Volume 15, Issue 2: Meander
Meat and Potatoes
How are we to understand the "conversion" of our children to God? We know that they are, like us, descendents of Adam, and therefore by nature under the wrath of God. Yet under the grace of God, they were born into covenant homes, and are being raised in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. By nature they are from Adam, by grace they are from the second Adam.
Parents need to guard against two errors here, the first of which is very common in evangelical homes. That error places the burden of proof on the child who has to show that he is "really in." The other error presumptively maintains that any baptized child is "really in," regardless of flaming evidence to the contrary. As children grow up in Christian homes, they are to be taught faith, not presumption. They are to be taught faith, not doubts. And the only way this balance can be maintained is through . . . faith.
Keith Mathison has written another first rate book. This one is entitled Given for You and is a study of Calvin’s doctrine of the Lord’s Supper. Unfortunately, many modern heirs of Calvin think they are perpetuating his teaching when they are actually doing quite the reverse. The original Calvinian approach to the Supper was not at all truncated as it is in our thin soup evangelical circles, and neither was it a confused or compromised attempt to placate the early Lutherans. Anyone who wants to participate in a modern recovery of our Reformational heritage needs to get and read this book.
After an initial hubbub, the heresy hunt launched last year by the RPCUS appears to be dying down a little. So a little while ago, I published the following on our web site to help things along a little.
A Short Credo to Help the Heresy Hunt Along
1. I believe that the sacraments are effectual means of salvation through the working of the Holy Spirit and the blessing of Christ.
2. I believe that we cannot receive His righteousness through faith without embracing at the same time sanctification.
3. I believe that a principal act of saving faith is to rest upon Christ alone for obedience in sanctification.
4. I believe that true faith inevitably, necessarily, and immediately begins to display the fruit of obedience.
5. I believe that all the items above are substantive quotations taken from the Westminster Larger Catechism, John Calvin’s 1537 Instruction in Faith, the Westminster Confession of Faith, and R.C. Sproul’s Faith Alone.
I have repeatedly enjoyed one of my Christmas presents, which was a DVD of Eric Clapton and some friends performing at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. No bizarre clothing, no smashing of guitars, no crazy antics—just a collection of very competent musicians playing their music, thoroughly enjoying themselves, and acting like grown-ups. The name of the concert (and album) is One More Car, One More Rider.
Apart from divine intervention, nothing will prevent the consolidation of the American Empire. Conservative Christians are showing themselves singularly unprepared for the world that is coming.
An important part of bringing up children is the art of listening to them. Of course, when they volunteer things, it is important to hear, but I mean much more than this. Proverbs tells us that "counsel in the heart of man is like deep water; but a man of understanding will draw it out" (Prov. 20:5). There is a crucial application of this principle to our children, if we would be parents "of understanding." Doing this is more a matter of the will than a matter of discovering some hidden technique. How do you draw your children out? Ask questions.
And parents need to learn how to ask questions of their children without having an immediate agenda. In other words, if parents start to ask questions and the children immediately become wary, this is likely because asking questions is usually a prelude to a lecture, or a rebuke. This is a generalization, but parents need to learn how to draw out "counsel" from their children without feeling obligated to do something about it on the spot. The point is that children should know how to enter a conversation with a father or mother, which is quite a different thing than entering a trap.