Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord. Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged. Colossians 3:20-21
Personal – Family
v Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord.
- The word for obey is hupakouo
- Means to listen attentively
- Not mind readers (kid outside, mom whispers in closet)
- Not the normal problem
- First act of obedience is hearing the command
- “I didn’t hear you” is not a legitimate excuse
- An obedient child is one that is eager to hear the instructions
- Not hearing is the first act of disobedience
- Obedience is not hard of hearing
- Listens for the command and wants to hear it
- Psalm 123:2
- Deaf obedience is disobedience
- Obedience is not forgetful
- Command given Monday
- Does not evaporate by Thursday
- Lack of action by parents is not change in instructions or silent permission
- Children should be told again if they need to, but the second reminder should come with discipline
- Forgetful obedience is disobedience
- Obedience is not piecemeal
- Obey parents in all things
- Saul and the Amalekites
- Doing half the list is not obedience
- Partial obedience is disobedience
- Obedience is not postponed
- Children cannot set their own schedule of when they will obey
- Hebrews 3:7-8
- Start cleaning the room, and begin to look at things and go on their own schedule of when the room will be clean
- Delayed obedience is disobedience
- Obedience is not subject to private interpretation
- “I don’t have to do this because I’m older now”
- This is called spin
- Only Politicians and Justices can do this
- Reinterpreted obedience is disobedience
- Obedience is not reluctant or sullen
- If obedience is well-pleasing to God, then it is to be well-pleasing to children and parents
- Related to first point of eager obedience
- Someone could obey right away (out of fear), but not like it
- Grumpy obedience is disobedience
- Obedience is rendered to parents – both of them
- All things – children and parents should know that the children are being brought up to maturity – living on their own
- Well pleasing – young people should strive to see their life as an integrated whole
- “Heart is right” and bedroom is a pit – Gnostic mysticism
- Room is spotless and heart full of uncleanness – Pharisaical hypocrisy
- Reject both of these – clean your room with a clean heart
v Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.
- Some think of the Bible as a clunky, rule book
- The aroma of obedience in the Bible is love, joy, and peace in the Holy Ghost
- Some know the words, but not the tune (Mark Twain’s wife) “My dear, you know all the words, but not the tune.”
- Some Christians have rules, tests, standards, but no love, joy, or peace in the Holy Ghost
- 3, 7, 10, or 12 steps to success; or paint by numbers solutions
- Works righteousness
- Scripture is not a mural, it is a window
- Love sees with the highest degree of accuracy
- Not critical
- Accurate, but disproportionate
- Caricature (line drawing)
- Correction is not criticism
- Not indulgent
- No distinctions
- Only constant is excuses
- Water color
- Love disciplines without harshness, calmly, for the sake of kid and shows mercy with wisdom
- Love and Obedience – John 14:15, 23
- Not critical
Colossians 3:18-4:1 record the impact that biblical Christianity should have on the culture. The new man is a new wife (3:18), a new husband (3:19), a new son or daughter (3:20), a new parent (3:21), a new employee (3:22-25), and a new employer (4:1). As any one of these, the new man does what he does in the name of Jesus, letting the peace of God rule in his heart and the Word of Christ dwell in him richly.
These descriptions of the new man indicate the standard a Christian possesses in his relationships. A saved wife will subject herself to her husband’s authority, a saved husband will love his wife, a saved child will obey his parents, a saved parent will raise his children in a scriptural way, a saved employee will work hard, and a saved employer will treat his employees with justice. The change in relationships provides a great judgment of the genuineness of someone’s profession of faith.
While Dave Mallinak approaches the third rail of fundamentalist politics, I will seek my own source of theological voltage, what has been called the “qualifications of the pastor,” as found in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1. I’m going to focus on only one little phrase in the Titus 1 listing as found in verse six—“having faithful children.” If we are going to guard the truth of God’s Word and our churches, then we better have an understanding of what are these characteristics of pastors and whether they are required in order for a man to have, fulfill, and then continue in this office. I’m afraid that often men approach the traits outlined in the pastoral epistles with too many personal situations or hypotheticals in view. Instead, we should understand these qualities and then conform our practice to them, rather than adapting them to something that will preserve our own job or someone else’s. The two chapters are bigger than any one man or group of men.
