Tag Archive | Family

The Gospel is for Children

Question: Are you a child of God or an adult?

Many Christians and some entire denominations think that the gospel is for adults. Maybe including teanagers, but certainly not for young children. Even the disciples of Jesus thought that way.

But Jesus said in Luke 18:15-17

15 Now they were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them. And when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them.
16 But Jesus called them to him, saying, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.
17 Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”​

“Jesus shows his disciples how “of such is the kingdom of God,” for no one shall enter that kingdom unless he enters it as a little child. This statement is astonishing in every way. We should think as, alas, so many did and do think that a babe must receive the kingdom as an adult receives it, but absolutely the reverse is true. The child is the model, not the man. It is the unassuming humility and the unquestioning trustfulness of the child that makes it a pattern for all adults. This humility and this trustfulness, when they are directed to Christ, become the very essence of saving faith.”

Lenski, R. C. H. (1961). The Interpretation of St. Luke’s Gospel (p. 910). Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Publishing House.​

Source: https://puritanboard.com/threads/luke-18-15-17-%E2%80%93-the-gospel-and-children.97653/

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Why Does Marriage Exist?

Marriage was ordained for
– the mutual help of husband and wife
– for the increase of mankind with a legitimate issue, and of the Church with an holy seed
– for preventing of uncleanness.

Source: https://puritanboard.com/threads/fundamental-purpose-of-marriage.86168/, comment 3

Scripture:

Mal.2:14-15 describes two fundamental purposes:

1) Covenant of companionship
2) Godly seed

14 But you say, “Why does he not?” Because the LORD was witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant.
15 Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth.

Source: https://puritanboard.com/threads/fundamental-purpose-of-marriage.86168/, comment 2

1559 BCP:

[Marriage is]an honorable state, instytuted of God in Paradise, in the time of manes innocencie, signiflyng unto us the mistical union that is betwixt Christ and his Churche: which holy state Christe adourned and beautified with his presence and firste myracle that he wrought in Cana of Galile, and is commended of sainct Paul to be honourable emong all men, and therfore is not to be enterprised, nor taken in hande unadvisedly, lightly or wantonly, to satisfye mennes carnall lustes and appetytes, lyke brute beastes that have no understandyng ; but reverently, discretely, advisedly, soberly, and in the feare of God, duely consideryng the causes for the which matrimony was ordeined. One was the procreation of children, to be brought up in the feare and nurtoure of the Lorde, and praise of God. Secondly, it was ordeined for a remedy agaynste sinne and to avoide fornication, that suche persones as have not the gifte of continencie might mary, and kepe themselves undefiled membres of Christes body. Thirdly, for the mutual societie, helpe, and comfort, that the one ought to have of the other, bothe in prosperity and adversitye

Infants Dying in Infancy

Source: https://puritanboard.com/threads/infants-dying-in-infancy-canons-of-dort-head-1-article-17.96695/

Why Marry Young?

Rev. Jerrold Lewis:

Love and marriage are nuanced, delicate, even mysterious things, so please don’t misunderstand what I’m about to say. I’ll make this brief; I believe it is better to marry young. I’ve always thought this, but as I grow older, the reasons have crystallized. Here are 7 reasons that I think this way:

Read more: https://plantsandpillars.net/2018/11/29/young-love-what-are-you-waiting-for/

A Laxity in Covenantal Obligations

Cymro on the Puritan Board discussing why the Reformed churches are so small these days. I have observed this laxity within my own denomination, where one generation not only fails to train up the next but also chastises people for even having children in the first place:

Another contributing factor is the abandonment by Confessional Presbyterianism of the principle that God perpetuates the Church from age to age, through the children of the Church. God in wisdom constituted society in family structures, and likewise in the church. There is an organic unity in both. The responsibility and privilege given to parents to train up the child in the way it should go, has suffered a laxity that has damaged the health of the church. It is regrettable that Presbyterianism seems to follow Edwards’ maxim that children are “little vipers” rather than Calvin’s belief that the seed of believers are little Christians. There is a lamentable ignorance amongst Presbyterian parents respecting the covenant obligations we have in raising our offspring not only in the fear and admonition of the Lord, but as citizens of His kingdom and heirs of the covenant. The present attitude is one of a general christian upbringing and leave it to the maturing child to decide for itself. Consequently many Presbyterian churches have very few young people in them. If I speak too generally I apologise, but my words are but my experience.

Source: https://puritanboard.com/threads/why-are-reformed-churches-the-minority.95265/page-2, Comment 57

Does “Pharmakeia” Include Contraception?

