Last Wednesday we started our mid-week study for the fall. For the next two Wednesdays we will be discussing the topic of Christian Education from the book, “Fighting the Good Fight”. I encourage you to get a copy of the book if you do not have one. And in preparation for next week I want to assign some homework. I know it is a strange way to begin a weekly thought.
I would like to encourage you to go and read an article by Pastor Geoff Willour prior to continuing this weekly thought: http://lakeopc.net/2016/the-great-commission-and-having-babies/
Now that you have the context from that article the remainder of these thoughts may make sense. I want to focus in on a paragraph from Pastor Willour’s article,
“However, God in His Word has also promised us that He will continue to administer His everlasting covenant of grace in the line of successive generations (Genesis 17:17; Acts 2:39). In fact, if you study the Scriptures as a whole you will find that covenantal growth is the ordinary, normative and primary means that God employs in redemptive history to build His visible church; whereas conversion growth is a secondary, supplemental means of such church growth.”
In modern American Evangelicalism we have made conversion growth primary and have focused all of our time and our efforts outside of the Church to the culture at large. We have adopted the revivalistic tendencies and methods of the last two hundred years and sought primarily to grow the Church from the outside in instead of from the inside out. Covenantal growth, parents passing on their faith to their children, has become a secondary means of Church growth.
In reading that article you see that Pastor Willour is not suggesting the abandonment of supporting missionary and evangelistic means at all. He encourages it. We ought to support the spreading of the Gospel of the Jesus Christ. However, I wonder if making external growth the priority and covenantal growth secondary we have, in effect, created the very situation the modern Church is lamenting when children leave home and leave the Church. Many denominations and individuals have done studies trying to figure out why young people are leaving.
Perhaps by divorcing Christian Education from the idea of evangelism we have created our own problems. I am sure some of the other factors Pastor Willour presents, such as delayed marriage and families today not having many children play a factor as well.
My advice for new parents. Teach your children the Westminster Shorter Catechism by the age of 5. If your children are older, play catch up. Get the concepts and the theology into the lives and minds of your children. If you are older and your children are raised learn the WSC yourself. Immerse yourself in the doctrine. If possible teach it to your grandchildren and great-grandchildren. All of us in the body of Christ should do what we can to support and encourage parents in our congregation in raising up these covenant children. We need to pray that all would come to make a credible profession of faith.
Jobs and possessions fade and rust. May our priorities not be to give our children financial or worldly success but a spiritual legacy. If our children grow up feeling good about themselves and are successful in the eyes of the world but neglect the Lord’s Day and the things of God they have nothing. And we as parents have done them more harm than good.