Fear-Based “Christian” American Parenting that Bows to the Idols of Safety and Seclusion

Posted: August 10, 2010 by Rick Hogaboam in Children, Discipleship/Sanctification, Evangelism, Family, Fatherhood, Homeschool, Missional Thought, Motherhood, Youth Ministry
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Francis Chan is a cool Asian brother from another mother. Some may label him overly pietistic, however I think he grasps the radical nature of discipleship and what it means to follow Jesus. In the attached youtube clip, Francis calls out all parents who use their kids as an excuse to live the safest life possible.

Fear-based parenting will breed fearful kids who think our Jesus is also afraid of all the bad things and people in the world. While catechizing my kids last night, we discussed Jesus’ baptism and how he showed solidarity with the sinners who had gone into the water. Jesus’ ministry involved hanging out with sinners and He was often criticized for hanging out with the wrong people. As I was explaining this, I had a Holy Spirit gut check about how we are to nurture our kids and yet also model the mission of Jesus to sinners. I think we do need to be discerning and mindful of the maturity level of our children, but are we actually preparing them for the mission of Jesus to sinners, or are we instead raising kids to be like those who would criticize Jesus for hanging out with all those “bad” people?

My desire for my kids to simply marry another Christian and raise happy smiley kids is not enough. For them to view the importance of Church is not enough. They need to know the heartbeat of their Savior and in someway, some shape, model His love for sinners. I don’t want my kids to carry the banner of legalistic pride, but instead wave the banner of Christ’s love for sinners.

I realize that many would point out that the lasting fruit from children reared in American Evangelical Churches has been horrible and that a more rigorous approach is necessary. Many parents desire that their own kids become faithful Christians first and foremost. My only concern is whether being a “faithful” Christian actually involves the component of mission that Jesus exhibited towards sinners. I’m not talking about sending money to a missionary, but actually being a living embodiment of grace to those around us. If we truly understand grace, we must not raise our kids to be high-cultured “high-browed” Christians, there is no such thing in the Kingdom of God.

The Church should not be in retreat mode from the world. Jesus actually said that the gates of hell would not withstand the Church, which means that we are on the offensive. Digging into a bunker and having lots of kids who have lots of kids may grow the Church through reproductive means, but we are called to engage in warfare. Our warfare is waged through mission. This post isn’t about home-schooling, public-schooling, or any other badges that some people wear as a sign of spiritual “maturity”, but is really about what it means to be a disciple of Jesus and whether we are truly raising our kids to be radical followers of Jesus or are neutering them from the core of Jesus’ mission.

Anyhow, here’s the clip from Francis Chan that may give you a Holy Spirit gut check as well:

  1. […] Fear-Based “Christian” American Parenting that Bows to the Idols of Safety and Secl… […]

  2. yeskids says:

    I like your posts tonight 🙂

    My husband served with Open Doors with Brother Andrew – I had been praying for wisdom to raise our children to walk with Jesus into adulthood. We were taking Bibles to China and had the opportunity to meet with a family who had experienced persecution and the martyrdom of their 11 year old son. Here is the challenge the mother gave me

  3. Daniel says:

    Straight up, and down to earth. Well said Rick.

  4. […] Fear-Based “Christian” American Parenting that Bows to the Idols of Safety and Seclusion « Endu…. […]

  5. “…being a living embodiment of grace to those around us.”
    Yes!!! Thank you…as a writer who grew up within that bunker, lots-of-kids mentality, it’s taken most of my adult life to grasp that the antidote truly is the grace God. Thank you.

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