Thursday, March 23, 2023

 Does Street Preaching Work?

Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church

I often find myself on the street open air preaching the gospel when someone (usually, a professing Christian) will approach me and tell me that I’m doing ‘it’ the wrong way. Then, the usual follow up question that people often ask is: “what kind of results have you seen from this?” Every open air preacher can relate to this fairly typical and common conversation.

Does street preaching work? To answer that question, one must ask a more basic and fundamental question, “does preaching work?” If the answer to that question is in the affirmative, then one must also believe that street preaching works.

The very fact that many defy street preaching as a valid method of evangelism underscores the man-centered, self-exalting, arminian, and shallow distrust of the Word that exists in our day. In so far as the man standing in the open air lifts up His voice for the glory of Christ and with His Bible in hand proclaiming the biblical gospel, then street preaching works. As long as the herald is faithfully proclaiming the Word, as long as the herald is living an above-reproach life in harmony with the qualifications of a man of God who is to serve as a leader (which, open-air preaching is a form of ‘leadership’ and ‘teaching’), then it is a valid form of evangelism.

Street preachers who faithfully represent Christ, who powerfully preach the gospel, and who urgently plead with sinners to repent, turn to Christ, count the cost and follow Him are those who understand the power of the gospel. The power is not in the messenger, but in the message. The power is not in the cleverness of preaching but in the fidelity to the Scriptures.

Every open air preacher gains immeasurable comfort in recognizing the unrivaled sovereignty of God over all things — including His power over the rebellious, human heart. No preacher can gauge his results based upon visible responses. This reflects the man-centered form of evangelism that bases its methodology on human programs based on achieving a certain amount of numbers. The preacher preaches for conversions. But the faithful open air evangelist knows that no amount of wooing and faithful pleading on his part will convert a soul until the sovereign Spirit of God opens the heart of the sinner, raises that dead soul to life, and allows the sinner to see His sin, the beauty of Christ, the sufficiency of His wrath-bearing atonement, and His desperate need to trust in Christ alone and follow Him. Thus, the preaching on the streets is as effective as the Word of God itself is.

As the man stands and opens His mouth proclaiming Christ and Him crucified, so does the power of the Word go forth. The power is in the gospel, not in the man-made methods. God has declared that His messengers stand and preach His Word all through history — from Noah, to Jeremiah, to Amos, to Jesus, to Paul, to Whitefield, to Spurgeon, to Ravenhill — so that the lost who live on the broad road headed for destruction might hear the gospel of Christ, repent of their sins, believe and follow Christ alone, and serve Him with their whole lives.

Does street preaching work? As long as the faithful Word goes forth, absolutely! Does open-air preaching really make a difference? The man obeys God’s call, preaches for Christ’s glory and endeavors to present the gospel in such a way that the Spirit of God will awaken darkened hearts through the message preached so that some may be saved! Indeed, street preaching works!

Saturday, February 18, 2023


Geoffrey R. Kirkland

Christ Fellowship Bible Church (St Louis, MO)


The ultimate aim for all of Christian living must be the glory of God. Believers strive to live for Christ and for His renown. Paul said it like this: we make it our ambition… to be pleasing to God (2 Corinthians 5.9). That must be the believer’s primary target. This relates to parenting as well. The ultimate aim, the primary target of all Christian parenting must be to honor Jesus Christ and fulfill the duties that God has given through His Word in relation to the children. No parent will fulfill this perfectly, far from it! But God’s grace is so mighty and sufficient that He will help fathers and mothers to parent with the primary target in mind. Here some helpful reminders.

