Manhood at the Master’s Feet

The Psalms and Matthew 18-19 tell us that manhood is more than bullets, brawn, and beast-killing. Jesus was the manliest man who ever lived, and he bounced children on His knee:

Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people, but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” 15 And he laid his hands on them and went away. (Matthew 19:13-15, ESV)

Jesus says, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them,” but American men say, “Leave the children to the women, I’ve got hunting to do,” – as though killing animals, even to feed your family’s bodies, is more important than spending time with them to feed their souls.

Jesus says, “Children are a blessing;” American men say, “Children are a burden,” – as though pouring one’s life into someone else’s is not the best use of our relational time on this earth.

Cultural views of manhood reduce children to annoyances, play-toys, or “choices.” Jesus has a better stance: children get blessings, and they give blessings.

Dads and would-be dads out there, maybe instead of listening to Planned Parenthood, mainstream media, or hip-hop artists, we should sit at the Master’s feet.

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Stories Live Out Truth

I’ve been saying for a while, in various conversations with students, teachers, and parents, that Christians (and conservatives in general) have failed to defend the philosophical foundations which once made our country the freedom-loving, capitalism-enjoying, life-defending, worship-freeing nation it was meant to be. Those days, clearly, are gone. Now all parts of the “right” (our country’s term, not mine) are fighting for our philosophical lives.

Here, however, I am not assuming that all Christians are conservative politically or that all conservatives are sympathetic to Christian views. I am only saying that Christians and conservatives share some of the same public values, and that Christians should care about the truth being told in our country.

This is why Rod Dreher’s recent piece, “Story Lines, Not Party Lines,” is so important. In it, he makes the case for the importance of stories and why America needs conservative true stories so badly:

Kirk understood that the world might be won or lost on front porches, in bedrooms at night, around family hearths, in movie theaters and anywhere young people hear, see, or read the stories that fill and illuminate their moral imaginations. If you do not give them good stories, they will seek out bad ones.

“And the consequences will be felt not merely in their failure of taste,” Kirk said, “but in their misapprehension of human nature, lifelong; and eventually, in the whole tone of a nation.”

One direct application for me was this: what stories am I telling my family, my students, my friends and church and world? The world may be won or lost according to stories like mine.

Why? Because, as Dreher explains, “Stories work by indirection: not by telling us what to believe but by helping us to experience emotionally and imaginatively what it is like to embody particular ideas.” Embodiment must come with ideas, and is not optional.

This squares well with the Bible’s tight balance between positive doctrinal literature (epistles, wisdom, prophetic writings), positive and negative narrative accounts (OT history), and those that skillfully intertwine both (Pentateuch, Gospels, Acts, Revelation). God Himself sees truth as not only abstract but very livable. Jesus Christ was and is and always will be truth embodied in flesh.

Our children, husbands and wives, churches, friends, schools, and nation desperately needs stories worth telling – the kind of stories that are worth mimicking, the kind of stories that are worth building our lives on. Are you telling those stories, or are you leaving it up to the televison, internet, or paperback section?

How to Produce Wet, Spineless, Feeble-Minded Men

Why are Western churches full of women, spineless men, and fewer and fewer children? Robbie Low, a vicar in the Church of England, investigates this trend in his Touchstone article, “The Truth about Men and Church.” After explaining a Swiss survey linking a father’s influence to his children’s church attendance, Low illumines various connections between fatherhood and the church: the church’s mission, feminism in the culture, the disintegration of the family, and the training of church leaders.

On the last connection, he drops this hammer of a quote on Western church culture:

One does not need to go very far through the procedures by which the Church of England selects its clergy or through its theological training to realize that it offers little place for genuine masculinity. The constant pressure for “flexibility,” “sensitivity,” “inclusivity,” and “collaborative ministry” is telling. There is nothing wrong with these concepts in themselves, but as they are taught and insisted upon, they bear no relation to what a man (the un-neutered man) understands them to mean.

Men are perfectly capable of being all these things without being wet, spineless, feeble-minded, or compromised, which is how these terms translate in the teaching. They will not produce men of faith or fathers of the faith communities. They will certainly not produce icons of Christ and charismatic apostles. They are very successful at producing malleable creatures of the institution, unburdened by authenticity or conviction and incapable of leading and challenging. Men, in short, who would not stand up in a draft.

