24/7 work of bringing up your children in Christ
By Pastor Scott Guillory
It would be very difficult to deny that this moment is a dark moment in American history. There are epidemics with all of the hysteria attached, neo-marxist groups touting their agenda under the guise of racial injustice, and a general distaste toward God and His Law. Many of us are wondering whether our children will have anything remaining of the Christian heritage of this nation. Will the gospel and the precepts of God’s covenant reach the next generation? How did we get here? How do we recover what is lost?
In Ephesians 6:4, Paul says that Fathers are to take care to bring up their children in the “nurture and admonition of the Lord.” While many Christians simply take this command as simply “being a good Christian parent,” others can see that this verse is more focused than this and they state that Paul is specifically requiring a Christian education for the children of Christians. This is true, but we have to see that much more is involved in this than simply making sure our kids get a formal Christian education.
In Ephesians 6:4, Paul is requiring Christian fathers to provide their children with a “paideia of the Lord.” That’s where nurture and admonition come from in the original Greek. What is a paideia? If you asked a Greek, they would say that it is the process of shaping the ideal man or woman for their ideal culture. Greeks knew what this meant in the same way we know what democracy means. This certainly includes formal education but it went beyond that. It was an all-encompassing enculturation of the future citizen. Believe it or not, our worldly culture does that to its future citizens in what is being taught in the government schools, what is being presented on Netflix and Hulu, and what is listed on the Spotify top 40 playlist. What paideia is your child being brought up in?
Paul says to bring up our children in the paideia of the Lord, to enculturate them in Christianity, to produce the future ideal Christian citizen in a Christian society. This doesn’t only involve sending your kids to a Christian school, which is great, but it involves 24/7 enculturation of your children to Christ. Deuteronomy 6:7 says, “You (Christian moms and dads) shall teach (enculturate) them (teach what? The Law of God, the paideia of God) diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” In other words, every waking minute of every waking hour!
This isn’t 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. schooling here. This is 24/7 work! Work that has the long-range goal of creating a Christian culture, a culture in which the family, the church, and the state bows the knee to the Lord Jesus Christ and obeys His law.
You may say, “We have our Christian culture, we have our own radio stations, we have our own bookstores, we have our own bumper stickers and WWJD bracelets. Why aren’t our older children embracing the truths of Christ like we have?” Because the government schools are ensuring that your kids are being taught under a different paideia under the guise of neutrality, that education can be presented in a morally neutral way. That is a myth. There is no such thing as neutrality in education. Everything that is taught in any school is inescapably religious. The question is which one.
Christians cannot present a true cultural alternative until they provide their own children with an education entirely consistent with what they believe, a Christian paideia that is present when the children wake up, when they walk by the way, and when they sit in class.