It seems that kids younger and younger are getting cell phones these days. There are many good reasons to get your kids a cell phone and there are equally as many reasons to delay as long as possible. The question I hear from parents is how do I keep my kids safe online and yet let them enjoy the freedom of a cell phone. The balance of safety and security is not easy to maintain.
I used to be an advocate of waiting until kids are much older to get a cell phone. I have changed my mind, with the pervasiveness of technology and the easy access of porn you have to teach your kids at a young age how to use technology without being ruled by it. If you just hand your kids a cell phone without teaching them how to use it or placing safeguards around it you are crazy. I love you but you are crazy. Here are a few things we have done and are putting into practice with our oldest as he joins the millions of kids who are connected around the world. These are a work in progress.
The Nashville Statement is a creed that was developed by the people who lead the Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. The Nashville Statement was really just a more modern restatement of the historic orthodox position on the authority of the Bible and of the Biblical view of sexual ethics.
There was a lot of disagreement and anger from the Progressive Evangelicals over this statement. In a recent blog post as to why she signed the Nashville Statment Rosaria Butterfield goes after the progressive wing of modern evangelicalism. Progressives who ultimately value their experience above the explicit truth within the word of God. They twist the Scriptures out of their conception of what it means to be loving but with out regard to what the Bible defines as Love.
There was also some dissent from people I find really biblically solid. This group is those who take issue with a couple of the more nuanced points about the statement, for instance, calling only single people to live a life of chastity rather than celibacy. Chastity should be practiced by all not just singles. For married people, chastity is fidelity for singles it’s celibacy. They don’t like some of the wording of the Nashville Statement. To me that isn’t enough to be against it, in the world we live in. The real argument is that the progressives see the Bible as historic and flawed those who drafted and signed statement this see the Bible as authoritative, flawless and sufficient. For me, if lines are going to be drawn I will always stand on the side of Scripture even when Scripture offends me. Because I believe deeply that when Scripture offends me the problem is always me and never the Bible. That is why I support the Nashville Statement. If you, as a Christian, are offended by the sexual ethics of the Bible the problem is always you and not the Bible.
What does this mean for our kids and the teams we lead? The way I see it the stakes are high. We can and must teach the Bible purely and consistently. We must teach our kids how to value and apply the Bible to their own lives. There is always need for creativity and innovation in the church but if we don’t get this right if we don’t ground our kids in the authority of scripture we are no longer taking creative ideas from Disney we are ideologically no different than Disney. The reformation that needs to take place is the church and in Christian homes is once again the battle cry of Sola Scriptura. Our kids need to be primarily grounded in the gospel secondly they need to be aware and emersed in the history of our faith. In the faith and the traditions as Paul says “that have been handed to us and taught to us.” Let us as teachers and educators prepare our kids for the world that will be rather than the world that is. May we never sway from the Scriptures as the primary authority in our lives.
The challenge from my last post was to help our kids to properly love. The question that creates is how. How do we properly love? We know we are supposed to love God first and love Him most but how can we be sure that we are doing that?
John Locke clarified the philosophical principle of primary and secondary things that Plato first proposed. Locke says primary things are physical secondary things are more metaphysical. For us, as Christians, the distinction between primary things and secondary things is an important one. Not is the same sense that Locke proposed but in the sense, Christ proposed when he was asked the question what is the most important commandment. In trying to trick Jesus the religious leaders do us a great service they allowed us to see how to order our love and how to properly interact with secondary things.
36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
The most important command isn’t to love people. It’s to love God primarily. How our love for God is seen is in how we love secondary things, people. Jesus was saying our love for Christ is primary and our love for everything else is secondary. He was also telling us how to measure our love for God. We can say we love God and there is no way for us to know for sure if we truly love God or if others truly love God. That is what makes secondary things so significant. It is in how we love secondary things in their proper way and to the appropriate degree. When we love secondary things too much we demonstrate that we don’t love God first. Loving things such as family, friends, money, and influence too much reveals the idol factory of our heart. Loving things too little produces anger, envy, and pride. When we don’t love secondary things they way that God does it reveals that we don’t know God or trust him in his love for us.
The problem in teaching kids to love we stop short and only teach them to be loving. The problem is being loving deals with secondary things. To teach kids to truly love it means teaching them to order their love by loving Christ primarily then because you know Christ who is love you will from that love appropriately love secondary things. Being a loving person is a very different thing than being known by Him who is true love. The confidence and assurance that comes from the loves in our life being rightly ordered free us to appropriate love secondary things. It is in how we love secondary things that show that we primarily love Christ.
Questions to ask ourselves about ourselves and our kids:
- What is one thing in your life that you feel defines who you are?
- What if removed from your life would cause you the most pain?
- Where do spend your time and money?
- Do you struggle with an excess of love which is greed, lust or gluttony?
- Do you struggle with a deficiency of love which is anger, envy or pride?
- Where do you turn or to what do you turn when life gets difficult?
- Do you preach the gospel to yourself every day?
It seems that every time we turn around there is another famous, semi-Christian famous, wanna-be-famous person sticking a skewer in the heart of Christian Orthodoxy. A couple of weeks ago the latest person to come out for the redefinition of Christian marriage was Eugene Peterson. He is also the latest person to come out and then affirm the Biblical view of marriage. I have grown to really respect Peterson over the years and I am not here to let Peterson have it. I think there was a lack of clarity in even his retraction yet I am comforted by his understanding of scripture and his years of faithful teaching. I do think this “Peterson” moment is instructive for us in a couple of ways. 1. You will be asked what you believe no matter who you are. 2. You will be asked to clarify why you believe what you believe.
Healthy things grow, is one of the things I used to say to describe something successful. I once thought that something must be healthy because it is experiencing some measure of success. I would see more families come to our church or see and organization flushing and would say: healthy things grow because of their growth I assumed a) they were a healthy organization b) their growth was a sign of God’s blessing. While this may be true in some cases overall assuming healthy things grow is not helpful at all. Here is why.