Book Review – The Scriptures Testify About Me

“You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.” (John 5:39-40)

Far too often, believers center their study of Scripture solely on the New Testament, viewing the Old Testament as something of a by-gone era. This approach is unfortunate as all of Scripture is inspired by God and perhaps more importantly, a full understanding of Jesus and the scarlet thread of redemption that runs throughout Scripture can only be truly obtained by reading the front of the book. The gospel message is one established before the foundation of the world thus a proper study of salvation contained in the gospel message has to begin where the story of God’s interaction with humanity begins, namely in the Old Testament corpus.

Dr. D. A. Carson has edited a book containing the transcript of eight addresses from the plenary session of the 2011 The Gospel Coalition Conference. In these addresses, a number of theological leaders address the importance of understanding Jesus from the pages of the Old Testament in order to more fully grasp the events and message contained in the New Testament. Men such as Dr. Albert Mohler, Dr. Tim Keller, Dr. Alistair Begg, Dr. James McDonald, Conrad Mbewe, Matt Chandler, Mike Bullmore, and Dr. D. A. Carson, engage this topic with great elucidation and theological insight helping the reader more fully understand the Messianic patterns and statements found throughout the Old Testament. While every chapter in this book is excellent and well worth reading, I will focus on the addresses of Dr. Mohler, Dr. Keller, and Dr. Carson for purposes of this review.

In his address, Dr. Mohler aptly sums up a reason why many young people are leaving the church noting “The absence of biblical, gospel preaching explains how we have created in our churches a generation of moralizing, therapeutic, practical deists.” The rejection of the meta-narrative of Scripture by the liberal establishment should cause concern. Far too often, the Old Testament is referred to as the Hebrew Bible or Hebrew Scriptures as if its content was only intended for the Jews. Furthermore, some have taken the opposite extreme claiming the Old Testament can be read without any need to engage the New Testament. Additionally, the dispensationalist approach to Scripture often wrongly bifurcate Scripture seemingly denying the flow of the biblical message. But wait, there’s more!

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Nathan Busenitz – In What Way Was Jesus ‘Made Sin’ on the Cross?

crown_of_thorns Yesterday, as I was reading through portions of Martin Luther’s commentary on Galatians, I came across the following:

“Christ took upon Himself our sins, not by constraint, but of His own good will, in order to bear the punishment and wrath of God: not for the sake of His own person (which was just and invincible, and was not in any way guilty), but for our person. So by means of a joyous substitution, He took upon Himself our sinful person, and gave to us His innocent and victorious person: with which we, being now clothed, are free from the curse of the law. . . . By faith alone therefore we are made righteous, for faith alone lays hold of this victory of Christ.” (Commentary on Gal. 3:13)

John Calvin’s comments on 2 Corinthians 5:21 are similar:

“How can we become righteous before God? In the same way as Christ became a sinner. For He took, as it were, our person, that He might be the offender in our name and thus might be reckoned a sinner, not because of His own offences but because of those of others, since He Himself was pure and free from every fault and bore the penalty that was our due and not His own. Now in the same way we are righteous in Him, not because we have satisfied God’s judgment by our own works, but because we are judged in relation to Christ’s righteousness which we have put on by faith, that it may become our own.” (Commentary on 2 Cor. 5:21)

Those quotations, which underscore the doctrines of substitutionary atonement and Christ’s imputed righteousness, reminded me of an earlier study I had done regarding 2 Corinthians 5:21 specifically with regard to this question: In what way was Jesus “made sin” on the cross?

I thought it’d be worth rehearsing some of that material in today’s post.

To state the question another way: Did Jesus become the literal embodiment of sin, or take on a sin nature, or become a sinner when He died at Calvary?

The heart of the question centers on Paul’s statement in 2 Corinthians 5:21: “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

In what sense did Jesus become “sin on our behalf”? Does that phrase mean that Jesus literally became a sinner on the cross?

