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.
“Tolerance is the virtue of the man without convictions.”
– G.K. Chesterton
On June 19, 2012 the Ontario legislature passed Bill 13 (the “anti-bullying” bill) into law, giving legal protection to the teaching and promotion of homosexuality and the newly defined concepts of gender and gender identity in Ontario schools. During open debate on the bill Cabinet Minister Glen Murray, after reading the section of the Catholic Catechism describing homosexuality as sin previously taught in Catholic schools declared: “I say to you Bishops: ‘You’re not allowed to do that anymore.’” With a single stroke of legislation, the government placed a gag order on Christian beliefs about human sexuality, and did so all in the name of ‘tolerance’.
Faye Sonier of the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada observed the irony:
“It’s unfortunate that a bill declared to promote tolerance in schools has been turned into a club of intolerance with which to beat back the lawful and respectful expression of Catholic (i.e. Christian) beliefs.”
How was such a feat accomplished? The short answer is by re-engineering social values through the careful redefinition of words. In this case it was through a redefinition of the word “tolerance”. Continue reading →
Christian families, like the rest of society, are scrambling to find clarity in the fog of confusion that has swept our culture when it comes to gender and transgenderism. Especially concerned are parents or family and friends of who find themselves dealing with children experiencing incongruence between their feelings about gender and their biological sex. These are real problems and the church does need to think long and hard about how to encourage, support and guide such families.
While teaching and living out a consistent biblical worldview is vital, we are also helped when those within the medical/scientific community speak up and affirm the gender binary that God established when he created humanity as male and female. It is self-evident for the honest observer and true human flourishing comes when we live according to our God given nature rather than trying to deny it.
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 →
When I mentioned to my wife the idea of writing an article on the Trinity her response said it all: “Keep it practical!” But can the doctrine of the Trinity really be practical? In this four part post I would like to help you grow in your understanding and appreciation for what most consider to be either a riddle or a blatant contradiction that Christians believe about God. The first three parts are meant to help you grasp more fully this awesome truth about God’s nature and identity, and see how it will deepen and enrich your faith walk with God. The fourth part is for those of you who are raising children, and is meant to give you some practical tools to make a trinitarian view of God foundational to their faith. 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 →
The BBC has released a new documentary that has raised the ire of transgender activists because it is entertaining the evidential claims of Dr. Kenneth Zucker, former director of the Child Youth and Family Gender Identity Clinic (GIC) at Toronto’s CAMH (Centre for Addictions and Mental Health). Zucker was dismissed from his 30 year post at the GIC due to increasing pressure from transgender activists who were labeling the GIC a “conversion therapy” clinic. Continue reading →
According to the Kaiser Foundation, a 2010 study showed that 69% of 11-14 year olds and 31% of 8-10 year olds had their own cell phones, while a study by Common Sense Media (www.commonsensemedia.org) determined that 52% of all children under 8 had access at home to smartphones, iPods, iPads, or other internet ready devices. It is no wonder that studies show that the average age for children to begin looking at internet pornography is between 7 and 12. Continue reading →
St. Augustine said that Christians should realize that “wherever we may find truth, it is the Lord’s.” (On Christian Doctrine, II. 40) We know from the Bible that God’s design for sex is finding its expression within the safety and commitment of the marriage covenant. In a culture that has seen at least two full generations turn sex into a commodity for mere consumption, it is heartening to see a new generation waking up to the absolute destructive power of porn.
God’s Word warns us, and now even more science is showing us that porn is far from harmless, and even though in Christ we can always find forgiveness, the real life consequences are not easily dispensed with. Porn physically alters the brain, destroys capacity for genuine relational intimacy, and empties the soul. Christians addicted to porn need to find a safe place to confess and break free, and parents need to take vigilant steps to educate and safeguard their families.
I recently came across this movement to end porn called Fight The New Drug (www.fightthenewdrug.org). It isn’t Christian in its orientation, but there is good information related to the insidious nature of porn.
As I tucked my son in last night his parting words were an utterance of understandable childhood excitement: “Three more days till Christmas dad!”. My response was shamefully pragmatic: “Well, the faster you get to sleep the quicker it will get here!” Admittedly, in my haste to finish bedtime and put my feet up, I realize that once again I missed a teachable moment. (Not the first time and probably not the last). 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 →
You never know where or when, but plan on it. One night I got myself ready with my daughter for tuck in time that for us always includes Bible reading and prayer. What I got was a question that I wasn’t expecting. Continue reading →