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The gift of godly children


One reader asked the following question in response to topics raised in my post Is my husband a creationist?.

This reader asked:

“How far do you think it reasonable to 'train' your children to believe in exactly the same things that you do?”

He/she further explained that:

“there are some sections of society who hold that it is much better, and fairer to a child, to allow them to form their own opinions about life, the world and religion. This does not mean that you may not guide them towards a sense of morality, of what is 'right' and what is 'wrong'.”

On our wedding day Dave and I promised, amongst other things, to “raise any children God gives us to love and serve our Saviour”. One of the reasons God created marriage is His desire that godly children will come from the union. Malachi 2:15 says of marriage:

“And why one?
He seeks godly offspring.”

This is certainly not the only reason for marriage, but it is a major one. The mandate for couples to bear children and to teach them to exercise godly dominion has existed since Adam and Eve were given this charge (Genesis 1:28). Raising many godly children is one way that we can influence our nations, as the Great Commission commands.

"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations . . ." Matthew 28:19.

Some people believe, like the Greek teacher Protagoras, that “Man is the measure of all things”. The idea is that man is the ultimate, and should have the ultimate decisions. Each person decides which gods to follow, and which values to endorse.

While this is popular, it is not biblical. Proverbs 16:25 says:

“There is a way that seems right to a man,
But its end is the way of death”.

This is why in the Great Commission Christians are taught to make disciples of all the nations. There are not many right ways, there is one.

“Jesus said to Him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me”. John 14:6.

God’s standard for acceptance into heaven is perfect obedience. Every one of us falls short of this. Therefore it was necessary for Jesus Christ to come to earth, fully God and fully man. Jesus perfectly obeyed his Father. When he died on the cross, he died the death that we deserve. He took our sins upon himself, and paid the penalty. Trusting in his work on the cross is the only way our sins can be forgiven. When we try to be good on our own, our sinful natures frustrate and trap us. Or, even worse, we create our own version of goodness that is far from God's perfect standard.

I hope that my children will be different from me in many ways. Perhaps they will learn skills that I never had an aptitude for. Perhaps they will travel to countries I will never see. Yet I hope they will be like me in their passion for the Christian faith. In fact, I hope they will surpass me. They may conquer sins I always struggled with, or apply truths I never understood. Dave and I don’t just pray for the gift of children. We pray for godly children.

Homemanager  – (January 24, 2008 at 9:31 AM)  

Hello Sherrin,
I have been given the opportunity to chose 5 bloggers that I feel have integrity. I have chosen to give you an award for being a "Blogger with Integrity". Please come over and receive your award! You have been a blessing to me.
Karen

Radagast  – (January 25, 2008 at 10:17 AM)  

“How far do you think it reasonable to 'train' your children to believe in exactly the same things that you do?” -- surely it's a parent's duty to repond to the questions of his or her children with the best answers he or she is able to find.

If I had children, I would be quite happy to teach them that God made the world, that 2+2=4, that sticking scissors in a power point is a really bad idea, and that flowers of the Monocotyledonae have petals in threes. I have great confidence in all of those answers.

“Allowing them to form their own opinions about life, the world and religion” seems to me just another way of letting other people control the teaching -- people who may care more about their own agendas than about truth or about the interests of the child.

... and I hope that you and Dave will indeed have godly children!

-- Radagast

Sherrin  – (January 25, 2008 at 4:29 PM)  

Thanks so much, Karen! I was very blessed!

Thanks for your comments, radagast. You make a good point that if parents don't teach their children what truth is, other teachers are perfectly happy to provide answers!

Anonymous –   – (January 25, 2008 at 9:27 PM)  

Hello

I am the person who posted the original question. I am curious as to why you are wary of letting other people influence your children's learning. For example, if they go to school, naturally other people, teachers, fellow students etc. will all have some influence on the child. You cannot shield them from this unless you plan to keep them inside forever, never venturing out to find their own way in life. You will always find people who 'care more about their own agendas', and keeping your children from this reality will not help them deal with difficulties they may come across as they grow up. And anyway, doesn't being exposed to different types of people from all walks of life, be they for good or 'evil', lead to a wider view of the world, in which a child learns to listen to, accept and have tolerance for all sorts of people of all sorts faiths and beliefs?

LB
UK

Sherrin  – (January 26, 2008 at 3:42 PM)  

Hello LB,

Your are right that many people will influence children. Their parents are certainly not their only influences. Being exposed to different types of people is a very good thing. It helps us to understand our own beliefs better, and teaches us to love a wide variety of people. However, I believe that in the case of young children it is best if this contact is made through family activities such as hospitality. This enables parents to provide a secure environment for learning.

I think radagust’s comment was simply an statement of the fact that no teaching is neutral. If parents do not actively teach their children a worldview, another worldview will dominate. Perhaps one that claims to be tolerant and accepting whilst despising any claims of absolute truth. Those who decry the existence of absolute truth usually end up being intolerant of religious such as evangelical Christianity.

May God bless you,

Sherrin

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