Here is my rough summary and paraphrase of the session with Dr. Mohler. I will post the audio when it is released so you can listen for yourself.
Albert Mohler never disappoints in his communication ability. His wise discussion of parenting was seasoned with humor and personal stories. This session helped me better understand what it means to be a parent in a postmodern age. It is a struggle and family ministry can be a key alley in helping Christian parents. Of course, he speaks much faster than I can type or even think. But here are some notes I was able to compile.
For more coverage of the 2010 Connecting Church & Home Conference visit our summary page. You can listen to audio from this conference on the Southern Seminary website.
Watch it now: Albert Mohler, General Session 4
R. Albert Mohler, Jr. is the president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is an esteemed authority on contemporary issues and his writings have been published throughout the United States and Europe
Combat Parenting and the Glory of God
There is something of a tragedy in having to have a conference about connecting church and home. Something has been lost. In a sense we are trying to reconnect something which should never have been disconnected. But we live in a Genesis 3 work where disconnection and brokenness is normal. We need to be careful in how we reconnect these, or else it could go very wrong.
1 Peter 5: 1-11
“Elders are to shepherd the flock of God.” There is a sense of normal about this situation. This is one of the general epistles addressed to all believers. Normal ought to look like the church rightly ordered where elders function in their roles with integrity. The younger men should be humble and submit to their leaders, who are models of Christ-likeness.
“Be alert, for your adversary the devil prows around like a roaring lion. Seeking someone to devour.” We tend to be reluctant to talk about what it means for Satan to be prowling around. But if we take this seriously, Peter is saying this too is normal. In the Christian life, we have an enemy who we need to resist. All of our ministry, our marriage, our child rearing is in the context of the fact that we have an enemy. This is a spiritual warfare that we endure for the long haul. Just looking around at the problems facing our churches and families and you cannot deny this reality.
Combat language is appropriate. The problems are not out there in the world, but within us and among us. The enemy is seeking to do whatever he can to keep Christians from glorifying Christ. It is a battle to bring God the greatest glory.
1 Sam 2:12 “The sons of Eli were worthless men, they did not know the Lord.”
That is what disaster looks like in the terms of Christian parenting. It’s failure. We want our children to grow up to be worth something.
This who conversation is in the context of a post Christian America.
We have to be better than our parents were. If our parents or grandparents failed at any point, there were support systems within our culture. What our parents taught was supported in the schools and streets where we grew up. There were role mole models who could step in for fatherless boys. My parents had rules about television and the content on TV was much more tame. Today’s parents have to be more aware and more vigilant.
Something has happened to the family. It has been stripped by all its functions. The very notion of the natural family has become an anachronism. Our culture has been struggle to define culture since the Carter administration.
We face the digital generation. Young people inhabit a world that is largely out of view and is consuming them. We are the problem here. The average home always has the TV on and most older children even have their own set and computers. Parents are absent from their world. We have to be concerned about what this means for their souls.
The peer culture has taken on a dangerous shape. Adolescence is an invention of our modern times. The development of the High School was one factor creating the dominance of the peer culture. For many children, their lives are shaped more by their peers than their parents.
The educational establishment now claims to know better what kids need than their parents. This began with John Dewey’s vision for changing the values of children.
There are several other changes in our culture that undermine what Christian parents are trying to teach.
We don’t want our children to grow up to be moralistic theistic deists. See article here.
As described by Christian Smith and his team, Moralistic Therapeutic Deism consists of beliefs like these: 1. “A god exists who created and ordered the world and watches over human life on earth.” 2. “God wants people to be good, nice, and fair to each other, as taught in the Bible and by most world religions.” 3. “The central goal of life is to be happy and to feel good about ones self.” 4. “God does not need to be particularly involved in one’s life except when God is needed to resolve a problem.” 5. “Good people go to heaven when they die.”
This is not the Gospel taught in the Bible. This is not how God receives his greatest glory. This is not the goal of Christian parenting. The world may prefer that, but those who believe that do not know God.
More research from this group has just been released. They found two things kept Christian teens deeply connected to church and Biblical Christianity. Parents who stayed spiritually involved, and a church community where other adults to who they felt accountable.
This all comes back to connecting the church and home. Here are four things we must do.
#1 The church must present faithful vision of the family, marriage, and parenting – and equip believers to transfer that vision to the next generation.
#2 The church must overcome the zone of privacy and autonomy that keeps individuals from being accountable to the church community. We need to get into each others face. Our parenting and marriage are not properly ours – but belong to Christ and are the affairs of the whole church. Someone needs to get involved when people struggle in these areas.
#3 The church has got to be a place where brokenness is overcome by the Gospel. We slander the good news when we act like the only people who can glorify God are those who have never experienced brokenness.
#4 The where families are rescued and armed for the combat to which we are called. Discipleship is a battle. We come to church because we can’t afford not to come. We need to get together because we need to be equipped by the preaching of the Word of God and the fellowship of the Saints.