Take the few minutes to listen to this audio from John Piper. He’s addressing something that I think a lot of people are confused about.
The issue is: what constitutes a “promise” in the Bible, and what constitutes a “proverb”?
The issue in question is that of Proverbs 22:6, which says: “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”
Many people consider this a “PROMISE” from God – that if you raise you kids up right, they will be good people who do right things. In particular, many Christians come to this verse in the hope that if they raise up their children to walk with God, then their children are guaranteed to grow up to share their faith – and if that doesn’t happen, then it is “user error”, i.e. the parents didn’t do a good enough job raising their kids up in the right way.
The problem is, there are plenty of kids who come from great, loving, Christian families, who don’t follow their parents’ faith nor their moral/ethical values. What are we to make of this?
John Piper answers the question well – concerning the nature of proverbs versus the nature of promises, and how we should understand this verse.
The article is a very insightful critique of the culture of parenting – or “religion of parenting”, as the author calls it – in our society, and the results of it.
Of particular interest to me was how the author points out that there is an unspoken understanding in our society that the value of a human life peaks out at birth and diminishes from there.
The origins of the parenthood religion are obscure, but one of its first manifestations may have been the “baby on board” placards that became popular in the mid-1980s. Nobody would have placed such a sign on a car if it were not already understood by society that the life of a human achieves its peak value at birth and declines thereafter. A toddler is almost as precious as a baby, but a teenager less so, and by the time that baby turns fifty, it seems that nobody cares much anymore if someone crashes into her car. You don’t see a lot of vehicles with placards that read, “Middle-aged accountant on board.”
Today I talked with a great lady from our church who heads up an outreach called “Project Greatest Gift”, in which we provide Christmas gifts for children in foster care. Weld County told us that many of the children in foster care are living with elderly people, and they asked if we might be willing to provide gifts for the caretakers this year as well.
This seems like a great opportunity for us to show that we value all human life, both young and old.
Another important insight of the article is how this religion of parenting has led to a quickly rising divorce rate among empty nesters:
In the 21st century, most Americans marry for love. We choose partners who we hope will be our soulmates for life. When children come along, we believe that we can press pause on the soulmate narrative, because parenthood has become our new priority and religion. We raise our children as best we can, and we know that we have succeeded if they leave us, going out into the world to find partners and have children of their own. Once our gods have left us, we try to pick up the pieces of our long neglected marriages and find new purpose. Is it surprising that divorce rates are rising fastest for new empty nesters?
I think that one of the things the Christian church has done well is championing marriage. The writer to the Hebrews says: “Let marriage be held in honor among all.” (Hebrews 13:4 ESV) I have had the privilege to see successful Christians marriages that thrived even after the kids left the house, because they made their marriage and not their children the center of their family.
In that post, I mentioned that one of the greatest concerns I have with legalizing marijuana is NOT that I want to legislate Christian moral values on people who aren’t Christians (read more about that issue here) – but that it will make it more accessible to children, something that no one on either side of the discussion wants.
[Mike] Dillon… a school resource officer with the Mesa County Sheriff’s Department, said he is seeing more and younger kids bringing marijuana to schools, in sometimes-surprising quantities.
school officials believe the jump is linked to the message that legalization (even though it is still prohibited for anyone under 21) is sending to kids: that marijuana is a medicine and a safe and accepted recreational activity. It is also believed to be more available.
“Kids are smoking before school and during lunch breaks. They come into school reeking of pot,” “They are being much more brazen.”
when school officials were asked to identify the reason for students’ expulsions. Marijuana came in first. It was listed as being a reason for 32 percent of expulsions.
National statistics also point to marijuana being more prevalent in schools. The National Institute of Drug Abuse found that marijuana use has climbed among 10th- and 12th-graders nationally, while the use of other drugs and alcohol has held steady or declined.
“They need to know how destructive it is to the adolescent brain,”
I remember when I was in high school, kids brought pot to school and smoked it at school. I certainly don’t want my kids doing it though, and it seems to me that legalization will only make it more accessible – the facts show that is already happening.
What do you think? Is this something we should be concerned about?