Why Good Theology is Necessary For Good Parenting

Good theology does one other thing — it encourages us to take heart, because God is in the business of rescuing fools and restoring hearts

“As Christ-followers, our parenting goal is not to raise well-behaved children, but to raise Christ-following adults. To disciple a Christ-follower, we must feed them a steady diet of good theology that is fortified with the Word of God, which tells us that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” and that “it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast.”

 

I was early into my teaching career, and I still found myself making rookie mistakes. A seasoned teacher always keeps a watchful eye on her students, particularly during a testing period. But it was 9:00 a.m., and I needed to step out of the room. So I did something I had been warned never to do; I handed out a quiz to my students, turned my back on them, and popped my head out the door to ask a colleague to watch my class.

After I returned, she handed me quizzes that she had confiscated from two of the boys. “I saw these two sharing answers when I walked into your room,” she said, “You should probably address it.”  It is usually best to divide and conquer in cases such as this, so I spoke to each boy separately. The first boy confessed to cheating, but the second boy insisted that he was innocent.

That evening I called both parents to deliver the news. These types of phone calls are never easy, even when teaching in a Christian school. The parents of the boy that acknowledged that he had cheated graciously accepted the news and assured me that they would address the matter with their son. The call to the parents of the second boy was entirely different. His mother listened patiently as I informed her of the day’s events. I even acknowledged to her my poor judgement in turning my back on the class. She agreed to speak with her son and follow up with me.

I was surprised when she called first thing the next morning. She informed me that she had spoken to her son about the incident and just like he had with me, he insisted that he had not cheated despite what the other boy had said. I can’t say that I was entirely surprised to hear this, but it was what she said next that really dispirited me. “I know my son,” she said, “He would never lie to me, and he could never lie to me!”

Good parenting begins with good theology

A dear friend of mine who has seven children always reminds me that we are not raising children; we are raising adults. So as Christ-followers, our parenting goal is not to raise well-behaved children, but to raise Christ-following adults. To disciple a Christ-follower, we must feed them a steady diet of good theology that is fortified with the Word of God, which tells us that  “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” and that “it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast.” In other words, we are all sinners, and the redemption of sinners is a work of God.

Often, we are most convicted of our sins when we experience its consequences. As parents, it can be tempting to want to spare our children from the consequences of their sin by whitewashing our children’s misdeeds. But if 2 Corinthians 7:10 is correct, and godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation, then sometimes the most loving thing that a parent can do is to get out of the way and allow the Holy Spirit to do his work, even if it means that our child might have to endure the fallout.

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