The parents must aim to prepare their children to meet God. The Lord Himself has given parents to be the God-given instructors to teach and prepare the children to meet God. All boys and girls have souls that will never die. At the very instant of death, all people will meet God. Those righteous in Christ’s merits through faith alone will enter heaven (Philippians 3.9) but those who stand guilty and laden with sin will have no hope as they meet God for judgment (Psalm 130:3). Parents should strive to prepare their children not only for future ambitions in this life but also for the realities of the next life

The parents must aim to instruct their children in God’s Word. To prepare children well, parents must wield the sword of the Spirit constantly and relentlessly in the home. Parents must teach the Bible, read the Bible, instruct with the Bible, counsel the Bible, resolve conflicts with the Bible, evangelize with the Bible, discipline using the Bible, and pray the Bible. Children will never be saved through a thorough knowledge of the Bible, but God does work by and with His Word in the saving of unbelievers. For David wrote: the Law of the LORD is perfect, restoring (=converting) the soul (Psalm 19:7). 

The parents must aim to teach their children to live uprightly. Another way parents can aim properly at the target in parenting is to command obedience. God commands and demands holiness of His people and that’s what parents should require of their children as well (Ephesians 6:4). When the children do not obey, they must be disciplined appropriately with firmness and with love. In doing this, parents should consistently seek to teach the children to live as one’s under authority, obeying governing authorities, in full submission to God and His Word, and to live out the unique roles and functions in the home that God has clearly revealed in Scripture. 

The parents must aim to convey the priority of prayer. Another way parents can target the heart in parenting is to prioritize prayer. Family prayer should be regular. And even the teaching of the children how to pray, and the manner and attitude they should have when others are praying is vital. Teaching children to fight distractions is important. Telling them to sit still is key. Teaching them that prayer is a reverential duty because God the King is implored and addressed. These are necessary elements in aiming for godly parenting. Parents should prioritize this in the good and difficult times, in the hard and the comfortable times, and in the times of plenty and in need. God remains faithful. 

The parents must aim to extol the sufficiency of the Word in all areas of life. To target the glory of God in parenting also means that God’s Word should be referenced, quoted, alluded to, illustrated, and applied as often as possible in the context of family life. 

The parents must aim to present Christ in all His loveliness, glory, and grace. Successful parenting seeks to be faithful to keep the main thing the main thing. Ultimately, for all believers, to know Christ and gaze upon His loveliness is the chief pursuit. All Christian parents must seek to teach the glory of Christ and the grace of His person and the loveliness of His character. The target of parenting is to faithfully discharge the duties God has given. 

With all of this, parents pray for God to save the children (Romans 1.16-17) and then for the Lord to sanctify them in the Truth (John 17:17). But parents cannot save, nor can they sanctify. But it must remain the constant prayer and pursuit of parents to keep the main target in view at all times: to obey God in parenting for the glory of God, to teach and instruct the children in the Word of God, in the gospel of grace, and in the glory of Jesus Christ!

Tuesday, February 14, 2023


Geoffrey R. Kirkland

Christ Fellowship Bible Church, St Louis, MO

A glorious opportunity has been given to all parents. God calls parents to do for their children what God Himself does for His own sons and daughters: protect them. God marvelously protects His own. And He protects them carefully, constantly, lovingly, patiently, watchfully, and sacrificially.  Our culture has shown itself to be a child-hating society because of the prevalence of, the championing of, and the celebration of the murder of unborn children. The safest place for an unborn child (a mother’s womb) has turned into a slaughter house for the weakest and most vulnerable. Parents ought to protect their children. 

God, as the perfect Shepherd, provides the wonderful paradigm for protecting His own. In Ezekiel 34, God says that He will search for His sheep and seek them out (v.11). He cares for the sheep and will deliver them from the tough places (v.12). Furthermore, He will gather them, bring them, and feed them by the mountains of Israel (v.13). He promises to feed them good food and He says He will ensure they lay down on good grazing ground and are well fed and led to rest (v.14-15). What a God who protects. He guards from danger. He watches over His own. As true believers, our God is our pattern for how we must care for and protect our children. 

