What comes to mind when you hear the word “theology”? While every person is a theologian, many think of theology as something reserved for those who have earned a seminary degree. The reality is, whatever you think of God and the Bible is a theological view, be it a home run or somewhere out in left field. Given that we all embrace, and therefore teach, some form of theology to our children, it is important to sharpen and strengthen our understanding of the Word of God—not only for our families, but for the families we will walk through life with. Know who you are, what you believe, and walk with love while not conforming or embracing complacency as you raise your children in a world filled with heresy.
“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house” (Matthew 5:13-15).
My husband and I decided to send our kids to a small, two-day-per-week program at a local Christian church last year. We knew that the the church was a denomination with which we doctrinally disagreed on the “hold loosely” items, but our core issues of faith were the same. With young children, we felt that what ultimately mattered was their correct teaching of the Trinity, the virgin birth, Christ’s death and resurrection, and the importance of a relationship with Jesus, knowing Him and making Him known to others. Looking back, I wish our broader theological views would have encouraged us to send our children somewhere that aligned more with our doctrinal beliefs. From a Christmas program filled with secular music—and “Happy Birthday Jesus” only mentioned on the back of the program—to the man in the red suit seated in the lobby with no sign of the nativity, we were disheartened to find the school spent as much (if not more) time teaching our children about Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy than they did the person of Jesus.
These seemingly smaller issues, however, were ultimately reflective of larger differences, such as our 3-year-old having a teacher who is part of a religion which does not believe Jesus is God and has other books beyond the Bible they consider to be divinely inspired. For our family, these are not “hold loosely” theological items, but serious doctrinal errors and false teaching. While this was a fun program with a kind staff, they ultimately promoted things our own family does not, and this reminded us that, even among believers, we must be discerning and vigilant in asking the broader questions—especially when our children are concerned.
“…but in your hearts, honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,” (1 Peter 3:15).
Last year, I spent two days getting to know an incredibly kind and respectful little boy named Isaiah. Isaiah was a very mature 11-year-old who was in our home while his dad did some repairs. Isaiah’s dad and I had a language barrier, and Isaiah would come with him at times to be the middle man. One afternoon, Isaiah saw me reading the Bible and began telling me about the prophet who oversees their church. With great zeal, he exclaimed that God only speaks to certain prophets and that no one else could come to God the way this man could. There was far more shared about this “prophet,” and I knew God had put this child in our home for a reason.
Isaiah and I went through the Bible together, going over favorite verses this false teacher was manipulating, and talking about what the Bible actually teaches. I showed him how God’s Word should never be added to or taken away from, and how we must be very careful about who we listen to. I have no idea what has transpired in Isaiah’s life since, but I still think of him and pray for him. I know that our passionate conversations were shared with his own parents, with whom I could never personally communicate. My hope is that this child encouraged his family to open the Bible and begin reading all of it in the right context and that he was challenged to do the same.
As parents, our mission field spans far beyond our own walls and into the lives of the families we meet at school, soccer practice, or in line at the theme park. Do you believe the Bible is the inerrant Word of God, or do you hold loosely to certain parts of Scripture? God does not want lukewarm believers; see Revelation 3:15-18. I loved the scene in the movie War Room when Miss Clara said, “You say you only attend church occasionally. Is that because your preacher only preaches occasionally? People drink their coffee hot or cold. Nobody likes it lukewarm. Not even the Lord.” We cannot be lukewarm, moms and dads, when it comes to our theology and what we are teaching our children, because others are teaching our children, too. The smoothest of sermons can sound completely biblical, but one little twist of a word can take something from biblical to completely false. We need to be in the Word and then share the Word accurately with our children and the families God places in our lives. You never know who may come to know the Lord or be encouraged to study Scripture more because you were brave enough to be a hot cup of coffee in a lukewarm place.
Because He Lives,
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