The Influence of Christian Parents

How important is a Christian education to a child? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I recently read J. Gresham Machen’s Christianity in Conflict. This is being read for school and if I read something for school, I don’t really want to do a book plunge on it for the most part. Machen in his day was one of the most influential New Testament scholars and was revolutionary here in America.

Machen wrote about the virgin birth, which I do affirm, especially and so much that even a 100 years later, we’re still talking about what he wrote. He was a man of great learning and one of the great Princeton Theologians. He also went and studied abroad in Germany.

The book is largely an autobiography of his and he does touch lightly on the education he got in the secular schools growing up, but if there’s one aspect of his life that was influential on him remaining a strong Christian, it was his parents. His parents were devout Christians and also very learned Christians. His father was a lawyer who in his 80’s started learning Italian and reading Italian authors just for the fun of it. I don’t think as much was said about his mother, but her character shone through and through.

Both of them encouraged Machen to read and learn and both of them encouraged him to ask questions. They were not people who shied away from doubts and Machen did often times have doubts. However, as time goes by, he gets more and more help in getting a higher education, but one can see throughout his life, the great influence his parents had.

When he studied abroad in Germany, he was not in a conservative environment at all. He was in one where he was challenged every day and yet, he held on and argued his case well and read all he could of his opponents. What really helped him so much? The preparation he had at the feet of his parents.

Christian parents. This is for you. Please never lose sight of the influence that you can have on your children. For all you know, you could have another Machen growing up in your household.

That means that you do take them to church regularly, but don’t just do that. Educate them in your home. Make Christianity something you live seven days a week and not just on church days. Do not be afraid of your kids having questions and if you don’t know the answer, go and find it.

I am sure some atheist readers could say something about indoctrination, but the reality is I expect most parents will somehow raise their children up with their values. I suspect Muslim parents, Mormon parents, Jewish parents, and atheist parents all do this. You don’t really want to force your kids, but if what you believe about ultimate reality really matters to you, you will pass that on to your children.

If you’re wondering some on how to do that, I have a resource for you. I recommend you check my friend Elizabeth Urbanowics’s program Foundation WorldviewHer work is aimed to help extremely young children start to learn about the Bible and how to think and about what it means to be a Christian.

Raise your children well. Welcome their doubts and questions. Be there to support them. Our world is not a safe place and you will have more influence than anyone else.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Safe Christianity

How can you be safe in Christianity? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

As a resident of New Orleans, I imagine what I would think if I heard a couple together one day talking in their house if a major hurricane was coming.

Wife: Honey. There’s a level 5 hurricane heading towards New Orleans.

Husband: Predictions for us?

Wife: Likely to destroy the entire city and leave few survivors.

Husband: Sounds terrible. What do you want to do that evening?

Wife: Thought we’d stay home and watch TV.

Husband: That sounds good.

It seems nonsensical to think about it. If there is that disaster situation coming, shouldn’t you do something about it? I thought about that today reading J. Gresham Machen’s book Christianity and Culture. The book is inexpensive on Kindle and you can read it in less than an hour easily.

In the last section, he speaks about how the time might seem dark, but this is the time that we can shine the brightest and where we can rise up with excitement knowing the grand task before us and that God is with us. He has also spoken in the book about how you can be safe instead. Is it possible, for instance, to be a soldier and find a definite way to avoid dying in combat? Machen tells us that there definitely is.

Don’t go into combat.

Sure, you’ll be safe, but you won’t do anything to the enemy really. Now today, we understand someone could operate a drone from a distance or something of that sort, but we can all understand Machen’s point. The easiest way to stay safe is to just not do anything risky. That is how many of us approach Christianity.

How many of us talk about people who are dying without Christ and then go about our lives like it’s not a big deal. The atheist Penn Gillette even said that he encourages Christians to proselytize. After all, how much do you have to hate someone to know that there is an eternal judgment for them somehow and yet not want to do the work of evangelism?

Now keep in mind, I’m not saying our whole lives are 24/7 doing evangelism. Not even Jesus did that. I am saying that we should consider doing more for the lost and for our fellow Christians who need encouragement and yes, that means we are putting ourselves in dangerous situations at times.

However, that’s part of the deal of Christianity. We have Christians who are afraid to share the gospel because they might hurt someone’s feelings or someone might make fun of them. Our earlier ancestors would not be afraid to go to the lions for Jesus and in Muslim nations today, as just one example, getting baptized can practically be a death sentence, and they do it anyway.

If you want to know why our country is the way it is, it’s because we are a people who value safety so much that we don’t do anything. Picture the semis on the interstate that say “Safety is my goal.” No, it isn’t. If safety was your goal, you wouldn’t even be out here driving. The surest way to stay safe is to not drive. Your goal is to get your goods to their destination. The means you want to do is a safe means, but your goal is not to be safe.

This doesn’t mean that we knowingly go into dangerous situations just because they’re dangerous. If a hurricane is heading towards you and is likely to kill you if you stay, it is just foolish to not move. You can’t reason with the hurricane after all. Even those skilled in martial arts are told to only use it as a last resort.

Being safe hasn’t even kept us safe in the long run. It’s put us even more on the defensive. Why does the world listen so much to Muslims and to the LGBTQ community? Because they know these people have power and will speak out and go after them if they disagree. They know they can’t run roughshod over these people. What do they know about us? They can say whatever we want and we’ll just stay there and take it. No. This is not what turning the other cheek is about. It’s not about being a doormat. It’s about not escalating tension in the private sphere, not the public one.

Years ago, before the 2016 election, my former father-in-law asked me what I think it will take to change America. My answer has always been the same. The church has to be the church. The gospel doesn’t need America, but America needs the gospel. If we believe Jesus is the only one who can change society and save the souls of men and we do nothing, we either do not care about Jesus, the souls of men, or both.

Choose where you want to go. You can play it safe or live dangerously. If you play it safe, you might be safe indeed, but you sure won’t do anything to make a difference in the world.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)