Parents must protect with instruction and teaching. All parents must take up the Word of God as the glorious tool that God has given to teach the children and train them up for a life of ministry and service to God. The Bible must flow from your lips, from your heart and to your children’s both formally and informally each day. 
Parents must protect with alertness (danger). Parents must guard from the constant dangers of this world. The prince of the power of the air would love to destroy your children any way he can. Parents must strive to protect by vigilantly praying, interceding with constancy, and in protecting from harm, from predators, from worldliness, and from foolish decisions. 
Parents must protect from worldliness. This world lies in the power of the Evil One. This world is against God, hates God, and has an anti-God agenda. Children need to be guarded and protected from worldliness. Be careful what movies and video games your children play and watch. Guard what parties they go to. Guard who influences your children. Protect them from worldliness. You cannot take them out of the world but you want to shield them and protect them from worldliness while they are young and so moldable. Take advantage of the young, formidable years to teach truth constantly and guard your children carefully from the things of this world. 
Parents must protect from bad companions. Watch their friends. Bad company corrupts good morals. One’s friends will reveal what a man will be like in the future. Our children are influenced easily and you must guard the people they spend time with. Ensure they will help them advance toward godliness and not get entrapped in worldliness. 
Parents must protect from self-centeredness. All parents must vigilantly watch for and stand against self-centeredness in the children. A great way to protect the children is to specifically expose the sins of the heart and the selfishness that evidences itself. These are God-given and providentially appointed opportunities to shepherd the children and protect them by exposing the anger of their hearts, the pride within them, and the need to trust Christ and submit to Him wholeheartedly. This form of loving and parental reproof is a way of protecting your children by admonition. 
Parents must protect from autonomy and independence. Parents must understand the grave danger of autonomy (I am my own authority) and independence (I don’t need you; I can handle this). These are common heart-attitudes that may arise as a child grows and yet parents must lovingly and diligently take time to speak to the child and show how these attitudes are unbiblical, ungodly, and unhelpful. These unwise heart-attitudes reveal gross pride that God will stand against. 
With all of this: the most important and profound way a parent can protect his children is to constantly pour biblical truth into their minds (information) and seek to probe their hearts (affection/persuasion) so that the children will see God in Christ, trust Him by faith, walk obediently to Scripture, and live wholly for the next world. May God protect the children and the next generation for His great glory!
This is part 9 of the ongoing blog series on PARENTING.


Geoffrey R. Kirkland

Christ Fellowship Bible Church (St Louis, MO)