There are some today who teach that Jesus became a sinner (or took on a sin nature) at the cross. Benny Hinn is one such advocate. In a TBN broadcast, Hinn exclaimed:

“He [Jesus] who is righteous by choice said, ‘The only way I can stop sin is by me becoming it. I can’t just stop it by letting it touch me; I and it must become one.’ Hear this! He who is the nature of God became the nature of Satan when he became sin!” (Benny Hinn, Trinity Broadcasting Network, December 1, 1990)

Prosperity-preacher Kenneth Copeland echoes those same teachings. In Copeland’s words:

“The righteousness of God was made to be sin. He accepted the sin nature of Satan in His own spirit. And at the moment that He did so, He cried, ‘My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?’ You don’t know what happened at the cross. Why do you think Moses, upon instruction of God, raised the serpent upon that pole instead of a lamb? That used to bug me. I said, ‘Why in the world would you want to put a snake up there; the sign of Satan? Why didn’t you put a lamb on that pole?’ And the Lord said, ‘Because it was a sign of Satan that was hanging on the cross.’ He said, ‘I accepted, in my own spirit, spiritual death; and the light was turned off.’” (Kenneth Copeland, “What Happened from the Cross to the Throne,” 1990, audiotape #02-0017, side 2)

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Carl Trueman – Adam and Eve and Pinch Me

It is encouraging to see that Dr. Albert Mohler is one of the two leaders of the TGC seminar on Adam (the other being Dr. Bryan Chapell). Kudos to TGC for a very good choice. Dr. Mohler has made it clear that evolution is not simply wrong but has gone so far as to describe it as a myth which is ‘not only incompatible with any historical affirmation of Genesis, but … also with the claim that all humanity is descended from Adam and the claim that in Adam all humanity fell into sin and guilt.’ He has also stated that ‘[t]he Bible’s account of the Fall and its consequences is utterly incompatible with evolutionary theory. The third chapter of Genesis is as problematic for evolutionary theory as the first two.’ In other words, he thinks that evolution excludes the biblical view of an historical Adam and therefore of original sin. In short, consistent affirmation of evolution ultimately requires denial of the gospel. You can read the whole statement here. As always, I appreciate Dr. Mohler’s forthright candor on this issue, as on so many others. And I find his argument on the significance of evolution for orthodox conceptions of the gospel to be persuasive, compelling and timely.

Dr. Tim Keller, one of the two most senior TGC leaders, also sees the church’s attitude to evolution as a watershed issue for the gospel. Unlike Dr. Mohler, however, he has made it clear over the last few years that he is not only committed to some form of theistic evolution (though maintaining an historical Adam, reconstructed in light of evolutionary theory) but also regards the church’s failure to take evolution on board as potentially catastrophic. His comments to this effect at a Biologos-sponsored colloquy were reported by Christianity Today here; and Mike Kruger offers an excellent response to that particular gathering here.

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Michael Boling – Reflections on Numbers 26-27

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Numbers 26-27

Numbers 26 contains another census of the people ordered by God. Since there had been several judgments levied upon Israel including plagues and people being swallowed up by the earth, God spoke to Moses and Eleazar the son of Aaron the priest and told them to take a census of the people, specifically those twenty years old and up, by their father’s house counting only those in that category who are able to go to war. The finally tally was 601,730.

It was to these God commanded the land of promise to be divided as their inheritance with the larger tribes receiving a larger inheritance and the smaller tribes receiving a smaller inheritance. The Levites were not numbered in the census and were given no inheritance of land.

The daughters of Zelophehad the son of Hepher, the son of Gilead, the son of Machir, the son of Manasseh, the son of Joseph stood before Moses and before Eleazar the priest in the presence of all the leaders of the congregation at the doorway to the tent of meeting. They noted that their father had died in the wilderness, but he was not part of the rebellion against God. He died in his own sin, leaving no sons. These daughters were understandably worried as to where their inheritance would be, if anything and why would they have no inheritance simply because they had no sons. Their request was to be given a possession from among their father’s brothers.

