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Ask the Pastor

† Theological musings and answers to selected questions by a confessional Lutheran pastor.






20 July 2005

Raising Godly Children


Q: Is there a passage in the Bible that discusses whether or not parents are responsible for their child’s spiritual life after the age of twelve?

A: There’s no absolute age where parents are no longer accountable. God gives children with the desire that parents will use good judgment in raising them. What conscientious parents would “judge” that their children are, at age 12, ready to be cast loose for their own spiritual journeys? These are the types of journeys that, left to themselves, often end up in hell The parents should then think of their responsibility in allowing this to happen by ceasing to be involved in their children’s spiritual lives.

Sin is not only a problem with children, but also with parents. Before learning how to raise our children, we should be constantly reminded from Scripture that our children are a blessing from God. All too often, parents instead think of their offspring as burdens or even as curses. We who are given this responsibility by God need to stay in His Word and let Him guide our steps.

Christ-like parents (see previous discussion) will remain actively involved in raising Christ-like children: To raise our children “in the discipline and instruction of the Lord, (Eph 6:4)” we must be nurtured and admonished by Him. We need to know, confess, and receive forgiveness for our own sins before we are ready to deal with our children’s sinfulness. The more we realize God’s patience and care for us as we daily sin against him, the more we are able to patiently and lovingly deal with our children.

Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version™, © 2001 by Crossway Bibles.

Send email to Ask the Pastor.

Walter Snyder is the pastor of Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Emma, Missouri and coauthor of the book What Do Lutherans Believe.

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