The feminized church produces feminized men.

Though the characteristics named (“flexibility,” “sensitivity,” “inclusivity,” and “collaborative ministry”) don’t seem at first glance to be emasculating, Low explains what a feminized church really wants from their leaders: malleability, spinelessness, feeble faith.

In case we have forgotten, sensitivity, flexibility, inclusivity, and colloborative ministry aren’t fruits of the Spirit. Neither are they characteristics of Christian leaders. The Bible does tell us, however, of elders who “must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.” Three of the primary jobs of the Christian leader are to hold fast the word, give sound instruction, and rebuke false teaching. Collaborating with false teachers in the name of “flexibility and inclusivity” won’t get that job done.

As Low puts it, then, the historical timeline for producing wet, spineless, feeble-minded pastors goes something like this:

  1. Fathers begin leaving families.
  2. Feminism (a “lie direct” in its name) takes hold in the culture.
  3. The Protestant church at large follows feminism as a controlling worldview.
  4. The church seeks more female leaders and more femininized male leaders.
  5. Unbelieving men leave the Protestant church en masse.
  6. Unbelieving men seek alternate views of manhood, exampled in womanizing, materialism, violence, and/or homosexuality.
  7. The Protestant church ignores these developments and continues in its unbelieving feminist ways, slightly tweaking its language to suit the culture.

Point #4 is where we want to zoom in. How exactly does the Protestant church tend to seek out female leaders and feminized male leaders? In my experience at least, it looks something like this:

  1. Manhood qua manhood is devalued and quickly neutered.
  2. Church language (contrary to the Bible’s language) becomes emasculated or neutered.
  3. Men, the local church, and families are soon evaluated in women’s terms.

If that seems a little far-fetched, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Why are men in the church more often lauded for flexibility rather than strength?
  • Why is conviction seen as a sign of rigid bone-headedness rather than faithful service?
  • Why are churches more concerned with the soft skills of counseling and customer service rather than the hard skills of rightly dividing the Word and refuting sound doctrine?
  • Why do more and more worship songs sound like sappy high school poetry than the marching hymns of the King of Kings?
  • Why has church discipline, the protection of Christ’s body, been so often traded for quiet conversations and the overlooking of apostasy?
  • Why do our churches feel more like coffee shops than battlefield hospitals?
  • Why do we ask pastors to rightly manage their homes but are repulsed when they actually discipline their children? (Both, after all, are in the same passages.)

When we begin to pick at the surface, we quickly see that with manhood everything is at stake. As Low puts it, rejecting God’s good order of patriarchy rejects all three persons of the Trinity. No wonder our churches are full of convictionless men when we train convictionless leaders in a convictionless gospel.

Is This What We Want Boys to Do?

Former angry teen and current high school teacher Peter Brown Hoffmeister writes on the hidden link in America’s school shootings: angry young men who love violent video games:

I asked one of [the violent video game-playing students] later, and he said that he played Call of Duty “an average of 40 hours per week, at least.”

Is this what we want angry, adolescent boys to do? Do we want to give them this practice? Do we want them to glorify violent actions, to brag about violence in the school’s hallways? Or even worse, given the perfect equation of frustration + opportunity + practice, do we want them to do as Weise, Roberts, and Lanza did, and act out these fantasies in real life? Do we want them to yell, “I am the shooter” as they enter a crowded mall – as Roberts did? Or dress like video-game shooters – as Lanza and Roberts were – before heading into a murder spree?

Especially with teenage boys, we have to decide what we want them to do, what we want them to love, what we want them to emulate. Even if they don’t end up shooting people in a school, if they’re practicing car-jackings, knifings, and putting on body-armor as first-person shooters, what are they preparing to do with the rest of their lives? Will these video-game practice sessions make them better husbands or fathers? Will these boys become patient and understanding friends? Better co-workers?

In other words, do these video “games” contribute anything positive to any real relationship a young man has?