A wonderfully blessed and simultaneously trying area of parenting consists in the training of children in the pew. The responsibility falls to parents to actively teach and persistently prepare the children for worship. How will children know how to worship God unless they are taught? How will children know what to do in the worship service unless parents instruct them? This area of parenting must begin with the proper understanding of the following foundational points. First, only God can regenerate the children. No parent has any innate power to save the kids, make them more savable, or manipulate them to make a “decision” for Jesus. Only God saves. Salvation belongs to the Lord. Second, this area of parenting must maintain a long-view perspective that change does not happen immediately or overnight, or in a week! Even in a difficult week, or a frustrating Sunday in the pew, or in a busy season of childrearing in the pew, don’t lose heart or give up. Parents must remain faithful and continue to persevere with prayer, with humility, with focus, and with confidence in God. Third, parenting in the pew presupposes that parents will actually have children in the pew with them during the worship services. Some parents may choose to put a young child in the nursery but others may choose to keep their children with them in the pew. It seems best, and the pattern of Scripture, that children are with the parents in the worship service for the singing, the hearing of the Word read, and the preaching of the Word of God. With that said, what must parents remember while seeking to shepherd in the pew?  
First, preparation is key! Just like any important meeting, you prepare ahead of time. You do this for a vacation, for a flight, for an interview! How much more to meet with the living God! Parents must gather their children before the Lord’s Day worship begins to help them prepare. Prepare by reading the Word that’ll be preached. Prepare by praying for the preacher, the congregation, and the edification of the saints. Prepare by singing God-exalting songs. Prepare your hearts before you arrive. Even wake early enough to get the clothes on the children, Bibles in hand, breakfast eaten, so you can head out the door and drive to church in an unrushed fashion. 
Second, perspective is important! Parents should prioritize the perspective that church is for the worship and exaltation of the majesty of God. Children are not the focus. Children must learn to sit still, focus on God, pay attention to the preacher, all with the mindset that God’s people have gathered to meet with the Lord and hear from the Almighty King & merciful Father! Communicate this. 
Third, eliminate distractions as much as possible! Parents should not allow their children to to play with toys in the pew. It may make things a bit quieter but the parent is sadly teaching the child to tune out altogether when God’s Word is read and preached. It’s the opposite of what parents must do. Rather, the kids can have a bulletin, or a Bible (if they can follow along) and learn to circle key words, draw a picture of what is being preached, try to get the preacher’s main points, and so on. The goal is for parents to specifically teach the kids and supply the kids only with what is needed for them to pay attention in church. They don’t need toys or coloring books or snacks in church. They need to learn to sit reverently and be still before the awesome God. This comes with time. Be patient and yet persistent in teaching this.
Fourth, teach and explain quietly. As the service goes on, feel free to quietly lean over to the children and teach them why the pastor is reading from the Bible, why they are singing the hymns (and what the connecting theme is, if it’s discernible), why the congregation stands to pray, why a missionary gives an update, why people have their Bibles open on their laps during the sermon. It’s permissible to quietly lean over and explain what is going on and why certain things are done that way in the House of the Lord.
