Monday, May 14, 2018

Gospel Centered Parenting in a Time of Cultural Crisis



“The generation now ruling seems bent on departing from the eternal truth of God; but we shall not despair if the Gospel be impressed upon the memory of the rising race.”1  - Charles Spurgeon



My husband and I were married the year that Roe v. Wade's  decision  to legalize  abortion forever changed the  moral landscape of  our nation.    The Judeo-Christian  values that influenced  early American thinking  have  eroded  to the point that we're  facing a  cultural crisis. 

Christian parents  worldwide are having to  deal with challenges unlike anything we experienced when our kids were young.    In addition to raising  their children in the Lord,  parents must be fastidiously discerning when it comes to their children’s education,  social media activities, entertainment choices, and relationships with unbelieving friends and family members.   Who wouldn’t be worried about their children's spiritual well being,   and how will  Christian families cope living in such an ungodly world?

GOD WILL PRESERVE HIS CHURCH
First, we can take real comfort knowing that nothing falls outside the parameters of God’s eternal plan for  the world and for His  people.   We know from Genesis 19 and  Romans 1 that God delivers wicked cultures over for judgment,  but He will also provide a way for His people  to endure. 
if He rescued righteous Lot, oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men... then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment.”  2 Peter 2:7,9-10 
God’s elect have survived the rise and fall of many civilizations and  Augustine acknowledged this following the sack of Rome in 410 AD in his City of God:

“So it falls out that in this world, in evil days like these, the Church walks onward like a wayfarer stricken by the world's hostility, but comforted by the mercy of God.   Nor does this state of affairs date only from the days of Christ's and His Apostles' presence on earth.   It was never any different from the days when the first just man, Abel, was slain by his ungodly brother.   So shall it be until this world is no more.”2 Augustine of Hippo  
THE POWER OF THE GOSPEL
Despite the world around us never underestimate the power of God’s  glorious Gospel when it comes  to awakening your  child's heart—especially  when  it is accompanied by fervent prayer (Romans 10:17; James 5:16).    It is our duty to faithfully teach the Scriptures to our children,  but it is also important to remember—“Salvation is from the LORD." Jonah 2:9 
“from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.’  2 Timothy 3:15

THE NECESSITY OF  SEPARATION
COME OUT FROM THEIR MIDST AND BE SEPARATE," says the Lord.”  2 Corinthians 6:17
Gospel centered parenting includes teaching  our children the necessity of  Biblical  separation  if  we want them  to understand what it means to be sincere followers of  Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 6:14-17).
The doctrine of separation from sin and the world has been nearly forgotten in the church today.   Ecumenism and pragmatism  have created  many theologically bankrupt churches that are  indistinguishable from the culture.   Preaching on doctrines such as  Hell,  sin, and self denial have been replaced with ear tickling messages designed to pamper the parishioner's felt needs.   And instead of separating from the culture, the church has radically embraced it. 
Yet, throughout history  separation from personal sin,  the world, and religious apostasy  has been an integral aspect of genuine faith.    The major themes of the Old Testament  include  separation  from  the surrounding  idolatrous nations.    Jewish infants were circumcised on the 8th day  as a  symbol of  Israel’s  covenant relationship  with  God and of their separation  from sin and the ungodly world around them.     Corresponding to this is spiritual circumcision of the heart taught in the New Testament  (Romans 2:29).    
Friends, we cannot sugar coat the Gospel for our kids.   They need to understand  the cost of following   Christ will involve  some form of persecution  (2 Tim. 3:12)  but the cost of loving the world will be our soul.   “Do not love the world or the things in the world.   If anyone loves the world,  the love of the Father is not in him.”  1 John 2:15

SALT AND LIGHT
Nevertheless,  God did not intend New Testament believers to be cloistered away in monasteries because He calls us to be salt and light in this hopeless world.    Our children need to observe the joy and peace only  God can give in the midst of  trials  and adversity.    They need to understand  that we are citizens of the City of God and are commanded to love and pray for our enemies.   Imperfect parents as we are,  they need to see us fighting the good fight and  keeping the faith until we finish the race.  
“Cheer up, dear brothers and sisters.   Take comfort… Look at the bright side of your position.   Be encouraged to fight on.   The time is short.   The Lord is at hand. … Millions as weak as you, have fought the same fight.   Not one of all those millions has been finally led captive by Satan.    Mighty are your enemies — but the Captain of your salvation is mightier still.   His arm, His grace and His Spirit shall hold you up. …Come out boldly from the world — and the world shall be obliged to let you go.   You shall find yourselves in the end more than conquerors; you shall 'overcome'.” 3  J.C. Ryle

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  1. C.H. Spurgeon, “Come Ye Children”
  2. Augustine, The City of God;  Book XVIII; Ch. 51
  3. J.C. Ryle, Holiness: Ch.14; Visible Church Warned

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