Well, the back to school routine is in full swing for another year. Did you ever wonder though how this routine of sending everyone to school came about? The kids may not be happy to hear this, but we owe it all to Jesus!
Few stop to realize the world changing impact that Jesus had on our culture in so many areas, not the least of which is our cultural conviction that everyone is entitled to receive a proper education. Unfortunately, many Christians have also forgotten Jesus’ intended purpose for the careful development of our minds.
Here is a short video that may stimulate some good discussion around your dinner table, or open a door for a meaningful conversation with someone who you would like to talk to about Jesus.
Thus, keeping the Trinity as core to faith and worship, how can we in turn lead our own children into ‘Trinitarian living’? That might sound foreign to our ears, but remember that God is the Trinity. What we simply mean is ‘living with God’, but with the recognition of who God is and what he is like. Remember that the ‘eternal life’ that Jesus gives us is not about life in heaven (although it includes that), but about knowing God. As Jesus said:
“Now this is eternal life, that they know you the one true God, and Christ Jesus whom you sent” (Jn. 17:3)
That said, we really can lead our children into a more full and satisfying relationship with God by helping them consciously relate to God according to who he really is: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. And I believe we can do this within the simple framework of gospel living that we are hopefully striving to teach them already. Continue reading →
“Keep it practical!” Restoring the Trinity to the core of our faith and worship then is intensely practical because, to quote Packer again, “it requires us to pay equal attention, and give equal honor, to all three persons in the unity of their gracious ministry to us.”4 This isn’t just theory that remains in the abstract, but reality that forms and shapes all true worship. For starters consider this: Continue reading →
You’ve probably heard many attempts to explain the ‘oneness’ and ‘three-ness’ of God by analogy. Water is one substance that can exist in three forms; gas, liquid and solid. An egg is one thing made up of three parts: yolk, white and shell. However, all such analogies break down at some point. Continue reading →
The Doctrine of the Trinity is such an important thing for kids (and grown ups) to learn about God. It is no exaggeration to say that our understanding of God as Trinity supplies the bedrock for Christian faith and the gospel. J. I. Packer pulled no punches in stressing its importance:
“All non-Trinitarian formulations of the Christian message are by biblical standards inadequate and fundamentally false, and will naturally tend to pull Christian lives out of shape.”
Teaching your children about God as Trinity therefore should begin at the earliest age possible. In my first The Trinity for Kids post I discussed how to begin teaching the Trinity to young children, emphasizing our need to simply “stick to the facts”, and not giving them more than they can handle. When my kids were very young I just wanted to affirm the truth about God as the Bible presents it. The core affirmations of a biblical view of the Trinity can be summarized as:
1. God is three persons; Father, Son and Holy Spirit
2. Each person is fully God.
3. There is one God.
As they grow and begin developing higher critical thinking skills however, I want to help them grapple with the great truth of God’s triune nature, encouraging them to reflect and dwell upon this great mystery that God has revealed to us about himself. At the same time however, I want to help them avoid falling into error and any pitfalls that may distort their view of God. Continue reading →
I’m glad to still see public displays of the Nativity here and there, even if mostly on church properties. Sometimes however the manger scene itself can become a distraction where it merely turns our attention to some serene ideal of personal peace or feelings of ‘goodwill toward men’. The manger after all only receives a passing mention in Luke’s gospel. Let’s face it, the picture that inhabits our carols and adorns our Christmas cards is pure conjecture. Really it is an ideal scene that we have made up, and that fact should give us pause given our propensity toward idolatry. Continue reading →
The following video went viral just after Valentines day this year. It is undeniably well made, visually effective, and emotionally compelling, but utterly deceptive?
It’s hard to argue with a message that promotes love for all people; one that the Christian certainly affirms. Jesus priority command for us after all was to “love your neighbour as yourself”. (Matt. 22:39) But even in saying this the critical thinker should raise the question: “what kind of love was Jesus talking about?”Continue reading →
“The story [of Jesus birth] is an invention because there was no empire-wide census and its seems highly unlikely that a Roman official would order people to be counted in cities their ancestors left years before.”
Bob Ripley, Life Beyond Belief, p. 52.
Was Jesus really born in a manger? Did his birth really take place as Matthew and Luke record? The popular skeptical reply is “of course not…everybody knows that!” And so writers like Ripley write Jesus’ birth off as myth, and the popular culture accepts this.
