Skip to comments.Hoiw to Raise a Pagan Kid in a Christian Home
Posted on 11/19/2013 5:55:50 AM PST by Gamecock
*Authors note: This post has gotten quite a lot of traffic. Several people (mainly practicing pagans) have pointed out that I used the word "pagan" in a way that doesn't fit the official definition. For my purposes here, I used that word to broadly define someone who rejects a biblical world view, fails to place God at the highest place in their lives, and is depending on something other than the cross for salvation. In hindsight, I probably could have gone with a different word. If you are a practicing pagan, please accept my apologies.
Every Imperfect and Normal Family wants their kids to turn out right. So, we establish goals for character development and try to create an environment where our kids can mature. Church, school, sports teams, family relationships... each of these provides a context where our kids can learn to love your neighbor as yourself.
Unfortunately, our good objectives might have absolutely nothing to do with the gospel of Jesus Christ. And we inadvertently end up raising pagans instead of Christians.
Too many times, (Christian) parents have it as their goal to make their kids good and moral. It is as if the entire purpose of their familys spiritual life is to shape their children into law-abiding citizens who stay out of trouble. The only problem with this goal is that it runs in stark contrast to what the Bible teaches. The gospel is not about making bad people moral, but about making dead people alive. If we teach morality without the transforming power of the gospel and the necessity of a life fully surrendered to God's will, then we are raising moral pagans.
We end up teaching the wrong thing because we have the wrong objectives.
This sentiment was stirred in me afresh when I read an interview with Veggie Tales creator Phil Vischer. He was reflecting on how the Christian message he was trying to teach wasnt Christianity at all...
"I looked back at the previous 10 years and realized I had spent 10 years trying to convince kids to behave Christianly without actually teaching them Christianity. And that was a pretty serious conviction. You can say, "Hey kids, be more forgiving because the Bible says so," or "Hey kids, be more kind because the Bible says so!" But that isn't Christianity, it's morality. . .
And that was such a huge shift for me from the American Christian ideal. We're drinking a cocktail that's a mix of the Protestant work ethic, the American dream, and the gospel. And we've intertwined them so completely that we can't tell them apart anymore. Our gospel has become a gospel of following your dreams and being good so God will make all your dreams come true. It's the Oprah god.
So what is your objective?
Do you teach your kids "be good because the Bible tells you to" or do you teach your kids that they will never be good without Christs offer of grace? There is a huge difference. One leads to moralism; the other leads to brokenness. One leads to self-righteousness; the other leads to a life that realizes that Christ is everything and that nothing else matters.
I want my kids to be good. We all do. But as our kids grow up, the truth of the gospel can easily get lost somewhere between salvation (where we know we need Jesus) and living life (where we tend to say Ive got this). My experience is that the vast majority of parents are encouraging moral behavior in their kids so that God will bless their (usually self-centered) pursuits. It's the American Dream plus Jesus. And it produces good, moral pagans.
Consider the key objectives you have for your kids. Seriously, take a minute to think about what would deem you a successful parent. If your goals are focused on your kids behavior, their happiness, or their accomplishments (but dont include a dependence upon Christ and a submission to His will and work), then you might want to make some adjustments.
Because the world has enough pagans. Even plenty of really nice ones. What we need is kids who fully grasp the reality that they have nothing to offer, but who intimately know a God who has everything they need.
Pretty much describes my upbringing. Very little Gospel, all works.
Good article, Gamecock. I think all parents can relate.
If you are a practicing pagan, please accept my condolences.
I chuckled a little here, while agreeing, more or less, with the premise. The "fully-grasping" phases of the New Birth, Life-that-I-Now-Live-in-the-Flesh, come by way of looking through a glass, darkly, and of knowing in part, and of forgetting what is behind and pressing toward the mark of the prize (despite not having yet attained).
I think the best we can do for our kids is to give them a proper display of Gospel-based Word and deed, and the attendant love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, virtue, faithfulness, humility and self-control in the home. And when they are old, they will not depart from it.
And some of them will still hit foul balls all their lives. That is the nature of fallen-ness and of rebellion (with a little bit of DNA thrown in).
Thanks, a lot to think about here.
Many parents—implicitly or explicitly—deny there is such a thing as original sin.
Last week I was teaching a Bible study on why the good kings of Judah produced bad offspring. One of the fathers asked why this young generation is leaving the church in droves?
A mother responded with, “Well, when you give your son the option of football/soccer or church on Sunday morning, what values are you teaching him?”
When my oldest entered fourth grade, it was she that got us back into going to Church and brought us back to our faith, with a simple "if you believe that, why don't you do what you're suppose to do?" Our younger daughter is even more involved in church groups and activities.
We've given total credit to our children (and obviously God) for bringing us back to the church. Our Priest smiles and thinks this is just wonderful. We have to give our parents some credit, to. On a side note, the Social Studies book people are complaining about (in Florida I believe) that has an entire unit on Islam, this was my daughter's Freshman year Social Studies book. She jokes that Florida uses it Senior year. I asked her what she thought about the controversy, she had a good answer: The book glosses over Islam, and doesn't say anything negative about it. She had a decent teacher that "filled in the blanks" as we did with her. Like for instance the Crusades are covered like a "war of aggression " on Islam but the smart kids could read between the lines and see that Islam had taken over Israel and was moving in on Europe. She also said, which I found thoughtful, "I don't mind learning about Islam, if we learn the facts, we need to know this. I do have a problem with Christians and Jews being portrayed mostly negatively. Also, so many kids don't have religion at home all they learn is Islam is good and Catholics, Protestants, and Jews were always fighting."
Don’t send your kids to pagan schools.
2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
**Last week I was teaching a Bible study on why the good kings of Judah produced bad offspring.**
Even the sons of SAMUEL did not follow in their dad’s footsteps.
“Even the sons of SAMUEL did not follow in their dads footsteps.”
The responsibility is scary isn’t it?
Now these are the commandments, the statutes, and the judgments, which the LORD your God commanded to teach you, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go to possess it: That thou mightest fear the LORD thy God, to keep all his statutes and his commandments, which I command thee, thou, and thy son, and thy son’s son, all the days of thy life; and that thy days may be prolonged.
Hear therefore, O Israel, and observe to do it; that it may be well with thee, and that ye may increase mightily, as the LORD God of thy fathers hath promised thee, in the land that floweth with milk and honey.
Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:
And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children,
And shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house,
And when thou walkest by the way,
And when thou liest down,
And when thou risest up.
And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand,
And they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.
And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.
And it shall be, when the LORD thy God shall have brought thee into the land which he sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give thee great and goodly cities, which thou buildedst not, and houses full of all good things, which thou filledst not, and wells digged, which thou diggedst not, vineyards and olive trees, which thou plantedst not; when thou shalt have eaten and be full; Then beware lest thou forget the LORD, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.