Welcome to the April edition of the JDFI newsletter. This month, I have collaborated with Joe Waresak, the new president of the James Dobson Family Institute. Joe and I share the same convictions, and many of the words in this letter capture his sentiment as well as mine. He is now handling the administrative responsibility of our ministry. I am chairman of the board and still very active. In addition, our team includes a wonderful board of seven directors who are working together to ensure that this ministry continues to defend righteousness in the culture and the institution of the family. What follows is my expression of our passion for both.
—James C. Dobson, Ph.D.
Have you observed that evil is having a heyday in America, and the traditional family unit is also in dire trouble? Sadly, some of today's evangelical churches are silent regarding the wickedness that now grips our nation. And our country, as we know and love it, appears to be going down for its final count. It grieves me to write these words. Yet, here we are.
Jon Root from Charlie Kirk's Turning Point USA makes the following observation:
We live in a culture that is trying to grab hold of the next generation and indoctrinate them into a specific ideology and belief system. You see this in schools, media, the workplace, and almost every aspect of American society.
The most degenerate aspect of this infiltration is the way woke culture has continuously attempted to lure children in. Drag queen story hours at schools and public libraries, curriculums sexualizing each lesson plan. Society tells people that living in sexually deviant ways is liberating, and it tells people that gender is a social construct. Radical social justice is used to vilify individuals and law enforcement, killing babies is 'healthcare' and Christianity is under attack.1
Jon is right to place such a concerning emphasis on the welfare of our children and the widespread immorality that now consumes our society. I have often shared my belief that as the family goes, so goes the nation. It is a divine blueprint that has undergirded all of human history. If the building blocks that support this critical component lack the influence of God's righteousness, we are left with the unrighteousness of man.
Try as some people may to contradict the veracity of this truth, it is only God's holy presence that sustains both the family unit and our nation. A man who articulated this understanding was President Ronald Reagan. Four decades ago, on March 8, 1983, he spoke the following words that are still often quoted today. Here is an excerpt of that speech in which President Reagan unequivocally stated that America's liberties and prosperity are contingent upon our reliance on God.
So I tell you there are a great many God-fearing, dedicated, noble men and women in public life, present company included. And yes, we need your help to keep us ever mindful of the ideas and the principles that brought us into the public arena in the first place. The basis of those ideals and principles is . . . a commitment to freedom and personal liberty that, itself is grounded in the much deeper realization that freedom prospers only where the blessings of God are avidly sought and humbly accepted.
The American experiment in democracy rests on this insight. Its discovery was the great triumph of our founding fathers, voiced by William Penn when he said: 'If we will not be governed by God, we must be governed by tyrants.' Explaining the inalienable rights of men, Jefferson said, 'The God who gave us life, gave us liberty at the same time.' And it was George Washington who said that 'of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports.'
And finally, that shrewdest of all observers of American democracy, Alexis de Tocqueville, put it eloquently, after he had gone on a search for the secret of America's greatness and genius—and he said: 'Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits aflame with righteousness did I understand the greatness and the genius of America. America is good. And if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.'"2
Like the men who constructed the founding framework of our nation, Reagan also knew that it was only God's goodness that made America great. The same is true for any marriage, family, or, for that matter, any relationship. Simply put, if you remove the goodness of God, the evils of this world will take over. And that is exactly what we are seeing happen within our homes and across America.
I sounded this same alarm more than ten years ago when I wrote a newsletter on a similar topic. Even then, the moral temperature of our country was declining rapidly. And like today, our call to action begins within our own homes. Here is a quote from that letter:
We must take action now to support and restore biblical family values in our homes, our churches, and in our communities. We must demand that when our elected leaders represent us, that they also represent our values. When they do not, they must be replaced post-haste. This is a new reality that we can begin working toward, today.
I'm often asked how parents and influential adults can impact the character of our nation. Here's a place to start: It's time to teach "old-fashioned" principles of morality to our children . . . not just because it's the only safe approach, but because it's right.3
How, then, do we save our families and our nation from the moral freefall we are now witnessing? We must get back to the biblical basics, and uncompromisingly anchor our families to Jesus Christ, the Author and Finisher of our faith. For parents and grandparents, this means standing firm against the current riptide of culture and pouring the Lord's truth and grace into the hearts and minds of our children. I believe this should be our principal calling.
Simultaneously, we must not neglect the reality of living in a fallen world that is quickly removing God and His righteousness from every sector of life. We need to grasp this essential truth: If we are not impacting the culture with God's goodness, the culture will impact us with its evil. And today's culture will dictate tomorrow's state and national policies. It's not an overstatement to say that our constitutional republic, as we've known it, is hanging perilously by a very thin thread.
Yet, I'll remind you of those two words in the Bible that change everything, "But God." If we place our trust in Him, He will make our paths straight (Proverbs 3:5-6). This is why I answered the Lord's calling some 45 years ago, and I pray you will continue to fight the good fight with me on your home fronts and in our nation's public squares. We cannot give up! Our children and this country we call home are worth every ounce of effort we can expend.
At JDFI, this is our enduring mission and the reason for our existence—to uplift the gospel and the entire counsel of God within our homes, communities, and nation.
Recently, Joe and I met with our board of directors to ratify and memorialize the distinctions that define us as a ministry.
1. To introduce as many as possible to the gospel of Jesus Christ;
2. To protect and promote the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death;
3. To preserve and promote the institution of the family;
4. To preserve and promote the institution of marriage;
5. To preserve and promote parenthood and sound parenting;
6. To preserve and promote human sexuality as male and female with their unique and complementary characteristics;
7. To educate husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, and children, and to give them Christ-oriented counsel;
8. To preserve and promote religious liberty as rooted in the dignity of humankind and protected by the First Amendment;
9. To encourage righteousness in the culture; and,
10. To encourage respect for the American founding, its Constitution, the role of judges to interpret and not to make law, and the free enterprise system.
Please know this: we will not retreat from this calling, and our efforts will be saturated in prayer, knowing that the results are held in our Lord's sovereign hands. Thank you for being a part of our mission.
As I close, I want to share a need. JDFI is experiencing a serious shortfall in contributions, like numerous other ministries. Many families are deeply concerned about what they see as a financial crisis that leaves them with few discretionary resources. Just trying to keep a family fed, housed, and clothed is a challenge. No doubt, this is due to the historically high inflation rates and our current economic woes. If our good Lord has positioned you to assist us, we promise we will steward the monies well and put them to good use. I also understand that some of you may be unable to give, and that's okay. Please know that we are praying for you and trusting that God will meet all of your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus. We are in this together.
May God bless you, your family, and our country.
This letter may be reproduced without change and in its entirety for non-commercial and non-political purposes without prior permission from the Dr. James Dobson Family Institute. Copyright, 2023 JDFI. All Rights Reserved. International Copyright Secured. Printed in the U.S.