Apologetics Begins at Home

Apologetics Begins at Home This week, I received a letter on my pillow from my 13-yr-old daughter. It was full of questions that she wanted me to help her understand. I am grateful that I have the kind of relationship with my children that they seek me out as their primary source of information when they are struggling with issues in life. Much of my life is dedicated to teaching and equipping the Body of Christ to study and defend God’s word. However, I am reminded that my first and primary mission field is always my own family. Here is a list of some of questions going through my daughter’s mind: Why did God make emotions? What did God do before He made everything? Would the world be any different if I had never been born? How old is the earth? When were angels made? If Mary is Jesus’ mother, was she God’s wife? Do I have to be baptized to be a Christian? Did all the people before Jesus go to hell? How is God a king and servant at the same time? What does God look like? Did God marry Adam and Eve? Do people sin after they are Christians? How does God want me to treat people I don’t understand? What does, “carnal,” mean? How do I become holy, pure and perfect? (Things the Bible commands.) What does it mean to hide God’s word in my heart? What will I do in Heaven? How can I help all the people in the whole world? God is love. If I love someone, is it God’s love? People hate God, but they also love too. How? What does “circumcise your heart” mean? How are we “in the world, but not of it”? Do babies go to Heaven when they die? How can God be Grace and Justice at the same time? Aren’t they opposites? How does God love and hate at the same time? (Aren’t the opposites?) What are angels like? Why did God make life? These are serious and important questions. You will either answer these questions adequately for your own children, or they will make their decisions about them from other sources. Nothing is more important in your list of things to do than teaching your own children the truth. “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15, ESV) If you don’t...

Will a Trained Child Depart?

Will a Trained Child Depart? “Train up a child in the way he should go (on his own customized path), and when he is old/older/grown he will not depart/will return.” (Proverbs 22:6) This passage has given parents and Bible teachers fits for many years. There are lots of different explanations regarding what this text is teaching (including a few I’ve included in the verse above). If we do our job correctly as parents, does that mean that our children will never go down the wrong trail? What then of the dozens of families we know who trained their children well (imperfectly, but in the right direction), and their children rebel? Does it mean that if we train our children correctly, they may still rebel for a time, but then they will come back to our faith later, when they have gotten the rebellion out of their system? What then of the families we know where the rebellious child never does return to the faith? So which is it? Will they never depart or will they return? I believe the answer to both questions is: Yes. And No. Here’s what I mean: I believe the Proverbs are speaking about general truths, not making absolute truth claims. I don’t think there is any way we can assume that the Proverbs are absolute statements that are true for all people, in all places, at all times. For example (please consider): “Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and depart from evil. It will be health to your flesh, and strength to your bones.” (Proverbs 3:7-8, NKJV) Are all godly people you know healthy? Or what about this: “A slack hand causes poverty, but the hand of the diligent makes rich.” (Proverbs 10:4, ESV) “The generous soul will be made rich.” (Proverbs 11:25a) Are all the diligent, hard-working (or generous) people you know rich? (I didn’t think so!) “No grave trouble will overtake the righteous, but the wicked shall be filled with evil.” (Proverbs 12:21, ESV) Do you know any righteous who have ever had grave trouble? “The hand of the diligent will rule, but the lazy man will be put to forced labor.” (Proverbs 12:24, ESV) Unless he goes on welfare! “Do you see a man who excels in his work? He will stand before kings.” (Proverbs 22:29a, ESV) Have all the skilled craftsmen you know met with world leaders? “The eye that mocks a father and scorns to obey a mother will be...