Moses brought their case before God and the Lord told Moses that what the daughters of Zelophehad spoke of was correct. They should receive an inheritance among their father’s brothers. God told Moses to tell the people that if a man dies and has no son, the inheritance would pass to his daughter. If has no daughter, the inheritance would go to his brothers. If he has no brothers, the inheritance would go to his father’s brothers. If his family has no brothers, the inheritance would go to his nearest relative.

God told Moses to go up to Mount Abarim so he could view the land of promise so that after he observed the land, he could be gathered to his people (or die). God commanded Moses to take Joshua the son of Nun with him and to lay his hands upon Joshua. He was to be set before Eleazar the priest and before the congregation to be inaugurated as the next leader of the people of Israel upon Moses’ death. Moses did as God commanded.

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Intelmin Week in Review: 20-26 May 2013

Here is what made it on Intelmin this past week. It was yet another busy week with lots of great articles, book reviews, and videos to share. Thanks for stopping by.

Dr. Elizabeth Mitchell – BSA and Gay: Phase One

The Feasts of the Lord – The Fullfillment of the Feast of Shavuot (Pentecost)

Tedd Tripp – Listening at Home

Andrew Shanks – What’s the Difference Between Erotica and Song of Solomon?

John Knight – Beyond the Rhetoric: Gosnell and the Late-Term Reality

Carl Trueman – Tragic Worship

Daniel Darling – 5 Ways Adult Children Can Honor Their Parents

Steve DeWitt – Arrows Out

Michael Kruger – The Difference Between Original Autographs and Original Texts

Lindsey Carlson – The Plastic Fruit of Online Living

Daniel Darling – Why Your Spiritual Growth Matters to the Community

Dr. Danny Faulkner – Universe by Design: Twentieth-Century Cosmology

Dr. Danny Faulkner – Universe by Design: Twentieth-Century Cosmology

Dr. Albert Mohler – Boy Scouts at the Brink: The Moment of Decision Arrives

Marc Ambler – Biblical Creation—Truly, a Theory of Everything (ToE)

Charles Hodge – Theology Proper

Mike Leake – Tornadoes and Theology

Sam Storms – Tornadoes, Tsunamis, and the Mystery of Suffering and Sovereignty

Dr. Albert Mohler – The Goodness of God and the Reality of Evil

Glenn Stanton – FactChecker: Is the ‘I Only Need Jesus!’ Declaration Christian?

Winston Hottman – The Gospel and the (Im)perfect Marriage

Michael Horton – Christless Christianity: Getting in Christ’s Way

Glenn Stanton – FactChecker: Does Abba Mean ‘Daddy’?

Tedd Tripp – The Power of Presentation

E.H. Askwith – The Historical Value of the Fourth Gospel

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Stephen Charnock – Discourse on the Wisdom of God

rp_stephencharnock.jpeg Romans. 16:27.—To God only wise be glory, through Jesus Christ, for ever. Amen.

THIS chapter being the last of this Epistle, is chiefly made up of charitable and friendly salutations and commendations of particular persons, according to the earliness and strength of their several graces, and their labor of love for the interest of God and his people. In verse 17, he warns them not to be drawn aside from the gospel doctrine, which had been taught them, by the plausible pretences and insinuations which the corrupters of the doctrine and rule of Christ never want from the suggestions of their carnal wisdom. The brats of soul-destroying errors may walk about the world in a garb and disguise of good words and fair speeches, as it is in the 18th. verse; by “good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.” And for their encouragement to a constancy in the gospel doctrine, he assures them, that all those that would dispossess them of truth, to possess them with vanity, are but Satan’s instruments, and will fall under the same captivity and yoke with their principal (ver. 18); “The God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly.” Whence, observe,

