Will My Children Become Christian?

If we are Christian, then we certainly want and hope that our children will be Christian also. As a Christian we hope for salvation leading to an eternity with God’s blessing in heaven, in addition to the meaning in life Christian faith provides.  Without Christ, Hell is the other destination, the Bible teaches.  We want what’s best for us and our kids in life and in eternity.

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But here’s the deal. In this day and age many children grow up in “Christian” families, only to abandon this pathway when they get out of school, as adults.  Why does this happen so often?

A new study published in the Religion, Brain & Behavior Journal shows that IF parents love Jesus sincerely, and demonstrate that with the way they live their lives, their children will follow their example.  On the other hand, if the parents are hypocrites (meaning they profess to be Christian, but it does not show in how they live their lives), children not only fail be become Christian, they are often drawn to atheism!  This is becoming epidemic in our society.

The study included a gathering of 5,000 atheists, with them being asked: How old were you when you gave up on your parent’s religion, and how committed were your parents in their faith practice? The responses reinforced that insincere or unfaithfully practiced Christianity resulted in the children struggling and many abandoning the so-called faith of their parents.

Their conclusions were somewhat general in nature, there were exceptions, as is usually the case with people of free will. But the study definitely said that the religious behavior and practices of the parents have significant influence on the path their children take.

What can we learn from this? Certainly, that those who say “I don’t want to take my child to church or insist they do anything religious, so they can make their own choice” are only fooling themselves.  The child looks for clues as to what they will and won’t accept in life, and by failing to expose them to your own beliefs you simply open them up to the beliefs of others who will influence them.  At least make your beliefs part of the mix they will have to consider.  Apathy on your part most likely will lead to apathy on their part, or else cause a reaction, with them seeking some tangent belief (or nonbelief).

The bottom line of this topic is: Parent, what do you truly believe? And, do you believe it enough to seriously put the tenets of your belief into practice?  If not, YOU have a problem.  That’s the heart of the thing.  And unfortunately, your problem may become your child’s problem.

Proverbs 22:6 states a principle. It’s not full-proof, but it’s usually true.  “Train up a child in the way he should go, and even when the person is old, they will not depart from it.”  We live in a sinful and mixed-up world.  Don’t make it worse for your children by not living out your beliefs or helping them prepare. Are you a Christian?  Talk about it at home, pray openly, read the Bible, conform in a loving way, participate in the local assembly of Christians, and make it real for your kids.

“What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but not works (does not live out his faith)? Can such faith save him (or have proper influence on his children)? So, faith by itself, without works (without truly following the Lord), is dead.” Jas. 2:14-17

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Is Baptism Necessary?

I wish this wasn’t an issue. It shouldn’t be for Bible believing people. But when it comes to baptism, the various stances of churches and teachers over the years has made it an issue. So, the question becomes: In the process of understanding who Jesus is, that he died for my sins, rose from the dead, and thus conquered death on my behalf; deciding I will become a disciple of Jesus, must I be baptized?

The best source for resolving that issue is the book of Acts. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John tell us of the life of Jesus, describe his death and resurrection. The letters written by the apostles or their apprentice instruct Christians, admonish, provide encouragement. Only the book of Acts truly focuses on people becoming Christian, then forming churches. What do we find there on baptism? Let’s look.Is Baptism Necessary Pic

Acts 2 – Peter preaches on Pentecost, telling the crowd, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you.”

Acts 8 – We are told the Samaritans believed and they were baptized; then we see that when the Ethiopian Eunuch was told of Jesus he said, “Here is water, what prevents me from being baptized?”

Acts 9 – Saul/Paul is converted, and we see he arose and was baptized. When he retells the story in Acts 22 we find Ananias telling him, “And now why do you delay, rise and be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on the name of the Lord.”

Acts 10 – Cornelius, the first Gentile convert, Peter commands him to be baptized in the name of Jesus. Acts 16 – Lydia is converted, the Lord opened her heart to pay attention we’re told, then she was baptized. Same chapter we find the Jailer believes, and he was baptized. Acts 18 – Crispus, we are told, believed and was baptized.

Acts 19 – disciples of John the Baptist – knew of John’s baptism, but when the need based on the connection to Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection is explained, they are baptized in name of Jesus.

There are a couple of other accounts in Acts of people “believing” with no mention of baptism, but to the Jew of the 1st Century, believing without following through with the necessary action was nonsense. To truly believe, you followed through. We can easily assume they did so.

Join the above examples from Acts with the strait-forward instruction of Jesus and his apostles and it is pretty compelling. Jesus said, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” (Matt. 28:19). The Apostle Paul provides the explanation for what baptism accomplishes, “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried with him by baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:3, 4) We also find that through baptism we are clothed with Christ, hiding our sins while allowing God to see us through the righteousness of Jesus (Galatians 3: 26, 27).

There’s nothing magical about being dunked in water in itself, but when predicated by genuine faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, it is a step of that faith we must not neglect.

…having been buried with him (Jesus) in baptism in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. (Colossians 2:11,12)

To the Closed Heart

I am not better than you, whoever you are. And I’m not the nut “Christian” that you saw on the news doing something political or strange. I am not your judge. I do not have all the answers. But I do have a few questions that I’d like you to consider:

What do you believe? You’ve closed your heart to Christian faith, I’m not sure why, but surely you believe in something. Is it really God you have rejected, or just an inaccurate portrayal of him? If we are honest, even though we don’t think about it much, we know that we face death one day. On what basis do you have hope beyond the grave? If you take the time to really read the Bible, about how God revealed himself in Jesus Christ, how through Jesus he died for our sins, and how through the resurrection of Jesus we can have hope for resurrection one day, that’s a pretty amazing thing. Is that what you’ve rejected? Take a closer look, please.

Are you an atheist? That would seem odd to me. Most people don’t define themselves by what they do not believe. I don’t call myself an “a-Buddhist” or an “a-Muslim” (“a” in front of the word means you are not what follows). Yet some call themselves a-theists. They do not believe in God, and that’s how they define themselves. But I don’t know you: how do you define yourself?

In spite of a huge amount of evidence to support creation and the Bible and the historical person of Jesus and his resurrection, there are tough questions that arise; but tell me, must all of your questions be answered before you believe? In the realm of science, for example, there are many unanswered questions, many mistakes they make, do you fail to believe in science as a result?to-the-closed-heart-pic

Maybe a church or an individual in a church, maybe even a priest or pastor, has let you down in a major way. If that is the case, I am sorry. Really. Too many people suffer from such things. Maybe the person who hurt you wasn’t in fact a Christian at all, many wear the name who do not sincerely swear allegiance to Christ. Others who are truly Christian still make mistakes as they grow and mature in their Christian walk. Please try to understand, that gives further evidence of the sin problem Christ dealt with. It is not a reason to reject him, but a reason to run to him.

If you read one of the gospel accounts (I might recommend Mark, a short, fast paced account of the life of Jesus), I bet you’ll be surprised by the frustration Jesus himself expressed for religious leaders and the people who claimed what they did not live. Yet crowds flocked to Jesus, those who honestly faced their sin and wanted a solution to it. When the Apostle Peter preached the first resurrection message (in Acts 2) people who were convicted cried out, “What must we do?” And Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins…” Many (3,000) responded.

That was just the beginning. Such can be the beginning for you too. Please open your heart back up and consider the true message of Jesus.