Is God’s Design for the Family Truly Irreplaceable?


Tim Sisarich, of Focus on the Family, sets out on a journey around the globe to answer this question:  What is Family and does it still matter in today’s society?

Tim leaves his beautiful family in New Zeland to explore some common themes throughout the discovery documentary.  To get a pulse for what society is professing, he speaks with strangers in public settings; in parks, outside of bars, and at special events.  Additionally he speaks with well known and respected philosophers, experts, and authors including John Stonestreet, Eric Metaxas, Dr. Roger Scruton, Carey Casey and a number of other acclaimed professionals.

Ultimately, Tim recognizes some common themes as he travels the world in search for answers.  The movie begins by exploring the breakdown of sexuality and how the free-love movement of the 60’s began the disintegration of God’s model for sex.  An ‘anything goes’ attitude towards sex meant a strong welcoming of sex outside of marriage, an increase in sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy outside of marriage, and ultimately a breakdown of marriage.

Some individuals in Mexico city are working towards establishing temporary marriage licenses, for people who want to get married, but who do not want to stay married forever.  Two women that Tim met on his journey had the opinion that if you are not happy in a marriage, then you should get out of that marriage and find someone else that will make you happy.  Divorce is rampantly accepted, and while the statistics are over exaggerated to a discouraging 50% (actually the divorce rate is closer to 25%) to appease those who have been divorced, this breakdown in marriage leaves a family torn apart and often a home fatherless.

Because of this breakdown in marriage, children are left without a mother and a father.  Parenthood is broken.  With a vague description of Parenthood, in one area, city officials are pushing to have the wording in their laws changed from “Mother and Father” to “Parent.”  Children grow up without knowing their fathers, or worse, hating their fathers, and women are left to fill the financial and masculine burden of a vacant father.  While God’s role for mothers is to be a nurturing and loving caretaker, they are being forced to play both roles in society's version of the family. 

As a result, Children are not raised with a necessary Mother and Father, and are victims to the devastating and lasting results.  We listened to three men in prison explain the negative impact that not having a father around or having a disconnected or abusive father had on them.  If we devalue Parenthood, and the important leadership roles that fathers have, we devalue Children.

While on this public journey for Focus on the Family, Tim Sisarich was able to delve into a more personal journey of forgiveness.  He begins to tell his own story of his family growing up and the commitment and strength his mother had to stand by God’s example of marriage.  Despite learning of her husband’s second family and watching him go to jail as a result of embezzlement, she stood by her husband.  Tim’s father met Christ in prison and became a new man.  Had Tim’s mother accepted society’s views on family, and divorced his father, Tim and his beautiful children would never have existed.

The journey left Tim to ask himself what kind of father he is.  He confessed that he is not the father in Rembrandt’s painting and the story of the Prodigal Son, but the journey gave true clarification to the question.  Is family a cultural social practice or is it God’s divine institution?  A culture cannot exist without the family.  It is truly Irreplaceable.

Irreplaceable was a very well done discovery documentary that was thorough in addressing all aspects of the breakdown of culture as a direct result of the breakdown of family.  It did not point fingers or use emotional charging, but stated research and information basically and straightforwardly.  Tim was truly inquisitive and as a result the viewer assumes a similar role to learn more.  As a seemingly wonderful father, he challenges all of us to question our own status as men, women, husbands, wives, fathers and mothers.  My only complaint about the movie was that it was shown for one night only.  More people should watch this movie. **

Irreplaceable is the first in a series by Focus on the Family to delve into the family’s roles in society and how the breakdown of the family affects society as a whole.  Get more information or look for upcoming video documentaries at

**Two encore presentations of the film will take place on May 8th and May 15th.  Check your local listings for a showing near you.

Movie review by Lauren Wilson