Monday, August 7, 2023


Geoffrey R. Kirkland

Proverbs 25:15 states that a soft answer breaks the bone.  Proverbs 15:1 affirms that a gentle answer turns away wrath. Proverbs 23:26 is the heart of every parent to the child as it says: “Give me your heart my son, and let your eyes delight in my ways.”  

These verses provide much-needed guidance for parents who must obey the Lord and discipline wayward children. Knowing that parents must spank but also knowing and learning how to to spank appropriately and with gospel-grace, parents have an important part as well in this discipline process.  Parents cannot be given to anger because the one who is quick-tempered exalts folly (Proverbs 14:29). Parents must discipline with a calm demeanor. Parents cannot go into the room to discipline the child while seething with rage or furious because of something that happened. It may behoove the parent to take a few minutes quietly to repent of his own selfish and sinful response, to confess his own anger, to come before the Lord humbly, and then approach the child calmly, lovingly, and caringly in the act of discipline. Yes, parental discipline can be both firm and tender at the same time. It can be compassionate and discipline must be consistent when sin has occurred.

What is the parent to do? What does the Bible say regarding guidelines for parents in the discipline act?

Parents must diligently bring up the children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. This means that the primary responsibility of maturing and growing and aiding the child in seeing & forsaking his sin rests upon the parent. With prayerful dependence on God the Spirit while utilizing the all powerful and heart-searching Word of God, the parent knows that he must diligently bring up the children in the ways of God. He cannot be passive nor can he just let things happen. A parent cannot think that the child will just figure it out. Worse, a parent cannot think that the child can just follow his heart and all will be well.

Furthermore, parents must recognize the need to both discipline (the rod) and verbally reprove the child (reproof). Both must occur as the child grows and ages. As the child ages and increases in the capacity to communicate and respond to the parent’s heart-probing questions, open ended questions should regularly engage the child’s heart.

Proverbs 18:4 says that words of a man’s mouth are like deep waters.  Furthermore, Proverbs 20:5 states that a plan in the heart of man is like deep water, but a man of understanding draws it out. Faithful parenting is not about external or behavioral change alone. Though parents wish to see behavior change, godly parents recognize that the root of behavior is the heart, the desires, the cravings, the longings. Wise parents will strive to ask questions that probe the heart so as to understand what the child wants so he can counsel the child appropriately so that the heart sin can be exposed and the gospel grace can be expounded.

Ultimately, parenting is an act of faith. It is a rescue mission. It is a marvelous opportunity for parents to obey God, love the children, evangelize their hearts, expose the sin biblically, and summon them to Christ through repentance and faith in God’s grace.  Parents do well to remember the words of Proverbs 14:26 which affirms that in the fear of the LORD there is strong confidence, and his children will have refuge.

Saturday, August 5, 2023


Geoffrey R. Kirkland

Christ Fellowship Bible Church 

Picture it: a mom or a dad is with the small child in that room, rod in hand, child on the lap, and discipline must occur because the child has sinned against God. What should the parent do, then? What is to be said? What is to be done? Perhaps the parent thinks: “I’ve never seen this done before” or “no one taught me how to do this.”

This essay provides a handful of helpful tips for parents to consider as a template for the biblical process of discipline.

1. Gather the facts.
Ask the child: “what happened?” In this beginning step, you as the parent seek to hear the child portray what happened (if the child is old enough to do so). Seek to hear him describe the situation.

2. Reach the heart.
Since the goal of discipline is not merely behavioral management but seeking to get at the heart, parents should ask: “how did you respond?” “When ___ happened, why did you do that?” “When he said that, why did you say what you said?” Or, “Why did you do what you did?” “What were you wanting?” “What would have made you happy in that moment?” You see, the way your child answers reveals his heart (motives, purposes, thoughts, intentions, ruling and dominating desires). Don’t just say: “stop screaming!” Rather, “why did you react that way?” Reach the heart.

3. Expose the sin. Then, when the heart is revealed and the real purposes are uncovered, you are to expose the sin biblically. The sin isn’t merely hitting his sister. Perhaps it’s selfishness in the heart that wants to play ‘god’ by being in control of his life and his possessions. Speak to the root issue. Unveil the sin. Expose it. Clearly, simply, tenderly, but firmly.

