Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Role of Parenting in Spiritual Formation

This morning I began reading the book of Judges. Immediately a verse grabbed my attention: After that whole generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation grew up, who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel (Judges 2:10, NIV).

What a tragedy! The obvious question here is, "Why did this generation not know the Lord or what He had done for Israel?" The best answer is that they were not told this by their parents. I've heard Mark Driscoll talk about this when he says that one generation believes the gospel, the next generation assumes the gospel, and the next generation denies (or forgets) the gospel.

I live in a post-Christian culture, and I consider this a good thing. In a Christian culture, much of the gospel is assumed. In a post-Christian culture the gospel is usually either believed or denied. Assumption is less likely, which, again, is a good thing.

Though every person has a choice of how they are going to respond to the gospel, much of the responsbility is placed on parents. Let me go back to my answer above. I said that parents must tell their children about the Lord. That word "tells" is not adequate, though. To "believe" means that you speak of it often (see Deuteronomy 6:4-9 for God's Words on this). It also means that you live in a certain way. A person who believes the gospel lives differently than a person who assumes the gospel. Either way, this living is contagious.

One of my greatest hopes for Neighborhood Church is that we would raise up children who know and love our God. I pray that God would impress His heart upon our children, and I pray that we as parents would not hinder what He wants to accomplish in their lives.

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