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Reformed. Christianity. Evangelism. Modern Culture.
Long gone are the days when families sat together around a Bible and fathers diligently taught their children truths that they had learnt about the only one true God. Most of these duties have been deferred to half committed Sunday school teachers who are more interested in planning pizza parties plus fun and games programmes. The most of the ‘formal education’ is then left for school teachers when the week begins – and it seems the Humanists have noticed this loop hole and pounced hard and fast at the opportunity.
The public school system especially in the West has already been taken over (curriculum and all) and re-designed to eliminate God. The next generation is being moulded to completely have no regard for Christianity or the things of God. How then did this general shift occur in the West? Wasn’t God ascribed to as their Father in their barns and houses, anthems, Court houses, public buildings and monuments a hundred years ago? Well my dear sleeper welcome to the “brave new world”.
By the looks of things the battle for the future generation is almost lost in the education system and the ramifications will then spill out in re defining morals and traditional value systems on and on. Here are some but a few chilling “triumphs” and strategies as reported in recent Humanist archives and popular magazines:
- “I am convinced that the battle for humankind’s future must be waged and won in the public school classrooms by teachers who correctly perceive their role as the new proselytizers of a new faith, a religion of humanity. These teachers must embody the same selfless dedication as the most rabid fundamentalist preacher. The classroom must and will become an arena of conflict between the old and the new―the rotting corpse of Christianity, together with all its adjacent evils and misery, and the new faith (humanism), resplendent in its promise.”John Dunphy, “A Religion for the New Age,” Humanist Magazine
[This article was first posted in March 2012] It is true that for many believers, fulfilling Christ’s command to make disciples of all nations has no greater joy than seeing their loved ones come to faith in Christ. Few experiences bring greater joy to Christian parents than seeing their children come to faith in Christ. But how does one evangelize one’s children?
The process of evangelizing one’s children, however, can be a daunting task. For many parents, the questions are as practical as they are disconcerting: How should I present the gospel to my children? What’s the best approach to take? How do I know if I’m doing it right? Pitfalls, both real and imagined, intimidate virtually every parent who contemplates this responsibility. On one hand, there’s the danger of leading children to think they are saved when they are not. On the other, there’s the risk of discouraging children who express a genuine desire to follow Christ.
How, then, should we evangelize our children? The answer to this question is not an easy one, but it begins with recognizing and avoiding some of the common pitfalls in child evangelism.
With many of the (for luck of a better word) ‘morally bankrupt’ agendas that most governments are sneaking into public school curriculum, it is understandable to see some people going to homeschooling as an alternative. However this is not to say that public education is evil in itself. No, I think it does have it’s strong points (I studied in public school but most important of all some one shared the gospel with me when I was in a public school) . One vital point should be that if parents (of both public and homeschooling children) neglect to instruct their children about the things of God and leave or assume that such vital lessons will be taught by others either public school teachers or Sunday school teachers alone, we may as well just cut off their hands and feet and watch them flip and flounder in the morally murky village pond. We will give account to God for the children he has lent to us for this short pilgrim journey through this earth -lets make the most of it by making them wise toward God by explaining to them the Law and the Gospel. In the words of one of my favorite puritan preachers:
“For you that are parents, or to whom the education of children is committed, I beseech you mind the duty which lies on you. … For to what purpose do we desire them before we have them, rejoice in them when we have them, value them so highly, sympathize with them so tenderly, grieve for their death so excessively, if in the meantime no care be taken what shall become of them to eternity? … If you neglect to instruct them in the way of holiness, will the devil neglect to instruct them in the way of wickedness? No, no, if you will not teach them to pray, he will teach them to curse, swear and lie. If ground be uncultivated, weeds will spring up.” ~ John Flavel
The year 2012 was interesting and frustrating. This year I will not feature the 10 most popular posts like I did in 2011. However I will give you a running commentary and “warm your little Calvinist hearts” with some grace and hope you won’t end up swimming back to Rome in the end.
The year started with high expectations and has ended on a high note – well unless you are a Mayan apocalypse enthusiast then you might be just a tard deflated. But hey cheer up we have extra time now, don’t we?
In 2012 it was interesting to see that many people were interested in reading how Veggie Tales ended up being a failed experiment. Well to be honest it was a fad that went too far into teaching kids how to be “Christian” without knowing Christ. Ironic but frankly I have come to expect this from most Evangelical fads that it doesn’t surprise me any more. Speaking of fads the year kicked off with a fad…oops thud when Steven Furtick (yup the celebrity pastor who spontaneously baptised 2,000 people in two weeks) invited Matt Chandler into a room full of orange flood lights, orange walls and orange carpets. When Matt began to preach about celebrities and supposed pastors using church as a platform for personal ambition, you could hear a pin drop. The barn burning sermon was a good fire starter for the year it and it ended with a clear gospel presentation too. But nothing prepared us for pastor Jim Murphy’s stance when he decided to root out religious junk from his lukewarm church bookstore. Murphy lamented the disintegration of Christianity and its falling away from the truth of the gospel and into more and more error – he traced the roots of today’s error to the subtle attacks on the authority of Scripture. When he finally asked “How did we get where we are?” Many expected him to point the finger else where but the wise old pastor pointed to him self and said said he was responsible for allowing his church to become lukewarm and hence forth there would be changes. Talk about the perspicuity of scripture.
