Jump to content

The Protestant Community

Christian and Theologically Protestant? Or, sincerely inquiring about the Protestant faith? Welcome to Christforums the Christian Protestant community. You'll first need to register in order to join our community. Create or respond to threads on your favorite topics and subjects. Registration takes less than a minute, it's simple, fast, and free! Enjoy the fellowship! God bless, Christforums' Staff
Register now

Fenced Community

Christforums is a Protestant Christian forum, open to Bible-believing Christians such as Presbyterians, Lutherans, Reformed, Baptists, Church of Christ members, Pentecostals, Anglicans. Methodists, Charismatics, or any other conservative, Nicene- derived Christian Church. We do not solicit cultists of any kind, including Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, Eastern Lightning, Falun Gong, Unification Church, Aum Shinrikyo, Christian Scientists or any other non-Nicene, non-Biblical heresy.
Register now

Christian Fellowship

John Calvin puts forward a very simple reason why love is the greatest gift: “Because faith and hope are our own: love is diffused among others.” In other words, faith and hope benefit the possessor, but love always benefits another. In John 13:34–35 Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love always requires an “other” as an object; love cannot remain within itself, and that is part of what makes love the greatest gift.
Sign in to follow this  
William

How God Visits Sins on the Third and Fourth Generation

Recommended Posts

Staff

Does God visit the sins of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation? Some texts seem to say he does and others seem to say he doesn’t. Our job is to figure out the sense in which he does and the sense in which he doesn’t. On the one hand it seems as if he does:

  • The Lord...visits the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation. (Exodus 34:6-7 = Deuteronomy 5:8-10)
  • “Because of their iniquity, and also because of the iniquities of their fathers they shall rot away like them.” (Leviticus 26:39)

On the other hand it seems that he doesn’t:

  • Fathers shall not be put to death because of their children, nor shall children be put to death because of their fathers.” (Deuteronomy 24:16)
  • [Amaziah] did not put to death the children of the murderers, according to what is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, where the Lord commanded, “Fathers shall not be put to death because of their children, nor shall children be put to death because of their fathers. But each one shall die for his own sin.” (2 Kings 14:6)
  • The son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father, nor the father suffer for the iniquity of the son. (Ezekiel 18:20, cf. Jeremiah 31:30)

How do these passages fit together? This matters for the sake of God’s character, and the Bible’s coherence, and how we counsel those whose parents were wicked or just garden variety sinful.

 

Here are my two conclusions that helps me put them together:

 

1. The sins of the fathers are punished in the children through becoming the sins of the children.

  • I the Lord...visit the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.” (Exodus 20:5; cf. Numbers 14:18)

The generations to come who experience the penalty of the fathers’ sins are those who hate God. We are not told how the fathers’ sins become the children’s sins. But what we are told is that when the father’s sins are visited on the children it is because the children are really sinful. That is the form in which the fathers’ sins are visited. Therefore, all judgment is really deserved by the person who is punished.

 

2. Because of God’s grace, which is finally secured by Christ, the children can confess their own sins and the sins of their fathers and be forgiven and accepted by God.

  • But if they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their fathers...if then their uncircumcised heart is humbled and they make amends for their iniquity, then I will remember my covenant with Jacob” (Leviticus 26:40-42).

The precious words of Exodus 34:6-7 are not nullified by the generational migration of sin.

  • The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin.

Source: http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/...rth-generation

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

Personally, I was always surprised that people have as much trouble with these verses as they do. Life itself offers abundant illustrations.

 

Have you ever met the children of an alcoholic?

In the natural, the sins of the father (and usually the grandfather) have been visited upon the children. Some grow up and fall into the same distructive snare of 'drunkenness'. Others manage to avoid drunkenness and bear the scars of neglect and abuse that lead them to be adults unable to trust and form healthy relationships, or who seek out unhealthy and distructive relationships. Some have their self image crushed beneath accusations of stupid and worthless that battered them until they can think of themselves in no other terms.

 

Truely, the sins of the father HAVE been visited on the children ... to the third and fourth generation.

 

But God. We say that a lot in my church. But God.

But God can step in and deliver a child of God from alcohol or drug addiction and break that pattern instantly. His son/daughter does not need to know the curse that he knew. His children can know the blessings. They can be the first of those thousand promised generations.

(as the first generation in my family to follow Christ, this promise means a lot to me).

