohabitation before marriage which he sees as intimacy without the sacredness of covenant promise, and is therefore not marriage at all. He comments on fornication that “it covers all sexual intimacy outside of marriage, including sex before marriage, sex while living together, homosexual acts, and sex with animals.”

Ash also deals with adultery within marriage and gives several reasons why adultery is a serious sin: it is turning away from a promise; it leads the adulterer from security to chaos; it is secretive and dishonest; it destroys the adulterer; it damages society; and it hurts children.

In dealing with singleness, Ash sees this situation not so much as a “calling,” though that may be, but more commonly as the situation in which one finds himself or herself. That situation is God’s gift to you. He even says, “I know which ‘gift’ I have by a very simple test: if I am married, I have the gift of marriage; if I am not married, I have the gift of being not married.” He then says, “Half of us will end our lives with the gift of singleness because we will be widowed.” He would also say that all of us start out life with the gift of singleness when we are not yet married.


“Marriage is a Boundary, but Human Beings Rebel Against this Boundary.” From a section of the book by Christopher Ash (see book review).

“In the last half-century living together unmarried is easily the most significant way that God’s boundary has been crossed. This custom began in a small way in the 1960s among divorcees, but is now most common among young couples who have never married. Between 2006 and 2010 a large survey in the United States found that 48 percent of American women between 15 and 44 had lived together with a partner as their first sexual union, and presumably a similar proportion of men. Back in 1995 this figure had been about 34 percent, so it is rising steadily and may become the dominant practice.

“Typically these first cohabitations lasted between one and a half and three years. Around two in five led on to marriage, but many simply dissolve. In history there have been different cultural ways to enter marriage. These have included, in some cultures, what has been called ‘common-law marriage,’ in which a man and woman living together were regarded by their society as being married. But what we see now is different. Couples choose to live together in a relationship which is by definition not marriage; marriage is available to them, but they choose not to enter it.” pp. 97-98.

Another Statistic:

A 2022 Pew Research Study says, “More than half of Americans live within an hour of extended family.” Parents and grandparents have a huge influence on the younger generations connected to their family. Living near them has a real influence on them.

“Overall, 55% of U.S. adults say they live within an hour’s drive of at least some of their extended family members. Roughly equal shares of Americans say they live near all or most of their extended family (28%) or near some extended family (27%). Another 24% of adults say they live within an hour’s drive of only a few family members, while one-in-five say they do not live near any extended family members. Only 1% of Americans say they don’t have extended family at all.”  (Pew Research article, accessed 3/30/23)



GPS – The Creation of Marriage

GPS – The Creation of Marriage

by Rick Shrader


The creation account of human beings and the dominion given to Adam and Eve necessitated the creation of marriage. Human beings were made male and female to marry and reproduce and the creation order placed Adam as the protector of the family and Eve as the mother of all living. Marriage thus became the foundation for any civilized society. We may recognize four key elements to marriage.

Marriage is sacred (Gen. 2:18-22). Marriage was created by God before sin entered into His perfect creation. He designed it to be made up of a man and a woman. Adam was made first as the head and of the family and Eve was made from Adam as the perfect helper. God officiated the first wedding by bringing the new bride to Adam (2:22) and He was the official witness to the public ceremony. God commissioned the marriage, commanding the man to leave father and mother (an indication that this would be repeated continually) and take his wife with him. Jesus blessed this union saying, “Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate” (Matt 19:6).

Marriage is ordered (Gen. 1:26-28). The orderly make-up of the family is seen in the fact that Adam was created in God’s image as the head, husband, and father of the family and Eve was made from the man as helper, wife, and mother in that same divine image. Thereafter, children would be born in the image of God (5:3) to carry on the family responsibilities throughout human history. The adorning (differentiation) of the family members would become increasingly important as sin deteriorated the family distinctions. We see this immediately after the fall (3:21) and later in 1 Cor. 11:1-16 and 1 Pet 3:3,5.

Marriage is covenantal (Gen. 2:23-25). Marriage is proper for the entire human race. Secular society necessarily makes marriage a contract (license) but contracts are often broken. The Roman church makes marriage a sacrament but answerable to the church. God made marriage a covenant answerable to Him as witness. The Bible describes a covenant as: the wife’s covenant of her God (Prov. 2:17); the husband’s wife by covenant (Mal. 2:14); and Israel as God’s wife by covenant (Ezek. 16:8). Whether the marriage ceremony includes a license (which it should) or the blessing of a local church (which is should), it is always seen by God as a covenant that should not be broken. Marriage has two parts: a public consent made with serious vows before God and witnesses (Gen. 2:23); and a private consummation of the physical union (Gen. 2:25).

Marriage is symbolic (Eph. 5:22-33). In Paul’s longest explanation of marriage he says, “This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church” (Eph. 5:32). God knew from eternity that the Son would have a bride who would be joined to Him throughout eternity. Our consent to this union is our profession of faith and our consummation will be when He takes us to the Father’s house. The celebration supper will last for a thousand years where the Groom and bride reign over the grand reception.