Reexamining the Patriarchal Vision

I was recently approached by a mother at a homeschooling convention who heard me speak to the teens on the topic of “Waiting for True Love.” She brought her 11-yr-old daughter up to me and said, “Mr. Wayne, can you please tell my daughter why, when she turns 18, that she needs not to date guys and needs to allow her father and I to pick the person she marries?” I studied her face for a moment to see if she was serious. She was. I told her, “If you and your husband have cultivated an open relationship of trust and communication with your daughter, when she is 18, she will be knocking your door down (figuratively) to get your advice, wisdom, guidance, counsel and blessing regarding who she marries. If you have proven that you are trustworthy, have a good track record of making good and godly decisions, and she is fully convinced that you have her best interests at heart, you won’t be able to keep her away from seeking you out for wisdom, blessing and counsel. On the other hand, if all of that is not in place, then anything that you try to impose from the outside will only back-fire on you and cause even more bitterness, resentment and rejection.” Two Patriarchal Approaches In Genesis, we see two Patriarchal leaders, Abraham and Lot, who I think provide a bit of a sociological antithesis for us. For fathers who are looking to provide Biblical protection and guidance for their sons and daughters, perhaps we can learn from the lives of these two imperfect men. A Lot of Mistakes The Bible refers to the Patriarch, Lot, as “righteous Lot” (2 Peter 2:7-8). This has always bewildered me. To me, Lot seems like the archetype for what a Godly man should NOT do. When you consider his relationship with his daughters, for example, he seems to be absolutely clueless. First of all, in Genesis 13:12, we find Lot separating from Abraham and “pitching his tent toward Sodom.” Every morning as the sun would rise, Lot would awake and gaze upon the Las Vegas of his day. There must have been something in him that longed for that kind of immoral association, for the next thing we discover is that he is quickly living IN Sodom (Genesis 14:12). Even though Lot loved God, and was repulsed by the wickedness of his neighbors (at least to some level), he seemed...

The Importance of Family Bible Study

We finished reading Revelation 22 this morning, which means we have read, studied, and discussed every verse in the entire Bible as a family. This whole project has taken us something like 5-6 years to complete. We often include Bible maps, commentaries, supplementary videos, church history, word studies, and even music (playing Handel’s Messiah for example when we read passages that are set to music). Our ideal is to get through an entire chapter per day, but this rarely happens because I encourage my children to ask questions as we go. It isn’t uncommon for us to spend the entire 30-45 minutes on a half dozen verses. I discuss our approach to “Bible Time” in my book, Full-Time Parenting: A Guide to Family-Based Discipleship, in a chapter entitled, “How I Taught My Children to Sit Still and Be Quiet.” I also discuss the importance of teaching through the entire Bible on a cycle of at least every seven years (three times before your children leave home — as outlined in Deuteronomy 31), in my chapter, “The Seven-Year Teaching Method.” I can’t possibly say strongly enough how important I believe it is for fathers to lead their families in daily family worship time. I know this is intimidating for many men because their fathers have not led them in teaching the Scriptures, so they have little to no example from which to draw. But we have to start somewhere. For single mothers, or wives who have unsaved husbands, or husbands who, for whatever reason, are unable or unwilling to lead family worship, you need to serve as the sanctifying spouse in that situation and lead the children in family worship time yourself. It isn’t the job of the church to teach and disciple your children in the Scripture (although they certainly can assist and supplement!). It is the responsibility of the parents. Please take your calling seriously. Israel Wayne is an Author and Conference Speaker and Director of Family Renewal, LLC.   Photo credit: Foter / CC...

The Greatest Dad in the Bible (Jonadab) — by E. Ray Moore

My good friend, E. Ray Moore of Exodus Mandate has written a fabulous little book entitled, The Promise of Jonadab: Building a Christian Family Legacy in a Time of Cultural Decline. I love this book. If you ever wanted to be inspired by a multi-generational view of covenant faithfulness, this story, right out of Scripture, will do the trick! Imagine if you could have such an impact on your family that 240 years later, your descendents were still being faithful to the Lord because of your influence! That was the true example of Jonadab. You can read more about his life and influence here: http://www.exodusmandate.org/art_jehonadab.htm I would strong encourage you to pick up a copy of this book for a husband / father that you love. We read this book aloud as a family in our Family Worship time and it was a great blessing to...

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© Israel Wayne.