 

But God can redefine, not just a little, but radically, who we are. We are not stupid, lazy or worthless. We are Gods Masterpiece. The Elect, Chosen, Children of the King. God HIMSELF, shed his blood to purchase us. God felt that NOTHING was more valuable than we were. He paid all to redeem us. That is who we are.

 

So we are all born under a curse, but we are under no obligation to live and die under that curse. God is prepared to show Love and Mercy to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.

 

Life application always made those verses perfectly clear to me.

 

Arthur

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

From my humble and not nearly as well versed as either of you I tend to look at it this way. There are mistakes I see my mother made in raising me, not that she was not a believer, but she had baggage. I won't go into it, but it formed my perceptions, resentments. And led me away from Christ. Now I found my way back but that baggage is also present in my son's personality, and now I pray to bring him back so in fact it is visited upon the generations who follow BUT, God provides a way through Christ to stop it and come back.

Share this post


Link to post

I’m not sure it’s truly understood this generation to generation/curses and blessings thing. The Lord God never deviates from the way He does things. Why does He hold the sins of the father over the sons? The sons didn’t necessarily do anything to cause what God would hold over them.

 

But doesn’t everyone who is the son of man (Adam) receive the life that Adam and Eve were left with (ashes to ashes dust to dust) after the Life they originally had they lost, or died from? Hence every living being that has received that life must experience the same, because that is the life one has.

 

Look at scripture and see that the Lord God sees the northern populous as Gog and Magog the father of those from Noah’s generation to go into those areas. Hence God not only refers to them by their patriarch but sees them through their patriarchs. He even sees us through Jesus Christ His own Son in whom He is well pleased. God looks to the Hebrews through Abraham Isaac and Jacob, by calling them the Children of Israel of which He named Jacob. So, it’s His view of a population through the fathers of such populations that God sees them. Even the availability of Grace to the whole world today, all today Jew and Gentile are sons of Noah who found Grace in God’s sight. Even when Joseph was considering what to do in Mary’s case (from Mat:1:20) “behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David,” it was a generational follow through wasn’t it? If the Lord God didn’t hold the sons to the lives of the father, then how can we be assured of our own receiving of the Life of Christ via the Holy Spirit?

 

Hence the life you are born into in the world that you receive is assured its return to the ground, because that is the life your fathers had. But if one is born of the Holy Spirit one is assured the Life received, because it is the Life the Father has that is in the Son and those who have received the Life of the Son. In which of course, there is no condemnation, as there is in the life received when one comes into the world via the will of the flesh.

 

And it’s in that same context does the Lord our God speak of such things.

Share this post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Similar Topics