Victoria’s Secret Hates Women

Saying something like this (i.e., getting to the heart of the issue) is important in a contentious situation like this because it gets to the heart of the issue. Victoria’s Secret, proprietor of intimate women’s clothing, is now marketing a line of underwear for teens and preteens. Teaching women to find their self-worth in looks is deceptive and vain (Prov. 31:30), but now training teens to dress like whores and prostitutes? Pure hatred.

Seem a little strong? Track with me. Victoria’s Secret hates women because:

  1. Marketing to teen girls is demeaning. First and foremost, a woman’s worth is more than a sexual mirage. Personhood is given by God, never defined or ultimately masked by clothes or relationships or sexual acts. A girl’s personhood is of utmost value; we must honor her from conception to death.
  2. Marketing to teen girls is insubordinate. If Victoria’s Secret though what they were doing was right, they should at least have the decency (which they don’t) to speak to a young woman’s parents about her private wear. Are you going to let a lingerie-clad lady show up at your door and peddle to your daughter? Didn’t think so.
  3. Marketing to teen girls is dirty. In Leviticus, God presents to us over and over the idea that sin is “unclean.” It’s why we call certain things “dirty.” If you don’t want to read a description of something, or see it, or think about it because that would sicken your soul, it’s dirty.
  4. Marketing to teen girls is pedophiliac. Yep, we need to go here, because, otherwise, when will it end? Will we stand by and let Victoria’s Secret enlist our kindergarteners in their ad campaigns? As mom Amy Gerwing writes, “In this age when female sex trafficking is becoming a wide-spread crisis, is it really responsible for Victoria’s Secret to entice our impressionable young girls with this ‘come hither’ message?”

The last one sums it up: Victoria’s Secret markets slutty underwear to young girls because they love cash more than purity, thus encouraging the world to see these future ladies as the same lustful playthings as their underwear.

Stories and the Parental Power of Influence

It dawned on me tonight that, every time I tell my children a bedtime story, their story closely mirrors mine. That is to say, each child tells his or her own version of mine.

My story becomes his story coming out of his mouth, but I said it first.

Such bedtime stories are a perfect example of what it means to be a parent. We teach, lead, serve, and speak; and, one way or another, our children follow.

This is not to say that our children don’t often miss the point, or disobey, or squander sound instruction.  But they do get big chunks of what we tell and show them. They mimic our flaws and sins just like we do our parents, and they react against some just like they copy others.

Positively, however, our influence on and over our children is powerful. God has given parents the power and responsibility to teach their own children how to think, love, and live. We show our kids the difference between good and evil, between right and wrong, what family and service and love are, and what beliefs truly matter for the present and to eternity.

In short, parents mediate reality to their children. The way we start our days, speak to our spouses, and act at the dinner table (if we even have dinner) shapes priorities and an understanding of prominence for our children.

In so many ways, a parent’s life-story dictates the life-story of his children.

There’s a reason my children repeat my bedtime stories, and it’s not because my stories are so amazing. They repeat me because I’m their dad.

T4G Panel #1: Complementarianism

Below are some highlights from the first panel discussion at Together for the Gospel 2012.

John Piper:

  • “[Complementarianism] a vision that steers a path between the nullification or minimization of differences as they are played out in society and the abuse of those differences.”
  • “We want to call women to full personhood and men to initiative and leadership in a Christlike demeanor.”
  • “I fought battle after battle with college students in the late 70’s and early 80’s over these things, but now we have thousands of young men and women who are receiving this [complementarianism] and flourishing.”
  • “The question that egalitarians can never answer for me is, ‘What do you do with a little 8-year-old boy that asks, “Daddy, what does it mean to grow up and be a man, and not a woman?” Or a girl who asks, “Mommy, what does it mean to grow up and be a woman, and not a man?” ‘ “
  • “Carefully walk through Ephesians 5 about marriage. It’s what every woman wants in her marriage.”
  • “Walk through the eight or nine evidences from Genesis 1 and 2 [sic, he included 3 in his explanation] that show that role reversal is what wrecked the world.”

