Raising Christian Children?


“But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD.”                   (Jonah 2:9)


            I read an article this week by this title: “Raising Christian Children”. What an absurd subject and title for an article in a magazine that claims commitment to the gospel of God’s free and sovereign grace!


            What could be more contradictory to the revelation of God in Holy Scripture than to tell mere mortals that they are responsible and have the ability to raise Christian children. Can a creature create? The author seems to think he can. He begins his article by telling how a Sunday School teacher managed to get little girls in her class of three year olds to become new creatures in Christ by deciding to move from one side of the room to another!


            Absurd as both the illustration and the article were, there are multitudes who, while claiming to believe the gospel of God’s free grace (not openly professed Arminians and will-worshippers) practice the kind of “evangelism” implied in the title and the illustration.


            What multitudes today will be talked into a profession of faith in Christ, and will be convinced that they are Christians, because they have given assent to certain truths revealed in the gospel! Like the deluded three year old babies, they will decide to move from the damned side of the class to the saved side!


            Multiplied millions are convinced that they are raising Christian children because they had their children sprinkled with water as babies, and promised to raise them as Christians, or because they have their children in religious schools. And the children, (the poor, deluded sons and daughters of those deluded parents), foolishly imagine that they are Christians because they were raised as Christians!


            A decision not to go to hell is not salvation. A choice to accept the doctrine of the gospel is not a new creation. A religious education is not a resurrection from the dead. Morality is not life. Reformation is not regeneration. How many ways can it be said? — Salvation is not something you do for God; but something God does for and in you!


            I cannot give you eternal life. Your parents cannot bestow it upon you. And you cannot will or work your way into it. It really is a new creation; and the only Creator is God. “Salvation is of the Lord!


It is our great privilege and responsibility to proclaim the gospel to sinners, to train our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, and to seek God’s mercy in Christ for them. Having done that, we can do no more; and must do no more. We will wait for God to do his work in his chosen at his appointed time of love. When he does, the sinner saved by omnipotent mercy will find himself trusting Christ. And if you trust Christ, you do not need me or any other man to tell you that you do, or tell you that you are saved.


            While it is altogether right and good to declare to sinners, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31), we rejoice to know and declare that all who believe have been saved. Else they could not and would not believe (John 3:36).





Don Fortner



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