(Today’s guest blogger is Dr. Coy Roper – brother to David Roper, the author of the Zoey series. Concerned parents will want to take advantage of supplementary aids (Bible classes, good literature, etc.) to help instill faith in their children – but nothing can take the place of their Christian teaching and example. That is the thrust of Mr. Roper’s article.)
When I was a kid, I earned about God from my parents.
From my earliest memories, we went to church every Sunday morning and night and Wednesday night. As children we went to Bible classes, but there were no special arrangements for us during the worship services. We sat with the adults, sang with the adults, listened to the sermons as if we were adults (except when I went to sleep on my mother’s lap).
We learned the Bible, just as adults did: If there’s a “thus saith the Lord” behind a command or practice, we had to do it. We learned doctrine: what the church was about, what it was supposed to teach. We also learned what Christians are supposed to be and do (not that we always did what we learned).
For us, religion was not just something to be felt or enjoyed; it was something to be learned—with the mind—and appreciated and, if necessary, defended. The head, not just the heart, was involved.
And, as if that weren’t enough, we learned at home. Sometimes our parents taught us—mostly by telling us what was right and wrong and (especially) by letting us know in no uncertain terms what we could and could not do. (If we did what was forbidden, there was a price to be paid! Our parents didn’t believe in “sparing the rod and spoiling the child.”)
But mostly our parents showed us what Christianity is all about: among other things, going to church regularly, helping other people, refraining from lying and stealing and such like, being careful what you say, and, as a family, and especially as a husband and wife, loving one another.
Consequently, I don’t remember ever having any doubts about God, or any questions about whether Jesus was the Son of God, or about whether the Bible was the book of God.
I attribute my continuing faith and faithfulness to my parents—Dave H. and Lillian Roper—who brought me up in the way of the Lord, teaching me and helping me learn and believe that God is real and that I must do His will.
All of which makes me think that the key to instilling faith in children is for them to be reared by Christian parents in a loving Christian home where the church is important, Christ is honored, and the Bible is respected, studied, and obeyed.
Coy and his wife, Sharlotte