Fifth, make expectations and rules clear beforehand. Parents should come up with some clear rules and expectations for the children while in the pew and then the parents must communicate it to the children. And, the parents must expect obedience and discipline for disobedience. Some rules may include: no talking while the preacher is talking, sing with the congregation, look at the preacher when he is speaking and do not turn around, do not play with or touch your siblings next to you, and so on. The important point is to communicate clearly to the children whatever expectations you have for the worship service.
Sixth, discipline promptly and swiftly for disobedience and then return to the service. If the child disobeys, then the parent should take the real small, young children out of the sanctuary and discipline them promptly (the more immediate the discipline, the better so the child will connect the discipline with the offense he has committed). And then bring them back into the service.  If the child is a bit older, perhaps the parent could put an “X” on the kid’s hand and then discipline when they get home from church. The important point is that training and self-control in the pew is important and should be taught — patiently, consistently, faithfully, prayerfully, and trusting God for grace.
Seventh, allow other saints to pray with you, help you and bear the burden with you. Parents should not forget that God has given like-minded saints to encourage and help you in this joy of parenting. Ask folks to pray with you as you parent your kids. If you have many children, and perhaps if your husband is preaching and you’re alone in the pew, it may be profitable to ask another church member to sit with you and help you with the children in the pew during the service. 
The point of all of this is intentionality and prayerfulness. Seek to remain faithful, diligent, persistent, consistent, and maintain a long-term perspective. There will be wonderful weeks and there may be extremely difficult and frustrating weeks. Husbands can take the lead and encourage their wives and even teach them on the way home and when they arrive home if the mother is out with a crying child for a good part (or most) of the service. Husbands must pastor and shepherd their wives carefully and thoughtfully as well. 
But God will give His grace and strength to you as you seek to love and honor Him, reverence His House of Worship, and teach the next generation to fear God, submit to His Word, and benefit from the corporate gathering of God’s people! To God be the glory!


Thursday, February 9, 2023


Geoffrey R. Kirkland

Christ Fellowship Bible Church (St Louis, MO)


What makes parenting successful? Every father and mother want to be successful in what they do. But how does one really know if they did it right? Christian parenting is like other duties in the life of the believer. God calls His people to consistent faithfulness. Successful parenting does not necessarily mean that all the kids will be Christians, go to good churches, be married and have a bunch of kids. One could fail miserably at his parental responsibilities and yet, in the immense mercies of God, the kids may walk closely with Christ! Or, a parent may faithfully lead his children in the home by teaching the Word, walking holiness, guarding the Lord’s Day, leading in prayer, and modeling Christian conduct and yet all the while the children may remain unregenerate and be indifferent toward Christ and His gospel. The outcome of the children’s spiritual condition does not necessarily determine whether or not the parent was successful. 