4. Prove it biblically. When that sin is exposed, the parent ideally should open a Bible and show the child in the text of God’s Word where they sinned against God. The goal of this is to show them (time and time again) that the point is not that they’ve sinned against you. Rather, the sin is that they’ve sinned against God and have broken His Law and that’s why discipline must occur. Again, prove to the child they sinned ultimately and foremost against God!

5. Give the discipline. After the sin is exposed and the Scripture has been read, the parent should firmly and yet tenderly give the discipline. The rod must be used. The goal is for the child to feel the pain as a consequence of this sin. It is to drive out foolishness in his heart and show your child that sin brings pain. For indeed, if they do not repent and trust in Christ alone, their sin will bring everlasting pain under the hand of God in hell. So discipline is seeking to drive your child to make the connection between sin and its consequence of pain. And that is to drive them to Christ as you verbalize the gospel. The rod should be used firmly, on the rear end so that it’s not visible to others. Proper use of the rod should not leave bruising. Parents should not discipline with the hand because a child should never grow up to associate a parent’s hand with pain. The hand of the parent should always be a comforting, loving, providing, and protecting hand. The rod, however, should be something the parent uses while calm and never angry. So, use the rod firmly, swiftly, carefully, and always in private -- never in public. Always inflict the rod on the child’s rear end with firmness, compassion, tenderness, and shrouded with love.

6. Express tender love. Immediately when the corporal punishment is finished, you as the parent should scoop up the child in his arms or on his lap and express how much you love your child. This affirms to the little one that his parents are not just angry, mad, mean, and violent. But it shows them that you have disciplined them because you love them so very much. Verbalize this to them with the words: “I love you very much.”

7. Give the gospel.
Now the greatest opportunities exist for presenting Christ and His gospel. When your child has sinned, you’ve brought the discipline, and expressed your genuine love for them, you must lead them to Calvary and show them their sin before God, God’s anger over sin, and God’s solution for man’s need in the person of Jesus Christ. You might say: “Do you know why I’ve done this? It’s because God is perfect and we are not. And sin deserves God’s punishment. But God sent Jesus…” Keep it simple. Don’t get too theologically verbose with jargon. Explain how God has given one door to heaven, one way to escape eternal ‘discipline’ and that is through faith alone in Jesus Christ. Call your children to repent of their sin (turn) and to believe in Jesus Christ alone (trust). Do this often, regularly, daily, diligently, patiently, winsomely, and persuasively. Don’t just rehash the same words time and time again. Vary the gospel call! Use different Scriptures! Show them different facets of Christ and His redemptive glories and unspeakable beauties. But parent, whatever you do: give them the gospel! Lead them to Christ. Do it every time. Whenever you discipline, lead them to the only One who can deliver their soul from God’s eternal punishment: the Lord Jesus Christ and His redemption. Be careful not to give your children assurance too young or too quickly if they merely ‘profess faith’ in Jesus Christ. Be happy and express excitement over their desire to follow Jesus. But affirm them in their desire and explain to them that over time their faith will show itself to be real or not. But encourage them along the way to pursue Christ!

8. Pray with them. When all is done, while still holding and loving your child, pray with them. Bring God into the event (again)! You want your child to leave the discipline room remembering that mommy or daddy disciplined me (and, yes, it may have hurt) but they also prayed with me and for me. You want to pray that God would do the great soul-work, redemptive work, regenerating work for His glory, for your child’s eternal welfare, and for the good of your family. So you pray for your child and then you hug them, move on, and don’t keep a record of their sins.

Quite simply, in sum, godly parents must aim to do all things in faithful love, they must seek to open the Bible and give truth to show the child where they transgressed God’s Word. The parent must take this as an opportunity to give the gospel message and then summon the child to turn from the wicked ways of self-trust and fly to Christ by a surrendering faith and whole confidence.

May this serve as a helpful template, or a pattern, or an overview of what parents can do in the discipline room with their children as you seek to honor God in the faithful discipling and disciplining of your children. May God use the rod to drive out foolishness from our children and through our faithful evangelization may God redeem them from His eternal punishment in hell and may He bring them safely and gloriously into His heavenly Kingdom! May God use parents and their faithful and diligent proclamation of the gospel as the means to convert the children!


