Christian parenting is more than raising good people

With church attendance on decline, many parents are concerned about the damage society will wreak on their children’s faith. We’re realising that Christian parenting is, after all, really the responsibility of the Christian parents. But how do we build their faith?

The Vegetales brand

Some Christian parents often sit their children down in front of a television to watch “Vegetales”, a cartoon where your children are trained to think of Biblical people as personified vegetables acting out stories with moral lessons. On the other hand how many consider proclaiming the gospel to be key in Christian parenting? Vegetales may seem like a lot of fun, and the emphasis is always on being kind, but does this really prepare our children for the anti-Christian culture we live in? Can we do something more as parents to keep our children in the way?

What do you mean by “good”?

Being good people isn’t the point of Christianity, it’s the problem. We aren’t good (Romans 3:23). This why Jesus came. As Jesus said, “Only God is good.” We are made good by God in the new birth not by our earthly parents. Are we really meant to raise our children to be good people? We can’t. What can we do then to prepare our children?

Reason why youth live for pleasure – humanist worldview.

Society teaches your children that they must do what feels best for them, to follow their heart. “If it feels ‘good’ then your probably doing it right”, society softly reassures. “It’s wrong when it hurts others”, it moralises. “If it doesn’t hurt you, why are you judging me?” It arrogantly defends. Humanism’s central doctrine of hedonism is founded on its commitment to the evolved human. Darwinism creates the vacuum of morality, boldly proclaiming “survival of the fittest is all that matters”. Darwinism reassures, “you’re just an evolved animal”. With this dogma being rammed down your child’s throat, mere moralising won’t work.

Reason why children don’t act morally – sin nature

There is a second problem, mere morality will not change the heart of the child. As they grow up, their sinfully contaminate human heart (Jeremiah 17:9; Romans 3:10) begins to express itself regardless of the moral behaviours you taught them. The problem is they were born into your family, but have not yet been born again into God’s family. You gave them their sin nature. God can give them a new nature. With a heart yearning for sinful pleasure, they begin to act it out. The Darwinian dogma and Humanistic hedonism they were taught at school seem pretty good after all. A good truth foundation will help them confront the wickedness of their heart, even if it won’t change their heart (only God can).

More than morals: Build a Biblical worldview

Biblical morals without a Biblical worldview will simply be discarded. If you teach a child to act differently to how he sees the world, then he will eventually realign with his perception. If you build their moral compass without the correct truth foundation, their moral compass will realign with how they see the world. This moral truth collapses when placed upon the unsupporting basis of humanism.

The question is if you’re not building their worldview, who is? Children acquire worldviews throughout their development regardless of whether parents teach them. Society intentionally imposes it’s worldview on your children through the education system and entertainment. If you’re not working harder than society to instil a Biblical worldview in your children’s minds, your child will have an unstable ‘biblical morality’ built on a humanist foundation. This might just eventually realign to humanism.

Christian parenting calls for building a worldview of the Bible in our children’s minds. It is essential. If we teach our children to be selfless and considerate of others while the school is teaching them that they’re just evolved animals who’s purpose is survival of the fittest, the morality you taught them will collapse before your very eyes. If however you build a strong evidential foundation to doubt evolution (ie. genetics, biochemistry), and you proclaim the truth of Genesis, you’ll find the school’s attempts to instil antiChristian doubt will utterly fail. Oh and learning about genetics and biochemical evidence against evolution means they’ll probably ace science at school as the added benefit of additional knowledge.

But winning the mind is just the beginning. If you don’t win their heart they’ll just adopt a more convenient worldview (John 3:17:21; Romans 1). They need a heart change.

More than morals: Preach the gospel

If you train your child to act morally, even equipping them with a Biblical Worldview, they still have a huge problem. They inherited from you a heart that loves sin. Eventually despite all their trying they will cave in to their desires unless God does a work in them. Exhort your children to a relationship with God. Point them to a better Father. They must be born again (John 3:6). The greatest father on earth, universe, heaven is their Heavenly Father; not you. You gave them sin: massive moral burdens and no ability to lift them. God offers them strength in weakness, with the light yoke and easy burden of Christ. Preach to your children the good news that Jesus came to save sinners, by paying the penalty at the cross and raising again so we can live in him.

Mere morality will produce Pharisees – outwardly clean, inwardly filthy, still sinners. Being born again means a new inwardly clean nature, that works its way outward in our lives.

Satisfaction in the Saviour

Mere morality is humanism without Biblical truth. There are plenty or ‘moral’ dogooders, who live immorally – right in their own eyes. Morals not founded in a Biblical worldview are not Biblical morals. Even ‘biblical’ morals without a Biblical worldview are easily discarded. Morals not expressed in a relationship with God are fake. People aren’t essentially good; if you think they are, you disagree with the Romans 3:23 and what Jesus said, which is “Only God is good”. We can only be good when the goodness of the Saviour indwells us and satisfies us. Raise your children with good morality yes, but found it on a Biblical worldview and exhort them to seek God while He can be found. Teaching a child to behave well isn’t enough. We must build in our children’s minds a Biblical worldview and exhort them to seek God for a new heart.