Qualification or Disqualification or Both?
Before we think about what “having faithful children” means, I want to consider some points about these pastoral character traits in general. In conversations I have had with others, I have heard this type of statement about these two lists: “They are qualifications, not disqualifications.” In other words, we might agree that men should fulfill these traits in order to be appointed to the office of the pastor, but once a man is into the office, he can’t be removed based upon a characteristic violation of one or more of these attributes. I’ve never seen them that way, but maybe you agree.
1 Timothy 3:2 reads—“A bishop then must be. . . .”—after which are the characteristics listed. Titus 1:6 begins, “If any be. . . .” In both cases, we have present tense forms of the being verb, communicating continuous action. The verbs do not refer to a point in time, but an ongoing activity. Someone in that office must continue to live according to these descriptions. Even before “faithful children” in v. 6, we see “having,” which is a present active participle, again expressing continuous action. These traits must remain the lifestyle of the man in the office.
Someone might argue that both passages are talking about the commencement of a man in the office. 1 Timothy 3 describes him as desiring the office and Titus 1 as being ordained and appointed to the office. In other words, some might say that these are attributes that need only be fulfilled when a man first starts as a pastor. The present tense verbs do not lend themselves toward that view, that these are only qualifications, but not disqualifications. A few more items, I believe, work against this idea to reveal it to be false.
The works of the man of God are produced by the gospel. Gospel produced works (Eph 2:8-10) will not stop being performed. Whatever is happening in the life of a believer will persevere, but it is God who conforms the believer into the image of His Son (Rom 8:29). God will continue to cause the characteristic works of a Christian until his day of redemption (Philip 1:6).
We also know that a pastor can disqualify himself by his actions. Paul certainly wasn’t speaking about losing his salvation in 1 Corinthians 9:27, when he talked about being a “castaway.” In the various usages of the Greek word translated “castaway” (adokimos), we see it to say “disqualified.” He was motivated to keep his body under subjection by the threat of disqualification from some type of Christian ministry. I believe that 1 Timothy 5:19-20 lays out the procedure that should be followed in bringing disqualifying types of accusations against a pastor.
Besides two Scriptural arguments, I believe some God-given common sense comes in play here. We understand by reading the qualifications that they were for the purpose of keeping the testimony of God and His church, to set apart the church as a unique institution on earth, unlike merely natural organizations. “Blameless” as a characteristic relates to reputation. It isn’t saying, “sinless.” That’s not possible. It is “blameless,” because when there is enough violation to ruin the reputation of the pastor, he can’t be one and should be disqualified using the ordained process in 1 Timothy 5. After he is removed, then no man should lay hands upon him suddenly (1 Tim 5:22). He could prove himself again to fulfill the qualifications if he has not permanently disqualified himself. Some of the traits in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 seem to be permanent.
Who Are Faithful Children?
The word “faithful” (pistos) always refers to believers, saved people, in the New Testament. It is never an unconverted person. It couldn’t be referring to some kind of well-behaved, disciplined unbelieving child. Certainly it can be used of someone who is loyal or trustworthy as a saved person, but it is always a believer and always someone who is faithful with the truth. The word is actually a simple one that in its essence means “believing,” the opposite of which is “unbelieving.”