Success in the Christian life is always measured by consistent faithfulness. The goal is for you to be faithful to Christ and obedient to the obligations that He gives to you. Epaphras was praised by Paul as a “faithful servant of Christ” (Colossians 1:7). On that final day, Jesus will reward His people by saying: “Well done, good and faithful slave’ (Matthew 25:21, 23). This does not mean perfection nor does it mean the outcome of a task determined the success of the event. Rather, was the child of God obedient, faithful, and diligent to follow Christ and discharge the duties that God gave him? That’s the proper barometer for biblical success. 

In the Word of God, the Lord calls parents to understand God and study Him diligently. He then calls parents to love the Lord God with all their heart, soul, and strength. Furthermore, parents must teach the things of God diligently to their children in the home formally and informally (Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Ephesians 6:4). The question for parents is whether or not they have been faithful to these key fundamentals in the home. God does not command fathers to keep the kids busy with school activities, or ensure they go to a good college, or make certain that they are the best on the sports team, or that they have the new video game and cell phone and entertainment gadget that’s on the market. Successful parenting means that fathers lead their homes in the study of God, the worship of God, prayers to God, and in holy living before God. 

Only God can save lost souls. Indeed, the Spirit of God uses His Word in the saving of unregenerate souls. Parents must know this and thus impart biblical truth and also pray diligently that God will attend His Word with great power — power to save the lost and power to sanctify the saved. The duty of parents consists in faithful parenting and obedience to God and persistent praying and intercession to the Lord. Paul said it well: It is required of stewards that one be found “trustworthy” — or, faithful. This certainly applies to parenting. Therefore, successful parenting is when the father and mother can say that by the enabling grace of God, they have sought to lead their children to Christ through the consistent teaching, instruction, example, and leadership as they obeyed the Lord and His Word. 

This is part 6 of the blog series on PARENTING.

Tuesday, February 7, 2023



Geoffrey R. Kirkland

Christ Fellowship Bible Church (St Louis, MO) 

Discipleship is teaching. Disciples learn from the instructor both formally in content and informally by imitation. No greater context exists for children to be taught about God, self, life, eternity, Truth, and conduct than the home. The home is the home-base for discipleship. Parents are the primary disciplers of their children. This responsibility to teach and mentor the children does not fall to the Sunday-School teacher, the youth leader, the pastor, the peers or social media. Parents must undertake the duty of teaching and training the children. 
First, parents must disciple by formal instruction. Fathers and mothers must teach the children a Christian worldview that is robustly and thoroughly biblical. The children must learn the necessity of discerning everything through the lens of Scripture. This can come through schooling in the home, teaching in family worship, and careful instruction. 
Second, parents must disciple by godly example. The regular heart-cry of parents should be that of Paul to the believers: follow me as I follow Christ. Let the children see godly conduct, Christian conversations, a heart stayed upon Jehovah, love toward the ungodly, compassion for the lost and perishing, and prayerfulness in troubling situations. As the children see you live for Christ for the long haul, this indirect discipleship will model for them how they ought to live and follow Christ in daily living.
Third, parents must disciple by prayerful intercession. A vital expression of discipleship is diligent prayer with and for the children. Children must hear the parents call out to God on their behalf. Parents should regularly plead with God for regeneration, redemption, sanctification, and maturation of their children (and their spouses, and their children, etc.). Teach and model Christian living in the area of prayer by actually praying with and for the children.
Fourth, parents must disciple by patient, yet persistent evangelization. Truly and specifically, a disciple is one who has come to Christ and genuinely follows Him as Lord and Savior. Every parent longs for this for their children. Knowing that only God can save the souls of perishing sinners, including children, parents must continually proclaim Christ and regularly summon the children to examine themselves so as to ensure that their faith is actually their own and not their parent’s. Continuous evangelism of children is vital by both the father and mother in the Christian household.
Fifth, parents must disciple by catechizing the children. Catechism is the teaching of truth through question and answer format. Lots of good catechisms exist that teach systematic theology in a clear and cogent manner. Fathers should take the lead in ensuring that the catechism is taught in the home and that the children learn the facts of Scripture, theology, the Lord’s prayer, and the ten commandments in an orderly and memorable way. To catechize the children is a sure way to disciple the children.
Sixth, parents must disciple by teaching Christian living in the world. No child knows how to live in this world by looking deep within himself. God has given parents to teach how to live as a good citizen in society, what it means to work hard, how to order one’s household, how to relate to civil authorities. 
God has given parents to teach these important truths to the children. The continued growth of these areas of doctrine, living, instruction, and imitation is part of the ongoing program of discipleship that God has given parents so they can lead their children well in the grace of God and in the Word of truth. 