Kevin DeYoung said, “Ephesians 5 may be about marriage, but we can’t make sense of the underlying logic unless we note God’s intentions in creating marriage as a gospel-shaped union” (Men and Women in the Church, p. 14). A biblical marriage between a man and a woman, rightly ordered and sealed by God, is a pattern of, and a witness to, the biblical picture of the marriage of believers to Christ.

Book Reviews

Preparing Children for Marriage

by Josh Mulvihill

Mulvihill has written a lot on grandparenting and parenting.  This is a new addition to his list of subjects in that genre, and a welcome addition for young parents.  The book is divided into four parts:

  1.  Getting Started.  Start your children out very young understanding biblical principles of relationships.  Mulvihill starts this section with an introduction to SIECUS (Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States).  This government agency has been printing guidelines for public school education for over a decade.  Every parent should be aware of what (immorality) is being taught to their children.
  2. Marriage.  Seven chapters on what God says marriage is, and preparing even young children for the time when they will marry.  This section defines marriage as a covenant created by God.  It has seven chapters on teaching sons and daughters to prepare for a godly marriage.  It is the largest section of the book.
  3. Sex and Purity. How to use biblical verses and passages on teaching sex to your children. In this section he promotes using clear biblical language to young children about sex because, he argues, the Scripture is for everyone. “The first thing we learn about sex from the Bible is that God created it (Gen 2:24). Don’t skip over this point with your children.”
  4. Dating. The purpose for dating is marriage. Mulvihill is very specific that the only purpose for dating is the selection of a good candidate for marriage. He also is very insistent on the parent’s role in overseeing this process. “Dating should be a Christ-centered relationship between a man and a woman meant to help a couple discern marital compatibility with each other.”

Though I may not be as specific in every area, Mulvihill does a good job of encouraging parents in the importance of raising their children with the view of a biblical marriage. Past generations have had the privilege of waiting until children were older, even in the later teen years, before preparing them for sexual temptation and other cultural pitfalls. Today’s parents don’t have that luxury because of the exposure today’s teens have to an ungodly culture.


Two More States Approve Universal School Voucher Programs by Anna Merod.

In a recent survey of 3,820 parents by the “National School Choice Awareness Foundation,” 31.5% said they considered enrolling their children in public charter schools, 29.1% thought about private or religious schools, while 22.9% looked at homeschooling and 20.8% mulled over full-time virtual instruction.

Iowa and Utah in late January became the second and third states to enact universal education savings account programs, following in Arizona’s footsteps from summer 2022.

The $42.5 million Utah law paired the state’s new universal education savings account program for K-12 students with an $8,400 annual teacher salary boost. The law’s “Utah Fits All Scholarship Program” will take effect in the 2024-25 school year and provide eligible students not enrolled full time in a public school with up to $8,000 per year in scholarship funds.

In Iowa, Gov. Kim Reynolds signed into law the “Students First Act” creating an education savings account for K-12 students who want to attend private schools. Eligibility for the expected $7,598 annual scholarships per student will open up to all K-12 students in the state, regardless of income, by the 2025-26 school year. The program’s estimated cost ranges from $106.9 million in 2024 up to $344.9 million in  2026.

Copied in full from: K-12 Dive, Feb 3, 2023.

Note: “K-12 Dive provides in-depth journalism and insight into the most impactful news and trends shaping K-12 education.” (From Editorial page,

A Grandmother’s Test

I didn’t know if my granddaughter had learned her colors yet, so I decided to test her. I would point out something and ask what color it was. She would tell me and was always correct. It was fun for me, so I continued. At last, she headed for the door, saying, “Grandma, I really think you should try to figure out some of these colors yourself!”




GPS – The Dominion Mandate

GPS – The Dominion Mandate

by Rick Shrader


The Dominion Mandate was given to Adam and then jointly to Eve in Genesis 1:26, “Let us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion. . .” It is repeated in 1:28, “Then God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion. . .” The Mandate is also explained in Gen. 2:5-17; restated in 9:2-3; and mentioned again in Psalm 8:6-8. Rolland McCune wrote, “This program of stewardship responsibility began with the Dominion Mandate of Genesis 1:26-27 and is forwarded by the progressive unfolding of God’s revelational light in succeeding dispensations” (Systematic, I, 139). The Mandate is passed on to us but with modifications. The obvious failure in successive generations is to worship and serve the creation more than the Creator (Rom. 1:25).

The Garden was a big place (from Cush to the Euphrates river) and Adam needed help. “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make a helper comparable to him” (2:18). Though the Mandate called for procreation, it first called for help. “Let them have dominion” (1:26). “Then God blessed them, and God said to them, be fruitful . . . And have dominion” (1:28). This is no doubt why God made a female for Adam, “male and female He created them” (1:27). He could have made another man or a number of men. But they could not have multiplied. Why is that important? “This makes perfect sense. For if one gardener is not enough for such a great garden, nor will two be. They need to start a whole family of gardeners”  (Ash, Married for God, 36). This Mandate will go on for generations and generations are needed to fulfill it.