An interesting quote from the OPC:

“What Is Pharmakeia?
In the Greco-Roman world of the first century, sensuality, perversion, and general decadence reigned supreme (often in connection with worshipping false gods). As a result, contraception (usually the drinking of potions to achieve temporary sterility), abortion (including the drinking of potions to destroy fetuses), and even infanticide (“exposing” infants to the elements and wild beasts, drowning them, etc.) were widespread, facing little moral objection.

The apostle Paul condemned the immorality of his day, but was strangely silent, or so it may seem, on the subjects of contraception, abortion, and infanticide. The reason for this apparent silence may be that these specific practices are included in broader categories. Surely infanticide and at least late-term abortion are included in his condemnations of murder. Does contraception likewise come under a broader category?

In this regard, we need to rethink Paul’s condemnation of pharmakeia in Galatians 5:20. Most Bible scholars have uncritically assumed that this Greek word means “sorcery” or “witchcraft” (as translated in English Bibles). But pharmakeia (from which our word pharmacy comes) originally referred to the use of potions, drugs, and often poisons, generally for evil purposes. Since these concoctions were often thought to have magical properties, the word developed the secondary meaning of “sorcery.” Both meanings were current in Paul’s day; which one fits better in this text?

Galatians 5:19-21 presents a long list of “the deeds of the flesh.” These are personal vices, which would be common in the general population. But sorcery was the craft of a sorcerer, not really a common personal vice. The use of potions and drugs for evil purposes, however, was widespread. It makes more sense to find such “drug abuse” listed alongside such things as immorality, idolatry, jealousy, and drunkenness, than to find sorcery on such a list.

This view is strengthened by the position of pharmakeia on the list. Between sexual sins (vs. 19) and sins involving disputes (vs. 20) we find “idolatry” and pharmakeia. Since pagan temples featured “sacred” prostitution, we should think of “idolatry” as attached to the first group of sins.

That leaves pharmakeia. It obviously does not belong with the sins involving disputes, but it, too, can reasonably be attached to the first group. What would then be in view is the evil use of potions and drugs, especially in connection with sexual practices. That would refer to the potions and drugs used to prevent conception and destroy fetuses.

Interestingly, the early third-century theologian Hippolytus, in the first clear reference to contraception made by a Christian in a work that has survived, condemns certain women who are “called believers,” and yet use “drugs for producing sterility” (atokiois pharmakois, in The Refutation of All Heresies, 9.12.25).

The same term is used by the early second-century physician Soranos of Ephesus, in his book Gynecology, to refer to both contraceptive and abortive potions. And the first-century biographer Plutarch mentions pharmakeia(without any qualification) alongside other practices (furtive child substitution and adultery) by which a woman might thwart her husband’s obtaining of a legitimate heir (Romulus, 22.3).

Thus, there is good reason to think that pharmakeia in Galatians 5:20 refers to the evil use of potions and drugs, especially contraceptive and abortive agents.

There is likewise good reason to find condemnations of contraception (and abortion) in Revelation 9:21, 21:8, and 22:15. In 9:20-21 people are said not to have repented of their idolatry, murdering (including abortion and infanticide), pharmakeia, immorality, and thievery. Once again we find pharmakeia in a list of popular vices centering around sexual immorality. And again we say, this arguably includes the use of contraceptive drugs. The same analysis would be made at 21:8 and 22:15. (At 18:23 there is probably a reference to sorcery, since the passage is not listing personal vices, but describing the evil influence of “Babylon” on the world; cf. Isa. 47:9, 12.)”

https://www.opc.org/nh.html?article_id=471&pfriendly=Y&ret=L25oLmh0bWw/YXJ0aWNsZV9pZD00NzE=

Source: https://puritanboard.com/threads/does-pharmakeia-include-contraception.95338/, Comment 8

Read the Puritan Board debate in full here: https://puritanboard.com/threads/does-pharmakeia-include-contraception.95338/ (Most PBers in the discussion answer the title’s question in the negative).

Let Them Be Happy

J.R. Miller:

God made childhood joyous, full of life, bubbling over with laughter, playful, bright and sunny. We should put into their childhood days just as much sunshine and gladness, just as much cheerful pleasure as possible. Let them be happy, encourage all innocent joy, provide pleasant games for them, romp and play with them — be a child again among them. Then God’s blessing will come upon your home, and your children will grow up sunny-hearted, gentle, affectionate, joyous themselves and joy-bearers to the world.

Source: https://puritanboard.com/threads/in-the-rage-of-a-fever-gone-mad.95799/, Comment 7