The family is the bedrock that forms the indispensable foundation for discipleship. It was
instituted by the Creator as his primary setting for human development and nurture (Gn
2:18–25; Ps 68:5, 6). Thus the crisis involving marriage and the family is indeed a cultural crisis
of the first order. Social life quite simply cannot function effectively without the family. Whilst
according to Flowers and Flowers: ‘Christian families face the challenge of understanding and
stretching toward the divine design for life and relationships, even as they dwell in a world
where hard reality find us far short of God’s plan for family living’, this article demonstrates
that Malachi’s prophetic oracle (2:10–16) is an urgent motivation and challenge to Yahweh’s
people in faith communities to be living embodiment of the ideals of fidelity, commitment
and steadfastness. In honouring these values and ideals, the article further challenges
Yahweh’s faith communities to seek concrete ways of affirming, strengthening, empowering
and supporting persons and families in their efforts to live in faithfulness to the values they
recognise and esteem.
The article is based on research conducted by B.O.B.
(University of Pretoria) for his PhD thesis. A.G. (University
of Pretoria), co-author of the article, acted as supervisor for