Your First Ministry

Where does your Christian service begin? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

In this post, I’m mainly writing to my fellow apologists, but I think what I say applies to every field of ministry. Also, I will be using male pronouns throughout and such, but if you’re a woman, just find the counterpart. It will apply to you just as much.

In apologetics, it’s understandable that you have to be specially equipped. You have to spend that time in study and there are those debates that you have to attend to. That happens. I have the same situation. I read my books as much as I can. I want to be able to answer as much as I can.

We also know that what we do, well, we do for God. There should be no question about that. We are not in the ministry for ourselves. We are in it for the cause of a  greater good. God is not a means to the success of our kingdoms. We are a means to the success of His.

Despite all of this, many of could still be failures in ministry. I have something specific in mind for a failure in ministry. This is someone who no matter how good they do in the apologetics field, even if they’re someone like the next William Lane Craig, they have failed their first ministry.

That ministry is their family.

Now I know some of you might say “Well Jesus said if we do not hate our families, we cannot be His disciples.” We all know that means that the Kingdom has to come before our families, yes. If we rank our priorities, the Kingdom is our first priority. Still, that doesn’t mean we abandon our family responsibilities for the Kingdom. This is said in passages such as Jesus talking to the Pharisees about eating with unwashed hands or in Paul’s talking in 1 Tim. 3 about the requirements of a deacon and one being that they lead their own families.

You see, if you’re in apologetics, there are plenty of other people that can take the work for you if you need a break. I don’t debate on Sundays for instance. It’s just a day to recharge. On those days, I don’t worry. There are plenty of other people who can do apologetics meanwhile. I don’t have to jump into every debate I see. There are other people who can handle debates.

Despite all that I do, there is only one person who can be a husband to Allie, and that is me. So it is for all of you out there. Only one person can be a husband to your wife and only one person can be a father to your children. You don’t want to risk that role going to another man because you shirked your responsibilities.

I encourage men for instance when they get married, go on your honeymoon and take no book with you except your Bible for daily reading with your spouse, not for academic reading for yourself. Do not do Facebook or email while there. The world can wait. This time should be devoted to your spouse and the rest of the world can wait.

Now, of course, there will be valid exceptions. If you’re on your honeymoon and you meet someone who just wants to know how to be a Christian or you encounter someone who is suicidal, by all means, do your Christian duty, but don’t be seeking it out. These kinds of exceptions apply across the board, but don’t be looking for them.

Please never ever forget this. Your marriage should be your first priority and dare I say it, it is more important even than your children. One of the best gifts you can give your children is a good marriage. In fact, don’t hesitate to gross the kiddies out. Let them see you two kissing together.

Some of you who follow me on Facebook know that every day, except Sunday, I’m posting something about how much Allie means to me. Why do I do this? Because it’s my belief that a husband and wife should have Facebook pages that others can be clear about their love for their spouse. If you come to my page, I want you to know how much Jesus means to me and I want you to know how much Allie means to me.

So my friends, please do the work and study hard and learn all you can, but remember, if you have a family, do not neglect them. You have a work with them that no one else can do. Your family is your first ministry.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Deeper Waters Podcast 6/18/2016: Paul Vitz

What’s coming up on the Deeper Waters Podcast? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Father’s Day is almost here, a time for us to stop and think about how important all of our fathers really are to us. Many people have good relationships with their fathers and the day is a special day. Many have poor relationships or maybe through an untimely death do not have a possibility of a relationship with their fathers. We all know of impacts that this can have on a child, but what if you were told that the possibility of a child being a theist or an atheist could be influenced by their relationship with their Dad?

Well it’s not just me saying it. It’s Paul Vitz saying it. He’s the author of Faith of the Fatherless and he will be on my show this Saturday. Who is he?

Paul summer 2011 at St. Patrick's Retreat House

Paul C. Vitz, Ph.D.

Senior Scholar and Professor, Institute for the Psychological Sciences, Arlington, Virginia; Professor Emeritus, New York University

(Ph.D., Stanford University)

 

Dr. Vitz’s teaching and research is focused on the integration of

Christian theology, especially Catholic anthropology, with psychology. This requires breaking from the modern secularism and post-modern relativism prevalent today. He is presently also addressing the following special topics: the psychology of hatred and forgiveness, the psychological importance of fathers and the relevance of psychology for understanding atheism and the psychology of the virtues.

Dr. Vitz’s books include: Psychology as Religion: The Cult of Self-Worship, 2nd ed; Sigmund Freud’s Christian Unconscious; Modern Art and Modern Science: The Parallel Analysis of Vision; Faith of the Fatherless: The Psychology of Atheism (which came out in a revised edition in fall 2013 from Ignatius Press); and The Self: Beyond the Post-modern Crisis. He is also Professor of Psychology Emeritus at New York University where he taught for many years prior to joining IPS.

He is married to Evelyn Birge Vitz, best known as Timmie, who is a Professor of French at NYU; they recently moved down to Arlington, VA after living 44 years in downtown Manhattan. Dr. Vitz commuted to Arlington for over 10 years but now walks to work; Timmie is still a Professor at NYU so she commutes up to NY City. It is her turn now! They have six grown children and 18 grandchildren.

It’s important to note that Vitz’s claim is not that a good father necessitates having a child grow up a theist and a bad or absent father does not necessitate that a child grow up an atheist, but there is an interesting connection. As we think about Dads this week, we’ll talk about how that relationship can influence a child. We’ll discuss why it is that there seems to be this connection between the two and what Christian parents need to know about the importance of a father and what we can consider in our own interaction with atheists that we meet.

I hope you’ll be tuning in this Saturday to the Deeper Waters Podcast to hear this important discussion on Dads. Please also consider going to ITunes and leaving a positive review!

In Christ,
Nick Peters