Russell Moore:

  • “I fear that we have many people within evangelicalism who ‘check off’ complementarianism but live functionally egalitarian lives and marriages.”
  • “I recently spoke with a woman who told me her husband wants to get a sex-change operation. He didn’t want to leave her. They were going to stay together. Now, Martin Luther never had to deal with that.”
  • “When a wife submits herself to her own husband, when a young woman submits herself to a future husband she does not yet know, she refuses to submit to other men and the culture’s idea of women being defined by how men see them.”
  • “We as the church need to stop mimicking the outside culture in the way women are portrayed.”
  • “[You have to pay attention to complementarianism because] you have to deal with specifically complementarian texts: Ephesians 5, 1 Peter 3, 1 Timothy 2, and others. And you have personal sanctification issues to deal with.”
  • “Complementarianism bears the cross.”
  • “When Jesus washes the feet of the Church, she refuses Him. . . When He is going to die for her, Peter tries to stop him.”
  • “Jesus always gently and lovingly, but decisively, leads His bride.”

Greg Gilbert:

  • “We have men who think that complementarianism really has no feet on it until you come to a disagreement, that they have no role in leading in the home, in establishing an environment in the relationship, in taking initiative.”
  • “To get to an egalitarian position, you have to bring in some bad DNA, some bad principles and ideas, into your interpretation of Scripture. And eventually you will bring that to other texts as well.”
  • “As a pastor of a local church, you can’t ‘back-burner’ the issue [gender relations, complementarianism, etc.], because it’s so practical.”
  • “Too often, we let the discussion [about gender roles] be about negatives rather than positives.”
  • “God-given role does not speak to God-given dignity.”
  • “God has every right to give out roles to His created people.”

For more resources, go to CBMW.org . Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, and other resources, are available as free pdfs.

Sin’s Rigor Mortis in My Kitchen

or “Why I’m a Bad Husband: How Sin Ruins with a Man’s Communication

One of the things that happened through sin and because of sin in the Garden was that the man and woman started fighting, blaming, and hating each other. (If you read closely, actually, it’s happening while Satan tempts Eve. Adam just stands there! So passive.)

Adam and Eve now will fight over leadership. They will go to war with each other in violent and escapist ways. They will wall each other off with stiff-arms, absent emotions, browbeating, and even extreme physical force. They will hate instead of love.

One of the ways this affects me is that, because of my sin, I often prefer not to communicate very clearly. And, if I’ve learned anything about communication, it’s that, if it doesn’t start most problems, it sure can solve many. But I’d rather not communicate. I’d rather keep to myself. I’d rather leave my family in the kitchen while I do my own thing.

What’s Daddy doing? No one’s sure.

Maybe you’ve seen the same things:

  • A father at the park who’d rather play on his IDrone than with his own children.
  • A husband who passively follows his wife around the store looking like a frightened puppy.
  • A grandfather who sits quietly and lets grandma do all the leading at family events.

What do these men have in common with me? They’d rather not communicate.

We would rather not communicate because communication and leadership require you to give yourself up to be criticized, questioned, ignored, or disobeyed. Every man, woman, and child in the universe has the pride of a thousand actors, crying, “Me! Me! Listen to Me! Look at me” when it comes to speaking out, but men particularly take offense at these negative responses (criticism, questioning, ignoring, disobedience, etc.) to their leadership. We take these things as a slap in the face, a cruel joke, or a cause for physical retaliation.

So our pride keeps us from speaking. We’d rather be silent than slammed, quiet than questioned, reserved than ridiculed. But leadership is precisely as Jesus intended: great sacrifice as great service to others that points to the greatness of God. “Whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many,” (Mark 10:44-45).

As men, we don’t like that. As someone somewhere has said, we want the crown without the cross. We want the acclaim without the agony and pain. We want the adoration without the humiliation.

But Jesus told us: it won’t be so for us. God has charged us men with leading our families and those otherwise in our charge. We’re His. So we must speak, speak clearly, speak love, speak the truth, suffer for it, and by grace through faith be saved in the end.

Sin still shakes its death quakes in my kitchen and in my heart. But sin is dead in me, because Christ lives again.