Don’t blink yet, that was just the beginning!
Evangelizing children and training them in godly precepts is indeed tough. Truth be told, discipleship (whether at home or church) like any apprenticeship can actually be dull, tedious, and hard. In fact the results of mastering the doctrines taught may not necessarily be immediate. But this does not mean we ought to take short cuts nor does it mean we should slacken up by bringing in these bells and whistles to create a “fun environment” or cushioning the seats in church (though there is nothing necessarily wrong with that). Starr Meade makes a good point …
When it comes to evangelizing our children, I suggest that the best thing we can do is to provide diligent, systematic teaching, both of redemption history (Bible stories) and doctrinal truth (what God meant to communicate through those stories). It will take years to evangelize children through such involved teaching-but then, God entrusts them to us for years, doesn’t he? Great trees require years to grow, but they stand strong, resistant, and fruitful through decades.
I hope this letter is an encouragement to somebody. It’s an excerpt from a post at “Raising godly children”…
Dear stay-at-home mum,
You scan blogs and read books about being a good mom. You find some helpful tidbits here and there, often from women who are grandmothers now. Women you can learn from but who seem to have forgotten the struggle. They seem to have it all together.
In your heart, you want to be the kind of mom who trains up kids to make a difference for the kingdom. You know it’s an honor to be entrusted with these kids. You know you’ve only got one shot. You want to be the mom who teaches them the Bible, models how to pray, and trains them up in the fear of the Lord.
But most of the time you feel like you’re barely holding it all together.Your house cleaning can’t keep up with your kids’ mess-making.
There’s an iPhone and iPad app (there’s an android version too) called the “Fighter Verse App” that many Christian parents are finding helpful in aiding to memorise Scripture. The Paquettes have used it and here is their conclusion:
In order for us to be intentional about our kids memorizing Scripture this year, James and I have sat down and made a plan through December. During carpool to school each morning, (approx. 8 minutes), we use this time to have our girls memorize Scripture. For 3 years now, they have memorized over 50 verses. After we made the plan, I thought, why not post it on my blog so others can follow along too, or ask me about it to make sure we are keeping up [also see video above]!
You [fail] yourselves by leaving your children in a state of ignorance, for you heap upon yourselves the consequences of their sins as well as your own. When a child breaks one of God’s commandments, it is his sin; but it is also the father’s if he never taught the child what the commandment of God was. Wicked children become heavy crosses to their parents. When a father or mother must trace the source of wickedness to his or her neglect in training the child, cross is laid upon cross and the load becomes unbearable. Can there be a greater heartache in this life than to see your own child running full speed towards hell, and know that you were the one who outfitted him for the race? …Read More!
My highlight indeed was meeting with the one and only ….Charles Darwin! We had a chat but he is rather quiet these days. You see …Read More!
Test your child’s theology with five questions and then teach him some more. Here are the first five questions:
2. What else did God make?
A. God made all things.
3. Why did God make you and all things?
A. For his own glory.
4. How can you glorify God?
A. By loving him and doing what he commands.
5. Why ought you to glorify God?
A. Because he made me and takes care of me.
Excerpt from Catechism for Young Children. (An Introduction to the Shorter Catechism) For free down load click here.
HT Reformed Gene via FB.
David Murray has a list of 20 tips on how to use Bible Commentaries. Here are just 5 of them:
1. Use them
“It seems odd, that certain men who talk so much of what the Holy Spirit reveals to themselves, should think so little of what he has revealed to others. My chat this afternoon is not for these great originals, but for you who are content to learn of holy men, taught of God, and mighty in the Scriptures. It has been the fashion of late years to speak against the use of commentaries…A respectable acquaintance with the opinions of the giants of the past, might have saved many an erratic thinker from wild interpretations and outrageous inferences” (C H Spurgeon).
2. Use them for appropriate tasks
Commentaries vary in size, detail, level, and theological basis; they also have different roles in the exegetical process. The following classification is partly chronological – the first books are used earlier in the process than the latter books. (The books in brackets are OT focused and are merely exemplary not exhaustive).
- Critical: Emphasis on technical matters like the composition of the text rather than its meaning (e.g. International Critical Commentary, some Word commentaries).
- Expository (Original Language): Close and detailed exposition of the text, usually requiring some knowledge of the original languages (e.g. some Word commentaries, New International Commentary on the OT, Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Mentor series by Christian Focus).
- Expository (English): Stay close to the text but do not usually deal with critical issues and do not require original language knowledge (Focus on the Bible series by Christian Focus, Evangelical Press Study Commentaries).
