“The older I grow the greater my concern becomes that I will somehow fail in the main purpose of parenting, and that is to bring up Godly children. I understand it is Christ who does the saving but I am called to be faithful in my duty and that is where I tremble. Am I faithful in studying myself to impart to my Littles? Am I faithful and consistent in my actions? Am I faithful in my training and instructing? My heart’s desire is not to raise “good” children who are cultural Christian, but rather my heart’s desire is to raise warriors of the faith who do not fear man but faithfully serve God.”
Anonymous in Tuscaloosa
Dear Anonymous in Tuscaloosa,
There is no formulaic way to successfully raise our children. To think that there is an easy “Step 1, Step 2, Step 3” type approach would subtly suggest that God’s grace in calling is programmatic. Secondly, such a formulaic response has been disproven by the simple reality that there have been children raised in good families who went bad and children raised in bad families who were convinced and enchanted by God’s grace and so were trophies of His grace.
So… let’s look at this from the other direction. Let’s examine if there is a formula for raising God-haters. And here I’d say the answer is “yes.”
The formula for raising God-haters.
1.) Refuse to discipline your children according to God’s standards. Let them run the roost and be king/queen of a child-centered home. Indulge them and never draw lines or let them know that bad behavior has consequences. On the other hand, be so strict and unreasonable with them that they resent you and your standards. Never let them see mercy. Never let them see how having to discipline them fills you as the parent with sadness because it reflects your failures in parenting.
2.) Have the parents not agreed upon the centrality of a Biblical Christian World and life view. The child will naturally gravitate towards the ethic and belief system of the parent who will most naturally indulge their sin.
3.) Allow your children to play with friends who are pagans. Scripture teaches, “Be not deceived; bad company corrupts good character.” This is also why youth groups are to be avoided at all costs unless you as the parent are participating to keep both eyes on what is transpiring. You as the parent have the right to veto your children’s friends and who they hang out with. Use that veto power.
4.) Send your children to either Government schools and/or lousy churches. The Government schools exist to catechize your children into a pagan non-Christian religion. If you send your children to Government schools you should expect that you will lose your children. Much the same is true of the modern Church. The modern Church (exceptions notwithstanding) will poison your child’s soul and their thinking.
5.) Let the example of your living grossly contradict your Christian world and life view. We are all going to be hypocrites at some level because none of us are able to live up to the perfection that the Scriptures call us to, but there is being a hypocrite and then there is being a hypocrite. Parents should pray that their walk conforms ever more closely to their talk so that the children will see the harmony.
6.) Refuse to catechize your children in the Christian faith. Refuse to spend time with them in the Heidelberg Catechism, or the Westminister Confession or one of the great summaries of the Faith. Remember, all children will be catechized. It is never a question of whether catechism or not. It is only a question of which catechism. If you will not catechize your children the culture will. Better to self consciously catechize your children than to let them catch their catechism as informed by the culture.
7.) Refuse to give your children worldview training. I’m sorry, but in this culture, the catechism is NOT enough. We must also help our children connect the dots of catechism by putting that catechism in the broader context of a biblical Christian world and life view. We must train our children what it means to think Christianly, with basic Christian presuppositions. If they do not receive from us as parents a Christian worldview they will adopt the worldview of the culture and so will be set against Christ. This means comparing and contrasting the Christian mindset with the pagan mindset so that they see and know the differences.
8.) So protect your children from the culture that they become fresh meat for the enemy once they finally are exposed to the anti-Christ culture. We must engage the culture with our children while they are children. Concretely, this means helping them see through the smoke screen that the culture puts up to hide its intent. This means reading modern novels together and as you go pointing out the non-Christian thinking. This means viewing films together and pausing the film to point out the non-Christian worldview behind the scene or dialogue. This means coming home from Church and saying to the children, ‘Alright, what did we hear from the pulpit today that is not Christian?” Then pointing it out. Failure to train our children to be cynical and skeptical of the culture is a failure to protect them from the enemy.
Note on this one — The compromised Christians around you will hate you for this. I once did a Worldview analysis on a play a “Christian Troupe” did. The cultural Christians rained down hell on me for pointing out how the play contradicted a Christian World and life view.
9.) Let your children watch copious about of television as unsupervised and uninformed. Let them play violent video games as unsupervised and uninformed. Let them read trashy novels as unsupervised and uninformed.
10.) Refuse to train your children in a skill or ability. In that way, they will grow up not only brain dead but craft and skill dead. Daughters should be learning skills around the home and sons should be learning how they can make a living. Failure to do this will fill your children with resentment and make them conclude that your Christianity is impractical.
11.) Refuse to teach your children basic Christian virtue. Instead let them be proud, willful, unkind, disrespectful, rude, cutting, impatient, etc. As just one example, Scripture warns over and over again against the vice of pride.
16 These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: 17 A proud look
18Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before stumbling.
“The fear of the LORD is to hate evil; Pride and arrogance and the evil way And the perverted mouth, I hate.
When pride comes, then comes dishonor, But with the humble is wisdom.
Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, But humility goes before honor.
A man’s pride will bring him low, But a humble spirit will obtain honor.
As such, if we refuse to discipline our children for pride (and pride is to humans what honey is to bees) then we are raising our children up to be Christ-haters.
Os Guiness has a decent book (some of his examples make me cringe but overall it is helpful) on this subject of virtue. “Steering Through Chaos: Vice and Virtue in an Age of Moral Confusion.”
Well, others may be able to add more. This is my recipe on how to make sure to raise Christ-hating children.
Thank you for the letter Anonymous,