This is part of the ongoing blog series on Parenting.


Geoffrey R. Kirkland

Christ Fellowship Bible Church (St Louis, MO) 

God makes the all-wise declaration that foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; the rod of discipline will remove it far from him (Proverbs 22.15). God commands parents to not hold back discipline from the child … you shall strike him with the rod and rescue his soul from Sheol (Proverbs 23.13-14). God provides discipline for wayward and sinful children as a rescue mission. Children must be rescued from themselves, from their own folly, from their sins, and ultimately from God’s eternal wrath. Marvelously, God has given the duty and privilege to parents to undertake the call to lovingly discipline their children with love, firmness, consistency, and with gospel-proclamation. 
The topic of discipline brings one immediately to the greatness of God because He Himself disciplines those whom He loves (Proverbs 3:12; Hebrews 12:3-11). Those whom God treats as children are those who receive the discipline of the Lord. It seems hard and painful but it does yield a peaceful fruit of righteousness. God disciplines those whom He loves to teach and train them for further godliness. So in the same way, parents must follow the pattern of the Heavenly Father and discipline the children to expose their sin, show them the pain and consequences of sin, and the glorious work of Christ who took the wrath of God in the place of His own. 
When a child disobeys and sins, parents have the duty and obligation to discipline. From the youngest of ages, this discipline should be immediate, swift, and firm. As the child grows older and can communicate more with the parent, then more conversation and drawing out the heart of the child is essential (Proverbs 20:5). In the Bible, God has clearly prescribed the means by which parents are to discipline their children — the rod. It is through the spanking of sinful children that they are taught the folly of sin and the foolishness of their heart is exposed through loving, firm and Christ-proclaiming evangelism.  
But when the child sins, what must the parent do? Here is a helpful pattern for parents.  
  1. Gather the facts. —  Ask questions of the child (as much as you’re able with the younger ones) such as: "what happened?" or “tell me what’s going on.” This way you seek to understand the situation (even if you saw it) and you’re allowing them to speak and give their account of the event.
  2. Reach the heart. — Then, whatever happened to them, you ask "how did you respond?” or “how did that make you feel?”  “what did you choose to do in that moment when it happened?” Then you can ask: “Why?” All of these questions intentionally target the heart. We want to reach the heart.
  3. Expose the sin. — At this point, regardless of what’s happened, it’s vital to specify the sin. Perhaps the child manifested a heart of selfishness, a desire for control, an outburst of anger, not considering others as more important than themselves, etc. The goal is to clearly expose the sin.
  4. Prove it biblically. — Ideally, we as Christian parents should have an open a Bible and show the child where in the Scriptures they have sinned against God. This is crucial so the child knows he didn’t ultimately sin against mom or dad but first and foremost against God. This is where godly parents need to constantly study the Word and hide it in our hearts so that we can bring biblical truth to the child’s heart regularly & specifically.
  5. Give the discipline. — The sin has been committed. The facts have been gathered. The heart has been exposed (as much as possible). The sin has been clearly stated and biblically proven. The child is guilty and has disobeyed God. Now the parent must use the rod. The goal is to bring enough pain for the child to see the error in what he’s done but, of course, the discipline is not to bring harm or bruising to the child. Using the rod must be done in a private location and it must be firm. Whether it’s one swat or two or three on the rear-end (an area that’s not exposed but easily covered up), the parent must choose to obey God and use the rod when the child has sinned. Parents must choose to obey God rather than follow culture on spanking. Culture calls it “harming/abusing the child.” God calls it: “saving your child’s soul from death!” Choose to follow God! Use the rod.
  6. Express tender love. — Immediately when the discipline has occurred and the child is saddened by the pain, hold the child, hug the child, affectionately place the child on your lap, and verbally tell them: "I love you!” This tender love and physical and verbal reassurance is important.
  7. Give the gospel. — Now is the glorious opportunity to say: “do you know why I did this? You've sinned. And our God is holy. You're a sinner, just like daddy (mommy)…” The Law has exposed the sin. The child has received a discipline for the offense. Now bring the balm of the gospel and the hope of Christ. The glorious benefit of this consists in parents having many opportunities (even daily, at times!) to present the gospel to their children who have sinned. Yes, our God hates sin and sees our sinful hearts! But God sent His Son to take the “eternal discipline” that we deserve. Compel your children to trust in Jesus! Sinners are saved by faith — childlike faith — in Jesus as Lord & Savior! Show them Christ’s glory, worth, work, and hope! Never underestimate the power of a faithful father who disciplines when he’s home and able and a faithful mother who disciplines in the home and how many gospel occasions this presents with the child. O may God use Christian homes to save children at young ages for His glory and renown.
  8. Pray with them. — When all has been done and said, don’t forget to pray for them and with them. Still keeping the child on your lap and embracing him in your arms, pray for God to save them. Then, move on tenderly, lovingly, caringly, affectionately, and prayerfully. 
It should be repeated that firm, consistent discipline of children because of their sin is loving — it is the most loving thing a parent can do. Spanking is the God-given rescue mission. In the physical discipline of the child, the parent must also cheerfully proclaim Christ’s work at the cross and constantly plead with the child to turn from his wicked ways and embrace Christ by true faith. 