The next topic:  The PARENT in spanking

Friday, August 4, 2023


Geoffrey R. Kirkland

Christ Fellowship Bible Church

The question inevitably comes up from parents who love their children and wonder how spanking can be helpful and beneficial for the children.  Why would a loving parent inflict pain to the children?  Won’t this hurt and harm them?  Won’t they become abusive when they grow older or view spanking as abuse that they have received?  What if someone had a very bad experience growing up with spanking from angry parents who angrily disciplined?  Many questions such as these often arise.  

At this point, I must clearly affirm the reality that God’s Word must remain the authority for Godly fathers and mothers.  Past experiences, however good or bad they may have been, cannot sway how we view or interpret God’s Word or whether we choose to obey what God calls us to. Our own feelings in the moment of what we think is or is not best for our children should be subservient to the clear and authoritative Word of God on every issue — including spanking.

So, why does God command parents who love their children to spank them?

First, parents must spank their children out of obedience to God. The parental act of spanking disobedient children begins with the heart of the parent that resolves to walk in obedience to God and in submission to His Word. God calls parents to obey even when it is hard. And when a parent knows that the child has sinned against God, must be reproved by Scripture, must be warned of sinful actions, and summoned to trust in Christ alone and he still chooses to spank the child, he is walking in obedience to God and His Word.  

Second, parents must spank their children to rescue their souls from death. Parents must spank the children and “rescue his soul from death” (Proverbs 23:14). Ultimately, spanking is a “rescue mission.” It is an act of diligent faith in God in prayerful hopes that God will rescue the child from sin, from himself, and from hell.

Third, parents must spank their children out of trust in God. Believers walk by faith, not by sight. Godly parents know that even when culture ridicules such actions and scathes such discipline as being “hurtful” and “harmful,” the Christian knows that true joy and blessing comes in walking obediently to God. Proverbs 29:15 says that the rod and reproof give wisdom. Part of implementing the rod is trusting that with proper instruction, reproof, and gospel warnings and invitations, it will give wisdom to the child.

Fourth, parents must spank their children in order to teach obedience. Young people are automatically hard-wired to be lovers of self. Children are “selfoholics.”  It is the rod which God has designed to show the error and folly of self-love, self-autonomy, and self-independence. From the youngest of ages, boys and girls must learn to obey authority. And God Himself is the ultimate authority. Spanking teaches the children the folly of rejecting God’s authority for them in their lives (e.g., a parent, etc.) and instead choosing to follow their own hearts. Parents must seek to also teach their children to be good citizens in society. To do this, children must learn to obey authority and submit under those whom God has placed over them.

These are just a few reasons why it is so important and vital for parents to obey God and discipline sinning, young children with the rod.

Tomorrow's topic:  The WHAT of spanking (what do you do?)

Thursday, August 3, 2023


Geoffrey R. Kirkland

Christ Fellowship Bible Church


Parents should spank the children when sin has occurred.  Biblical discipline must come at the right time. When a parent spanks his child out of anger or because the parent views his rights violated, the child will be exasperated, become hardened, and he will be unsure in the future as to whether or not he’ll be disciplined for this or that action.

Proverbs 22:15 speaks of foolishness that is bound up in the heart of the child. This Hebrew word for “foolishness” carries the idea of ‘moral perversion’ and ‘lack of fear of God.’  Parents must understand the importance of spanking and undertake the diligence in using the rod when the child has sinned.

It is wise for parents to refrain from spanking the child for childishness.  If a child acts in a childish way that is not sinful, that action does not deserve a spanking (e.g., spilling the milk, performing a chore in a wrong manner). If, however, the child is given a command and the child refuses to obey, or chooses to do something else, then that child should be spanked. Quite simply: when parents spank the children, the parent should be able to open the Bible and point to chapter and verse where the child has erred in his ways against God. Ultimately, this is key. Parents must teach and show the children that they must be spanked because they have transgressed God’s Word and have disobeyed God. You do not want to teach a child that he is getting a discipline because he made dad and mom mad. Parents are not the ultimate authority (parents have derived authority from God). God is. In the discipline, the child should understand very clearly that he will receive the spanking because he acted foolishly and sinned against God.

This means that parents must KNOW THEIR BIBLES.  To biblically discipline and love the children in this God-ordained grace-act of reproving children for sin and pointing them to Christ requires parents to read, study, know, and memorize God’s Word. Parents must know when sin has occurred. Parents must realize that disobedience, a complaining heart, an unsubmissive attitude, a slanderous word against others, a quarreling spirit are sins against God. And parents should know where to go in their Bibles to show what God says about such actions.

