My wife and I are fans of both the Pale Hose and the Redbirds. For those not in the know, that’s the Chicago White Sox and the St. Louis Cardinals. I’ve been a Sox fan from birth. I didn’t really have a choice, it was something I was born into. Then I moved to St. Louis and became a Cards fan, begrudgingly at first, but became one because my bride is a fan. I was fine with it because the Cards can’t stand the Cubs, and neither can I, plus they’re in separate leagues, so it works.
Which brings me to last night. I was watching the second game of the Crosstown Classic with my son and daughter. And I got to thinking about why I’m a Sox fan. As I said, I was born into it. The games I saw at Old Comiskey Park (and now at US Cellular) only enriched that love and helped to foster its growth. Recording box scores with my dad and sitting on his lap while he explained what was happening was amazing. I love baseball because that’s how I was raised.
My mom and dad both played a role in making me a Sox fan. Sure, I could have changed who I rooted for, but why would I want to? This is my team. This is who I was taught to love and root for, in good times and bad, no matter if we won the pennant or came in last place.
Things sure are different when it comes to Christianity and raising our children in the faith. Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Yet many ‘Christian’ parents (used in the loosest of senses – that’s why they’re ‘Christian’ because they aren’t Christian) are under this idea that “I’ll let my child decide if he or she wants to go to church when they’re older. If they start asking questions then we can to a church service.”
We don’t wait until our kids are older to introduce them to sports and to choose what team they want to root for. So why do we act this way with faith?
What person, is going to wake up one day and totally out of the blue say, “I’ve never been to church, I don’t know what happens in one, but I want to go today.”? No one, that’s who.
These ‘Christian’ parents tell themselves that they’re good parents. They say it’s because “we let them watch Veggie Tales. And if the kid wants to go to church someday, we’re not gonna stop them. They’re free enough to make up their own minds. We don’t want to push our believes onto our child.”
Wrong. People, whether 1 year or 100 years old, are dumb. Given the choice between church and Veggie Tales, or baseball for that matter, we’ll choose the option that isn’t church every time. We are stupid, self-centered people that hate God and the forgiveness that He freely gives to us in the death of His Son, Jesus Christ.
But, the ‘Christian’ parent might say, ‘But I had the kid baptized!’ Good for you. Do you want a cookie or a medal? Baptism without teaching and hearing the Word of God only makes that child a baptized unbeliever. That child needs to Hear the Word of God and receive forgiveness of sins to make their faith grow, just like my parents brought me to games and explained stuff to me had my love of baseball grow.
Word and Sacrament go together. That’s why Jesus said in the Great Commission, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” Instead of “If you wanna baptize your kid and adults that’d be great. Maybe teach them, you know, stuff, if you want to as well, if not… whatever.”
I just want to say, congrats ‘Christian’ mom and dad who’ve never exposed your child to Church, except for maybe a baptism, the mom and dad who never exposed your child to God’s Word of forgiveness, God’s love, God’s free gift of eternal life. You are terrible Christians and parents. You’ve denied your child the free gift of salvation. It’s like you won three tickets to go to Disney World and you decided to leave the kid at their grandparents and threw the other ticket away.
Maybe you should listen to what Luther said in a sermon on married life from 1519. “Therefore it is highly necessary that every married person regard the soul of his child with greater care and concern than the flesh which has come from him, that he consider the child nothing less than a precious, eternal treasure, entrusted to his protection by God so that the devil, the world, and the flesh may not steal and destroy it. For the child will be required from the parent at death and on Judgment Day in a very strict reckoning. For whence, think you, will come the weeping and mourning of those who will cry: ‘Blessed are the barren and the womb that never bare and the paps which never gave suck” (Luke 23:29)? Undoubtedly from those who have failed to bring their children back to God, who had entrusted them to their care.” (What Luther Says)
Don’t worry ‘Christian’ mom and dad. It’s not too late, you can still raise that child right.
Now, all of you parents reading this who aren’t terrible Christian parents and have raised your children in the faith, don’t get arrogant or all high and mighty . You’re not gonna get any praise from me because you did what you’re supposed to do…. be the parent. You don’t get praised because you changed your kid’s diaper or made them dinner, you also won’t get praised for this. Although, I do encourage you to keep doing what you’re doing.