If a researcher were to study your family lineage one-hundred years from now, what would they discover?

Jonathan Edwards vs. Max Jukes

Over one-hundred years ago, A.E. Winship studied the descendants of Jonathan Edwards. Here’s what he found.

  • 1 U.S. Vice-President
  • 3 U.S. Senators
  • 3 governors
  • 3 mayors
  • 13 college presidents
  • 30 judges
  • 65 professors
  • 80 public office holders
  • 100 lawyers
  • 100 missionaries

In contrast, around the same time, Winship studied the lineage of man named Max Jukes. Jukes progeny included the following:

  • 7 murderers
  • 60 thieves
  • 50 women of debauchery
  • 130 other convicts
  • 310 paupers, who, combined spent 2,300 years in poorhouses
  • 400 physically wrecked by indulgent living

From these two men we learn that parents impact their descendants generationally in a remarkable way. The cumulative effect of such families determines the fate of a nation for good or for ill.

Why does the home impact a society and a nation in such a way? Why must lasting revival begin in the home?

Here are four reasons.

1. Families are the basic building blocks of society 

President Ronald Reagan once quipped, “All great change in America begins at the dinner table.”

Before God instituted government or church, he created the family. In fact, government and church were instituted only after man’s fall. In a perfect world, there was only the family.

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth” (Genesis 2:17-28). 

God’s first command to human beings was given, not to individuals, but to one family who was to steward His creation.

As goes the home, so goes the nation. Psalm 128:6 describes, first peace in the home, then peace in the city, and then peace in the nation. We will see no lasting change within America if we see no lasting change within our families.

2. Society’s greatest problems stem from family breakdown

As we sang in countless prisons over the years, we heard a common narrative. Many of the men behind bars grew up without a father who truly loved them and cared for them.

The problems with drugs, welfare, crime, and gender confusion can be traced in large part to breakdown within the family.

Truly, the home is where individual characters are forged for good or for ill.

3. Healthy families are critical to the success of the church

God commissioned the body of Christ to spread His message. Yet the body of Christ consists of individuals that come from families, God’s first institution. The church cannot fulfill it’s mission in the absence of strong, biblical families.

Interestingly, the Bible often uses family as an analogy to the church. In I Timothy 3:15, The church is described as the “house of God.” In Ephesians 5:22-33, marriage is compared to Christ’s relationship with His church.

The references in the New Testament to “brothers and sisters in Christ,” “spiritual fathers,” and “the household of God,” presuppose close families with the love and submission in the relationship of God the Father and God the Son.

One such family, the family of Stephanus, is specifically singled in I Corinthians 16:15 as having “addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints.”

4. John the Baptist heralded first family revival then national revival

At the close of the Old Testament God gave the Israelites these words, the last scripture they would have for four-hundred years.

“Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments. Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse” (Malachi 4:4-6).

After four-hundred years of silence, the Angel Gabriel appeared to Zacharias, in the first recorded event of the New Testament.

Concerning his son, John, Gabriel said, “And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord” (Luke 1:17).

At its core, John’s mission was family revival. Before the hearts of the people could be turned to their Messiah, the hearts of the fathers needed to be turned to the children.

Home: Your Greatest Ministry

Today, the home is often neglected, denigrated, or underestimated. Yet it is in the home that lasting revival begins. Revival cannot firmly take hold in a society unless parents pass on the faith to the next generation through biblical relationships and instruction.

Christian families need to see a revival in sibling relationships, as siblings become one another’s best friends. We need a revival in marriage, as husbands and wives fully represent Christ and His church in their relationship.

God desires fathers to turn their hearts to children and children to honor their parents.

A strong home raises effective arrows and ambassadors that can then reach out into the world. No Christian can truly please the Lord without investing in the home.

Raising a family is not meaningless drudgery, a pointless diversion from the “great work” God has for you.

Rather, your home is your greatest ministry, for it is through your home that God desires to transform the world.

The greatest work you can do for the kingdom of God is to raise sons and daughters who love and fear the Lord, keep His commandments, and faithfully represent Him as ambassadors.

QUESTION: Which of these points resonated with you the most?

Categories: Family


Chad · November 13, 2018 at 7:59 am

Max Juxes didn’t produce many missionaries as offspring?

    Joshua Bontrager · November 13, 2018 at 8:31 am

    Max Jukes and Jonathan Edwards reinforce the truth that our descendants will certainly impact the world for good or ill. They will exalt the Lord and the gospel or they will exalt Satan.

Ann · November 13, 2018 at 8:42 am

All 4 points resonate but between my life and my professional experience, the one thing that stands out most strongly is that it’s a lot easier to build a good life when your foundations are solid than it is when they’re not. I am who I am largely because of the solid grounding my parents gave me and that has had its challenges and difficulties, to try and build that kind of life in spite of your background must be brutally hard.

While our first ministry is within our home we also have a duty, especially as adults, to offer guidance and the right example to those around us – particularly children who are not fortunate enough to have that example at home.

    Joshua Bontrager · November 13, 2018 at 8:49 am


    A godly home is an undeserved blessing. I’m who I am today in large part because of the foundation my parents gave me. Thanks for pointing out our responsibility to others as well. God places such a high priority on family foundations that He commands us to minister to those without it (widows, fatherless, etc.,)

Cassidy · November 13, 2018 at 7:41 pm

Excellent post, dear Joshua! Thank you for practicing so well what you preach and making your family your greatest ministry. You are an incredible inspiration to me and many others. Wallace and I are very blessed! Love you, Cassidy

Anonymous · November 13, 2018 at 7:42 pm

That’s awesome!

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