1. All corrupters of divine truth, and troublers of the church’s peace, are no better than devils. Our Saviour thought the name, Satan, a title merited by Peter, when he breathed out an advice, as an axe at the root of the gospel, the death of Christ, the foundation of all gospel truth; and the apostle concludes them under the same character, which hinder the superstructure, and would mix their chaff with his wheat (Matt. 16:23), “Get thee behind me, Satan.” It is not, Get thee behind me, Simon, or, Get thee behind me, Peter; but “Get thee behind me, Satan; thou art an offence to me.” Thou dost oppose thyself to the wisdom, and grace, and authority of God, to the redemption of man, and to the good of the world. As the Holy Ghost is the Spirit of truth, so is Satan the spirit of falsehood as the Holy Ghost inspires believers with truth, so doth the devil corrupt unbelievers with error. Let us cleave to the truth of the gospel, that we may not be counted by God as part of the corporation of fallen angels, and not be barely reckoned as enemies of God, but in league with the greatest enemy to his glory in the world.

2. The Reconciler of the world will be the Subduer of Satan. The God of peace sent the Prince of peace to be the restorer of his rights, and the hammer to beat in pieces the usurper of them. As a God of truth, he will make good his promise; as a God of peace, he will perfect the design his wisdom hath laid, and begun to act. In the subduing Satan, he will be the conqueror of his instruments: he saith not, God shall bruise your troublers and heretics, but Satan: the fall of a general proves the rout of the army. Since God, as a God of peace, hath delivered his own, he will perfect the victory, and make them cease from bruising the heel of his spiritual seed.

3. Divine evangelical truth shall be victorious. No weapon formed against it shall prosper: the head of the wicked shall fall as low as the feet of the godly. The devil never yet blustered in the world, but he met at last with a disappointment: his fall hath been like lightning, sudden, certain, vanishing.

4. Faith must look back as far as the foundation promise. “The God of peace shall bruise,” &c. The apostle seems to allude to the first promise (Gen. 2:15),—a promise that hath vigor to nourish the church in all ages of the world: it is the standing cordial; out of the womb of this promise all the rest have taken their birth. The promises of the Old Testament were designed for those under the New, and the full performance of them is to be expected, and will be enjoyed by them. It is a mighty strengthening to faith, to trace the footsteps of God’s truth and wisdom, from the threatening against the serpent in Eden, to the bruise he received in Calvary, and the triumph over him upon Mount Olivet.

5. We are to confide in the promise of God, but leave the season of its accomplishment to his wisdom. He will “bruise Satan under your feet,” therefore do not doubt it; and shortly, therefore, wait for it. Shortly it will be done, that is, quickly, when you think it may be a great way off; or shortly, that is, seasonably, when Satan’s rage is hottest. God is the best judge of the seasons of distributing his own mercies, and darting out his own glory: it is enough to encourage our waiting, that it will be, and that it will be shortly; but we must not measure God’s shortly by our minutes.

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Michael Boling – Betrothal, the Believer’s Relationship with Jesus, and Eschatology (Part 1)

Betrothal, the Believer’s Relationship with Jesus, and Eschatology (Part 1)

For most Christians, the last two concepts in the title of this article are at least somewhat familiar. Our relationship with Jesus is a phrase commonly by Christians and eschatology is quite simply that fancy theological term for all things related to the end of time. Betrothal on the other hand is a term I would venture to say most Christians have only a passing understanding of. Perhaps they have heard that term used from their yearly bible reading in Hosea 2:19 or more likely from Luke 2:5 and the story of Mary and Joseph. Even then, the word betrothal is often translated as espoused or pledged, thus the reason many are not familiar with the word or concept of betrothal.

So what does the term betrothal mean and why is it of any importance for understanding our relationship with Jesus and/or eschatology? Was betrothal merely an Ancient Near East (ANE) custom that has absolutely no significance for us today or is that concept and process dripping with theological importance and something we should study in order to recognize the value of such a model both for the original hearers of the biblical message and for our lives today? With that as a background, this article will explore the betrothal process examining the various elements of this marital process. In the next part of this series, we will take the understanding gained from understanding what betrothal was all about in order to see how it applies to how we are to relate to Jesus and how he relates to us. Finally, in the third and final installment of this series, we will look at how the betrothal model relates to eschatology.