The responsibility at the beginning included the disobedience regarding the trees. Adam failed to protect and lead, and Eve failed to submit and follow. In spite of that, their respective jobs in the Mandate would continue. Adam’s primary job was to till the ground and Eve’s was to fill the earth. However, his would be with sweat and hers would be with pain (Gen. 3:16-19). In addition, the problem of headship and complementarity would continually plague the family, “Your desire shall be for [over] your husband, and he shall rule [harshly] over you” (3:16).

There has been an ongoing controversy over the Dominion Mandate (see the book review on the 2nd page). Many today think we must re-establish the Mosaic law (“Theonomy”) and seek to bring in the kingdom of God in all parts of culture and government (“postmillennialism”) even to the extent of overthrowing existing governments. The fact is, we cannot change the world ourselves and bring in a millennium of peace and godliness. Only Jesus Christ can do that by His glorious return to this world and the judgments and blessings that will result. In this dispensation we  still have dominion over the animals and the earth but our failure will be to worship the earth (or climate) and lower man to the level of animals.

The church is the “pillar and ground of the truth” in this age (1 Tim. 3:15). Our stewardship of the Dominion Mandate is to preach the gospel to the whole world (Matt. 28:18-20) and to worship the Lord Jesus in spirit and truth (John 4:24) through the local church. It still takes families to accomplish this task, fathers and mothers who work, worship, and evangelize and children who grow up to take over this business. Satan is working hard to win the day and he will win a brief victory at the end of the age. But Jesus Christ will take His church home and then, after deposing Satan, will return and set up a kingdom dominion that cannot be removed.


Book Review:    

Dominion Theology: Blessing or Curse?

By H. Wayne House and Thomas Ice

The subject of Dominion Theology, Theonomy, Reconstructionism is still very popular. This (1988) book is a textbook treatment and critique of the movement made popular in the late 20th century by R. J. Rushdoony, Gary North, Greg Bahnsen, David Chilton, and others. Though it appears old, it is amazingly up-to-date in its definitions, history, and theology of the movement. Dominion Theology, Theonomy, Reconstructionism (and sometimes “Christian Nationalism”) are names for a postmillennial view of history in which advocates have been trying to bring about the kingdom of God by human means. Postmillennialism is the view that Christians will convert the world and make it into the kingdom (millennium) so that Jesus Christ can return (hence, “post”) and take His rule. Reconstructionists believe that God’s Dominion Mandate requires that God’s law (the actual Mosaic, Old Testament, law) must be enacted in every nation as its constitution. They believe that all other laws, including the United States’ constitution, are fallible human laws and are therefore lawless in the eyes of God. The institution of the Mosaic law would require any nation to govern itself by every civil and moral law of the Old Testament. This would include stoning as the form of capital punishment for adultery, abortion, homosexuality, and even disobedience to parents. This would also include dietary laws and some form of voluntary slavery. Religious, or ceremonial, laws of sacrifices are usually excluded as fulfilled in Christ’s sacrifice.

This book will inform the reader of the entire history of this movement, their postmillennial and often Reformed theology, their antipathy toward other views especially premillennial dispensationalism, and it will reinforce the biblical doctrines concerning a coming future kingdom and the believer’s command to look and wait for it.

Note: A version of Dominion Theology is sometimes called “Christian Nationalism” and connected with Doug Wilson of Moscow, Idaho and James Wesley Rawles and the “Redoubt” movement. Christian Nationalism is often used also to refer to a number of political movements not necessarily connected to Reconstructionism, though Wilson and Rawles are postmillennial reconstructionists.


“The U.S. population demographic growing most quickly is those over the age of sixty-five. They represent more than a quarter of the entire population, seventy-eight million in total. Approximately 7,918 people turn sixty-two each day. Since the beginning of the twentieth century, the number of Americans over the age of sixty-five has tripled; average life expectancy has risen from forty-seven to seventy-eight years. Today, over 90 percent of Americans can expect to live past the age of sixty-five, and most of these older adults will become grandparents” (p. 52).

“One stereotype of a grandparent is someone who is physically frail and old-fashioned in thought and lifestyle. This perception is not correct. Approximately half of grandparents are under the age of sixty and are not members of the elderly population, with the medium age between fifty-three and fifty-seven. Research shows that the average grandparent becomes a grandparent at an early age, lives longer than previous generations, is healthier, is financially stable, and has a living spouse . . . Nearly one-third of grandparents experience grandparenthood ‘off time,’ younger than forty or older than sixty.” (p. 98).

Josh Mulvihill, Biblical Grandparenting (Minneapolis: Bethany House, 2018)

A Biblical Picture of an Old Disciple

“There went with us also certain of the disciples of Caesarea, and brought with them one Mnason of Cyprus, an old disciple, with whom we should lodge” (Acts 21:16).

The word translated “old” here is archaios, meaning ancient, original, primeval, a veteran. It is used in the New Testament as “them of old time” (Matt 5:21); the “old world” (2 Pet 2:5); “one of the old prophets has risen again” (Luke 9:19).