    • Jackie Hill Perry on Gospel Diversity for the Next Generation

      On April 3 and 4, 2018, in Memphis, Tennessee, The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission and The Gospel Coalition hosted a special event titled “MLK50: Gospel Reflections from the Mountaintop,” to reflect on the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s tragic death. Jackie Hill Perry delivered this talk during the event. The next generation, I imagine, will be one worth watching. A week or so ago, the largest youth protest since Vietnam took place when thousands of youth from across the nation used their voices to speak out against violence, gun violence, and to speak for gun control. Generation Z, as they’ve been called, has already begun to champion what matters most to them with a passion and conviction that I would think they must have learned from the generations before them. Many of them have seen the protests against police brutality, done by folks maybe a decade or so older than them. They have seen the bent knee during a national anthem and understood it to be a revolutionary act. They have watched their Twitter timelines fill up with a 180-characters-worth of honest and grieving words. Words that have stirred in them a desire to be just as loud for what is right as the silent are being for what is wrong. This generation has learned some things from us. Well, some of us that is. Some of us may not have been alive to get close enough to the windows to see a sit-in in action at a segregated lunch counter. We weren’t there to wave as the Freedom Riders rode past us, resolute in their mission even if it meant that they might die on their way home. Some of us weren’t old enough to watch as Martin and others walked across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. But when we found out about it, it did something in us. It taught us that to care about injustice is to do something about it. To put ourselves in harm’s way even if that means peace for my neighbor that this work, this work of loving our neighbors and making sure others will do the same, ain’t always comfortable. But by example they’ve shown us that it’s worth it. When it comes to the generation before us, we’ve learned some things. But there are some of us that have learned other things. Some may not have been there to hear the sound of a body swinging back and forth on a tree, the cracking of the branch and the laughter of the ones that made the noose. You might not have been there in the pews when the deacons made sure the colored folks sat in the balcony as not to sit too close to the white parishioners as they heard the preacher tell them that all this segregation that’s going on was the will of Almighty God. Some of you in this room probably weren’t old enough to see all that the generation before you did. But don’t think that in some way you haven’t been taught by it. Taught to not take the death of a brown body serious even when it swings, or should I say retweets, in front of your face. Taught to stay seated in your pew while oppression happens all around you. Taught not in words, usually, but by living, that this work, this work of loving your neighbor and making sure others do the same, doesn’t belong to you. Taught that because your beautiful baby boy can walk down the street with Skittles and tea in his hand when no one threatened by the color of his skin that the privilege of safety means that you are exempt from caring about the price of black pigment. Oh, surely we have learned some things. The generations are always teaching by example. If you read the Book of Ezekiel before, you’ve come across a passage that speaks to this idea of generational teaching. We find the prophet Ezekiel addressing the elders of Israel. God has a message for them, but first he wants to give them a little history lesson. He reminds them about how he rescued the people of Israel out of Egypt, with the promise that he would then bring them into a land flowing with milk and honey. But on the way, as we all do, they started tripping. They, in more ways than one, disobeyed God. And as judgment, God relegated them to a 40-year stay in the wilderness until the entire generation that left Egypt was dead. But while in the wilderness, the disobedience didn’t cease. They continued to walk in unbelief toward God with their idolatrous ways. But eventually, as God said would happen, each one of them perished until the younger generation was the only generation left. And Ezekiel 20:18, God tells the elders about what he told the children that were left and he says: And I said to their children in the wilderness, do not walk in the statutes of your fathers, nor keep their rules, nor defile yourselves with their idols.I am the Lord your God, so walk in my statutes, and be careful to obey my rules, and keep my Sabbaths holy that they may be a sign between me and you.That you may know that I am the Lord your God. But the children rebelled against me. They did not walk in my statutes, and were not careful to obey my rules by which if a person does them he shall live. Moreover, I swore to them in the wilderness that I would scatter them among the nations, and disperse them through the countries because they have not obeyed my rules, but have rejected my statutes, and profaned my Sabbaths, and their eyes were set on their fathers’ idols. During the 40 years in the wilderness, these children had learned some things. They’d seen some of their parents worship the gods of Egypt. They remembered when their mothers removed the gold earrings out of their ears and watched them turn them into golden calves. They were there when their father slept with the women of Moab and when their family sacrificed to a god named Baal, a god they knew was not the God of Israel, but a god that they thought was more worthy of their worship than the one who took them out of slavery. These children grew up in an environment where the people of God had an allegiance to all sorts of idols and lived by all kinds of statutes that they’ve created for themselves. So, when it was their turn to obey God, when they heard the command of God to walk in his statutes and to obey his