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Does Proper Parenting Guarantee Godly Children?
In Titus 1, Paul writes to Titus directing Titus to appoint elders in every town. In Titus 1:6, some of the qualifications appear confusing. We find similar instructions in 1 Timothy 3, yet, there seem to be some differences in the wording. In Titus 1:6, Paul writes that the qualifications for an elder include that the man must be the husband of one wife and that his children are believers or are believing. If this is the case, should a pastor/elder continue in ministry if one of his children proves to be an unbeliever? How can this be? Are parents actually responsible for the salvation of their children? Is this what Proverbs 22:6 teaches when it tells us to train up a child in the way he should go, and even when he is old, he will not depart from it? Does proper parenting guarantee godly children? These questions and more will be answered on this episode of the Straight Truth Podcast this week as Dr. Josh Philpot and Dr. Richard Caldwell sit down to discuss and provide clarity and insight on these texts.
Dr. Caldwell tells us that he understands Titus 1:6 not to refer to the idea that the children of the man are to be saved but to be faithful children. In fact, it can be and has been translated that way in other translations, including the Legacy Standard Bible from which he reads. So faithful, not in the sense of being saved, but in the sense that the man manages his household well, not having children who are unruly, rebellious, wild, and disobedient. Having a disordered home where a child or children who cause their parents trouble this way inhibits the man from being qualified/fit for the ministry because their ability to minister would be severely hindered.
As we understand salvation, no parent is responsible for the regeneration of their child. God saves, not parents. However, God uses parents as a means as He brings about a believing generation. This gets to the Proverbs 22:6 text which has been understood by many that if you are a dutiful and faithful parent to raise your child/children up and teach them the ways of the Lord, this guarantees that they will not walk away from the way of truth. But that isn’t what this text teaches. It doesn’t promise or guarantee anything of the sort. This is only a truism, something that is generally true. Good parenting does not equal saved children. That is not what Proverbs is teaching. And it is not what we find in the whole of Scripture. There is no effort on the part of parents that can make that happen. We need to give them the gospel and explain these things to them, being faithful evangelists and disciplers in that way, but in the end, we have to leave it to the Lord.
Dr. Caldwell shares a farming analogy to help illustrate these truths. He explains that the ministry is the Lord’s field, and we are the workers; some are sowing, some watering, but the Lord is the one who gives the increase. We get to be part of God's work in salvation, He uses our means of ministering, but He does the work. It’s the same in the raising of our children. We take the responsibilities that God has given us and strive to be faithful to them. We pray for our children, teach them the word of God, have them in church with us as faithful members, and model the word of God in how we live, not being hypocrites. Hypocrisy is wearing a mask, pretending to be one thing when you’re something else. Parents are not perfect; there are no perfect parents. There’s a difference between being imperfect and stumbling in many ways and hypocrisy. Parents are to live the truth with sincerity, being faithful with all that God calls them to, knowing that they get to be a part of what God is doing, and remembering that their child’s/children’s salvation is God’s work and that it's a matter of grace and mercy.
Because we are speaking about a text where Paul gives qualifications for elders in ministry, it is also important to point out that just because a man’s child or children are out of control does not necessarily mean that it’s a result of bad parenting. It just means that the man is not qualified; he is not in a position to serve in the church in this role. Typically though, if a home is well managed, you will have children that are faithful. Children who are faithful in the sense of being under the leadership of their parents, walking according to family rules, and not unruly or in constant disobedience. Every child is going to have his-or-her challenging moments. But good parenting as a norm keeps a home in order and under control. But it isn’t true to say that every challenge to that parenting reflects poor parenting.
About The Straight Truth Podcast
The Straight Truth Podcast: Christian Opinions in an Increasingly Secular World. Join Dr. Richard Caldwell, Dr. Josh Philpot, and their guests as they discuss news events, current affairs, and cultural issues from a Biblical point of view. Find the truth at www.straighttruth.net
The Straight Truth Podcast is a weekly opinion show hosted by Dr. Richard Caldwell and Dr. Josh Philpot. Straight Truth is available as an audio podcast on iTunes or as a video podcast through YouTube or Vimeo. The duration of the podcast is approximately 10 minutes. We release new episodes every Thursday.
The topics discussed in the Straight Truth Podcast are current events, matters that challenge traditional Christian values, and questions submitted by audience members. Dr. Caldwell, Dr. Philpot, and their guests seek to answer these questions with Biblical truths and from a Christian conservative point of view. The Holy Bible is the inspired, infallible, and inerrant Word of God; it alone is and will be the basis and authority of
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