How “faithful” is used in Titus 1:6 is how it is used in Ephesians 1:1, “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus,” and Colossians 1:2, “To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colosse.” The faithful servant of Matthew 24 and Luke 12, the good and faithful servant of Matthew 25 and Luke 19, the faithful person of Luke 16, the faithful mother of Timothy (Acts 16:1), the faithful stewards of 1 Corinthians 4, faithful Timothy (1 Cor 4:17), the faithful ministers of Colossians 1:7 and 4:7, faithful Onesimus (Col 4:9), faithful Moses (Heb 3:5), faithful Silvanus (1 Pet 5:12), and faithful Antipas (Rev 2) were all believers. To take “faithful” out of the believing context, isolate it as if it only meant submissive to the father’s leadership without believing what the father taught, would be to distort the word.
The Greek word for “children” (tekna) refers to offspring, not necessarily young. BDAG says that it is “an offspring of human parents” or “descendants.” The word doesn’t mean children in the home. There are words that do mean that, and they could have been used by Paul in Titus, but they weren’t. If Paul wanted to talk about little children he could have used teknion. If he wanted to talk about babies he could have used brephos, that means infants. It’s not an issue of the age of his children, but that his children believe without dissipation or rebellion, whatever age they are in life.
1 Timothy 3:4 requires that children of a pastor be in submission and that looks like it refers to kids that are still at home. A pastor’s children must operate under the direction of their parents. They can’t function in rebellion against their pastor parent. Children of a pastor as a lifestyle must be obedient to him. Titus 1:6 brings more information to the parenting of the pastor by including that his children must show that they have been obedient by showing their faithfulness to his preaching of the gospel.
The Problems Some Have
Some do not like the idea of having the qualifications of the pastor sort of dependent on other people. In other words, another person, the pastor’s child, could put him out of his office. Some of this relates to belief about salvation itself. Calvinists, for instance, would see a pastor as not having any ability to ensure that his child will receive Christ. A child’s salvation in many Calvinists’ view is up to the foreordination and predetermination of God regardless of what a pastor does in the way of parenting. It seems to give trouble to the Calvinist outlook, giving too much to the influence of the leadership of the pastor on his children. They seem to see a pastor as helpless as to whether his children will be converted or not. He must wait to see if his children were elect before the foundations of the world.
However, this idea that the conversion of one’s children is so much out of one’s control clashes with so many scriptural texts that relate to human influence on the salvation of sinners. Matthew 5:16 teaches that you can live a kind of life that results in people glorifying God. As a consequence of the lifestyle of the first church in Jerusalem, according to Acts 2:41-47, the Lord added to the number that were being saved. In Romans 11:14, Paul writes that his desire in preaching to the Gentiles was somehow to move to jealousy his fellow countrymen to be saved, so that what he did would have a direct impact on the salvation of others. In 1 Corinthians 9, Paul said he would become as weak to save the weak, a clear implication that the way he dealt with people would directly relate with whether men would be saved. Then at the end of chapter 10, he didn’t want to give an offense to a Jew or Grecian, so that his life would lead people to salvation. In Philippians 2:15 Paul speaks of being above reproach as a light in a wicked world so that in the day of Christ he could find out that he got some salvation impact out of his life. He says in 1 Timothy 4:12-16 that Timothy’s conduct would ensure salvation to some of those that heard him. Peter says the same kind of thing in 1 Peter 2:11, when he says that good behavior among unbelieving pagans would result in their glorifying God in the day of judgment. He instructs women with unsaved husbands in 1 Peter 3:1-2 that their husbands could be won by their own chaste conduct.
We also have texts such as these that apply directly to the parent-child relationship and salvation. In 1 Corinthians 7:12-14, Paul says that one Christian parent could sanctify a home to the degree that the children would become no longer unclean but holy. Paul intimates that a woman doing proper child training could offset the harmful stigma of the curse on women (1 Tim 2:15). This is exactly what we see was done by Lois and Eunice with Timothy (2 Tim 1:5) with the holy scriptures they taught him as a child (2 Tim 3:15).
Scripture does not teach a fatalistic approach to child rearing without proper consideration of the impact of a godly life or the responsibility for evangelism. Salvation comes to people through the faithful witness and godly example of other believers. All through Scripture we are continually taught that a godly life leads people to salvation. Election is the issue with God and the issue by which we give Him glory but it is not some explanation to embrace as an explanation for why a pastor’s child didn’t receive Christ.