This means that parents must PRIORITIZE THE TIME TO DISCIPLINE WHEN IT SEEMS INCONVENIENT. It can seem that children disobey at the most inconvenient times and that discipline should be given when parents are least ready or willing to give it. But this is a precious gift of God to wean parents off of themselves and it provides an occasion for the parent to die to self, love the child, obey God, and take advantage of the occasion to discipline.  Parents may feel tired, or busy, or frantic, or rushed, or late to a meeting, but discipline when done faithfully will honor God, teach the child, and result in joy in the parent’s heart.

This means that parents must SHOW THE CHILD THEIR SIN AGAINST GOD BY POINTING THEM TO THE SCRIPTURES.  When the child has sinned and you’re in the discipline “room” (in a private location/room, not in a public, visible area), parents should be able to open their Bibles and read the Bible with the children, and even showing the child what chapter and verse they are reading (even if the child is too young to read himself) so that the child will understand (over the course of time) that the discipline must be received because of disobedience to the pure and perfect Word of God. Parents must study their Bibles and know where to go, where to turn, and show the child where the sin is in the Bible and what God says about it and the danger of committing such transgressions.

This means that parents must USE THE OCCASION AS A GOSPEL-PROCLAIMING MOMENT TO EXPOSE SIN AND THE GRACE OF CHRIST.  When parents choose to obey God in this way when the child has sinned, it throws open the door for a gospel conversation (or presentation). If the child is very young, it provides a sweet opportunity for parents to expose the sin, show the error in the text of the Bible, and proclaim the demand to turn from sin and trust in Christ and receive His grace.  For those who are older and who can reason and respond to the parent, the parents should all the more take the occasion to proclaim the gospel and warn the child of the danger of his ways and of the plenteous mercy available in Christ and in His cross-work and resurrection! When the children sin, God provides wonderful occasions for parents to be the resident evangelists in the home to lovingly compel and urge the children to see their sin, the danger that will result if they live in unbelief and rebellion, and to rest fully and confidently in Jesus Christ who is mighty to save.


Tomorrow's topic: The WHY of spanking

Wednesday, August 2, 2023

 SPANKING, part 2


Geoffrey R. Kirkland

Christ Fellowship Bible Church 


One clearly understands even in a cursory survey of Proverbs that utilizing the rod to reprove and discipline children is necessary. No one can deny that spanking is biblical. It is the ordained method that God has given for the discipline and instruction of wayward children.  Proverbs 22:15 says that the rod of discipline removes folly from the child’s heart.  Parents must strike their children with the rod and must understand that it will not kill the child, but it will help them (Proverbs 23:13). Implementing the rod when children disobey is a “rescue” mission to save their souls from death (Proverbs 23:14). Both the rod and reproof give wisdom to sinning children (Proverbs 29:15). One who does not use the rod but insists that the child will “figure it out” or the parent who allows the child to get his or her own way is a shameful way of parenting (Proverbs 29:15b). Thus, the Book of Proverbs clearly shows that parents must incorporate the rod in the disciplining of wayward children.

Furthermore, parents must spank because it instructs the child. There is a two-fold method of instruction when parents spank the children. First, there is the instruction from physical pain when the rod is used.  It teaches and associates sin with painful consequences.  Second, there is the instruction from verbal reproof. Just as Proverbs 29:15 combine them together: the rod and reproof give wisdom. Why would God call parents to employ the rod? For a few reasons.  Children are depraved, wicked, self-loving rebels. And, remember, they receive their fallen human nature from you as the parent. All humans have rebelled against God and must be regenerated to enter heaven. Discipline is a God-given, and God-graced form of discipline to teach the children. It must be used because it inflicts pain when the sin has happened. It is directive because it closely identifies the wayward transgression with the immediate affliction and pain that it produced. It is loving because utilizing the rod is always, always an act of grace because the sinner should get justice — eternal hell. But when parents obediently incorporate the rod when a child has sinned, they shows grace and can point to God's grace. Utilizing the rod is also purposeful so that the parents can firmly expose the sin, open the Scriptures and show the child where they have sinned against God, explain their fallen condition and how their sin deserves hell eternally, affirm genuine love for the child and express their need to repent and trust Christ and receive His saving and plenteous grace!