First let’s begin with some definitions. Betrothal is typically defined in most dictionaries as engagement to be married or a mutual promise to marry. When defined in that manner, betrothal does not appear to be any different than the more modern term of engagement. As definitions often do, the ANE process of betrothal is quite a bit more pregnant with meaning than the average dictionary definition provides.

So what exactly did betrothal mean in the ANE? Betrothal did involve a mutual promise to marry; however, that definition barely scratches the surface of what was actually involved. The process of betrothal consisted of two distinct and vitally important events, the first being the Kiddushin and the second being the Nissuin.

The word kiddushin comes from the Hebrew root word kadosh, meaning holy or set apart. Thus, at the kiddushin, the man and woman are betrothed or promised to one another, more appropriately defined as being set apart for one another. At this important event, a number of activities took place. The bridegroom provided the bride with a dowry, typically money or something of monetary value. Additionally, both parties signed a document known as a Ketubah which outlined the “mutual obligations of the bride and groom. At one time, this marriage contract gave the bride important legal protection. Today, the purpose of the Ketubah is to remind the couple of their moral responsibilities to each other.” (See Judaism.about.com) At this point, the bride and bridegroom were considered to be legally married without the physical “benefits” of marriage. Furthermore, the bridegroom drank wine from a special glass reserved for only the lips of the bridegroom and bride. Once the bridegroom took a drink, he handed the glass to the bride. If she drank from the glass, it was understood she accepted the terms of the Ketubah. The glass was then set aside for the Nissuin.

Once both parties had agreed to the terms of the Ketubah and the document had been signed, a period of waiting and preparation began. During this period which typically lasted at least a year, the bride and bridegroom, though married, lived apart from one another. Each individual was focused on preparing themselves for the Nissuin, a day only the father of the bridegroom knew. A main responsibility of the bridegroom was to prepare a place for him and his bride to live. Additionally, the bridegroom is instructed on how to be a husband by not only his father, but also from the men of the community. The bridegroom also underwent a period of preparation in which she is instructed in matters of marriage by her mother and the women of the community. Quite often, the bride was responsible for making her own wedding garment.

At a time when the father of the bridegroom deemed it appropriate based on his confidence the bridegroom and bride were ready, the Nissuin or marriage ceremony took place. The word Nissuin literally means “to carry” which is of great significance considering the bride actually was waiting for her bridegroom to come carry her to their new home. The Nissuin was quite a celebration and “It was customary for one of the grooms party to go ahead of the bridegroom, leading the way to the bride’s house – and shout – “Behold, the bridegroom comes.” This would be followed by the sounding of the shofar. At the sounding of the shofar the entire wedding processional would go through the streets of the city to the bride’s house.” (See Nissuin) The bridegroom was responsible for erecting the chuppah under which the wedding ceremony would occur. During the Nissuin, the glass that was drank from at the Kiddusin by the bridegroom and bride was once again filled with wine. Both the bridegroom and bride would drink from the glass after which the bridegroom would step on the glass shattering it to signify the establishment of the couple as husband and wife. At the conclusion of the Nissuin, the bridegroom and bride would consummate the marriage thus fully becoming husband and wife. A sign of the bride keeping herself pure would be the stained bed sheet indicative of the bride being a virgin. The Nissuin ceremony was immediately followed by the wedding supper, a time of great celebration and feasting.

As you can see, the betrothal process involved far more than our modern day effort of “popping the question” and the giving of the engagement ring. A betrothal arrangement in ancient times involved both families and the community at large being involved in the events of the Kiddusin and Nissuin. Betrothal was a solemn commitment that could only be broken through a certificate of divorce, something that was only granted for infidelity on the part of the bridegroom or bride. Hopefully you have begun to notice some interesting parallels between the betrothal process and our relationship with our bridegroom, the Lord Jesus Christ. It is those parallels that will be examined in part 2 of this series so stay tuned!

