I recently read a post called, “How to Raise a Pagan Kid in a Christian Home” and his follow up, “Five Keys to Guiding Your Kid to a Faith that Lasts.”
I was challenged and that started me thinking. So, I’m going to share some quotes from his posts and add some comments of my own. In the months ahead, I’ll share more ideas for ways to help your children have their own strong faith.
Barrett Johnson, the author of the posts said,
“Too many times, (Christian) parents have it as their goal to make their kids good and moral. It is as if the entire purpose of their family’s spiritual life is to shape their children into law-abiding citizens who stay out of trouble. The only problem with this goal is that it runs in stark contrast to what the Bible teaches. The gospel is not about making bad people moral, but about making dead people alive. If we teach morality without the transforming power of the gospel and the necessity of a life fully surrendered to God’s will, then we are raising moral pagans.”
Veggie Tales creator, Phil Vischer, said in an interview,
“I looked back at the previous 10 years and realized I had spent 10 years trying to convince kids to behave Christianly without actually teaching them Christianity. And that was a pretty serious conviction. You can say, “Hey kids, be more forgiving because the Bible says so,” or “Hey kids, be more kind because the Bible says so!” But that isn’t Christianity, it’s morality. . .
“And that was such a huge shift for me from the American Christian ideal. We’re drinking a cocktail that’s a mix of the Protestant work ethic, the American dream, and the gospel. And we’ve intertwined them so completely that we can’t tell them apart anymore. Our gospel has become a gospel of following your dreams and being good so God will make all your dreams come true. It’s the Oprah god.”
Challenging, isn’t it? Praying for our children, teaching them to say grace at the table and at bedtime, and taking them to Sunday School won’t be enough to make them Christian. Just saying the sinner’s prayer isn’t enough without also helping them become disciples of Jesus.
Actually, there is no absolute, sure-fire way to guarantee your children will become disciples of Jesus. Think about Adam and Eve. They had the perfect environment and the perfect Father, yet they chose to disobey God’s one rule. Our children are growing up in a very broken world with much less than perfect parents. Add to that mix the inherited bent to sin and it is no wonder they are sinners in need of the salvation only Jesus provides.
Barrett ends his first post with this.
“What we need is kids who fully grasp the reality that they have nothing to offer, but who intimately know a God who has everything they need.”
His Five Keys are these:
Clarify Your Parenting Goals
Have a Biblical Theology of Life-change
Help Your Kids to Fall in Love with Jesus
Operate With an Accurate View of the Gospel
Teach Your Kids to Daily Submit Themselves to God
This article cannot be long enough to cover all of these. Please read his blog post, Five Keys to Guiding Your Kid to a Faith that Lasts and begin thinking about ways you can help your children know, love, and obey Jesus instead of becoming moral pagans. I will continue in the next few months with other thoughts on this topic.