Tomorrow's topic: The WHEN of spanking

Tuesday, August 1, 2023

Geoffrey R. Kirkland



Prov. 22:15 Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child;  The rod of discipline will remove it far from him.

Prov. 23:13-14  Do not hold back discipline from the child,  Although you strike him with the rod, he will not die.  You shall strike him with the rod And rescue his soul from Sheol.

Prov. 13:24 He who withholds his rod hates his son,  But he who loves him disciplines him diligently.

God commands parents to obey Him in the training and disciplining of young children. The Scriptures provide the reliable and understandable guide for parents to deal with the sin of little boys and girls. Contrary to the thinking of secularists today, and even many in the church, spanking does not hurt, harm, or abuse a child, when the parents execute it biblically, humbly, consistently, and lovingly.

Spanking does not harm or destroy children. It does not set them up for a life of abuse or self-harm. Rather, God declares in His Word that spanking with “the rod” is necessary for all young children who sin and expose the folly that exists in their hearts.

Why must parents spank their children?

First, spanking obeys God.   God clearly spells out how parents must deal with the sin of their children. When children expose the foolishness that resides in their hearts (their rebellion against God and their love for themselves and their self-perceived autonomy), God commands parents to utilize the rod in the childrearing. Quite simply, spanking children begins with the act of obedience on the part of the parents to God. Will the parent honor and fear and choose to obey God in the discipline of their children even when it seems undesirable, unpleasant, and even when the child seems to respond negatively to the spanking?  Parents must fear the Lord and obey Him even in this area of the raising of children.

Second, spanking teaches children.   Spanking associates sin with pain. And it should be this way. If a person sins, there is a consequence. Eternally and ultimately, if a person continues in the state of unbelief and rebellion, he will experience eternal and ultimate pain from God Himself in the eternal torment of hell. Spanking is a ‘school of instruction’ to reinforce the reality that sin always hurts, it always harms, it always has adverse affects. Spanking proves to allow parents (led by fathers) to instruct the children regularly by exposing the folly of their hearts, the horrors of sin, the loveliness of Christ, the need and availability of grace, and the call to trust Christ!

Third, spanking warns children.  Spanking is a rescue mission.  Proverbs 23:14 says that spanking is a rescue mission to deliver a child’s soul from Sheol. What greater reason could God give for the need and importance of implementing the rod?  Believing parents who obey God spank their children to warn them of the disastrous effects of sin, a tragic life that goes on indulging sin, and the eternal consequences of those who die in the condition of unbelief. Spanking brings pain when the act is executed but it pales in comparison with the pains of hell. Spanking gives the parent a wide-open door to evangelize the child, even from the youngest of ages, and lovingly warn the child of the wages of sin and the need to humbly receive God’s grace in Christ.

Fourth, spanking preaches grace.   Spanking does proclaim the wonder of grace. The soul that sins will die. And yet when a child sins and does not die, he has received grace (immeasurable grace!). The parent spanks the child and gathers that child in his arms and prays with him and faithfully and passionately declares the sweet love and mercy of God that is available in Christ who came as the substitute to take the eternal “discipline” from the Father because of the sins of His people. Think of the wonder of grace! Think of the gospel opportunity this provides.

Forthcoming Posts:
We will turn to some specific areas of spanking to provide much-needed clarity.  We will observe
The IMPORTANCE of spanking
The WHEN of spanking
The WHY of spanking
The WHAT of spanking
The HOW of spanking
The PARENT in spanking


Wednesday, July 12, 2023

PARENTING AND DISCIPLINE HELP: your kid slanders someone else.
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
The Scenario. 
You have a child who has slandered one of his siblings to a friend. Consequently, the friends no longer want to hang out with this individual (for a particular activity on a particular day) because one of your children slandered one of his siblings.  You get words of it from another one of your children.  What do you do?  How do you respond?  

The Counsel to the Parent 
Maybe this has never happened to you, but it did happen in our family. This makes for a golden biblical counseling opportunity that opens the door fully for gospel proclamation.  Of course, the easy (and lazy!) path to take would be to sharply chastise the kid and say: “Don’t do that again!” Or worse, you could choose to do nothing about it (until, of course, he does it again). 

What do you do? 

When I got word that one of my children slandered a sibling to another friend and thus that friend no longer wanted to spend time playing with the particular individual any longer, I had a choice to make.  How would I handle this? 

