• Thursday, March 4, 2010

    Assuming the gospel can be dangerous to your child’s spiritual health and what William Farley calls “your biggest parenting mistake.”

    In the book “Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers,” the authors Christian Smith and Melinda Lundquist Denton, surveyed 3,000 teens about their religious beliefs and summed it up with the phrase, “Moralistic Therapeutic Deism.”

    What they revealed was that many of these teens had a works-righteousness religion based on a psychological well-being and a distant, non-interfering god.

    What a parent needs to grasp is that a compliant, well-behaved, Sunday-going and youth group socializing child has little to do with the reality of a heart that really grasps the gospel. In fact, in several studies the values of evangelical church attending children were substantially no different than their unbelieving friends.

    There is much written about why this is so, but I agree with William Farley that the main reason this happens is that many parents assume that affiliation equates to regeneration. New birth is a radical change of heart that does usher in new desires, new loves, and a new direction (1 John 3:9). A “decision” for Christ is not necessarily the same thing as new birth in Christ. It is God through the Holy Spirit that regenerates someone who is dead in their trespasses to new life in Christ. You do not decide that process.

    The tool for this to happen is the hearing of the gospel and the vehicle is faith. Parents are God’s means of grace to effect a child’s conversion by the gospel message.

    Do you see signs of hunger for holiness in your child? Are they growing in obedience to you? Are they showing a desire for the Word? You can influence this by the preaching of the gospel to them in various ways and through your example.


    PegS said...

    Pastor George, a topic close to my heart as I work and pray for our youth group! Thanks.

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