@mgaplus4 @Brian_Upsher @klineeric Thanks, Mike, Brian and Eric for your valuable thoughts. You all conveyed the importance of the parent’s role in the child’s upbringing in the faith, and have given me much to reflect on both as a parent, a teacher and a member of the church.
Mike, thank you for your honesty:
The key and I always go back to Christs examples of finding common ground with people, being open and honest with them. About our struggles in life, so they will be open and honest about theirs. One mistake I certainly made was not wanting them to grow up. Speaking the truth in love about life and its pitfalls to come is needed and necessary though most say I got this they really have no idea. I didn’t and life hit me hard.
Navigating life as a teenager, young adult has it’s own pitfalls.
My children are still young, but I recognise the need to be honest about challenges in life, and yet there’s a part of me that just doesn’t want my children to know. I’d love to keep them in their little ignorant bubbles, because right now, their minds are pure, and I love that. However, both at home and in the church, I believe that to help our teenagers navigate life, we need to equip them with knowledge, forearmed with solid Biblical teaching before they get to that stage. It feels gritty, and it will only be with the power of the a Holy Spirit that we can do this with wisdom.
Interestingly, since I posted my question, I also came across this about practices that help kids flourish as adults, also from the Gospel Coalition:
The biggest factor was Bible reading. Children who regularly read the Bible while they were growing up were more likely to have a vibrant spiritual life once they became adults. This statistic doesn’t surprise me. God’s Word is powerful. The Bible lays out the great story of our world and helps us interpret our lives and make decisions within the framework of a biblical worldview. Bible reading is a constant reminder that we live as followers of God. Our King has spoken. He reigns over us. We want to walk in his ways.
I absolutely admit this needs to happen more in my home and in my church. After all, Hebrews 4:12 says “ For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”
Brian, what you say really is incredibly important:
It is more an observation that parents have an important role in making sure that they themselves are growing in spiritual maturity so that true Christian doctrine is modeled. I think this is more in answer to your second point about where do churches miss the mark in teaching sound doctrine- help to lead the parents to grow in spiritual maturity and in an understanding of their roles as parents, and in how they can nurture their children most effectively.
This is what making disciples is all about. I am witnessing a current tension in parents who may be new to the faith who don’t understand that a culture change is necessary when their heart changes. They strive to continue to live the busy lives they were previously leading, without making room for quiet times with God, regular attendance to church meetings or small group meetings. I don’t know, but my guess is that the church may not want to seem legalistic or constricting, so it doesn’t emphasise the importance of these things enough. Perhaps this must be our initial focus but I’m not sure how this can be done, yet.
Eric, what you say was true of my life:
To wrap up my premise, when Christians face credible challenge from the outside world, they frequently are incapable of a cogent justification or argument, thus leading to a crisis of faith–do I be honest and give up an incoherent and unwarranted belief or do I close my eyes and mind to evidence and believe what I know I can’t justify. So, many leave the church because they have no credible argument for their belief, because the church has not provided them one, the church has largely ignored the secular challenge and promoted that it’s faithful membership just adopt indefensible premises on faith.
I think I first closed my eyes and mind to evidence before giving up faith in pursuit of what made more sense to me for a number of years.
What initially led me to study with the RZIM Academy was reading Nabeel Qureshi’s book ‘Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus’. In it, he outlined the Muslim upbringing he’d received in his home by his family, supported by his mosque. His parents were faithful to teaching him the Quran, teaching him to memorise scripture, learning parts of the Injil (Gospels) so he could counterargue against Christianity, and generally being aware of different sides of the argument (as far as they could be from one viewpoint), being prepared to engage in conversations. My reaction to this was: why do I not see this happening in Christian households?if the Word of God is so precious, why am I not memorising this, as Deuteronomy says, so that it’s bound on my mind and heart? Is it again a fear of seeming legalistic after we’ve criticised other denominations for this, as you mentioned?
“My people perish for lack of knowledge” Hosea 4:6
My personal response has been to start learning these things, so that I can teach them to my children. I would love to see these things taught in the church more.