Tim Challies – Sexual Consent in a Confused, Confusing World

Over the past few years, there has been a crescendo of talk about sexual consent aimed especially at our teens and young adults. Freshman orientation at the local college is now less likely to orient students in the ins and the outs of campus and curriculum and more likely to teach the ins and outs of sex and consent. Students are taught that consent must be given before the commencement of any sexual encounter and again explicitly through each and every progression of that encounter. Any withholding, denial, or inability to give consent are clear indications that all sexual acts must cease immediately.

It is good and wise, of course, to teach the importance of sexual consent and the terrible harm that comes by ignoring or violating it. Please hear me: non-consensual sexual activity of any kind is immoral, abhorrent, and inexcusable. It falls to parents to teach our children its importance. But, as we will see, the problem with so much of today’s talk of consent is that it studiously avoids grounding it in the only appropriate context for sexual activity. If we, as Christian parents, ground our children in that context, we will have come a long way toward instructing them in the matter of consent in a confused and confusing world.

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Tim Challies – The Duty of Moderation

This is an age of consumption, an age of abundance, an age of excess. At least for those of us in the developed world, it is a time of all-you-can-eat buffets, of room-sized walk-in closets, of unlimited bandwidth and endless binge-watching. Our homes are so loaded with stuff that we’ve made self-storage units a thriving and growing multi-billion dollar industry. We’re overflowing and overwhelmed and unhappy.

Some have responded with a new emphasis on frugality and minimalism, of spending as little as possible and owning only the bare essentials. Yet such efforts never live up to their promise and rarely last for long. Minimalism quickly proves just as disappointing and soul-wearying a god as abundance.

There must be another way. There must be a better option. And, according to God, there is! In a short series of articles I have been examining the 10 duties of every Christian and now, in this context, we turn to the duty of moderation.

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Tim Challies – What’s the Purpose of … Children?

It used to be so straightforward. We got married, then we had children. It’s just what we did. But then something changed, so that today both marriage and having children have become optional, matters of preference. Countless millions are choosing to delay marriage or take a pass on it altogether. Many of those who choose to marry decide not to have children at all. In the face of these new realities we do well to ask: What’s the purpose of children? In the answer that follows, we will not consider methods of parenting or provide an explanation for why we should raise our children in certain ways. Rather, we will ask a far more foundational question, “What’s the purpose of having children at all?” In today’s world, which too often exalts self and writes off children as an inconvenience, this is a question we must ask and answer.

Common Views of Children

In Western culture, self is king. We judge the merits of almost everything by the degree to which it brings us self-realization and self-advancement. Ralph Waldo Emerson charged, “It is easy to live for others, everybody does. I call on you to live for yourself.” And we have. The pursuit of dreams and the fulfillment of personal potential has become our highest priority. A recent Forbes article tells that in 2015, Millennials spent nearly twice as much on self-improvement than Boomers, even though their income is only half as much.

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Tim Challies – The Duty of Devotion

B.B. Warfield has gone down in history as one of America’s great theologians, and for good reason. He was a bulwark of orthodoxy against the rising tide of liberalism. Even a century after his death, many of his works are as powerful and relevant as the day they were written. Yet while he is known for his keen intellect and profound theological insights, he was also a man of tender affection.

Soon after his marriage to Annie, the young couple journeyed to Europe together. During this trip, Annie underwent a terrifying experience that resulted in a kind of nervous trauma she was never able to overcome. She returned home an invalid whose condition continued to deteriorate for the rest of her life. Warfield responded to these tragic events by diligently committing himself to her care. For the duration of their marriage, he rarely left her side for more than a couple of hours at a time, and never for longer than necessary. A friend recalls, “I used to see them walking together and the gentleness of his manner was striking proof of the loving care with which he surrounded her. … During the years spent at Princeton, he rarely if ever was absent for any length of time.” Warfield was not only a great theologian but also a great husband.

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Tim Challies – What’s the Purpose of…Marriage?