Matthew Henry commented on Mnason, “It is honorable to be an old disciple of Jesus Christ, to have been enabled by the grace of God to continue long in a course of duty, steadfast in the faith, and growing more and more prudent and experienced to a good old age.  And with these old disciples one would choose to lodge; for the multitude of their years will teach wisdom”  (The Acts, p. 277).


GPS – The Genesis of Life

GPS – The Genesis of Life

by Rick Shrader


It is God Who gave us life. “In Him was life and the life was the light of men” (John 1:4). “Then God said, Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness . . . So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Gen 1:26-27). The word “Man” is from the Hebrew word “adam” (Adam). In Gen 5:2 it is translated “Mankind” when referring to both the man and the woman. This is like the New Testament word anthropos (Man or Mankind). We are all of the race of “man” or “Mankind.” This is why the Bible always uses the masculine gender to describe the whole human race.

This was day 6 of creation and God had already created the animals on day 5. But the animals are not in God’s image, nor the angels, only man in each gender, male and female. Adam was given dominion over the animals and even named each animal, “But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him” (Gen 2:20).

“And the LORD God said, ‘It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him’” (Gen 2:18). This “helper” is the woman. Adam said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh. She shall be called Woman because she was taken out of man” (Gen 2:23). Adam also named her “Eve, because she was the mother of all living” (Gen 3:20). The image of God which began in Adam is now given to Eve and will also be passed on to each offspring of a man and a woman. Seth was born in the image of God from Adam and Eve (Gen 5:3). Every human being possesses the image of God.

In the dominion mandate given to Adam and Eve in Gen 1:26 and 28, the first two statements are to have dominion over all other creatures that God made (vs. 26) and also to “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it” (vs. 28). We will deal with dominion over the earth in a later article, but here we need to see that man was created male and female for the express purpose of reproduction.  On the first day of creation the earth was “void,” that is, empty. The same is said after the flood waters of Noah had receded (Gen 8:13-19). God made the animals male and female (one of each were taken on the ark) so that they would reproduce and fill the earth, but He also made mankind male and female to do the same.

It has always taken a male and a female to reproduce life whether animals or human beings. It will always take the sperm of a man and the seed of a woman to make another human being. At the time of conception this combines into XY or XX chromosomes, male or female. At that moment the DNA is set for life. The image of God is passed to this new person (an eternal soul) but also something else—the sin of our original parents, Adam and Eve (Rom 5:12). This is why “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:23), and why “The wages of sin is death, but [and this is the good news] the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom 6:23).

We live in a mixed up time. The sinful nature which comes to each of us at conception (David said, “In sin my mother conceived me”) can sink to unbelievable lows. In Romans chapter 1, three times we are told God gave human beings up to the immoral actions of their sinful nature which had produced in them a debased or reprobate mind (Rom 1:28). But the good news is still that God loved us and gave His only Son for us that we might be saved from our sin and have eternal life (John 3:16). God loves his image-bearers and we are all image-bearers.

Book Review:    

Marriage and the Family

By Andreas Köstenberger

             Andreas Köstenberger has written a number of books recently on the family. This one (2012) was written with David W. Jones but is essentially Köstenberger’s. It is a good synopsis of his other writings in that it is only about 175 pages and contains shorter chapters written for the layman and parents. The chapters include Marriage in the Bible, Marriage and sex, Family in the Bible, Reproduction and Parenting, Singleness, Homosexuality, Divorce and Remarriage, God, Marriage, Family, and the Church. Köstenberger has been very good on headship, complementarity, submission, life at conception, marriage as a covenant before God, discipline for children of various ages, and is moderate on divorce and remarriage. In this volume I especially liked his comments on adoption into God’s family, help for single people, and an emphasis on the local church which stands separately and, in its own right, above family relationships i.e., our relationship to brothers and sisters in Christ is eternally longer-lasting than our earthly family relationships. That can be encouraging to singles and those in broken family situations. If you want to get acquainted with Köstenberger, this is an easy way to get started.

In a section titled, “Created in God’s Image to Rule the Earth for God,” Köstenberger writes: “The fact that both men and women are created in the likeness and image of their Creator invests them with inestimable worth, dignity, and significance. God’s image in the man and the woman has frequently been identified as conveying their possession of intelligence, a will, or emotions. While this may be implied to some extent in Genesis 1:27, the immediate context develops the notion of the divine image in the man and the woman as indicating representative rule.” (p. 12).

In his conclusion he writes, “For the first time in its history Western civilization is confronted with the need to define the meaning of the terms marriage and family. The cultural crisis that rages concerning definitions of these terms is symptomatic of an underlying spiritual crisis that gnaws at the foundations of our once-shared societal values . . . Human sexuality and relationships are rooted in the eternal will of the Creator” (p. 155).


“Americans’ Complex Views on Gender Identity and Transgender Issues.”