- Summary: Do not explain everything but focus on main points and present conclusions rather than extensive arguments. Excellent summaries of a verse or passage’s teaching. Big is not always better. (e.g. Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries, Bible Speaks Today).
- Classical: Reputable commentaries from the past that usually do not deal with technical issues, but rather the theological meaning of the text (Banner of Truth Geneva series, John Gill, John Calvin).
- Applicatory: Suitable for lay-people, usually with more of an applicatory focus (NIV Application Commentary).
- Homiletical: Tend to be the result of sermon series or at least more sermonic in style (e.g. Welwyn, Dale Ralph Davis).
- Devotional: Extensive comments on spiritually rich texts. Focus on edification rather than critical or controversial issues (e.g. Matthew Henry). …Read More!
Im currently reading about puritans (and wow) it is challenging to learn about their high view of God. More so how they lived their lives. Here is a quote from Richard Baxter about parenting:
Parents! Your example and life are a continual and powerful sermon, which is always seen by your children! Parents! Your children have an everlasting inheritance of happiness to attain–and it is that which you must bring them up for. They have an endless misery to escape–and it is that which you must diligently teach them. If you don’t teach them to know God, and how to serve Him, and be saved, and to escape the flames of hell–you teach them nothing, or worse than nothing. It is in your hands to do them the greatest kindness or cruelty in all the world! Help them to know God and to be saved, and you do more for them than if you helped them to be kings or princes. …Read More!
The recent brutal whipping of teenager by her father has sparked alot of discussion. Some of which has been absolutely irrational and stipped in knee jerk sensationalism. While sharing the outrage at this abuse, I sought to see what the bible and other Christians say about spanking and child discipline. Michael Spotts has a very comprehensive article pointing out some of the logical flaws and drawing a fine distinction as to what the biblical perspective on physically chastening children is:
Instead of overreacting, I believe we should maintain a distinction between what is acceptable physical discipline and what constitutes actual abuse. This allows us to condemn the latter without outlawing the former. Throughout this article I will refrain from using the word “punishment” when describing parental responses to disobedience. Punishment, strictly speaking, is primarily concerned with subjecting guilty persons to penalties without regard for either their moral improvement or personal well being. An extreme example of punitive action is the death penalty, which punishes without any interest in improving those who receive it. Worse still is the idea of parents inflicting pain upon children merely to “get back” at them or vent anger. …Read More!
The Heidelberg Catechism is a Protestant confessional document taking the form of a series of questions and answers, for use in teaching Reformed Christian doctrine. It has been translated into many languages and is regarded as one of the most influential of the Reformed catechisms. This young boy in this clip goes through the first 16 questions and answers (with his dad, an ex sunni muslim). Watch this…
Now who says kids dont like theology?
Many people assume children do not understand as much theology as they should. Others prefer to keep children in sunday school where they can play with video games, have pizza parties and become distracted to death with endless games. Dr Wayne Grudem has another idea regarding teaching children theology and in particular fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith:
Wayne mentioned that he taught 4th grade Sunday school from 1967-1969 at Park Street Church in Boston. His other form of experience came from parenting (together with his wife Margaret) three sons who are now 33, 30, and 27 years old.
[On the doctrine of predestination or election] Election is an act of God before creation in which he chooses some people to be saved, not on account of any foreseen merit in them, but only because of his sovereign good pleasure.
Children can understand choosing. They have experiences of being chosen for a team, or a play. So we can tell them “God chose you to be a part of his team, his family.” Being chosen could encourage pride, unless we also teach kids that it was not a result of anything that they did (Eph. 1:4-6, I Thes. 1:4-5).
“Well, when did he choose us, Daddy?” A child may ask. Read More…
I do applaud parents who have brought up their children through formal public schooling as much as home schoolers who have faithfully overseen the educative process of imparting knowledge. The process of education is never complete until a child knows about God. Hasn’t it been said that man’s chief end (as the Shorter West Minister catechism rightly states) is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever. Recently, following a very graciously encouraging meeting with a couple of Christian home schooling fathers and mothers I realised I have never featured an article on home schooling even though it is on the rise (oh yes and see here too) despite all myths.
I know it is usually said that you can tell how naïve somebody is about home schooling when they ask two questions. The first is whether a parent is qualified to teach their child, and the second and possibly biggest question to home schoolers everywhere is about socialization. Well we actually went beyond those two questions this time as we enjoyed the sights and scenes of serene Welish countryside of Cefn Lea. So as a primer into the realm of Christian home schooling I have decided to feature this article:
As responsible parents in the midst of educating our children, the time has arrived when we must ask ourselves several questions. Most concerned and involved parents grapple over issues regarding the size of the classrooms, peer pressure, the personality of the teacher, the safety of the school environment, sports programs, etc. These indeed are practical concerns. But the time has arrived to start asking more underlying questions that will affect the very moral development and character shaping of our future generations. It is time to consider the bigger picture. Read More