rules, the only footsteps they chose to follow were the idolatrous feet of their fathers. And for all we know, they probably thought that generation knew best. Because clearly seeing each and every person in the generation prior to them drop dead in the wilderness wasn’t enough proof that God was not to be played with. The children of Israel had learned some things. Don’t you find it troubling that the letter, a letter from a Birmingham jail, a letter Dr. King wrote in 1963 to Christians, white Christians to be specific, contains in it the same frustrations being voiced to our white brothers and sisters today in 2018? The letter is 55 years old and yet this generation has not fully improved upon the beliefs and the behavior of the prior. The urgency of justice is still being questioned. The hearts of many brown and black believers are still disheartened as their brothers and sisters, the brothers and sisters that they share pews with, who seem to be so unwilling to pursue authentic peace, authentic peace that includes the presence of justice and not the peace that prefers the absence of tension. How could it be that one generation can progress so much and yet be so similar to the generation before them? And all of us, we can see it is because the generations are always teaching in all of us and one way or another have followed in somebody’s footsteps. If we want to equip the next generation for gospel diversity, we have to start here. Our methods have to be modeled if we expect for them to be followed. But we cannot and will not model what we don’t believe. And guess what? Your children, your mentees, your disciples, the people in your children’s group, your youth group, they are learning from you even if you don’t know yet. They’ve seen who you invite over for dinner. They’ve heard how you pray for your country. And some have never heard one plea for the peace of a black mother whose son was killed in a backyard. Or a petition to a God on behalf of a Hispanic teen who was terrified that she would be deported from the one home that she has always known. They are watching who you watch. They are listening to who you are learning from. If there is any indifference in your heart toward gospel diversity, you better know that your indifference will be to them a norm to which their world views will be shaped. But just as the next generation can learn some negative things from us all, because God is in us, with his help we can do what some of our fathers didn’t do. Why? Because we are a chosen race. We are a royal priesthood. We are a holy nation. We are a people for his own possession that we may proclaim the excellencies of him who called us out of darkness and into His marvelous light. We must show the next generation what it’s like to be a part of a chosen race. A chosen generation. A generation made up of people that are white, and brown, and black, and every other color that God has made for his glory. A generation of folk that God has brought to himself. A generation of people that may have some bad blood inside of their bodies because of sin and their different upbringings, but a generation that will fight for the oppressed in America and beyond, just like the God of Israel fought for the oppressed in Egypt. Let the next generation see what a royal priesthood looks like. How a people who’ve been anointed by the Spirit, sanctified by God, and brought near to his throne through the Son, show them how they move about the world. Show them what a living sacrifice looks like and how it’s not a lamb or a goat, but a body, and bias, and comfort, and fear, and lovelessness, and pride, and privilege, and how this priesthood lays it all down on the altar to be burned before God, so that we can show the new generation what real worship looks like. Show them a holy nation. Show them a nation among many, but a nation under one God and with liberty and justice for all. And don’t get it twisted. This holy nation ain’t America, it’s the church of God. It’s the bride of Christ. It’s a nation whose king was a Jewish man killed by an unjust government as ordained by a sovereign God. This nation looks different than the rest because it’s governed by a God that is good, and holy, and wise, and just, and merciful, and empathetic, and dignifying. And as this holy nation lives among others, the generations will see what it looks like when your ultimate allegiance is King Jesus. Show them what it looks like to be a peculiar people that belong to God. We don’t really belong to this country. We don’t really belong to a political party. We don’t belong even to our economic status. Heck, we don’t belong to this world. We are a people for his own possession. And when we believe that, when we believe that we belong to God, we will live completely free from the statutes and the rules that these identities impose on us. That way, we will love not according to what makes us similar, but we will love in accordance to our Savior if only we would just be who we are. The next generation would learn some things. They would learn something glorious. They would learn about God in us. They would know that the people of God love differently than the world. That the people of God embrace diversity because that’s what God would do. And that’s what God has done. The next generation would follow in our footsteps and then they would come to realize that as they did, they were actually following Jesus, and not a God made in America’s image. They would come to see that as you set your mind on things above where Christ, he is seated at the right hand of God, the place he went after he did what was just and right, the seat he sat down on after dying and raising on behalf of people, that he died [to purchase] for himself [a people] from every tribe, tongue and nation. They would see that because you set your mind up there where he is, that they can, too. When we set our eyes on Christ instead of setting our eyes on our fathers’ idols and everything else that keeps us from gospel diversity, you can be sure that is when we begin equipping the next generation for gospel diversity. You can listen to the episode here or watch a video. View the full article

