Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Ministers as Parents (W)

Excerpt from chapter 9 of second Paul book:
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1 Timothy and Titus’ comments on the children of ministers may be a cause of particular concern to some.  Pastors’ children are notorious in church lore for misbehavior.  What then are we to make of the comment that an overseer can scarcely be trusted with the church if he cannot control his own children or if his children lose faith?  No doubt such sentiments have brought violence from some ministers in the past, thinking that they must beat their children into submission to keep their children under control.  And parenting studies will no doubt confirm that this approach leads in exactly the opposite direction today, to where their children will then be even more likely to be disorderly and to lose faith.

In short, what counted as good management of a family in the ancient world will not count the same today.  Our children are not sequestered in the home.  Through television, through the internet, through the public schools, it is scarcely possible to control all the influences on our children.  This fact has led some to forbid television.  It has led some to isolate themselves socially from the rest of the world.  Such people can perhaps protect their children for a time, but they also have removed themselves from the mission.  Few will come to faith in Christ as a result of their witness.

In the end, our children have free will too.  What is timeless about the instructions of 1 Timothy is that the pastor should be an exemplary model of righteousness for his or her children.  Their children should see that their mother or father is consistent at home and at church.  They should see that their father or mother practices what he or she preaches.  They should see that their parent truly is serving and selfless at home and at church.  They must be present at home and in the lives of their kids, not married more to the church than to their spouses and families.  None of these things is a guarantee of a child’s salvation, but they should be a guarantee of a clear conscience.

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