Re: New Topic: Our Children.
- --- In email@example.com, "Susan
Wilkinson" <gpyp@...> wrote:
>temptations/trials of covenanter children (esp. the older ones) and
> Is anyone else here interested in discussing the peculiar
the peculiar temptations/trials for covenanter parents that flow from
them? We have various struggles in our family due to being
covenanters and I have noticed over time that many covenanter
families seem to struggle to stay covenanters at least in part
because of the state of their children or perhaps their fears for
their children if they don't "do something" else. For instance, we
have older children now who are interested in marrying-they can't
just trot down to the local church hoping to meet a potential mate.
That is a trial for them and for us as parents. It is a trial that,
given time, could very easily turn into a temptation to compromise or
altogether abandon our principles in search of relief. There is
temptation to fear for both our children and us. What if God doesn't
provide? What would it mean? If He doesn't provide does it mean that
our convictions are wrong and we're just suffering the just desserts
of being so exclusive? These and many other things are what I'd like
> to see discussed here.Tim comments-As you know, I am no covenanter. But I did stay single
for a very long time before marrying and that was largely because I
was involved in a church community that I then thought was
more "principled" than other churches, and that committment poisoned
what, seen in hindsight, could have been a workable Christian
marriage. It seems to me that some of the lessons I learned from that
time may be helpful. These are:
First,recognize if your children have not been given the gift of
singleness, they are biblically commanded to seek a mate (1 Cor.7:9)
That is explicit scriptural command. While it is also a plain
scriptural statement that they are Scripturally restricted to seeking
a mate among believers, Scripture records no other limitations that
explicitly limit the prospective spouse pool.
Seocond, if you premise that they must limit their choices within the
Christian community, (and we all do so in one way or another) you
must be utterly certain that the considerations you put forward to
narrow the field are, in themselves, either explicitly scriptural
statements outlining desirable conduct in other contexts (I hope
nobody would recommend marrying a lazybones) or statements which
follow by good and necessary consequence from the biblical data.
Now the situations faced by covenanter children and myself were both
of this latter sort. And I must note that both situations provide an
opportunity as well as a difficulty.
When we think that the pool of potential Christian spouses is limited
by a deduction from biblical data, we have the responsibility and
opportunity to retest the limiting deductions against Scripture be
utterly sure that our deductions limiting the pool are correct.
This entails turning a hard and critical and Berean eye on the
principles that we believe limit us. Working together, our children
and ourselves must reconsider: are those principles biblical or are
To do this truly and not superficially is something that is very hard
to do, particularly when we have an emotional commitment to the group
whose limitations we have till now believed correct. Those
covenanters in this group who are reexamining the RPNA distinctives
can tell us how hard this is to do.
To apply it to your situation and to put it at its bluntest: you and
your children must reexamine the teachings which limit their choice
of potential mates with the same critical eye that you apply to
someone peddling Roman Catholic dogma. Test everything, and I mean
Test, and Everything.
It is because we know that RC's are wrong on some things that we are
alert to the possiblity that there are errors in their teaching. But
even though we know that the most approved teachers of our special
group are not apostles and thus are not inerrent, no matter how much
we protest the contrary, we don't test their teachings in the same
way. Instead, our default tendency is to presume that anything we
have been taught in our group is right and does not need to be
examined with an eye that is seriously looking for possible errors.
The latter is the eye that the Bereans employed when they checked
Paul out against scripture, and the one you folk have to apply to
Instead of doing this at the time in my situation, I contented myself
with a superficial review of what I though I knew. And it was not
many years before I had reason to wish that I had been more thorough.
If I had done what I should have done, I would have discovered two
things; while there were differences of opinion over a few issues
that divided a young lady and myself, those issues were among those
that Scripture did not apodidically settle one way or another. In
other words, the issues involved were such that both sides could
claim that their views were good consequence deductions from the
Scriptures but neither side could claim that there views were the
only option that Scripture necessarily taught since the other views
were not specifically excluded.
If after such re-examination, your children discover that the
principles that limit the potential spouse pool are biblical, well
and good. They will be strengthened to face the test of walking
according to the limitations.
> I am particularly interested in exploring these questions:
> Philosophically how should we view the "extra" trials that our
> endure and that we endure (i.e. above mainstream Christianity)because of
> them? I think how we view those trials is critical.Tim-If the limitation one believes one must apply to the potential
spouse pool is biblical, then what your children are going through is
a biblical and not extra biblical trial of faith and God will give
grace accordingly. If the limitation is not biblical then it is an
unnecessary load to carry and God is not obliged to give grace to
fulfill something he does not command.
>Tim-Mediate much on the love and faithfulness and patience of Christ
> How can we increase our own patience in trials that we may be better
> equipped to help our children in theirs?
to you. His mercies are great. Keep praying for your kids and their
>Tim-Seek to walk in a way that pleases the Lord in everything, and
> How can we practically help our children in order to minimize their
especially in your marriages. Ask him to give you his joy as your
strength. If you please the Lord and he gives you his joy in life and
marriage, your kids will see it. And such a marriage is powerfully
attractive; people want something like it for themselves. This will
help innoculate them against Satan's substitutes.
>hope this helps