When asked what has influenced their views on gender identity – specifically, whether they believe a person can be a different gender than the sex they were assigned at birth – those who believe gender can be different from sex at birth and those who do not point to different factors. For the former group, the most influential factors shaping their views are what they’ve learned from science (40% say this has influenced their views a great deal or a fair amount) and knowing someone who is transgender (38%). Some 46% of those who say gender is determined by sex at birth also point to what they’ve learned from science, but this group is far more likely (than those who say a person’s gender can be different from their sex at birth) to say their religious beliefs have had at least a fair amount of influence on their opinion (41% vs. 9%).” Pew Research Center, 6/28/2022.

(Editor’s note: It is a shame that only 41% of people can say “a fair amount” of their opinion is influenced by their faith)

A New Year Promise

Psalm 121 has been a comfort to travelers for thousands of years. It is one of 15 Songs of Ascents (or Degrees) that the Israelites would sing as they ascended the hills of Judea to Jerusalem for the feast days.   The psalm is divided into four stanzas of two verses each. Each stanza gives a promise to travelers of God’s blessing and protection. Their help comes from the Creator (vs. 2); He will not allow their foot to slip (vs. 3); the LORD will be their shade (vs. 5); and then in vs. 8, the LORD will preserve their going out and coming in. We will all be going out or coming in this year and we need the Lord’s preserving. It could even be the time of our final home-going. Matthew Henry wrote,

“He will keep thee in life and death, thy going out and going on while thou livest and thy coming in when thou diest, going out to thy labor in the morning of thy days and coming home to thy rest when the evening of old age calls thee in.”  (on Psa. 121:8).


Morning Noon and Night Bible Reading

Morning Noon and Night Bible Reading

Morning Noon and Night Bible Reading

by Rick Shrader

Here is my daily Bible Reading schedule in two formats.  I hope this is a help to you to this year as you begin your Bible reading.  These schedules will take you through the Old Testament once, the Gospels 3 times each, and the rest of the New Testament 12 times. Accept the challenge to read the Bible more this year than ever before.


Morning Noon and Night Schedule

Morning, Noon, and Night Schedule

Morning and Evening Chronological Schedule

Morning and Evening Chronological Schedule

These documents are formatted like a tri-fold brochure.  Click on the pictures above to open the printable PDF files.  



GPS – A Light to the Gentiles

GPS – A Light to the Gentiles

by Rick Shrader


Mary and Joseph had brought the child Jesus to the temple at Jerusalem to be presented and redeemed as the first-born, with a sacrificial offering of the poor. This first month had been full of amazing events surrounding the birth of this Savior-child. Angelic appearance and announcement had been made; shepherds had given word that they would find the babe in Bethlehem; wise men from the Orient had come with expensive gifts; Cousin Elizabeth and Zacharias had given inspired verse concerning Jesus; and awfully, king Herod had ordered the death of young male children hoping to destroy any personal rival.

Yet, knowing the danger of bringing the child to Jerusalem, Mary and Joseph desired to keep the law of God at the house of God. Here they would find two more heaven-sent visitors, the last of the inspired testimonials, two senior saints waiting for the promise of seeing the Lord’s Messiah. Anna, one of only four Old Testament prophetesses, lived within the temple walls due to her “great age.” She had no doubt married at fifteen or sixteen years of age, had lived with her husband only seven years, and had remained a widow for eighty-four years. She did not leave the temple area but spent her centenarian years in “fasting and prayers night and day.” The Lord had graciously revealed to her that she would see the redemption of Israel before she died. And having seen Jesus, she “spoke of Him to all those who looked for the redemption in Jerusalem.”

Simeon was more able to travel from without the temple area. He was also “just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel.” Being guided by the Holy Spirit, he came into the temple area as Joseph was presenting Jesus to the priest according to the law. Not being a prophet himself, “it had been revealed to him that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.” And so upon being led to the child, and interrupting the lawful ritual, he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said:

Lord, now You are letting your servant depart in peace, according to Your word; for my eyes have seen Your salvation which You have prepared before the face of all people, a light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel.

The redemption for which Anna looked, and the consolation revealed to Simeon, the “glory of your people of Israel,” will eventually come when this Child reigns on David’s throne in this very city of Jerusalem as the angelic host had proclaimed, “on earth peace, good will toward men.” But Luke’s greater point, and the blessing to us at this Christmas time, is that this Child would be a light to the Gentiles. This light is said to come first and then will come the glory to Israel. Though the Jews of that day crucified their Messiah, it is the Gentiles who will respond in faith to the light of the gospel. Luke will later record Peter’s words, “God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life” (Acts 11:18).


Hail the heav’n-born Prince of Peace!

Hail the Sun of Righteousness!

Light and life to all He brings,

Ris’n with heal – ing in His wings.

Mild He lays His glory by,

Born that man no more may die,

Born to raise the sons of earth,

Born to give them second birth.

Hark! The herald angels sing,

“Glory to the new – born King.”


Book Review

Various Statements Defining Marriage

We will take time from our normal book reviews to give some recent statements about the definition of marriage. These are in direct contrast to the U.S. Senate’s “Respect for Marriage Act,” passed November 27, 2022, which undermines all respect for biblical marriage.