Today I am kicking off a new series of articles that is going to ask the simplest of questions: “What’s the purpose of…?” Though the question is simple, the answers can be difficult and even controversial. We’ll begin with the home: What’s the purpose of marriage? What’s the purpose of sex? What’s the purpose of children? Then we’ll turn to the church: What’s the purpose of the church and its pastors? What’s the purpose of the Lord’s Day and the Lord’s Supper? What’s the purpose of worship and baptism? These are questions that perplex many of those outside the church and just as many within. We will tackle these questions week by week, attempting to put to rest any lies and misconceptions and to bring to the light the divine truth. We begin with marriage.

What’s the Purpose of Marriage?

What’s the purpose of marriage? A brief search turns up a host of answers representing a multitude of worldviews. These answers reveal no end of confusion, but most perspectives can be summarized under two headings.

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Tim Challies – Nurture Your Children

There are few roles in which we feel deeper inadequacy than our role as fathers. What suits us to the task of raising little people? What assurance can we have that we are doing it well? What will our children someday say of us? These are big and perplexing questions, so it is little wonder that church bulletin boards are covered with posters for parenting seminars and library shelves are groaning under the weight of parenting books. One study found that in the past 10 years alone, publishers have released more than 75 thousand books on the subject. Parenting is tough, and none of us is fully up to the challenge.

Considering the importance and difficulty of the task, we may find it surprising how little direct guidance the New Testament offers us. Its clearest instruction is found in Ephesians 6:4: “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” The parallel passage in Colossians 3:21 adds just one minor detail: “Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.” While we’re grateful for this divine guidance, we are probably left wishing there was more of it. Couldn’t God have answered a few more of our questions? What about spanking versus timeouts? What about homeschooling versus Christian or public schooling? What about the age to buy a child her first iPhone or the right way to oversee her selection of a spouse? Couldn’t we have just a little bit more detail?

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Tim Challies – When It’s Time To Remember All the Stupid Things You’ve Said

We don’t want to live in the past or dwell on former sins. On the whole, not much good comes of thinking back to the unwise things we’ve said or the depraved things we’ve done. We trust that God has fully and finally forgiven our sins, and we do well to leave the past in the past.

But the Bible does make at least one exception. There is at least one time we may benefit from dwelling on our shameful history. Solomon explains in Ecclesiastes 7:21: “Do not take to heart all the things that people say, lest you hear your servant cursing you. Your heart knows that many times you yourself have cursed others.”

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Tim Challies – When You Pray With Your Children, You Are Teaching Your Children to Pray

Every night my girls want me to pray with them and for them. If I do not tuck them in at night, or if I forget to pray when I do tuck them in, I can be sure that sooner or later I will hear feet coming down the stairs and then the question: “Daddy, will you pray with us?” Sometimes I think they are expressing a good and heartfelt desire and other times I think they are merely being superstitious, as if bad dreams will plague them and every shadow will frighten them if I do not pray. Either way, I never refuse them.

The other night I neglected to pray with them. It was at the end of a long day, I had fulfilled my parenting duties, I had gone off the clock, I wanted some “me time.” And then I heard the footsteps on the stairs. I groaned inwardly. “Daddy, you didn’t pray with us!”

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Tim Challies – Angered At and Angry With

It’s the time of year when my Bible-reading plan takes me through the book of Proverbs. There’s something almost absurd about reading this book at a pace of three chapters per day. That’s like quickly crunching through a whole bag of peppermints rather than slowly savoring each one. Yet reading the proverbs in great swaths does make it easier to identify its themes. Just as we can miss the forest for the trees, we can miss the themes for the maxims. But what might be difficult to see at a meditative pace has a way of standing out when read quickly.

As I work my way through the proverbs, I see anger everywhere. I see the folly of anger, the danger of anger, the sinfulness of anger. I see that the godly learn to control their anger while the fools let it rage. The godly allow themselves to be offended while the fools demand satisfaction for every little slight. The godly draw people into close relationship while the fools destroy friendship. There’s a high cost to all this anger.

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