This blog is very long. It is in answer to a blog of my daughter's. I had no short answer, so I decided to do it as my own blog rather than as a comment on hers.
The Bible is filled with information and directives on how to live the Christian life. If those directives are compiled, guess what? They turn into a list, and they happen to be a list of what to do and what not to do. Here are some great examples of what God has to say in His word about Christian living:
Present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God.
Be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.
Abhor that which is evil.
Cleave to that which is good.
Be kindly affectioned one to another.
Be not slothful in business.
Rejoice in hope.
Continue instant in prayer.
Bless them which persecute you.
Be of the same mind one toward another.
Be not wise in your own conceits.
Recompense to no man evil for evil. (All the above from Rom. 12)
Flee from idolatry. (I Cor. 10:14)
Do all to the glory of God (I Cor. 10:31)
Follow after charity. (I Cor. 14:1)
Be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord (I Cor. 15:58)
Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers. (II Cor 6:14)
Walk in the Spirit. (Gal 5:16)
Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth. (Eph 4:29)
Now, this is a VERY short list of items given in the New Testament. I didn’t choose this particular list to preach to anyone. I just found these as I was flipping through pages in my Bible. At least in the list I gave, most of the sentences are written in the positive, not the negative. God is not negative, but He does expect us as born-again Christians to obey, whether we are NOT TO DO certain things, or we are TO DO certain things.
When God does NOT specifically give direction in His Word concerning certain things, then we are to follow the principles set up in Scripture. Does this activity or thought glorify God? Will it cause harm to weaker Christians or to the unsaved? Will I offend others? And even though some have made fun of the WWJD mentality, we still ought to consider: Would Jesus do this activity? And we shouldn’t qualify that question by adding “in today’s world” or “with the modern-day mentality.” Jesus Christ and His Word are the same for all times: back in the New Testament times, today in modern times, and 1000 years from now. God does not change. The meaning of Scripture does not change.
Now to address the idea of the confines that children are put under in a Christian home and in a Christian school. When two parents are born-again Christians who believe God’s Word and who want to raise their children in the “nurture and admonition of the Lord (I Cor 10:11),” does that mean we teach our children to do right even when they don’t yet know the Lord for themselves? A resounding YES! Does this mean that sometimes the rules and regulations grate on the children’s self expression and desire to live as they chose? YES! We cannot get away from the truth of God’s Word with its lists of DO’s and DON’Ts as already mentioned above. Do the children turn into Christians by following the rules? NEVER.
A side note: I think all responsible parents, saved or not, following God’s Word or not, will have rules for their children to live by. This is the only way the kids turn out to be responsible students, citizens and parents themselves.
Also a Christian school cannot function without rules. Does this mean that the students will like the rules? NO. Does it mean they turn into Christians by following the rules? DEFINETLY NOT.
Parents and Christian schools cannot legislate spirituality. All they can do is train children to see what is right and wrong and to do the right. What we hope and pray for is that our children will come to realize their need for Jesus Christ as their personal Savior through the process of living the life set for them by their parents and/or the Christian school and through correct teaching from God’s Word.
Does this always work? Sadly, I’m afraid not. I’ve seen many children from Christian homes and Christian schools who never did “catch on” to their need of a personal Savior. They conformed to the rules most of the time, heard the Gospel presented many times, memorized Scripture, had godly examples in the home, school and church, and maybe even did some of the ministry things involved in a true Christian walk. But some never became Christians. That makes me cry because they need the Lord, but we can’t force it through good teaching, through memorization, through church attendance, or through rules.
As for the list some people compile of things that Christians do (pray, come forward at church camp, read the Bible a lot, be baptized, etc.), let me remind you that we as Christians are to “work out our salvation,” not in order to become saved but in order to please and obey the Lord. This means we serve God in the ways and through the opportunities He gives us. If this means that these things are put on someone’s list and made to look as foolish, that can’t be helped. We all are accountable only to God. Sometimes that’s an easy accountability. Sometime it isn’t.
I’ve been pretty preachy in this blog. I don’t want to cause offense and I hope I haven’t. I hope I have been true to the Word of God in what I have said. If I haven’t please forgive me. God is always good. He is always right. He always wants a wonderful, grace-filled relationship with us. And He always wants us to live by his Word, something we can do only through His leading and through the strength of the Holy Spirit.
Finally, the END.