I took the children who were involved in this situation and brought them downstairs and we sat on the couch together.  I had my Bible and I was ready to diagnose the heart, probe deeply, and minister gospel truth so they can put off sin and put on righteousness (ha!). If it only went always according to our plans. 

I asked the children what happened and let them speak of the situation.  After the first child shared, then I asked the other child to share.  After gathering information so as to understand the circumstance, I asked them if I understood the issue correctly. I wanted to ensure I was hearing them correctly. 

Then, I opened my Bible and took them to the importance of our words from Matthew 12 and how our words reveal our heart (Matt 12:34). I then read for them Colossians 3:5 how Paul tells the believers to put sin to death — and one of the sins that must be mortified includes the sin of slander.  I talked about how this is God’s command to believers. 

I showed how the sin of slander comes from a proud heart that is unwilling to have a loving conversation with the individual to their face but rather takes the easy route of speaking “about them” — and doing so behind their back. I said: God hates slander and it is never helpful, nor useful, nor kind. 

Then, we ended with Colossians 4:6 where God tells the believers to let their speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt.  In going to all these Scriptures, I was able to show them their sin and how they fell short of what God requires. They did not obey Him. They sinned against God. I pointed this out. 

After showing them their sin, calling them to repent, and exposing their need for Christ and His forgiveness, I told the child who slandered to write out for me Colossians 4:6 on a piece of paper. However, it had to be word-perfect, clear, legible, and they should memorize it in the process.  

In dealing with the situation in this way, I was able to take a child who sinned by slandering his neighbor and open the Bible and show how God’s Word exposes the evil and proud heart in the sin of slander. Then, after exposing the sin and calling for repentance and showing that the only hope is found in Jesus Christ, they had a discipline. It was a discipline for writing out the verse word for word and then returning that hand-written verse when it’s complete.  Once the child did so, I hugged them and reassured them of my love for them.

Tuesday, July 11, 2023


Geoffrey R. Kirkland

Christ Fellowship Bible Church 


Why new member interviews?

Question:  When people want to join your church, why do you require a new member “interview”?  

Answer:  We do so for the following six reasons: 
  1. It allows church elders to sit with the individual and cultivate continued interpersonal communication so as to get to know them better. 
  2. It allows the elders to ask 3 primary questions: 
    1. TESTIMONY:  please articulate your salvation-testimony. 
    2. GOSPEL:  please articulate the saving gospel of Jesus Christ.
    3. SERVICE:  where and how do you plan to serve and plug in at this local church?
  3. It helps us as elders to know if they need clarification on a point of the gospel as they articulate it (so we can help them, give them a resource for further study). 
  4. It allows us as elders to reassure the individual that we shepherd-elders want to care for all the flock of God that the Lord entrusts to our care. 
  5. It provides a wonderful platform to call the individual to service in the body life of the church rather than just being a spectator and attending when it’s convenient. 
  6. Then, we can encourage the person by praying with and for them at the end.


PARENTING & DISCIPLINE HELPS: practical scenarios 

Geoffrey R. Kirkland

Christ Fellowship Bible Church 

In this post, I will post a hypothetical scenario about a child that disobeys his parents in a certain way. Then, I will share some counsel as to what the parent can do in that moment to discipline with firm consistency and with gospel-grace.

The Scenario 

My 3 year old did not stay in their room as I told them to do. 

Let’s say you have a young child and you have put them in their bed with the clear command: Do not come out. Maybe it is a quiet laying down rest time for a part of the afternoon or it could be that you lay them down for sleep at night. Either way: you have given the command to the child to stay in the bed and not to come out. And so you leave and you begin your tasks until a short bit of time passes by and you hear, “Mom…” or “Dad…” and then they proceed to share that they want water. But a bit later on, their bedroom door opens and they come walking out after you gave them the clear instruction to stay in their bed and not come out. As the child gets older, he will skillfully make his case as to why he just ‘had’ to come out even though you gave him unarguably clear instructions. The child has sinned against God and against you because he did not obey his parents. What do you do? 