      in Christian Current Events

    • Fourth Defendant Sentenced For Role in Atlanta-Based Mexican Sex Trafficking Ring

      By R. Mitchell - Severiano Martinez-Rojas, 53, of Mexico, was sentenced on Friday by United States District Judge Edward R. Korman to over 24 years in prison for his role in the sex trafficking of three victims. The amount to be paid in restitution will be announced at a later date. The defendant is the fourth member of an Atlanta-based Mexican sex trafficking ring convicted for their roles in compelling young women from Mexico and Central America to engage in commercial sex.  Co-defendants Arturo Rojas-Coyotl and Odilon Martinez-Rojas previously pleaded guilty to sex trafficking and were sentenced to 16 years and 21 years and 10 months in prison, respectively. Both defendants were also ordered to pay $180,000 in restitution to the victims.  A third co-defendant, Daniel Garcia-Tepal, pleaded guilty to alien harboring and received a sentence of time served. “Human trafficking is disgraceful and unacceptable. Today’s sentence demonstrates the Department of Justice’s unwavering commitment to combatting these crimes,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband. “This sex trafficking enterprise was extensive and resulted in the abuse of young women and girls. The Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department is thankful for the hard work of the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Northern District of Georgia, the FBI, and the Homeland Security Investigations team who helped deliver justice on behalf of the victims and survivors.” “Sex trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery that exploits and traumatizes some of the most vulnerable members of our society,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak.  “We stand united today with our colleagues at the Department of Justice, Eastern District of New York, and federal law enforcement partners, in applauding the courage of the three victims in this case who remained determined to see this prosecution to its conclusion. The lengthy prison sentence that this final defendant has received in this case is primarily the result of the valiant efforts of these human trafficking survivors to hold their traffickers accountable.” “This case represents why sex trafficking is such a high priority matter for the FBI, our law enforcement partners, and the non-government agencies who provide assistance to those with nowhere else to turn,” said Chris Hacker, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “As one of the worst examples of human trafficking, this case should resonate with those who might consider this reprehensible criminal conduct acceptable. We urge anyone with information about human trafficking activities to contact authorities and help put an end to modern day slavery.” According to documents filed in court, between 2006 and 2008, defendant Severiano Martinez-Rojas and co-defendants Arturo Rojas-Coyotl and Odilon Martinez-Rojas, lured the three victims into fraudulent romantic relationships using false promises of love, marriage, and legitimate work. They then arranged for others to smuggle the victims across the border into the United States. Once illegally in the United States, the defendants used violence, threats, and intimidation to coerce the victims to perform countless commercial sex acts in the Atlanta area and Alabama, where defendant Severiano Martinez-Rojas also operated a brothel. Defendant Severiano Martinez-Rojas was indicted in May 2013 but had remained a fugitive until his arrest in Mexico in November 2015 as part of a coordinated U.S.-Mexico bilateral enforcement action. The action also resulted in the arrests of seven other defendants in a related Eastern District of New York case. Martinez-Rojas was also charged, convicted, and sentenced in that case. Since 2009, the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security have collaborated with Mexican law enforcement counterparts in a Bilateral Human Trafficking Enforcement Initiative. The Initiative seeks to more effectively dismantle human trafficking networks operating across the U.S.-Mexico border, bring human traffickers to justice, restore the rights and dignity of human trafficking victims, and reunite victims with their children.  These efforts resulted in successful prosecutions in both Mexico and the United States, including U.S. federal prosecutions of more than 170 defendants in multiple cases in Georgia, New York, Florida, and Texas since 2009, as well as numerous Mexican federal and state prosecutions of associated sex traffickers. The case was investigated by the FBI’s Atlanta Division and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Atlanta.  Assistance with the arrest and extradition of defendant Severiano Martinez-Rojas was provided by HSI New York’s Trafficking in Persons Unit, HSI Mexico City Attaché Office, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, the Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs, the State Department, and Interpol.  The government of Mexico, including Mexico’s Procuraduría General de la República and Policía Federal, also played a prominent role in advancing the bilateral anti-trafficking enforcement efforts in this case. Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, United States Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak of the Northern District of Georgia, FBI Special Agent in Charge Chris Hacker, and Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent in Charge Nick S. Annan, announced the sentence. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard S. Moultrie, Jr., Chief of the Violent Crime & National Security Section for the Northern District of Georgia, and Deputy Director of Litigation Benjamin J. Hawk of the Civil Rights Division’s Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit. Content created by Conservative Daily News is available for re-publication without charge under the Creative Commons license. Visit our syndication page for details and requirements. Fourth Defendant Sentenced For Role in Atlanta-Based Mexican Sex Trafficking Ring is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more. View the original full article

      in Political Conservative News

    • Former Christian Rockstar Warns Today's Generation Not to Be Deceived by 'Popularity Gospel'

      Singer Mattie Montgomery from popular Christian metalcore band “For Today,” offered a word of caution about popularity gospel, something he says is today’s generation’s prosperity gospel. View the full article

