The Big Lie Evangelicals Tell Christian Parents

"If you are a good parent and train up your kids in the Christian faith they will not leave the faith."

Proverbs 22:6 is a parenting scripture. It’s not a scripture about salvation. The scripture is simply saying that through consistent discipline you can train your children to behave. Herein lies the problem. Salvation does not come through obeying the rules. It comes by grace through faith. If your good works cannot save you, then your good parenting cannot save your kids. You can be the best parent in the world and make all the right choices, but you cannot save your child from hell. Only Christ can do that.

 

“Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

We have heard it preached from the pulpit for years. “If you are a good parent and train up your kids in the Christian faith they will not leave the faith.” I’ve preached it from the pulpit and chances are that you have too. The problem is this doesn’t work.

Many children of good Christian parents choose to leave the Christian faith every year. When this happens parents tend to blame themselves. “What did I do wrong?” Sometimes parents blame the church and sometimes parents get really mad at God.

Here is the problem. We have taken this scripture out of context. We have misused it to say something that it does not say.

Proverbs 22:6 is a parenting scripture. It’s not a scripture about salvation. The scripture is simply saying that through consistent discipline you can train your children to behave.

Herein lies the problem. Salvation does not come through obeying the rules. It comes by grace through faith. If your good works cannot save you, then your good parenting cannot save your kids. You can be the best parent in the world and make all the right choices, but you cannot save your child from hell. Only Christ can do that.

One problem is that we mix the scriptures on evangelism and parenting and we tend to think they are the same when it comes to children. You can make your child clean her room or do her homework, but you cannot make her have a relationship with Christ. That is something she has to choose to do because she loves Jesus.

Please don’t misunderstand me. You have a lot of influence over your children and God wants you to influence your kids for Christ just like He wants you to influence your neighbors for Christ.

You cannot make your kids love Jesus, but there are things you can do as a parent that will cause your kids to run to God and there are things you can do that will cause your kids to run from God.

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