To the Wicked, Grace Doesn’t Come First


[photo by Mr. Stein on flickr]

Not too long ago, I had a conversation with a fellow school administrator about how to deal with our lawless students. She firmly believed that we, as educators, ought to give students as much grace as possible before giving them law. This, to her, was exactly how we “show Christ’s love.” I disagreed then, and I still do. Here’s why: this principle is the exact opposite of God’s.

God gives law to the proud and grace to the humble. As Ray Comfort says, “You will never see the Lord Jesus giving grace to a proud, arrogant, self-righteous person. He doesn’t do it.” But, where Ray applies it mainly to evangelism (and we should), I’m applying it to all of our dealings with others, particularly with children.

Thinking Like a Child
When I was a child (I might say with Paul), I thought as a child. I hated law. And as a young adult, I mostly still did. I remembered my angry chaffing at “legalistic” teachers and principals and didn’t want to be like them. But, even as a child, I knew it was worse for teachers to give a pass to a prideful child (sometimes even their own child!) instead of giving them their lawful consequences.

But as time in the classroom went on, I became a father, too. And I learned the truth that, in this fallen world, everything still runs on rules and regulations. It’s just the way things go, because that’s the way God wants the world to operate. He wants us to learn the principle of sowing and reaping. He wants us to learn His economy of sin and consequences. He wants us to know about motives, actions, and just deserts.

False Grace Barricades True Righteousness
Isaiah makes this perfectly clear when he preaches in Isaiah 26:9-10:

    When your judgments are in the earth,
        the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness.
    If favor is shown to the wicked,
        he does not learn righteousness;
    in the land of uprightness he deals corruptly
        and does not see the majesty of the LORD.

Here’s the proposition: If grace (“favor” in verse 10) is given to the wicked, then that false showing of grace obscures the wicked man’s ability to “learn righteousness.” In other words, to the arrogant, a lying grace barricades true righteousness. And, since true righteousness is the display of God’s glory, this lying grace further blinds him from “see(ing) the majesty of the LORD,” (verse 10).

Therefore, any insistence on grace to the proud is:

  1. A lie. Grace to the proud is not true grace.
  2. Dishonorable and degrading to the name and character of God. It mangles His majesty and rends His righteousness.
  3. Harmful and dishonest to the proud student. This slithering, mangling “grace” teaches no grace at all, but pictures a cuckhold of a God who winks at our sin.

Law Isn’t Evil
But it feels so “mean” to use the law, right? The law is good, Paul says, when it is used lawfully. It is for the evil, adulterous, dishonest, greedy, sexually immoral, violent, and oppressive people in our midst. We ought to use it. We must use it.

But using the law doesn’t mean that we must use it with a legalistic spirit. The law must be the tutor to bring people to Christ. So use it, teachers, to show your own conscience and that of your students that we have all failed before God’s holiness and stand in need of His mercy. Then, your consequences must be fair, just, quick, and loving, given with an eye toward repentance and restoration.

The Use and Consequences of Law
Consequences should match the crimes. For example, when a student skips class, she should receive a zero for the day and come back after school to make the class up, missing any extracurriculars or other commitments. When a student steals something, he needs to return it, pay it back again, and receive a in-school manual labor suspension. When a student cheats on a test, he has earned the right to get a zero on that test, no opportunity to replace the grade, and a short-term suspension. Anything less than these consequences teach students a lie about God’s character and His economy in the world.

But all of these very fair consequences must also be used redemptively, with the stated goal of repentance (reparations and consequences aren’t necessarily repentance) and restoration. Once the student deals with her consequences and returns, she must be as full a part of the school as her own attitude will allow.

The Economy of God
These things must be so because this is how God has structured our lives in a fallen world. We need the law to teach us right from wrong, we need it to establish boundaries and standards in our lives, and we need it to teach us that we are unable to live up to God’s holiness. Indeed, we must never think that anything but the blood of Jesus can save us.

Proverbs 22:15 says it this way:
    Folly is bound up in the heart of a child,
        but the rod of discipline drives it far from him.

And all the parents, youth workers, and teachers say, “Amen.” We must discipline and apply the law and its consequences, as is appropriate regarding our calling and relationships, in order to teach people the majesty of God.

