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Tuesday, September 28, 2010 | Comments (4)

Flip through any trendy parenting magazine today and you’ll find an endless list of tips and techniques on how to rear your children “responsibly.” Schedules, healthy meals, baby aerobics, and Baby Einstein—the world has plenty to say about “successful” parenting. Frustrated dads and desperate moms can find quick, easy solutions to meet their immediate need. Some say, if Johnny refuses to eat his green beans, just give him what he wants. Don’t force him to eat something he doesn’t like, and certainly don’t punish him for expressing himself. The important thing is to “build his self-esteem.”

Tips like that may provide immediate comfort to a frantic parent, but what’s the long-term effect? As you’ll hear today from John, the world’s pragmatic, short-term solutions come with a huge price-tag. Here’s John MacArthur to explain . . .

Listen to this 9-minute clip:

Launch Player  |  Download  |  Full Sermon

Listen to John’s sermon excerpt, then take these questions to the comment thread:

(1) How have you seen churches cater to the self-esteem parenting movement (e.g., parenting classes, youth programs)? Be specific.

(2) God has provided every social institution with a means to promote order and discipline—to the government, the sword; to the church, excommunication; and to parents, the rod of correction. What happens in society, in the church, and in the home, when God-ordained authority refuses to implement discipline? What are the parallels?

(3) Parents, what advice would you give to a mom or dad headed down the road of self-esteem parenting? Is it too late for them to turn around? If it’s not too late, what practical changes can they make?


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#1  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Wednesday, September 29, 2010 at 9:02 PM

For #1 question,

Church would use light preaching so parents would not be offended and can come back with their children. Church would teach parents get into the culture of this young generation to understand them. The church would use games and prizes to make a child vistor happy. That way is a dangerous path, a easy path. This is a hard question, but churches must center God in their lives in order to teach the parents whom are members or vistors that what God wanted for them to live by and how to teach children in Christ's manner. That would be God's Word. Not under the law, but under the grace of Jesus.

For #2

Sadly, Kids with no discipline, would grow in his own way or mindset.

Kids would get away with lots of things. Without God and what He said

in His Word, Kids would have a rough ride to please God and themselves. We need to use loving, firm, bold talk with kids while they live with their parents until they leave the house, so they can learn to abide with Christ and His teachings during their lifetime.

Did I do ok on the 2 questions? Smiles.

#2  Posted by Robert Hickok  |  Saturday, October 2, 2010 at 9:42 AM

#1. Youth programs when I was a teen focused on how to "get along" in school and peer groups while maintaining a Christian image. We talked about tricks to avoid getting into drinking or drugs or situations that put us at risk for premarital sex. It was mostly practical maneuvers and how to talk and act among peers so that we did not offend while maintaining our "witness." Nowadays, my own kids have been in churches that fill huge rooms with couches, promote slovenly behavior and casual, even irreverent places that directly oppose the solemnity of proper worship services. They talk about good uses for the internet and cellphones. It's legalistic at best in most of the churches I've seen. At worst, it's group fun with ice-breakers and soda-pops. Teaching avoided the clear presentation of sin and grace. Instead, youth pastors have taught my kids how to use verses from the Bible to keep themselves out of trouble. Pastors, when they rarely approached the subject of parenting, talked about family time (dinner table tradition) and how to "talk to kids" in order to build rapport with them and get them to trust us and build friendship friends.

-Related: I was listening to Focus on the Family recently: about elementary aged kids who dressed and acted like adults. The guidance to parents about "keeping them children during their child years" was prefaced with "DON'T tell your kids NO outright: that will cause their hearts to harden and they'll rebel." Sounds like some of the teaching in my past.

#2. Kids with no discipline get a clear message that there are no boundaries. Result: a mushy quality to the Law and towing the mark. There's no positive statement about what is wrong and right. That means there's no clear grasp of what sin means. That makes it hard for them to understand a need for the Gospel. The problem perpetuates itself as kids grow up without clear standards. They have no tools for applying discipline in their own families or society (or church). Therefore the truths of sin and redemption get more and more confused.

#3. Advice? Repent. Realize the sin of this form of parenting and take it to the Lord in prayer. Ask for forgiveness and for direction to correct the problem. Take action!

--1. If your church is not actively combatting the irresponsibile and syncretistic philosophy of this age with clear Biblical teaching, bring the subject up to the pastor or leave for a church that does keep up the fight.

--2. Read the Word! Focus on cause and effect. Rebuild understanding of the Law and what Christ does to deal with failure to keep the law.

--3. Be honest with the kids. Explain what's wrong and what you're going to do about it. Parents are sinning against their kids in this situation. This means we have to address the problem with the kids.

--4. Seek guidance from church.

--5. Finally, find hope in the Lord, for He really is faithful and knows all that is going on in you and your kids.

#3  Posted by Robert Hickok  |  Saturday, October 2, 2010 at 10:46 AM


I'm rubbed raw by the ridiculous trend that we avoid anything that might be considered harsh or offensive. I'm guilty of it, myself, and that makes it even more rotten. We, as Christians, should be courageous and committed enough to attack sin where it presents itself. We're so afraid of scaring people off that we can't even repeat a clear statement right out of Scripture. "Thou Shalt Not..." isn't even an option anymore. We have to downplay the explicit and bring on affirmation and huggy-god-mushy-love stuff instead.

Us too, as parents. Like you said: loving, firm, bold talk. Rooted in the Word of God.

#4  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Saturday, October 2, 2010 at 4:05 PM

I agree, thanks, Yes, I understand now.

That we must put our feet down and be serious.

Yes, I too miss the saying, 'Thou shall not' and I too miss the serious sermons on sin and hereafter. We all learn and Jesus picks us up.


God bless.