The Most Important Things Christian Parents Lack

2010 February 18

Filed in:

Do Not Hinder Them (Child Rearing)


Some of the MOST IMPORTANT things Christian parents might lack in parenting:
1)  DISCIPLINE – Children should be given consistent, unsurprising discipline for a consistent, simple standard.
2)  FORGIVENESS – Children can’t be free of sin, unless someone frees them from it.  Allowing sin to go unchecked, and unconvicted makes them keep their sin. But forgiveness is not ingoring sin.  Forgiveness requires us to call sin evil first.  Then it allows us to highlight the depth of sin, at the same time as extending grace.  Children should be told outloud that they are forgiven.  I even suggest ritualizing the repetition by the child that “I am forgiven.”  I make of point of emphasizing “I will always love you because you are my child, no matter how many times you sin in this way.  You are mine, and I will always be yours.”
3)  PARENTAL REPENTANCE – this means you have to tell your children that you know it when you sin.  They know when we sin too.  If we don’t recognize it in front of them, we make ourselves visible liars.  They will learn to cover sin, and they will learn it from us.  Just like MAKING them say “I am forgiven,” we should MAKE them say “I forgive YOU.”  Make them forgive their siblings, and us.  You do NOT have to make sure that they FEEL it.  They are maleable when they are young, and they are created with molding in mind.  And before all else, they need to learn that forgiveness is the next step after repentance and confession.  It is ALWAYS what happens in a Christian family.  It has to go both ways to create a culture of interpersonal sanctification.  I suggest such repeated sentences as, “Thank you for acting like Jesus.  He is forgiving.  When you forgive you are acting like him.”  “Thank you for forgiving your brother, you will help him learn to be a forgiving person.  Now when you sin against him, he will also say that he forgives you.”  “Thank you for forgiving Daddy; we are a family who forgives sin.  I forgive you, and you forgive me.”  “If we didn’t forgive each other, we would become an unhappy family.”
The whole key here is that there IS a goal, so give them a path.  It is hard to find a way to a goal without a path.  Give them a path, and keep pushing them back onto it.  Over and over and over and over.  They will learn to do these things naturally.
Lest we say this is just making them Robots, remember that it leads to God-given JOY in our emotions when we live in this kind of family.  Remember, I said that you do not have to make them FEEL it in the moment.  This is because you are making them feel it over time.  The way that a culture of confession/repentance/forgiveness FEELS is so much better than one of concealing/hardening/embittering.  They will learn that they are being fed feast food, and when they eat the trash of bad judgment, as we all do from time to time, they won’t like it.  Then the mature choices they make will be personal and real and will flow out of the storehouse of family faith.

N T Wright – Justification – post 2

2009 April 29

[up to p.37]

Okay, so I haven’t gotten much farther, but I do have more to say.

Style and Method

wrightThis book is one of the most understandable and readable and pleasant books I have ever picked up in theology.  Wright is always a master of extended metaphor.  His understanding of the way that Paul writes comes out in the way he himself writes, always drawing in narrative, always alluding to controlling narratives.

As to method, I just intend here a comment about the question “Will Wright cut to the chase?”  It seems that Wright is being direct, and intensely clear about his views.  He is also keeping the gloves off and not pulling any punches.  While I never see Wright being mean, he is not putting on pleasantries in order to converse in a friendly way at a dinner party.  Wright is doing what he needs to do at this point.  He is actually saying, “So and so theologian gets x wrong and misses x passage.”  So my hope, up through page 37, is that the book will continue to speak so plainly.

When I was first encountered Wright in 2000-2003, I kept wondering “Is he not aware of what people are saying about him over here, in America?”  I wondered this because, most times when I heard a fellow reformed christian criticizing Wright, the criticism was about works-based salvation [which, make no mistake, he thoroughly repudiates and denies].  But I never seemed to read him saying anything about it.  The fact that it wasn’t a concern for Wright to deal with such a matter just seemed to fuel many fires and make people say that he was in fact a gospel-denier – a works preacher….

But, like Augustine retracting his disbelief in miracles after many miraculous proofs, I have now heard and seen Wright speak about this so many times I have to say “He absolutely is not what they all think he is.”

Now, Instead of wondering whether he knows that they are blaming him of Pelagianism, I wonder, “Does anyone know that Wright has answered this question satisfactorily MANY times?

This book should only make that answer louder and more accessible to the public.

N T Wright – Justification – post 1

2009 April 28

justificationYesterday, on my birthday, I was really excited to get a gift in the mail via Amazon.

I intended to just sit down for a couple of pages, really just a few before going to sleep.  I read 17 pages – up through page 30 – and just couldn’t stop reading.  Of course, it isn’t into the meat of the book at all yet.  But the writing is so good, and Wright is so interesting, that it is just a real pleasure to read.

I am terrible about book reviewing, and I happen to be reading several (many) other books right now.  But this Wright book takes an important priority, as its historical moment of discussion is upon us.

—I am happy to see that Wright is indeed expecting to get done his Book 4 in the Christian Origins and the Question of God – the big book on Paul!—

Prince of God – Son of God

2009 April 8

Grace not Works in Old Testament

2009 March 29

Sometimes Christians mistakenly think that the Old Testament saint was saved by keeping the law.  This is a destructive mistake, because it makes us separate ourselves from the Old Testament based on a false claim.  I review Psalm 130 to show that grace, not works is the way of salvation in the OT.

See Winepress Films!

John Piper: “Be Courageous” to President Barack Obama

2009 January 29

Fantastically well stated.  Thank you, John Piper, for being courageous.

Christians and Satire?

2008 November 10

This is a question hoping to receive comments:

How do you think Christians should or should not go about using satire?  I think sometimes it is clearly written to teach, but sometimes it is mainly written to hurt.

I have been reading some Christian doctrinal satire lately that is so funny I end up crying.  But I am afraid of redirecting readers to it, because I don’t want to share in any offense that the authors might give.  I find the particular site I am reading to be TREMENDOUSLY educational – however, it is EXTREMELY polemic.

What do you think?