Time: Wednesdays at 7 p.m. from July 5–August 30
Instructor: Rich Harasick
Order curriculum at the bookstore.
Childcare available (ages birth to 5 years old)
Unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God. — John 3:3
Although we don't usually think of these familiar words Jesus spoke to Nicodemus in terms of child-rearing, they really provide a window into the very heart of Christian parenting. We know the greatest need of reprobate sinners—including children—is regeneration. And God, in His infinite wisdom, has designed the home and positioned parents to play a vital role in the salvation of their children.
The world boasts a myriad of different parenting techniques, but none of these secular models, however successful they appear, ever address a child's greatest need―a new heart. J.C. Ryle might have been speaking of our own time when he wrote, "We live in days when there is a mighty zeal for education in every quarter. We are told of new systems and new books for the young of every description. And still for all this, the vast majority of children are manifestly not trained in the way they should go, for when they grow up to man's estate, they do not walk with God" (The Duties of Parents, p. 1).
Our desire as parents extends beyond external obedience—our target is the heart. We long to see the miracle of the second birth take place in the lives of our children, something we know is impossible apart from the Spirit's preparation and calling. Ryle addressed this desire, and the means of its fulfillment, in The Duties of Parents.
I know that you cannot convert your child. I know well that they who are born again are born, not of the will of man, but of God. But I know also that God says expressly, "Train up a child in the way he should go," and that He never laid a command on man which He would not give man grace to perform. And I know, too, that our duty is not to stand still and dispute, but to go forward and obey. It is just in the going forward that God will meet us. The path of obedience is the way in which He gives the blessing (ibid., p. 8).
J.C. Ryle clearly understood the great desire and need for parents to raise their children in the "nurture and admonition of the Lord" (Ephesians 6:4). He also understood the great responsibility we feel to remain faithful to God's command to us as parents. Our own experience working in Children's Ministry affirms this, as many parents have voiced similar concerns. They feel the responsibility to carry out God's command to raise their children to know and fear Him, and they're searching for clarity as to how they can faithfully complete the task.
The clarity, of course, is found in Scripture. The Bible clearly instructs us how to raise our children and exhorts us to remain faithful to this instruction, pouring our lives into the lives of our children for a lifetime. This is the foundation of "Parenting for Life," our nine-week class on parenting that begins Wednesday, July 5.
Whether you're just contemplating parenthood, you have a baby or school-age children, or you're shepherding sons and daughters through adolescence or young adulthood, come join us as we learn more about the biblical principles and fundamentals of parenting which enable us to fulfill the duties God has placed before us.
To register or for more information, visit gracechurch.org/childrens or call 818-909-5631.