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Children and Conversion

September 21, 2010

How are we to understand the “conversion” of our children to God? We know they are, like us, descendants of Adam and therefore by nature under the wrath of God. Yet under the grace of God, they were born into covenant homes and are being raised in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. By nature they are from Adam, by grace they are from the second Adam.

Parents need to guard against two errors here, the first of which is very common in evangelical homes. That error places the burden of proof on the child who has to show that he is “really in.” The other error presumptively maintains that any baptized child is “really in,” regardless of flaming evidence to the contrary. As children grow up in Christian homes, they are to be taught faith, not presumption. They are to be taught faith, not doubts. And the only way this balance can be maintained is through…faith.

The duty of Christian parents is to bring their children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. This means, at the fundamental level, a central duty of parents is to teach their children to believe God. Unfortunately, many parents in the name of “higher spiritual standards” wind up teaching their children to doubt instead.

Let’s say a small child comes up to his father or mother and says something along the lines of “I love Jesus.” If the response is anything like, “Child, do you know what you are saying?” or “You’re too young to know what you are saying,” the child goes away having learned to doubt. “I thought I loved Jesus, but apparently I don’t. I must learn to be more suspicious of myself.” It doesn’t take too much of this before a child might be chased away from faith altogether.

– Douglas Wilson, My Life for Yours, p. 115-116

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One Comment
  1. This is such an awesome book.

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