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Michael Boling – Reflections on Numbers 18-20

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Numbers 18-20

God spoke to Aaron, telling him that he and his son’s and his father’s house were to bear the iniquity related to the sanctuary and the iniquity associated with their priesthood. The sons of Levi were to attend to his needs and the needs of the sanctuary as outlined in previous chapters.

Certain offerings and portions of offerings were to be reserved for Aaron and his sons. God told Aaron that he would have no inheritance in the land of promise, meaning they would not be provide a portion of the land as would the other tribes. God would be their portion.

Guidelines for the offering of a red heifer were also provided by God. The red heifer was to be without blemish and was to be slaughtered outside the camp by the priest. Some of the blood from the red heifer was to be sprinkled seven times directly in front of the tabernacle of meeting. The red heifer was then to be burned in the presence of the priest with cedar wood and hyssop and scarlet tossed into the fire. Following the burning of the red heifer, the priest was to wash himself and his clothes, being unclean until evening. Someone who was clean would be responsible for gathering the ashes and storing them outside the camp in a clean place for the purification of the people.

A reiteration of cleanliness laws are also noted especially concerning what must take place should one touch a dead body or when someone dies in in a tent. God provided guidelines for how the unclean person was to cleanse themselves.

The people journeyed and came to the Wilderness of Zin, staying at Kadesh. Miriam, the sister of Moses and Aaron, died there and was buried. At this location, there was no water resulting in the people contending once again with Moses about their situation. They claimed Moses had brought them to that place to die in the wilderness, declaring they should have stayed in Egypt.

God spoke to Moses, telling him to speak to gather the people and to speak to the rock and it would yield water before the eyes of the people. Moses did not do as God commanded. Instead of speaking to the rock, Moses struck the rock. Water did gush forth; however, this lack of obedience displeased God. For disobeying God’s command, God told Moses and Aaron they would not lead the people into the land of promise. The place was called the water of Meribah.

Moses sent messengers from Kadesh to the king of Edom, asking permission for the people of Israel to pass through his land, noting that as they passed through, the people would not touch any of the produce of the land. They would instead travel along the King’s Highway. Edom refused their request. Even after Israel offered to pay for the ability to travel through their land, Edom refused to provide Israel passage forcing Israel to turn away.

God spoke to Moses and Aaron in Mount Hor near the border of Edom, telling them that Aaron would be gathered to his people and would die, not being able to enter the land of promise. Moses was told to take Aaron’s priestly garments and to place them on Aaron’s son Eleazar. Moses did as God commanded and Aaron died on Mount Hor. The people of Israel mourned the death of Aaron for 30 days.

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Daniel Darling – 5 Ways Adult Children Can Honor Their Parents

How should an adult grown (presumably married, but not necessarily) child relate to his or her parents? There is a tension in Scripture between obeying the Scripture which says to “leave and cleave” in forming your own adult identity and family (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:5) and obeying the Scripture which says to “honor your father and mother” (Exodus 20:12; Ephesians 6:2).

Every family has it’s own rhythm. Every family has its own share of circumstances, from abusive to permissive to annoying, etc. So how one adult child handles his or her parents isn’t necessarily a blueprint for another. Still, the Scriptures seem to indicate an intentional approach to the way we love our parents as adults.

This is a journey I’ve traveled in the last few years. I seem to have endured the typical cycle: being cared for and nurtured by my parents as a child, distancing and forming my own identity as a teen (though still wanting their money and food), thinking my generation will solve all the mistakes my parents made, and finally where I am today: appreciating my parents and figuring out how I can love them better. I’m guessing you’ve traveled a similar road.