I don’t apologize for viewing Proverbs 22:6 as a promise to parents:
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
If he departs from it, what is our conclusion? The parents didn’t train up the child in the way he should go. I’m not saying that every son will be a pastor or missionary. The qualification is “faithful.” A pastor must have children who are saved. I would expect his children to show the behavior fitting of conversion. If they don’t, he should not be in that office.
What About When They’re Young?
“Are you saying if your children aren’t old enough to be saved you can’t pastor?” No. When they’re young, they’re under control and they are being taught to be faithful to the Word of God. They are guided by a faithful pastor to be faithful themselves to what he is faithful to. And some day that blooms into saving faith. The church ought to be able to look at that man’s life and see that process taking place, see those little children affirming, believing as much as their simple hearts can believe, progressing toward a saving faith. When it comes to the point that they’re old enough to believe, they are to be faithful to the truth they have been taught.
In many ways, this becomes an inane game played by those who want to discredit the qualification. I believe this is why the word “faithful” is used, however. The children (primaries, juniors, even young teens) don’t have to be converted. They must be faithful to the truth until they end where everyone does who is faithful to God’s Word—conversion.
So What If a Pastor’s Child Doesn’t Receive Christ?
If the pastor must have faithful children in order to be a pastor, then his children must receive Christ. They must give evidence they are headed that direction until they actually do believe in Jesus for salvation. A pastor who has a child who rebels against that teaching should not continue in the office. He has been disqualified because he has not ruled his house well. His children did not submit to what he taught. If they had, then they would have received Christ.
This is a post that I was supposed to write last month. I finally got to it. Read more…
Before I begin my article, let me take just a moment to commend Kirk Brandenburg for his article. It was well-written and well thought out, and demonstrated his father’s diligent teaching at home. Kirk, you are a credit to your dad’s ministry, and I trust that you will continue to be.
That being said, throughout this month’s topic, we have alluded several times to the fact that some consider the piano to be an effeminate instrument. With apologies to Kirk and others, I am one of those who think that a large number of piano-playing males are effeminate. In this post, I intend to flesh that thought out a bit, so I hope you will “endure to the end.”
First, I do not believe that there is any such thing as an effeminate instrument. Piano included. For crying out loud, the piano is way too heavy to be effeminate. But I digress. I would also include the flute, the pennywhistle, the clarinet, and the harp in my list of instruments that are not effeminate. I will admit that I don’t have a verse on this… my opinion results from a simple observation that I have made. Instruments are gender neutral. They are neither male nor female. Neither masculine nor feminine.
That being said, although I can in no way claim to be a musician (I can’t even play an i-pod), I do think that some instruments are more suitable to women than men, and vice-versa. But since that is a topic for those more expert in musical instruments than myself (starting with Kermit the Frog), I’ll leave that one alone. I believe that any instrument can be played by a man (and no, I don’t believe that ‘like a man’ means either poorly or boorishly), and in a manly fashion, and I believe that the sooner we get that idea in our head, the better off we will be. Read more…
I talked to my son about writing something from his perspective. Here is what he wrote.
Random Thoughts from the Receiving End
Kirk Brandenburg, 17 year old senior at Bethel Christian Academy, El Sobrante, CA
Instrument: Let Them Choose?
Everybody should start with piano. You don’t get to choose piano. It’s an instrument that you can start early (six or seven years old), and it plants your musical life for whatever it may grow to be. Yankee Doodle and I’m a Little Tea Pot are a lot easier to grasp than, “Ok, make your mouth into a tight but not too tight circle then blow with steady air through your lips while they’re buzzing . . . and don’t forget to count.” Piano takes care of counting, reading music (both clefs), and note values; so, when a child has matured enough (nine years and up) to handle another instrument, all the basics are second nature. Having a basic knowledge of the piano is critical for any musician anyway. I am not saying everybody should shoot for concert pianist- just get the basics (two or three years).