The Counsel to the Parent 
 Perhaps this has never happened to you (ha!) or maybe it happened just last week or yesterday! Either way, maybe you can relate. This is a familiar scenario in our household. 
The child has sinned and needs to be reproved, disciplined, and evangelized. The child has sinned because he disregarded your clear verbal instruction about staying in the bed. Whether or not the kid is thirsty or has to go to the bathroom or wants a new toy or a different book is irrelevant. The child chose to sin by getting up out of the bed and walking out of the room. Your command was not obeyed. 
Rather than giving them a warning, or loudly shouting: “go back to your bed!” there’s a better way. And the better way is to take the time, however inconvenient it may be to you in that moment, and lovingly discipline them with the rod and verbally expose their heart of selfishness and disobedience to God and then give them the hope of the gospel and call them to trust in Jesus. 
They must be told that they sinned (Ephesians 6.1). They did not do what God told them to do in obeying Dad and Mom. Thus, because they wanted something and thought that something (anything!) was really important (indeed: more important) than obeying God in that moment, whatever reason/excuse they provide is just exposing their heart. They wanted that thing more than they wanted to please God and obey you. Thus, they sinned. 
So the child should be spanked. The parent should take the rod, take the child into a private room and administer the discipline with firmness, with love, and with self-control. By the way, the younger the child, the more immediate the spanking should be (rather than allowing it to wait until the end of room time, or the end of the day, etc.).
Why all of this? Why the time and the effort? Why the probing of the heart? Why make it a big deal when the kid just came out of the room to go to the bathroom?  Why? Because the child disregarded your authority and thus God’s clear instruction and chose to do what he wanted to do (James 4.1-2).
But praise God, in His mercy, God has provided another evangelism opportunity within the context of the home. You discipline your child, swoop them up in arms of love and tell them how much you love them and how much more God loves them! You say that their corrupt and sinful heart has led them into error and yet there is hope in a mighty Savior who changes hearts and forgives sin! 
It may seem like just “another” opportunity during the day for a child to go back to his room after he disregarded your parental command, but it actually proves to be another God-given opportunity for in-home evangelism for you to minister grace to the guilty soul by giving the gospel to them. 
Parent, this surely demands time and energy. And it often disrupts your plans and your moments of quietness that you had planned. But it’s worth it. Proclaiming the gospel is always worth it. God has given another occasion for you to die to self and live to righteousness and love your child in the best way of gospel proclamation ...  again!

Friday, June 16, 2023

 Why I believe part of fulfilling my role as a pastor is to do the work of an evangelist.
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church

God instructs all ministers of the gospel to preach the Word and part of fulfilling this calling is to ‘do the work of an evangelist’ [ἔργον ποίησον εὐαγγελιστοῦ] (2 Tim 4.5). Every shepherd preaches the gospel because apart from the gospel of God revealed in Christ and His substitutionary work through the enlightening work of the Spirit he has nothing whatsoever to say. He must proclaim Christ and Him crucified. Regardless of what people want and what the itching hears long for the faithful minister has but one glorious message of salvation that all men must hear if they are to be saved. He preaches both in season and out of season. So, part of the work of the shepherd-pastor is to do the work of an evangelist. Here are some reasons I’ve compiled as to why I commit to doing the work of an evangelist.

1. Because I believe the Bible.
The Bible clearly presents the work of the pastor-shepherd as that of a gospel-preacher. He proclaims Christ and Him crucified, resurrected, ascended, and Lord. The Bible is God’s instruction manual for God’s heralds. The message of the gospel must flow from his lips as he calls men and women to be reconciled to God, to be clinging to their Savior, and to be following Him through the power of the Spirit in holiness. The Bible commands shepherds to do the work of an evangelist. Faithful men fill the pages of Scripture who proclaimed the Word of God to the lost — from Noah, to Enoch, to Moses, to Joshua, to Samuel, to David, to Jeremiah, to Ezekiel, to Amos, to John the Baptist, to Paul, to Peter, and, of course, to Jesus. And because I believe the Bible, I must therefore be an evangelist.

2. Because I love God.
Out of love for God and out of a driving passion for His glory, I must do the work of an evangelist because I want God’s fame to be known. A passionate love for God’s glory must compel the Christian to proclaim the gospel. Anything less is insufficient. When persecution comes and when hardship slams, a love for the glory of God and for His magnificent beauties will propel the man of God to proclaim Him and His gospel of grace to the lost. Consequently, I go and herald!

3. Because I want Christ to receive the full reward of His sufferings.
The Lamb of God came into the world to die for sinners. He came not to be served but to serve and give His life as a ransom for many. He was slain and He purchased for God with His blood men from every tribe, tongue, people, and nation. Christ has died for His own. We want the Lamb to be glorified on that final day surrounded by all those whom He purchased, all those for whom He died, and all those for whom He bore their wrath. Thus, out of a zealous love for the glory of Christ and His sovereign reign in glory, we want the Lamb to receive the full reward for His sufferings. For this reason, the minister must go and preach the Word!