This is part of the ongoing blog series on PARENTING.

Saturday, February 4, 2023


The ORDER of Parenting 

Geoffrey R. Kirkland

Christ Fellowship Bible Church (St Louis, MO)

God is a God of order and not a God of confusion (1 Corinthians 14.33). Disorder is a result of worldly, earthly wisdom which is demonic in nature (James 3.15). In parenting, then, order in the home must prevail. Parents should not allow their children to run wild and uncontrolled as if they run the house and “do what they want to do.”  Parents do not sit passive and refuse discipline and reproof “just to keep the peace.” Rather, parents must strive for, pray for, attain, and maintain an orderly environment in the home among the family. This is vital because it represents the character of God and the family of God which is to be orderly. 
Parents must exemplify order in their marriage. This means that parents should understand and fulfill their God-given rules and functions in the home. Obeying God in the order of marriage will provide a joy-filled, Godly, enjoyable, and blessed environment in the home for the children to see. 
As parents teach the children, there must be order in the childrearing. 
First, this must include discipline from the youngest of ages. There must be order and consistency in the discipline of sin and folly in the lives of young children. Disobedient children need to be taught when they have sinned against God. And God has ordained this discipline to come by means of the rod. As the child continues to grow, the rod may decrease over time as verbal instruction, probing the heart, and dialoguing together increases. Great wisdom is needed and counsel from Godly counselors can help in understanding a good age and season to stop spanking a particular child (though there is not a particular age that it has to automatically stop because children are different). Additionally, the discipline of children should be orderly. There should be the stopping of the situation, the gathering of patience (on the parent’s heart to calm down), going to a private area for the discipline, the asking of questions and gathering of information, the aiming for the heart and desires, ruling motives and wants of the child in that moment and how they then chose to respond, and then the clear opening of the Bible and sharing what God says about the situation and how and why He calls it sin. Then, the parent must spank and use the rod firmly and carefully to bring awaken the child to the folly and danger of unrepented sin and persistent habits of ungodliness. Then, the parent proclaims the gospel of Christ and urges the child to come to Christ through repentance and faith in Christ’s righteousness and substitutionary atonement. 
This order in the home should also show itself in the home-environment. Parents must lead in the home (not the children). Parents must ensure they have a parent-oriented home and not a child-centered home.
It can be so helpful for parents to have a schedule and maintain a schedule, or a routine, during the day. Obviously, God brings things that may alter that schedule from time to time, but most often, that schedule should generally provide guidance during the days. Fathers and mothers should come up with this schedule together and fathers should take the lead in implementing it and seeing that it is maintained and that the children are submissive to it and obedient to their mother’s guidance throughout the day (while he’s away at work). 
Finally: parents must strive for order outside of the home. When families travel together on vacation, or at a friend’s home for hospitality, or at church, or at school, or at the grocery store, parents must still strive for orderliness and good attitudes and conduct. There should not be rambunctious or uncontrolled children who scream selfishly and throw a temper tantrum. This behavior comes from a selfish heart that should be disciplined firmly. Parents must remember that even in public they ought to maintain a Christian witness before a watching world. Parenting is busy, nonstop and endless opportunities to minister grace, truth, love and instruction to naive children who need to be taught God’s truth and what God expects in a given situation. 
As hard and as counter-cultural as this may sound, Christian parents must strive for and maintain order in the home and in their parenting (whether in the home or traveling out and about). Why? Because the true and living God is, by nature, a glorious God of order and peace and not a God of confusion! Let Christian homes emulate this and exude the aroma of God’s character from our families. 

This is part of the ongoing blog series on parenting.

The TEACHING of Parenting

Geoffrey R. Kirkland

Christ Fellowship Bible Church (St Louis, MO)


Solomon said to his son: “observe the commandment of your father and do not forsake the teaching of your mother” (Proverbs 6.20). One of the most fundamental and essential obligations God has given to parents is the regular teaching of the children. This presupposes a few things. First, children need to be taught and do not know the way of wisdom on their own.  Second, parents must obey God and make it their priority to actively teach their children. Third, it is a commanded duty from God to all parents to be the primary teachers and instructors of their children.  The teaching of the children must include instruction from Scripture concerning the things of religion and the instruction about wise and practical living for God in society. 
First, this should include formal teaching in regular, consistent family worship. Fathers have the leadership obligation to lead their families and manage them well. They should order their homes in peace, unity, love and truth around the Word of God. Fathers should gather all those in the family (wife and children) for regular times of worship to God so as to teach the loveliness of God and the gospel of Christ, to instill Truth in the hearts of the children from the earliest of ages until they are out of the home, and to provide an example to follow for the children when they are married and have families of their own. This formal teaching can include singing, Bible reading and instruction, and prayer. Fathers should take the words of Joshua and make them their own: “as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24.15). 
Second, parental teaching must also incorporate informal instruction as life is lived together. As parents are “on the go” and innumerable teaching opportunities arise, fathers and mothers should utilize those occasions as God-given, providential occasions to stop and pause to teach the children how to think wisely and discern current events biblically. It could be as you are driving and see something that you need to share a word of teaching with the children. It could be as something comes up on TV, or a commercial, or on social media that provides a teaching occasion. It may be a current event or a world matter or a global disaster that may give opportunity to speak of how to think rightly, process biblically, respond joyfully, and live trustingly in God. 
So then, God has given parents to be the primary instructors of the children. The job does not rest on the pastor, or youth pastor, or school teacher, or friend or social media to be the primary influencers of the children. Parents! Parents! A father leading, a mother supporting and coming to his assistance as a team to minister grace and truth to the children in a biblical worldview, to think biblically, to process everything through the lens of Scripture, and to make wise decisions in a crazy world that will honor God and magnify Him. 

This is part of the ongoing blog series on parenting.
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