      in Christian Current Events

    • 6 Needed Shifts for Reaching the Next Generation

      My friend Danny prides himself on being spiritual but not religious, environmentally caring, generally loving, and suspicious of all organized religion, especially evangelical Christianity. My team of campus ministers first met him playing pickup basketball. While he was quick to express he was not interested in a relationship with Jesus, he continued to be intrigued by and drawn into our Christian community. True to his central belief of tolerance, Danny was always open to spiritual conversations. We sat down one morning so I could share with him the central story of Christianity. Remembering that I had moved from the Bible Belt to a much different culture, I didn’t start by jumping into the life, death, and resurrection of Christ. Instead, I attempted a cursory yet comprehensive metanarrative approach. Beginning with the creation of Adam and Eve, we then moved toward the fall and redemption. Lost in Translation After 20 minutes of what I felt was the most brilliant and relevant gospel presentation I’d ever shared, he interrupted me: “I think I’m understanding what you’re getting at.” I nodded with great pride at my astuteness and cultural savvy. Then, he continued. “I just have one question: Who the hell is Adam? You keep talking about Adam. Is he one of campus ministry people I haven’t met yet?” Danny had never set foot in a church. Yet I made the mistake of assuming he knew about Adam and Eve, at least from a childhood story. I might as well have been talking about John Quincy Adams. I wish this were an isolated incident. But over and over, my team is ministering to an audience completely unprepared to hear the gospel. New Approaches After scores of similar conversations with unprepared audiences, our team has been shifting its approach to evangelism. By no means are we proposing that we shift away from clear biblical teaching on important truths such as our legal guilt before God. We are merely saying that shifting intuitions may require new starting places in evangelistic conversations and discipleship relationships. Here are six shifts we believe are critical to meaningfully engage the next generation. 1. Move from the assumption that your audience is biblically literate. This shift isn’t only for the pastorate and the pulpit, but for all believers seeking meaningful, intentional relationships with those outside the faith. At least on the West Coast, the days have long past when one could start talking about Jesus and assume people knew his identity and claims. The apostle Paul, who was quick to jump into the message of Jesus with Jewish audiences, shifted his approach when speaking to the unprepared Athenians (see Acts 17). Unlike his typical messages laden with Old Testament references and Jewish assumptions, he was patient, contemplative, and slow with unprepared audiences. 2. Move to a developmental approach to ministry. Ministering to younger generations demands that we disciple the whole person for all of life. In the past, much discipleship started in the spiritual realm. But upcoming generations need mentoring that helps to press Christianity into practical areas like finances, relationships, faith and work, and countless others. One realm for development is evangelism. As Paul discipled those in his apostolic band, he sought to develop them as the evangelists of coming generations. Paul, a naturally gifted evangelist, didn’t expect everyone to be as gifted or fruitful as he was; nevertheless, he exhorted his young disciple Timothy to “do the work of evangelist” (2 Tim. 4:5). Thinking developmentally doesn’t bifurcate your ministry to insiders and outsiders; it brings them together. 3. Move to a dialogue-oriented form of discipleship. How many of you disciple your children by preparing a speech, bringing them into the room once a week, delivering it eloquently in three points, then telling them to go and do likewise? It’s not that teaching ministry isn’t significant in discipling. The preached Word is essential in making disciples. But younger generations (and often the older as well) also crave honest, relational dialogue. True and lasting change happens through Spirit-enabled teaching and relationships. 4. Move from apologetics to hospitality. God’s Word is timeless. We ought to always be prepared to give a defense for the hope within us (1 Pet. 3:15). Yet we won’t have much of an audience if we don’t regularly practice intentional hospitality toward those outside the faith. You must establish a safe and secure space for gospel conversations. Hospitality and making space in your schedule (and home) for those different from you opens the door for deeper friendship and deeper dialogue. If you’re serious about reaching the outsider, you might consider committing to two significant events each week: Sunday morning worship around the cross at church, and Friday night friendships around a meal in your home. This might best be done with a team of like-minded believers. For more on this, see Rosaria Butterfield’s book The Gospel Comes with A House Key. 5. Move to emphasize shame before guilt. A staff member recently told me, “Whenever I talk about people’s sin issues, they get a glazed-over look in their eyes, yet when I talk about what I’m learning in regard to shame, people lean in and want to know more.” Guilt says, “You did something bad.” Shame says, “You are bad.” Because younger generations have grown up in a culture largely devoid of absolute truth, guilt-based conversations as an entry into their lives don’t tend to get you in the front door. But even though they don’t know or agree with the absolute truths we assume, their souls are sick and separated from God. They feel this deeply as shame, even when they don’t connect the dots to guilt. We certainly don’t deny guilt and must teach it as Scripture does, but try shifting the emphasis to shame as an entry point. Teaching on guilt may need to come later. 6. Move to winsome boldness. Our culture is growing in antagonism toward the gospel, and many Christians have become fearful and timid in their evangelism. Yet Paul, amid far greater opposition, sought to stir the hearts of next-generation church leaders to witness courageously. He asked boldness of timid Timothy—not borne of personality or confidence in his own giftedness, but grounded in God and his invincible gospel (2 Tim. 1:7; cf. Rom. 1:16). In a culture that panders to public opinion, may we boldly and winsomely proclaim the bad news that leads us to the greatest news in the history of the world. View the full article

      in Christian Current Events

    • President Trump Visits Iraq, Reaffirms Decision to Pull Troops Out of Syria

      President Trump made an unexpected visit to Iraq on Christmas where he reaffirmed his decision to pull all American troops out of Syria. View the full article

      in Christian Current Events

×

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.