Passing on the Faith

Historically, men have been the ones who have overseen teaching the Christian faith to the next generation. There are a few exceptions in scripture, but this is not a debate about women teaching in the church but is intended to be a challenge for me to step up and actually have an active role in the spiritual raising of their children. I often get annoyed by talk about how the church has been feminized and we need a more manly Christianity. I do not think the church needs more men going to the shooting range or groups of men sitting around a table eating various kinds of wild game. I believe that if there is a masculinity problem in the church it is because men refuse to be involved not just in the church but in the raising of their children. To be fair I know many great men who are actively involved in church and in the raising of their children, but I have seen far more men check out of both contexts.

When it comes to seeing a man, who is an example of faith I got the blessing of watching my Grandpa John for the first 18 years of my life actively model what it means to be a Christian. John had grown up poor but had worked hard and became a successful businessman by the time I came into the family. He also had an incredible thirst for knowledge so much so that he had an impressive library in one of the rooms of his house that was predominately theologically focused. However, it was not the knowledge that had the most impact on teaching me how to be a Christian.

Until I moved to Joplin to go to bible college, I lived on the opposite side of a 10-acre farm from my grandparents. We ate dinners as a family and spent time together every evening. We also rode to church together every Sunday and Wednesday night. With this proximity I got to see my Grandpa John live out his faith. I got to see him pray, read scripture, walk by faith, and teach others. I got to see him confront people who taught things that were unorthodox as well as support those who took stances that despite being scriptural were not popular.

While I saw all these things my grandpa didn’t necessarily sit me down and teach me each of these things, but he modeled them on a daily basis. He also passed some of these responsibilities on to me as I grew up. While he did these things, he knew what he was doing. He knew that by modeling these things his children and grandchildren would pick them up. As we grew, he passed some of these things on to us. He would have us pray at the dinner table; he would help us when we taught a Sunday school class of our peers by showing us how to interpret the Bible but never doing it for us.

I honestly learned more about faith and the Bible from my grandpa than I did in either bible college or seminary, both of those experiences were valuable but they really just gave me the resources to back up what I already knew and knocked off some of the hard edges. I say this about my time in Christian higher education because I want you to know that you do not have to have a seminary degree to teach your kids how to be a Christian. All you need to do is live your faith in front of them.

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