As I’ve pondered this important relationships, I’ve come up with five general guidelines for the way adult children should handle their parents. Like most of my lists, this is not exhaustive and I know that after reading this some outraged and enterprising blogger will create a response. So be it. Here’s the list:

1) Always respect your parents, even when it is difficult. By honoring, I think the Bible is saying more than simple respect. But it’s not saying less. I’m amazed at how I hear otherwise good, godly people treat their parents. I’ve been in nursing homes where kids are literally yelling and berating their parents. I realize that sometimes parents are not the easiest people to love, but this is why love is something we do and is not something we feel. Your parents, regardless of their flaws, brought you into the world. They nurtured and cared for you and loved you the best way they can. Give them some respect, treat them with kindness and deference, and realize that one day you’ll be the one with the walker and the really bad elastic pants. You don’t want your kids yelling at you that way, do you?

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Michael Boling – Talking With Your Kids About Sex and Relationships

quotescover-JPG-51 This past weekend, I read three books dealing with the same subject matter – the need for parents to talk with their children about God’s design for sex and godly relationships. What all three books had in common was the urgent nature of their message, one that can no longer be ignored. We live in a sex saturated society. Only the most naïve of parents (the head in the sand types) are unaware of that stark reality. The statistics are rather depressing. For example, the average age when a child is first exposed to pornography is right around the age of eleven. That is not the late night Showtime pornography mind you. Conversely, that is hard-core pornography. Gone are the days when a kid had to go over to their friend’s house in order to find the place where their dad hid the girlie magazines. We live in a time when pornography is accessible from any and every electronic device imaginable. Porn can be obtained often from a simple Google search.

I have written lately on the need for parents to be engaged in their children’s lives. I have also shared some suggestions on what getting involved looks like in practice. I want to add to my previous comments in this post.

Engagement with children cannot be sporadic or just a singular event. The level of engagement required, especially when it comes to sex, has to be consistent and frequent. As Jonathan McKee notes in his excellent book More Than Just the Talk, communication with your children on matters related to sex has to be a constant dialogue. Having a one way conversation or monologue just won’t cut it. Furthermore, sitting your child down for that dreaded “sex talk” thinking you have now set your child up for success in all matters related to sexuality is a false pipedream.

One thing is quite clear. Children crave information. If they are not getting godly advice and counsel on God’s design for sex and godly relationships from you as parents, they will get on the nearest electronic device and Google their questions. I will submit what they will find on their Google search will not qualify as sound, biblical, godly advice on sex and relationships. If they do not have access to electronic devices, they will simply go to their friends for answers, a group of people as equally clueless and misguided as the information found on a Google search. Google is useful, but not when it comes to how your children obtain their concepts of sex and relationships as I am sure Focus on the Family will not be the first selection that comes up on the screen.

Now having a conversation with your child about sex is certainly no piece of cake. After all, kids know everything straight out of the womb, right? Well at least they think they do. The rolling of their eyes when you try and initiate a conversation with them about sex and God’s plan in this area of their life indicates their “know it all” attitude. Trust me. I know what this is like as I have a 13 year old daughter who is convinced she has heard it all and knows everything about these issues because she attended a puberty class in sixth grade. Unfortunately, many parents get frustrated with their child’s response, react in a not so godly manner to their child’s “know it all” attitude, and then throw up their hands in disgust, likely never returning at any point in the future to this all important topic. Then they are amazed when they find out their child is viewing pornography or has been having sex with someone from the church youth group…yes the church youth group. If you are shocked by that statement, you might be part of the naïve crowd of parents out there.

Engaging your child about God’s design for sex and sexuality will not result in your child being a perfect little angel. Thinking in that manner is also naïve. However, statistics show that kids of parents who regularly engage their children on these topics from a biblical perspective are far less likely to fall into sexual immorality. Why? Because they understand God’s plan for them and appreciate that His way is far better than the world’s way. They are better able to grasp that waiting until marriage to have sex is the best way. Teaching your child that staying pure is not just about them, but also about staying pure for their future husband and wife puts a whole new spin on things. Such a perspective roots out the selfish attitude that is at the core of sexual promiscuity.