4. Because I believe in the Spirit's power to regenerate
The Bible speaks of the third member of the Trinity as the Spirit of Life. He produces life. He quickens dead souls and alone is able to impart life. No man can come to God unless he is sovereignly drawn by God Himself. No man can pick God, choose God. Indeed, no natural man would ever choose God; the unregenerate man hates God, despises God, and rages in his heart against God. But the Spirit of God, by sovereign grace, uses the gospel of Christ as servants of God present the gospel, to awaken dead souls to new spiritual life. For this reason, I evangelize.

5. Because I cling to the absolute sovereignty of God.
There is no other God besides the LORD. There is none other. No other god exists. There are not other gods of other religions or other manmade gods that individuals have fabricated that exist side by side the One, True and Living God. There is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we all exist for Him and there is one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him. God reigns supremely. He reigns exclusively. All events in all of time are under His sovereign control. He is never out of control and everything that takes place is the outworking of His preordained, sovereign plan. And as a royal King, he executes all of His decrees perfectly, wisely, sovereignly, and actively. God is actively involved in all the affairs of life — including salvation. So then, because I believe that God alone is the one who is worthy of praise and because God alone is the one who imparts eternal life to radically corrupt sinners, I preach the gospel with full confidence, great comfort, and heartfelt joy submitting to God’s sovereign will in and through the faithful presentation of the gospel of grace.

6. Because I believe in hell.
Hell is real. And countless millions now scream in the painful, eternal agonies of hellfire because they never trusted in Christ alone for salvation. Hell is the immediate home of all those who attempt to get to God by their works (=every religion in the world). The pains of hell begin at the moment of death. The torments of hell endure throughout endless eternities in the future. The ferocious wrath of God never lets up for all the everlasting ages to come. I believe in hell — a literal, real, hell where God actively, personally, violently, and fairly sentences all sinners who have broken His law forevermore. Because I know hell exists and countless thousands enter there daily around the world, I’m compelled to present the gospel of grace to lost souls so they may be spared from everlasting agonies under God’s just fury.

7. Because I care for people.
Souls are made in the image of God. Souls will thus live on forever. Since God is an eternal being and all men are made in the image of God, they are, then, eternal beings. People will live on forever. None who reject Christ now would ever embrace him in eternity. All who refuse Christ in this life will remain in unbelief for all of eternity. But those who see the weight of their sin, the wonder of God’s grace, and the sufficient, substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ, and who have responded to this message by repenting, that is, turning, from sin and by trusting in Christ alone will pass to heaven and worship the Lamb forevermore! A shepherd cares for sheep. God made all people and, in a sense, loves all the creation that He made. And souls will live on forevermore. I care for people and long for them to think about eternity and consider their souls. Many do not ponder their souls and their eternal destiny. This is the reason why we must go to the lost — indeed, go to them! — and awaken their souls to the reality of eternity. If you care for people, proclaim the gospel to them!

8. Because I'm convinced of the Truth.
God is truth and His Word is truth. God’s Word is the sufficient, complete, perfect, inerrant truth. Never has a man found an error in the Bible. And because the Truth exists in the written Word and is most perfectly manifested in the Living Word who is full of “grace and truth,” we must do the work of an evangelist. Christ came and proclaimed that He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life and no one comes to the Father except through Him. Thus, the evangelist is not engaging with the lost to try and win arguments about the validity of the Bible or the existence of God. God calls us to proclaim the gospel to them so that the Spirit of God awakens their conscience to the Truth and the God that they already know exists. So then, for the sake of the truth, the minister ought to labor for souls and seek to win them to the Savior. The truth is found in Jesus Christ. Every other religion, every other god, every other worldview is a lie and leads to hell. Thus, for the sake of the truth, share this, impart this, declare this, and plead with sinners to hear the best news that can save their souls from hell and take them to glory. Doing this is the most loving thing to do. Knowing the truth and refusing to impart it to others is not love; it’s selfishness and hatred. So then, let us go and do the work of an evangelist! Let us keep on keeping on knowing that our labor is not in vain. Go and win souls!

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.
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