Elisabeth Elliot: “God might have given Adam another man to be his friend, to walk and talk and argue with if that was his pleasure. But Adam needed more than the companionship of the animals or the friendship of a man. He needed a helper, specially designed and prepared to fill that role. It was a woman God gave him, a woman, ‘meet,’ fit, suitable, entirely appropriate for him, made of his very bones and flesh.” Let Me Be a Woman, 13

Andreas Köstenberger: “Equality and distinctness, complementarity and submission/authority must be held in fine balance. The man and the woman are jointly charged with ruling the earth representatively for God, yet they are not to do so androgynously or as ‘unisex’ creatures, but each as fulfilling their God-ordained, gender-specific roles.” God, Marriage, and Family, p. 26

Albert Mohler: “God enshrined in the marriage union the concept of complementarianism, which upholds the equal dignity of man and woman as both created in the image of God but complementing one another through different gender roles.” The Gathering Storm, p. 69.

John Stott: “Marriage is an exclusive heterosexual covenant between one man and one woman, ordained and sealed by God, preceded by a public leaving of parents, consummated in sexual union, issuing in a permanent mutually supportive partnership, and normally crowned by the gift of children.” “Marriage and Divorce.”

Christopher Ash: “Marriage is the voluntary sexual and public social union of one man and one woman from different families. This union is patterned upon the union of God with his people his bride, the Christ with his church. Intrinsic to this union is God’s calling to lifelong exclusive sexual faithfulness,” Marriage, p. 211.

Kevin DeYoung: “Marriage must be, and can only be, between a man and a woman, because marriage is not just the union of two persons but the reunion of a complementary pair.” Men and Women in the Church, p. 30

John MacArthur: “Families are the building blocks of human society, a society that does not protect the family undermines its very existence. When the family goes, anarchy is the logical outcome.” Divine Design, p. 65.


“A Growing share of Americans see the Supreme Court as friendly toward religion” says a November, 2022 Pew Research poll.

“Although growing shares across a range of religious and demographic groups say the court is friendly toward faith, groups vary in the extent to which they feel this way. About half of religiously unaffiliated (51%) and Jewish (53%) adults in the new survey say they believe the court is friendly toward religion, while a much smaller share of Christians (27%) say the same. Self-described atheists are especially likely to view the Supreme Court as friendly toward religion: 74% now say this, up sharply from 43% a few years ago. A majority of Christians (57%), meanwhile, say the Supreme Court is neutral toward religion.”

A Quotable Quote

“What marvelous grace we behold in that wondrous descent from heaven’s throne to Bethlehem’s manger! It had been an act of infinite condescension if the One who was the Object of angelic worship had deigned to come down to this earth and reign over it as King; but that He should appear in weakness, that He should voluntarily choose poverty, that He should become a helpless Babe—such grace is altogether beyond our ken; such matchless love passeth knowledge. O that we may never lose our sense of wonderment at the infinite condescension of God’s Son.” Arthur W. Pink, Exposition of the Gospel of John, p. 41.

On the Lighter Side

Two young boys were spending the night at their grandparents’ house the week before Christmas. At bedtime, the two boys knelt beside their beds to say their prayers. The younger one began praying at the top of his lungs, “I PRAY FOR A NEW BICYCLE…I PRAY FOR A NEW NINTENDO…” His older brother leaned over and said, “Why are you shouting? God isn’t deaf,” to which the little brother replied, “No, but Grandma is!”


GPS – Four Phases of Parenting

GPS – Four Phases of Parenting

by Rick Shrader


Life is a long time. That’s what I’ve said to my children as they planned to marry. Life is a short time. That’s what I think when I look back over married life. The periods of parenting are like a telescope that keeps opening and stretching into long and thankful years. These stages each have their own developing stages.


Being single is that time of anticipation and seeking God’s will. Some remain single for life (1 Cor 7:7) and singleness can be a devoted life. Most will become engaged and marry. This is a time to be choosy and longsuffering. Marriage is a covenant among a man, a woman, and God. The newlywed stage comes quickly and is a time for building the home to seek and honor God, a time for husband and wife to arrange the home to last a life-time.


Children come and the home transitions from quiet and orderly to noisy and exciting. Life begins at conception and the announcement of a new family member is a wonderful time. The growing years follow quickly from infants to toddlers to kindergartners. Mother and father are putting their parenting philosophy to the test, training up a child in the way he should go, bringing them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, leading them to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, hearing their witness and watching their baptism. The teenage years can be glad and rewarding if the earlier years have been honoring to God but they aren’t easy. They are busy and stressful and prayerful. Young adults who love the Lord are worth all the tired and sleepless nights. Still, one by one they leave and start their own families.


There is that odd time when the house seems so empty, between the hustle and bustle of students to the empty-nest of reflection. Parenting is supposed to be a temporary job. You raised them to do this whole process again themselves. You can wait for the grandchildren because in the meantime your children need you to be godly examples of the home they are trying to build in God’s will. They will parrot your earlier instructions, they will call and seek your godly advice on life’s matters, they will face new and odd challenges from their own generation, and, most important of all, they will need parents who pray and whose prayer avails much.


