Monday, November 4, 2013

Explaining to our children preferences, convictions and distinctions among brethren WITH GRACE

     Let's face it, Christians differ on a number of matters, and that often or perhaps i should say sometimes for good reason! It is customary to call such differences 'secondary issues' (interpretation differences like paedo baptism vs credo baptism, differences in liberties like teetotalism vs moderationist as concerns drinking alcohol etc) , so as to make the point clear that there are bonafide God-obeying, Christ-exalting believers who differ on subjects which don't negate their standing as believers, despite the reality that some of these issues are still very important! 

The sticky part is how to explain such differences to our children, how to gracefully disagree with others while maintaining the unity of the brethren, being free of slander and not leaving the impression upon our children that our convictions on the matter reveal our superiority over those lukewarm if that, church-goers.
Seek wisdom in this, seek to be careful and clear in this and learn from leaders who model such unity while maintaining their stands, lest we raise mean-spirited, arrogant and elitist Pharisees!
With that said I will offer some EXAMPLES of what NOT to do (they are of course comical exaggerations and straw-men  so please don't get offended, lol),

Halloween participating child, 
"Mommy why don't those kids dress up?"
"Well, sweety long time ago in Salem there were these witch hunters and....."

Halloween abstaining child,
"Mommy why do those kids dress up?"
"Well, sweety I guess they like worshiping the Devil..."

Homeschooler,
"Dad why do they send their kids to public school?"
"Hmm, apparently they love the world and want the world to raise their children.."

Publicschooler,
"Dad why do they homeschool their kids?"
"Hmm, apparently they think monks and nuns are a good thing...."

Child of a moderate participant in alcohol, 
"Mom, why can't they have a small glass of wine with their dinner?"
"Baby, they follow the laws of men instead of God...."

Child of a total abstainer from alcohol
"Mom, why do they drink beer and wine?"
"Baby, they must not care about what the bible says about drunkards....."

Child of a credo-baptist,
"Dad, why do they pour water on babies?"
"O, they like the Pope, think the water magically washes sin away..."

Child of a paedo-baptist,
"Dad, why don't they baptize their babies?"
"O, they like the abortionists, don't want their babies saved..."

Child of a Israel supporting dispensationalist,
"Mom, why don't they support and work for Israel?"
"Hun, WWII might be over, but I guess Nazis are still around..."

Child of a Israel neutral convenantalist, 
"Mom, why do they focus so much on the land and people of Israel?"
"Hun, they think people are are saved by blood not faith....."


Hehe....brethren, laying aside the extreme cases, let us be wise in explaining to our children differences among the true body of Christ!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Don't WASTE your homeschooling!

It goes something like this, 'Are you a homeschooler?' "Wow, me too!' and there you have it, two peas in a pod right? Not exactly, such an association might only describe where two parents don't send their children and that might be the only thing those two parents have in common. The point, is that the differences abound not only in structures and curriculums but also in worldviews, and so I hope to sound somewhat of a clarion call to fellow homeschoolers in order that their opportunity might not be 'wasted', the opportunity of having more time, more control over what specifically influences their children!
Here then is a choppy list of some things we must not neglect,

1. THE GOSPEL
Don't waste the ample time you have been afforded by neglecting to teach and to share the gospel with your children frequently, for they desperately need to hear it until they come to faith, and they desperately need to hear it frequently after they come to faith. A great many pitfalls will be avoided and a great many extremes nullified if by consistent exposure to the gospel, your children are convinced that they are great undeserving sinners in need of God's grace, and that if in anything they stand apart from others around them, it is due only to the grace of God within them!

2. PRAYER
Don't waste the ample time you have been afforded by neglecting to pray daily with your children, to teach them to turn to and to depend on God, to teach them that their teachers (parents) desperately depend on the help of God. Prayers of thanks will teach them that all blessings truly flow from God, prayers of intercession will teach them to compassionately desire God's grace to be given to other people, and prayers of repentance will teach them to humble themselves before God and strive towards holiness!

3. THEOLOGY
Don't waste the ample time you have been afforded by neglecting to teach your children sound doctrine. A biblical worldview demands first a familiarity with the scriptures, and a reasonable ability to interpret scripture (hermeneutics). What a shame if they master fields in academics and yet are ignorant of the attributes of God, of the doctrines concerning salvation, of the doctrines concerning the church etc!

4. CHURCH
Don't waste the ample time you have been afforded by neglecting to teach them the importance of the local church. It is good and well that children learn to submit to their parents and especially their fathers, but if that is where it ends then that is not biblical. This is why a healthy church is so important, because they need to be in a place where they see the whole family involved and submitted, as God has designed, to a local church led by men approved by God according to the scriptures. Parents must humble themselves in this matter, showing by example what it looks like to honor the elders of the church, and what it means to love the body which Christ died for!

5. CHARACTER
Don't waste the ample time you have been afforded by neglecting to shape and refine the very character of your children. Just finishing the work and making 'the grade' is not enough, for you their parent must notice and deal with their attitudes as well. Confronting and disciplining sinful attitudes as well as training them towards good attitudes is something you have been uniquely called to do by God, from humility, to diligence, to truthfulness, to compassion, to sincerity, to gentleness, to self-control etc are such that by God's grace you can instill in your children!

6. CHALLENGE
Don't waste the ample time you have been afforded by neglecting to challenge your children towards excellence. Exhort and help them to hone their natural gifts and to grow in the areas they are weak. Don't allow them to simply cop out and give up, but call them to strive (within reason) towards excellence. For instance, after they take a test, review with them the wrong answers and seek to help them think through what and why and how they got it wrong (not to alter the test, but to challenge their thinking).

7. DISCERNMENT
Don't waste the ample time you have been afforded by neglecting to instill in your children the necessity of discernment. I suppose this comes naturally when it comes to a subject like evolution vs creation, but think of the blessing of applying such a discerning eye towards all subjects. They need to be trained and shown by example, to discern everything, all claims of truth, all forms of media etc by the word of God, to read everything, asking first, 'What saith the Lord?'!

8. WORSHIP
Don't waste the ample time you have been afforded by neglecting to show them that all matters of life and learning are matters of worship. If one subject is most mockingly brought up as being incapable of holding anything other than a neutral place concerning God it is math, but strange as it may sound math is but one more reason to worship the Lord! For the very order, the consistency, and absolute nature of math is but one testimony to the order, consistency and absolute nature of God, His ways and His truth. Every history, every biography, teaches us something about worship, either the worship of the world or the worship of God and the consequences and the blessings of such.

9. JOY
Don't waste the ample time you have been afforded by neglecting to love on them, pour affection on them, and show that you enjoy them for the sake of their joy. They must be convinced that all their striving, that all their work, that all their obedience is not a means to receive your love, but something they do because they know they are loved. Spend 'off' time with them, talk to them, have 'heart to hearts', have special days with just them, play with them etc. Children are indeed a blessing from the Lord and He calls us to raise them which includes showing affection towards them, let us then be resolved to see them in such a  counter-cultural way by God's grace!

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