Once the basics have been covered, you may want to choose another instrument. It helps a lot when the person playing the instrument chooses the instrument. That way he can look back or be forced to look back at who made the decision. The original plan in my family was for me to play trumpet–we had a trumpet, but I liked the sound (a sound that I was able to strive for) of the trombone better. The original love for the instrument helped me enjoy the instrument; it wasn’t a forced, laborious thing.
It is my opinion that you will never be able to reach your pinnacle in music unless you get professional instruction. Of course you must work with what is available to you, but since everyone should be shooting for the pinnacle, if you have the means, get the lessons. Fortunately, my parents have made the means possible for all of their children and have put music in great importance in our home. I can not begin to tell the benefit I have received from about 17 combined years of professional instruction. Professional instruction gets you to that next level.
In the beginning years, you can save a lot of money by choosing a capable teacher that does not have a big price tag. In my first four years of trombone, I was able to get excellent teaching for my level for a lot cheaper than what the price is now.
Three areas come to mind when choosing a teacher: (1) credentials, (2) capability, and (3) character. When the time comes to choose a teacher, do not be afraid to try around. If you don’t think the teacher can do the job, say no. In my early piano years, I had a teacher I was deathly afraid of. I dreaded going to lessons each week, but I never told my parents. One day after the teacher had slapped my hand for playing a wrong note, my dad and mom knew I was dreading it, so we immediately moved to a new teacher. It was such a relief to want to go to lessons; make sure your child is comfortable with the teacher’s personality. You learn so much more.
One thing that I hate to see is wasted practice time. If you took the average student musician’s real practice time compared to his overall “practicing,” you would probably find that at least half of the time is wasted. I was talking to a world renowned brass instrument repairman here in the Bay Area, and he said he would rather hear 15 minutes of solid practice than an hour of goof-off practice. That always stuck with me, and, although I am guilty of wasting practice time, I always strive to get high octane practicing. High octane practicing includes practicing the hard parts (not “practicing” the easy ones over and over), reading/following the teacher’s notes, not moving on until I have it absolutely perfect, and never brainlessly practicing (always striving for something better). I always have to limit myself in practice sessions because I find that I can spend a full hour on my technique exercises (in trombone) alone!
From a family where every child (4 of them) takes piano and an instrument (trombone for the boy, violin for the three girls), it sounds really, really, really bad at first. Count on it. In fact, if your student is always working on the hard, non polished parts, it almost always sounds bad. In my family, there is an underlying disdain for my trombone practice sessions. My sisters always ask if I am done yet. “Do you think you can practice that when we’re gone?” I tend to repeat (and hopefully perfect) the same technique exercises day after day. Not only can I do a full hours worth of technique exercises, my whole family has the routine memorized, and they often sing it back to me. My trombone playing often must be loud and sounds obnoxious. The same disdain goes for some of the family’s violinists’ practice sessions, but . . . we must suffer through, look like we’re enjoying it, and offer our support. If you decide to have music in your home, be ready to endure very unpleasant sounds.
Guys and Piano
I am a guy and I play piano. I have heard that some people think piano is a feminine instrument, but I strongly disagree. Have you never heard some of the great piano concertos? Beethoven, Tchaikovsky especially? I believe that men have a unique sound on the piano. A sound and style that only they can obtain (I haven’t heard the same unique sound with the flute). I have not only heard this unique sound in my playing compared to the women piano players in our church, but I have heard it in the playing of people like Dr. Thomas Corkish (Pastor, Anchor Baptist Church) and David Ledgerwood (well known hymn arranger). I believe that one of the reasons men sound so girly on the piano is because almost every hymn is arranged girly; men are not even given a chance to make it sound manly. I am so thankful for arrangers like David Ledgerwood and Peter Wright because of the manly arrangements they put out.