Life begins again, it becomes grand, when you see your children’s children. You are the proud onlooker who now vividly witnesses what life is all about, how God has designed it to multiply and have dominion as believers in a sinful world. All of your effort is now more than worth it. You will be the gray-champion for a while because those little feet come running to you and you gladly gather them into your arms. But you will soon have to let them go and grow. You will watch from afar as your own children raise their own children. That gray champion needs to become the godly example and counselor. The senior years are the culmination of all that has gone before. Wear them both humbly and proudly. Your life has never meant so much. Be thankful.

“Both young men and maidens; old men and children. Let them praise the name of the Lord, for His name alone is exalted; His glory is above the earth and heaven” (Psa 148:12-13).

Book Review

Biblical Foundations for Manhood and Womanhood

Wayne Grudem, Editor

It was in 1991 that Wayne Grudem and John Piper edited Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. This book, edited only by Grudem, written in 2002, is a compilation of addresses given at a conference in Dallas, TX by various authors. The major messages in the book are done by Grudem and Bruce Ware with single chapters by five other authors. These are an update on the ongoing issues of family life relating to submission, headship, and complementarity. Although the writings are now 20 years old, these issues continue to be central in family and church life. Grudem does a long chapter on the Greek word for “head” (kephale) showing that the word never means “source” alone (feminism’s long-standing contention) in the New Testament and is always used of a person who has leadership over another. Grudem also does a chapter titled, “The Myth of Mutual Submission as an Interpretation of Ephesians 5:21.” He shows that “submission” (hypotasso) is never used of a husband’s submission to the wife. In addition, “one another” (allelous) in 5:21 must take the meaning of “some to others” and not “everyone to everyone.” Bruce Ware’s contribution relates to the headship within the trinity and its relation to complementarity. He writes, “Arguments will be weighed, and support will be offered for the church’s long-standing commitment to the trinitarian persons’ full equality of essence and differentiation of persons, the latter of which includes and entails the eternal functional subordination of the Son to the Father, and of the Spirit to both Father and Son.” Submission then, as seen in 1 Cor 11:3, always flows one-way from the head. (Note: I’m not always theologically aligned to Grudem or Ware, but they are very helpful in these areas of complementarity and headship.)


A Pew Research Center Analysis in February 2021 titled, “Boomers, Silents, still have most seats in congress, though numbers of Millennials, Gen Xers, is up slightly.” Their results showed the changes from the 115th Congress to the 116th, to the 117th (current) Congress. The Silent generation (born 1928-1945) decreased from 10% to 9% to 6% over those three Congresses. They now have the least number of seats in the House of Representatives. Boomers decreased also from 62% to 54% to 53% but they are still the largest group in Congress by far holding 230 seats in the House and 68 seats in the Senate. Gen Xers rose during these three Congresses from 27% to 32% to 33%. Millennials rose from 1% to 6% to 7%. “When comparing the ages of new and continuing House members, the gap is widest among Democrats, who as a whole have a median age of 60.6. The median age of the 206 Democrats who were reelected is 61.9; the 17 newly elected Democrats have a median age of 50.7. . . The 165 Republican House members continuing into the 117th Congress have a median age of 58.7, while the 44 new GOP representatives have a median age of 53. For all Republican House members, the median age is 57.3.” Accessed 10/27/22.

A Quotable Quote

“At the age of 83—after having traveled some 250,000 miles on horseback, preached more than 40,000 sermons, and produced some 200 books and pamphlets—John Wesley regretted that he was unable to read and write for more than 15 hours a day without his eyes becoming too tired to work. After his 86th birthday, he admitted to an increasing tendency to lie in bed until 5:30 in the morning!”  (2022 Family Times)

On the Lighter Side

I have never been able to tell the difference between an alligator and a crocodile. One has a fatter snout, but I can’t even remember which one does. They say they are of slightly different color, one species is usually larger than the other, one is faster than the other, one is more aggressive than the other. But I read the other day a difference between the alligator and the crocodile that made sense to me. One will see you later, and the other after while. That, I can remember!



GPS – Grandparents as Figure-Heads

GPS – Grandparents as Figure-Heads

by Rick Shrader


The primary headship of the family is in the fathers (as parents over children), but the figure-headship of the family is in the grandparents. A “figurehead” is one who is in charge “in name only,” or as a “representative of another.” As the parents, we were the ones in charge, the “hands-on” authority over our children. As life progressed we went from commanders of young ones to advisors and counselors of older ones. Yet the Scripture still presents the grandparent as having a certain headship, not primarily but in symbolic importance in a number of ways.

A Godly Heritage. “For You, O God, have heard my vows; You have given me the heritage of those who fear Your name” (Psa 61:5). Our heritage is the faith and history of our forefathers entrusted to us for transmission to our own posterity. Solomon said, for a man “to receive his heritage and rejoice in his labor—this is the gift of God” (Ecc 5:19). These are responsibilities only the elders, those connected to past generations, can fulfill.