How does the Christian reply? Unfortunately and all too often we simply apply the resolution to continue believing it, no matter what anyone says. But shouldn’t we do better than that? Doesn’t our testimony go beyond just saying “I just believe” to saying “I know this is true”? Well, if Jesus’ birth is a fact of history, then there must necessarily be evidence we can point to to support that fact and counter claims to the contrary. And, there is. Continue reading →
The doctrine of the Trinity is one of the most important teachings of the Christian faith, and yet admittedly one of the most difficult to understand, especially for kids. Nothing caused me more trepidation during nightly bible reading with my kids than beginning to explain to them how the Father, Son and Holy Spirit were all God yet different persons. My approach was prayerful, slow but steady. Continue reading →
I’m not sure why it is always at bedtime that my kids ask me the hardest questions. Perhaps its because that’s when we finally slow down long enough for them to feel like it’s a good time to talk. Whatever the reason I’m thankful for these God orchestrated encounters, and I just pray that God gives me daily awareness so I don’t rush through them.
One evening after bible reading and prayer, my son asked yet another good kid question: “Dad, how come I can’t see God?” Young children think in such concrete terms, and so we need God’s wisdom to give them clear answers to their hard questions. In this case, I had recently read what I thought was a really answer written by J. P. Moreland. Continue reading →
One of the most common objections from questioners about God is that belief seems irrational because there is no ‘proof’ that God exists. Given the cultural influences on our children’s minds, this objection may eventually come to us. How then as parents should we respond? Continue reading →
Here is a recent question we received that you also might face if you have the awesome task of raising children. Feel free to comment or add your own experiences with similar questions. (Note: We always ask permission before posting questions we receive.)
“Hi there. My 10 year old daughter recently asked her Sunday School teacher why, if there is no sin in heaven, could Satan have decided he wanted to be greater than God? Her teacher said she didn’t know and to ask her mom. ;) I want to be ready when the question comes up again (you know what happens to those pesky unanswered questions ;)).
Few of us may ever engage in a purely logical discussion surrounding the problem of God and evil. Most reactions against God flow from people’s experience or exposure to evil than from musings from logic. Such is the case for Queen’s Professor of Bioethics, Dr. Udo Schuklenk when writing of his own departure from belief in God.
“The theodicy problem requires us to explain away why a nice, all-powerful, all-knowing God would subject his creation to such a massive amount of suffering. It became obvious to me that there is no reasonable answer to this challenge. There is no plausible answer that would make sense of, for instance, the Holocaust. This historical event cured me for good of the idea of an omnipotent, omniscient, benevolent God.”1 Continue reading →
“Lot went outside to meet them and shut the door behind him and said, “No, my friends. Don’t do this wicked thing. Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them. But don’t do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof.” (Genesis 19:4)
“I’d like to hear you preach a sermon concerning the morality of this story and how we can apply it to modern life”, came the challenge from my anonymous online critic. The gauntlet had been thrown down. How could I uphold the Bible as God’s righteous word all the while knowing that it contains so much that is morally repugnant and revolting? Continue reading →
The heart of the Free Will Defence is in denying any logical contradiction between the existence of an omnipotent, omniscient and omni-benevolent God and the existence of evil in the world. Simply put the argument goes that a ‘good’ God would create a world containing evil if he had ‘good’ reasons for doing so. The Free Will Defence suggest that creating meaningfully free moral creatures can logically be defended as a possible ‘good’ that defeats any logical contradiction.
In this segment we continue dealing with the problem of God and Evil. Before we begin a quick reminder that we are still working with the logical argument. Since some questioners consider God’s existence in the face of evil to be a logical problem, we serve them best to offer a response at the level of logic. We must never forget, however, that nobody lives at the level of logic alone, (with the possible exception of Mr. Spock). We may reason about the problems of evil at the level of logic, but we live with them at the level of experience. That said we must always treat our questioner with compassion and gentleness because though they may present a logical objection, the issue is always personal. Even Jesus reasoned with people’s minds, but always in consideration of their hearts. Continue reading →
Questioner:“I don’t know how you can believe in God with all the evil and suffering that happens in the world. Where was God during 911? Where was God during the Tsunami of 2004? Where was God during the holocaust of WWII? According to your Bible, God is loving and kind and all-powerful…so why didn’t he do something to stop it? Why does he let anything evil happen for that matter?”