“Our once great western Christian civilization is dying. If this matters to followers of Jesus Christ, then we must set aside our denominational differences and work together to strengthen the things that remain and reclaim what has been lost. Evangelicals and Catholics must stand together to re-establish that former Christian culture and moral consensus. We have the numbers and the organization but the question is this: Do we have the will to win this present spiritual battle for Jesus Christ against secularism? Will we prayerfully and cooperatively work toward a new Christian spiritual revival ― or will we choose to hunker down in our churches and denominationalisms and watch everything sink into the spiritual and moral abyss of a New Dark Age?” - Mark Davis Pickup

Monday, March 20, 2017


I have heard it said that if a sense of order and discipline is not established in a child's life before the age of seven, he is lost. I do not know where that pearl of parenting wisdom came from and I'm not even sure I believe the age part - but I think I understand the point that was being made.

Children need the security of consistent boundaries for behaviour to be established early in their lives in order for them to thrive. I'm not sure how the seven-year age limit came into the equation; perhaps it was simply an exaggeration to illustrate the fact that every child needs a sense of order. Fair enough. On that point, I hope most reasonable people agree.

I firmly believe that parents' must establish and maintain boundaries for proper moral behaviour - boundaries within which they themselves abide. Those boundaries must be consistent with Biblical Christian teaching. Why? Because that is the best way to live.

I refuse to accept that a child is ever beyond the pale of redemption because of bad circumstances, poor upbringing or even cruelty. If I did accept such an idea, the redemptive message of Christianity would ring hollow.

The Bible tells us that children are a gift and a heritage from God (Psalm 127.3). Parents do not own their children - they are entrusted with their children's physical, emotional and spiritual care. God calls parents to bring their children up in the way of the Lord. 

It is crucial that parents introduce their children, at the earliest age, to the mysteries of Christian faith and the reality of a personal relationship with Christ. Wholesome family life -- with Christ at its center -- can establish an interior spiritual life that is receptive to God's leading throughout a lifetime. I can personally attest to this truth. I was born into the gentle nurture of a Christian home. My parents imparted to me essential Christian truths from my earliest years. Although I turned away from the Christian faith as a young man, in my late twenties I returned to Christianity with a faith that was alive and rooted in a personal relationship with Christ. That faith has served me well throughout many storms of life (and there have been some nasty and frightening storms).

Marriage and family life under God are the ideal setting to build spiritual character for children. I know this because that is where God put his own Son. The Holy Family was the ideal place to nurture the Christ child.

A child reared under the love and nurture of godly parents is likely to thrive. Granted, it is not a guarantee that children will grow up to love and serve God. Worldly influences can tempt them away for a time, but the hounds of heavwen are relentless.  Chances are best that such children will return to be followers of Christ if their parents are their example. Children raised in a Christian home are more likely desire to serve rather than be served. They are more likely to view their lives in terms of seeking a higher calling.

I know forces contrary to Christian faith are everywhere and, quite frankly, may seem overwhelming. Parents must not lose heart. (That is exactly what the evil one wants.) Christian parents must continue teaching the faith and Biblical truth to their children, knowing their church communities and Christian education support them.

The love and hope of vibrant and living Christian faith stands in stark contrast to the chaos found in a godless world-view where materialism, consumption and temporary self-gratification often triumph over human dignity and individual worth.

In the midst of worldly consumption, Christ calls people to something different, something greater, something other-centred rather than self-centred. Young people who have been taught to listen for the leading of the Holy Spirit can discover the reason for which they were born. When this happens, they will discover a meaning and purpose to their lives that far outstrips anything the world can offer.

We desperately need a generation of young visionaries who are unafraid of being radicals for the kingdom of God and are prepared to dedicate their lives to furthering that kingdom on earth, even against great opposition. Young people who are on fire for God can change the world and even the course of history for the better. Parents can not wish for any greater legacy.


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