Something I also dislike is a women accompanying an all male group. It irks me. I love accompanying our church men’s groups because I can sing (through my playing) in a manly way with the manly song. We recently did an all men’s number in church, and our whole church agreed that it had a special quality.
I have gotten the opportunity to participate in outside-of-church music groups. It is a truly amazing experience. The musical training (especially ensemble training) is unparalleled. I find that when I come back to church everything I play is so much easier, and I know I am able to get a better sound for God. Besides it being good for my training, it is super fun. It gives me another outlet to use my instrument. I cannot describe to you the experience, the emotional lift, that occurs when you come upon an amazing part of music. As you may know, I recently toured Australia and New Zealand with the orchestra I participate in. Our last concert ever as a group was at Avondale Girl’s School in New Zealand. It was a very emotional performance. We knew the music the best we ever had, we knew this was our last performance together as that very group, and our conductor had us in the palm of his hand. We were playing the first movement of Tchaikovsky’s Sixth Symphony, The Pathetique. There is one trombone solo in that symphony (probably the loudest in trombone orchestral literature) that gives me the heebee-jeebees when I play it. The orchestra builds to the climax of the movement, and the trombone solo soars in over the rest of the orchestra; it gives me the goose bumps just thinking about how emotional it is. Some of the orchestra members told me that they cried at these emotional passages, and I admit … my eyes did water. This may all sound weird to you, but emotion is an element that I often see is missing in our church music today. People play their church specials, orchestra parts, etc. like robots. No zeal for the message of the song. Instead of playing with passion just to make beautiful music like I do in the orchestra, I play with passion to communicate a message in church. I learned in the orchestral setting to play with the passion I believe should also be felt in our church music. A heartfelt song is greater praise to God, just like anything we do that is heartfelt is greater praise.
The ensemble experience (especially orchestra) is well worth it. My advice for getting involved in orchestra is to (1) look for the youth symphony of your local professional orchestra or look on the Internet–I know kids who participate in youth orchestras in North Dakota, (2) start early (7th grade)- you work up the chain of advancement. I have now played in a total of four orchestras, and I am trying out for a fifth.
Always Bring It Back to What It Is Really About
The most important thing to do with your instrument is to praise god. Get involved in church music. Our church has a six month schedule for every instrument of every musician in our church. This always keeps me working on something musically for God. Participate in church ministries with your music: nursing home, church orchestra, etc. Always keep in mind why you are playing your instrument. Parents, remind your children why they play. Praising God when you are playing in church should be a given, but if you are playing somewhere else, maybe a secular place, remember who is and should be getting the glory. I make a habit to pray to God before a secular concert or practice that he would receive the praise for what I am about to play. Music is something that we should always have fun with and enjoy, but that must take 2nd place to praising God.
Joey hasn’t been the same, ever since the band leader said it. His little feelies, all mangled and crushed, lie forlorn on the ground. His self-esteem, already needing a stool to mount the flat side of a piece of regular, college-ruled notepaper, now strains to straddle a spaghetti noodle of the angel hair variety. His brow, beaten and bruised, creased with care and worn with worry, resembles a swimming pool on a very windy day. Or perhaps, resembles his bed sheets. That is, before his mother gets around to making it for him.
What, might you ask, has caused Joey such trauma, such trepidation, such total cerebral torture? Well, that is a long story, as you might have guessed, and will take some time to unravel. Feelies are just that way.
In the meantime, Joey continues his daily self-therapy sessions, in his bedroom, alone, with his pillow behind his now nearly twelve-year-old back and his Wii within arm’s reach. His mother rarely disturbs her patient, other than with the ocassional glass of warm milk and plate of chocolate chip cookies. Father has yet to be made aware of his son’s (a.k.a. “my pride and joy”) condition. Joey’s mangled feelies have only been festering for a week so far. Hardly enough time for a man of Joey’s father’s experience to sit up and take note. Besides, he hardly ever visits that end of the house. The TV is clear down in the basement. Read more…