The Gospel and Obedience in Christian Parenting

A couple of great pieces popped up this week about Christian parenting. Few subjects are more vexing today, particularly as many young Christian parents either did not grow up in godly homes or did not receive much training in how to be a godly father and mother.

First, John Piper’s piece on the absolute necessity of teaching obedience in the home went viral. I’ve observed a great deal of the “either grace or legalism” conversation currently unfolding in evangelical circles. It has two main locations: the discussion over sanctification, and the discussion over childraising. In my estimation, Piper sounded just the right note. We don’t focus on either grace or obedience; we focus on grace-driven obedience. A selection:

Obedience is not merely a “legal” category. It is a gospel category. Paul said that his gospel aim was “to bring about the obedience of faith” (Romans 1:5). He said, “I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me to bring the Gentiles to obedience — by word and deed” (Romans 15:18).

Paul’s aim was “to take every thought captive to obey Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). He required it of the churches: “If anyone does not obey what we say in this letter, take note of that person, and have nothing to do with him” (2 Thessalonians 3:14).

Parents who do not teach their children to obey God’s appointed authorities prepare them for a life out of step with God’s word — a life out of step with the very gospel they desire to emphasize.

A second piece from the GirlTalk blog came my way via readers in my family. This piece is practical and is on how to handle–and ideally avoid–tantrums. The first point was spot on, calling for mothers not to tax their children. Staying home–which our culture views with disdain–actually yields great benefits. Here’s a bit from that point:

 This was always my mom’s wise advice when one of my children would start to disobey a lot in public: it was time to stay home for a while and focus on child training. I would clear my calendar of play dates, make arrangements to run errands after my kids went to bed, and except for church, hunker down for some focused child-training time. Often, after only a few days, I would begin to see dramatic improvement.

Being a mom means missing out on a lot so that we can give lots of attention to our children. But the sacrifice is worth it.


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