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Archives - April 2014

Words of Advice for Parents: Part 2

April 08, 2014
By John Morrison

Imparting Our Christian Faith

In my recent blog, I indicated that cultivating relationships with our children is perhaps the most fundamental and important aspect of our parenting.  Indeed, I closed the piece with this statement:  the most radical parent is the one who invests heavily in the currency of time in cultivating relationships with his or her children! Our children desire such relationships more than any other dynamic, and when the parent models his or her Christian faith in a relational manner, the developmental impact upon the child is profound.  Sadly, when parents do not proactively take on this role in a deeply relational way, their children will look elsewhere to find love and affirmation, and “elsewhere” may not always provide a godly and healthy influence.

While I believe cultivating relationship with their children is by far parents’ most important priority, I view the second priority as that of instructing children in the truth content of our Christian faith and values.  Moses expressed this priority thusly:

And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.

                                                                                     Deut 6:5-7

When parents are deeply relational with their children in a loving and affirming manner, they potentially will make the greatest impact upon their child’s character development and values formation as they deliberately go about teaching and imparting the actual content of their faith. 

Furthermore, the impartation of our Christian faith must be focused on far more than mere content.  Years ago, the following statement by Francis Schaeffer profoundly impacted my perspective as a parent, pastor, and educator.  This is a somewhat lengthy quote, but please take a moment to ponder these insightful words:

It is unreasonable to expect people of the next generation in any age to continue in the historic Christian position, unless they are helped to see where arguments and connotations brought against Christianity and against them by their generation are fallacious. … I find that everywhere I go—both in the United States and in other countries—children of Christians are being lost to historic Christianity. … We have left the next generation naked in the face of the twentieth-century thought by which they are surrounded. … The Holy Spirit can do what He will, but the Bible does not separate His work from knowledge; nor does the work of the Holy Spirit remove our responsibility as parents, pastors, evangelists, missionaries or teachers. 

                                              Schaeffer, The God Who is There, pp. 139-140.

The Holy Spirit used this statement to burden my heart with the urgent calling to provide our young people with the truth content of our faith in a way that will help them appreciate its relevance in the face of a secular, hostile culture.  To this day, I fail to understand why the larger church is so slow to recognize the priority of coming alongside parents in order to assist them in the Christian education of their children.  Indeed, this was a huge priority not only in the Hebrew tradition, but throughout early Christendom, as well as through the Reformation and Catholic traditions all the way up through the nineteenth century until the advent of public education.  And as secularism infiltrated public education, we have seen its devastating impact upon our culture.

Dear friends, no priority can be of greater importance to us as parents and the local church than joining together in community to invest relationally in our children and youth, and through imparting, in a thoughtful and prayer-soaked manner, the truth claims of our faith.  Much is at stake, and no priority can be higher than this investment in the next generation!

If you would like to respond to this blog, please email John Morrison at grace@gcswarriors.org.

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