Historically and Biblically, the family is the central institution in law and in society. Although we do not think of the family normally as a lawmaking body, the family is nonetheless the basic lawmaking body in all history. Every point of power and authority is also a point of law, and, historically, family law has been the basic law of mankind. In any society or institution, there are basic rules of conduct, and these rules of conduct constitute its law structure.
The family is man’s basic lawmaking body because of a variety of reasons, but certainly one of the first of these is the fact that it is the first place man, as a child, encounters law, rules of conduct, and his idea of law is shaped and defined to a great degree by the family. Life is seen through a law structure which the family gives to the child, and this law structure defines life for the child.
But this is not all. The child’s attitude towards every other institution and its laws is largely shaped by the family. How the child approaches and reacts to church, school, state, and society depends greatly on his source of law, parental authority. He can face other lawmaking bodies rebelliously, or he can face them obediently. His attitude can be constructive, destructive, or indifferent, depending on his family background to a large degree. Every parent daily is a lawmaking person, a focal point of law enforcement, and the delinquency of parents in this respect is their delinquency before God, their Lord and sovereign.
R. J. Rushdoony, Law & Liberty (Vallecito, CA: Ross House Books, 1984), 78.