A Godly Inheritance. “A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children” (Prov 13:22). I’ve never liked the bumber-sticker that reads, “I’m spending my children’s inheritance.” Paul warned, “For the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children” (2 Cor 12:14). Houses, lands, and riches matter not compared to eternal things. David said, in light of his faith in Christ’s resurrection, “The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; yes, I have a good inheritance” (Psa 16:6).

A Godly Posterity. “A posterity shall serve Him. It will be recounted of the Lord to the next generation” (Psa 22:31). More than an inheritance, a posterity of people, of the Lord’s servants, will rise up after us and call upon the Lord. My daily prayer for each of my grandchildren is that they would give their lives to the Lord’s service. I pray for their future spouses that they would join together in this great endeavor. “The posterity of the righteous will be delivered” (Prov 11:22).

A Godly Memory. Moses warned the elders of his day, “Only take heed to yourself, and diligently keep yourself, lest you forget the things your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. And teach them to your children and your grandchildren” (Deut 4:9). Many times at funerals I have watched the tears in grandchildren’s eyes as they remembered the wisdom of their grandparent. They had not seen what grandpa or grandma had seen but they often listened with respect as they were told of the biblical faith being passed down to them.

A Godly Testimony. “For He established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which He commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children; that the generation to come might know them, the children who would be born, that they may arise and declare them to their children, that they may set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep His commandments” (Psa 78:5-7).

The most important responsibility for the figure-head of the family is to pass on the testimony of faith in Christ. When Moses sang his song of deliverance after crossing the Red Sea he said, “The LORD is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation; He is my God, and I will praise Him; my father’s God, and I will exalt Him” (Exod 15:2). Wouldn’t any grandparent love to hear those words from his or her children and grandchildren?

Book Review

On Death by Timothy Keller

I am not necessarily a Tim Keller fan. I don’t align with much of his ecclesiology. Since, however, I deal with death and dying, I wanted to read this small booklet. I found it informative and helpful. Keller has only two main sections: The Fear of Death, and The Rupture of Death. The first section is made up of four reasons why people today don’t face death well. 1) The blessing of modern medicine. He means that medicine is a great blessing but it has removed the presence of dying loved ones from the home and family. 2) This-World Happiness. He writes, “Modern culture, then, is the worst in history at preparing its members for the only inevitability—death.” Everything in life seems to be more important than preparing for the next one. 3) The Sense of Insignificance. Modernism and postmodernism have reduced life to the few years we have with nothing beyond. Death, then, highlights the meaninglessness of life. 4) A Fear of Judgment. By this he means we have lost the “categories of sin, guilt, and forgiveness in modern culture.” All of this “triggers a crisis for modern people in the face of death.”

In the second section, The Rupture of Death, Keller deals with how a Christian should grieve in light of biblical promises. Here he builds on Paul’s statement that “we sorrow not as others who have no hope” (1 Thes 4:13). The best part of this section is on the Beatific Hope, i.e., the Christian hope of one day seeing the glory of God. This has historically been called The Beatific Vision. It is an emphasis that even many Christians have missed.


Josh Mulvihill, in his seminal work, Biblical Grandparenting, gave the following four “Perceived Roles of Christian Grandparents” from his own research. His intention was to encourage grandparents to be disciple-makers.

The Encouraging Voice (16%). “A cheerleader who loves grandchildren for who they are and the unique gifting they possess. This grandparent sees the positive and desires to bring out the potential in their grandchildren. One who seeks to help a grandchild accomplish goals and has a natural tendency to ask questions.”

The Supportive Partner (32%). “A helping hand with the day-to-day tasks of parenting. This grandparent operates as a co-laborer who comes alongside their adult children in a variety of ways. Oriented toward seeing a need and meeting a need. An agreeable grandparent who reinforces their children’s parenting practices and philosophies without interfering.”

The Loving Friend (28%). “A companion whose focus is building a strong relationship with grandchildren and having fun together. Often avoids difficult conversations or disciplinary matters. An activity-oriented grandparent who likes to create memories, communicate affection, and occasionally spoil grandchildren.”

The Disciple-Maker (24%). “A mentor who intentionally attempts to pass faith in Christ to future generations. Desires to see their grandchildren know Christ and grow in Christ. Seeks to live as a Christlike example and share godly wisdom with grandchildren.” (Josh Mulvihill, Biblical Grandparenting, p. 134)

A Quotable Quote

William Law on growing old. “Delight in its service and beg of God to adorn it with every grace and perfection. Nourish it with good works, give it peace in solitude, get it strength in prayer, make it wise with reading, enlighten it by meditation, make it tender with love, sweeten it with humility, humble it with penance, enliven it with psalms and hymns, and comfort it with frequent reflections upon future glory.”  (from, A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life, 1729)

On the Light Side

An out of shape person was working out at the local health club. The trainer said, “You should try to communicate with your muscles more often.” The trainee replied, “I don’t like to talk to strangers.” The trainer persisted and said, “You have to listen to what your body is telling you.” The trainee replied, “But I didn’t come here to be insulted.” (Thanks to Bro. Bernie Augsburger for this funny in the Trumpet Notes)