When a law-breaker learns to stand before the enthroned King and say, “Woe is me! I am undone!” then he is well-positioned, the Bible says, to cry out for mercy to the Son of David, the King of Israel, the Christ of God, who kept the law in the place of everyone who repents and believes.

So don’t give the wicked in your midst a false grace, give them the very real law and its consequences, that it would train them toward Jesus Christ.

Want Your Child’s Heart?

Show them how to give it away, says Doug Wilson, just like our Father shows us how.

Speak Up: The Truth Always Wins

Mother, writer, and former Communist refugee Lea Singh writes at MercatorNet, asking, “Are We Sleepwalking through the Great Infanticide?“:

Speaking up for the truth might make us look like fools. And that is just the beginning. Today, it is a sad fact that opposing abortion can cost a person their job and even their career. You might also lose your friends, your standing in a social circle, your invitations to events. One day, your position on abortion could even cost you your freedom.

To me, as a former political refugee from Communist Czechoslovakia, all this sounds eerily familiar. Back then, most people in our country were also silent, and many feared the repercussions that would follow if they openly opposed the regime. But we had a few dissidents, and they made a world of difference. One of them, Vaclav Havel, eventually became the first president of a free Czechoslovakia.

The truth is a powerful thing; over time, throughout history, it has always won the moral battles, and I have no doubt that one day, abortion will be rejected and recognized as an unspeakable evil. Until that day comes the journey continues to require courage and sacrifice on the part of those who carry the responsibility of knowing the truth. It is up to us to awaken the conscience of our society, one person at a time.

As Martin Luther lived and taught, our courage isn’t measured where the battles are easy, but where the are the most fierce. Fifty years from now, our grandchildren will look back at our days and ask how we could let the Infant Holocaust happen before our closed eyes.

Yes, calling evil “evil” may well cost us our jobs, our friends, even our lives. It cost Jesus the same, His disciples the same, and now our children the same. So open your eyes, and speak up.

The 2nd-Most Misquoted Verse (Not) in the Bible

…is Proverbs 13:24 (at least in my estimation. I’ll leave #1 for another time). So how would you finish the famous saying that misquotes this verse?

Try it for yourself:
“Whoever spares the rod ______”

Most people reply, “spoils the child.”

Nooooo. Let’s read Proverbs 13:24 together:

Whoever spares the rod hates his son,
but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.

Winking at a child’s sin isn’t just “spoiling” a child. God isn’t saying lazy parents are the same as gift-happy grandparents. He says that lazy parents hate their children. Lazy parents are the opposite of loving parents. Lazy parents actually aren’t parents at all.

Contrary to pop-psychological opinions, however, loving parents are precisely the ones who are “diligent to discipline.” They don’t tire over discipline because they truly love their children. They don’t give up when the discipline gets tough; love gets them through it. They aren’t quitters when their child’s sin threatens to break their resolve. They discipline because of love.

This is important because, to their children particularly, parents picture God. Parents model the Almighty before their children. This is the parent’s charge.

No wonder we have so many grown children who have no concept of sin! Their parents never taught them through discipline the gravity of offending the King! Their parents never taught them God’s holy hatred for sin! And, in sparing the rod, these parents hated their children’s souls.

So, don’t misquote Proverbs 13:24. Sparing the rod is one big way that parents hate their own children, but diligence in discipline is love. It’s happy in the long run. It’s good.

Discipline Drives It Out, Fast

Or: The Hard Way, The Easy Way, and Love vs. Death at the Dinner Table

Do not withhold discipline from a child;
if you strike him with a rod, he will not die.
If you strike him with the rod,
you will save his soul from Sheol.
Proverbs 23:13-14 ESV

My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
nor be weary when reproved by him.
For the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and chastises every son whom he receives.
Hebrews 12:5-6, quoted from Proverbs 3:11-12, ESV

My wife and I noticed something the other day. For all of our cultural wranglings about “don’t discipline your children, just let them do whatever they want, blah blah blah, ad infinitum;” discipline poses a much better way: deal with the problem and move on.

