We live in an age of incredible advances in technology. To contrast the changes over the last one hundred years to those of the previous century is astounding. These advances have had ripple effects that have changed the way society does nearly everything. However, some things never change. Godly parents love for their children is the same now as it was in the beginning. Nearly three thousand years ago King Solomon spoke his wisdom for our benefit. The Proverbs are full of truths which are just as, if not more, relative today as ever before. Edward Lawrence, who I introduced in the last post, lived in a relatively modern age (mid 17th century) as compared to Solomon, however he saw the contemporary wisdom and truisms that the Proverbs supplied. Three hundred and fifty years later many of us today can empathize with Lawrence and King Solomon when we read Proverbs 17:25 “A foolish son brings grief to his father and bitterness to the one who bore him.”
I love the style of instruction from the Puritan era. When these men taught and preached they did so with authority. I can’t imagine these men sitting around in a circle with their pupils asking them, “What does this passage mean to you? How does this make you feel?” They were really good at laying out the facts. Lawrence began the lesson in his treatise “Parent’s Groans Over Their Wicked Children” with a few explicative points. He reminds us that both genders are capable of fitting into the category of wicked and ungodly, sons and daughters. Secondly it is ordinary for godly parents to have wicked children. I remember the moniker PK, preacher’s kids, tagged on the infamous children of the local ministers. For some reason preachers seemed to have the worst kids, or was it that for some reason we expect theirs to be good little saints, like ours of course. Lastly he shows that the terms wicked and foolish can be used interchangeably in scripture when identifying the unregenerate or unsaved. From Lawrence’s perspective you most likely have wicked children. Here is a quote that struck me as a wonderful tool to help us measure the climate of our children’s condition. Lawrence says, “Wicked children think themselves wise, wiser than parents, masters(teachers, bosses, coaches, etc.), or ministers.” Try that on for size. How does that fit?
Now for some of you I am not presenting any new information here. Those who have a good handle on the nature of man outside of the life giving power of the Holy Spirit can easily digest the fact that little Johnny most likely is dead in his trespasses and sin. Still it is hard to see our children as wicked or dead. If we would choose one of scripture’s terms we might rather use foolish. However, as I mentioned in my post last week, “I’m Not the Villain Here,” foolishness is not a benign condition. God uses foolishness to identify the worst of the worst in those whom he has given over to their desires in Romans 1:18-32. For the sake of time I’ll let you decide if you want to read this passage and see if you would list your children in the same category as Paul does when he characterized even disobedient children as wicked fools. Just saying!
Lawrence loved his children. All the work that went into this booklet was originally intended as an inheritance for his children, to give them a legacy to remember what he desired most for them. He did not speak of their success in the world, their education, nor their comforts. His desire was to see them enter the Kingdom of Heaven on the judgement day.
So as we push ahead, and I do mean push because of the dreadful nature of the topic, I challenge you not to give up on my efforts. After darkness, light must be our reward. Covenant Theology does not teach that God will save every child of every saint. But it does teach that God generally elects from within his tribe those who will serve him. In the next post I will give some examples of God’s exceptions to the rule from scripture and the lessons he teaches through them.
tha tbeing said