bigcover 30 01 229x300 Domestic Altars & Godly OffspringBelow is an excerpt from senior editor Allan C. Carlson’s talk “Family Matters: Domestic Altars & Godly Offspring” given on October 15, 2016, at Trinity International University for Touchstone‘s 30th anniversary conference.

. . . the family renewal of the middle decades of the twentieth century is better seen as the consequence, rather than the cause, of religious renewal, a social force resting on doctrinal and institutional integrity.

So what went wrong? Why did all of the indications of family strength—early marriage, nearly universal marriage among adults, a relatively high average family size, a falling divorce rate—why did they all shudder and collapse between 1965 and 1977?

The short answer? It was the failure of the churches. That failure took form in three ways. . . .

. . . The first of these was a broad complacency among religious elites. A healthy family system, and the social benefits that it delivered, was taken for granted. . . .

. . . The second failure of the churches that lay behind family collapse was the open embrace of strident dissent, the encouragement of attacks on the common, orthodox Christian understanding of marriage, sexuality, and family. . . .

. . . The third failure of the churches came as they let down their guard, allowing for a return of the gnostics. Our conference began with Robby George’s talk on this matter. It seems significant that we end on the same question. . . .

Screen Shot 2016 12 30 at 10.20.49 AM 197x300 Domestic Altars & Godly OffspringWe are pleased to be able to share these talks with Touchstone readers in upcoming issues. Dr. Carlson’s is printed in Jan/Feb 2017 and is available to read at touchstonemag.com. You can also LISTEN to his talk—as well as the talks given by Robert P. George, James Hitchcock, Anthony Esolen, David S. Dockery, Thomas S. Buchanan, S. M. Hutchens, Patrick Henry Reardon, and James M. Kushiner—by purchasing access to the conference audio download page.