As Ted Tripp explains in his excellent, God-centered book on parenting (and parenting yourself) Shepherding a Child’s Heart, parents must both teach constantly and discipline as needed. But when the discipline comes, the parent must deal with it in private by:

  1. making it clear how our child broke the family rule,
  2. repeating the promised consequence,
  3. giving the consequence,
  4. affirming our love for our child with hugs and words,
  5. praying for our child,
  6. and leaving together happily.

This is leaps and bounds easier than doing it the “easy” way! So many lazy parents prefer to coddle their child’s fanciful foolishness while ruining his character, their guests’ good graces, and other parents’ discernment!

Take a (not so?) imaginary dinner, for example, in which a three-year-old begins to disobey her parents at the table. The biblically wise parent will take the child aside, deal with the problem with immediate consequences and love, and return happily. And when discipline is correctly and consistently practiced, both will forget the trouble of five minutes prior.

The foolish parent, however, will continue to tolerate their disobedient preschooler until she becomes a nuisance to the entire table, thus making the “easy way” rather hard on everyone else and making a harder, deadlier way for both parent and child. If one guest was offended at the wise parent’s immediate action, the whole table is astonished at this child’s mutiny and her parents’ cowardice.

Should a king be afraid of an infant? Never. He must love as God does.

So which way is easier? Make a straight way for your child in the short and long run, or turn a blind eye and pave a path to disobedient death? We’ve found the answer to be simpler than counting to three.

Sex is the Inhabiting of Faith

In an interview with Christianity Today about her new book, Making Chastity Sexy, Wheaton professor Christine Gardner contrasts American approaches to teaching abstinence with those in Africa. This quote was particularly helpful:

By daily acting on that commitment [abstinence], young people understand through their bodies what it means to become more like Christ. It’s essentially a call to holiness that the Scriptures give us. It’s just like practicing scales on a piano if you want to become a concert pianist. It’s practicing abstinence that allows young people to inhabit their faith commitments in practical and tangible ways.

Let’s think about that for a moment. How a young man handles his own body (and a young woman’s) speaks volumes about the verity of his faith in Jesus Christ. How a young woman practices holiness in her body (and in how she pictures that body to the young men around her) displays the truth of her discipleship under Jesus Christ.

Examples include:

  • Our thinking about sex, dating, and marriage reveals the depth of our trust in God’s Word to speak clearly into these issues.
  • Our approach to various opposite-sex relationships shows our grasp of the gospel’s application to conversation, non-verbal communication, and idolatry.
  • Our practice of the command to “make no provision for the flesh” testifies to whether or not we have “put on the Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 13:14).
  • Our honesty about our own relational and/or sexual struggles and failures tells whether we have trusted in Jesus to take our guilt, our shame, and our condemnation.
  • Our departure from those failures, in repentance and faith, exhibits our grip on the gospel’s power to bring new life.

By the Holy Spirit, God calls us to trust Christ fully, in every area of our lives. Sex is simply the inhabiting of this faith. When we fail, repentance is in order, that we might inhabit the steps of Jesus once again, trusting Him for the power to deny selfish lusts.

Fathers Believe the Lie and Let Their Children Die

An excellent article, “A Woman’s Body and Fatherlessness,” from Doug Wilson:

Someone might interject and say that surely aborted children are motherless as well. This is true, and tragic. Motherlessness, the fierce suppression of the mothering instinct, is the immediate cause of an abortion. But that motherlessness is, in its own turn, a function of fatherlessness. This all happens because fathers have believed the lie that it is possible for them to opt out of the creation mandate. That mandate is assigned to every man who is ever given the tremendous privilege of making love to a woman. First the pleasure, then the provision and protection. The privilege of planting seed in a garden brings the necessary responsibility of tending that garden.

But fathers have been excluded, by law, by peer pressure, and by their own selfishness. It has been done by law in that the pattern established by Roe v. Wade has made everyone think that a decision to abort is to be made by a woman “and her doctor.” Fathers are removed from the decision by law. It is irrelevant to our ruling class whether or not the father in question has bound himself with a solemn oath to provide for his children, and to protect them. There is nothing a man can do under our current legal system to take full legal responsibility. The family has been aborted.

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