Let’s face it parents. The modern dating model is flawed and we are doing a terrible job of training up our children regarding matters of sexuality. The battle lines have been drawn and the world is attacking our children with a never ending barrage of smut wrapped up with a pretty little bow. The time is now for you to get off the sidelines and to become engaged in the lives of your children. If you don’t, then trust me that a parade of others will gladly take your place, holding your child’s hand in an effort to lead them down a path that is far from what God desires for them. Thinking that one “sex talk” will cut it is incorrect. Thinking your child can control themselves out on a date in the back seat of a car with little Johnny from youth group is incorrect. Thinking that television show, movie, or music is not having a negative influence on your child is incorrect.

Your children need you and they need you now to be godly parents. They need you to be the guiding force in their life, especially when it comes to sex. They need you to invest in their lives with the truth of Scripture. They need you to set the example in the home of what being a godly man and woman looks like. These are things that cannot be put off any longer. The time to have dialogue with your child about sex is now. The time to re-think your approach to the modern dating model is now. The allure of the world is strong, but by the grace of God and a concerted effort to train up your child in the ways of God, that allure can be revealed for what it is, namely depravity and a road full of heartaches.

If parents continue to walk around with blinders on thinking their children would never engage in premarital sex, then the status quo will continue. A lack of engagement by parents is far too often the status quo and that approach is failing miserably. I encourage parents to begin having those difficult conversations with their children. If you are clueless as to how to begin, rest assured you are in good company. I am learning how to do this myself. Thankfully there are some excellent books available that can assist you in your efforts. I highly recommend all of the following books:

More than Just the Talk by Jonathan McKee

Sex Matters by Jonathan McKee

Teaching True Love to a Sex at 13 Generation by Eric and Leslie Ludy

When God Writes Your Love Story by Eric and Leslie Ludy

I Kissed Dating Goodbye by Joshua Harris

The information contained in these books will greatly assist you in talking to your kids about sex and godly relationships. Some of the suggestions presented in these books could result in a paradigm shift in your thinking, a needed one I will submit especially in the area of the modern dating model and its many pitfalls. Additionally, some of the statistics provided in these books will likely shock you. They certainly shocked me as I was under the false impression that sexual issues had not crept into the church as much as they really have in recent years.

I know this all comes across as a bit “preachy”. Some may be thinking “How dare he tell me how to raise my children. There is no way my little Susie is viewing porn, watching sexually explicit material on television, or listening to music that promotes sexual promiscuity. She is a church going, youth group attending young lady.” In some cases that may be true; however, if you are thinking that, I urge you to at least find out what your child is doing with their spare time. The statistics demonstrate that your child likely is doing the very things you think they are not doing and if they are not actively doing any of those things, they are being exposed to such garbage more often than we probably are aware. Just look at the magazines in the check-out lane in your local grocery store. The headlines are appalling and your children are noticing those headlines and are pondering what they mean. Since most parents are not actively engaged with their children regarding sex, kids are finding answers somewhere and where they are finding answers to their questions is probably not in the pages of Scripture.

Here is the bottom line: Our children need parents who care and who are willing to take the time and effort to teach and instruct them in godly principles. Parents need to take every opportunity to reveal the false teaching of the world when it comes to sex. Trust me. There are plenty of opportunities each and every day to compare and contrast the world’s failed policies with God’s perfect policies. Take advantage of those times with your children. Develop a dialogue with your children as they are yearning for it whether they will have the courage to admit it or not. I urge you to take time to pray for and with your children and by all means take time to read God’s Word yourself and with your children. Conversations outside the framework of God’s Word will fall short of the intended goal, that of instructing them in God’s ways.

We have to be passionate about raising our children and I trust this discussion and call to action as well as the resources provided will serve you well in your efforts.

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