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The Fourth Commandment

Honour Your Father and Your Mother

The Fourth Commandment takes us into the discipleship at its most mundane level, life in the family.

“The fourth commandment is ‘the first and greatest commandment because it relates to that point at which I was called into life by God through my parents – called into purely physical, yet at the same time social life…I did not choose my parents, the place or language of my birth; I was born. “I was created; God created me into life, albeit through my parents.”

God has given you your parents; it is for this reason they are to be honoured.

According to Luther, the majesty of God resides in the parental office, for through them, the Creator is exercising His authority to call life into being and provide order for that life in this world:

With this commandment, God is assigning a particular great, good and holy work; (LC I 112) to children. Instead of abandoning parents in search of some higher goodness as in monasticism, God’s Word locates the discipleship of children in their responsibility to their parents.

The Fourth Commandment recognises the uniqueness of the office of parent in that parents are God’s masks for the blessing of children in both the spiritual and earthly realms. Parental authority is different from all other forms of authority because it functions in both realms. Parents not only exercise authority over their children in the secular government, but they also proclaim the Gospel to their children. Thus, they are at one and the same time secular authorities and through the universal priesthood, spiritual authorities for their children.

Parents therefore are to be honoured because through them God is nurturing the life of faith that gives access to the heavenly kingdom and defending children against sin and evil that would destroy the bodily life in this world.

Adapted from - Luther’s Small Catechism: A Manual for Discipleship; John T. Pless, CPH 2019, p. 31-34

Mark Hampel

About the author


Mark Hampel is an enthusiastic communicator of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He was ordained in 1988 and has served in churches and schools in 3 states. He currently lives in Chinchilla, Qld. His passion is building up the faith of God’s people and working with them so that all will come to know Christ as their joy and salvation.

Mark is happily married to Veronica and they have 4 children and 4 grandsons. He is also a farmer of sorts, having spent the last decade establishing a date plantation in Western Queensland. Other hobbies include Australian history, travel, film & literature and of course, family.

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Downfall Creek

St John’s

St John’s Downfall Creek, has been a centre of Christian faith and life in the area for over 100 years. They operated a Christian school for twenty-two years (1940 – 62).

This faith community is a warm-hearted bunch, who love to share their hospitality with the district. They enjoy many a pot luck dinner and host ‘Easter Dawn Service & Breakfast’, ‘Christmas Eve’ & ‘Advent Tea’’ and ‘Games Nights’ for the community.

Home Groups are an important part of life in the Downfall. Discussion and exploration of the faith are encouraged.

Religious Education at the nearby Guluguba Primary School is provided by St John’s.

Downfall Creek



Redeemer Miles, is a dedicated group who know the love of Christ and are keen to share it. They meet regularly in various homes throughout the district for intergenerational worship and home groups.  

Religious Education at nearby Drillham State Primary School is provided by Redeemer.



The Charleville faith community meet for worship once a month, then go out for a fellowship meal together. A Home Group is planned to begin soon.

They host the annual ‘Western Muster’, an ecumenical Bible teaching gathering, held on the first weekend after Easter.


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